Let’s Get Geeky #39: Pixar

October 7th, 2011

As you probably are aware of, Steve Jobs passed away a couple days ago and I thought it would be fitting to do this weeks article as a tribute to him. However, I’m not a Mac user, and while I do have an iPod I wasn’t sure that was an appropriate subject either. Then I figured out what to write about, something I honestly do geek out about, Pixar!

While the Pixar films aren’t the only computer generated shows I’ve seen, nor were they the first, they still rank up there as some of my favorites. For that matter they are some of my favorite films period. While the visuals of their films are stunning they don’t rely on that to just be able to get by, the stories are also well written and have lots of heart. And even though they are animated, so some people might think they were for kids, they’re more of an all ages type thing with something for pretty much everybody. I’m not usually a fan of 3D movies, but the one exception to that is Pixar films. Most of the time I prefer to see a film in 2D, mainly due to the fact that I don’t care to wear the 3D glasses over my regular ones, but with a Pixar film I’m more likely to put up with that annoyance.

They are also great at getting an emotional response from people in ways you wouldn’t expect. Who would have thought when they saw Toy Story in 1995 that 15 years later they’d be so attached to CGI toys that their eyes would be welling up at points of Toy Story 3? Or that a movie could basically start out as a silent film, with their main character never speaking much at all period, and have the audience care about him? But their films aren’t all sadness, they are also full of humor, adventure and as I mentioned earlier, heart.

Anyone who says they don’t enjoy at least one of their films either has never seen them, is lying, or is a sad strange little person, and I pity them.

…Long Live the DCnU (Part 3)

September 26th, 2011

Well, DC put out another thirteen issue #1′s last week, and as before here are my brief thoughts and opinions on them after my initial readings.

Batman and Robin #1
I was a tad surprised at how much I enjoyed this one. I hadn’t read the previous series where it was Dick Grayson as Batman teamed up with Damian Wayne as Robin, so while I had seen Damian in guest spots in other books I didn’t know the character too well. That said, I did enjoy the interaction of Bruce Wayne and Damian as they began to learn to work each other. They obviously still have a lot to work out, but I think that the character part of this book is what will make it good. There was the normal comic book action as well, but I think that is secondary compared to the potential character growth. I also quite enjoyed the art. This will be one I’ll probably be continuing to get.

Batwoman #1
This is one I’m kind of torn on. I thought the story was interesting, but the art really drew me out of it. The book has at least 2 or 3 different art styles, depending on whether the main character is in their civilian identity or their hero identity. Which in theory is an interesting concept, however there are certain panels where it seems like there are multiple art styles in the same panel and it is rather disconcerting. I may still continue on this one, but I’m going have to decide how I feel about the mish mash of styles first.

Deathstroke #1
I rather enjoyed this one. I thought both the story and the art were good. And while it was rated T+ I didn’t feel like they used that as an excuse to put in gore and/or violence just for the sake of having it in. Yes, there was a bit of it, but nothing too excessive in my opinion. This was also an oddity compared to the other books so far in that it seemed to be more of a one and done story instead of ending on a cliffhanger. Good chance I’ll be continuing with this one.

Demon Knights #1
When I first heard about this title I wasn’t too keen on it. That said, this one surprised me as too how much I liked it. While the art wasn’t my favorite I’d seen it wasn’t bad, and the story, while mostly setting up the main characters, was serviceable. I’m curious to see how the characters will interact in the future and this is another one I’ll probably be continuing.

Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #1
This is another book that whether or not I decide to continue with it will probably depend on the art. The art isn’t bad, but there’s just something about it that just doesn’t do it for me. I enjoyed the story, and am curious to see where it goes, but just not sure if I want to read entire issues, or just get a basic synopsis off the internet.

Green Lantern #1
My first read through of this issue left me feeling a bit “meh” towards it. I thought the art was good as was the story, but I think I was expecting more from Geoff Johns. I did decide to give this one another read before making a final decision and I did enjoy it more the second time through. Though, like some other books, I’m wondering if this is a big “relaunch” why are they continuing on from the previous storylines? They do explain things for the most part, but it is odd to read a comic numbered “1′ and feel like you’re jumping into an issue numbered at least “3″ or even “4″. I’m still not sure if I’ll continue with this one, but it has moved closer to being added to my pull list than it was the other day.

Grifter #1
I enjoy mysteries. And this book not only had a mystery, but the art was pretty good as well. However, I don’t think I’ll be continuing with this one. By the end of the book, while I was curious about what was going on I didn’t really find myself caring for the main character. And actually, the book had two mysteries. The first one is the one in the actual story. The second is whether one particular part of the book is a typo or a plot hole. Either way that also leads to the mystery of how it got past the editors. There have been certain things I’ve seen and/or heard that says not only was the ending of certain titles rushed, but so were some of the number 1s. This would be another one of those things. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t a bad read, just not for me.

Legion Lost #1
Like previous books in the relaunch this one also started off seemingly in the middle of the plot, but isn’t actually a continuation of a previous title. I did find out there was a prologue of sorts that was posted to various forums, and what was going on was partially described in the book. But hopefully for those who don;t know about the prologue, or don’t care to hunt it down, they will describe things in more detail later on. I enjoyed the art for the most part and am curious to see what happens to the Legion members in the book.

