Thursday, April 29, 2010
Apparently, DC Animated execs have cancelled any further planned projects for their direct-to DVD film division. WTF?! In an interview with MTV, Bruce Timm said that low & slow sales of the "Green Lantern: First Flight" and "Wonder Woman" animated DVD features have caused DC animated execs to re-think their approach to releasing further original animated movies. This effectively puts the kibosh on the "Batgirl: Year One" and "Teen Titans: The Judas Contract" DVDs. Noooooooo! "Judas Contract" would've kicked SO much ass!
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Wow fellow authentic geeks, I've just stumbled across the most amazing retro gaming experience of my adult life. Well, I didn't really stumble across it myself, I found it on reddit, a link-posting site that I highly recommend, but I digress...
Some flash animation geniuses calling themselves "Exploding Rabbit" have made a mod of the original mario game in which the player can choose to play the game with any of the six original Nintendo heroes: Samus Aran, Link, Simon Belfont, Bill R. (from Contra), Mega Man and of course the most famous reindeer of all Mario himself. Best of all, this is no simple sprite-replacement mod, each character features the abilities and control style of their original games. This means Mega Man can charge up his Mega Buster canon when he gets a mushroom or a fire flower, Link has a boomerang to catch far away items, Bill slaughters Goombas with automatic shotgun fire, and much more! This game is crazy, game sprites like Mega Man can take out bricks that used to be physically impossible to do so as Mario which opens up the levels in new and unique ways. You need to check out this masterpiece of homage gaming, it's a completely new game, it's a work of art, it's a wonder; and it's completely free!!! Bless the people who put this together.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Issue #1 opens with the Black Beauty, Green Hornet's tricked out ride, rotating into view from its hiding place beneath the floor of a garage. Green Hornet & Kato, the unsung heroes of Century City, then take off to a meeting of the Mob and Yakuza, wherein the criminals discuss dealing with the one man stopping them from ruling the city completely, the Hornet himself. The Oyabun of the Yakuza, Oni Juuma, wants to consolidate power with the mob and squeeze the Green Hornet out, but Mafia leader Don Fannelli wants nothing to do with it, saying anyone who takes a shot at the Green Hornet ends up going down instead. As the Don prepares to leave, our hero enters the scene in style, declaring his rule over Century City. When the gangsters start to close in, Kato saves Green Hornet by crashing the party (literally) with the car. Fists (and Hornet darts) are thrown, and when the smoke clears, the Hornet stands triumphant! With the police closing, Green Hornet and Kato head for home, discussing what to do now that the last criminal elements in Century City have been dealt with. 'Retirement' is the word of the day, with Kato returning to his homeland of Japan and Britt Reid (Green Hornet's civilian ID) becoming a full time family man to his wife and young son, Britt Reid Junior. We fast forward some fifteen years, to young Reid waking to the sight of his girlfriend moving out and local paprazzi taking pictures. Despite his promise to propose, she still leaves, telling him she hates seeing him waste his potential. As his girl drives out of his life and the paparazzi still taking shots, Junior loses his cool and drops his shorts, offering a front page photo op to the media vultures. We cut to the Daily Sentinel newspaper building (another nod to the TV series), wherein we see the elder Reid comment on his son's latest photo op, saying “at least he's in shape.”
Issue #2 opens with Reid Sr. presiding over a editor's meeting of his newspaper staff. He vetoes using his son's latest 'celebutante' escapade in the paper, downplays a recent mayoral election poll and effectively buries a potentially scandalizing piece, citing possible corruption within the re-election campaign of mayor Frank Scanlon (another holdover from the TV series). Reid's staff also mention that Oni Juuma (the Yakuza boss) died in prison recently and Hirohito Juuma, his son, is in town to take care of his affairs. Reid extends an invitation to the young Juuma to a fundraiser at his home that evening as the meeting breaks up, Reid Sr. heads to his home (the site of the party) and has a discussion with his old friend, Scanlon, about the truth of the campaign story. Scanlon neither admits or denies anything, but does tell Reid Sr. that he doesn't like his chances. Later on, both Senior and Junior meeting for a monthly luncheon. Britt Junior tells his dad that his girlfriend walked out on him and how angry he is that the fund-raiser is on the same day his mother (and Senior's wife) died two years past. Senior tries to console his son but they end arguing with each other over Junior's not living up to his potential. You really get the sense they haven't seen eye to eye in ages. Just before they part, Junior promises to be at the party and show his support.
