May 30, 2011

Muppets + Firefly by James Hance

James Hance is a master of combining the realistic and the adorable.  You probably know his work from his book that combines Winnie the Pooh and Star Wars, Wookiee the Chew, or one of his many paintings.  He uses the tagline "relentlessly cheerful art," and it couldn't be more true.  His art will make you smile.

His newest project has me grinning from ear to ear.  Hance watched Firefly and was inspired to combine the characters he saw with The Muppets.  I wasn't sure how it would work out until I saw the first doodles - it's perfect.  It's cute and silly, and he's managing to capture the essence of each character. 

Here are a couple of my favorites:





He almost has the cast photo complete - the level of adorable is almost painful!

You can keep up with Hance's Firefly doodles and many other fantastic projects at Tumblr or Facebook.  Visit his site to view prints and t-shirts for sale!

Rambling Round-Up

Here are some things I've posted elsewhere on the interwebs lately:

Game of Thrones Progress Report - After episode 5, I compared where the TV show is in relation to the book.  We have lots of exciting things ahead!

Star Tours 2: The Adventures Continue - What to expect from the shiny, madeover Star Tours.

I Got It on Etsy - In which I discuss how Etsy has changed the ability to obtain geek crafts.

Comic Book Reviews
Love and Capes Ever After #4
Hellboy: Being Human
Star Wars Omnibus: At War with the Empire, Vol 1

May 27, 2011

Kessel Run Diaries: Bill Murray's Star Wars

This morning I woke up with Bill Murray's Star Wars song in my head.  Yes, that one.  The Star Wars song from his Nick the Lounge Singer character on Saturday Night Live.  I thought to myself, "Hey - wouldn't it be a sad thing if other people haven't heard this? What if they don't know?"  Also, I don't want to be the only person who has this tune stuck on repeat.  So without further adieu, the Star Wars song as heard on SNL with clips from the movie:



To see the actual skit when Bill Murray sang this, click here.  Note the rockstar shirt.

Nick the Lounge Singer was probably Bill Murray's most popular recurring character, and the Star Wars song is his most famous bit.  To watch an Nick the Lounge Singer entire skit, which I recommend, check out this video.

May 25, 2011

The Angel Yearbook: Look ma, I'm a Demon!

The final Angel comic from IDW Publishing hits stands today - the Angel Yearbook.  Because the series deserves to end with a loud bang, the yearbook collects stories about various characters by the creators that love them. Writer Scott Tipton and artist Elena Casagrande - the pair responsible for the Illyria: Haunted series that I loved - chose to craft a Fred and Wesley story.  My favorite characters.  Their story is titled "All the Time in the World."  And guess who makes an appearance in the story? 

Click to embiggen!
Ratcliffe demons.

Yep, those pesky and ugly Ratcliffe demons.  You can spot them on the left middle of the above panel.  It might seem like a small thing, but for my name to be attached in any way to the Angelverse is just about the coolest thing in the history of ever.  The fact that it's in a story about my two favorite characters is the sweetest kind of icing.  I am so dance-in-my-chair happy about this.  A big thank you to Mr. Tipton for letting me be part of Angel's last IDW huzzah.  I am flattered and overjoyed.

Read Tipton's thoughtful retrospective on his time writing in the Angel universe.  You've probably read some of his stories.  Say good-bye properly and buy the Angel Yearbook at your local comic book store today.  You won't regret it.

May 24, 2011

George Lucas, Stormtroopers, & a Renfaire

I went to the Southern California Renaissance Pleasure Faire over the weekend. You can bet I'll be sharing photos (especially of my food conquests) and a report soon, but for now I have to share a tale of Star Wars and the renfaire.