Mister Terrific #1
This was one of the titles this week that I was really looking forward to, which makes me a bit sad that I’m still not sure how I feel about it. The art was ok, but definitely not my favorite. There is also a character in the book that as far as I knew, until the book came out was one of the characters who were “missing” in the New 52. Or at least their secret identity is in the book. Now it could be that they still have their powers but it is being saved for later, but no indication of that is shown. I’m glad to see some more familiar faces, but I don’t necessarily want to see them in the book just for the sake of having them there. I’d prefer that they have a purpose, so hopefully later on they will indeed have a purpose for being there other than simply “being there”. As for the plot of the issue, it was ok, but I’m still not sure I care enough to continue reading.

Red Lanterns #1
The art was good in this book, and while it was interesting to see a backstory for a character that has been in the Green Lantern related titles and events, in the end I just don’t care enough about the characters to continue reading the series. They’re interesting sprinkled throughout other books, but just don’t see them as being interesting enough to read as the main focus of an entire book.

Resurrection Man #1
This was the surprise title for me this week. From what I’d read about the title before the relaunch I wasn’t really interested in it. However, while the art wasn’t my favorite, I was pulled in by the story. I’m still not 100% sure that I’ll continue reading yet, but of the books this week I’m still on the fence about, it is probably closest to ending p in my pull list.

Suicide Squad #1
This was another title I was interested in at first, but as I heard more about it my interest level went down a bit. For the most part the art was ok, though there were parts I liked more than others. And I’m still not quite a fan of the redesign of certain characters. The story also made for a good introductory issue, giving the reader a brief back story for a couple of the characters, as well as explaining why they are all there. Still not sure on this one either, but I might very well continue reading this title as well.

Superboy #1
I thought the art in this book was ok, not the best I’d seen but better than average. I was also intrigued by the story, and was even thrown for a loop in the middle of the book when I didn’t see something coming. There were also other threads started in issue that I’m curious to see where they go as the series progresses. This will be another title I’ll be continuing.

Let’s Get Geeky #38: Jim Henson

September 23rd, 2011

As you may have noticed, there has been a bit of a theme to the Let’s Get Geeky articles this month. There is a reason for that, this Saturday would have been Jim Henson’s 75th birthday so I wanted to celebrate his work throughout the month. I’ve seen tributes online to Jim around the day of his passing, but I felt for me it was more appropriate to celebrate on his birthday. As mentioned in an earlier article I was first exposed to his work through Sesame Street, but at that time I didn’t really think much about the man behind (and under) the characters. I’m sad to say that due to this when he passed away I might have heard about it, but if I did I don’t recall really feeling a loss. Now though that I’ve gotten more into his works such as the Muppets and Fraggle Rock I do feel a bit of a loss. But only a bit of one, since I feel that because of all the works he left that he is still around in a way through his legacy.

I’ve read and heard interviews with various people who knew Jim Henson, and not once have I ever heard anyone say anything bad about him. Yes, I know that a lot of times those sort of things people don;t say anything bad anyway, but I just get the feeling from the interviews that the people speaking are being genuine, and not just being nice for the sake of being nice. Do you recall those surveys that used to be all around the internet? The ones that asked you questions about you to share with friends (or complete strangers depending on if you posted them somewhere…)? Well, one of the questions I remember from those things went something like “If you could meet any person living or dead, who would it be?”. While it has been ages since I’ve filled one of those things out, if I were to do one now, I’m pretty sure the answer to that question would be Jim Henson.

Thanks for all you did Mr. Henson, we miss you.

Let’s Get Geeky #37: Fraggle Rock

September 19th, 2011

I know I knew about Fraggle Rock when I was older, mainly due to having at least one of these from McDonald’s. However, I don’t recall having watched the show in my youth. Fast forward a couple decades and when I was getting back into the Muppets in general I also learned a bit about Fraggle Rock, but it would still be a while before I saw an episode.

My journey to Fraggle Rock continued in 2010 when I went to San Diego Comic Con. The new (at the time) channel The Hub had an area set up showcasing some of the programs they would be airing when they launched, including Fraggle Rock. I had found out about this from my friend, who was going to be playing guitar there for Fraggle Rock sing along sessions with Red Fraggle & Karen Prell. I decided to head over to say hi to my friend and stick around for one of the sing alongs. During the sing along they asked for volunteers from the audience to come up and help Red sing the theme song, but they wanted the older folks who grew up watching the show. I wasn’t going to volunteer at first since even though I knew the song from listening to it on my iPod I technically had no memory of watching the show, but after a few moments with only three of the four volunteers needed I stepped forward. I’m glad I did too since everyone who volunteered got a free copy of the hard cover collection of the first volume of the Fraggle Rock comic from Archaia Studios. See? Volunteering can be rewarding.