Later that evening, at “Stately Reid Manor” (cribbed from the Adam West 'Batman, no doubt), the re-election party is in full swing. Junior enters from the back and overhears two of his 'friends' talking smack about his dad. Despite how he may feel about his father, Junior tosses the pair out. (I would've too.) Hirohito Jumma arrives and is welcomed by Reid Senior and Scanlon. Both express their sympathies, while Juuma declares he is not his father's son and wants to restore his family honor. While all this is going on, a mysterious Asian beauty in a red dress enters the scene .... and is hit on by Britt Junior almost immediately. Junior strikes out, as the lady in red completely ignores him. Junior rolls with it, expressing the idea “it's going to be that kind of night.” He has no idea, as seconds later, ninjas (yeah, NINJAS!) crash the party. Reids Senior and Junior, as well as the lady in red, defend the rest of the party-goers. Britt Junior and the mysterious woman make a pretty good team, laying many of the ninja to waste with an ease that reminded me of another 'dynamic duo'.
Issue #2 ends with the ninjas closing in on our heroes. And a huge hint is dropped as to the femme fatale's identity, when she lays out several of the attackers with ....Hornet darts?! To which the elder Reid quietly exhales, “Kato?”
All in all, these first two issues were pretty well done. Smith's writing is top notch throughout. He keeps the pace of the 'movie' going without sacrificing his 'talky' style too much. The way he includes classic elements from the TV show is also well used. Most notably, the full page reveal of the Black Beauty (Green Hornet's own “Hornet-mobile”), in the first issue, is taken directly from the show. Obviously, Smith's plot for the film was based mainly on the Van Williams/Bruce Lee starring TV show of the 1960's. His version of Britt Reid/Green Hornet is suave and debonair, while projecting a trademark Smith sarcastic attitude that is not too over the top. And though Kato is not in the story for long, Smith portrays him just like Bruce Lee did in the series, quite and powerful. And as the story moves forward, Smith ages Reid Senior appropriately, both in his speech and his attitude. Britt Junior is presented as what would seem to be the typical spoiled/under-estimated rich kid, though you can see he isn't entirely a jerk. I also quite liked the back and forth between these two. The banter/bickering sounded believable and really reminded me of my dad and myself, back in the day.
I really liked the art in these issues as well. The art team of Jonathan Lau (pencils) and Ivan Nunes (colors) comes together very well. Lau's art style is solid, without feeling too stiff and Nune's colors are quite good, though I think his use of shadows is a little heavy in some panels. I also felt the art had a kind of 'polished' or 'shiny' look to it at times. I still loved it though.
All in all, I have to give it up to Smith and company. My prior nerd bias not withstanding, I think this series is going to do great. I can't wait for the next issue .... which is coming out tomorrow. So, about time this got out, huh?? Later days!
Monday, April 26, 2010
This was the second convention that I've ever been to, and if it wasn't for the fact that I met Adam West at my first Con, I'd totally say this one was the top of my list. This Con had everything a major Con needs: row after row of vendors shlocking their best deals on comics, trade paper backs, non-sport collectible cards, gaming, anime, and enough brightly painted plastic toys to choke a geeky elephant; tables full of happy, cranky, excited, and slightly apprehensive celebrities ready to meet and greet their fan-legions; and armies of obsessive fans dressed head to toe in their lovingly home-made costume/devotional robes. It was a mess, an absolute zoo of geeky-fan flesh, an ocean of brightly coloured fabric, a torrent of human desire...it was AMAZING! (and maybe just a little overwhelming.)
