Thursday, July 16, 2009

Anakin Skywalker: The Fan Dub

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a fevered analysis on the shared and disperate qualties of Luke and Anakin Skywalker. The conclusion was Anakin is a horrible, horrible person but also a victim of circumstance, because his formative years were a trauma-inducing roller coaster of highs, lows, and constant dehumanization.

With this in mind, I naturally decided to go back and redub some scenes from Attack of the Clones with new dialogue for Anakin that more acutely reflected this particular reading. Dark humor ensued.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Photos: The First Asian American ComiCon

This past weekend, NYC hosted the first ever Asian American ComiCon. My top three highlights:

1) Fantastic original art for auction to benefit the Museum of Chinese in America.

2) The NerdPop panel, which featured the following quote by Derek Kirk Kim on how nerdiness is relative: "Sometimes I think I'm a nerd because I watch Star Trek, then I meet actual Star Trek fans and I realize I'm just a normal person."

3) The Writer's Bloc panel, which yielded some really sincere and down-to-earth advice about writing, as well as one amazing anecdote from original GI Joe writer Larry Hama. He recounted a semi-recent pitch for a new GI Joe series that would have re-imagined the characters as more realistic, modern solider archetypes. This would have included Snake Eyes as "the owner of a kid's karate school in North Carolina", who had simply imagined his own epic ninja dojo backstory. The entire audience gasped at the brilliance of this idea, and we were all collectively crushed when Hama told us how the publisher passed on the series.

Many more pictures are up on Geekanerd's Flickr, including a doodle battle between Cliff Chiang and Sean Chen, shots from Artist's Alley, and more auction items.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Panel Discussion: Scans from Wednesday Comics, Batman, Dark X-Men, and More

The Magic of Comics - Wednesday Comics This could be a silk screen print hanging on a gallery wall of a pop art exhibit. It looks unlike anything you expect to see in most mainstream superhero comics because it's extremely flat, the birds in the backgrounds almost just look like stamps or stencils, and yet there's a fantastic sense of dynamism. It gives up the illusion of movement and instead just gives us a single moment frozen in time. Kyle Baker rules.

Simile of the Week - Batman #688
For those of you who don't have amazing eyesight and don't want to click to enlarge, Dick is comparing wearing Batman's cape to "wearing a ball gown made of Kevlar". Judd Winick, every now and then you really come through. Dick's complaint is certainly valid, but how can anyone pass up a chance for effects like this?

Achievement in Character Design - Wednesday Comics
Karl Kerschl is pretty much my favorite comic artist working today. Here, he gives us Iris West in the classic newspaper comic style that inspired Wednesday Comics in the first place. The result is a strikingly beautiful character design that is on one level an homage to an older time, but the clean lines and quality of expression is timeless.
Even though Iris is emoting Roy Lichtenstein-esque pangs of lovesickness, Kerschl brings a gravity that keeps it away from camp, and allows these panels a sort of unironic dignity that really caught me by surprise.

Fun with Lighting - Dark X-Men #1
Maybe I'm reading too much into this, but to me this looks like a photo that was taken with almost no light, so the exposure had to be cranked way up. This would make the dark stuff visible, but the bright spots, such as the monitors, would be crazy blown out. Taking this image into that level of realism makes the freaky character design of Evil Beast all the more creepy.

Best Head Trip - Wednesday Comics
Ben Caldwell takes a simple concept (Wonder Woman suddenly finds herself in "the land of men" for the first time, with no idea how she got there), and makes it extremely trippy by ramping up the fish-out-of-water feeling by making our world seem as bizarre as any alien world seen in comics. The neon gaslight colors of this night cityscape make the whole thing seem like a terrible dream....and check out that Shreck building - is this taking place in the Tim Burtonverse?! Crazy!
Even something as familiar as a pigeon looks like a horrible alien when viewed through the eyes of someone who's never seen one before. Still kinda cute though.