Fast forward a bit more and after an upgrade in service and The Hub was one of the channels I was able to watch on my tv. Of course one of the first things I checked out was Fraggle Rock, and I was worried at first that it wouldn’t live up to my expectations and hype. Well, it didn’t, it actually surpassed them. I had heard plenty of the songs before, so I knew the quality of those were top notch, but even the stories were well written. Some were obviously better than others, but that’s the way things are with any sort of story based medium. The show didn’t shy away from tough issues either, tackling things such as death & prejudice without sugar coating it for younger audience. In fact, in a way I’m kind of glad I didn’t see the show until I was older since there are things in the show I can appreciate more now that I might not have caught had I watched it when I was younger.

…Long Live the DCnU (Part 2)

September 12th, 2011

Well, another week of new DC #1s have come out. Thirteen of them to be precise. And due to the number of them, I probably won’t go into too much detail on my thoughts on most, if any, of them.

Action Comics #1
I really liked this one. While it does take place a bit in the past compared to most of the other titles, Superman has already been around, so there is no origin story. But he still is new and not at what will eventually become his full power. I also enjoyed the references made not only to Smallville, but also to Superman’s earliest comic appearances from the original Action Comics #1 and beyond. I do have to thank Golden Age Superman, a podcast done by a friend of mine, for that one, since I wouldn’t have caught those references had I not listened to the show. There are also references to being faster than a speeding bullet, stronger than a locomotive and leaping over tall buildings, without really outright saying it… well other than the tall buildings part. One thing I did notice though on my second time through the book… a lot of people in Metropolis have lazy eyes. But I will definitely be picking up #2 next month.

Animal Man #1
Compared to many other characters in comics, I haven’t read much of Animal Man, but what I have read I’ve liked. So when this was one of the titles announced I was excited about it. However, when I actually went to read it the excitement level dropped somewhat. I can’t quite put my finger on what it is, but I just didn’t care for the art style of the book. And while I did find the story intriguing, didn’t care for the more horror-esque turn it took near the end. Not the very end, since that was also intriguing, but right before the end. The book got a bit more graphic. And while I am curious about where the story will go, due to the art and more graphic nature, I might just wait and read reviews online to see where the story goes. But I haven’t decided for sure yet.

Batgirl #1
This was a title I was both looking forward to as well as a bit wary of. I know it isn’t necessarily fair to compare the new titles to the books they’re replacing, but I’d come to really enjoy the previous Batgirl series with Stephanie Brown as the title character. And while I have seen Barbara Gordon as Batgirl in various television incarnations of the character, she has always been Oracle during my comic reading life. That part of her history wasn’t completely wiped out though, she did spend time in a wheelchair after the events of the killing joke. However, seemingly all of a sudden she was able to use her legs again. The book doesn’t go into detail on how it happened, but I’m hoping it is brought up later instead of it just being a “it happened just because it needed to for the plot” sort of thing. There are also one or two plot and story elements that I didn’t quite care for, but because I like the character of Barbara Gordon I’m going to pick up the second issue at least to see where the story goes.

Batwing #1
DC did something a bit daring with this one, the title character is almost completely new. He did make an appearance or two in Batman, Inc. but other than that I don’t think he has been seen elsewhere. I do applaud them on the effort, since it would be quite easy for them to just take established characters and put a fresh coat of paint on them, but it does also mean this book will probably have to work a little bit harder than others. And I think it did well for the first issue, it not only introduced us to Batwing and his supporting cast, but also to a new villain and set up a mystery. This one also got a bit graphic in parts, but it wasn’t as bad as some of the other titles this week. Though I’m still a bit up in the air on whether or not I’ll be getting issue #2.

Detective Comics #1
I’m honestly still not sure how I feel about this one. The story piqued my interest, but I thought of all the non-T+ rated books out this week this one skirted the line the most. At least in terms of the graphic nature of some of the art and story. This is another one I’m kind of interested in seeing what happens, but not sure if I’m interested enough to buy it, or just check spoilers online when issue #2 comes out.

Green Arrow #1
I enjoyed this book, though it wasn’t perfect. I liked the story and the art for the most part, but there were certain aspects of the story that confused me and at times I thought some of the faces seemed a bit “off”. Also, a lot of times when I read comics the voices I hear in my head come from tv or movies I’ve seen of those characters. In the past for Green Arrow I usually heard the character from the Justice League Unlimited cartoon. However, due to the story and how the character acted, this time the voice I heard Green Arrow from the Smallville tv series. This is another one I’ll be picking up next month.

Hawk & Dove #1
Even though what DC comics is doing is a reboot (even if they won’t admit it), some books still seem to be using the pre-New 52 continuity. Hawk $ Dove is one of those, part of the story clearly ties back into the Brightest Day event that happened not too long ago. I’m not complaining, I’m curious to see where that bit of the story goes, but it is odd that while everything is getting a new #1, some things are still continuing previous storylines. I didn’t think the art was bad, but not necessarily spectacular either, somewhere in the middle. And while there were some points in the story that I didn’t care for, it wasn’t enough for me not to like the book. I’ll be picking up issue #2 next month.