I always make it a point to see MooNiE when I go to the faire.  He's a comedian, juggler, tight-rope walker, and many other things - some of which shouldn't be mentioned in public.  As the show was about to begin, MooNiE looked to the back of the benches to see if people were still coming in.  He spotted Boba Fett and Jango Fett.  It's not so surprising.  Boba, Stormtroopers or Klingons always show up at renaissance faires.  He said hey and sent the bounty hunters on their way.  But.  It reminded him of a story.
The SoCal faire has a sister faire in Northern California that is a little bit younger - the Renaissance Pleasure Faire of Northern California.  It's old location was reasonably close to where George Lucas was working.  MooNiE said in 1577, right after Star Wars opened (because it was the renaissance time, you see), Lucas walked into the NorCal faire with a legion of Stormtroopers.  He didn't say a word, just marched the troopers through the faire and left.

This is, of course, just a story and I couldn't verify it.  But come on, if this guy told you a story, you'd totally believe it, right?  I do, and it makes me happy that Star Wars seems to follow me everywhere.

If anyone has heard this before, let me know! Bonus points if you have photos.

May 20, 2011

Book Review: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (and a giveaway)

Sometimes a book gobsmacks me, and I have to tell the world about it. This is the case with Catherynne M. Valente’s The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making.


The Green Wind blows into Nebraska and asks a young girl named September if she’d like to go to Fairyland. Being a brave and smart girl and quite ready to take a break from home, September says yes. She flies out the window on a leopard into a place that is familiar but yet entirely unexpected. A wyvern, a wairwulf, migrating bicycles, and a city made of fabric are just a few of the delights of Fairyland. Though wonderful, Fairyland is not all glitter and gold. September learns of unfriendly ruler, The Marquess, soon after her arrival. She decides to take a path that will lead her right to The Marquess’ door. Adventure, lessons, madness, bravery, pain, and laughter ensue. Sometimes they happen all at once.

I really just want to squee and tell you to read it NOW, but I’ll try to tell you why I loved The Girl Who… in a coherent fashion.

I was fortunate and got to hear Cat Valente read an excerpt of this book on her tour (there are still a few stops remaining). I think I had a dopey smile on my face the whole time because I was just so enchanted by the single chapter she and her friend (he read the part of the Wyverary) read. The key word is enchanted. I knew after reading the first paragraph that this book is one I will treasure and go back to for the rest of my life. Valente writes with a style that is luscious but not flowery. Every sentence feels real and true, if that makes sense. The characters are not the plain vanilla good or evil that you find in most fairytales. Even September, the heroine, is a little selfish at times. She is not Dorothy, she is not Wendy. Nothing against them, but I like the cut of September’s jib much better. I prefer shades of gray. The creatures September meets are more than they appear to be. The Wyverary is half-Wyvern and half-library. Underneath his majestic presence, he’s figuring out who or what he is. The layers are subtly added under all of Fairyland. It’s more than a foreign place with marvels unheard of; it’s a foreign place with politics and oppression and a gritty underbelly that makes it feel real. September has to navigate through the inhabitants, the world, and a sea to complete her quest. Even though her journey is fraught with danger and the scary unknown, it is also filled with beauty. Valente’s creativity is mind-blowing. Really. Add to all of this some lovely art by Ana Juan, and I don’t know how you could resist. I’m glad I got to travel through Fairyland with September, and I think you will be, too.


September & the Wyverary by Ana Juan
If you have ever wished to be swept away to a magical place, if you enjoy words that drip with images, and if you need a little inspiration to say “yes,” – this book is for you. I could extend those qualifiers for at least a few paragraphs, so just go pick it up or get it from a library or download it to your e-reader.

Actually, I believe so heartily that everyone needs to read this book that I want to give you a copy. How do you enter? I’m going to follow the guidelines the author used in a giveaway she held.
  • Tweet about the book, blog about the book, write a note on Facebook, mention it somewhere publicly on the interwebs. CLARIFICATION: You do not have to link to this post, just promote the book itself.
  • Comment on this post with a link to said promotion by Friday, May 27 at 9pm PST.
  • Subscribe to comments on the post to see if you won.
That’s it! I’ll pick a winner from the comments using a random number generator the night of May 27. I’ll post the winner in the comments and you’ll need to contact me with your address.

