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Friday, September 30, 2011

Guest Post Week: This Isn't Just for Boys (I Am A Girl and A Geek)


Today's guest post is from Friend of the Geek Maia. She blogs at kurosawabride.wordpress.com and she's probably the biggest fan of the Clark x Lois pairing you and I will ever meet. Seriously, she loves it like Galactus loves eating planets! Read her thoughts on what it's like to be a girl geek below!

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With the advent of New York Comic Con, writing this essay has taken on a new meaning for me.

I think back now to how I grew up and what I was surrounded with that made me a girl who loves video games, reads comics, breathes Dungeons and Dragons, and dreams of saving a galaxy far, far away.

Believe me, I haven’t stopped.

Twenty-one years ago, I picked up my very first comic book, and I fell in love. I was 6 years old, curious and wide-eyed in the public library, leafing through whatever books I was able to get my hands on. One of them just happened to be a hardbound volume of Silver Age Superman comics. I remember my feet dangling from my chair, and swinging in growing excitement as I gazed over each panel. It was like opening a gateway to a different world and my imagination grew immensely.

When I got to the issue that had Lois Lane officially introduced (I had not yet read the old issues of Action Comics where she was already kick-ass), my heart leaped, I felt myself smiling, and the rest – as they all say – is history.

I remember reading pages upon pages of mythology – Greek, Roman, Norse, you name it – then trying to incorporate them in stories I would make up. I remember the fights with my brother over his Transformers toys, arguing over which member of Bioman we were more suited to be (we both wanted to be the red leader), being glued to the TV when the Ninja Turtles cartoons were on. When the X-Men animated series became popular, we role-played our favorite mutants with our neighbors, and I was always partial to Rogue, while the kid who had a crush on me was Gambit.

While all my dolls that relatives gave me sat ignored on a shelf, I was fighting over our Nintendo console because I wanted to continue where I left off with Super Mario Bros. I went through each level, gritting my teeth and then swearing inwardly when I’d defeat another of Koopa’s minions, only to be told that the princess WAS IN ANOTHER CASTLE. You try sitting through the afternoon on a weekend and have all your hard work going through the pipes and getting killed repeatedly by goombas and killer clouds obliterated by a stupid mushroom telling you that your bitch isn’t where she’s supposed to be. Let’s see if you don’t develop anger issues.

Wow, I actually seethed just remembering those afternoons, so I’ll stop.

What I’d really like to write about is the startling difference between then and now in the way people acknowledge that I’m a girl and a geek.

Years ago, people thought it was the strangest thing for a little girl to like comics and video games. These things were associated with little boys, and I’m sure that even if my family never said a word, they used to hope that I wouldn’t grow up to be a lesbian. While part of it is cultural, it also served as a reminder of how wide the gap still was between both sexes. As I grew older, I felt the reception of people towards my interests slowly change. Where I’d once been called “weird” and “strange” for my geeky interests, I’d be told I was cool to like the things boys liked.

However, not all were receptive to this.

I’m talking about the misogynist geeks I’ve encountered who sadly live in a world where they feel that girls having these same interests are basically encroaching on their masculinity. Just looking at the sheer number of attendees to comic and anime conventions should be an implication that things have changed. I am meeting more and more girls who openly admit to reading comic books, playing video games, or being emotionally-invested in an anime series that I wonder: “Why are there still people who vehemently reject the idea that girls can like these things?”

Let’s face it, some of the most successful comic creators, artists and writers of this generation have been female, and they have a loyal male readership. Yet, I remember being subjected to the mocking laughter of a guy who said that girls couldn’t draw comics (WHAT?!). In Japan, a majority of the mangaka are female and are spoken of in high regard, by both male and female readers alike. In recent years, more and more females have gone on to win video game tournaments and establish that chicks playing video games are just as good as their male counterparts. I, myself, enjoy a good game of Diablo 2 because it’s honestly fun.

So why the gender discrimination in this day and age? And over a non-issue?

I remember fighting with a kid who didn’t let me borrow one of his Superman comics, when I was 8. He kept saying I wasn’t allowed to read it because I was a girl and I yelled “It doesn’t say ‘For Boys Only’ you jerk!”

And when you think about it, none of the video games come with that label either.

So is this really still necessary when things are clearly changing?

I’ll leave you all to think that over. In the meantime, I have some zombies to decapitate.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Guest Post Week: Origin


Our next guest post is from Friend of the Geek Larry. He's currently working as (in his own words) "an all-around guy (director-art director-video editor-motion graphics artist-storyboard artist-producer-copywriter-internet freeloader) for a Cable TV Network". Noice. He blogs at theyoungflaneur and he's got a story to tell about a topic close to our hearts: origins.

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Everyone has his own origin story. And this is how mine started…

Our whole universe was in a hot dense state, then nearly fourteen billion years ago expansion started. Wait...


The Earth began to cool,
The autotrophs began to drool,
Neanderthals developed tools,
We built a wall (we built the pyramids),
Math, science, history, unravelling the mysteries,
That all started with the big bang!

Yeah, I was just watching season 5 (episode 2) and laughing at the nerds. Haha. Nerds.

Unlike common geeks, I do not collect comic books, action figures or rare items from conferences (I’d totally spend my money on movies instead). I’m pretty much the basic type, someone who’s simply an enthusiast. I wander around and fill my head with these interesting stories, giving me fresh ideas as I continue my life as an artist.

