Monday, March 31, 2008

More Wiimbledon 2008 Details Emerge

Those of you who truly think you can BRING IT in Wii Tennis, the game of games, the true test of virtual prowess: take note. The Wiimbledon guys shocked the world (of New York gamers) when they announced they'd be taking the show on the road this year, traveling cross country in a Wiinebago and bringing the tourney to San Francisco. Lest ye be weeping due to fears you'll be left out as a Yorker, hear ye:

There will be a New York tourney at Barcade on Saturday, June 7. The winner will get a pair of roundtrip plane tickets to San Fran to compete in the big event on June 21. No word yet on what 2nd Place will get. I'm looking forward to that announcement, because that shit will be mine.

Check out our past Wiimbledon coverage, and stay tuned here for all the Wiimbledon info you can handle, or join their mailing list at their website.


UPDATE: Wiimbledon 2008 has happened! Check out our writeup, video and photos here!

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My Brain Just Exploded: Street Artist Brings Portal To Life

Street Artist Posterchild has brought portals and the Weighted Companion Cube into our reality, and it's a good thing this all happened in Toronto because I think if I'd seen it unexpectedly while walking around New York, my thin grasp on what is real and what isn't might be irreversibly shattered. Posterchild is apparently an even bigger nerd than Banksy, as he was also responsible for those awesome Mario Question Blocks you may remember from a few years ago. Dude loves cubes, what can you say?

Lots more pictures and info over at The Torontoist.

Also, fans may want to visit Portal Authority, Geekanerd's insanely popular round-up of the internet's best Portal content.

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Panel Discussion: Scans from All-Star Superman #10, New Avengers #39, Transhuman #1 and More

Every week Geekanerd brings you the best, worst and weirdest panels from our week in comics. If you didn't read your books, there will be giant SPOILERS. Click the images for high res action!

Best Opening Page - New Avengers #39
Albo: This issue is basically a Maya solo story, so starting through her eyes on a silent page (she's deaf) is perfect. The hand reveal is a wonderful "fade in", and the subtle touch of leaving the right side of the last panel open elegantly guides our attention to the next page. David Mack's got them skillz.

Saves, Skrulls and Slurs after the jump!

Best Save - All-Star Superman #10AHR: What really gets me about this sad, elegant sequence is the first long panel of the girl dropping her cell phone. It's a lonely image that sharply conveys a final decision to close off from the world. I think it gets to the heart of what makes Superman unique that even with all the crazy shit going down in both his life and the world at large, saving people from their own personal despair still registers on Superman's hero-sense. He wants to save everyone, and it's nice to believe he can.

To Me, My X-Monkeys - Transhuman #1
Albo: These familiar-looking primates are interspersed within a double page gag where a number of genetic engineering test monkeys are being evaluated.

Doom Gets Serious - Mighty Avengers #11
Albo: "You're a fat piece of furniture... Cow-mouth... Whore's Heart..." This is not your daddy's Dr. Doom.

SkrullWatch '08 - Mighty Avengers #11
Albo: To escape Dr. Doom's clutches earlier in the issue, Spider Woman did some wacky energy crap she's never done before. Needless to say, this makes Black Widow nervous because the earth is infected with shape shifting aliens and exhibiting a heretofore unknown power is suspicious behavior. Plus that look Spidette's giving the reader in panel four is totally evil. The complication is that Spider Woman is the person who brought the Skrull invasion to Iron Man's attention in the first place, when she brought Skrullektra's corpse to him. My guess? Skrulls are too smart to reveal themselves so recklessly, and Black Widow's nervousness isn't Skrullspicion (I can do this all night, ladies) but concern that HER SKRULL INTEL ISN'T COMPLETE. Oh yeah, babies, THE BLACK WIDOW IS A SKRULL!!!

Best Threat - Ravager, Teen Titans #57
AHR: "The only thing I'm scared of....is that I might not get a chance to hide your body before my teammates show up." There's nothing I love more than when a pseudo-evil member of a non-evil team gets a chance to cut lose and show their sadistically insane stripes. It's worth noting Ravager does indeed kill this so-called Persuader (worst villain name ever), or at least she would have if Robin hadn't killer-proofed her lightsabres(!) so they operated only on a non-lethal setting(?!), thus denying both Ravager and the reader a cathartic murder spree. *Wamp wamp waaaaa!*

Smooth Talkin' Mutie - New Avengers #39
Albo: If I had moves like Logan... Man what I could do.