For anyone that can’t wait, you can buy the book on Amazon:
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

May 19, 2011

Kessel Run Diaries: Wookiee Has Two E’s

Do spelling mistakes in articles about Star Wars bother anyone else? I’m not faulting anyone for misspelling Wookiee in casual conversation. But. If you are writing an article for the internet or traditional media about Star Wars? Take the time to get it right.  Vader hates spelling mistakes.


Please know that when I say I'm bothered, I don’t mean I'm angry.  That would be sad.  As a human being, I make spelling and grammar errors. Sometimes they slip past even though I’ve reviewed a post a dozen times.* Readers will use that one frakking comma you missed or that single misspelled word to claim that your entire argument is invalid. I don’t go to that extreme, but I can’t help but roll my eyes at windy tirades about “Lucasfilms.” I recognize that people can slip, but there is a difference between a one time mistake and spelling something wrong throughout an entire piece. If you’re taking the time to write about a subject, you obviously like it or you’re being paid to pretend you like it. Be professional and check to make sure you have Tatooine spelled right.**

But how can you check to make sure Kashyyyk has three y’s? Here are my tips:

- I find myself writing about The Clone Wars on a semi-regular basis. When I question the spelling of a character name, a planet, a plant, anything – I go to StarWars.com first. If I can’t verify it there, I search Google books and try to cross-reference anything I find on Wookieepedia. I also have reference books that I can turn to if I feel like walking across the room to get them (it's so far). It might be a little (or a lot) on the anal side, but I try to be correct. Once you verify it, add it to your word processing program’s dictionary. You can also make a separate reference list. It will save you time later.

- You can get every word just right, but what about when an editor changes your carefully researched essay on the Jedi Temple?  Don’t be afraid to tell said editor that Padawan is indeed capitalized if one is using it within the context of the Star Wars universe. Provide reference in the form of a Star Wars book or StarWars.com. Argue with him or her if necessary. Remind your editor that you are a Jedi.

- Phone a friend.  People are full of random trivia.  You probably know someone that knows Star Wars in and out.  I am lucky to know lots of these people.  They are a great source for fact-checking.

- The most important tip I can offer: don’t assume. If you’re not 100% sure that you have it right, check it out. Use the Force. It’s totally meant to be used for academic purposes.

I’m going to try to organize a Star Wars spelling bee at the next celebration.

*And yes, I read this 100 times. I’m still paranoid that I missed a spelling error.
**This post is only half-serious. I'm not a Star Wars spelling tyrant.  Promise.

May 17, 2011

Fantasy Novels that Map Their Way Into My Heart (or my favorite fantasy maps)

For a person that can barely tell north from south, I sure can’t resist a pretty map. Old maps, cartoony tourist and amusement park maps, and fantasy novel maps - I could wallpaper a room with ones I've saved. My junior high U.S. history teacher made the entire class draw stacks of maps. She was exacting. Maps had to be the correct scale, labeled neatly, colored, and have all the right designations. A lot of people looked it as unfair torture. Me? I couldn’t believe this was homework. I loved sitting down with paper, freshly sharpened pencils, markers, and crayons. I took my time drawing rivers and printing names very tiny and nicely, and I always got high marks. Classmates accused me of brown-nosing, but really I liked replicating maps. It didn't have the teacher's desired effect; my geography skills are pitiful. But. I had fun.

It's still my favorite part of worldbuilding for stories or campaigns. First the maps and then the food. I'm working on adding characters into that mix.

I think one reason I find it so easy to fall into fantasy stories is because of the incredible maps that typically accompany them. What’s a world without a map to set destinations firmly in readers’ minds? I know that for some descriptions of the journey are enough, but I want to flip to the inside cover and follow the footsteps of my favorite character with my fingertip. It gives me a connection.

I've started to keep a virtual collection of maps. My favorites haven't changed over the years.
(You should really click to embiggen these images).



Middle Earth - From the rose to the forests to the rolling names - I adore it all. It's probably cliche to choose this as my absolute favor, but I don't think anyone will blame me. The geography of Middle Earth is crucial to the story. Readers should mark where the Fellowship travels, where they split, and all their different paths.  I did this once by xeroxing a copy of the map from the books and using a different color for each character; I really wish I would have kept it.  Other people do that, right?  Right.