I had a pretty standard geek childhood, I grew up reading Spider-man comics, watching classic Fleischer Superman cartoons, playing Metroid on Gameboy, Super Mario Bros and Contra Wars on Nintendo Family Computer, Metal Slug on Arcade, I cosplayed Spider-man and Superman a couple of times, pretended to be Robocop in front of my parents, played Magic and Pokemon cards, finished most Pokemon games (Red, Blue, Yellow, Gold and Silver), joined a comic book society in elementary, believed I was Darth Vader, played Battle Realms and Warcraft, got hooked on Anime, finished Kingdom Hearts, read the whole Harry Potter series, finished God of War and Crisis Core: FF VII on PSP and Divine-Fisted seven characters in Tekken. Eventually fell in love with movies and geek art. Yeah, I had a normal life.

Along the way, a friend of mine introduced me to Alex Ross and Mark Waid’s epic semi-conclusion to DC Universe’s greatest heroes – Kingdom Come. *play heavenly sound* Instantly, I got hooked. It was like having an epiphany. It was glorious. It was 10x better than the time when I heard the news that Pokemons aren’t limited to 151 or the time when I found out that there are other Lanterns other than Green and Yellow ones. My imagination immensely grew and I knew from that moment that something special happened to me. With the addition of death, time and physics (while maintaining rich personality) to the lives of my favourite heroes, I became very critical with the storytelling. Each character had a story connected to another. And with each page of wonderfully watercoloured illustration, I was lured deeper into the imaginary world. After reading the whole thing, I remember pausing for a while as I stared at the front cover. It felt amazing. I’ve never read anything like it before. I soon realized that not all stories (that are told) are worth meddling at, and that mostly realistic ones make a strong impact to the reader. Metaphors became constant to me every time I analyze something. The learning never stopped since that moment. And each day I became more critical.

I got my own copy of Kingdom Come for a short while (until a friend of mine flattened the sharp edges and destroyed its mint condition.. no, his name isn’t Jon David Garcia) and eventually gave it away. I thought I don’t need it anymore because the essence is already stored in memory crystals (similar to Kal-El’s), hidden in my myogenic muscular organ otherwise known as the heart.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Guest Post Week: A Not-So-Geek’s Geekiest Moment


Our next guest post comes from Edz from doodlemind.com. She's a prolific writer who has written for magazines ("which you have to scour bookstores to find"), books (which she'll finish once she gets around it), and comics here in the Philippines. Today she talks about her not-so-geeky moment that might just be the geekiest moment anyone could ever have!

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When Behold the Geek! asked me to guest blog about my geekiest moment, I was like “Eh?” I don’t even know what a geek is. I don’t know if being called a geek is actually a good thing. And I sure as hell don’t know if there is something in my whole library of experiences that could be considered a geeky moment.

After a short chat with The Geek about the definition of a geeky moment (which all but composed of three to four lines of text), I finally came up with one.

It was over a year ago when I went to the Komikon Summer de Avance at the UP Bahay ng Alumni. I’m not too much of a comics fan but since my friends, the Bayan Knights, are going to be there, I decided to drop by and pick up a few of their titles as well.

Most Filipino comics fans will probably have read, seen, or at least heard about Culture Crash Comics. After Funny Komiks (and I can attest that you are NOT a true Pinoy comics fan if you don’t know Funny), C3 is my comics of choice – one that I patiently waited to appear in the shelves of National Bookstore. I do admit that for a high school girl who went to a Christian school, reading comics is a bit weird. Or geeky.

Now let me tell you that during those years, I was in a serious phase of “I-want-to-write-my-own-novel-slash-story”. Stories kept brewing up inside head and several more ideas kept overtaking each other that I couldn’t formulate a streamlined enough concept to begin with.

When I first saw PASIG, a dystopic, post-apocalyptic story plotted in the titular city, I was in comics-cloud-nine. PASIG had everything I wanted in my own story – cool weapons and a whole lot of fight scenes; a futuristic society; a twisted love plot (I *am* a girl after all); a strong heroine that can kick ass; and an enigmatic hero that can kick even more ass. For my fourteen-year-old self, PASIG was perfection.

I was sorely disappointed when they cut C3 short a few years later, around 2005. Luckily, Taga-Ilog, PASIG’s artist and writer, decided to take the web and indie comic route and my PASIG fix was back on.



You can imagine my surprise when, as I was walking around (the UP Bahay ng Alumni) and looking at all things geeky, I saw a stack of yellow sitting on a table. I squealed – “PASIIIIIIIIIIIIIG!” – then clapped my hands over my mouth when I saw Taga-Ilog himself sitting behind the table. His lips turned up into a small smile and he immediately pulled a copy to sign. “Ano pong pangalan n’yo miss?” (Miss, what's your name?)


So I told him my name, he signed my copy, and I made a noise that sounded like “Auuuuuwwwwwrrr!” – like a self-satisfied cat, loud enough that Taga-Ilog could hear and he smiled that half-amused, half-bemused smile again. I realize that his message was probably the same as everyone else’s but I didn’t care.

