Sunday, September 30, 2007

Snap Judgments - Blue Beetle #19, Countdown to Adventure #2, Avengers: The Initiative #6

Blue Beetle # 19

Blue Beetle has been settling into a tidy formula over the last five issues - Jaime fights a guest villain, picks up a bit more wisdom on how to be a superhero, and the book wraps up on a personal note, often with single-tear inducing epilogues. This ish hits all the marks: Giganta is the baddie, and her Kaiju Big Battel style rampage is one of the most exciting action set pieces in months (drawn with gusto by David Baldon, who redeems himself for giving Tim Drake and Jaime the same face last month). Jaimie learns a lesson in horrifying pseudo-science of pressure points, and the emotional moment belongs to his gringa gal pal, Brenda.

These self contained stories work in the same way Paul Dini's recent run on Detective did - the dialogue zips the plot along, the resolutions are smart and satisfying, and it's easy for new readers to pick up. But as regular reader, I'd like to get back into the meat of the alien invasion plot line introduced way back in issue #13. And speaking of 13, rising star Traci 13 shows up for about three minutes in this issue to confirm that she and Jamie are totally hooking up. A- AHR

Countdown to Adventure #2

The only good thing about an alternate earth where Nazis rule the world is that when freedom-loving heroes from other dimensions show up, they have carte blanche to do as many head-severing superpunches as they want without fear of moral compromise. Here, it's Forerunner who gets to do a few laps of nazi-smashin' in the second half of this two-story issue - the first half concerns the dreadfully uninteresting 52 outer-space story, but does feature Animal stomping on a car and Starfire in civvys. I haven't been reading Countdown closely enough to fully understand the Forerunners complicated and tragic back story but I like what I do know: she likes to kick, hit, aaaaand KICK! B AHR

Avengers: The Initiative #6

I'm....I'm blind . Regular Initiative artist Stefano Caselli is MIA on this issue, and the jarring effect of seeing Dan Slott's script interpreted by young gun Steve Uy has caused my neural receptors to refuse the information my eyes attempted to relat. It's not as simple as a case of bad art - what drove me crazy is that the acting in this issue is terrible. Though the stiff body language and flat expressions seen here are not among the worst I've ever seen, artist Uy is at the serious disadvantage of filling in for an artist who has been creating the most vividly realized new characters in mainstream comics. Imagine watching a great movie with a fanatically talented cast, but when you come back from the bathroom all the characters are suddenly being played by first year drama students. The script might still be spot on, but nothing murders good dialogue like bad acting. Some important and surprising information is revealed in this issue, so regular readers may still want to check it out, but don't blame me if you're gripped with the impulse to hurl popcorn at the pages. D AHR

Friday, September 28, 2007

Digital Life: Two Minutes With the iRobot ConnectR

iRobot has announced its Parent Surrogate robot, the ConnectR. As you can see by these clips, it's as hilarious as you might imagine. As AHR discussed before, the danger of your young loved ones growing up thinking their mother/father/brother/sister is a talking Roomba is very high. Approach with caution.

Digital Life: One Minute With the Novint Falcon

The Novint Falon is a pretty wild force feedback game controller that can simulate everything from a gun's kick to running your hand (or that little plastic ball at least) over different textures (we touched slick ice, sticky molasses, and bumpy rock). It was pretty fun to play with for a few minutes, definitely a new experience, but the precision you're giving up by playing with it instead of a mouse is reason enough to not give it a second thought. Fun gimmick, though.

Photos: Oddities at Digital LIfe

The Geekanerd team took in the sights and sounds of Digital Life yesterday, most of which were distinctly robotic in nature. This is a robot's world, folks, we just live in it. Here's a selection of some of the convention's most notable displays.

At the iRobot keynote address, typical human opinions about robots were projected onscreen...

Roomba is not impressed by our illogical natterings.

Roomba eradicates dissent with the same ruthless efficiently it applies to ridding the world of fluff and dander.

That's all nice and foreboding, but Roombas are old news. The real excitement came when Colin Angle, iRobot's C.E.O. and Co-Founder, introduced a new member of their pizza-shaped robot family, the ConnectR. The ConnectR may look like a bedpan...
...but is in fact a stay-at-home proxy of you. That's right, YOU, yourself. The ConnectR is a set of remote controlled eyes and ears within your home, to be utilized when you're away on business but would still like to get some quality time in with the children. Gaze upon this photo, workaholics of America, and witness your future!

