Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Indiana's Anti-Gay Bill Could Ruin the Pokemon National Championships

It's almost April already, and for a lot of Pokemon fans that really means one thing: the Pokemon National Championships is coming up fast. This year the US Championships is going to be held in Indianapolis for the sixth time in a row, on July 3rd-5th. The last time the US National Championships was held in another city was in 2009 in St. Louis, Missouri.

Pokemon 2014 US National Championships (pokemon.com)
"What?" You might be saying to yourself, "Does anyone even still play the Pokemon Trading Card Game?" The 2014 US National Championships actually boasted the highest attendance ever at 2,166. And the Worlds Tournament boasted an even higher attendance rate of 3,000 (though only 155 attendees were actual players, it is difficult to qualify to compete at the Worlds Tournament. The tournament still draws huge fan numbers much like a sporting event). Pokemon remains a hugely popular franchise with it's Trading Card Game, as well as the Video Games, Television Show, and Movies.

Monday, March 30, 2015

A Redditor Shows How Much a Game Can Mean to Someone.

Sometimes people find something that means the world to them. It can be a person, place or thing.  However, sometimes, that one thing can mean more to them than life itself. Some people might criticize you or mock you because what you love doesn’t mean as much to them as it does to you. Don’t listen to them. They don’t understand what that object means to you. As long as you understand that the time you’ve had with that object was special to you, no one can say anything against you.

This is the case of crescendo1909, a user on reddit who posted a long story about his relationship with the card game “Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft”. In his story he talks about how he has cancer and that he’ll need to go to the hospital soon. He probably won’t be coming back.

“I'm aware of that now for a good amount of time and made my peace with it. I was never a person who spoke openly about those things with a lot of people, but with hearthstone (and the anonymity of the internet) it is somehow different.“

He goes on to say that he found the game through the streamer TotalBiscuit and never looked back.

“It's been now more than 1,5 years, since I started to spent my time with hearthstone. I only stumbled upon hearthstone through totalbiscuit. He uploaded a "WTF is...?" in mid August '13 and started his Lord of the Arena series after that. I was hooked from the very first second and watched every episode after that. “

Their story is a prime example of how something one person takes for granted another person can look at the same thing and see something that changed their lives.

You may think that playing a card game can’t help anyone. Well, you’d be wrong. Playing a game like Hearthstone or Magic: The Gathering or any other card game can help a person in many ways. They might be alone and shy, but then start playing a game and suddenly they are blossoming into a whole new person. They are reaching out to other people to play with or joining guilds. They are many ways that playing a game like Hearthstone can bring about huge changes in a person.

Without Hearthstone, they might have succumbed to depression or worse. There’s a reason people play games in general; it gets them away from their real world troubles if for just a few minutes. It helps them drown themselves in a make believe world where they can be anything from a giant fire breathing dragon to a dashing hero who has to save a princess. They can also be someone who is courageous even if, in the real world, they are shy and timid.

What this all comes down to is that; sure what someone does isn’t your cup of tea. That doesn’t mean anything. If you enjoy doing what you are doing, don’t let anyone else tell you it’s wrong. Throw yourself in the world you want to be in and do what makes you happy because you’re not always going to be around and having regrets about anything is no way to go.

We here at the Ace of Geeks salute you crescendo1909 on being a BAMF and living your life the way you want. You’ll be missed by the community you’re leaving behind, but your legacy and your memory will live on in how you shined.

Jon Howe is a podcast editor for Henshin Justice and The Ace of Geeks. He loves Toku and Video Games.

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Arya Stark joins Doctor Who!

Although not, sadly as a companion. Yet. The BBC reported this morning that Maisie Williams, star of Game of Thrones, will step into the TARDIS as a guest star for the currently-filming Series 9. There's no details yet on what role she'll play, but Stephen Moffet did have this to say about it:

We’re thrilled to have Maisie Williams joining us on Doctor Who. It’s not possible to say too much about who or what she’s playing, but she is going to challenge the Doctor in very unexpected ways. This time he might just be out of his depth, and we know Maisie is going to give him exactly the right sort of hell.