Nerd Alert - New Avengers #39
Albo: You betcha Hawkeye Ronin has an MC Chris t-shirt.

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Weekanerd NYC: Awesome Comics, Swag and Free Passes, and Dr. Zaius

Monday, March 31

Sure, you could see the original movie, or you can just watch the video below, a screen adaptation of Stop The Planet of the Apes: I Want To Get Off...

The Ruins preview, Jonathan Lethem talks Omega, and crazy comic strip brilliance, after the jump...

Tuesday, April 1
The Ruins has a terrible poster. You'd think in this, the age of amputation pron, they could come up with a slightly creepier image than a person with leaves and twigs on their neck. Of course a bad ad campaign doesn't necessarily correlate to a bad film - April Fools! It almost always does. But seriously, from 6 - 8, there will be Ruins swag and free screening passes for a preview on April 3rd. Although the most worthwhile thing you will likely get out of the evening is the drink special; $2 Margaritas!

Wednesday, April 2
If any comic on the stands deserves a Q&A it's this one; perhaps the creative team will help to decode a bit of the symbolism and straight-faced absurdity that characterizes this book. The talk starts at 7pm, with signing to follow, so bring yer books!

Thursday, April 3
I was really excited when I saw this. Ben Katchor writes comics that get published in a number of places, including a San Francisco free weekly paper that I used to read. I LOVED reading his comic, but looking at his website, I have no idea which of his many comics I was reading- they all seem to be about hotels in one form or another. That may not sound exciting, but trust me, they're absurd and hilarious and the artwork is stunning. If you need to be convinced, check out this episode of Hotel and Farm about sleeping on beds of lettuce.


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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Saturday Morning Cartoons Of Our Youth Get Animetized


If you like to search for cartoons on YouTube, you are familiar with the mind-numbing inanity of AMVs, or Anime Music Videos. AMVs cater to people who enjoy watching cartoons recut to gothy pop songs, or those who get off on pretending their favorite characters are lip-syncing to novelty pop songs. I am no stranger to blinding fandom and the strange things it makes a person devote their time to, but I draw the line at editing cartoons that have already been edited.

Sadly, as this blog continually introduces me to new lows in my threshold for geeky crap, I have to admit the above video (the Best Comedy winner in the 2008 Boston AMV Awards) is really fun. It features a collection of clips by a guy named (sigh) Ranmafan477 who edits an AMV series called The Anime Network, which syncs anime clips with, among other things, Saturday Morning Cartoons intros from the 1990s. And we all know how awesome those are.

The above video was shot at the convention itself, and though the video quality is weak (but watchable), hearing the audience reaction is a blast. Hit the jump for a menu of where the best stuff is.

00:00 - This Chip and Dale parody is boring unless you love Gunsmith Cats.
00:30 - Hilarious, I don't want to give anything away.
00:54 - Darkwing Duck - these Disney Afternoon ones just don't do it for me. Audience loves it.
01:18 - Bit that will only be funny if you have at least a passing familiarty with Inuyasha, which I'm afraid I do. Audience goes nuts.
01:41 - Power Rangers parody that seems redundant.
01:44 - Amazing Death Note/Beetlejuice mashup.

Then there's a bunch of clips from movies and TV synced with anime, which I personally find less engaging, till we get to...

5:12
- A very well-edited take on one of my favorite modern Nicktoons, The Fairly Oddparents.

What was shown in Boston appears to be a "Best Of" reel, but if you want more all six episodes of The Anime Network can be seen on Ranmafan447's YouTube page. Episode Six has a nice high quality version of the Beetlejuice/Death note thing.

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Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Saddest Comic Ever

Apparently this has been around the web for a while, and I can't figure out where it originally came from... But it crushes my heart.

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Friday, March 28, 2008

Snap Judgments: Quickie Comic Reviews for March 26, 2008

Geekanerd's second attempt at writing short comic reviews based on initial, lizard-brain opinions. Arranged from BEST to WORST.

