Archive for the ‘News’ Category

So, you may have noticed things have been a bit silent at The Maniacal Geek and That Girl with the Curls podcast for the past month. Honestly, ever since Emerald City Comicon, my personal life has changed dramatically in terms of priorities and an assessment of what I can realistically accomplish in the course of a single day. After some soul-searching, though, I’ve come to the conclusion that the writing aspect of The Maniacal Geek will have to be put on the back burner for the foreseeable future. Between my day job, home life, pop culture writing, podcast, and actual free moments, the pop culture writing is the easiest thing to let go for now.

Keeping up with the Joneses of comic book journalism, reviews, and op-eds is practically a full-time job in and of itself; one that I don’t get paid for and essentially do because I love comics and most of the community that surrounds the industry. Plus, I’m burnt out at the moment. Writing isn’t something I can easily pop in and out of – there’s planning, researching, thinking, and arguing with myself that takes place well before I start writing and even then it can take time to compose thoughts and arguments so I actually sound like I know what I’m talking about. In the long run, the podcast is easier to manage and allows me to express myself in a real-time conversation rather than over-analyzing every sentence committed to paper or screen. For funsies, try to guess how long this sentence took to actually write. You’ll be pleasantly surprised. Or not. That’s not to say that I’m completely separating myself from writing or from the comics community. I still have some article ideas I want to write, but I have a greater need to focus on some ideas for short stories and novels that have been fighting for attention in my brain. At the moment, I’m more than happy to oblige them.

I’ve also recently taken a more hands on approach to the industry by becoming a part-time Event Coordinator for Outsider Comics and Geek Boutique in Fremont, Washington. Jill and Reagan Taplin are an amazing couple who’re setting out to be as involved with the local community as they are with nerds, geeks, and the comic book industry. I’ve been fortunate enough to talk to a lot of amazing people over the last few years, so whatever connections I can bring to the shop, I’m more than willing to exploit! HINT. HINT.

So there you have it. That Girl with the Curls will keep trucking along, but the Maniacal Geek is going to take a back seat, bit of a snooze, for the time being. Hopefully those of you who have stuck with me for the writing will carry on through the podcast, but if that’s not your thing, then no worries. Hopefully I’ll see you at the conventions or at one of Outsider Comics’ events!

Advertisements

Dear Readers,

Good Lord, I don’t even know where to start, but here goes nothing.

If you’ve never looked at the “About” page on this site, then you might be interested in the origins of the name “Maniacal Geek.” When I was in graduate school, I was writing a paper on women during the American Revolution and one of the articles I read was about the marginal conversations of John Adams with the works of Mary Wollstonecraft (mother of Frankenstein writer Mary Shelley). Separated by an ocean, there wasn’t a lot of immediacy where the mail was concerned, so Adams didn’t have the luxury of telling Wollstonecraft, in real time, how he felt about her ideas on the French Revolution, Democracy, or the status of women. Instead, he wrote in the margins of her printed works, engaging with her ideas by writing down his own reactions, thoughts, and diatribes. One piece of marginalia stood out the most within the article wherein Adams had written, “Maniac! keep within your Limits!”

When I saw that quote, it stuck with me. I wasn’t shocked considering the era of history I was studying, but there was such vehemence in those words that I couldn’t rightly ignore them. Here was a man of his time, one of the Founding Fathers, basically telling a woman that she had no place talking about politics, that her “limits,” her sphere of influence, was in the home raising children and whatnot. Going beyond those limits was a social infraction Adams couldn’t overlook.

So when I was coming up with ideas for a blog a few years back, I wanted something that could be relatively broad and yet speak to the less than better angels that I tend to follow. I’m also a sucker for a maniacal laugh now and again, so the name Maniacal Geek stuck. The intention was to give myself room enough to write about everything that interested me (which is a lot), without limiting myself to one genre or medium of discussion. I rant, I analyze, I opine, and I rationalize all for the sake of processing the world around me. No boundaries, no limits. Take that, Mr. Adams!

And yet, in light of the recent results of the 2016 Presidential election, I find myself questioning if I ever did that at all. Did I push back enough? Did I call out atrocious behavior enough? Did I fight? I can’t confidently say yes, and that hurts because I wasn’t raised to sit on the sidelines. I was taught to stand up for people when they needed help. I was taught to speak my mind regardless of authority figures. I was taught to have empathy and sympathy for those whose lives were not my own. I don’t know if I’m a leader, but I’m a damn good champion for a cause.

