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By Mandy McGee

Austin, Tx shoegaze band Ringo Deathstarr is releasing a new album called “God’s Dream” is coming out in Japan on December 18th, 2013 and then soon after to the USA and Europe. They have put up the song “Flower Power” from that album to tied you over. Take a listen. 

Do you remember Nerd Punk Rockers Nerf Herder? They had a song on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the theme song! Well they are back. They have a song for free download on Pledge Music and are keeping us in anticipation of amazing things to come. Go download the song and rock out to their 90’s classic video below of their hit “Mr. Spock”.

Light hearted folk country by story teller Laura Shepherd from Virginia has a new video out for the song “Stone Soup”. Take a look at look

By Jason ‘Kantrip’ Calhoun

Before I get into this week’s reviews, I want to address something that was in all of the DC New 52 books that came out this week.   The back pages.

I am aware that comic book publishers make a good chunk of money from advertising pages in the books. This is something I’ve come to accept with the Big 2 (Marvel and DC) . The story flow will be interrupted with ads for sneakers, video games, or other titles. There will be big ads on the back cover that usually have nothing to do with the comic company at all.   Independent labels like Dark Horse, Image, and IDW do much better with this by shoving these ads at the very end of the book, so the ads do not interrupt the reading experience. However much like all entertainment media, I’ve accepted that there will be “words from our sponsors” no matter what form the media takes. So comic book ad pages are “okay.”

What isn’t okay is DC’s use of 9 pages in the back of each of their books this week to promote the new series “Constantine” and their Channel 52 gimmick. This week I review 3 DC books that explore massive changes to the status quo of their characters. All 3 of these books hooked me in, and I wanted more, but not in the way that left me begging for the next issue.  In a way that left me feeling cheated, and those 9 pages didn’t include the normal ads. There is a reason I’m willing to pay 1.00 more on some of my Marvel titles. Usually the page count is higher or the ads are not as invasive. If DC is going to insist on pushing some of their new books in existing titles, there are better ways to do it than taking up 9 pages that are not being used for ad revenue.  

I really hope after the launch of Constantine this stops because if DC continues to sacrifice pages of actual story so they can push another book or some cheap gimmick (seriously no one is liking Channel 52), then I may be dropping several if not all of their books. This isn’t nerdrage over some character change or story decision, this is based on how much value I’m getting for my dollar. If I want previews, I’ll buy Preview Magazine.   

Okay rant over. Now into the comics!

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By Jason ‘Kantrip’ Calhoun

The Massive #9
Writer: Brian Wood
Artist: Garry Brown
Dark Horse

Brian Wood’s post-apocalyptic comic, The Massive completed its first full story arc, and I found it lacking. I love The Massive and it’s been one of the most suspenseful comics I’ve read in a long time. Brian Wood and Garry Brown created a perfect stage for conspiracy and betrayal with Moshka Station and issues 7 and 8 read like a good burlesque performance. They teased the audience with secrets behind the floating utopia. There was a slow reveal of everyone’s personal agendas and then the shocking climax of issue 8, that left the audience craving more. In comparison, issue 9 is like a cheap strip show. Everything is revealed quickly and with little explanation, and then the Kaptial leaves the stage with no fanfare. Mary and Mag’s plan goes into effect without their knowledge when Georg slips off the base and takes over a Chinese nuclear submarine.Where did this submarine come from? We know Mary finds something from the Chinese Military under the station in issue 8 but it is never revealed what. For that matter we never learned what Mary and Mag had planned or just how much Georg knew about Moshka Station, until everything has gone tits up. Callum’s medical condition is revealed and Ryan obtains the data from the Massive’s transponder. Just as the storm lets up, the 9th Wave crew leaves Moshka Station as easily as they boarded it. It was as if the Kapital was in no danger to begin with. I understand the point of this first story arc was to show just how many hidden agendas are at work within 9th Wave and that there really are no safe havens in the Post-Crash world. However, all the suspense that the first two parts built up, fell flat in the final installment. One more issue spent focusing on Mag, Mary, and Georg would have helped since the majority of this story was spent with Callum and the Station Head, Sumon.   

I’m sure that the fallout from this issue will be felt through the next several arcs, but this was a far from satisfying end to a good story. Brian Wood has been in top form with The Massive, and I hope the next arc, “Polaris”, paces itself a lot better than Subcontinental did.   

Overall Rating: 2 of 5 
New Reader Rating: 1 of 5

Womanthology: Space #5
Writers: Barbara Randall Kesel, Allison Pang, Laura Morley, Cecil Castelluci, Kia Kazebee
Artists: Diana Nock, Chrissie Zullo, Sara Richard, Kel McDonald, Isabelle Melancon, Ceili Conwa, Lea Hernandez, Maja Sukelle.
IDW Publishing

Womanthology: Space ends with issue #5 and what an ending it is. The final issue focuses on comets as a theme through out all the stories. As a source of inspiration, a bad omen, and as a mythological figure. All 5 of the contributions have a light-hearted feel to them. “Eccentric Orbit” by Barbara Randall Kesel and Diana Nock tells the story of a girl who’s growth spurt happened before the rest of her friends and how playing the Comet in a school play helped her overcome the bullying of classmates. “The Wind in Her Hair” by Alison Pang and Chrissie Zullo is about a lovelorn Steampunk robot who seeks to reunite with a woman he rescued and has fallen for.   Laura Morley and Sara Richard craft the humorous tale, “In the Dark”, where 2 Ne’er-Do-Wells attempt to recover ill gotten gains while duping the law using folklore involving the moon’s reflection on the river and the passing of a comet. “Broken Glass” is a teen drama involving students of a religious academy who’s minds are focused on ‘doing it’ while their teachers and the church warn them against sexual intercourse during the the passing of a comet through Earth’s orbit. Easily my favorite tale from this issue was, “I Will Return,” by Cecil Castellucci and Kel McDonald. “I Will Return” portrays a star turned comet in the form of a goddess as she races across the universe to meet her one true love, The Sun. I really enjoyed the cohesive nature of this issue. I wish the previous 4 issues had grouped their stories by theme as well. Jumping from a suspenseful story about deep space exploration, to a whimsical tale of 2 young girls building a rocket, to a story about the nature of dying stars felt jarring. Even though there are 5 separate tales here with differing art styles and settings, the common thread of  comets just made this issue read a lot more smoothly.   

Womanthology: Space has been a fun read. While the first 4 issues lacked defining themes that tied their entries together, they were full of some great stories from some of amazing talent that is deserving of more mainstream exposure. Much like Womanthology: Heroic, W:S will have a hardcover collection released via IDW in May. Contact your local comic book shop if you’re interested. I know I will be.  