Blue Beetle #25: A+
This comic makes me want to be a better man. - AHR

Mighty Avengers #11: A
Probably the best Dr. Doom story I've ever read. Really! - Albo

New Avengers #39: A
Finally the Skrulls are here! Too bad they're pansies. Aside from the lame Skrull fight this is a fantastic standalone Echo story. - Albo

Teen Titans #57: A
An entire issue of Ravager sneering, quipping, and being excessively violent; that, my friends, is exactly what I came to see. - AHR

All-Star Superman, Transhuman and Gunplay after the jump...

All-Star Superman #10:
B+ from AHR, C from Albo
A collection of moments that are alternately confusingly plot-heavy and timelessly emblematic of why folks love Superman. The issue feels disjointed without a single clear narrative line to reassure the audience that the book will eventually become coherent, but like most of Morrison's work it's worth the effort. - AHR

Trying to do way too much at once. Where the hell is Morrison going with this? - Albo

Transhuman #1: B from AHR, C from Albo
Setting a story about genetic engineering in the innately evil world of corporate pharmaceuticals is a stroke of GENE-ius, and despite a constraining "documentary" storytelling device (which visually translates as all talking heads all the time) it's a surprisingly fluid read and if you make it to the middle you get a great comedy interlude with monkeys and violence and X-Men jokes. - AHR

Comic masquerading as a documentary on genetic engineering and human manipulation. All info, no story, no thanks. Hickman's Pax Romana is a much better read with similar themes. -Albo

Gunplay #0: C+
The first bit of a soon to be released graphic novel, which judging from the first few pages I thought was going to be an anti-racist revenge fantasy/vaguely racist castration anxiety nightmare, and though this issue indicates a story more thoughtful and nuanced than that, you get the sense that the preview ends before the interesting stuff starts, which seems like a gamble, marketing-wise - and by the way, I'm not crazy for thinking there are castration themes in this book, like mid-way through a dude gets his balls grabbed. - AHR

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Final Grand Theft Auto IV Trailer Arrives

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

More Star Wars: Stormtrooper Crossing the St Bernard Pass

I'm crying as I type this because that painting has given me Stendhal's Syndrome. This breathtaking piece of high/low art was posted on Wired's Submit Your Best Star Wars Tribute Photo contest, and was submitted by a Mr. James Baker. Says he:

"This is a painting that I have hanging above the fireplace in my living room. It's about 60" tall. I always loved the Napoleon painting by Jacques-Louis David of him crossing the St Bernard Pass. I worked with a painter to recreate the painting with a stormtrooper leading the charge..."

Just think, this work might have been lost of the confines of James Baker's living room if not for Wired's contest, which by the way is currently being dominated by old Star Wars graf, a big picture of Boba Fett's stupid head, and shockingly, girls in Slave Leia costumes. Philistines! Hit the jump for a side by side comparison with the original, inferior Napoleon version...


There's actually a bunch of different versions of the David painting, the distinction between which I'll leave to Art History Majors and Wikipedia.

Two things jump out at me about when comparing these two (hit the pic for high res if you want to see what I'm talking about):

1. The horse in the Trooper painting is brown instead of white, so as to bring out the pristine beauty of the Imperial Armor. Artists are clever.

2. What's with that wheeley cannon thing in the background, replicated precisely from the David version? Shouldn't that be a bantha or something? I don't think wheels exist in the future. Artists are not so clever after all.

Nitpick aside, this is some seriously committed fandom, both in inception and the fact that dude has this hanging in his living room. I hope it wins the contest. Vote for it, won't you? Don't get distracted by the Slave Leias!

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Star Wars Gets Disneyfied

EndorExpress.net has some exclusive pictures of a new line of action figures from Disney that features the bastard offspring of Star Wars characters coupling with Disney characters (including Muppets!) There's no scale here, but I get the impression that these guys are really tiny. Either that or they're just poorly made, and I'd hate to think that. It seems they'll only be available at Disney Theme Parks, so if you want some prepare that trip or get ready to fork out some big eBay bucks.

Some of my favorites after the jump!

StitchYoda
Beaker3P0
Fozzybacca
Via /Film.

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Monday, March 24, 2008

Panel Discussion: Comic Scans From FX #1, Captain American #36, Batman and the Outsiders #5 and More

Every week Geekanerd brings you the best, worst and weirdest panels from our week in comics. If you didn't read your books, there will be giant SPOILERS. Click the images for high res action!

