Friday, November 30, 2007

Watchmen: Movie Stills to Comic Panels Comparison

The official Watchmen movie page posted four high-res photos of their New York set this past week, and the things are full of shout outs to the alternate New York Dave Gibbons so richly illustrated in the comic. I'll be taking a look at the pics one at a time, don't be afraid to click them for full res detail:

UPDATE: The trailer for the film has been released, check out some detailed film to comic comparisons of it here.

Photo 1: The Newsstand
The first thing that pops out about this image is that they've relocated the newsstand from the Southeast corner of 40th St and 7th Ave to somewhere near Grand Central Station. In the book the location allowed for it to be within sight of Madison Square Garden, where thousands died at a Pale Horse concert. Maybe the big fat kill in the movie will be Grand Central commuters instead of metalheads.

MUCH more analysis after the jump...

Obviously, we've got the Bernies in their places, with Little Bernie sitting in front of a large ad for Tales of the Black Freighter, the comic he is reading throughout the story.It's also interesting to note that he's leaning against a fire hydrant instead of an electric car recharging station. Why? More on that later. They've also crammed a lot of other locations from the book onto the same block. For instance, the Rumrunner Bar, next to which the ill-fated Moloch lives:
Also, the Burlesk strip club, complete with the "Enola Gay and the Little Boys" marquee:And lastly, a poster for the aforementioned Pale Horse/Krystalnacht show hangs in the background:
Photo 2: Gunga Diner

On the opposite corner from the newsstand (at least in the book), the Gunga Diner stands. They've maintained the shape of the window trim and the elephant logo, but sexed it all up a bit to good effect. There also appears to be a curtained greenscreen off to the left, which *ehem* wasn't in the book. Notice the difference in the taxi designs. The comic is based in an alternate 1980s where the influence of Dr. Manhattan has fast-forwarded us into new technologies like the electric car, among other things. The movie appears to be set in a non-alternate 80s, with normal cars and therefore, as I mentioned above, no charging stations. What does this mean? Is the Dr. Manhattan character's influence on the world downplayed in the movie? This was a major theme in the book, I wonder what they're cookin'.

Photo 3: Treasure Island
Nothing really happens here at Treasure Island, aside from it being the earliest chronological appearance of the "Who Watches the Watchmen?" graffiti. They've added some details about what's on sale, and oddly used the chiefly British spelling of "collectibles." I guess that's what you get when you hire Canadian art directors.

Photo 4: The Pawn Shop? Hurm. Couldn't find any pawn shops in the book, but I did find a (much smaller) Nixon four more years poster:Which brings up an interesting point. Dave Gibbons' illustrations for the comic were extremely dense with little artifacts from the world of the book. But these artifacts were always subtle, never drawing attention to themselves. Notice that I couldn't find a better image of the Rumrunner sign, the Burlesk sign, or the Gunga Diner. These things are all throughout the book, yet they are easy to overlook because they don't announce their presence. We don't even ever see the full phrase "Who Watches the Watchmen?" We have to piece it together from the fragments we see throughout the story. This is what makes rereading Watchmen such a treat--you'll always notice something you never saw before. Here's hoping Zack Snyder is approaching the film with the same delicate touch.

All in all, these stills get me excited. They feel like Watchmen. Notice how faithful they're being to the slightly bizarre yellow and purple-heavy color scheme of the book: the yellows of the door Rorschach is walking towards and Treasure Island, and the purple Gunga Diner. Vrrr nice.

Protect Your Gadgets With Gelaskins

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Promotional Link

Indulge yourself with some brand new iphone cases with cool concept designs.

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You put your ipod in your pocket, and in your pocket are your keys and a pen that, unbeknownst to you, sprung a leak yesterday.

The moment will come when you feel like listening to the “No One” by Miss Alicia Keys.

You reach for your ipod and see this:

There’s a crapload of ink dried up permanently covering almost 2/3 of your screen. Friend: “Hey what song is this?” You: “I DON’T KNOW.”

That scratch takes itself right through the touchwheel.