Overall Rating: 5 of 5
New Reader Rating: 5 of 5

Saga #10
Writer: Brian K Vaughn
Artist: Fiona Staples
Image Comics

Saga #10 is full of all the feels, as popular culture would say. The most recent issue has heart-pounding escapes, joyful reunions, and hilariously embarrassing first-time parent moments. I can also tell that Brian K Vaughn (BKV) is trying to move the story into it’s next big chapter since he wraps up a lot of plot threads here. In flashbacks, we see how Alana helped Marko escape prison, and became a couple. Then witness some more bonding between Alana and Barr, while Marko and Klara rescue their phantom baby-sitter, Isabel from the quickly hatching planetoid. That’s right.  Hatching. Last issue we learned that the planet they were exploring was a giant egg that was on the verge of hatching. As the reunited family try to escape, The Will and Gwendolyn arrive. When a writer assembles most of the cast in one place you know something big is going to happen, and it does. I’m not referring to the quickly hatching giant alien planet either. The conflict between The Will’s ship and The Tree Ship results in one of the biggest tragedies of Saga so far. BKV sneaks it in perfectly too, by nestling it in between all of the action and Hazel’s musings about how break-ups can lead to collateral damage that no one ever notices until it’s too late. Then you turn to the last page, and the relation between the battle and hazel’s narration makes perfect sense. The final page hits hard, and makes me tear up even thinking about it. Fiona Staples should win awards for her work on Saga. Not only does she create some amazing aliens and monsters, but she imbues them with a humanity that is scarily real. If you thought the big-testicle troll from a few issues back was impressive, just wait till you see the Time Suck. That troll was nothing in comparison to this creature. For new readers?  This probably isn’t the issue to start with.  There is way too much that requires backstory to understand, and without a proper appreciation for the assembled cast, the cliff-hanger will feel a bit hollow.   

Despite making me cry like a baby, this was another amazing installment of Saga. I can’t wait to see what happens next issue. How does The Will handle the events of the final page? Does Alana and company escape safely from the Time Suck? Where’s Prince Robot? If you haven’t started reading Saga yet, go get on Comixology and start now. You are missing out on one of the best comics of 2012, 2013 and possibly all time.  

Overall Rating: 5 of 5
New Reader Rating: 3 of 5

By Jason ‘Kantrip’ Calhoun

Jumping right in!

Batman #17
Writer: Scott Snyder
Artist: Greg Caupullo
DC Comics

I don’t normally read Batman, but considering the mind-bending good story that has been going on in Batgirl (and all the Bat-Books) with the Death of the Family storyline, I figured I might was well see the big punchline that the Joker has been building up to.  Based on some reviews, many angry fans are saying the joke was on them, but I have to disagree.  Death of the Family is one of the best Batman/Joker stories of all time, not just because of how macabre and twisted it was, but because the Joker (kinda) wins.  That’s the only spoiler I’m giving and trust me that is almost not a spoiler at all.  

A quick recap for those not familiar with Death of the Family.  About a year ago, during DC’s new 52 reboot, the Joker is beaten by Batman and captured.  While he is incarcerated in Arkham Asylum, he has the villain, Dollmaker, cut his face off.  The Joker was absent for a good while after that.  Death of the Family marked the return of the Joker, and a promise that he would show Batman just how much he needed him.   This crossover involved all of the Bat-Books, and even some that are loosely connected.  The Joker re-emerges with his face strapped to his head in a very grizzly manner.   He then executes specific attacks on all of Batman’s “family” that makes it clear he knows their real identities.  The Joker even goes after his former lover, Harley Quinn in the Suicide Squad, and Catwoman in her own book.   His intention was to remove all of the people making Batman weak so things could go back to the way they were.  The Joker and Batman endlessly dancing in a struggle of good vs evil across a burning Gotham.  At the end of each of the bat-books last month, the Joker defeats and captures Batman and his allies, presenting them each with a bloodied covered platter.  

Batman #17 brings all of the stories to a head.  We learn the fate of Alfred, and what is under the platter.   The Joker explains his reasons for all of the attacks, but never really shows his full hand.  Does he really know their identities?  Does he actually care?  Why did he cut off his own face?  The reader will get the answers they have been craving, and then some.   One more small spoiler/hint.  The punchline was in the name of the story all along.   I have to give kudos to Scott Snyder for this one little detail.   When I got to the end of the book, I realized it made total sense.  The “death” of the family.  Beyond that I can’t say much more.

Greg Capullo’s art is flawless.  He is such a perfect fit for Batman, that it isn’t funny.  I enjoyed all the little details he’s included.  The yellowing skin of Joker’s face.  The flies buzzing around.  The 2 headed kitten that Joker carries.  The way his face shifts around when Batman is knocking the Joker about.   I’ve read this issue 3 times now and I always catch one or two more things I never noticed before.   As for Scott Snyder, he has been on fire since issue #1.   I’ve not really been a Batman fan, and the crossovers he’s done has forced me to peek in on the book from time to time.   Scott has long term plans, and after reading how Death of the Family ends, it will be interesting to see just how Batman operates from here on.  In my opinion Bruce comes out of this looking a lot less heroic, and when you read the final few pages, his “family’s” reaction confirms it.   

For new readers, this is not the best stepping on point.  I heavily recommend picking up the Death of the Family collection when it comes out.  There is no word if the other tie-ins will be included, but to get the full impact of the story, it would help to include them.   Especially when you “get” the joke at the very end.   Watching the struggles of Robin, Nightwing, Red Hood, Batgirl, and Red Robin add a lot more gravity to the horror show that the Joker creates.  Ask your local comic shop, or go to Comixology and look for anything that was tied into Death of the Family.

A top notch end for a top notch story.

Overall Rating: 5 of 5
New Reader Rating: 1 of 5

Batgirl #17
Writer: Ray Fawkes
Artist: Daniel Sampere
DC Comics

Batgirl #17 takes place shortly after Batman #17.  Ray Fawkes takes over writing duties temporarily for this 2 part story, that introduces us to Batgirl’s own “Joker”, her brother James Gordon Jr.   

The issue starts with Barbara Gordon locating criminals that worked with the Joker during his attacks on the Gotham City Police and The Bat Family.  Fawkes delivers a colder and more brutal Barbara.  One that has been slowly emerging in Gail Simone’s arcs.  Barbara realizes she needs to rest but has to spring into action after several police units were attacked while apprehending the Joker’s goons.  While all this is going on James Gordon Jr begins haunting his family.  He teases Barbara with a phone call, reminding her he knows who she is.  He shows up in his Mother’s hospital room in an attempt to terrorize her, and in an indirect way makes his father’s day harder when the Commissioner makes his arrest a top priority for the GCPD.  Much like Death of the Family, this story seems to center around what James Jr has planned for his family now that he is free.  Unlike the Joker, James Jr is content to use the existing chaos fuel his plans rather than lay out elaborate traps for them.   The issue ends with Batgirl running afoul of the madman attacking the GCPD units, Firebug.  