It's really hard to nail down a favourite aspect of a good Con. On one hand, it is not only the perfect place to indulge one's collectible-obsessions, but also one where you can do so relatively guilt free. For instance, I'm a major non-sport collectible card freak(non-sport means any cards that deal with super-heroes, comics, movies, games, T.V., or anything else that is not a sport). I absolutely love these things. A complete collection organized into those lovely 9-card plastic pages acts as not only a modular art-book, but also an encyclopedia of anecdotal information about your favourite media. Normally a full set of cards will set you back anywhere from $20-$100 depending on rarity; but at the convention, sets average from $5-$10 depending on size! I was able to get 6, hundred-card sets for less than $60 and that includes fan-boy favourites like the 1992 and 93 Marvel series 3 and 4 sets (which I've wanted for SO long) !!! You like toys, comics, games? I guarantee you will find a deal at a Con. that you have been waiting for since before you could earn your own disposable income.
Then there's the fellow fans and their fabulous, flamboyant, festival costumes! As a fan, there's just something wonderful about being in a room full of fellow devotees, an undeniable sense of camaraderie, joy, and acceptance that flows out of everyone and creates the freedom to fully express your love of un-popular media. When you're walking along and suddenly come face-to-painted face with a six-foot tall, head-to-toe, full-body Cheetara, you know she won't mind if you wanna gush about how much you love Thundercats.
And let's not forget the celebrities, they're the whole reason a Con exists in the first place. For the most part, the celebrities are AWESOME! At any given Con. there will be a list of creators in every genre and media style you can imagine ready to meet and greet their mostly appreciative public. At both of the Con's I've been to the celebrities were organized into two areas: the “artists-alley”, where your favourite comic artists and writers hang out, and the more “high-profile” guests area reserved exclusively for actors. My favourite experiences always seem to happen with the artists and writers in artists-alley. The alley consists of long tables with three or four creators per isle sitting under a small name-plaques modestly advertising the presence of such greats as Scott Morse, Bruce Timm, Doug Ten Naple, Steven Niles, and Eric Powell (which only barely scratches the surface of amazing creators who graced this year's Calgary-Con).
The lines to meet these creators are usually small, and if you keep an open eye you can usually find a time during the day when there is no one in line and you can walk right up to your favourite creator and have a short chat. Most fans bring along a sketch-book of blank pages or sometimes a specialized convention art-book with pages from the attending creators that the creators can sign, and if they're pencillers, most will do a small sketch; absolutely free of charge! Best of all, you get to meet the people behind the names of your favourite creations. Almost everyone I met in artists alley was not only amazingly friendly, but seemed genuinely humbled by the fact that I liked their creations so much; they were such amazing people, I kinda love their works even more now... Plus, if you're a fellow artist you get to meet and network with professional creators who are always looking for a fresh creative mind to play with. Artists love to tell how they got where they are and more often than not are thrilled to see what you've created and even give tips on how you can improve and relate some of the steps to take to start getting into the business.
Then there's the “main-guests” area, which I find to be much less fun. First, the lines to meet these “major” celebrities are WAY longer than in artists-alley, usually consisting of a snaking row of felt-covered partitions that could take hours to make your way through, after which you get to view a table of snap-shots of the actor you're about to meet, which will cost anywhere from $20-40 depending on the degree of “celebrity” that each person offers, then you get a 10-30 second period during which the actor takes their photo, writes their name, listens to your comments or questions, smiles as they hand back the photo and make some easy cash. At one point Malcolm McDowell's line was really small so I wandered in and made it to the front before deciding that despite my intense love of McDowell's works, I couldn't justify paying him $30 dollars to scribble his name on a picture of his face. How could I justify that kind of expense when creators like Scott Morse and Eric Powell gave me a sketch that they personally created, on the spot before my eyes, for FREE?!? Or how about Tom Grummett, local Saskatoon artist who does $20 sketches at Free Comic Book Day and donates all of the proceeds to charity? There's got to be a better way.