Don’t hate yourself. It’s not like you were about to velcro your ipod into a forty-dollar accessory like it’s about to go on a trip to Mars. If you’d wanted to cart around a refrigerator-sized device that plays music, then you could just put your home stereo system into a wagon. Tell me I'm wrong. No, you wanted an ipod that was shaped like an ipod. And don’t step over here with an idea about some translucent royal blue holiday saran wrap googity moogity that, while sure it maintains your junk’s silhouette, is about as nice to look at as the CIA headquarters in DC and about as good at protecting you and yours as the CIA has been in recent years. Tell me I'm wrong.

There's hope. Four weeks ago, I was at an event with my friends A. H. Robe and Albertson Rather.

I came upon two gentlemen selling these. They're gelaskins. Check out how nice.

They come for a variety of ipod models, and some phones and computers too. Most importantly, they look good.

These gelaskins are made of a special adhesive designed for use on buses and cars. The adhesive is tough. Your keys won’t be able to scratch up your nano no matter how much they want to.

The gelaskins peel right off, too. Maybe you get tired of the beautiful artwork encasing your ipod. Well, remove it. Go ahead. What’s that, you applied your gelaskin last year? That shit peels off like it’s late for a meeting, no matter how long it’s been in place.

And the gelaskins collection is well curated. This is one of those opportunities to give the world a lot of information about yourself. What kind of person are you? A dreamy kid? Troy McClure? Proudly into golf?

Here’s my 2nd generation nano today: protected on all possible sides (there’s even a gelascreen on my screen protecting it from scratches).

Here’s a jacked-up modification AHR made using the sassy steam punk gelaskin she got at an expo. It’s for an iPod touch, not her classic kind, but she wanted to look cool, so she’s trying to make it work.

Weekanerd NYC: Jurassic Park, The New New Museum, and Sad Songs

Friday, November 30th
  • Jurassic Park
  • Midnight @ The Sunshine, 143 East Houston Street, Manhattan
I hope you haven't forgotten how awesome this movie is. This was made in 1993 and the dinosaurs still look completely fucking real.

Saturday, December 1st
This museum rules, and now it's back and totally insane looking. For the first 30 hours of the grand reopening admission is free, but only if you've got a ticket, and they already gave them all away. But the official site says if you show up it might be possible to get a returned or unused ticket on the spot, if you want to chance it.

Sunday, December 2nd
Though they had their on-trend moment in the late 90s, mix tapes are still a labor of music geek love. This new monthly event invites music fans to trade mix tapes or CDs amongst themselves, based on this months' theme of The Saddest Songs In The World. ROCK. I pick Shannon, I Know It's Over, and I Can't Make You Love Me. I'm crying just thinking about them.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Ratatouille Wants An Oscar - A REAL One!

I wasn't much of a fan of Ratatouille, but the film critics of America certainly "ate it up" (sorry). It's currently the best reviewed film of the year as scored by Metacritic, and unless Atonement, Sweeney Todd, or There Will Be Blood contain exactly zero elements that anyone might dislike, Brad Bird's portrait of an artist as a young rodent will by numerical critical consensus be the best film of 2007. However, Ratatouille is unlikely to get an Oscar nom for Best Picture because animated films have been ghettoized into their own category since the 2001 awards. It was then that the Best Animated Feature category was introduced, which has since been treated more like Least Bad Kiddie Movie, judging by some of the nominees. While the existence of the category doesn't actually bar animated films from Best Film competition, most don't bother to campaign, nullifying their chances. But according to this NY Times Article, the folks at Pixar are making a go of it, perhaps inspired by their own odds-overcoming cartoon rat.

As much as I'd like to see Pixar set a precedent for high-quality animated films competing on the level of other critically acclaimed films, I don't see it happening this time around. 2007 looks to be a pretty damn good year for American films, this being the year when the US's endless war anxiety finally rose to the surface in an eruption of downbeat, bloody movies, setting up a crowded playing field that I doubt Ratatouille will squeeze into.