I was hesitant to like this issue, considering it wasn’t Gail Simone writing, but Fawkes does in one issue what Simone was slowly doing over the course of her run.  He gives Batgirl a villain that defines and challenges her.   We’ve known that James Jr has been lurking in the shadows for sometime now, and trying to weasel his way into his family’s life.  Now he’s making a move while everyone is distracted.  As much as I love Gail Simone, all of the villains she’s had Batgirl face have felt forgettable.  Mirror, Gretyl, Grotesque, and Knightfall all reflected some aspect of Barbara’s past injury she was wrestling with at that time.  At the end of each story, she was able to face her inner demons and beat back the bad-guys.  As her fears and anxieties slipped away so did the danger that the villain presented.  However since the Grotesque story she has been slipping into some darker rage-filled places.  She’s questioning just how far she can slip while dealing out justice.  While this is all great for character development, we never really got a good perspective of how the world was reacting to Batgirl’s return.  Fawkes is giving us that perspective now through the eyes of James Jr.   

My only real gripe about the issue is that it fails to address Batgirl’s current relationship with her other family, the Bat-Family.  All of the other Bat-books have plans to address how the characters are dealing with the Joker’s big punchline in Batman #17.  Batgirl mentions the events of Death of the Family in a few panels but then jumps back into the James Jr story.   Considering the fact that Barbara has spent the past year trying to reconnect and rebuild her reputation as one of The Bats, I would think that some amount of time should have been spent focusing on how she feels now and maybe just what the Joker whispered to her.  Maybe we will get that when Gail Simone returns on issue #19.  The plus side is that new readers will enjoy an issue of Batgirl that exists outside of her head.  There is no mention of her former paralysis, the mysterious operation that restored her, or any events prior to issue #14.  All we know is that she is going after the Joker’s men, her brother is on the loose, and Gotham is safe for no one.  

A perfect starting point for new readers.  

Overall Rating: 3 of 5
New Reader Rating: 4 of 5

See you all next week.   


By Mandy McGee

On this day, Valentine’s Day, what says I love you…er…Star Wars like no other? Bonnie Burton! Watch the video she made for Lucasfilm about Love and Star Wars.Follow her on Twitter @bonniegrrl

By Mandy McGee

I woke up this morning and hopped onto Twitter, like I normally do, and saw a post from Geek and Sundry about them starting a meme. I clicked on the video link not knowing really what I was in for. Then I watched this little gem. 

Then after I sort of recovered from shock I watched it a few more times and laughed my ass off. Then I found another video from two of my favourite Youtubers, Grace Helbig and Mamrie Hart.

Now I am just waiting for this to become a thing. I would do my own video, but I am not that brave just yet….So come on!!! Make a Harlem Shake video, PEOPLE!!!

By Mandy McGee

I was not on the internet much today but I managed to pop on and find a few things that I want to share with you. 

Emerald City Comic Con is a little over a month away and all of us nerds are gearing up. Espionage Cosmetics is one of my favourite places to get make-up. This year they are running an ECCC special. If you pre-order the new EC Collector’s Edition you will get a Lady Espionage poster from their latest promo. The collection will be available exclusively at ECCC, but if you can’t make it to the convention and still want the collection then email them. at ORDERS@EspionageCosmetics.com.image

I have not had a chance to sit down and really dive into the new Spinto Band album, Cool Cocoon, but from what I have heard so far is pretty amazing. They released a new video for the song “What I Love”. It involves a paper cut out gymnast, breakfast and dancing; all done in stop motion. Spinto Band always has the best and creative videos!  

I have been following this photographer for a while now and the pictures she has posted recently I felt just had to be shared with the world. I have never not liked a photo of hers, but the new set I found just takes my breath away. They remind me of some pictures I have seen of Maya Deren. Living in Charlottesville, VA, Jyoti Sackett uses natural light and brilliant imagination to create haunting and intimate photos. You can see more of her stuff on Facebook.image

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Copyright Jyoti Scakett, Model Katie Grammer

By Mandy McGee

This is the one of the best episodes of “Written By A Kid”. It is weird, funny and creative (as usual). 

What does Valentine’s Day+Horror+Elvira=?

THIS:

Subscribe to Geek and Sundry!!!

By Jason Calhoun

First off, welcome to the first installment of Kantrip’s Komic Reviews here on Extollere.
My name is Jason Calhoun or DJ Kantrip (or just Kantrip on most internet forums). I’ve been a comic fan in some medium or another my entire life. When I quit reading “traditional” comics back in the late 90’s I latched on to the emerging genre of Webcomics, then got hooked on Manga and Graphic Novels. Back in 2009, a friend got me hooked back into Marvel Comic’s X-Men and I’ve been happily consuming illustrated sequential stories in every format since. One of the hardest things for me, especially coming back as an X-Men fan, was catching back up on over 10+ years of history, new characters, and plots. For new fans and old fans returning, it can be very daunting when you decide to get into comic books, and the book that looks good is in double digit issues, or when you ask about the history of a character from a friend a lecture then ensues.

So for these reviews I’ll be focusing on story, art, and how accessible the book is to a new reader. Whether or not someone picking up the book for the first time will be completely perplexed or can slide right in with little or no need for going back and buying some issues. I will warn readers now, that not all the books I review will be fully new reader accessible. Getting into comics, one things new fans need to accept is that long-lived popular characters (Batman, X-Men, Spider-Man, Superman, The Avengers) will have a history they pull from. There will be references to events past, and sadly with events like Marvel NOW and DC’s New 52, publishers have quit making handy references to past issues where an event or person is mentioned.

If this makes you want to just throw your hands up and walk away from “The Big 2” (DC and Marvel), that’s cool. There are many great comic publishers out there like Image, Darkhorse or Oni Press, that publish stories of all types that are very new reader friendly and usually have a definitive beginning and end. Stories that contain separate stories for recurring characters either in anthology or mini-series formats. If you do want to get into the tangle that is the X-Men, or Batman, then I recommend that you use Google, Wikipedia, and some Comic Book sites like Comic Vine that serve as info hubs on all things related to comics. You can find a wealth of story summaries, links to collected volumes, and character information. Trust me when I say we comic fans like to be VERY detailed when it comes down to archiving the characters and stories we love. Also if you find there is nothing out at your local comic store that interests you, check websites like Comic Book Resources, Newsarama, or Comixology for previews, reviews, and general information on any new titles that are set to come out. If you’re concerned about making weekly trips out to a store for comics, or just prefer reading things on your computer or tablet, then check out Comixology. The comics industry is really trending towards digital comics (or trying to) and this format makes it easy for new readers to test out a book without wasting paper. Also you can find entire runs or collections for very cheap for legal download.