Westeros - Before HBO created a fabulous title sequence for Game of Thrones (yes, it grew on me) featuring the land of the Seven Kingdoms, we had the paper maps to drool over.  The series A Song of Ice and Fire is rich in every aspect, and the map doesn't disappoint.  It is one of just a handful of fantasy novel maps I've seen that vary from the layout of Middle Earth above.  Again in this world, characters fighting for the throne and the people that have to follow them move all over the map.  I would never attempt to trace footsteps because there just isn't enough room. Geographic features, manmade or natural, are almost characters themselves.  The Wall plays a big role, and the Narrow Sea is mentioned over and over.


Randland -  Unless it's happened in the last few books, I don't think the land where the Wheel of Time story takes place has an official name yet.  Back in the days of the wotmania.com forums (I was a proud t-shirt owner), this sparked passionate conversations.  Of course, most any topic did in those forums.  Many fans, myself included, call it Randland.  This map is a little overwhelmed with details but so is the series. It matches. I sometimes get it mixed up with Middle Earth, but I straighten myself out by remembering that in Randland, the Big Bad resides in the north. The piece I admire most on this map is the rose.  It's woven with the series logo (for lack of a better word). Just lovely.

If you're ready to go off and play cartographer, here are a couple of pages that are worth checking out:
Fantasy Mapmaking 101
Map Creation Tutorial

May 16, 2011

Geeky Links of the Week

Prelude to War by Bear McCreary - Bear McCreary plays Prelude to War (from Battlestar Galatica) solo on a piano.  It will blow your mind.


Sci-Fi Ikea Manuals - If Ikea made instruction manuals for sci-fi equipment, these are what they'd look like.  I particularly like that they included the "wibbly wobbly" component for the TJARDIIS.

32 Examples of Star Wars Graffiti - io9 rounds up some of the coolest Star Wars graffiti out there.  Vader and AT-ATs seem to be the most popular subjects.

Douglas Adams on the internet - This piece is about the internet and change.  It was written by Douglas Adams in 1999.  It's brilliant and still relevant.


Mega Man Crochet Pattern - Use this pattern to make your very own adorable, 'lil Mega Man!

Japanese Song of Ice and Fire Covers - Beautiful Japanese covers that are a much better alternative than the plain covers the books have in the U.S.  I don't think there are major spoilers in the covers, but to be on the safe side, you may not want to click through if you haven't read all the books yet.

Doctor Who Apron and Cookies - I want this TARDIS themed apron.  Badly.  The TARDIS and Weeping Angel cookies are lovely, too.  I'd be too afraid of the Angel ones to make or eat them, though.

ComiCenter Episode w/ Me & Fab Geek Ladies

Last week I was a guest with fabulous geek ladies Andrea Letamendi, Jenna Busch, and Sarah Kuhn on ComiCenter Live.  We discussed "boobgate," stereotyping of geek girls, usage of the phrase geek girls, and a bevy of other topics.  I am lucky to be friends with these smart and fantastic ladies!

May 15, 2011

Rambling Round-Up

Here are some articles I've posted around the interwebs in the past two weeks!

Crafty Comic Book Storage - In my most recent column at ScienceFiction.com, I discuss how I store my pile of comics.  It involves decoupaging (I know, it sounds like a dirty word).

How to Find Comic Books That You'll Love - In which I talk about how to find comics even if you don't want to read capes for NerdApproved.com.

Doctor Who Cosplay - The Companions - Remember my Geek Fab column at Pink Raygun?  I still do.  This week I gave instructions on how to put together a quick and dirty companion costume.


Star Tours Starspeeders Papercrafts - I point out a fantastic collection of papercrafts with some information on the Star Tours re-opening at NerdApproved.com.

Review: The Star Wars Craft Book - I review the fantastic Star Wars Craft Book for Tor.com.  Go read why I think folks will enjoy this how-to book.

Characters I Love to Hate - Cersei Lannister - Why is Cersei Lannister so despicable?  She's been softened a little in the Game of Thrones series, but it hasn't changed my feels about this cold, manipulative woman.