Justice League International #1
This is either my favorite issue out this week, or at the very least tied with Action Comics #1. Unlike Justice League #1 where we only see about half of the eventual league, and really only get to know two of those, the first issue of this book gives us an introduction to every member of the team. Are the introductions fleshed out? No, but the book does give us enough to give us at least a feel for their characters. We also get the first story arc rolling. Not only will I definitely be adding this one to my pull list, it will also be near the top of my reading pile on the weeks it comes out.

Men of War #1
I actually enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. Both the stories (this book had a back-up feature) and the art were well done in my opinion. But basically it comes down to the fact that I just didn’t find myself caring about what happens to the characters next enough to pick up issue #2. It isn’t a bad book by any means, just not for me.

This was my least favorite title released this week. I didn’t think the art or writing was bad in this book, but unfortunately I didn’t think either one was amazing either. At the end of the story I just didn’t care what happened to the characters to get them to where they were before the comic began or about what would happen to them next.

Static Shock #1
I know the character has been around before in the comics, but the majority of what I know about the character comes from the cartoon series that was on a while back. Thus, my reading of this book was compared to that. While I only recognized some of the characters, the ones I did know acted as I expected. There was one or two things though that I was confused about. I don’t know if it was stuff from previous continuity that they brought over, or something new for the reboot that we’re just not being told about yet. Either way I hope they explain it in the near future. Due to certain events and reactions in the book I also got a strong Spider-Man vibe from the title, but I’m not complaining, in a way it does add some realism. This is another title I’ll be picking up next month.

Stormwatch #1
When this title was first announced I knew nothing about it. Leading up to the reboot I did find out that Stormwatch was a team that was supposed to be similar to the Justice League in nature, but from one of DCs imprint companies. When I heard this I was a bit more excited for the book than I had been at first. I thought the art was well done and the story was interesting, but due to the fact that other than one character in the book I don’t know who these people are I didn’t feel invested in them. Like a few other books out this week I’m not sure yet whether I’m interested enough to pick up the next issue or just find out what happens some other way.

Swamp Thing #1
While I did like the art more in this one, I had a similar reaction to this one as I did to Animal Man. I’m intrigued by the story, but not a fan of the more horror-esque aspects of it. As such, I’m still undecided as to whether I’ll be picking it up or just finding out where the story goes via spoilers online. It’s not a bad book, rather well done actually, I’m just not sure it is for me.

…Long Live the DCnU (Part 1)

September 10th, 2011

Last week I wrote about how the current DC universe was getting a reboot and my thoughts on some of the final issues. I mentioned in the post commenting on the new issues, and knowing my track record I’m not sure how many I’ll get to in a timely manner, but I’m going to try. This one is a week late, but here are my (hopefully) non-spoilery thoughts of the first of the new #1′s, Justice League. Although I might have to go into a little detail.

I’m actually kind of lukewarm on the issue. There are parts I like, but then there are things I either don’t like or at least could do without. Sadly, I think the stuff that I either don;t care for or cold take or leave outweighs the stuff I really like. I know one of the big reasons DC did this reboot was to try and draw in new readers, and thus they have to introduce the characters. And at first I was slightly put off by this, but after further thought I’m ok with this for the most part. However, due to the fact that most of the comic is Batman and Green Lantern, the first two leaguers we meet, getting to know each other, the issue feels more like an issue #0 instead of a #1.

There is one scene in the book revolving around the two characters first interactions I did really like. When Green Lantern is trying to figure out what Batman’s powers are. And speaking of Green Lantern, the artist uses a neat little effect on Hal’s constructs that I didn’t notice on my first reading, but after I did notice it I really liked it. However, the same effect was used for a another reason on a different character and I’m just not sure why that was. To me, the effect used there doesn’t make sense and in a way detracts from the uniqueness of it had it only been used for the constructs.

The last part that I’m not a big fan of is Green Lantern’s dialogue, specifically the fact that a number of times he speaks in the third person. I didn’t notice this at first either, but when it was pointed out to me and on my second read through it did stand out. I think I’d be more ok with it had it been more consistent, but sometimes he would speak in third person and other times he’d go back to first person. Due to that, when he does speak in the third person it just comes off as stilted and unnatural.

Overall, while there were elements I didn’t care for, and do think it is a slightly slow start, I am curious to see what happens next and will be picking up issue #2.

Let’s Get Geeky #36: The Muppet Show

September 9th, 2011

I’m not actually sure I saw any episodes of The Muppet Show when I was growing up. It’s kind of hard for me to recall for sure. I knew who the Muppets were of course, but that could be from exposure to them from other means, such as Muppet Babies or commercials or movies or other appearances. And with youtube and watching clips online I’m not really sure when I saw my first entire episode of the show.

I’m sad to say that for a while that I thought I’d outgrown and was “too old” for puppets. I don’t recall exactly what it was that changed my mind but a few years back I decided to do some searching online for Muppet related stuff. I found videos of course, but I also found a podcast called The MuppetCast hosted by Steve Swanson. Thanks to Steve I was reintroduced to the joys of not only The Muppet Show but Jim Henson’s other productions as well.