I was happily living in my geeky moment.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Guest Post Week: Taibani


Today's guest post is from a friend of the Geek who goes by the pseudonym claudiakat. Calling her an anime and manga 'enthusiast' is the understatement of the year, all years. She loves anime and manga with a passion that makes my love for comic books look like idle curiosity! But it seems we both found a common ground in all this as she talks about this little-known anime series that might just be right up my alley...

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It's not a well-known fact that I was a comic book geek growing up. Before my love for manga and anime, I was reading comics with the best of them. I enjoyed The Death of Superman and read basically anything that has Gambit and Rogue in it. In time I moved on to manga and anime, thinking I was leaving my history with comics behind.

But then, this little anime caught my eye. It gained amazing popularity in such a short time so I became intrigued by it, so I sat down and got to watching it, never realizing exactly how big this was going to be.

The anime was called Tiger and Bunny.


Theirs is a world where a semi-futuristic, re-imagined version of New York City known as Sternbild City is protected by a group called Heroes. They are people who have superhuman abilities also known as NEXT. Heroes here have a slightly different connotation since they do not only save people, they have to make it look good. Their every move is being broadcast live as a reality show. They endorse products (the reason for sponsor's logos on their suits), sing and dance for the people's entertainment...in short, Heroes are celebrities.

The main protagonists, Wild Tiger aka Kotetsu T. Kaburagi and Barnaby Brooks Jr. were assigned to become partners by their CEOs. They started off having trouble working with each other thanks to their conflicting opinions of heroism. In order to save the city and solve the murder of Barnaby's parents, they have to work together and eventually learn to trust one another.

Kotetsu T. Kaburagi is known as 'The Crusher for Justice". It may sound like a cool name but is in fact coined from his very bad habit of making unbelievable amounts of collateral damage wherever he goes. Despite being awkward and usually oblivious to almost everything around him, the 'old man' kept a lot of secrets from the world and his own partner.

Barnaby Brooks Jr., nicknamed BUNNY by Kotetsu on the grounds of him preferring high kicks and his Hero suit helmet having protrusions like a rabbit's ears, is cool, calm and collected. Unlike Kotetsu who runs headlong into a situation based on instincts, Bunny prefers to use his brain and think and plan everything thoroughly. He also never had a secret identity unlike all the other heroes who kept their faces behind their masks and used hero names.

Tiger and Bunny deals with superheroes and their relationships with each other, the people they protect, their own problems, their conflicts and their struggles...but it also doesn't forget to have fun. Tiger and Bunny have that little something extra that keeps me coming back for more, like the characters posing for pictures with girls and having sexy pictorials (Barnaby in skimpy trunks? IS THIS CANON? YES IT IS. YOU BET IT IS CANON.), Kotetsu being princess-carried by Barnaby in almost every episode...well, you get the idea.

But in the end it's the characters who keep me glued to the screen in every episode, especially Kotetsu. Being past his prime, hated by a daughter who doesn't know what his job is, ridiculed and disliked by most because of the collateral damages he leaves behind and being compared to the much younger, handsome and agile Barnaby, he was truly in a compromising position. And yet it doesn't seem to faze him in the least and he still goes on doing what he believes is right.

So yeah, when I start to think I left comic books behind, I'll just watch Tiger and Bunny and remember that comic books never really left me...they just came in a deliciously different package.

I realized that you don’t set your own limits. Even after I lose all my powers, and get mocked by everyone, or looked ridiculous, I’m not going to let that stop me. I'm going to stay as a hero 'til the very end. I’m not going to give up! It doesn’t hurt to have a hero who’s uncool, right?"- Kotetsu T. Kaburagi a.k.a. Wild-Tiger

Monday, September 26, 2011

Guest Post Week: A Gathering


Our inaugural guest post comes from blogger Dom G! Dom's 365daysofcomics.com started out as a comic book blog that allowed him to work on his writing skills while writing about something he enjoyed a great deal...comics. He wrote a post every day of the year last year! After a year's worth of writing every day Dom is clearly right-up there with Dickens, Tolkien, and the guy who wrote the Sesame Street song when it comes to skill and execution. Unfortunately for us, he now writes at his convenience which means only a few posts a week. Some say he has gotten lazy. Others say he got a girlfriend. Whatever the case may be for that lazy lonely sucker, I'm glad I was able to get this little ditty from him before he gave up writing entirely and moved on to his true love...dance!

__


There was to be a gathering.

I was about 10 years old and new to the San Francisco Bay Area when I was introduced to my mother’s co-worker’s child. I didn’t have many friends yet, and my mom set me up with this unknown kid on one of those play dates that parents think are so cute. I was not comfortable with it. But hey, I’m the kid and mothers know best.

My mom was, and still is, one smart motha- (Shut yo’ mouth!). Just talk’n bout my motha!

This kid opened up my eyes to the world. When I went to his house to hang out and spend the night I had the awakening of my life. I was introduced to many things such as the fact that the Michael Jackson song from the end of the film Free Willy was on the “Dangerous” Album, and that you can eat clusters of granola by the handful…and it tastes like heaven. While these things were amazing new experiences, they were just the tip of the iceberg. Ironically enough, when the sun set…I saw the light.


I didn’t quite get it. The set seemed a bit cheap. But there was something about this “Late Night” duo of Conan O’Brien and Andy Richter that appealed to the core of me…or maybe that was the granola. My new pal and I stayed up late and laughed the night away: about what, who knows? It doesn’t matter. All that matters is that I had fun because of some goofy red-head and a shorter blond…and to this very day (even when Andy left the show for awhile) the duo is still bringing a smile to my face nightly.