Comic Book Reviews:
Artifacts #7
Mouse Guard: The Black Axe #2

May 13, 2011

Kessel Run Diaries: How Will The Clone Wars End?

Star Wars: The Clone Wars makes me a happy girl. It had me from the movie. In fact, it sort of pulled me back into the Star Wars universe. I can't get enough of the new characters and stories that the series has brought us in the past three years. It's becoming more sophisticated with each episode. The visual storytelling and written script have come so far since the film. Many of the episodes in season three achieved cinematic quality. The story has such big themes that I often forget it's technically a show for children. I mean, I'm an adult (or so my driver's license tells me) and I discuss the show with fellow grown-ups. I was somewhat jarred recently when I remembered that kids watch.

I bought a stack of Clone Wars Valentine's cards from Target. I forgot to pass them out – except for one. My boss's kid was nice enough to give me an adorable Cars themed Valentine, and I wanted to return the love. I picked out a Captain Rex card and sent it home with her. Then, for the first time, I thought about the kids. This little boy thinks Rex is the coolest and the greatest. He likes the clone troopers. What is he going to think when the inevitable Order 66 comes? What will the kids do with Dark side Anakin? I know people don't give enough credit to children. Maybe they can handle it. It seems harsh to me though. Adults know what is coming. At least, I think and hope they do. Anakin's destiny isn't a secret to us. Lots of kids know what's ahead, too. Ahsoka's fate, however, is a mystery.


I have no idea when the series will end, hopefully not for a long time, but I have hopes about Ahsoka. I know I'm not the first person to discuss this, but I don't want it to end badly for her. For the children and also for me. I adore that little Togruta. We know that Anakin has attachment issues. I believe Yoda assigned Ahsoka to Anakin because he thought a Padawan would help Anakin work through those issues. Anakin and Ahsoka exchanged a significant moment at the end of Wookiee Hunt (the season three finale). Anakin tried to apologize for letting Ahsoka get into such a bad situation. He is a friend of guilt after all. Ahsoka turns it around and tells him that if it wouldn't have been for all of his teachings, she wouldn't have been able to survive. She thanks him. It was far from a direct “I don't need you anymore, Master,” but it was a big step in their Master-Padawan relationship.

How will his attachment to her play out later when he embraces his anger and fear? I hope she happens to be on another planet far, far away. I'd like to see Ahsoka escape the Jedi massacre and live a long life. I mean, she'd be in hiding so the quality of that life is debatable, but she'd be alive. Since Order 66 was shown in episode III, I don't expect that it would be shown again in The Clone Wars. Maybe we'll see the aftermath? It could end as soon as Anakin puts on the helmet.

How do you think The Clone Wars series will end? What will Ahsoka's fate be? Leave your thoughts , hopes, and concerns in the comments.

Note: If you don't like The Clone Wars, simply move along without commenting. I want to know what fans think will happen, not debate the good/bad points of the series.

Addendum: It was totally Blogger's fault that this didn't go up as scheduled yesterday. I will be posting this column on Thursdays.

May 10, 2011

Game of Thrones Character & Relationships Infographic

I've been watching Game of Thrones with friends every Sunday.  There are four of us; half of us have read the book and the other two have saved themselves for the television show.  After an episode ends, myself and the other reader tend to have excited conversations like this:
"Littlefinger is so perfectly cast."
"The Mountain isn't as big as I thought he would be."
"Did you see Renly?!  And Ser Barristan the Bold?"
"Where has Ghost been?"
"Was that part with Theon like that in the books?  I can't remember."

Every question is followed by the rest of the group saying, who is that?  There are a lot of characters and because the stage is being set for many epic moments, the introductions are skipped or rushed.  It's okay that you don't know each person and his or her relation to everyone else.  Really. 