As I mentioned earlier I don’t have clear memories of watching entire episodes of the show, so as “research” for this post I watched a handful of episodes on youtube before writing this post. The show is filled with humor, songs, sketches, and of course those staples of the Muppets… explosions and chaos. Some sketches were recurring in multiple episodes such as Pigs in Space, Muppet News Flash & Kermit reporting from the planet Koozebane, to name a few. But there were also one off sketches and songs, often involving the special guest of the episode. The show didn’t have a lack of guest stars either. Some of the celebrities they had on the show included Gene Kelly, Vincent Price, and John Cleese. Of course since this is blog series focuses on the geeky I’d be remiss if I didn’t also mention the fact that they also had Christopher Reeve, Lynda Carter and Luke Skywalker (and his cousin Mark Hamill), Chewbacca, C-3PO & R2-D2 in a Star Wars themed episode.

My favorite characters from the plethora of wacky and zany ones to pick from, are Gonzo due to his “individuality” and Statler & Waldorf due to their snarkiness and sarcasm. I’m also a fan of Rizzo the Rat, but I only know him from his appearances in the various films even though he did appear in later episodes of The Muppet Show.

Let’s Get Geeky #35: Sesame Street

September 2nd, 2011

Like many people who were born after the 1970′s I grew up watching Sesame Street. While I can’t specifically remember watching the show there are still memories I have of the characters, the songs, and even certain scenes. I couldn’t tell you who my favorite character was back then, but if I had to choose now it would be a toss up between The Count and Cookie Monster. The Count due to my love of math and numbers… besides, having lightning and thunder go off every time you finished counting… how awesome would that be! Cookie Monster I enjoy partially for his demeanor, but it also is due to his role as Alistair Cookie during the Monsterpiece Theater segments.

What is really great about the show is the fact that it is educational so children watching are learning something, but it is also entertaining so that they either don’t mind or don’t notice this fact. Or both. But with the way it is written, especially when they do parodies of mainstream media, the parents don’t necessarily mind watching with their kids, let alone silently scream to themselves when their children ask to watch it. For that matter, I know of people who will still watch the show occasionally and they don’t even have kids to use as an “excuse”. But I suppose a show that has been on almost 42… Drat! No lightning and thunder! Where was I? Oh yes, a show that has been on almost 42 years must be doing something right.

The DCU is Dead…

August 31st, 2011

As you may or may not know the past few weeks have seen the “last” issues of the majority of DC Comics titles and I thought I’d give my opinion on how some of them ended. This won’t be an in depth review, just my thoughts on how the last issues were handled by DC. Thus, it shouldn’t get too spoilery, but I may inadvertently let something slip. You have been warned.

I’ll start with the relatively easy titles to comment on. Green Arrow, Superboy, Supergirl and Teen Titans. The final issues for these titles were also the conclusion to multiple issue story arcs. While I thought when I first read them that they lacked a certain something for a finale, thinking back they weren’t ended too badly. They weren’t ended in a way that it said this is the end, more in a way that says while you may not see these characters again, their stories would still go on.

Next I want to comment on Power Girl and Zatanna. Both of their final issues were one and dones, so there wasn’t any loose ends to tie up from previous stories. While I did find the issues enjoyable, they could have really fit anywhere in the run and didn’t really feel like a finale. I did enjoy the bit of fourth wall breaking in Zatanna at the end though. Power Girl however ended in a way that you could interpret as the story continuing, but unlike the previously mentioned books it seemed like there should be more to the current storyline and not just continuing new adventures.

I’ll go for what may be one of my more controversial reviews next, Superman. I know a lot of people didn’t care for the final story arc of the series with Superman walking across America. And I’ll admit that I can see why many people thought that way. I did as well at some points, but my OCD-ness kept me reading the book anyway. And while some of the issues were confusing and not always the best, I did think the final issue did help to answer some of the questions that I had wondered about during the story.

Next I’ll look at Justice League of America and Justice Society of America. JLA wasn’t quite ending a story arc, nor was it really a one and done per se. Part of the issue was flashbacks to adventures that happened after the end of the last story arc and before this issue started. I think what was shown was stuff the creative team had planned to do, but didn’t get the chance due to the title ending. And like Zatanna, this title also had what might very well be breakage of the fourth wall. JSA is another matter though, this one was the last issue of a story arc, but it came earlier than the creators expected. There was one conundrum plaguing a certain character throughout most of the storyline that hadn’t yet been resolved in the previous issue, the way it was solved here was simply the character in question basically saying “I got better”. Overall I thought the endings to these two titles were sadly rushed.

I’ll give my thoughts on Batgirl next. I’ve really enjoyed this book pretty much from issue one, so this was one of the titles I was saddest to see go. I thought the last issue was a good send off, however since I’d read and heard interviews with Bryan Q. Miller, the writer of the title, I knew about some of the things he had planned to do later on if the title had continued and am a bit disappointed I won’t get to read those stories. Another disappointing thing was the fact that a couple issues previous was an issue that would have crossed over with the Batman, Inc. title. Due to the constraint put on the writers with the issues ending what would have been a two parter in the Batgirl title was condensed down to one issue. And what would have been in Batman, Inc. was instead condensed down to one line making mention of it in an unrelated story in that title’s final issue.