After the hour of comedy ended we watched “Red Dwarf”, a British comedy that I didn’t get as much, and then moved on to a strange new card game which involved pictures of creatures and plots of land that somehow gave dragons the power to attack. I was introduced to, and taught, Magic: the Gathering.

Magic at this point in 1993 had just been created and few people (including myself) had known about it. I was instantly hooked. Powered by a few plains, my Serra Angel with a sword could own, but like whatever.

I came home with a pack of cards the kid gave me for free so that I could play with others who also wielded the knowledge of Magic, and of course, the cards. Oddly enough, I never saw or heard from that kid again. It’s like those old movies where a supernatural friend helps someone out and at the end of the movie the main character and the supernatural friend are talking, but the main character looks away for a moment as he is talking and says, “I think it’s all gonna workout, don’t you?” Then the main character looks back to see the supernatural friend is gone because it served its purpose and the main character no longer needed the supernatural friend. A friend steps into frame and says, “Don’t I what?” The main guy looks around then smiles to himself and says, “Nothing. Come on, let’s go home.”

It was just like that for me and that kid. I don’t even remember his name. (sigh)

Like I said…there was a gathering.

When I went home I found that none of my small group of friends were interested in playing Magic the Gathering. Plus, the local comic shop did not sell the cards right away (they later did the next year). I was a bit down on Magic until I saw a random flyer at the grocery story about a Magic the Gathering convention coming to town. I wrote down the time and place and began to mentally prepare.

When my father dropped me off, with $10 for lunch, at the old airplane hangar in town called, “The Barn” (makes no sense) I had no idea what I was in for. I had never been to a convention before and assumed that I would walk into a large room of tables with people playing Magic: the Gathering, so the only thing I would have to worry about is finding a seat. I was a little off with my convention prediction.

There were a bunch of tables set up for vendors selling everything from cards, to art, to bags of gems. Apparently, the gems were your life points. Every time you were attacked and took a certain amount of damage you had to swallow a gem or something…? The first person to choke…loses! I guess I’m still not too clear on the point of a sack of gems.

Past the vendors was what I expected to find: chairs, tables and nerds. These guys looked legit. Several stacks of cards and just the right amount of mana covered the tables. I was young and alone so I felt a bit uncomfortable, but eventually I decided to just take a seat next to some older guys and watch. I learned how to become a skilled chess player by watching my dad play, so I thought I might as well sit next to an older guy to learn strategy.

After walking the vendor’s tables and watching a few games I realized my deck was out classed, so I did the only appropriate thing I could do. I spent my whole $10 lunch money on one card which would make my whole deck better. Adding one card was sure to turn the tide in any match. I believe that card was a “Wraith of God” card which kills all creatures currently on the board, but I can’t say for certain because it was so long ago and so not worth $10. I eventually traded in that card to a card collectible shop for a few baseball cards which unfortunately did not kill all of the creatures on the Red Sox.


After losing a few games to people who would play me, my father came and got me at the designated spot, at the designated time, because that’s what we did before cell phones…we planned ahead. I remember feeling like I had a fun time and when my father asked me what it was like I played it cool and said something along the lines of, “It was alright. Just a bunch of geeks at a gathering.”

Behold! Guest Post Week!


What better way to celebrate my blog's 7th anniversary than to get other people to celebrate it with me!

This entire week, bloggers and writers from all across the blogosphere will be posting with the theme, "Moments in Geek", sharing their geekiest experiences with me and the rest of our geeky brethren! Their first brush with fandom, a geeky show no one talks about...the sky's the limit! It's GUEST POST WEEK here at Behold the Geek! Get excited!

Check out the guest posts in store for you!

Dom G (365daysofcomics.com) shares a story about A Gathering.

claudiakat (claudiakat.deviantart.com) loves Tiger and Bunny and she wants to share Taibani with you!

Edz (doodlemind.com) shares a Not-so-Geek's Geekiest Moment.

Larry (theyoungflaneur.wordpress.com) talks about an Origin.

Maia (kurosawabride.wordpress.com) wants you to know that being a geek isn't just for boys!



Friday, September 23, 2011

My Week in Comics: September 23, 2011

Men without fear and maids of might are dropping by for one exciting week in comics! What did I get myself into this week? Read on and find out!


First up is Supergirl #1, the exciting debut of Superman's cousin in the DCnU! Our heroine crashes to earth in a meteor, and the military rushes in to contain her. What's a Kryptonian girl to do? Why, kick their asses of course! For 20 pages!

Yes folks, the first issue of Supergirl amounts to one entire fight scene stretched through 20 pages! Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining (much), because what we do get is fun enough, and writers Michael Green and Mike Johnson make use of the action to slowly introduce us to Supergirl's powers as they pop up one by one under our yellow sun, which is a nice touch. Supergirl could have been one boring issue, but Mahmud Asrar on art makes it work. His action scenes are fast-paced and killer, and he draws one hell of a cute Supergirl. Needless to say Asrar just sold me on Supergirl's new costume in ways I can't explain.

For a single issue, Supergirl #1 leaves some to be desired, but it's as cool an intro to Supergirl as we're gonna get, and it's easily one of the most newbie-friendly books out of the New 52. This gets a 3.5 out of 5.