Best Running Gag - Ms Marvel #40
Deadpool isn't even IN this panel, but his inner-panel-voice is still doing the editor's job of catching readers up on references to past issues. He does it a few time in the first part of the book, and you know when Deadpool does something more than once he's setting you up for an awesome joke...
Boom! Goodnight, everybody!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Some Facts About Godzilla

If you missed Nerd Nite last friday, one of NYC's finer nerd lecture series, you missed some important information about Godzilla, and how not to die by his massive scaly claws.

Luckily for you, the musical portion of the lecture, by fake scientist Shyporn Teerakulstit, is available for viewing on YouTube. Double points for sampling Simon Says, which has nothing to do with Godzilla by may be the coolest single riff of music ever composed. It was in Charlie's Angels.

Incidentally, this was the first Nerd Nite I'd attended, and it far exceeded my expectations. The next one is in September, and it'll definitely be on the Weekanerd sidebar. Highly recc'd.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Tonight! Your Geekanerd Editors, Live on Stage!

In case you missed the news on our Facebook, Twitter, and the Weekanerd sidebar of this very page, your Geekanerd editors will be tonight's guests at Comic Book Club, a live talk show all about comics. It's a long-running New York nerd institution hosted by the dudes from The Stack, and we're pretty psyched about it.

The show is at 8pm at the PIT in midtown Manhattan (154 W 29th St, between 6th and 7th ave), $5 at the door. I can pretty much guarentee it'll be worth a fiver to see us talk about the week's comics without the aid of rewrites, wikipedia, or spellcheck.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Panel Discussion: Scans from Secret Six, Marvel Divas, Batman and Robin, and More

Best Art - Frank Quitely, Batman and Robin #2
The action scenes in this book by drawn by Frank Quitley bring the effects of the Batverse regime change into sharper focus than several books worth of philosophizing, angsty conversations, and images of Dick starring at the cowl. The fights in this book show that a clean, simple switch has taken place; Batman is now the showboaty, eager to prove himself fighter, and Robin is now the self-assured, methodical heavy-hitter. It's madness!

The Robin in the splash panel above could only be Damian Wayne. He's not displaying any of the flash or childish excitement that every other kid to brought to being being Batman's sidekick. Damian's form is straight-up Black Ops. He's is an assassin in superhero's clothing, and this panel nails that dissonance.

Meanwhile, seeing Dick in the Batsuit makes you realize how damn HEAVY Bruce's style really was. Seeing Batman move with this sort of grace is exciting, because it's been so rare up to this point.

Also, I don't think I'll ever get tired of these art-integrated sound effects, especially when they have to do with Damian getting forcibly implanted into a wall. Nerd!

George Bush doesn't care about black Superheroes, hating on the Justice League, and a spoiler for Secret Six #11, after the jump...

Orson Welles Award for Emphasis Fail - Justice League: Cry for Justice #1
BOLDING certain words in comic book scripts is just something we've all learned to live with. Sometimes it works sometimes it doesn't. Let's just reflect on what the bolds are trying to convey in this conversation.

GA: This is BAD.
BA: HOW do you know?
GA: I know WHEN Hal gets like this - things happen.

By emphasizing "how" we can only interpret Dinah's reaction as "Yes, I also know this is bad, but it's really the methodology of how Ollie came to his conclusion that I'm interested in." And when Ollie emphasizes "when", he's trying to convey....I actually have no idea how you could justify that emphasis choice. Say it out loud. It's insane. PS: This award is in honor of THIS classic meme, which I believe actually predates the internet!

Social Inequity Alert - Marvel Divas #1
I'm primarily a DC reader, so I always feel a little jarred when the Marvel uni starts talking about things that happened in our real, Earth Prime timeline. Here Captain Marvel (???) recounts how after Katrina hit, she and some other black superheroes went to New Orleans to clean up "the mess you white people left behind". One might question why in a world with superheroes, an American city could have flooded with such horrible consequences in the first place. Maybe at the time the supes were like, "Oh a Hurricane is going to decimate New Orleans? Eh, as long as there's no death ray involved, I'm sure the Government norms can deal with it."