However, a fabulous lady I know has made an infographic that shows the characters and how they fit in.  Here's a peek at House Stark:




What I particularly love about this infographic is that she created it only based on the TV show.  She hasn't read the books.  She's updating this character and relationship map as the episodes air, so you don't have to worry about being spoiled.  Genius, right?  She's used information from HBO to fill in some blanks so you might see some character names that haven't come into the show yet - but I'd hardly call that spoilers.  I would call this illustrated guide Game of Thrones for Dummies, but if I hadn't read the books, I know I would have a hard time keeping track of who is who.

Check out the Game of Thrones infographic in all it's detailed glory.  If you find it useful, please pass the link along.

You can follow the creator of this illustrated guide on Twitter: @fabgeekling

May 9, 2011

Rundown of My Free Comic Book Day

Comics make me a happy girl. Pair comics with the word free and add tons of signings and sales all over my city, and you’ve got an exceedingly chipper, excited girl.

I formulated a master plan for stores I would visit on Friday night. I made my list based on location, sales, events, and really, just whether I liked the store. I didn’t try out any new stores this year; I’ve been to all the places on my crawl once or twice or you know, weekly. Here’s a rundown of my day of comics:

Golden Apple Comics
I could see that the crowd was big at Golden Apple from a few traffic lights away. They had a bounce house, a herd (a gaggle? a team?) of costumed superheroes in front, people were lined up in camp chairs down the sidewalk, and lots of balloons announcing that something big was happening. Lots of passersby were slowing down to stare. I hope some of them decided to stop for comics. It was actually hard to navigate through the people in the store. It’s a good problem for a shop to have. I made my way to the back of the store to get in line for free comics. I tweeted that Walter Koenig would be starting his signing soon and as I hit send, I looked up and he was walking past me. We made eye contact, we smiled at each other, and then I nerd-flailed on the inside. My day was already made.

I picked my free comics and went inside to take advantage of the 25% off hardcovers and $1 back issue sale. Those sales are why Golden Apple was on my list. I found some Star Wars comics that caught my eye, and I purchased the Lucid trade paperback.

@ArkhamAsylumDoc, @LadySteam13, and me at Meltdown Comics. Photo by @RadNerd
Meltdown Comics
Meltdown was the stop of the day I was most excited about for many reasons: lots of friends were stopping by, Archaia was there with creators and full size Skesis from The Dark Crystal, and the Grilled Cheese Truck was parked in the back. I don’t know how anyone could look at that list and not go. I spent an appropriate amount of time drooling over the carefully guarded Skesis. Seriously, they had two security guards in addition to a rope. That makes total sense; I’m amazed and grateful that The Jim Henson Company let them make the trip. Then I was tempted to sit down and watch Dark Crystal since they had it playing on a decent size screen, but priorities – comics and grilled cheese. In that order.


Stephen Christy, Mel Caylo, and a few others from Archaia were present to hand out comics and to be generally awesome. They brought creators Brian Holguin (writer for The Dark Crystal comic) and David Petersen (writer and artist for Mouse Guard) with them to sign the flipbook that Archaia published this year for Free Comic Book Day. Incidentally, said flipbook is beautiful and I’ll cover it in another post.


After adding more comics to my stack, I obtained a Cheesy Mac & Rib grilled cheese sandwich from the food truck. It was mac ‘n cheese and BBQ pulled pork on a sandwich. So good. I could have stayed at Meltdown all afternoon with friends and the grilled cheese, but I eventually had to leave to move on to my next stop.

Collector’s Paradise, Canoga Park location
Collector’s Paradise is a bit of a drive north, but in addition to being a fun store, they had a buy 2 get 1 free sale on trades and graphic novels. I ran into friends again; we had the same stops on our list – great geeks think alike. Or we were stalking each other. The store was packed with artists doing sketches for charity, a very tall Batman, and a funny Spiderman. I made it a relatively quick stop, grabbed my comics, and used the sale to help expand my collection of Fables softcovers.

House of Secrets
Last but oh so far from least, I went to the comic book store I visit almost every week: House of Secrets. This store makes me happy for so many reasons. The staff is so friendly and helpful, they have a huge selection of trades, and did I mention the helpful part? The place just has a good vibe. If you live anywhere near Burbank, do yourself a favor and stop by.