Controlled via your PC over a private network, this little robot can move back and forth, tilt it's unblinking electronic eye 360 degrees, and transmit your voice to your beloved, slightly unsettled family.  What the above photo doesn't show is the mess your robot surrogate will make when it sails across the Monopoly board in an attempt to push it's piece to Marvin's Gardens. "Daaaad!"

To be honest, I do see the appeal of a "Virtual Visiting Robot". I've got a baby half-sister in California, and here I am on the other side of the country in New York. It would be great to have a real, concrete presence in her every day life, even if that presence had to be slightly scary and electronic. But the idea that the baby would grow up believing that a talking plastic hubcap was her actual sister gives me pause. Still, it's kidna cute, right?

Hewlett Packard's address lacked robots and was therefore pretty dull, despite the fact that VP Phil McKinney was rocking the dressed down Steve Jobs look. The part that got my attention was when McKinney screened this old highly speculative game demo for HP's Mscape technology, and mentioned that some cynics on Digg thought the video's proposed application of technology was a tad unbelievable.

Then, as if to silence those doubting Thomases once and for all, Phil whipped out what he said was the actual device that will at last make gamers' augmented reality dreams come true, and will turn them into heroes in a never-ending video game as expansive as the entire earth.

Or maybe it was just a little rectangular piece of plastic the boys in marketing whipped up. Either way, McKinney did not go so far as to claim the thing worked like in the video, or would be produced as an HP product, or was not a PSP with a orange sticker over the screen.

Finally, Gateway introduced their new line of computers that look like giant iPods, but not before serving a basketful of these alarming muffins...
For more in-depth coverage of the coolest tech at Digital Life, check out our video features on the Novint Falcon (an awesome "force feedback" game controller) and our old friend the ConnectR.

Weekanerd NYC: Live Nude Fanboys, Star Trek at Midnight, The Last Great Coen Flick

Friday, September 21, 2007
Listening to these three dude talk comics on the iFanboy Podcast was a big part of what converted me from a casual TPB browser to an actual, in-the-store-every Wednesday comic reader. Watch them do their show live at Jim Hanley's and then head over to a local bar for the afterparty.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Sunday, September 23, 2007
  • Fargo
  • 4:30 @ MOMA's Roy and Niuta Titus Theater, 11 W. 53rd Street, Manhattan
The Coens greatest work? No, that would be Barton Fink. Still, Fargo - nothing to sneeze at.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Web Game of the Week: Throw Me

"Throw me. Just freaking Throw Me! I'm a cyclops-being that has no body and my limbs that are tethered to some weird kind of aether. Click on the treasure chest to free me. Move me around with your mouse to gain me momentum. Press the spacebar to release me! Throw me as high and as far as you can! Just get me away from the box! Storm clouds are bad -- they force me downwards. Normal clouds are good though -- they provide me with an upwards draft. However, my favorite things in the world are colored clouds and wrecking balls -- they stop me, but allow me to relaunch with a new set of power -- all you have to do is press the spacebar. So please... for the love of all that is holy... THROW ME!!! I promise it'll be fun!!"

This has been a message from Cyclop-Dude

Find out what Johnny has to say about the game after the jump...

Well, Cyclops-Dude explained most of how to play the game. The spacebar also gives you stamina, which basically causes you to float with balloons allowing you slightly change your trajectory to reach a wrecking ball. Additionally, despite Cyclops-Dude's over zealous enthusiasm, the game is great. The music is cool too and the sound effects oddly add the harmony.

Video: RedOctane Prez Talks Guitar Hero 3

Geekanerd Exclusive Alert: Kai Huang, RedOctane Co-Founder and President, teases us with possible music genres for the next installment of Guitar Hero Encores (no Legends of Ska-Punk on the horizon, I was sad to learn). He also fills us in on the just announced Sex Pistols reunion track, and extols the virtues of the new jump-off-the-couchable wireless controller. Happy Guitar Hero Day!