Wonder Woman is back to wearing pants and kicking ass...and she's all out of pants!

Wondy's first issue in the DCnU has her headbutting centaurs to protect a woman who may or may not be bearing the child of a certain Greek All-father, which is more awesome than it sounds. Brian Azzarello's gritty and bloody take on Wonder Woman might not be everyone's cup of tea, but he makes it work here. Taking Greek myths out of the sky and into the blood-soaked ground, Azzarello gives Wonder Woman a chance to stretch her Amazon muscles and then some. Deflecting bullets arrows with her bracelets, whipping out the Lasso of Truth, kicking ass, showing off her gorgeous legs...it's got Wonder Woman written all over it.

I didn't feel Cliff Chang's stylized art at first, but he does draw a really pretty Wonder Woman. The action is intense and gory, with decapitated horses and arrows being pulled out of abdomens all in delicious bloody detail. I guess Azzarello wasn't kidding when he said he's turning Wonder Woman into a horror comic. I can't tell at this point in time whether change is good or not, but Chang's art makes it at least a little bit interesting.

It would have been nice to see Wonder Woman break out of that limbo she's in with the force of a thousand suns, but I guess this horrific tale of horny gods will have to do. This gets a 3 out of 5.


And so we've come to Daredevil #4, which is quite possibly the closest to perfection comic books can get.

No hyperbole here, folks. If you want a fun comic, if you want to show people the potential of comic books, this issue is what you pick up. Mark Waid and co. pushed the storytelling capabilities of the comic book medium to its fullest here, and I freakin' love it.

You'd think an issue mostly filled with Nelson and Murdock talking about their new self-representation deal, or Matt Murdock talking to a new client who might just have bitten off more than he can chew, to be boring, but Waid writes with a certain enthusiasm that makes the mundane exciting. The story is playful and fun, something Daredevil hasn't been for a good part of the 2000s, and it just rubs off on you in a good way. Waid even throws in a sequence where Daredevil makes his rounds catching muggers and saving babies from burning buildings, slivers of superheroism that's missing in a lot of books right now, and Waid earned my eternal gratitude for it.

Marcos Martin steps in for Paolo Rivera on art duties, and thankfully he didn't disappoint. Martin takes Rivera's lead from the previous issues and turned in art that's as wildly creative and as exciting as his predecessor (come on, check out dat cover!). Muntsa Vicente tops it all off with vibrant colors that make the art pop off the page, and the result is a comic that not only reads like a dream, but looks like something worthy of an art gallery.

Daredevil #4 is freaking amazing, period. I've never been excited to pick up a comic book when it came out until now, and Waid and co. changed all that. This deserves a 6 out of 5. Pick this up now!


That's a pretty awesome week, if you ask me! So what did you get this week, and why aren't you buying Daredevil yet? Drop me a comment below and let's talk about it! Thanks for reading!

Friday, September 16, 2011

My (Awesome) Week in Comics: September 16, 2011

Guess what? The comic gods doth smile upon me, as they gift me with two amazing comics this week. Two! That's more than one, people! You don't get these often, so hang tight because it's time for the most verbose comic book reviews around! What did I get myself into? Read on to find out!


Mark Waid ends Daredevil's initial storyarc with a loud, ear-splitting bang, as Matt is caught in the clutches of the supervillain Klaw! The hypersensitive senses of Daredevil versus Klaw the Master of Sound! It's the final round in Daredevil #3, and only one gets out alive!

Waid knocks it out of the ballpark again with another fun issue. Superheroes being super, drama that makes sense, a happy ending...I could go on and on why this issue is good. Klaw versus Daredevil was the match of the century, and Waid just made Klaw interesting again while giving DD a much-needed challenge in one fell swoop!

But I think a big part of what makes it good lies in the shoulders of Paolo Rivera, Joe Rivera and Javier Rodriguez on art. This is a fun book, and this art team underlines that fact with art that's stylish, exciting and colorful. Paolo and Joe take visual cues and storytelling to the next amazing level, while Javier Rodriguez splashes on some color that's appropriately superheroic. Take a seat, grimdark, and let the bright shine through this time!

Daredevil #3 a well-rounded comic where everything works. These are the kind of comics you show people who haven't seen comics before to read, digest and love, and you can quote me on that. This one is a 5 out of 5.


If ever there's a plan for an Uncanny X-Force movie, I ain't watching it if Rick Remender ain't writing it.

Case in point: Uncanny X-Force #15, part 5 of Remender's Dark Angel Saga. Our heroes are left broken and battered by Archangel, with Fantomex, Deadpool and Deathlok (that's a lot of deaths) regroup ingto find a way to finish this fracas once and for all. But what can a mutant Frenchman, an undead cyborg and a merc-with-a-mouth do against the new Apocalypse and his powerful Horsemen?

A lot, apparently.

I've been enjoying the heck out of this series, and Remender hasn't stirred me wrong yet. The Dark Angel Saga reads like a blockbuster action movie, filled with intense firefights, superhuman drama and a little bit of comic book craziness that's missing in a lot of comic books right now. Using The World to force-evolve the Earth and start mutantkind from scratch? Only in Uncanny X-Force!