Okay, enough gushing. Walter Koenig was also at this store! I inadvertently followed him. Apparently, I had just missed Wil Wheaton stopping by to chat with him. I intended to get a signature from Koenig on his new comic, but by the time I checked out, he had already left. I did get some more comics though, and one of the aforementioned friendly staff members – Amy – helped me with my Thor project. (I don’t read a lot of capes comics because the sheer volume of them intimidates me; she helped me figure out some starting points for Thor).

It was a terrific day, and for the bajillionth time, I realized how wonderful it is to be a geek.
I would like to thank the weather for being spectacular, Archaia Entertainment for organizing so much goodness in one place (especially Mel Caylo!), the L.A. freeways for being tolerable, my friends for being fantastic, and the ladies at “my” comic book store, Amy and Susan at House of Secrets, for being so helpful/adorable/awesome, etc.


As you can see, I ended up with several comics. I’ll be keeping a few – you won’t be able to pry the signed Dark Crystal/Mouse Guard flipbook out of my cold, dead hands – but I’ll passing most of the these comics along to you via a couple of giveaways soon.

May 6, 2011

Los Angeles Free Comic Book Day Events!

If you're not in the L.A. area on May 7, I'm sorry.  So many rad signings are happening on Free Comic Book Day; I'm not trying to make you jealous.  Really.  You can go here to find participating stores in your area.

If you are in Los Angeles for FCBD, here's a list of happenings around town.  It is by no means all-inclusive.  The day of free awesomeness is less than 24 hours away, but keep in mind that schedules can change.  If you are really excited about seeing one of these creators and you're fighting traffic or going several miles to do so, it doesn't hurt to check in with the store to make sure the schedule's still set.  Also, if you have questions about any of the times, etc., check with the store instead of me.  I just compiled the information they put out there.

In alphabetical order by store:
Collector's Paradise, Canoga Park (aka Winnetka location)
Facebook event page
12pm - 3pm
Whilce Portacio
Tomm Coker
Joshua Fialkov
Tony Fleecs
Tone Rodriguez
Chris Moreno
Ray Friesen

Sale on back issues and buy 2 get 1 free graphic novels.
Sketches for Hero Initiative
Calbi Truck will be there from 11-3pm.

Collector's Paradise, Pasadena
Facebook event page
11am - 2pm
Len Wein
Mark Sable
Sheldon Mitchell
Rick Basaldua

3pm - 5pm
JT Krul
Tess Fowler

4pm - 6pm
David Petersen
Jim McCann

Earth 2, Sherman Oaks
Facebook event page
12pm - 2pm
Geoff Johns
Jeph Loeb

Golden Apple Comics, Hollywood
Facebook event page
10am
Matt Hawkins - Darkness
Jeff Cahn & Owen Weisman - Red Spike

12pm
Walter Koenig - Things to Come

2pm
Robert Kirkman & Jason Howard - Super Dinosaur

4pm
Marc Andreyko - True Blood
Brian McCarthy & Michael Lent - Brimstone

20% off everything in the shop (Facebook says 20%, website says 25%)
Bounce house for kids
Parking lot sale

House of Secrets, Burbank
Facebook event page
12pm - 2pm
Tom Kenny and Sherm Cohen - Spongebob

3pm-5pm
Walter Koenig - Things to Come

The Lake Street Creamery Ice Cream Truck will be there from 12-2pm as well.

Meltdown Comics, Hollywood
Facebook event page for the Archaia signing
11am - 3pm
Brian Holguin - Dark Crystal
David Petersen - Mouse Guard
Life-sized Skeksis

1pm
Reed Gunther creators

2pm - 3:30pm
Jeff Cahn - Red Spike
Owen Wiseman - Samurai's Blood

It sounds like The Grilled Cheese Truck will be around for at least 11-3pm.