There are a lot of books that come out every month and I operate off a very limited budget. The reviews I post contain a combination of titles from mostly Marvel, some DC comics, and what ever indie publishers I see out on the rack at my local comic store or (LCS as it shall be know from here on) or on Comic news sites like Comic Book Resources and Newsarama. If there is a book you would like me to review then feel free to email me at kantrip AT gmail DOT com, comment on these reviews, or follow me on Twitter. I’m listed as dj_kantrip.

So all that being said let’s jump on in to some reviews. :)

Reviews for comics released the weeks of 01/02/2013 and 01/09/2013

Womanthology: Space #4
IDW Publishing
Various Writers
Various Artists
The latest installment of Womanthology: Space (W:S), feels like the middle of a long drive. Being a fan of the original hardcover project Womanthology: Heroic (W:H), I really do enjoy that there is a book out there that is dedicated to giving new female artists and writers a chance to collaborate and publish original works. While W:H was a massive project that brought a lot of short stories and tutorials together in one collection, W:S is an experiment to see how these contributors work on a month to month basis. Over the past 3 issues there have been some hits and misses. W:S #4 is neither hit or miss, but just blah. The opening story, Trinkets, by Jody Houser, Sally Thompson, and Kathryn Layno sets up the premise for what would be an amazing ongoing series but the 6 pages it is given really restricts the exploration of this world. The Smell of Sunshine by Devin Greyson and Lindsay Walker is a disturbing psychological piece, but all the twists throughout the story make it hard to follow. The final piece Drift, by Christine Ellis and Elva Wang, muses on the nature of death in space and nails the story perfectly in 7 pages giving the reader a feeling of completion at the end. Walker’s artwork is a very flat borderless Western-Anime fusion style so it makes this rather serious story feel whimsical. This issue ends with a tutorial by Lois Van Baarle on how to make an atmospheric digital painting, along with some pin up art pages by Catherine Miller and Christianne Benedict.

As far as being a jump-on point, it’s hard to go wrong with anthologies. The only problem being that this is the second to the last issue, so new fans may wait to get the collected edition. Also there’s not a good explanation about what Womanthology is about, so some readers may be a bit confused about the format of the book. With one more issue to go I wonder if Womanthology: Space has made enough of an impact as a mini-series to warrant another series from IDW, and if so, what will the next focus be? Horror? Western? Noir? Either as a mini-series or collected anthology, I hope Womanthology continues as it serves a vital role in the comics community. Giving women from all backgrounds, and educations the chance to see what its like to get a comic published while getting some much needed exposure outside the internet.
Overall Rating: 3 out of 5
New Reader Rating: 4 out of 5.

Ghost #3
Dark Horse Publishing
Writer: Kelly Sue Deconnick
Artist: Phil Noto
When Dark Horse comics announced the resurrection (pun) and reboot of their fan-favorite character, Ghost, I was very excited. I got even more excited when I found out that Captain Marvel and Osborn scribe Kelly Sue Deconnick would be penning the tale to the somber art stylings of Phil Noto. Issue #3 picks up with Dr. October monologing at the gagged and bound Vaughn. We get an explanation about the device that brought Ghost back into the world and why the Mayor and Dr. October are so determined to get it back. The second half of the issue focuses on Ghost as she begins to remember her past life as reporter Elisa Cameron. Deconnick does a great job giving October and Ghost’s parts distinctive perspectives and feels. Both characters are desperate and on the edge but there’s a very low pressure center meets high pressure center feel to this and the result will be a big hurricane of a conclusion. Noto’s art style lends just the right amount of sexy, disturbing and heroic to each of the characters without out going too far. I was particularly taken by a splash page of Ghost as she realizes who was responsible for her death. The woman clad in flowing white is a far far different person than the gun-toting bustier clad character of the past. I hate to put it this way, but Noto makes his characters very real. Yes they are sexy, scarred, and heroic, but you can see the stress lines in their eyes. You can see them without make up or glamour and still feel they are memorable. I am in love with the noir feel that this new Ghost has, and am sad that there’s only one more issue left.

There’s only a few problems with the issue. By splitting the story into 2 distinct parts, Vaughn’s fate feels forgotten when the book ends on Elisa’s story. The ending on the flashback of Elisa donning her iconic dress detracts from the build up of anger and determination that we feel 4 pages previously on the splash page. Looking back across all the issues so far in this series, I’m afraid that the conclusion that is to come next, may be a bit rushed. While issue 3 does answer a lot of question, it doesn’t do much for ramping up the excitement to what should be the climactic confrontation next issue. This feels like a middle-of-the-road issue with a slow pace that builds the story. Not the penultimate issue before the big end. For new readers, you will get a lot of explanation and have the story laid out for you, but at the same time, Vaughn’s role in this drama isn’t mentioned, so his fate may feel a bit hollow. As much as I am enjoying this story and want more Ghost from this creative team, new readers may be better off waiting for the trade paperback. There’s only one more issue to go, and unless your local comic store has back issues of #0 - #2, you’ll only have a small fragment of the wonderful world that Deconnick and Noto have revived here.
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5
New Reader Rating: 2 out of 5.

Dial H for Hero #8
DC Comics
Writer: China Mieville
Artist: Alberto Ponticelli
Dial H for Hero
remains DC Comics’ most original title, in my opinion. China Mieville has revived the idea behind The Dial into a perfect story that fuses suspense, horror, and super-heroics beautifully. Then there’s the fact that the book’s protagonists aren’t traditional comic book archetypes with chiseled physiques, good looks, and popular powers. Our heroes, Roxie and Nelson, are the perfect odd couple who become even odder heroes. An aging hippie and an overweight wash-out who turn into random superheroes like Cock-A-Hoop, Boy Chimney, Daffodil Host, and various others. Issue 8 focuses around the new threat, The Centipede closing in on the Dial users. Roxie and Nelson have located a second Dial in Canada, and the Centipede is 100 steps ahead. We get some explanation on The Centipede’s powers, which even after reading it over and over, still doesn’t make total sense. But it’s a time based power so that actually works for the story. One of the appeals of Dial H is that the book throws some odd heroes and powers at the reader, and there’s not going to be a lot of pages to explain, so as the reader you focus on the person behind the “dial”, and just accept the “crazy capes” for what they are. This issue also dips into Nelson’s refusal to “wear a mask” when he dials a Hero, and his resulting loss of self. The dialed hero, Flame War ,is not as creative as some of the previous dial-ups, but his recklessness and flamboyant nature is perfect for moving the plot along along and really demonstrate just how dangerous it is use The Dial.