What would it take, I wonder, for an animated movie to get nominated these days? The first and last cartoon to compete for Best Picture was Beauty and the Beast; has there been another animated film released in America since then that has had the same winning combination of production value, dignity, and traditional storytelling? The Triplets of Bellville was a bit hit with critics, but it was way too weird to play as an Oscar movie (although that year the extremely weird Return of the King won, which in addition to being a mess was one of the most boring movie I've ever seen, despite featuring a scene where a man on fire jumps off a mountain). Action-comedies are persona non-grata as far as the Oscars are concerned, so The Incredibles is out too. I think the only animated movie in the last seven years that could have had a shot was Spirited Away, which was also foreign and pretty bizarre, but was easy to watch and by a famous and celebrated filmmaker. But Spirited Away has come and gone, let's look to the future. If Ratatouille can't change Americans minds about animated film, perhaps Persepolis can. With an amazing looking trailer and extremely timely subject matter (a first person recollection of Iran's Islamic Revolution), Persepolis is poised to be one of the biggest adult-oriented animated features in U.S history, and will also likely determine commercial viability of animated films adapted from comics. Given those stakes, I hope Persepolis lives up to it's hype. But as far as awards go, it'll have a hard enough time wrenching that statue out of Ratatouille's hands in the Animated Feature category, especially if the Best Pic campaign fails. Or who knows, maybe Jerry Seinfeld will do his stand-up in every Academy voter's living room and Bee Movie will take the whole thing.

Related: My schizoid review of Ratatouille with a title that makes zero sense.
Geekanerd's look at Persepolis' acting talent, plus one of the early trailers.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Look Under the Skirt of a Giant Atari 2600 Joystick

The Boing Boing guys get up close and personal with a giant Atari 2600 joystick. Seems like it would be fun to play with a friend, one on stick and one on button. Things were so simple back then, it would take an entire party to work a giant PlayStation controller.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Detective Comics #838 and Comic Book Acting

As a former film student, I've seen many a decent script (well, a few at least) ruined by bad acting. This happens in the world of comics too; thought the characters might be just ink on a page, they certainly do act out the script, and when they act badly you can tell somethings wrong. Some prime examples of bad comic book acting can be found in Detective #838. Writer Paul Dini has turned out another engaging Detective story with several strong emotional beats, but artist Ryan Benjamin really drops the ball in illustrating the facial expressions and body language that should make these moments come alive. See what I mean after the jump...

In the following scene, the recently resurrected Ra's Al Ghul tries to temp Robin to the dark side. Notice the lack of backgrounds in the following exchange, although I must say the colorists at least gave a nice sort of sponge-paint texture with what could have been a solid color background. The acting here is mediocre; you might expect a little more sting in Robin's face upon hearing Ra's offer to bring his parents back to life, but underacting isn't as distracting as what's coming up in a few panels....

Here comes the big acting moment...

What is that expression in the last panel? From Ra's dialogue, we can surmise Robin is supposed to be feeling...anger? Hurt? Self-Doubt? Schadenfreude about what a loser Jason is? It's impossible to tell what Dini had intended Robin's reaction to be, because nothing in this drawing, not the expression, the angle, or the lighting, is going to tell us. It's unfocused acting.

Shortly thereafter, it seems Robin might actually be convinced....
Here we have the opposite problem; in the first panel, Robin is seriously over-acting his line. We learn shortly after this sequence that Robin is just stalling for time, so perhaps the artist felt Robin should be over-acting, to convey to the audience the fact that he's just playing along. But did we really need both the arched eyebrow and a hand-to-chin pondering pose straight out of the silent film era? This is the kind of acting you could get away with if you were drawing a henchman, or some other kind of dim-witted character. But with a character like Robin, it comes off as overselling a simple point. The second panel is a little better, as you do see a bit of urgency in his face, although for someone who learned from Batman, that certainly isn't much of a poker face.

Here we see an subtle example of out-of-character acting. Some might dispute this point, but this struck me as too smug of a pose for the Dark Knight. I'm not saying that Batman has never been written as a smug jerk, but in Dini's run of Detective he's tended to be more on the stoic side. Whether you like this pose or not (and I'll admit it's a cool expression), this is a good example of how an expression can color a characters "line-reading". Combined with the smirk, this line comes off like undignified bragging.