Going forward, then, means being that champion without hesitation. Compromise doesn’t mean shit if the other side has only shown open disdain and hatred while daring to ask that we work towards “unity.” Acts of racism, bigotry, misogyny, islamophobia, homophobia, transphobia will not be tolerated nor will they be normalized. As a white woman, it’s my responsibility to make sure my actions speak louder now more than ever. I know who broke the world and I don’t get to ignore it. I assumed solidarity where there was none and it’s on me and mine to fix it. So that’s what we’ll do.

That’s the point of this article, Dear Readers. I want and need you to know I’m on your side, but I don’t expect you to take it on faith or trust me. I haven’t earned the right to ask that of you. Just know that I have no intention of going anywhere. I may just be a woman writing about comic books now and then, or a host voicing her opinion on a small podcast, but you’d be amazed at what kind of power is found in the places you least expect.

Love and Kisses,

Sam

 

High resolution safety pin on white, clipping path inside

In the wake of the senseless tragedy that occurred at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida back in June, DC Comics and IDW have decided to combine their powers and jointly publish LOVE IS LOVE, an anthology honoring the 49 shooting victims and celebrating the LGBTQ community. Scheduled for release in December for $9.99, all proceeds will go to the victims, survivors, and their families via Equality Florida.

Art by Elsa Charretier

Art by Elsa Charretier

Spearheaded by writer Marc Andreyko (Batwoman, Sensation Comics, Manhunter), LOVE IS LOVE will feature 100 1-2 page stories by at least 200 creators showing their love and support for a community still in mourning yet bolstered to fight back against bigotry and hate. While a full list has yet to be provided, many artists and writers have already announced their association with the project. Currently, we know the anthology will feature the talents of Phil Jimenez, Steve Sadowski, Paul Jenkins, Mike Carey, Matt Wagner, Marguerite Bennett, Aneke, Damon Lindelof, Patton Oswalt, Steven Orlando, Rafael Albuquerque, Jason Aaron, Jason Latour, James Asmus, Ming Doyle, James Tynion IV, Cecil Castellucci, Brandon Peterson, Jesus Saiz, Olivier Coipel, Leinil Yu, and Elsa Charretier. More names will be disclosed as we get closer to the release date.

Said Andreyko of the project:

 

When tragedy happens, art responds. And after the Pulse massacre, the comics community responded quickly, decisively, and with open hearts. I could not be more proud of this book, or to be a member of the comics community. The talent and emotion on every page is staggering. LOVE IS LOVE mourns the 49 lost, honors the survivors, and celebrates love in all forms.” [Source: The Beat]

 

With DC Comics backing the project, some of the stories will feature characters from the comic book universe and, if the cover art by Albuquerque and Charretier is anything to go by, it looks like the queer community of the DCU will thankfully be leading the charge.

Art by Rafael Albuquerque

Art by Rafael Albuquerque

 

shark4Dear Reader, if it hasn’t become apparent at this point that I’m a fan of sci-fi B-movies, then I apologize for neglecting to reveal such an essential aspect of my personality. Thankfully, there’s a new Kickstarter campaign ready and willing to meet all of my B-movie needs while feeding my religion + intelligence + humor = Happy Sam formula. See my reviews of James Asmus, Jim Festante, and Rem Broo’s The End Times of Bram and Ben as well as Justin Aclin and Nicolas Daniel Selma’s S.H.O.O.T. First for further proof. So, with that frame of reference in mind, I’m very pleased to present Sharkasaurus!

Written by Spencer Estabrooks with art by Tyler Jenkins and based on Estabrooks’s short film of the same name, Sharkasaurus is, in the words of its creators:

…a horror comedy that pits creationists and paleontologists against the prehistoric Sharkasaurus. The story follows a pair of star-crossed lovers; the rebellious emo son of Paleontologist falls for the promiscuous daughter of a widowed creationist. After they accidentally awaken a prehistoric tunneling dino-shark, they must evolve their ideological difference or succumb to the inevitable jaws of Sharkasaurus. Set on the Heavenly Holes creationist themed golf course, the story is full of satire, incredible death scenes and epic one-liners. The characters, although stereotypes, are flawed but cheer-able heroes marching forward towards enlightenment and death.

shark1

First and foremost, the book is  about evolution and promises readers the satisfaction or disgust of watching characters grow and change in the face of death. It’s always in those moments of heightened emotions that we face our true nature, so I’m looking forward to watching the cookie-cutter, trope-laden characters break out of their molds once the Sharkasaurus arrives. Yes, that is a sentence I just wrote.