While we haven’t been shown why the Canadian Government is also hunting down The Dials, the cliffhanger exposes The Centipede’s ulterior motives, which ultimately feels empty. Alberto Ponticelli’s art is stellar as always. I love the extra details he gives people. He draws different body types and facial details beautifully and its easy to know which character is which. When Flame War jumps into action, it is easy to follow and flows wonderfully. The hollow cliff hanger aside this is a perfect issue.

For new readers, I would encourage you to see if your LCS or Comixology has issues #6 and #7 available as well. Do yourself a favor and go back a few issues to start the story properly. I pray that DC comics continues to run this fan-favorite book with little meddling. The company has been quick to cut certain books that have not met certain sales quotas or move creative teams around arbitrarily to bring new life to an already new book. Bit of advice to DC comics? Leave China Mieville alone and let him just keep writing Dial H. Just let it be.
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5
New Reader Rating: 3 out of 5

The Superior Spider-Man
Marvel Comics
Writer: Dan Slott
Artist: Ryan Stegman
Before I begin the review for this book, just let me say I am a big Spider-Man fan. While I am not 100% on board with the big change that Superior Spider-Man brings to Marvel’s main icon, I do not condone the death threats made to the writer Dan Slott. Nor do I feel that my childhood has been ruined. Anyone who has read comics or seen the media hype-up on so many “deaths” of comic characters in the past will know that these changes are temporary. Spider-Man will be back to his status quo and Superior Spider-Man #1 even makes it abundantly clear that this is in the works. Confused by ‘teh cryptic’? Okay let me clarify now.

Superior Spider-Man is the relaunch of Marvel’s flagship hero for Marvel NOW. Jumping off from the final issue of Amazing Spider-Man (ASM)#700, Peter Parker is dead. In ASM #698, Spidey’s nemesis Doctor Octopus swapped minds with Peter Parker in a last ditch attempt to cheat death. Peter was trapped in Doc Ock’s decaying body with 7 hours to reverse the situation. In issue #700, Peter fails to switch his mind back into his own body but does manage to flood Octopus with all of his memories, forcing the villain to experience all of Peter’s life including the events that led him to understand that “with great power comes responsibility”. As Peter died in Octopus’s body, Doc Oct (in Spidey’s body remember) vows that he will continue Peter’s legacy and be a better, Superior Spider-Man.

And cue issue #1. There was a lot of fan rage to all of this. Beyond the “You destroyed my childhood” tantrums I mean. For many Spidey-fans, it maybe hard to read an arrogant and egotistical voice coming out of what was a mild-mannered guy who was often the victim of his own bad luck and martyr-complex. There is also the fact that Octavius is attempting to rekindle romance with Spider-Man’s former girlfriend, Mary Jane Watson. This has led to questions of consent should the couple get back together. The fact that Mary Jane would not be aware of who was really in Peter’s head is a major issue that several critics have brought up repeatedly.

The issue is basically an introduction issue. Setting the stage and showing us just how this Otto/Peter Spider-Man is different. The issue highlights how he utilizes his new tools and the changes he’s made to his outfit, also his attitude towards the costumed foes that give Spidey and New York a hard time. We see how Octavius/Peter interacts (insults) his co-workers and behaves around Mary Jane. In battle we see a far more brutal Spider-Man who claims to be more callous towards taking a life, but isn’t 100% in control of his actions. And there is the twist. I won’t go further, but suffice to say the very final page will put to rest a lot of fan rage about how issue 700 of ASM ended.

Dan Slott and Ryan Stegman deliver a new Spider-Man that is darker without being gritty. There is still a sense of fun and whimsy to the book in the art, and even though I found myself not liking this new Octavius/Peter, I was still cheering him on and getting excited as he battled the new Sinister Six. This Spider-Man is still a fun and fast paced read with lots of colorful characters.

I hate to say it but this is NOT new reader friendly. As I mentioned at the start of this column, very few legacy characters will be easy to just jump into, but Superior Spider-man #1 is definitely not a good start point. Too much of the set up is tied into Amazing Spider-Man #698-#700 and Avenging Spider-Man #15.1. And if you want physical copies of these books, good luck. You’re better off hitting up Comixology and getting them digital. Most of the Marvel NOW books have been quite successful with creating new jumping on points for new readers while maintaining continuity to keep old fans. Spider-Man, not so much. Plus I’ve also heard from several casual readers that the media exposure on ASM#700 and fan response has made them “just tired of it”. Myself? I’m hooked. I’m not only interested to see just how Octavius/Petey will succeed and fail, but also how Marvel will bring back Peter Parker down the line.
Overall Rating: 3 out of 5
New Reader Rating: 3 out of 5

Closing Thoughts: So this week? Full of good titles. No really strong jumping on points for you new readers out there but I really cannot recommend Dial H for Hero and Ghost strongly enough. Go find these books now. Also if you just want some good super-heroic fun with a twist, give Superior Spider-Man a read. Judge it for yourself.

I also got Animal Man and Swamp Thing #16, Justice League Dark #15, All New X-Men #5, and Wolverine and the X-Men #23, however all these titles are either in mid-story arc or wrapped up the most recent plots. If you are a big fan of Jean Grey of the X-Men, go pick up All New X-Men #5, as Jean Grey steps up as the character so many fans have wanted her to be. You also get to see the new form of the character Beast. Animal Man and Swamp Thing lead up to the conclusion of the Rotworld storyline started last year, and Justice League Dark started the new Death of Magic storyline in earnest but I was pressed for time with writing these reviews. If you want a good DC team book that borrows heavy from old DC Vertigo elements (Books of Magic, Sandman, Xanadu, Hellblazer), then I recommend picking this book up.

I’ll be back next week!! Until then, leave some feed back in the comments, or contact me directly on twitter with your thoughts.

By Morgue Anne

image

Dear Men of “Geek Culture”,

My name is Morgue Anne. Some of you may know me from my work as a model/performer, some of you may have never heard of me but know someone like me. But I am speaking now as a woman of Nerdiness. I am hired to be a Booth Babe, Poster Girl, and occasionally a Spokesmodel. When I’m not being paid money to attend conventions, I put down a fair amount of energy and money to create a costume and attend on my own dime. You may know my type as “Cosplayers”, “Nerd Girls”, or occasionally even just as “A Woman”.

As an independent model, I am allowed freedom in what work I can do, and often use it as a way to express my love for pop culture and “Nerd Out” from time to time. I was (and am) always very careful about how I approach these kinds of shoots - I have never been photographed in a “Geek Setting” wearing anything other than my own clothing, and the one time it was requested that I use comics as “props”, I insisted that they be predominantly female-centric comics and would only hold up my own personal favorites. I have spent hours working on how to present myself as a performer including exercise, research, and sewing my own costumes as well as working with some amazing local seamstresses when I can afford it. I have poured my heart and soul into not just dressing up like my favorite characters, but becoming one of my own.