The Banana Randomizer Award for Achievement in WTF - FX #1
So our young hero is crying at the beginning of this page, that's fine... Then he grows some sort of fake cybernetic arm, also fine... But what explains his brain damaged yammering? I haven't seen dialogue like that since Arseface, and that poor bastard had a pretty good excuse. It occurs to me now that he might actually be imitating the Six-Million Dollar Man's signature sound effect, with a ridiculous build up, but thats... Dumb.

Heroes rise from the dead, face-smashing and and what not to do with a propeller blade, after the jump...

Back On The Scene - Batman and The Outsiders #5, Robin #173, Captain American #36

ZOMBIES! Lots of dead heroes returned to the world of the living this week. Stephanie Brown came back after months of lead-up...

Sue and Ralph Dibny are back for the first time since we saw them as ghosts at the end of 52, though it turns out they're not so much "ghost detectives" as they are Quantum Leapers who jump into other people's bodies...does that mean Ralph isn't stretchy anymore?


Also this guy. Yawn.


Beatdown of the Week - Cassandra Cain, Batman and the Outsiders #5
Get with it, InvisoLady! You can't get the jump on the Bat Fam! Especially Cassandra, she will KILL you! It's all well and good to quip about strawberries, Cass, but I don't think she's getting up.

Gristliest Death - War is Hell: The First Flight of the Phantom Eagle #1
And THAT'S... Why you don't run at a prop plane.

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Super Cool Typography Videos... NO RLY!


Marcofolio.net has a great collection of videos meant to illustrate the power and versatility of typography. They are mostly scenes from movies "acted out" with good old fashioned letters. With all the attention typography has gotten lately (see Helvetica), are we entering some sort of Golden Era of the Font?

Also, I've gotta say, I just watched the beginning of Pulp Fiction again last week and this version is ten times more exciting.

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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Weekanerd NYC: MySpace Politics, John Woo Anime, and Crazy Russian Sci and Animation



Monday, March 24

The future of American politics is MySpace? Are all the candidates trying to launch indie rock music careers? Winograd and Hais will lecture on how much the intra-net has effected the current campaigns, and will sign copies of their new book. How I long for the day Americans can use Wii votes for elections, and the long silent reclusive nerd voice will be heard.

Science Fiction Lounge, John Woo Anime, and Russian Animation...

Tuesday, March 25,
A weird 1920s Russian sci-fi movie with a live sound track by a "first class improviser's quartet". Hit the link to hear samples of the musicians. 10 bucks plus a $10 drink min, reservations are recommended.

Wednesday, March 26
The original Appleseed movie was fun in a confusing, kind of boring way. But at the New York Anime Festival I saw a clip of the opening scene of this "upgraded" version of the film, produced by John Woo, and let's just say it featured flying birds and people shooting guns with two hands. IMPORTANT: RSVP at that link ASAP, you're supposed to do it by 12pm on Monday.


Check out that animation - Miro, right? Budovskiy will talk about the past, present, and possibly future of Russian Animation. Though as far as I'm concerned, this is the last word in Russian animation...


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Friday, March 21, 2008

Weekanerd NYC: Frank Cho, Little Ninjas and Pillowfights!

Friday, March 21

Been sad since Cho left The Mighty Avengers and left you suffering through Mark Bagley's childish scribbles? Show up, maybe slap him once for not being able to draw fast enough to keep a job, but then give him a great big bear hug and let him know you'll love him forever and ever.

Little ninjas and pillowfights after the jump!

Saturday, March 22
What good is your Thundercats pillow case doing you at home? No good, that's what. Take it out for a night on the town and beat down children of all ages in the third annual NYC Pillowfight. Feathers are encouraged.

Sunday, March 23
AHR checked this out last weekend and had lots of good things to say about it. Something about acting out Treasure Island with small objects and... I wasn't really listening to her but it sounded pretty awesome.

EDIT: Tiny Ninjas do not appear in this production. Ninjas do not perform pirate-based plays. This is a one-man show, good for kids, or anyone who loves pirates. - AHR, matey

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DC Is Thinking With Portals

This is the sort of thing we usually save for Panel Discussion, but when a certain game is involved I have little self control. This week I picked up Shadowpact #23 on a whim, obviously having acquired a sixth sense that directs to me to all Portal-related content...