Remender is having fun with this book, even more so with this arc. There are a lot of surprise reveals, including one involving the Celestials that blow away every preconceived notion you have of Apocalypse. It's that kind of out-of-the-box storytelling that I love, and who better to make those wild ideas work than Jerome OpeƱa on art. He's been drawing the hell out of this book, and he can keep up with Remender's frenetic ideas. I don't say this lightly, but this book has to be seen to be believed.

Uncanny X-Force #15 is building to a climax I can't wait to see, and that's how good comic book stories go. This is a 5 out of 5.


Wow! This is probably the best comic book week this year! So what did YOU get this week? Leave me a comment below and let's talk about it! Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Planet X Trinoma Relocation Sale!



This is the sale to end all sales...Planet X Trinoma is having a Relocation Sale from September 12 to 30, 2011!

Don't worry, they're not leaving yet. They're moving to a smaller yet still awesome kiosk in the same mall this October 1. Because of it, they're unloading a ton of their stuff on us geeks to ease on the moving!

Grab new comics, TPBs, hardcovers and manga at 35% off, or buy 5 pieces or more to cut that discount down to 40%!

Want action figures, statues and other collectibles? Get 'em for 25% off!

I'm dropping by one of these days for my personal favorite: back-issues all for P50 per issue! Score! So if you're ever around the Trinoma Mall this September, drop by Planet X Comics on the 2nd floor and buy some comics! I know I will!

Friday, September 09, 2011

Hot Babes and Dinosaurs!

What is it with dinosaurs and hot women in comic books? We'll never know, but one thing's for sure...they look good together, as evidenced by these comic book covers!

Cadillacs and Dinosaurs #6. Cover by Mark Schultz (Epic Comics, 1990)

Cavewoman: Jungle Jam #1. Cover by Paul Renaud (Amryl Entertainment, 2006)

Eerie #97. Cover by Val Mayerik (Warren, 1966)

Jungle Girl #2. Cover by Adriano Batista (Dynamite, 2007)

Wonder Woman #97. Cover by Irwin Hasen (DC Comics, 1942)

Dino Island #1. Cover by Jim Lawson (Mirage Publishing, 1993)

Dinosaur Rex #3. Cover by Henry Mayo (Upshot, 1987)

Jungle Girls #14. Cover by Rik Levins (AC Comics, 1993)

Mystic #32. Cover by Aaron Lopresti and Matt Ryan (CrossGen, 2000)

Shanna the She-Devil: Survival of the Fittest #3. Cover by Khari Evans and Jimmy Palmiotti (Marvel, 2007)


Thanks to ComicBrowser.com and the Grand Comics Database!

My Week in Comics: Action Comics #1

It's a weird, weird time to be able to say you own a copy of Action Comics #1. But it's true. Thanks to the big DC reboot, the legendary comic book is given a brand new first issue for a new generation of readers, courtesy of Grant Morrison and Rags Morales.

Action Comics #1 perfectly captures the 'forget everything you know' thrust of the DCnU. This isn't the Superman you grew up with, not by a long shot. Here he's basically a super-powered vigilante, more proactive, a little bit cocky, and not afraid to stick it to The Man and teach the greedy and corrupt a lesson. A Superman that battles social ills instead of costumed bruisers? It's more likely now, more than ever, in this scary new world. Of course, this story being set in Superman's newbie years, the cockiness could be excused, and it's interesting where Morrison takes it from here.

The big draw here for me is the DCnU Lex Luthor. Here he's more of the subtle evil genius, laid back and sipping soda while watching his devious plans to help the military capture Superman bear fruit. When Luthor thinks big, he really thinks big, and when you see what he does to Superman here, it's a crowning moment of awesome for him akin to walking away from an exploding warehouse without flinching. Nice and awesome!

Since the ho-hum-fest that was Justice League #1, you immediately notice how action-packed Action Comics #1 is, and it's made even more apparent through Rags Morales' amazing art. Every move Superman makes has the appropriate oomph of a man destined to be the world's most powerful hero. You feel his strength, his speed, his abilities in every page. It's fast-paced and fun, and now Morales is an artist to watch for me.

Action Comics #1 is old-fashioned, comic book fun for the new generation. It's an exciting debut for DC's greatest superhero, and I can't wait to see what happens next. Don't worry, dudes. We still have the original Action Comics #1. Let the new kids have theirs. This is a 4 out of 5.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Top 5 Dinosaur-themed Toys

We've all had our share of toys when we were kids, but there comes a time in your young life when you know the usual toys just won't do. And so in celebration of Dinosaur Week, I'm taking this opportunity to list down the top dino-themed toys!

Prepare for your faces to be rocked clean away by the coolest, the largest, the most expensive and the most mind-blowingly good dinosaur toys of our time! Get ready! I'm rating them now so you won't have to!


5. Jurassic Park

It's a movie about dinosaurs...it would be crazy not to make a toyline based on it! Jurassic Park spawned a series of realistic-looking (if not realistically-colored) dinosaur toys of all shapes and sizes, along with hapless human figures to serve as their meals. You wouldn't buy a Dr. Grant figure just for show, right?

The dinosaurs were realistically sculpted, often had soft skin to mimic 'dinosaur' skin (awesome!), and the big dinos were huge. Huge. The Bull T-Rex alone was like 2 feet long, and it can "eat" smaller figures and actually swallow them! Wicked!