Yet, it seems that more and more I have been hearing shit from all sorts of men in the “Community” telling me that if a girl isn’t perfectly attractive she shouldn’t be doing cosplay and thus should be brutally verbally abused, and if she’s too attractive than clearly she’s not a real nerd… and thus should be brutally verbally abused. Let me say this once and for all - Fuck you, you fucking fuck.

Comic conventions were some of the first places I ever felt attractive. I am not the mainstream idea of beauty - I have wide hips, small breasts, and the only reason I bleach my hair is to slap Candy Apple Red on top of it. I was bullied as a child, and discovered magical worlds I could escape to in books, films, and games. I was an awkward teenager, and by no means popular, so I drove further into these worlds even as I was slowly learning about others who shared my passion. I was convinced for YEARS that I was doomed to be ugly, until I discovered that there are other standards of beauty. Geek/Nerd culture helped give me this gift, and I refuse to return it because some of the people can’t pull the game controller out of their ass.

So I’m turning the tables. If we are so insistent to have this conversation about the level of attractiveness people need to bring to the table, then I ask the so-called men of geek culture - why can’t you be more attractive? If I have to stop eating carbs a month before Comic-Con, why do you get to have an extra serving of nachos? I am sick and tired of spending HOURS getting laced into tight corsets, having underwear uncomfortably shoved up my ass-crack, and punching a new hole in the O-Zone with hairspray only to have some greasy slob in an XL My Little Pony shirt (that still barely fits) tell me I’m not a “real geek”.

“Bitch, I spent time and energy assembling myself for this show and you couldn’t be bothered to iron your shirt. Where the hell do you get off telling me how to dress?” is what the next man who tells me my cellulite automatically disqualifies me from dressing like Harley Quinn. Fun fact: I was once paid CASH MONEY to appear in a video as a Harley-Quinn-style character. If there were more female characters that dressed reasonably, maybe I would have a wider selection and could pick a costume that would appeal to your delicate manly senses. Or you could take a look to see how *you* would look in a skin-tight body suit, because I promise it wouldn’t be pretty. Men, put down the x-box controller (That you’re totally holding wrong, what kind of nerd are you?) and go take a jog around the block. I am sorely disappointed by the lack of sexy Batmans, 300 Soldiers, or any of those hot Gods from Immortals I see cosplayed out there. I know *one* guy who does a passable Joker, and do you know how much time he spends at the gym? He stationary-bikes 3 miles a day while reading the entire works of Neil Gaiman. This is who you should be emulating! The last guy I shared a convention hotel room with regularly forgot to flush the toilet, even for solids.

Men, have you seen yourselves? Digitally pussified Steve Rogers is more bang-able than most of you, and he could probably do more push ups. At the very least he would have the decency to not take to the proverbial streets chanting “What a slut!” after I politely decline his proposition. Speaking of which, please also learn how to come on to a lady. Read “The Game” if you’re so desperate, because when I attended Starfest in Denver, a man literally picked me up by the waist and carried me across the room kicking and struggling, then laughed when, after he finally set me down, I started to chew him out. Clearly there is room for improvement both inside and out.

It’s not that I have a problem with guys being nerdy. If men want to think they can appreciate Doctor Who like we can or strategize a Settlers of Catan game as well as a woman, they are more than welcome to give it a shot. But if we are going to start a conversation about looks, than I want equal objectification. I don’t care if you think I’m not hot enough to pull off a decent Faye if someone can give me a Thor whose stomach I can bounce a quarter off of. While we’re on the subject, for God’s sake don’t you dare dress up like Khal Drogo unless you can do at least 20 push-ups while I sit on your back. In my chain mail.  

Here’s a hint - organize your comics into boxes, then lift the boxes repeatedly until you have amazing, sexy muscles that will make all the girls swoon when you walk by in your Bane costume that you skipped sleep for a week to finish. If you do anything less than this, than it is only because you lack the true dedication of a “real nerd”, and we will all laugh at how disgustingly human you are.

Do you see how ridiculous this sounds? Aren’t you outraged that someone would *dare* to tell you that you aren’t enough, especially over something that you have literally shed blood, sweat, and tears over? This is what so-called ‘Nerd Girls’ have to deal with all the time. Everyone has their own way of expressing themselves and sharing what they love with the world - fan art, collections, cosplay, and more I can’t even think of. It’s easy to get carried away with your opinion in this day and age, but if your criticism isn’t genuinely constructive, then stop and think for a moment if you’re using it to mask your own insecurities. If so, say nothing because let me be clear on this - if you are going to start the conversation about who “should” and “shouldn’t” be in costumes, ESPECIALLY if you are going to hide behind the mantle of “I’m just being honest”, you are going to lose. I am not afraid to take your so-called “constructive” criticism and turn it right back on you, and to tell me that I am not a real nerd because I am not your idea of attractive means that I am allowed to say the same about you. If you don’t want to look at my stomach while I wear the Poison Ivy costume I spent hours sewing together, then put your nose back in your Tony Harris comics and keep your mouth shut because I didn’t make it for you. If you do think it’s kind of awesome that I care enough about a character to glue leaves to my face (those hurt coming off, by the way), then by all means come up and give me a genuine compliment. We can talk, you can snap a picture, and maybe you’ll restore my faith in this culture a little bit. Or you could continue down this road of douche-dom and see where it gets you, but this is my final warning - That whip I carry isn’t a prop.

Morgue Anne is a performer, cosplayer, producer, and real-life villain for good. Some of her cosplay work will soon be available at facebook.com/SuperSirens, but you can find pictures of all of her costumes at facebook.com/MorgueXAnne.

Drawing is by Amy Villianous

Today 10 years ago Firefly was born. I am going to share some bloopers and such in honour of this day. 

There is 5 parts to the special features. Here is the first one and you can find the rest on you tube.

Written by Mandy McGee

This was my first year at Geek Girl Con and even though I was only able to attend for a few hours, it was one of the best cons I have been to. I got to be reunited with old friends (you know the ones you only get to see at cons and the rest of the time talk to on the internet) and met new amazing people. I really liked how it was not over-overwhelmingly crowded of people and the easy access to everything you wanted to see. It was very well laid out on 4 floors and all the staff workers were sweet and helpful. 

I am going to talk about a few of the amazing vendors they had there. There were a lot of good ones and I collected a bag full of flyers and business cards but in due time I will be writing up interviews with them. It would take forever to talk about each one and why they are so cool. So I am just going to list out some and you can go check them out and buy stuff!!!