Finally, no convention would be complete without celebrity panels. This is where the creators that attend the Con do open panel discussions on any number of topics based on their area of expertise where they get to pontificate on their creative process and field questions from fans. Panels are just like meeting celebrities, sometimes it's great, sometimes its a waste of time. For example, I attended a panel by Scott Morse on the challenges of working in 2D and 3D animation which was absolutely wonderful. Scott started by telling us about his career as an animator starting out as an assistant to the one and only Chuck Jones at Warner Brothers before transitioning his way through a variety of animation and self-published comic book gigs to Pixar studios where he currently works as a story artist. Then he opened the floor to the fans and proceeded to lead a wonderful discussion on animation and the style, challenges, and implications of animating in 2D and 3D; as an art-aficionado and a cartoon fan it was spectacular.
Then I went to an X-Men panel starring Chris Clairmont and Len Wein, the creative team responsible for the all-new all-different X-Men; Colossus, Storm, Night Crawler, and Wolverine as well as the death of Phoenix story line. This panel had no preamble and went straight to the fan questions, which is all well and good, but Chirs and Len were downright rude to some of their fans and their questions. One of the first people to stand up and ask a question asked why Len Wein decided to make Wolverine come from Alberta Canada (where the Con was taking place) and all Len and Chris could say was how much they hated the Origin story-line and what a mistake it was to finally reveal Wolverine's past (yeah, like we could do with another 30 years of the same story elements with no innovation over and over again...), it wasn't until three or four questions later when by fluke of another fans question they mentioned that X-Men was selling better in other countries than the U.S. so they decided to make the new X-Men come from other countries, including Canada. I left the panel early when a Con-worker brought out Len and Chris's lunch sandwiches which they proceeded to eat as they talked to the fans; I mean seriously guys, really? You can't wait 30 minutes to tuck into your lunch so you're not talking to your fans through a mouthful of food?!? Grow up, I learned that lesson back in preschool.
All in all this con was a beyond amazing experience; one that I truly recommend to any and all pop-culture fans. Line-ups can be a hassle, but you pick and choose your battles. For some, standing in line for 2 hours to meet Leonard Nimoy is a sacrifice you'd gladly lay down, for others it is more fun to sneak a picture from 20 ft. away like an overly obsessed stalker-fan-boy then go spend 10 minutes in a face to face conversation with Eric Powell who is thrilled that you appreciate the deeper elements of humanity he managed to bury under 22 pages of fart-jokes. You get to immerse yourself in your favourite culture, you are surrounded by legions of fellow fans and friends ready to be made, and you get to meet the creators that have touched your heart, thrilled your senses, and expanded your mind with books, movies, comics and cartoons; there is no greater good for a fan.
Stay tuned for future posts detailing the juicy gossip about upcoming projects by the above mentioned creators! Till then, "face front true believers"! --Big G
*(pics from the Con will be forthcoming...I'm tired and it's late)*
Friday, April 23, 2010
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Monday, April 19, 2010
Though the series only ran for 65 episodes between '86 and '87, I still remember this show fondly and await the DVD set the way I awaited the toys on Christmas. And I'm still waiting.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Even the simple joy of waking up early Saturday morning to watch cartoons was a little different for me. And I mean early! Like 'getting up at 6:45 in the AM to watch “The Mighty Hercules” before “The Smurfs” came on' early. I loved cartoons so much, I consulted the TV guide the way a D&D Dungeon Master consults the Monster Manual so I could maximize my viewing habits and make sure I caught “TaleSpin” and “Chip 'n' Dale's Rescue Rangers” everyday without fail. My chores also made for interesting programming choices too. I'd work just hard enough to impress my parents, then run for the remote. I helped my grandmother on Saturdays by vacuuming her house for her. That being said, I would time it so well that I could finish watching “Spider-man” (the '67 version, of course) then dash across the road, vacuum and haul ass back just in time for “He-Man & The Masters of the Universe.”