4. Bone Age

I loved looking at old Kenner catalogs when I was a kid just to see one of my childhood holy grails: Bone Age, the toyline that was dinosaur and construction kit in one. The awesomeness of cavemen riding animated dinosaur skeletons were not lost to me, nor was the fact that these skeletons can be reassembled to form anachronistic planes, helicopters and missile launchers. They don't make toys like this anymore, I tell you what!

Why this toyline wasn't as popular as it should have been is weird, but the image of a T-Rex skeleton turning into a battle fortress will be etched into my mind forever.

3. Dinobots

The Transformers were responsible for a lot of things, not the least of which is introducing us to powerful dinosaurs that transformed into robots! Grimlock,Slag, Swoop, Sludge and Snarl made up the Dinobots, and their figures were some of the most iconic of the Transformers toyline. Who wouldn't find a dinosaur that turns into a giant robot with a sword cool? Sure they were basically bricks, but 25-plus years later, they still hold special places in TF fans' hearts.

2. Zoids

Zoids is a popular Japanese franchise centered around robotic-looking model kits of fantastic creatures, notably dinosaurs. The modern model kits were great, but some of the earlier releases were some of the most awesome pieces of engineering you've ever seen, with complicated designs and assembly and featured motorized walking actions.

Some of the best Zoids were also the biggest, with figures like the Seismosaurus being almost three feet in length, and King Gojulas absolutely towering over the rest of the toyline with ease. Got one of these as a kid? Consider yourself king or queen of the street. For reals.

1. Dino-Riders

Ahh, Dino-Riders. The toyline that not just tickled the minds of an entire generation of future dino-addicts, it set the bar to heights no other dinosaur-themed toyline can hope to reach, ever. If your mom bought you the T-Rex, she loved you. If she bought you the Brontosaurus, she really loved you. If she didn't buy you any Dino-Riders...you're doing something wrong!

Tyco tapped into a goldmine of ideas with the Dino-Riders, warring races using the awesome power of dinosaurs to wage war on each other. It's got everything: sculpts so good it's Smithsonian-approved, fun action features like motorized walking, and a wide selection of dinosaurs to choose from. Even now the image of dinosaurs strapped with laser guns and missiles still explodes people's minds all over the planet, and we owe it all to this sweet, sweet toyline. Harness the Power of Dinosaurs, indeed!


And there you have it, the top dinosaur toys as ranked by yours truly! Man, I miss my Dino-Riders toys...anyway, if you've got comments, suggestions, or just plain want to freak out with me on how awesome toys were back then, leave me a comment and let's talk about it! Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Best and Worst Dinosaur Cartoons of the '90s

It paid to be a dinosaur in the 1990s.

For some reason, the '90s had more dinosaurs on-air than any era before it. '90s kids consumed a consistent diet of dinosaurs, lasers and explosions every morning...how cool is that? That stuff's freakin' addictive, and you can bet that as a kid I was glued to my seat whenever my favorite dino-shows were on.

And so, in celebration of Dinosaur Week, I went back in time to revisit the cartoon dinosaurs that defined the extreme '90s! From the anthropomorphic to the annoying, from the Cadillac-driving to the cutesy, we're ranking the best and worst dinosaur-themed cartoons of the '90s!


EXTREME DINOSAURS


With a name like that, it could only come from one point in time: the '90s. Anything "extreme" was in vogue in those days, and in 1996 Mattel decided to cash in on the trend with a series of toys featuring 'roided-up dinosaurs doing, well, extreme things. And so the Extreme Dinosaurs was born. And where a '90s toyline was, a TV show wasn't far behind, and thus we were treated to more or less the equivalent of one of my 10-year-old self's fever dreams.

With names like T-Bone, Stegz and the prolific Spike, the Extreme Dinosaurs were deliciously '90s, and they fought what were basically chiseled velociraptors with retainers in their mouths amidst wanton destruction and explosions. If Michael Bay made cartoons in the '90s, this would have been his magnum opus.

Rating:







DINK, THE LITTLE DINOSAUR


This is as kiddy as a dinosaur can get. Dink aired in the very early '90s and was basically the poor kids' The Land Before Time. It was pretty cute in a way, and it gets points for having the legendary Frank Welker as part of its cast of voice actors, but it was too cutesy for its own good. It does get a pass though for having Dink be such a bad enough dude to be considered an enemy by a goddamn Tyrannosaurus.

Rating:






 CADILLACS AND DINOSAURS


Cadillacs and Dinosaurs spun off from the comic book of the same name by Mark Schultz. The animation was gorgeous for its time, and the image of driving around in a Cadillac in the 26th century among dinosaurs probably exploded a lot of little kids' minds back in the early '90s.

I feel sorry for not catching this on TV when it was on, but from what I've seen, it looks and sounds awesome. If I ever saw Hannah Dundee on TV when I was a kid, it would have been an awkward phase of puberty for me.

Rating:







 DINOSAUCERS


Now we're getting to the good stuff. Dinosaucers was a cartoon series in the late '80s that featured anthropomorphic dinosaurs from outer space that battled it out ala The Transformers. The noble Dinosaucers fought the evil Tyrannos using fists, claws and rayguns, and they even had meat shields human allies called Secret Scouts who were basically useless in a war between giant anthropomorphic dinosaurs.