Worst Use of Powers - Secret Six #11
I love Secret Six, and I really, really love Scandal Savage, but she's really not making her powers work for her. She's basically Wolverine, except no one is particularly afraid of her so people are constantly surprising her by shooting her in the face and stabbing her in the stomach just because they can. I mean sure, she heals, but it's not instantainious, so for a few minutes she always ends up bleeding on the ground. It's just terribly undignified.

However, this is the second issue in the last few months in which we've seen Scandal in boyshorts, so whatever, Secret Six; it's all good.

Slash Alert - Justice League: Cry For Justice #1
"What's there to say? Kiss me, you fool!"

NYC'S First Ever Asian American ComiCon - Now With Gnerd Discount Code

Every time I go to a comic convention, I see tons of Asian American girls and guys in attendance, as well as on panels and behind the tables in artists alley. It's lame that this kind of representation doesn't usually transfer into the actual pages of mainstream American comics, where the highest profile Asian American superhero is...maybe Cass Cain? Is she the new Batman yet?

With this imbalance in mind, a band of creators within the Asian comic community have recently embarked on some awesome projects that give Asian Americans in comics the spotlight. April saw the release of Secret Identities: The first Asian American Comic Anthology, and this Saturday, Manhattan will host the first Asian American ComiCon.

More info after the jump, including details on Geekanerd's very own discount code!

The AACC will feature a bunch of top tier writers and artists who all share an Asian American background (including those folks in the picture above), and will feature such comic con staples as an artist's alley and a day's worth of panels. Topics range from the general, such as advice on storytelling, collaborating, and the business of comics, as well as more socio-anthropological topics such as nerd pride, the Asianization of pop culture, and one area of comics where Asian characters are becoming OVER represented (villains!).

I'm definitely going to be taking my non-Asian self there early on Saturday (maybe I'll finally get a Cliff Chiang sketch?!), and the folks behind the Con have been cool enough to give Geekanerd readers their own discount code: GEEKNY! It'll give you $5 off general admission and $10 off a VIP pass; hit the link for more info, and head over to the official site for time and place, a full schedule and the list of guests. They've also got a Facebook page; you know, for kids!

Friday, July 03, 2009

Panel Discussion: Buffy Season 8 #26 Special!

The start of Jane Espenson's new arc on Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Season 8 was so full of in-jokes and easter eggs, I had to give it it's very own Panel Discussion. Medium spoilers for the issue.

Project Runway Award
Andrew has the heart of a nerd and the eye of an aesthete (because gay guy = automatic fashion fan in popular media) , so of COURSE he's got the Ecko Boba Fett Sweatshirt! I see a million of these at every convention I go to, and you know, usually the guys wearing them look pretty damn good in them.

Here's a shot of Andrew's full ensemble, which includes the essential brown pants. Check out the real sweater on the Ecko site, or just look at this photo from the 2009 NY Comic Con. I'm telling you, it really is a good look.

Easter Egg Alert
Maybe you just looked at this sequence and said "Sexy!" and moved on, but I said, "Sexy! Hey, what book is that on the table?"
Aww! Of course Willow is reading Wicked, not only is it about cool teenage witches, it's also nerdy and full of lesbian subtext. Willow is so a fanfic writer.

Best Series Callback
I don't think Andrew ever adequately repented for killing his best friend, but I have to admit his fantasy about what he thought would happen after killing Jonathan was a definite highlight of Season 7. So I was really pleased to see it rendered here in panel form; check the scene below to see how precisely Georges Jeanty replicates.

Untold Stories
This is all very sweet in the foreground, but what exactly is the drama in background? Why is Kennedy glaring at Faith? Am I forgetting something that happened in the series between them, or does everyone still just hate Faith so much they're openly hostile to her at all times? Poor Faith, she's always failing at life. Or maybe she just hit on Willow (speaking of fanfic).