Speaking of smirks, here we have a Arkham doctor conferring with a colleague after seeing a trio of villains bouncing off the walls in a padded cell, due to events seen in Nightwing #138.

Now, I realize Arkham has a history of hiring some pretty screwed up people. But that smirk is out of control. Combined with the arched eyebrow and a literal gleam in her eye, and you have the most evil woman in the world. It's hard to call this an out of character moment, since we don't know who this character is, but it's clear that this moment is about the contrast between what the doctor is feeling and saying, and it would have been more believable, and therefore more chilling, if the smile felt like something between the reader and the character, as opposed to a huge grin everyone in the room can see.

Meanwhile, Talia and Batman wander around in the snow....
Besides the "clothing/anatomy doesn't work that way" alert in panel four, that last panel has Batman looking kind of like Santa Claus in his level of jolliness. It's kind of hilarious though, so maybe I'll just stop complaining here. Here's hoping next month's issue of Tec is more balanced.

The Future is Here Part 4:
A Robot Who Can Love

Doesn't it say something about humans that when we program a conversational robot all the damn thing talks about is how much it loves its creators? My favorite part of the video is when he's talking to the baby and says "I'm a baby too, you know. But one day I'll be as smart as a real human. And when that happens, I'm going to come and find you. And... we'll be friends." It doesn't take a genius to read the murderous intent between those lines.

Read the rest of our "The Future Is Here" Series...

Monday, November 26, 2007

Panel Discussion: Scans from Catwoman, Invincible, Countdown to Mystery, The Flash, and more!

Every week Geekanerd rips panels from their comics and puts them on display here, recognizing the best, worst, and weirdest moments of the week. Click the pics for high res goodness, and beware SPOILERS.

Product Placement Alert - Catwoman #76

This was actually a really fun comic, but these out-of-nowhere product shots kind of eeked me out. I suppose it could just be a creative choice that Catwoman loves her Chucks but...surely there are more appropriate shoes for the professional cat burgler. Whatever. Here are the shoes the second panel are based on:
Hit the jump for time travellers, zombie shoppers and crying children!

Achievement in Futurespeak - Invincible #46Time travellers with "superior future fighting skills" stealing the Declaration of Independence and escaping on a "time sled"? Count me in!

Never Forget - Countdown to Mystery #3Batman can't go a day without being reminded of his dead parents.

Best Splash Page - The Flash #234
This is just a great looking splash page. Artist Freddie Williams III gives us a big beautiful cityscape that really pops with oustanding colors by Tanya and Richard Horie. The Flash's speed-path kinda reminds me of those Family Circus cartoons with the dotted line.

Seasonal Reminder - Countdown to Mystery #3
This scene takes place in a man's subconscious, but it also serves as a timely reminder of the horrific spendor of Black Friday.

Best Dramatic Pathos - The Flash #234
Context: The Flash's kids arguing about their new powers, and the boy is more wary because he privately overheard that their unstable powers might one day kill them both. The combination of angles in the first two panels are really disorienting, considering the boy is hanging upside down and the girl is half inside a wall. This combined with excellent kid-dialouge makes for a very tense couple of panels, and sudden wide shot at the end effectively captures a particular sort of helplessness only felt by little kids in confusing situations. And where would superhero comics be without childhood angst?

Banana Radomizer Award for Achievement in WTF - The Search For Ray Palmer, Gotham By Gaslight
Besides the editorial mistake (after Kyle jokes about searching 131 worlds, Monitor Bob looks at Jason and says, "There are only fifty-two worlds, Jason, you know that."), there's this strange insistence by Jason Todd in the first panel that this Victorian Era World is somehow where he truly belongs. And he was saying that throughout the whole book. What is it exactly that attracts you to this world, Jason? Your love of social caste systems? A strong interest in antiques? Have you been steam-punk cosplayer all this time? Just find Ray Palmer already.