The last titles I want to mention are Adventure Comics and Legion of Super-Heroes. The final issues for these books also wrapped up the current storyline. The odd thing however is that both issues ended with a blurb at the end of the characters stories continuing in September. That’s right, I know I said that DC was ending its titles, but what most of you who’ve actually read this far probably know is that the reason they ended the titles is because they’re doing a “reboot”. The confusing thing however is that some characters are being rebooted and some of their history is being erased. But other titles, such as Adventure Comics and Legion of Super-Heroes, are continuing on from where they left off, just restarting their numbering and in some cases being retitled.

Personally, I think the whole “ending” of the entire line could have been handled better, but I’m not going to bad mouth the new titles before I read them. And I’ll actually be giving all 52 #1s a shot since I’ve already pre-ordered (and pre-paid for) them through my local comic shop. I know the new Justice League of America #1 hit stands today, but since I don’t pick up my comics until Friday it will be at least until then before I can read and comment on it.

Let’s Get Geeky #34: Gronk

August 26th, 2011

I first heard about the web comic Gronk when I met the creator of the strip, Katie Cook, at a local comic convention. I was walking around the artist alley section of the convention floor with some friends of mine who are friends with many of the various artists and they introduced me to Katie. While at her table looking at some of the art she had for sale I noticed a sign saying she had also done work on some of the recent Fraggle Rock comic books and talked to her about that.

When I went home later that day after the convention I decided to check out the web site for her web comic since she’d been so friendly at the convention. I don’t recall if I read the most recent ones first and then worked my way backwards, or if I started at the beginning and worked my way forwards, or maybe I did a combination of the two and met somewhere in the middle… Either way I made my way through the archives in short order, usually smiling, if not chuckling or even laughing out loud at most of the strips. Katie posts a new strip every Friday, a day which for me is already filled with awesomeness and joy since it not only starts the weekend, but is also payday 50% of the time and is also the day I usually pick up my comics from the comic shop. But even with all that knowing that there is a new Gronk comic waiting to bring a smile to my face makes Fridays even more awesome. The comic is adorably cute, but not in a sickeningly saccharine-ish way, and also has references to many geeky elements such as the Muppets, Lord of the Rings, Avatar the Last Airbender and others.

Needless to say, yet I will anyway, I highly recommend checking out not only the web comic, but also Katie’s other work as well.

Let’s Get Geeky #33: VeggieTales

August 19th, 2011

I was first exposed to VeggieTales when I was helping watch younger kids for a mother’s group at a local church. One of the kids would bring in a VeggieTales video every so often for the other kids to watch. And thus I would watch as well.

Obviously back then since computer animation was reletively new the older videos look clunky compared to stuff that comes out today, but I enjoyed it.

Part of what I like about the series is the entertaining silliness mixed with a good message. A lot of the early shows were basically Bible stories but as time went on they’ve started doing parodies as well. They’ve spoofed things such as Indiana Jones, Wizard of Oz & Superheroes. But always with a moral built in, but not necessarily shoe horned in.

I also enjoy the shows for the music and songs. One of the things that is in almost, but not every, show is an intermission section normally called “Silly Songs with Larry”. Which are quite fun, entertaining and yes, silly.

There is also lots of music and songs used in the main stories, some of those are also silly but unlike the intermissions they have a point in the story.

The stories have a Christian slant, and my faith is important to me so that is another reason I like them. But I think other people who may not share my views might find some of them fun as well.

Let’s Get Geeky #32: The Pretender

August 13th, 2011

Like the main character in the show, my geeky experiences with The Pretender share similar aspects with other works mentioned previously in this series, and more than likely ones not yet mentioned. It may seem a bit repetitive if you’ve read the previous articles, but I’m gong to do a brief comparison of The Pretender and how it is similar to other geeky things I enjoy.

Like Star Trek, I was first introduced to The Pretender at my best friends house. Unlike Star Trek however I didn’t get as into the show right away. My actual entering into the shows fandom came from watching reruns on TNT, much how my exposure to Smallville came from reruns on ABC Family. And similar to Sam Backett Quantum Leap, the title character Jarod pretends to be something he isn’t. Unlike Sam who literally randomly takes over the life of another person while he tries to right a wrong before it happened, Jarod usually finds out about a wrongdoing before hand and takes on a role that will put him in contact with the person who is responsible and finds a way to get them to confess. This isn’t always the case though, at times he has pretended to be a specific person or has just been in the right (or wrong) place at the right (or wrong) time. And being that Jarod is a genius, which is good, it is hard to pretend to be a doctor one day, a lawyer the next and a race car driver another, to name a few, so while he does do some actiony stuff, such as running from the people chasing him, he mainly uses his mind to get things done. Hmm, big brain, solving problems through thinking, some action but mainly running… just like Doctor Who!

But, while the show doesn’t seem to have any one detail that makes it unique in this series of articles I still enjoy the show, the actors are good, as is the over all plot line running through out the series, as well as most of the individual episode’s stories. Sadly however, The Pretender does share an aspect with one other previously mentioned show in these articles. Just like The Invisible Man the show was canceled before its time. Unlike The Invisible Man series, The Pretender did get two made for television movies, but sadly those just brought up more questions than they answered.