While I am happy to believe this is small tribute by writer Matt Sturges to a game he has presumably played and enjoyed, I think we all know that's not how Portals work. Are we supposed to presume the demon is going to fall down into hell where he belongs? That's not a portal. That's just a hole. Unless Nightshade shot the Orange portal into a cage in hell, I'm not sure what is being acomplished here.

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Guitar Hero: On Tour Revealed


News has just dropped that the first portable version of the smash hit Guitar Hero franchise will land on the Nintendo DS this summer. The most exciting bit of the announcement is seeing the Guitar Hero Guitar Grip, which has you holding your DS somewhat like a jogger might hold a Walkman and strumming the touchscreen with a pick-shaped stylus. I can't decide if the new grip looks comfortable, and I'm not sure if the strumming can match the accuracy of a good Guitar Hero Guitar but I can't think of any good reason why it wouldn't. Surely though if you don't already have a screen guard you'll want to pick one up because this shit will shred that precious touch screen of yours.

As far as additional DS functionality goes, you can look forward to the battle mode where you'll be blowing on the DS to put out a burning guitar and signing autographs for rabid fans in the middle of a set. Something about autograph signing on my DS makes me VERY excited.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Brushing Up On The Classics: The Flying Butt Smash

In last week's issue of Countdown To Mystery, aka The One Good Countdown Book, artist Stephen Jorge Segovia had a little too much fun drawing Huntress.


Typical to many of the superhero comics I read every week, this little tableau throws sex and violence together in a blender and hits "puree", but that's not what caught my attention. I knew I had seen that movie before. But where?

THE SIMPSONS ARCADE GAME!


Those who had this game at their local arcade know it is pretty much the best four-player game for the preteen set ever invented, and although Marge was not my character of choice (that'd be El Barto...Let's go for it, man!), her questionable flying attack is forever ingrained in my mind. So can we agree Huntress totally copped her style? This calls for a side by side comparison:

Shameless!

Previous Editions of Brushing Up On The Classics

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It's a Two-Obit Day: Arthur C. Clarke Dead at 90


Sir Arthur C. Clarke, science-fiction writer, underwater explorer and space promoter, died today in Sri Lanka, where he had been living since 1956. The video above is a message he recorded for his 90th birthday last December, wherein he communicates his final wishes for humanity.

A personal memento after the jump...

AHR here. Above is my own personal copy of Childhood's End. The cover is long gone. In junior high when I was plowing through the short stories of Asimov and Bradbury faster than I could appreciate them, Childhood's End is one of the only novels that triumphed over my painfully short attention span and really shook me up. It deeply affected the way I think about family, legacy, and what it means to be stuck on a tiny planet in a universe full of unknowable unknowns. It's a sad, beautiful and humbling book and I get choked up just thinking about it.

In one of those strange coincidences that encourage you to believe in ghosts, I was cleaning out my closet yesterday and came across this post it note that I wrote to myself in 2003:
I still think this is a great idea, and if I don't make it happen I hope someone does.

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My Favorite Work by Anthony Minghella

Oscar Award winning director Anthony Minghella died today at 54. The short version is he died of complications from a recent operation that had seemed to be a success, details are at the Guardian UK.

Below, I've posted a link to my personal favorite of Minghella's film work. It's his contribution to the Beckett on Film project, a high-reaching, hypnotizing adaptation of Play. When this premiered on PBS, I taped it because knew Alan Rickman was in it, but I was completely drawn in by the film regardless of Rickman's (quite excellent) performance. I ended up carrying the taped version around with me and forcing my friends to watch it, and while I can't swear they all had the, let's say, emotional stamina to enjoy it, not one could say they watched it passively. What makes the adaption of Play so masterful is that Minghella transforms what might seem to be a bare-bones theater piece with little room for interpretation (read the stage setting of the playscript and try to imagine how you might put such a thing on film) into a piece where the camera itself becomes a character, and the cinematic language of close-ups, zooms, rack focuses and the rest become an expression of power. Let's also remember to co-credit the director with the amazing performances by Kristin Scott Thomas, Juliet Stevenson, and Alan Rickman.

Play remains my favorite short film of all time.

Part two after the jump (damn YouTube)...