Weekanerd NYC: Shlock Horror, An Animator Speaks, Music Trivia & Prog Rockers

Monday, November 26th

This appears to be a C-list John Carpenter movie in which the lead character is based on Stephen King. Probably horrible, but it's free with a one drink minimum, and there are $3 PBR pints all night long. So if you bring a friend and get drunk enough you can have your own personal MST3K experience.

Tuesday, November 27th
Sito was an animator at the House of Mouse during the mid 90s Renaissance, and worked on all their hits, starting with Mermaid and ending with Pocahontas. Good timing.

Wednesday, November 28th
Hey a trivia night, haven't done one of those in a while. Kind of a slow week. If you're the kind of music nerd that can field trivia questions about the last 50 years of alternative rock music, you might win some "scrill". That's mid-90s East Bay punk talk for "monies". $3 to play, free to watch.

Thursday, November 29th
What's with nerds and prog rock? Where you find one you always seem to find the other. Claudio Sanchez is the lead singer of Coheed and Cambria, and Ken Kelly is the artist who did the sci-fi-space-fantasy cover for their latest album, No World For Tomorrow.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Gotham Central References In Dark Knight Viral Material

Newsarama recently reported that a new Dark Knight viral website has launched, an online edition of The Gotham Times. This fake newspaper is startlingly detailed and features four pages of full-length articles, most of which focus on the aftermath of the events seen in Batman Beyond. There's plenty to enjoy, but most surprising to me were a few references to one of the most critically acclaimed Bat titles in recent years, as well as a personal favorite of mine; Ed Brubaker and Greg Rucka's crime series, Gotham Central.

The evidence after the jump...

There's a Letters to the Editor section on page two, and the second letter (titled "Major Letdown?") is about the formulation of the Major Crimes Unit, the branch of the Gotham City Police Department that Gotham Central focuses on. This by itself might not be a direct reference to the comic, but the next example is more explicit.

On the front page, there's an article titled "Dent Tip Line Targets City's Dirty Cops", which reports ib how ADA Harvey Dent is launching a campaign against corruption in the GCPD (apparently it's "dividing the city" in half). In the continuation of this article on Page 3, the fifth paragraph down contains a list of cops that are under investigation for corruption. Included are Jim Corrigan, Roger DeCarlo, and Timothy Monroy.

Roger DeCarlo and Timothy Monroe (presumably misspelled as Monroy) are a team of dirty cops featured in Gotham Central #32, in which they haphazardly kill a runaway girl only to find out she was under the protection of Poison Ivy (d'oh!). Jim Corrigan should be a very familiar name to Gotham Central fans (as well as old-school fans of The Spectre but let's disregard that for now), as Corrigan was a crooked CSI officer and one of the series' main villains.

As much fun as it was to spot these references, I'm not sure if their inclusion mean much. The list of corrupt cops includes a number of other names, and everyone on the list including those I mentioned can be found on the GCPD Police Roster on Wikipedia. So either the writers behind this paper are really up on their Bat-history, or they're just handy with Wiki research. Either way, seeing Gotham Central characters mentioned in the context of the new movies rekindles my hope that the old rumor about Renee Montoya making a cameo will be true. Don't play with my emotions, Warner Brothers!

Friday, November 23, 2007

This Week in Geek History: Nov 18-24

Mickey Mice, Aliens, Physics, and Pirates!

Still stuffed from Thursday's feast? Fret not friends, I have the perfect thing to wash down those leftovers-History! Sorry for the lack of post last week-but to be honest, not all that much happened (other than this internet-friendly nonsense in 1970, and this holiday gem in 1978). But now to the important matter at hand... This week's history lesson!