Let’s Get Geeky #31: Quantum Leap

August 6th, 2011

I don’t recall when I first saw Quantum Leap or what my first episode was but I do know what I like about it. First is the time travel aspect of the show with the main character Sam Beckett traveling from point to point in his own life time having to fix something that once went wrong. The interesting thing about how the show handled time travel was that Sam’s “soul” traveled but not his body so when he got to a point in time he would take over for that person. In the show the person was always played by Scott Bakula, but the other characters saw him as the person he had leapt into. Whether it was a man, a woman or in one episode a chimpanzee. The other aspect of this was in the episode when Sam looked in a mirror the reflection was who he had leapt into, well, except for the episode where he leapt into a vampire.

Due to the nature of the show there was only one other main character in the show, Al Calavicci, played by Dean Stockwell. While this meant that the show had a plethora of guest stars, it was the main actors that sell the show for me. Their chemistry together is great and you believe they are friends who want to help each other. Where Scott Bakula played the time traveler, Dean Stockwell played someone from his home time at the secret base where the original project took place. He communicated with Sam as a hologram tuned to his brain patterns so that only he could perceive him, usually. There are a few episodes where other people could see and hear him as well but not often. Those episodes let Al be even more integral to righting the wrong than just feeding information to Sam and helping figure out what to do.

Last but not least is the fact that each episode has Sam leaping into some new, and unexpected scenerio, usually right smack dab in the middle of something. Which means he has to think his way out of the situation quickly so he doesn’t make people suspicious and reveal he is a time traveler.

Let’s Get Geeky #30: Heroes

July 29th, 2011

When Heroes was first on the air I might have heard about it but I didn’t really pay much attention to the show. However, shortly before the second season aired some friends of mine let me borrow their copy of season one on dvd to watch. I’m not sure exactly how long it took me to watch, but I do know I stayed up longer than I probably should have after work watching the dvd. Partially so I could return it as soon as possible, but also because I was really enjoying the story.

The main drawing point that got me to watch was the concept of what would happen if people in the real world were to gain superpowers. This of course was quite interesting to me as a comic book reader. But beyond that I also quite enjoyed the characters and the storyline.. or lines, depending on how you look at it since most if not all of the plots and character intertwined by the time the season was over. Which was another thing I liked since each episode connected to previous ones it was more like a long movie or mini-series as opposed to just episodes of a tv show.

I know a lot of people think that season one is the best season of the show, and while I will admit to it being better than season two, I have yet to see all of the last one or two seasons so I can’t really say on that part. However, I can say that while I do think season one is better than season two, season two isn’t as bad as it could have been considering it was during the time of the writer’s strike and I wonder what that season could have been like had it had the opportunity to have a full season instead of being cut short and certain elements having to be rushed.

Let’s Get Geeky #29: Bill Nye the Science Guy

July 22nd, 2011

Much like other PBS shows I’ve talked about here (and ones I’ll talk about in the future) I’m not sure whether my love of learning in general and science in particular came about because of watching Bill Nye or if I enjoyed Bill Nye because of those aspects of my personality, but as before I’ve a feeling it’s a combination of the two.

Part of what I enjoyed about Bill Nye the Science Guy is while the content was educational it was made to be fun and not stuffy. Things like running gags (of SCIENCE!), skits, demonstrations and music videos parodying an actual song but with the lyrics changed to recap the subject talked about during the show.

It’s these music videos that I actually remember most from the show, even though for the most part Bill wasn’t in them, but I still have fond memories of the entire show, just slightly more vague.

Let’s Get Geeky #28: Encyclopedia Brown

July 15th, 2011

I don’t recall which of the Encyclopedia Brown books I first read, or how old I was, but I do recall enjoying them. For those who aren’t aware of the series, Encyclopedia Brown was a children’s mystery series in which the reader could attempt to solve the mystery before checking the back of the book to see if they were right. Each book usually had about ten cases to solve and tended to follow a formula as to how each case was presented. The characters were also introduced (or reintroduced as it were) in each book so it wasn’t necessary to read them in order. Like many other characters in mystery stories the main character often solved the crimes with knowledge that everyone else in the story had access to, but was either able to see it in a way no one else thought to look at it or by just having some obscure bit of knowledge in their mind. While in hindsight a lot of the clues needed to solve the crimes were common sense or general trivia knowledge, I still enjoyed trying to see if I could figure out the answer before reading the solution in the back of the book.

And while my memory of this isn’t as vivid as the books, I also vaguely remember checking out video tapes of a show based on the books from the library when I was younger.

Overall, while I’m not 100% certain if it was my first foray into mysteries and whodunits, Encyclopedia Brown was at least one of the first and is one of the reasons I enjoy mysteries to this day, whether they be books, tv shows, movies or audio dramas.

Let’s Get Geeky #27: “Weird Al” Yankovic

July 8th, 2011

The first time I recall being exposed to “Weird Al” was seeing a music video on Disney of “Eat It” being played with snippets of Disney cartoons to go along with the music.