Cartoons didn't just held sway over me on Saturday mornings, but Monday to Friday afternoons too! I would sometimes do my homework on the school bus, just so I would not be interrupted while the Ninja Turtles slapped Shredder around before throwing him back into Dimension X. (You'd think they would aim for a maximum security prison once in a while.) Then, I'd watch “DuckTales” and wish I could swim in Uncle Scrooge's money bin. Thank God my mom was kind enough to let me know hard money was and save me some brain trauma. I also watched “Power Rangers”, but that's was mainly because I was such a “Transformers” addict, I'd watch anything involing shape-changing robots. Some of my childhood heroes even had animated series. Chuck Norris and his “Karate Kommandos” defended the world and Mr. T revealed he was not only a badass, but a darn fine gymnastics coach in “Mister T.” I did want to learn karate, but I knew for damn sure that this boy was not built for gymnastic competitions.
I guess, in the end, that maybe ... maybe my dad was right and I spent WAY too much time watching cartoons as a kid. But you know what? I kick ass at TV trivia!
Friday, April 9, 2010
Real Name: Doug thinks real names are for normal people.
Hi I'm Big g. I'm 27, and as far as I know I've been a major geek for every second of those 27 years. Seriously, I have memories of when I was 3 years old telling people that I wanted to be Voltron when I grew up; and I don't mean one of the lion-pilots, I wanted to be the gigantic space-lion-robot when I grew up...still do.
My geekdom was born and raised in the super hero realm but branches into virtually every domain reserved for the socially unique. I grew up in the early 80's, which in my opinion was the undeniably best time to grow up as a child because of the quality of our cartoons; which has yet to be equaled to this day. We had it all, not only did we have the best and the brightest of Cartoon's golden age including Looney Tunes, Mighty Mouse, Hercules, the Super Friends, the Spider-Man 60's show, and Disney before it started to run out of ideas. But better even than that, the 80's were the dawn of the greatest age of action and adventure cartoon shows ever. Shows like He-Man, Transformers, Thundercats, M.A.S.K., Dino Riders, Silverhawks, and the Visionaries (to name but a few...) had thrilling action, mind-bending gimmicks, brilliant toys, and fantastic plots that kept my imagination burning for hours.
Outside of the weekly dose of awesome that rained down upon my childhood in the form of Saturday morning Cartoons, I partook of a healthy dose of the Star Wars, Godzilla, Alien, Batman, Star Trek, and any other space/fantasy related movies and TV shows I could get my greedy little paws on.
I also harbor a nearly encyclopedic knowledge of Marvel and D.C. Comics that has been slowly and continuously growing since I first discovered comics as a child with an old Spider-Man comic that I've long ago lost the cover to. I discovered my local Comic Book store 8th St. Books and Comics when I was nine. I then spent every dollar I could find ravaging the dollar-comic bins and saving up for the latest issue of X-Men 2099 (the first series I collected from #1 onwards) and What If (still my favourite Marvel Comics). I started a comic-file at 8th St. Books when I was ten (file = minimum 6 titles a month), right in the middle of the Age of Apocalypse, a relative high-point for the X-Men at that time, and in 2002 I was hired at the Store; where I still work to this day cause it feeds those comic-book needs.
I've yammered enough, but as I'm sure you'll find out when you check out our shows, that I'm firmly rooted in most every other form of geekdom; gaming (video, board, and role-playing), collecting, reading, science, I was even a boy-scout for most of my youth. I'm so glad my awesome buddy JT got this project off the ground and I hope you enjoy our talks on all things geek-wonderful as much as we'll enjoy ranting about them. Viva le Resistance!
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Name: Jon Toderian
Monday, April 5, 2010
Hey all and welcome to "Authentic Geek", a blog about all the geek things nerds & geeks love to argue about. Like who'd win in a fight: Batman or the Master Chief? (BATMAN because, let's face it, Batman always wins!) I'm JT, alias Phreak711, and you'll also hear from my good buddy, Doug, who isn't here today but he'll post soon. This entry is to let readers know what "AG" is going to accomplish. We're going to comment on all things geeky. From comic news, to movies we're hyped up about ("The A-Team", hells yeah!), to video games and any other topics that sets our geek senses tingling! So check back soon for geek bios on me and Doug and what ever you do, don't take the blue pill!! Later days!