The first thing I bought that I could not resist was a D20 soap from Twisted Kitten Creations

They had handmade soaps of D20s, full set small dice, cube soaps with toys inside and more. I just had to get the pink glittery D20!

I also bought some soap and perfume from ZOMG Smells. They are sample sizes and very reasonably priced. You can get the sample sizes and full sizes of “all the things” they sell on their site. They have smells like “Baby Unicorn Birthday Party”, “The Melancholy Soap of Nikola Tesla”, and “Captain of Industry”. The sample sizes are perfect as gifts, party favours and and traveling. The samples are lasting a good while for me so I know that the full size soaps and bottled scents will last a long time. 

Something I didn’t get a chance to purchase (and will soon enough) is the amazing makeup from Espionage Cosmetics. Created by Jamie Cordero and Sandra Stewart, Espionage uses great colour combinations, minerals and comic book inspiration to create great sets of makeup for the nerd in all of us. They have created combinations such as “FPS” made up of the colours betrayal, double kill, headshot and respawn

and combination “Gamer Girl” with the colours epic, guild romance, nerd rage and quest reward. 

And for Firefly lovers there is “The Browncoats” using the colours mrs. reynolds, reaver red, shiny and sudden but inevitable. 

They have a ton more colours and amazing collections to share with you. You can buy the set or individual colours from their site. 

Another fantastic vendor I found there was Fleeting States Studios. It is Numberism Art by Sienna Morris. Particularly her Math and Science art blew my mind. She uses numbers and math problems to create this unique art. 

I can’t wait to buy some of her pieces for my house. This woman has quickly become one of my favourite artists. 

There were so many more vendors I loved that I could talk about, but then this post would be ridiculously long. I suggest you go over to the Geek Girl Con website to find out who else was there, what awesome stuff was there and keep up with what they are doing. I believe everyone that participated and put this con on deserves the biggest high five ever. Thank you to everyone. 

I unfortunetly had to miss a lot of the con because of my day job but the people I met were amazing. I wish I had more time to meet more people and talk longer to the ones I did. A special thank you to Teal Sherer (go watch her new show on youtube “My Gimpy Life")for talking a little shop with me and for the panel that she was on with Jill Pantozzi. I also Googly Eye’d Jill’s panel sign (Bonnie Burton and Anne Wheaton would be proud of me). 

Jill shows of her sign (she writes for The Mary Sue)

Me and my friend Marrisa (works with Nerds in Babeland)

Here is some of the Cos Play that grabbed my attention

I can’t wait to go again next year. 

Official Geek Girl Con Site

Written by Kevin J Byrne

A little grey bunny once said “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothin’ at all.”  I have tried to live by the teachings of that great and wise animated guru to the best of my abilities.  Suffice to say, for this review, I’m going to say the nice things first and warn you when it starts to go downhill.

I am not going to harp on the numerous and glaring diversions from the comic continuity of DC’s Batman.  Nolan’s films have been very deliberately and meticulously distanced from the print media: They are a distinct iteration of the Batman mythos and I will treat them as such. Likewise, I am going to do my best to avoid spoilers in this review.  (I’ll probably fail, but hey), I’m trying.  As a result, I am going to avoid an elaborate plot synopsis.  Suffice to say, here are the crib notes:

The Dark Knight Rises opens eight years after the events of last film, The Dark Knight.  Bruce Wayne has retired to Howard Hughes-like seclusion in Wayne Manor and Gotham has not seen its masked vigilante during that interlude.  Wayne is drawn into a new treat in the form of the masked mercenary Bane, the apparent new leader of the League of Shadows when Gotham is overrun by the nefarious villain.

I was pleasantly surprised by Anne Hathaway’s portrayal of Selina Kyle, which is saying quite a bit as prior to this; I have not been much of a fan of her work.  In particular, her ability to shift emotions and characterizations at the drop of a hat was stunning and was wonderful spin that gave the character depth and dimension.  I’d encourage anyone who has been critical of her selection for the role to reconsider their position.

Gary Oldman as the beleaguered Commissioner Gordon has been a highlight of the Nolan-helmed Batman films and this outing was no exception.  The same can be said of both Michael Cane’s Alfred and Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox, both of whom reprise their roles from earlier films.

(Now, I know what you’re about to say: “It’s Freeman, Oldman and Cane, for crying out loud!  Of course they were awesome.”  Well….. I DID warn you that this was going to be pretty harsh and I’m really trying to say good things……)

Marian Cottilard, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt provided fresh faces for some particularly entertaining characters (Miranda Tate and Officer John Blake, respectively)
Now, gentle reader, we have arrived at the point where this review takes its sharp downward turn.  I promised to warn you in advance.  If you’re easily offended, you may now stop reading.  If you are easily offended and would like to keep reading anyway, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

New to this installment is Tom Hardy as the menacing Bane.  While I felt his performance was compelling, it was marred by a positively horrid audio mix which left much of his dialog sounding like a Cylon Centurian from the 1978 Battlestar: Galactica with oatmeal stuffed into its vocal processor.  The result sadly was that a good portion of his dialog was rendered an unintelligible, particularly during sequences with any music or loud audio effects (which is to say, most of the film). Yes, it really was that bad.

Christian Bale is, I feel, a great choice as Bruce Wayne, but I have never felt him to be particularly strong as Batman.  When the mask and cape are off, I can believe him as the eccentric, brooding billionaire.  Beyond that, it has been a bit of a stretch for me to see him as the Dark Knight simply because his performance lacks the gravitas due a tortured vigilante who fights Gotham’s most hardened criminals.

That being said (and in all fairness to Mr. Bale), I felt that this was his most compelling portrayal as both Wayne and The Bat.  This script finds him broken in mind, body and spirit and his portrayal of a man begrudgingly donning the mask once more was made more believable as a result of what has been to this point, a detriment to the character.
Now for the really bad parts….  

The Script:
It is painfully evident throughout this film that writer and director Christopher Nolan’s opinion of the Occupy Movement and recent “99%” events isn’t the highest.  More to the point, he and his script wear their conservative politics on their sleeve.  The script is laced with political buzz-words  and hot button issues, fear of domestic terrorism and societal anarchy directly tied class and economic standing.  It is sadly impossible to not watch this film and be swept off to the fantastical realm of DC Comic’s Gotham:  It is New York City (a fact that is seemingly deliberately obvious), it is today and bad things will happen if the Rich aren’t allowed to stay rich and keep the poor, well, poor.  