Geekanerd Gets Down and Dirty With the Guitar Hero III Wii Controller

Thar she is, all taken apart. The rep (who was an awesome GH player) claimed they'll have additional faceplates available at launch, but seemed a little less certain about the point of the removable neck, other than to say it will make it easier to cart around. Frankly, I may miss the admiration I get from my fellow citizens when they spy the colored fret buttons poking out from my backpack. The rep we spoke with mentioned maybe longer necks, dual necks, or swappable bodies, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

More pics after the jump, including a juicy closeup of the Wiimote dock.

The Wiimote slot is on the back of the guitar and has a plastic cover much like one a battery compartment might have, and a little Wiimote accessory dongle flopping around to hook into the bottom of your Wiimote.

This is the neck release...
...and the faceplate release.
This is an out of focus picture of a mystery jack that the rep had way too much fun playing dumb about. No clue what that's all about, but if I'm remembering correctly don't the 360 Guitar Hero controllers already have something like this that hasn't been put to use?
The faceplate coming off...

September 26, 2007 is OFFICIALLY Guitar Hero Day in NYC

Today at the Guitar Hero III Launch event New York City announced that September 26, 2007 is officially Guitar Hero Day! That's RedOctane President Kai Huang on the left there, with Krusty Krusterson from the city on the right presenting the official Proclamation. Oh, and Living Color.

We'll have some video of the presentation up later, as well as a Guitar Hero III deathmatch showdown between Geekanerd and Destructoid. You won't wanna miss it.

UPDATE: Our first delicious morsel of GHIII video can be found here.

Full press release after the jump.

City Official to Read Proclamation, Eager Fans Set To Storm the Streets of New York, Guitar Hero® III: Legends of Rock To Be Debuted at Digital Life

Santa Monica, CA - September 26, 2007 -- Activision, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI), publisher of the wildly popular Guitar Hero® franchise and the City of New York are proud to proclaim September 26, 2007 "Guitar Hero® Day" in New York City. Fans are ready to rock the streets of Manhattan as thousands are expected to gather in celebration of the day, with guitar controllers in hand. This proclamation is one of many Guitar Hero events taking place in New York City this week, heading into the launch of the highly anticipated Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock.

ReelGeek Goes to TIFF07

Well hello again from the internet! A couple of weeks back Toronto held its annual Toronto International Film Festival, and I went up to our neighbor to the north with a movie I worked on that was premiering. Then I was hit with the genius idea to see some films while I was there and tell you all about it! I stopped in to see a few films that might interest the Gnerd crowd. So without further ado, here’s a little rundown on the festival, and a review of the upcoming film “Juno” starring Ellen Page and Michael Cera.

So after an early morning flight and a long explanation of why I was entering Canada with a customs agent, and whether or not a tape in my possession was coming back to the states after the festival (Canada has a little-publicized overabundance of tapes clogging their major waterways, and every format is strictly regulated when entering the country) I walked out of the airport and into Toronto. If you’ve never been, well, check out another American metropolitan area, and then imagine it a lot cleaner and a bit friendlier, and that’s Toronto. It was as if someone had spread New York out a bit and then run a vacuum cleaner through it.

Toronto was a pretty laid-back film fest, from what I’ve heard from friends at the other big fests like Cannes and Sundance. There was very little overtaking of the city by the festival, and the paparazzi/legit photojournalism wasn’t super intense, though I avoided the parties so I can only really comment on the premiers, screenings, and the everyday walk through the city. Tickets are a pretty penny for seeing a film, even when you’re from New York and used to paying egregious amounts for a movie. Basically, if you plan to go up on your own, try and get in a bunch of films that don’t have distribution or are smaller foreign or documentary films. These are the ones you’ll feel okay about paying 20$ or more to see, because you won’t have to deal with all of your friends laughing at you a month later when they just snuck into the theater to see it for free. However, it’s always tempting to jump on seeing those soon-to-be big hits first. And here’s a review of one of those movies:

“Juno,” the newest film by Jason Reitman (director of “Thank You For Smoking,” son of Ivan “Ghostbusters” Reitman) is in a word, fantastic. Starring Ellen Page, Michael Cera, Jason Bateman, Jennifer Garner, Allison Janney, and JK Simmons, it’s packed with people you’ll enjoy watching for two hours. Page does a great job as Juno, an offbeat and sharp-witted 16 year old who manages to get knocked up by her close friend Bleeker, played by Michael Cera. If you think the thought of Michael Cera getting it on and then impregnating a girl is awkwardly hilarious, you’re correct, it is. Juno decides to keep her baby and adopt it out to a couple looking for a child, cue Bateman and Garner as a yuppie couple that could make Cape Cod itself barf from all the sweaters and khaki. The film basically follows Juno through her pregnancy, her strained relationship with Bleeker (Cera), and her attempt to learn more about the couple she’s going to be handing the fruit of her loins off to.