The Comic Bug, Manhattan Beach
Facebook event page
12pm - 3pm
Mike Mignola
Steve Niles
Richard Starkings
Phil Ortiz
Josh Williamson
David Wohl
Vince Hernandez
Chris Yost
Jeff Stokely
Robbi Rodriguez

3pm - 5pm
Joe Benitez

Things From Another World, Universal CityWalk
Facebook event page
12pm - 2pm
Peter V. Nguyen

2pm - 4pm
Drew Johnson

Some graphic novels 50% off and a $5 toy table

Kessel Run Diaries: Star Wars Fan Films

Welcome to my new weekly Star Wars column: Kessel Run Diaries!  I'll discuss something related to my favorite sci-fi universe every Thursday. Anything from the films to merchandise to EU - it's all game. It's a big universe.

That big universe makes it an ideal place for fans to play (yes, I know that was an awesome segue). Fans who want to create their own stories within the Star Wars world have plenty of characters, locations, and timelines to choose from. I don't know if I could narrow it down. Lots of creative geniuses do though. Fan films abound. A quick and dirty search for fan films yielded over 8,000 results. You can find parodies, dramas, reboots, documentaries, and plenty of Stormtrooper humor. The Stormtrooper / Cops parody comes to mind.
Though I don't know when the first Star Wars fan film was made, I do know that in 2002 Lucasfilm recognized the niche genre and started an annual contest. The contest became known as the Star Wars Fan Movie Challenge in 2007. There is of course a list of guidelines to make sure that the creators are amateurs and that they don't infringe on Lucasfilm copyright. Entrants obviously can't make money from the short videos. Awards are offered in different categories such as animation, comedy, and visual effects. The grand prize is the creatively named George Lucas Selects Award. Winners receive a shiny award featuring C-3PO and R2-D2. The awards are presented at San Diego Comic-Con or a Star Wars Celebration.

The 2011 challenge is still open, if just barely. You have until 12 noon PST on 6/6/11. Read the official entry information on Atom.

Here's an entry for this year's challenge that I adore; it shows what commercials might be like in the Star Wars universe and features a cute, dancing power droid - like Gonk!


Unlimited Power by Eliot Sirota

And this video that shows the original trilogy in two minutes in paper just makes me smile (and marvel at the level of patience that other people have - how does someone cut that much construction without going bonkers?!). It's not entered in the fan film challenge.


Video by Eric Powers, song by Jeremy Messersmith

If you're in the mood for fan films, I have a suggestion for you: don't aimlessly click through YouTube results. You could find some gems, but other intrepid folks have done the hard work for you. Search for "best of" lists or the winners from the past eight years of fan film challenges. If you have a favorite, leave a link in the comments!

May 3, 2011

Free Comic Book Day, May 7

This upcoming Saturday, May 7, is the first Saturday in May.  That means it's Free Comic Book Day.  Yes, I said free!

If you are not familiar with this glorious tradition, it's a perfect year to start.  This is the tenth anniversary of the program that gets comic books into the hands of the masses.  The idea was born in 2001, and the first Free Comic Book Day took place in 2002.

It works like this:
Distributors sell a selection of comics (usually picked for their broad audience appeal) to sell to retailers for relatively cheap. Retailers work to promote FCBD with special signings or shindigs. The level of promotion definitely plays a part in the success of the event for each store. Over the past six years, thirty countries have participated and retailers all over the world have given away 12 million plus copies of the special edition comics.

Find participating stores in your area with this handy locator on the FCBD website!  The number of available free comics per person differs from store to store.  Once you locate a store I recommend checking out their website and social media pages to see if they have any special activities for the day.  Many locations will have costumed characters, creator signings, charity events, and Meltdown Comics in Los Angeles worked with Archaia to bring a full sized Skeksis (their FCBD offering has a Dark Crystal story)!  Don't be surprised to find sales on back issues or hardcovers either.  Free comics and signings or sketches and deals?!  I don't know how anyone can resist.

The FCBD site also has a list of comics that will be available.  Last year many of the issues I picked up on FCBD ended up on my pull list or on my shelf when the hardcover was released (Love and Capes, The Sixth Gun, and Artifacts among others).  I can't wait to see what new stories I discover this year.

EDIT: Can't get to your local comic book store or don't have one within a short drive?  Graphicly is offering lots of free comics digitally!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...