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Monday, March 17, 2008

What is Case 1017?


Those viral marketing fairies are at it again! Vlogger "Eric Brody" claims this video is a piece of evidence that he accidentally took home from his job as a police evidence logger. Anyone have any idea what this could be about? A commenter over at /Film thinks it may be for the upcoming movie Quarantine, a movie about a small apartment building that gets quarantined by the CDC. Thoughts?

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Panel Discussion: Scans from Mighty Avengers #10, Wonder Woman #18, Avengers: The Initiative #10 and More

Every week we at Geekanerd rip panels from our comics and put them on display here, recognizing the best, worst, and weirdest moments of the week. Click the pics for high res goodness, and if you didn't read your books last week, beware some major SPOILERS.

Super Shop Talk - Mighty Avengers #10

I love the casual "Oh, that was you?" Bendis has a real talent for stripping heroes and villains of their glitz and glam and having them talk like normal humans. Though it should be noted that a few pages earlier Doom was swearing on his mother's eternal soul that Iron Man will pay for what he's done with his dying breath.

Arm-rippin', Skrull watchin', sneak attackin' good times after the jump...

Best Actor - Dr. Doom, Mighty Avengers #10
Even through the mask, Doom is like "WTF?!"

Danger! Sneak Attack! Spooky! - Abe Sapien: The Drowning #2
Terrifying.

Most Refreshing Exchange - Avengers: The Initiative #10
I was really worried when Robert Kirkman's awesome Irredeemable Ant-Man series ended and the titular character headed off to join the Initiative. I was sure that his hilariously shit-headed personality would be forgotten and he'd become a generic superhero, but this moment where he decides to watch Chuck instead of attending to the murderous rampage going on downstairs is classic I.A.M.

Most Severe Beatdown of the Week - Avengers: The Initiative #10
Not gonna be doing much constricting without those arms, Constrictor.

SkrullWatch '08
- Wonder Woman #18It seems Wonder Woman is a Skrull, or at least one Khund sculptor wishes she were.

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Hong Kong Action, Comic Book Luminaries, and Better Living Through Theoretical Physics

Monday, March 17

I'm not going to lie. I saw Hard Boiled in high school, and I thought it was kind of boring. But I'm not an action connoisseur, and I do appreciate the status this film holds among many film geeks, in particular fans of Hong Kong ultraviolence. And even if you don't have a particular affinity for Hard Boiled, this screening has a pretty awesome gimmick - the film will run on three screens simultaneously, one showing the new, remastered DVD edition and the other two running the rickety old version. This is like porn for spec nerds. Plus it's totally free, oh except for a $10 drink minimum, but dude, it's St. Patrick's Day.

Real life teleporters, and Greg Pak, after the jump ...

Tuesday, March 18,
For all our advances in this modern world, iPhones and DSes just don't make up for the glaring lack of teleporters, time travel, and invisible planes. Theoretical Physics expert Michio Kaku will lecture on issues discussed in his book, Physics of the Impossible, and will hopefully give us all reason to believe that the stuff seen on Star Trek may someday make it into real life. Also I want a Portal Gun. RSVP is required on the website, tickets are $25 for nonmembers, $15 for students, and $10 for members.

Wednesday, March 19
Got some Hulk-related fanboy questions for Greg Pak? Want to strike up a Socratic dialogue about Action Philosophers with author Fred Van Lente? Too bad, cause this discussion and signing is all about their work on Incredible Hercules, and how the book comes together from script to finished art. But you can probably sneak in some geeky questions about their other stuff too. Just make sure you bring a copy of Incredible Hercules #115 to get signed, so you don't look like a dick!

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Saturday, March 15, 2008

Albo's Comic Book Pick & Pan for March 12, 2008

Pick of the Week: The Mighty Avengers #10
Story by Brian Bendis
Art by Mark Bagley, Danny Miki, Allen Martinez & Justin Ponsor

I’ve been feeling like this book has gone off the rails a bit since artist Frank Cho left, with bullet point storytelling and some seriously ugly art by Mark Bagley. But this issue was a nice side adventure that did away with both of those problems. It was rather self-contained and well-paced, and somehow the 70s era coloring (this is a time-travel story!) vastly improves the look of Bagley’s linework. The story itself primarily follows The Sentry, who doesn’t realize he has traveled back in time to the 70s and is trying to make sense of everything—there’s no Avenger’s Tower, Thor is alive… It’s all very confusing for a man with a history of severe emotional disorders, and he starts freaking out a bit. What’s cool is that he hasn’t traveled back to the Marvel 70s that we remember, but the one that REALLY happened, before everyone forgot The Sentry ever existed (Confused? Go read his Wikipedia page). The Sentry’s unique position in the universe is integral to Iron Man’s plan to get back to our time without mucking up the space-time continuum. It’s just good storytelling when things can come together so elegantly.