If I make the movie sound overly serious, I apologize. The film had me (and the entire audience) laughing from start to finish. First time screenwriter Diablo Cody’s dialogue is at once often honest and accurate to a 16 year old girl, and hilarious enough to match anything by Judd Apatow. If you liked “Knocked Up” or “Superbad,” you’re going to want to see “Juno.” I heard mixed things about the script/dialogue from super secret sources before the film finished, but Reitman and the actors do such a great job that it’s almost hard to understand why anyone would think twice before greenlighting a movie like this.

“Juno” is a great script, a great story, an awesome cast, and a hilarious film. The music, including Belle and Sebastian, The Velvet Underground, The Kinks, Cat Power, Sonic Youth, and a score of songs by The Moldy Peaches’ Kimya Dawson fit wonderfully. It’s a great soundtrack and compliments the music-loving Juno’s character excellently.

The only downsides are that the film can get a little too sweet at times, with some of the whimsical songs by Dawson and some kitschy little moments. But these hardly subtract from the film, and they do balance out Juno’s hard-edged outlook on life, love, and being a pregnant 16-year-old girl. Cody’s dialogue can, like I’ve mentioned, come off a bit premature for a high school girl to sound off with, but Page’s delivery manages to remove any doubt you might have that a teenager would talk like that. I recommend you all see it when it hits theaters in December. And if you want to check out the trailer, hop over to the official site.

Oh yeah, the best part of seeing it at Toronto, aside from the fact that Reitman, Cody, and the cast came out to discuss the film after the screening? These guys:

As you may or may not know, Cera’s character is a cross-country runner, and is seen wearing his outfit quite a bit. Well the film had some of the “team” show up and jog up and down the lines, talking with people waiting to go in.

That’s all for this week guys, come back to see another review and rundown from TIFF 07!

Zack Snyder Says "Hello" From the Watchmen Set

Warner Bros. is circulating a video from the Watchmen set of Zack Snyder saying... Not much. "Hello" is the gist of it. It seems to be a test run for future "messages from the director" that will maybe give us some juicier bits to chew on. He claims that everyone working on the movie loves Watchmen, but you can tell he's lying. That's ok, I still think the movie will be awesome.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Janeane Garofalo is a Geekanerd:
Refs Y: The Last Man in Political Debate

A couple of days ago Janeane Garofalo was on Bill Maher's program and brought up Brian K. Vaughn's Y: The Last Man when responding to Sally Field's comments that if mothers ruled the world there would be no wars. Salman Rushdie is sitting next to her and is like "WTF, mate?" The quote in question comes at 3:40 in the above video. Thanks to Joe for the tip!

Also check out our past " a Geekanerd" posts!

The Art of Bart

The Village Voice website has put up a ton of photo coverage of last week's Bart Simpson Art Exhibition at Toy Tokyo's Showroom NYC. The traveling exhibit gave over 50 artists their own 10 inch blank Bart dolls to serve as their canvas. The results (such as this Rat Fink-inspired entry by Matt Groening himself) may shock you.

Great photo coverage aside, I have to object to the Voice calling their feature "Bart Simpson: 50-Plus Artistic Visions of Homer's Kid". HOMER'S KID? Oh Bart, how your star has faded. Long gone are the days of Ay Carumba T-Shirts and The Bartman Music Video. At least the art world still has the kid's back.

A few more of the best Barts, after the jump.
Frozen in carbonite

Ziggy Stardust

Look at yourselves, America!

AHH! The Brothers Quay!