I must confess I’ve never seen any of Estabrooks’s work, but from the way he describes it there’s plenty to sink your teeth into – so to speak. I am, however, very familiar with artist Tyler Jenkin’s work, namely Peter Panzerfaust, Neverboy, and Snowblind. Jenkins is top notch and the preview art already has me excited for what’s in store.

If you need further convincing, check out the Kickstarter page, and the many rewards available, as well as the official website where you can watch the short film that was a darling of the indie film scene last year.

If you happened to have your finger on the pulse of the comic book community, then you might be aware that Kelly Sue DeConnick and Matt Fraction found some time between writing some of the best comics of the last five years (seriously: Pretty Deadly, Bitch Planet, Sex Criminals, ODY-C, and Satellite Sam to name a few) to create their own production company, Milkfed Criminal Masterminds Milkfed(MCM). With comic book adaptations on the rise and showing no signs of stopping where Hollywood is concerned, DeConnick and Fraction first made headlines last year when it was reported that their newly conceived of company would be used to adapt Fraction and artist Chip Zdarsky’s Sex Criminals for television after signing a deal with Universal Studios. Going forward, MCM would serve as a platform for adapting other comic book properties, specifically creator-owned books.

A year later and Milkfed Criminals has moved on from a tumblr page to a full blown website with the recent official launch at HeroesCon in Charlotte, North Carolina. Complete with a Milkfed panel, signings, fun and games, the team of DeConnick, Fraction, and the many collaborators and staff of Milkfed Criminal Masterminds began what looks to be like an exciting development in the world of comic book adaptations.

When I reached out to Kelly Sue DeConnick to gauge her level of excitement moving forward, she could only articulate it thusly:

 

Crazy excited. And scared. That’s a kind of excited, yeah?

 

And though Sex Criminals was the big property she and Matt Fraction signed on for last year, it seems that, though it’s still in the works, other properties might take precedence. Kelly didn’t offer up any other names but I’ve got my fingers crossed for Bitch Planet or Pretty Deadly finding their ways to television or a digital platform. I’m biased, so sue me.

I also asked if she and Matt would gift me a country of my choice when they took over the world, but Kelly is nothing if not an honest woman about her management style:

 

Oh, I’m not built for world domination.  I’ve got my hands full running our household, shit.

Matt-Fraction_Kelly_Sue_DeConnick

If you’re a loyal reader of Maniacal Geek or a frequent listener of That Girl with the Curls podcast, you’re probably aware of my love for the DeConnick/Fraction household and burgeoning comic book empire. So, yes, I’m excited about the possibilities going forward for some of my favorite books being handled by some of my favorite people. Congrats to Kelly Sue and Matt and all those involved with Milkfed Criminal Masterminds for not throwing away their shot! Long may they reign!

And you should all go pick up the latest issues of Pretty Deadly and Bitch Planet that came out last week! Also, you can listen to Kelly Sue’s episode of the podcast here!

At least somebody understands that just because you’re a billionaire playboy who inspires fear in the hearts of criminals as a means to avenge the death of your parents when you were a kid doesn’t mean you can’t smile every once and a while.

Truly one of the standout characters from the LEGO Movie, Batman (voiced brilliantly by Will Arnett) is back in his own solo flick which still promises to give us plenty of action, DARKNESS!, and a few cameos from some of those other heroes Bats likes to pal around with. The teaser trailer released today may be Warner Bros. riding on the premiere of Batman v Superman, but if early reviews are any indication as to how audiences may react then perhaps the studio is trying to balance the grimdark of the Justice League prelude with a Batman who loves what he does and has a sweet bat-cave! If anything the movie promises to keep nerds like me busy looking for all of the Bat-references and Bat-Easter eggs.

So here ya go, the LEGO Batman teaser:

lego batman

I’ve been told by various social media outlets that I haven’t posted anything in a while (9 days), so being the panicky person that I am, I figured I’d let y’all in on what’s been going on in La Casa de Maniacal Geek and what the future looks like for the time being.

First of all, I’ve been in a state of sickness for the majority of those nine days wherein I wasn’t furiously posting. Pretty much within a few hours of seeing Deadpool (which is awesome and fun and you should all go see it) I’ve been in and out of all the symptoms you can read off a NyQuil bottle. Normally, being sick only puts me out for a couple days, but this also happened to be the week my boss was on vacation the whole time, so I was acting as the sole Archivist for a company that has nearly one thousand employees. Suffice it to say, I haven’t really had the time to convalesce like I normally would. Hence, very little posting because putting more than a few sentences together exceeded the amount of energy available to me at the time. 1630448-martianmanhunter_oreo_final

Not to worry, I shall recover, but there will probably be more That Girl with the Curls podcast postings in the next couple weeks than articles. Writing takes a lot more of my time and energy, but the podcasts are far more immediate and quicker to turn around for your listening pleasure.