Look, I am all for freedom of the press, freedom of speech and so forth.  I don’t have a problem with political statements being made in movies, even when I disagree with the points being made.  Part of political discourse is, after all, hearing what the other person has to say.  My reason for disliking it in this film is the obviously paranoid and misinformed manner in which it is presented.  There is a degree of arrogance in the writing that permeates the screen and forces you to not think of this as a fantasy film, but as a political statement.  Not being what you would call “well heeled”, it came across in many ways as a slap in the face.  The general impression I was left with following this film was that class is irrelevant so long as the rich don’t help the poor, because they are punished for doing so and that the poor should not question the rich because when they do, it will end in anarchy.

Tow the line and know your place and everything will be fine.

In my mind at least, this left no room for balance between “good and bad”.  Further, it leaves little to no grey area.  Every major character in this film (with the possible exception of John Drake) comes off in the end as completely evil, selfish or punished for their good deeds.  This is particularly true of Bruce Wayne, who ends the film completely destitute, presumably never to be seen again.(Crap.  That was a spoiler..  I was trying so hard, too…)

Look, I am all for freedom of the press, freedom of speech and so forth.  I don’t have a problem with political statements being made in movies, but the co-opting of established characters to do this feels a bit underhanded.  This was a guaranteed blockbuster based on the success of the last 2 films.  Addressing the current political, social and economic woes of the country could have been done so in this film with far more tact and a good deal more balance without sacrificing anything from the story being told.  If anything, the overt politicization of the script suffers as a result.

PARTING SHOT: Why in the bloody hell did Bane have the harness and not use it?
(Crap. That was both a spoiler and a comic continuity gripe.  My bad)

Kevin J Byrne is the Content Editor for Dark Seattle Magazine, sole human member of electronica act Morrison’s Prophecy and comic book aficionado.

Written by Mandy McGee

Diesel Sweeties is a web comic created by Richard Stevens III. It is pixelated love full of low resolution robots, puns and lots of funny adventures. Richard also makes geeky T-shirts, socks and other things for your enjoyment. Some of his T-shirts have been worn by the likes of Wil Wheaton and Jim Parsons on The Big Bang Theory and in Scott Pilgrim. He sometimes even draws celebrities and geek icons in the comics. This is probably the funniest interview I have done yet.


Mandy: For our readers who are not familiar with you, who is Richard Stevens and what do you do?
RStevens: I am a so-far unmodified human male from the North American continent, consisting largely of caffeinated water and puns. I draw a comic strip on the internets called Diesel Sweeties and do all the side work that running a website and selling things entails.

Mandy: Where are you from?
RStevens: Originally, Connecticut. Currently, just outside Northampton, Mass.

Mandy: What projects are you currently working on?
RStevens: I’m currently doing my regular DS work, the gigantic 3,000+ comic ebook collection and a couple of secret books which are secret.

Mandy: When and why did you start Diesel Sweeties?
RStevens: I started in the Year Two Thousand. I’d always drawn comics as a kid, but had to stop during college. I had an easy, steady job at the time and decided to use my spare time to make up some comics. I was originally planning to do books, but fell into the routine of a comic strip.

Mandy: Did you start with doing the comic and then create merchandise?
RStevens: Yup. Comics first, merchandise second.

Mandy: What else do you do besides Diesel Sweeties?
RStevens: I tweet a lot and sometimes experiment with a crock pot. There was a brief period where I also collected some old arcade games because I was bored. That was my exercise for this decade.

Mandy: Were you aware that Wil Wheaton was going to wear your stuff before Big Bang Theory aired?
RStevens: Yup! He called me right as the production folks ordered them to give me a heads-up so I could get them to the show on time. That was a pretty wild day. I woke up in a blizzard without power, dug out from a couple feet of snow, and then Wil called about five minutes after the electricity came back on.

Pixelated Wil Wheaton

Mandy: If you could be a superhero, what power would you possess?
RStevens: I could really go for multiple, networked bodies and the intelligence boost that would come from there being a dozen of me. I’d really like to both get my work done *and* read more.

Mandy: If you were a Star Trek® [or Star Wars® ] character, which one would it be?
RStevens: Ideally, Scotty or R2-D2. More likely, Reginal Barclay or C-3PO.

Mandy: What is the last book you read?
RStevens: Shades of Grey, by Jasper Fforde. Great book! I love quiet sci-fi.

Shades of Grey: A Novel

Dedication to Bonnie Burton

Mandy: What was the last movie you went to see?
RStevens: Captain America, and Scott Pilgrim before that. I don’t get out to the movies much!

Mandy: If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fictional. with whom would it be?
RStevens: Who could most benefit the original me for when I get back? I guess I would probably pick someone with the ability to give Original Me some huge, tax-free grants or sign over a building or NASA to me. Then, all I have to do is wait a week and life will be Good.

Barring that, switch me with someone in the Illuminati who knows the truth about aliens. I’m sure I could memorize some flying saucer diagrams.

Mandy: What hidden talents do you have?
RStevens: Apparently, I am very good at over complicating hypothetical life-swapping questions. Better that than overcomplicated wife-swapping, I guess.

Dedication to Warren Ellis

Mandy: What is your dream project?
RStevens: I want to write a sitcom so dense and speedy that it would make Arrested Development look like a cricket match. Nothing but an overlapping, multi-layered heap of recaps and flash-forwards that could drive a normal person mad.

I would settle for getting free reign over a weird think tank to invent crazy technology and give it away for free, hopefully screwing up large corporations in the process.

Mandy: Professionally, what’s your goal?
RStevens: I want to finally get caught up on work, automate a month’s worth of comic and then write a couple books while on a boat to Australia. That’s the closest thing to a vacation I think I’d enjoy.

Mandy: What advice can you give to those going into your line of work?
RStevens: Don’t do this because you think it’ll make you money. Do it because you love it. 

You can find more Diesel Sweeties HERE

Follow RStevens on Twitter (He is funny)

We both had a hard time figuring out which comics were our favourites so we reached out to the fans on twitter. There are so many Sweetie comics it is hard to think of one particular one, but a few were brought to my attention and refreshed my brain on the ones I really like. Here are two that I love and speak to me for different reasons. If you know me you can see why.

and…

Written by Grace Ibrahim

Flash Pulp is a podcast the broadcasts every Monday Wednesday and Friday and is done in the style of  1930’s and  40’s radio programs. Their tag-line is “A fiction podcast with a modern pulp twist,” and that really does cover it. They tell stories in three to ten minute segments in the style of old radio sci-fi and stories of the supernatural . I strongly suggest you check out Jabber part 1 and 2 a story of the supernatural! The music they use at the beginning and end of each segment really takes you back to the days of pill box hats, stockings and flapper dresses. They also have cool segments of geek news and horrible histories which is done by my good friend Gibraltar and is really very fun! So if you have some time at work or you are hanging out playing your favorite table top game with some pizza and root beer you should tune in to Flash Pulp. Make your geek night complete!

Flash Pulp Podcast