First stop: Nov 18th, 1928. On this day Disney released it's famous short, "Steamboat Willie" before the now forgotten movie, "Gang War." It is remembered by historians as the first sync-sound animation; though not technically true (there were others before that had timed soundtracks) "Steamboat Willie" was the first to incorporate music, dialogue, and sound effects. This was also the third appearance of corporate fave, Mickey Mouse. This short put Disney ahead of the animation curve and created a international icon of that obnoxious high-pitched rodent; leaving the former animation front-runner, Fleischer Studios, in its dust. Disney even celebrates this date as Mickey's birthday. Despite all that, this is one of those cartoons that Disney is none too proud of today-the kinda thing they usually keep locked up in the Disney Vault... I guess its all that ritualistic animal abuse... buncha babies.

More Histories after the jump!

On Nov 20th, 1984, the SETI Institute was founded. As all good nerds should know, that stands for the "Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence." So yes, there are serious science-type nerds out there who actually spend their days scanning the heavens for alien life-And they get paid to do it! There's hope for us all! Too bad google maps already beat them to the punch.

On Nov 21st, 1905, Uber-Nerd Albert Einstein published his paper "Does the Inertia of a Body Depend Upon Its Energy Content?" Great question, I've often found myself pondering that very same thing... anyhow, this is a big deal because this is where he reveals the famous formula E = mc². I'll explain it when you're older.

Also on the 21st; in 1990, Nintendo released the Super Nintendo in Japan (released as the silly sounding Super Famicom). It outsold all other consoles and two years later, Nintendo redesigned it as the Super Nintendo we know and love, and released it world wide. For some stupid reason, I was a Sega loyalist back in those days, and I never had this console... I'm still bitter.

Now, for you internet meme watchers, here's a bit of Pirate lore. On Nov 22nd, 1718, Edward Teach (the dread pirate Blackbeard!) was killed by buzzkill (and possible ninja) Lieutenant Mayndard. Shove that in your pirates-vs-ninjas pipe and smoke it!

And for a taste of modern piracy on the same day, in 1987, two Chicago television stations are hijacked by a pirate dressed as 80's icon Max Headroom. Leave it to 80's nerds for broadcast spankings and excited ramblings... I bet these guys are a hoot on XBox Live. Ironically, they hijacked one of the broadcasts of nerd favorite, Dr. Who...

And speaking of Dr. Who, on the 23rd of 1963, the very first episode aired on the BBC! Dr. Who was wearing that goofy scarf decades before Harry Potter-so suck it Potter trend setters.

Well, that's about it this week... in real history, JFK was assassinated and the Gettysburg address was given... *YAWN*. See you next week geek history geeks!

Weekanerd NYC: Art Shows and Anti-Gumpites

Friday, November 23rd
Nothing like a to brighten up your day, but if you'd like to see a more formal exhibition by the street artist, check out this show based on the content of old Mexican snuff tabloids. Monstrous drawings, steel masks, plaster bodies, and all sorts of creepy things horror movie fans can really get behind. The show closes tomorrow, the Saturday hours are from 12-7pm.

Saturday, November 24th
Jackpot time for digital art lovers. This is a group show celebrating the history of the digital image, including work based on early computer and video-game graphics. Tech-Nostalgia with credibility! Plus this is the opening reception, so there's live music at 8:30 (something with lots of bips and bops, no doubt), and free drinks. Score.

Sunday, November 25th
Confession: in my sixth grade yearbook, I had Forrest Gump down on my list of favorite movies. Does my innocent childhood enjoyment of this reprehensible film make it hypocritical for me to recommend this video art show? Yes, but I'm doing it anyway. $10 Drink Minimum, which is probably about as much booze as you'll need to get through the chaotic quadruple projection of the movie without going insane.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy T-Day

It's a beautiful, warm Thanksgiving day here at Gnerd HQ in Manhattan. Wait, warm? WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE! Well, nevermind; Happy Thanksgiving to everyone who celebrates it, Happy Thursday to everyone else. Here's one of Comic God Chris Ware's incredible Thanksgiving-themed New Yorker covers, it's a very Warian blend of the heartwarming and the depressing. Enjoy!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Panel Discussion: Scans From Countdown, Booster Gold and Black Adam: The Dark Age,

Every Monday, Geekanerd brings you the most remarkable comic panels of the week, or at the very least, some really violent ones. Click 'em for hi-res.