Also hindering the article writing process is my desire to write more prose – preferably the kind I can get paid for – as well as focus on some more creative projects I’ve only been half-heartedly tinkering with. In case you missed the announcement, I will have a story coming out in June, entitled “Her Majesty’s Untapped Fury,” digitally published by Mad Scientist Journal for their Summer 2016 Anthology. It was a fun story to write and it reinvigorated my love of writing fiction. Plus, Emerald City Comicon will be descending upon Seattle in less than two months, so I’ll have plenty to report back on as well as a few guests lined up for podcasts.

Lastly, I’ll be doing some website cleanup, making things a little more presentable as well as adding older articles I’ve had waiting in the wings for a while. The Backlog will be mighty and full of the fun ramblings you’ve come to expect from me.

So, that’s all I got. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a pillow to rest on and some trashy tv to watch.

James Rowe of Roman on the Rocks joins Sam for a session mostly dedicated to all things DC Comics and their properties including Batman: Arkham Knight, Batman v Superman, Arrow, The Flash, and Batgirl.

 

Batgirl

With filming already begun on Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters reboot, the director has taken to Twitter over the last few days and revealed the team’s old yet new accouterments. Working from the original premise of paranormal investigators who treat ghosts like a one would treat roaches or rodents, Feig and his costuming/props departments have taken what worked in the 80s and found a way to make it even more rough and ready for the next generation of ‘Busters.

Slated for release in July of next year, Ghostbusters stars Feig’s veteran ensemble players Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy as well as Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon. The plot goeth thusly:

Wiig and McCarthy play a pair of unheralded authors who write a book positing that ghosts are real. Flash forward a few years and Wiig lands a prestigious teaching position at Columbia U. (Like the original, the story takes place in New York City, even though it’s being shot in Boston.) Which is pretty sweet, until her book resurfaces and she is laughed out of academia.

Wiig reunites with McCarthy and the other two proton pack-packing phantom wranglers, and she gets some sweet revenge when ghosts invade Manhattan and she and her team have to save the world. [Source: The Boston Herald]

Well, if the “phantom wranglers” are going to get their sweet revenge, then they’re gonna need the right equipment. First, Feig gave us a look at the jumpsuits the ladies will be sporting.

 

While this isn’t a huge deviation from the original uniforms from 1984, it’s worth noting that those were flightsuits while the newer jumpsuits are playing up the firefighter motif that makes sense when the team operates out of a refurbished firehouse. Even a little thing like adding the reflective stripes plays up the “emergency service” aspect and shows how the Ghostbusters approach their job. It’s splitting hairs, but the attention to detail shows that Feig and his team aren’t playing around with the concept.

There’s even a pick of McCarthy wearing her jumpsuit.

 

425_FFN_McCarthy_Ghostbuster_RM_exc_063015_51786504

via FlameFlynet

 

Next, Feig showed revealed the new proton packs along with a helpful diagram of the various components for those in need of the terminology when constructing their own.

 

 

Again, it’s the details that really set the newer model apart original. The look of the old proton pack was slightly more put together than this, though it still had a polish that gave the audience the feeling that Spengler and Stantz had already gone through a refinement stage, but didn’t have time to do a proper field test. Hence, the elevator scene. The new model looks like how I imagine the ’84 pack would’ve looked during phase one of construction. It’s rusted and dirty, giving off the vibe that the team had to pick through a scrap yard to find the right pieces.  Best of all, with the main pieces of costuming down, we get to see things like this:

 

 

Women cosplaying as Ghostbusters isn’t new, but the fact that a little girl is already enjoying the fruits of a new team of Ghostbusters, who all happen to be women, is just heartwarming. She now has a group of smart, science-oriented women to look to and go “I wanna dress and be just like them!” For Science!

Lastly, Feig revealed the new wheels our ladies will be driving.

 

And no your eyes aren’t fooling you, that’s a hearse dressed up as the new Ecto-1. The concept hasn’t changed at all. In the ’84 movie, the Ecto-1 was a ’59 Cadillac ambulance/hearse. Makes sense, if you operate out of a firehouse then your vehicle would most likely be a revamped ambulance with awesome sirens and lights. The new Ecto-1 doesn’t mess with what was already a good idea, though there is something hilariously morbid about using  just a repurposed hearse to catch ghosts.

Overall, the design aesthetic of the new Ghostbusters is coming along nicely and I personally can’t wait to see the movie. But what do you think? Let me know in the comments.