Double Standard Alert
As much as I love this issue, I must call continuity on this plot point. Willow has just disappeared into some torture dimension to subject a captured demon to some patented Rosenberg Enhanced Interrogation tactics. Everyone acts like this is some sort of unheard of war crime, but Buffy TOTALLY killed a vampire prisoner like ten issues ago! I believe it was in Wolves at the Gate, but basically Willow traps a vampire in a box, and Buffy interrogates him, and when they're done they set him on fire and he dies and they all walk away looking really badass. At the time I was all, "DAMN! The Scoobies are hardcore now!" But no, apparently only Buffy is allowed to abuse prisoners, cause you know, she's Buffy.

To be fair; Willow's tendency towards evil (Oh, Willow!) is a theme of Season 8, so I understand that it's concerning when she specifically uses her powers to torture a prisoner. But still. There's no precedent for any of the White Hats giving a shit about killing and/or hurting demons, so I maintain this moment doesn't work.

Second Best Series Callback
Xander's line on the left, "It's always good to ask" and Dawn's "Yes it is" recalls the fact that last time these guys all busted into Buffy's bedroom unannounced, Buffy was naked in bed with fellow slayer Satsu, aka A LADY! Wow this was the most lesbtastic Panel Discussion ever, no wonder I liked this issue.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

This Star Wars Flash Drive Just Blew My Mind

As noted previously, Geekanerd occasionally gets mail from the good folks at Mimobot, purveyors of adorably anthropomorphic flash drives and occasional gross misinformation. But their latest ad email utterly blew this Star Wars fan's mind, without even trying.

Take a quick glance at the new Mimobot in the center of this picture. Why, it's that evil jerk Anakin Skywalker, looking all mean and angry like he always does. Kid killer. He's clearly just been placed in his full body prison, the technological terror that is the Darth Vader armor. Neat.

But things are not always as they seem. Learn the eye opening truth about this figure, after the jump...

That's not the father, but the son! The jagged remains of the faceplate tip the savvy viewer that this is not in fact Anakin, but Luke's horrible vision in the Dagobah Mystery Cave. What threw me was the evil smirk - that's like the Anti-Luke face! I don't think Luke is even capable of making that expression.

The fact that I mistook Luke's little cartoon face for Anakin's really got me thinking about how scene at the Dagobah cave fits into the Star Wars saga, now that we've got the Prequels. If watch Empire without the Prequels, this scene comes off as a pretty typical "you will become what you fear most" sort of dream. However, if you watch the series from I to VI (and like it or not, that is how future generations will watch these films), the Cave dream takes on a new sense of dread and horror. With the events of the prequels in mind, there is no mystery about Luke's parentage by the time you get to Empire. So while we lose the "I AM YOUR FATHER" jawdropper, we gain a terrible ocean of dramatic irony. When we see Luke's face in the Vader mask, he may not understand the symbolism, but the audience certainly does. Luke is approximately the same age as Anakin was when he was turned, and the visual of Luke's face in the Vader mask now directly recalls the "earlier" visual of Anakin being sealed inside. These are the real stakes of the film; the possibility of two Evil Skywalkers running around the galaxy, being just awful.

But how similar ARE Luke and Anakin? Their personalities are very different, but much of that can be chalked up to nurture; Luke spent his entire life on remote farm with a caring family and Anakin spent the first half his life as a slave and the second half as a fanatically revered demigod. When you take this into account, Anakin's personality really isn't so bad. The only thing he and Luke really share is an easily confusable one-track mind, and it's this quality that played a big part in Anakin's fall. In the earlier scenes on Dagobah, we've seen that it's Luke's short-sightedness that's holding back his Jedi training, so the Cave dream is especially urgent. While Anakin was never a particularly likable character, Luke is thoroughly decent and kind, and prospect of his fall to the Dark Side is a lot more upsetting than Anakin's.

So yeah, flash drives! The Vader Unmasked Luke Variant is only available at this year's Comic Con, so if you're unlike us and have a ticket, stop by the Mimobot booth to see it with your own eyes.