Most Creative/Inexplicable Use Of Powers - Superman Prime, Countdown #24
Sooo...what's going on here? How does heat-vision plus water equal multiple nuclear explosions? Did Supes Prime actually float there for however long it took him to raze all of Atlantis, one square inch at a time? Did he boil the entire ocean until all of the nuclear cores in Atalntis(!?) went critical? Is he using his heat-vision to hit the Atlantis' Death Star style exagust port that causes the whole city to blow up? I need more information.

Beatdown of the Week
- Rip Hunter, Booster Gold #4
Nothing pisses off Rip Hunter like having his old girlfriends erased from the space-time continuum. Wait, but if she was erased from time, how would he remember her? Oh well, I'm sure it's explained somewhere - let's focus instead on that upper-cut in the last panel. Even if the path of his arm is a little stilted, that's a hell of a punch.

Black Adam Award For Tearing A Guy In Half - Black Adam, Black Adam: The Dark Age #4
What I like most about this page is that these two doomed Black Ops soldiers totally have the right idea about what to do if you see Black Adam coming for you. Don't stop and shoot, just run. Fire your weapon aimlessly behind you as your run, sure, but really concentrate on the running part. They both still died, of course, but style points for both of them.

Weekanerd NYC: David Fincher, Crispin Glover, Cartoonists and Balloons

Monday, November 19th
The Director's Cut DVD of Zodiac won't be released till January 2008, but here's your chance to see what's new before everyone else. Fincher will be on hand to talk about the movie and maybe even answer your questions, as long as it doesn't have to do with Fight Club. Cause we don't talk about Fight Club.

Tuesday, November 20th
Two of my favorite comic creators from the unendingly awesome Act-i-Vate comics collective, along with their own personal superhero, PR Man. Geekanerd fans should already be familiar with Neufeld's A.D, but do yourself a favor and read Goldman's free online comic Kelly, in all it's heavily NSFW glory.

Wednesday, November 21st
This evening offers some serious Crispin Glover bang for your buck. First on the bill is The Big Slide Show performed by Mr. Glover himself. You can watch an early version of this on YouTube, it's incredible, probably worth price of admission alone. After that it's the second film in Glover's bizarre "It" Trilogy, and then Q & A. And chances are, you will have many, many Q's.

Thursday, November 22nd
Though 2006 brought us new Pikachu and Snoopy balloons, the best we've got this year is Shrek (cynicism for kids, lovely) Hello Kitty (yawn) and Abby Cadabby (wha? I feel old). But art lovers might take note of a new float based on Jeff Koons' famous Rabbit sculpture, and marvel at the sheer appropriateness of having Koons' work exhibited in this annual salute to media icons and department stores.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Weekanerd NYC: Medal of Honor Tournie, Meet Veronica Mars, Mulholland Drive

Friday, November 16th
There's a tournament at 7pm and these freakin' events always fill up incredibly fast, so if you think you've got the goods I'd call the store (646-459-0800) and ask what you've got to do to get a spot. Then again, the only advertised prize is the Wii Zapper, so maybe don't get too excited.

Saturday, November 17th
That scene in the parking lot with the monster man is so scary.

Sunday, November 18th
  • The Big Apple Con
  • 10am @ Penn Plaza Pavilion, 401 Seventh Avenue at 33rd St., Manhattan
This "Comic Book, Art, Toy & Sci-Fi Expo" is actually the entire weekend. Plenty of good stuff is happening on Saturday, including a Peter David comics panel at 1:30pm and your chance to get something signed by Hayden Panettiere at 5:30. BUT, Sunday is the only day to meet Kristen Bell (2:30). When I hear "meet", I'm thinking like, coffee? Dinner and a movie? $18 in advance, $20 at the door.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Video: Marching Band Plays, Acts Out Your Favorite Video Games

Marching bands merely playing video game music is hardly newsworthy in this day and age, but this Cal band goes the extra mile and actually acts out some old faves on a large scale: Tetris, Super Mario Bros., Pokemon... It's all there. A triumph of mankind's drive to do awesome shit.