It was a winning formula (it certainly was for me) and Dinosaucers became a favorite of mine as a kid because of it. My favorite part has got to be when they shed their human-like ways with a push of a button, "dinovolving" into their true dinosaur forms to basically curbstomp the poor Tyrannos, who were taking a page from the Stegosaurus' playbook by owning brains the size of walnuts. It was crazy, stupid, and very '80s fun. Also, dat opening theme.

Rating:







 DENVER, THE LAST DINOSAUR


Ugh. Denver, the Last Dinosaur was the bane of my childhood existence, for reasons I cannot fathom but nonetheless burn deep inside my heart like an all-consuming flame. Denver tried too hard to be 'hip' and 'cool' and 'cute', and his human friends were annoying. It had promise, certainly, and it was 'dino' in its own way, but when your sworn enemy is an evil concert promoter (certainly the most evil of promoters!), there will come a time when you gotta ask yourself if you can stomach 50 episodes of that. Avoided the failing grade due to his pretty catchy theme song that you just can't get out of your head decades later.

Rating:







DINO-RIDERS


Human history has seen its share of great inventions: the light bulb, the printing press, the automobile, and humans riding dinosaurs strapped with laser guns and missiles. Dino-Riders was the be-all and end-all of all dinosaur cartoons back in the day for this geek, and even though it was primarily a vehicle to sell Tyco toys, it made its mark by how crazy awesome the concept of Dino-Riders are.

Dinosaurs get a choice of either being befriended by the peaceful Valorians or mind-jacked by the evil Rulons. After that, they're outfitted with mounted laser cannons, trapping nets and other weapons. Only then will they get to dance the dance of steel and flesh against other dinosaurs in a war of survival. It's probably a rite of passage for children to see a giant T-Rex turned into a mobile attack platform armed to the teeth with missiles and laser guns. And if it's not, it should be. Because that's just freakin' awesome, man.

Rating:







Man, it really was a pretty awesome time to be a kid in the '90s! Agree with my ratings? Think I forgot a show? Leave me a comment and let's talk about it! I hope you're enjoying Dinosaur Week! Thanks for reading!

The Best Dinosaur Game EVER

In the spirit of Dinosaur Week, I'd like to take this opportunity to share this delightful. dino-themed Flash game with you. It's fun, it's biting social commentary, and it's called Robot Dinosaurs That Shoot Beams When They Roar.


If that image doesn't speak to you on some spiritual level, you're doing Dinosaur Week wrong. It's got alien dinosaurs in jetpacks that spew lasers when they roar! You know you wanna play it!

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Five Things About Life I Learned from Jurassic Park

Imagine me as a kid, sitting in one of the top right rows of this dark cinema, craning my neck to get a better view of the action on screen. It was raining in that scene, and the little people in their little jeeps were looking around like idiots. And then, outta nowhere came this gigantic monster, its bloodcurdling roar pierced the air and my ears. It bared its teeth. It looked at the trapped little people in their little jeeps. Dinner was served.

It was a Tyrannosaurus Rex, the movie was Jurassic Park, and it was the most beautiful thing I've ever seen in my life.


I'll never know when I got bit by the dinosaur bug, but it was Jurassic Park that ignited that spark that turns me into a blithering blogger when faced with pictures of tyrannosaurs. I watched the darn thing more than 20 times, my prized VHS copy rewound almost raw, and would drool at the site of its toys at the mall. But it wasn't just fascination that I got from that movie...I also learned a couple of things about life that you may not learn without having faced an angry T-Rex.

Be careful what you wish for.

John Hammond must have been such a kid at heart to think about buying an entire island, loading it with amusement park rides and tampering with Mother Nature just to be able to say he owns a theme park with dinosaurs. But thanks to him, I now know you don't always need what you want. An island full of giant dinosaurs may sound awesome, but don't be surprised when you get exactly what you wanted.


Cardio. Cardio. Cardio.

I was a pretty skinny kid, and I couldn't do pull ups (even with help) to save my life. But seeing Dr. Grant and the two kids basically go through the workout of their lives running from velociraptors or climbing down trees to avoid being run over by a jeep made me realize how important it was to stay fit. Now I go jogging with officemates twice a week, with the thought of a 'raptor chasing me giving me that extra edge to keep me going.


Don't imitate...innovate!

Innovation is the spice of life, and Jurassic Park taught me that it's fun to do something new and exciting. Who knows? It might save your life! Dr. Grant using those signal flares to distract the T-Rex somewhere else? Fun! Ian Malcolm just doing the very same thing but luring the T-Rex to him instead? Not fun. It was an innovative way to almost get yourself killed, I'll give him that.


Don't sweat the small stuff...the big stuff will sweat them for you.

I always sweat the small stuff...until Jurassic Park made me realize that I'm not doing anyone any favors by doing so. The little problems often require the little solutions...or as those velociraptors trapping Dr. Grant and co. during the movie's climax proved, the big ones. Never thought an opportunity would come when I could shout "T-Rex to the rescue!"


Dinosaurs are awesome!

All I can say is, I learned that living in a world that once had things like T-Rexes and Brontosauruses walking the Earth is freaking awesome.


Jurassic Park is the gift that keeps on giving! These are just some of the lessons I've learned from watching this groundbreaking movie, and I hope you find more to learn! Thanks for reading!
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