However, it wasn’t until 1997 when I really became a fan. I was in Boy Scouts and the members of the troop who hadn’t gone to the National Jamboree were going on a road trip with the goal of visiting the Jamboree for a day or two, seeing sights along the way. During the trip one of the other scouts who was in the same vehicle as myself had brought along some cds, including Bad Hair Day and let me listen to it during part of the trip. I’m not sure exactly which song or songs got me hooked but I’m glad I had that chance to listen to the album.

Since I didn’t know most, if any of the songs he was parodying at the time I didn’t pick up on the true artistry of what he was doing, but now later in life I can appreciate his work on a new level. Some people might think it is easy to just write new lyrics to someone else’s music, but if you really think about it, it isn’t. Not only does “Weird Al” rewrite the lyrics to fit the same beat and pattern of the original, but he also does it so they still make sense, albeit in a much more warped, some might even say weird, fashion.

Also, because his songs fall under parody and fair use he doesn’t technically have to get permission from the original artists to use their music. I think, therefore, that the fact that he does go out and request their permission however makes him a classy guy. And most of the time he gets the permission since many artists feel that when “Weird Al” does a parody of one of their songs that they’ve reached a milestone in their career.

I’m a tad proud to say that when I hear songs played in stores and restaurants a lot of them I recognize more often as songs that “Weird Al” parodied than I do the actual songs. And while I have discovered other humor/parody musicians over the years, if I hadn’t been exposed to and became a fan of “Weird Al” there is a good chance I never would have searched for and found those other musicians.

Let’s Get Geeky #26: Choose Your Own Adventure

July 1st, 2011

I can’t recall which Choose Your Own Adventure book I first read, or how old I was, but I do remember reading and enjoying a lot of them when I was younger. I think my main enjoyment of the books came down to the fact that I got to choose the path the story would go and become the protagonist. Granted the choices were limited to only two or three possible paths, but even in reality the choices we make are sometimes limited as well. Do I get up on the left side or the right side of the bed? Do I go to the grocery store first or do I go to a restaurant for a bite first? Do I turn right or do I turn left? While these choices probably won’t end with you being deserted on an alien world or becoming the leader of an uncharted island they still demonstrate that every choice you make can, and does, have an effect, even if it can be imperceptible at time. So even though at the time when I was reading the books I might not have picked up on it, in a way they caught me that my actions can have major consequences.

And yes, I was one of those kids who kept track of which choices I made so when I went back to reread the story I could follow a different path to see where that lead me. Almost making an alternate universe out of it in a way. Though I will admit, sometimes after a few read throughs I would just go through and read the book cover to cover to see what I missed.

Let’s Get Geeky #25: Exiles

June 24th, 2011

Exiles was the first X-Men based comic series that I read. I was familiar with the X-Men from the animated show from the 1990′s but the state of the X-Men and their roster and books was confusing at the time. For that matter things are still confusing with them in some ways, but that would be a tangent. The reason I was into the Exiles however comes down to two main reasons.

The first reason is the premise of the book is that six characters from different alternate realities became “unhinged” from time and became Exiles and had to hop from reality to reality to fix something. This meant that almost every storyline sent the heroes to a universe we hadn’t seen previously. So with my enjoyment of the What If? line of books this was right up my alley. Unlike the What If? books however in Exiles you got to keep traveling with the six main characters of the book so you got to see these new worlds through their eyes.

That brings me to the second reason I like the Exiles, the fact that for the most part there were only six main characters, unlike the regular X-Men books which had countless characters in their books it felt like. And since the members of the Exiles were pretty much all from alternate realities instead of the main Marvel universe (also known as the 616 universe) if a character was put into harm’s way you couldn’t be sure if they would make it out alive or not. And many times they didn’t. When this happened the character (or characters in some cases) would be replaced by someone from another dimension becoming “unhinged”. Often the characters in the book were people we recognized by their name and/or look but because of their coming from a different reality their back story and personality weren’t always what you’d expect.

Let’s Get Geeky #24: Darkwing Duck

June 17th, 2011

Unlike many previous, and most likely future, entries I do recall what the first episode of the show I saw was and where I saw it. I was at my mom’s work after school since where she worked allowed her to bring me there after school so I would watch tv on a small portable set and the episode was Beauty and the Beet, which was the first Bushroot episode.

I know Darkwing Duck wasn’t the first show I watched with the hero having a secret identity (He-Man) or the first with crime fighting heroes (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) but it was one of, if not the first show I really got into with a character that fit the comic book crime fighter with a secret identity type model.

Speaking of comics a little over a year ago BOOM! Studios started putting out a comic book on the character. I picked up the first issue due to nostalgia and enjoyed it enough that I’ve continued to pick up the series. Not only do the stories remind me of the show without actually being rehashed episodes but a lot of the covers are homages to famous comic book covers and many times they’ll also put Easter eggs inside the art for Disney fans.

Darkwing Duck is also one of three costumes I can remember dressing up as for Halloween parties. The other two being Star Trek related.

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