Hit the jump to see what got panned...

Pan of the Week: Avengers: The Initiative #10
Story by Dan Slott & Christos N. Cage
Art by Stefano Caselli & Daniele Rudoni

I don’t even know what to say about this book other than that I’m just not sure what I’m supposed to get out of it anymore. This was a really fun series back when it was about these kids training and whatnot, but now we’re building towards the end (?) and I’m not sure what the hell is going on. I mean, I know who is fighting who and all that, but there’s a lack of import to the proceedings… For some reason I just don’t care about all these people dying (and gruesomely so!). There’s so much crap going on at once that I can’t focus on the characters… And not to spoil anything, but if the whole point of this series was to re-introduce the New Warriors with D-List characters then consider me swindled.

These reviews were originally published as part of Pop Culture Shock's Picks & Pans.

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"Everything That Has Transpired Has Done So According To My Design!" - George Lucas


Here's the winner of a recent Cracked.com photoshop contest, 20 Insane Supervillain Schemes In Flowchart Form. Oh if only Lucas was truly an evil villain with a malicious scheme to crush the souls of those who love him most, at least I could still respect the man. This winning entry is by Mortal Wombat, AKA Christina H, who also co-wrote this list of The Top 8 Least-Threatening Comic Book Villians (WARNING: Much belittling of the Batman Rogues).

Notes on the other entries after the jump...

None of the other 19 flowcharts are even close to being as fun and on-point as this one, and some may offend your eyes with their loud and proud use of Photoshop. Notable runner ups include Magneto's scheme (#17), which has a deadpan charm to it, followed by what amounts to a sort of incoherent visual poem dedicated to Scientology's bid for world domination(#16). Chart #6 is that already excruciatingly played out There Will Be Blood meme, and #2 features some of that weird Hitler-Humor that a certain sect of internet humorists seem to like so much.

For those not in the know, Cracked.com doesn't really have anything in common with Cracked Magazine, the canceled Mad Magazine clone. Cracked.com is instead a CollegeHumor clone, and pumps these List articles out like they're going out of style, which, if Digg users are to be believed, they are not.

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Friday, March 14, 2008

Weekaned NYC: Live Sci-Fi, The McFadden Code, and An Unexpected Return

Friday, March 14

This sci-fi stage show promises an exciting blend of stage combat, puppetry, and multi-media as the last human female in the universe has to blast through alien forces to find the last human male. Billed as "Star Wars meets Lara Croft," but I bet it's better than that.

Leprechaun hunts and sketchy amusement parks after the jump...

Saturday, March 15
Ravenchase Adventures sets up elaborate Da Vinci Code-like quests around the world, and they're coming to New York to set you and your buds on the trail of some Leprechaun Gold. If the experience is as complex as their website would make you believe, $35 doesn't seem like too much to pay. We all remember what happened last time there was some Irish gold to be had here in the States...

Sunday, March 16
And they said it would be gone in 2008! Where else would Marvel's villains build secret lairs and hold hostages if the crazy time-warp amusement park were decommissioned? Come down for the (no rly this time) last season of Astroland as we know it. The day begins with Miss Cyclone 2008 smashing a bottle of chocolate egg cream on the front car of the Cyclone. The first 100 in line for the rickety old coaster ride for free!

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Geek Out the Vote:
Which Presidential Candidate Has the Most Geek Cred?

As you may have heard, there's a Presidential race underway in the US of America. It can be tough at times to wade through the rhetoric and figure out what these smooth talking politicians actually think about the issues that matter to you. And so with your best interests in mind, here is a rundown of how the current Presidential forerunners (with character comparisons for instant Geek identification) feel about you and your Geekanerdy hobbies.