If you’re a DC Comics fan and you haven’t seen the cast photo of the Suicide Squad released by the film’s director David Ayer a few days ago, then what are we even doing here?!

Sorry, I kid.

Anyway, if you haven’t seen it, then gaze upon the strange glory that is the Suicide Squad/Task Force X!

SuicideSquadCastLight

 

Yeah, soak it all in!

In case you were wondering who the hell all these people are and who they’re playing, starting from the far left: Slipknot (Adam Beach, though the character still isn’t officially confirmed), Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), Katana (Karen Fukuhara), Enchantress (Cara Delevingne), Col. Rick Flagg (Joel Kinnaman), Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Deadshot (Will Smith), Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), and El Diablo (Jay Hernandez).Suicide-Squad-Comic-Logo-Movie

Missing from the photo is Viola Davis as Amanda “The Wall” Waller, the ruthless taskmaster of the Squad, but I’m sure her official image is a’comin’. The photo dropped on the heels of Ayer releasing an image of Jared Leto’s Joker, who is pretty much one of the antagonists of the film though definitely not the only one. IMDB lists Ike Barinholtz as Dr. Hugo Strange, Raymond Olubawale as King Shark, Scott Eastwood as Steve Trevor, Jim Parrack as Deathstroke, Ben Affleck as Batman, and Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor as well. There are also roles yet to be confirmed, notably the casting of Common as…a character. Some of these casting decisions may be wrong even on the site since Fukuhara is listed as Plastique (the villain she was originally rumored to play) instead of Katana, so Lord knows what information is going to start rolling out over the next year.

Yeah, Suicide Squad won’t be out until August 2016, the followup to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice due for release on March 25, 2016 that will supposedly star every DC hero ever as a precursor to the real Justice League movie, parts 1 and 2, out in 2017 and 2019 respectively. So, before we really get to know the heroes, we’ll get to know a whole group of villains/anti-heroes first!

Wait, what?

JOKER_LETOI’ll be honest, the Warner Bros. strategy of throw everything at the audience is one hell of a gamble. Not that it couldn’t pay off. Suicide Squad has the potential to hit Guardians of the Galaxy status if the story is good and the characters, ya know, have a little fun. Having Harley Quinn on the team certainly ups the percentage of one-liners and nonsensical dialogue, but she’s also the only bright spot in yet another dark, drab photo for a DC movie. You look at that photo and your eyes go to Harley first. I mean, seriously, they couldn’t at least put Enchantress in a brighter outfit? They’re basing a lot of these looks on the New 52 versions of the characters in the comics, so you could at least give Enchantress a slick green hoodie dress. Also, what the hell is she actually wearing? I’m no authority on fashion, but I don’t think crazy-pants-bog-witch-gypsy is the best choice, stylistically, for missions that may involve more than standing in the background looking weird. Besides, Harley’s already got the market cornered on impractical outfits. Booty shorts and high-healed boots? Yup, one teacup short of a china hutch. It’s worth noting, though, that Margot Robbie owns that photo. Amidst all the serious faces because serious, she’s going to smile her way into our hearts…hopefully.

Given the bloated cast and the team with which we’re dealing, it’s all but inevitable that one of them dies before the first act. The Squad, as a means of ensuring compliance with the missions, are surgically implanted with explosives with Waller’s finger always hovering over the button to make them go KABOOM! And Waller is known for her effective “make-an-example-of-disposable-villains” routine, which is all but guaranteed to happen when one of these guys tries to bail during a mission. This is textbook stuff, but it might be fun to see who bites it first. Hint: could be Slipknot, but you didn’t hear it from me.

My biggest concern is that it just feels a little…small. Akinnuoye-Agbaje is playing Killer Croc and yet there’s something disappointing about the fact that he just looks like a regular-sized dude-mutant who could be the cousin of Super Mario’s goombas. I know DC and Warner Bros. are going for the “grounded” versions, but you have a meta human on a team with a woman who wields a sword inhabited by her dead husband’s soul and another woman who uses magic – a conceptsuicide-squad-117157 that’s still on shaky ground since Constantine may not make it to a second season. These are big personalities whose power sets leave a huge impact on the heroes they regularly face. They should physically reflect that as well. Would it be too much to ask for an oversized mallet and hyenas for Harley instead of a Louisville slugger?

But these are just surface responses to one picture. As I’ve learned, nothing about the film industry is set in stone and what we see now could be completely different in a year or so. I guess what I’m saying is I’m at least intrigued by the movie’s prospects. I give Ayer props for the diverse casting, but it all comes down to opening weekend and whether the performances match the hype.