Milk & Cookies via Gizmodo.

Free Beowulf Passes at NYC Nerd Hotspots

Lately it seems like you can't take two steps in Manhattan without someone shoving a Beowulf screening ticket in your face. Yesterday hipster-nerds picked up passes at the East Village bar The Sunburnt Cow at release party for the Beowulf video game, which I'd assume is visually indistinguishable from the Beowulf movie which already looks like a video game cut-scene.

Today the free passes are being given out in true-blue nerd locations; Forbidden Planet and The Neutral Ground Gaming Room (Magic Players, holla!). Details after the jump.

Each pass admits 2, and the screening will take place at 8pm TONIGHT. Passes will be available at the stores between 12pm and 4pm.

This is a Village Voice sponsored event, and if you're part of their fairly awesome Movie Club mailing list you'll be automatically entered in a email-drawing for passes, but really, who can take that chance?

According to the ad in the Voice, only 50 tickets will be available at each location, so I'm guessing they'll go fast, particularly at Forbidden Planet. Possibly slightly less so at Neutral Ground, because the address the Voice published in their ad was, according to the store clerk I spoke to, "completely wrong". The completely right store locations are:

Forbidden Planet
840 Broadway (on the corner of East 13th Street)

Neutral Ground
15 West 37th Street
(between 5th & 6th Avenues)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Behind the Music: A Rock Band Tell All

The Official XBox Magazine has a great interview with Alex Rigopulos which you should read in its entirety if you care at all about the game. It's full of gems:

Alex dishes on merch opportunities:
You’ll be able to take your band avatars, pose them, create album covers with your band logo and different scenes with your avatars. And then you’ll be able to turn that into real world stuff. For example, figurines based upon your Rock Band avatars, t-shirts with your fake band’s album art and your tour dates on the back from your accomplishments within the game, bumper stickers, old records, things like that. Really cool real-world merchandise based on this fictitious band that you’ve created in the game.
Alex on the future of the Rock Band platform:
In 3 to 5 years people are going to expect to be able to play with music as the normal way that they experience music that they love. If you have a favorite band that releases a new album, sure you’ll buy the CD but you’ll also want to go onto the Rock Band server and download the game levels based on those 15 new songs to experience them as an active participant in the music-making.
Alex tackles the "why not just play the guitar?" question:
The guitar controller is very abstracted from a real guitar, but even in the case of the guitar controller there are some foundation skills that you learn. Rhythmic impulse with your right hand and independent pitch control with your left hand — those are foundation dexterity skills that if you build them up playing the game, they will translate to being able to lock in and play in rhythm.
He goes on to say that it provides a window into the joy that comes with really playing guitar, that the singing portion will make you a better singer via its pitch feedback, and that playing the drums WILL TEACH YOU DRUMS, period.

Alex on smaller bands getting in on the action:
[Something else] we’re actually considering is releasing our own authoring tools out freely into the world, such that if you’re a band and you and your three friends are in your bedroom or garage making music, and no major label will even give you the time of day but you believe in your music, you can actually produce a game level yourself and send it to us for publishing on the game servers or distributing to your friends.
But like I said before, go read the whole interview.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Escapist Says Mario Is Unmarketable

Aaron Linde at The Escapist wonders if the world would accept Mario if he wasn't already so ingrained in mainstream culture.
As an icon, Mario is inseparable from the medium he represents, a name practically synonymous with the pastime, and like other creations brought about in gaming's infancy, absolutely absurd. Stare too long and you realize he's an overweight, mustachioed Italian stereotype who battles sentient turtles and grows to immense proportions when he comes in contact with mushrooms. But these are conventions of a universe that we've had over 20 years to become familiar with. Why does the mushroom make Mario big? Because it's a super mushroom. Duh.
But they accepted all that twenty years ago, why not now? Is the argument that people have become too literal minded and afraid of a little surrealism? Or does the improvement of graphics technology leave less room for playful abstraction? Linde won't settle the issue for you, but he might give you something to think about.

Image from Rob's SketchBlog.