Hillary Clinton
Geekanerd equivalent: Sue Storm, The Invisible WomanA long time living in the shadow of her Fantastic husband has given her unique insight into the inner workings of "the system."

Hit the jump for the full rundown of candidates...

Hillary the Geekanerd:

Hillary once had a fund-raiser thrown for her by Stan Lee Media founder Peter Paul. She later disavowed knowing the guy when he turned out to be a criminal, but not before she promised Stan The Man himself that he could be Secretary of Defense because superheroes would be more effective than a missile defense system:

Via Comic Book Resources.

She has also received a large donation of $4,600 from Electronic Arts executive Steve Schnurr, who also organized (along with ESA, ESRB, and E3 founder Doug Lowenstein) a $1000/plate fundraising breakfast for Clinton in 2005. (Source)

Lastly, take a look at this picture. If that ain't a Buffy fan I don't know what is:
Hillary the Anti-Geekanerd:
Clinton has long been an outspoken critic of violence in video games. She teamed with Joe Lieberman (the demi-arch-nemesis [behind Jack Thompson] of videogamers worldwide) to introduce the Family Entertainment Protection Act in 2005. The act would have imposed fines of $1000 for the first offense of selling games rated Mature to a minor, and $5000 for subsequent offenses. The bill also required an investigation into whether the ESRB was rating games accurately (a concern after the Grand Theft Auto "Hot Coffee" scandal.)

When the bill failed to become law, she and Lieberman tried again in 2006 with a bill meant to pressure the CDC into studying the "impact of electronic media use" on the minds of children. (Source)

Now I'm all for keeping Mature games out of the hands of young kids, so I don't want to really fault her for that. But if an anonymous source that contacted Kotaku's Editor-in-Chief Brian Crecente is to be believed, Clinton has toyed with the idea of introducing a Video Games Tax, much like the tax on cigarettes. THAT, I can not excuse. (Source)

Barack Obama
Geekanerd equivalent: Luke Skywalker

A younger man somewhat lacking in experience but with big dreams and a mysterious ability to bend people's minds. Those in power are impressed by his quick development but remind him he is not a Jedi yet.

Obama the Geekanerd:
Obama has received a total of $10,432 in donations from workers in the video game industry. No big wigs, but a lot of little guys sure add up. (Source)

He is also an outspoken supporter of net neutrality, which is a very important issue for us lowly internet dwellers. (Source)

He likens himself to Superman:

Obama the Anti-Geekanerd:
Obama has made quite a few references to video games being a signifier of laziness: "It’s time for you to turn off the TV and stop playing GameBoy. We’ve got work to do." (Source) Work to do, schmork to do, stop playing the damn GameBoy so that you can start playing the vastly superior Nintendo DS. Obama is also quoted as saying "We’re going to have to parent better, and turn off the television set, and put the video games away, and instill a sense of excellence in our children, and that’s going to take some time." (Source)


Lest you think this anti-gaming talk is just rhetoric meant to aim the political efficacy of the housewife demo in his direction, Obama actually puts his money where his mouth is. When he received a $500 donation from ESA, ESRB, and E3 founder Doug Lowenstein, Obama sent the check back. (Source) You know a politician feels strongly about something when they refuse cash money.

John McCain
Geekanerd equivalent: Steve Rogers, Captain America

An aging, conservative war hero.

McCain the Geekanerd:
McCain has received a $4,600 donation from Brian Kelly, Co-Chairman of Activision (Source), and is also supported by Red Sox player Curt Schilling, who own a stake in start-up MMO publisher 38 Studios. (Source)

He has the support of a killer cyborg from the future:
And he, as well, likens himself to Superman:
McCain the Anti-Geekanerd:
There really isn't any record of McCain speaking out against the Geekanerdy crap we love, but he is very good friends with Joe Lieberman, who would certainly use a personal relationship with the President to push his anti-game agenda. (Source)

The Verdict:
So what are we to do? None of the candidates seem all that pro-Geekanerd. I had some good stuff about Huckabee playing Guitar Hero but now that he's out of the picture (and I hope I'm not offending any readers by letting out a loud sigh of relief) we're stuck with a bunch of geek haters. Are Geekanerds the final minority? In a political landscape where both our first black President and our first woman President seem within potential reach, when will we see our first Geek President?

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