I try to avoid making Spider Pig jokes on this blog, but sometimes it's not easy

If you find this offensive, the terrorists win


Monday, September 24, 2007

Panel Discussion: The Week in Comic Book Scans

Most Awesomest Historical Figure Turned Supervillain - Zombie-Robot Gustave Eiffel, Umbrella Academy #1
What would the designer of the Eiffel Tower and structural engineer of New York's Statue of Liberty say if he knew he was being re-envisioned as a zombie robot in a comic book? "Maudit enfants!" ("damn kids!") probably sums it up.

Hit the jump for some motivation from Eclipso, harsh words from Bucky, Wii confessions from the Black Fox, and more!

Best Motivational Speaker
- Eclipso, Countdown to Mystery #1Eclipso's latest plot is to become the Tony Robbins of the DC universe.

Most Unpleasant Title Page - World War Hulk #4What's the point here? Though it has some panels from last ish, it's way too vague to work as a recap for someone that didn' t read last issue. The weird Photoshoppy blood (click to see the full res where you'll see the blood is rockin' a PS bezel) plus the weird Photoshop sketch of Strange drinking Zomjuice (which two out of three readers I informally polled in a dream thought was Tony Stark boozing) makes the whole thing seem very amateurish, like a fan wallpaper cobbled together from Romita's panels.

Best Comeback - Winter Soldier, Capitan America #30
"Know me? You don't know jack, Fatty!" I love that Bucky, though now an out of control outlaw vigilante, still uses insults from his child-sidekick days.

Movie Moment - Penance: Relentless #1
This illustration of Penance's Stamford guilt is a direct homage to the most terrifying scene in Terminator 2. Remember, the one where Sarah Conner dreams she's looking at a playground through a chain link fence, and after a moment a nuke goes off and everyone is burned alive? That scared the shit out of me when I was a kid, but you can watch it now if you'd like to compare it to the page above, and if you don't mind having a few nuclear dreams of your own.

Satisfying Conclusion to a Running Gag - Black Fox's Wii Theft Confession, Irredeemable Ant-Man #12
If you haven't been following this saga, first we saw Ant-Man and the Black Fox enjoying some Wii time, then the Black Fox snuck in during World War Hulk to steal the sexy white console, and now, after Ant-Man has thrown Fox to the S.H.I.E.L.D. wolves to save his own ass, Fox confesses. Hopefully the Black Fox can escape from the helicarrier in time to play Super Mario Galaxy on launch day.

Check out our past Panel Discussions while you're at it!

Geekanerd Spotter: Vampires Behind Bars

Remember those awesome 30 Days of Night poster designs that were released a few weeks ago? They're up and about in NYC. Thank god someone had the sense to put them behind bars, lest these vampires escape and turn Manhattan into an unlivable hell on earth. But I fear they'll only be satisfied with feeding on garbage for so long, and when they start to crave human blood I just hope that gate holds.

Past Editions of Geekanerd Spotter

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Weekanerd NYC - Fun Home, Wristcutters, Bionic TV and LotF

Monday, September 24, 2007
The first in a monthly series of graphic novel discussions kicks off with a talk about Alison Bechdel's Fun Home. It's a book with a lot of fans, hopefully they'll get a few detractors to keep the conversation lively.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Based on a graphic novel, this Sundance flick got into some trouble with a marketing campaign that supposedly made light of suicide. What's the problem? Suicide is hilarious! Tickets are $10, hit the title link to order.

Wendesday, September 26, 2007
Did you play that Bionic Assessment Test game? I got like 36% Bionic. That's shameful.

Thursday, September 27, 2007
  • Lord of the Flies
  • 8pm @ The Museum of Modern Art (Roy & Nina Titus Theater), 11 W. 53rd St, Manhattan
Childhood was not necessarily a fun time for us geekanerds, but at least you weren't marooned with your classmates on a desert island with a smoke monster. Wait, that's Lost.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Photos: Dance Party at the Apple Store, Y'all

This past summer, Fifth Avenue's monolithic cube of an Apple Store hosted Midnight Mix, a series of free in-store dance parties featuring a different DJ each night. It's a pretty smart idea. Hipsters and club kids come out for the novelty. And if you're going to try to get a nerd on to a dancefloor, setting it within a computer store is your best bet.

Last night marked the end of Midnight Mix, with guest DJ Spank Rock. Hit the jump for G'Nerd photo coverage.

Don't be fooled by the above photo, those squares at the Apple Store never turned down the lights. Bastards.