When asked for her own thoughts, Maisie said:

 I'm so excited to be working on Doctor Who as it’s such a big and important part of British Culture. I can’t wait to meet the cast and crew and start filming, especially as we’ll be shooting not too far from my home town.

It's an exciting development for sure - Maisie has been fantastic on Game of Thrones, and it'll be interesting to see what she does with the more lighthearted fare of Doctor Who.

Trevor Noah to Take Over the Daily Show

Looking at the news he has to cover, I expect he'll be making this face a lot.

Comedy Central has found their successor for John Stewart, and his name is Trevor Noah. A fairly recent addition to the show, Trevor has nonetheless found a voice and a following as a correspondent, and now he gets his chance to try taking over the desk. Honestly, this is what we expected - the last two hosts of the Daily Show were not established comedians, but newcomers who were given a shot and ran with it. Based on what he's done so far on the show, Noah should do a fantastic job behind the desk. Here's his and Stewart's thoughts, from the New York Times:

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Geekly Roundup, March 29th: It's The 90's Again Edition

On this week’s Geekly Roundup podcast: Game of Thrones brings spoilers to the screen! A new director for Ready Player One! The long-awaited return of The X-Files! This week, Mark, Jon, and Ellie have plenty to talk about, so let’s jump right in…and don’t forget to check out the new Video Corner at the back end of the Roundup!

 New Game of Thrones seasons will spoil unreleased books

Many of us thought this was coming when we realized early on that George R. R. Martin’s own work on Winds of Winter wasn’t going to get ahead of the show’s sixth season, but the show runners for Game of Thrones have admitted that the show will end up spoiling events in the next A Song of Ice and Fire novel. As Martin has previously worked with characters and the show runners on their arcs and the storyline, this has always been a possibility, but for how long the show has followed the books, it’s a bit odd to think that suddenly the books will follow the show.

 TIE Fighter: An Animated Short

This astounding piece of animation by Paul Johnson took four years to complete over weekends and is a quality space-fighting romp in the tradition of 90’s anime on the side of the Empire. The animation is smooth, and because of Johnson’s work, is much cleaner without the same “filler” cels common to 90’s animation — and with Zak Rahman’s great backing music, the video is not to be missed and would serve as a beautiful piece of propaganda for the 501st.

 Bryan Singer announces Jubilee for X-Men: Apocalypse

Fans of the 90’s X-Men animated cartoon will be excited to know that Jubilation Lee is bound for the silver screen in Apocalypse — Singer himself confirmed the casting of Lana Condor via Twitter, as is reflected in this Comic Book Reader article. Also significant is the casting as a blow against homogenization; Lee is an Asian-American character, and Condor is a Vietnamese-American who has studied with the Joffrey Ballet School and Ailey, though she has no previous feature film experience.

 New Avatar: The Last Airbender comics due in September

Fans of The Last Airbender and Korra, the excellent series of Last Airbender comics is getting a new addition — Smoke and Shadow picks up immediately after the first cartoon’s end, with Zuko returning to the Fire Nation. It features two stunning covers that both show an Aang and Zuko who have grown considerably, and set up the sequels that have been gifted to us in comic form thus far. Look for these from Dark Horse in September!

 ”Dungeons and Drafts” bar is a sports bar for geeks with a Kickstarter

With a Kickstarter that’s already been funded and a location ready to go in Ft. Collins, Colorado, “Dungeons and Drafts” will be an outstanding center for geekdom. Time to start planning your next vacation!

 Bruce Campbell to play Ronald Reagan in Season 2 of Fargo

The actor known for some of the best-loved cult flicks of all time may now be taking on the role of an aspiring President of the United States, as Campbell has reportedly signed on for Season 2 of Fargo, set in the 70’s. Campbell, also set to reprise his iconic role on television in the upcoming Ash vs. Evil Dead, will play a younger Reagan stumping on the campaign trail.

 Final Fantasy XV Director explains all-male cast reasoning…poorly

Oh, here we go again. Final Fantasy XV director Hajime Tabata has stated that “speaking honestly, an all-male party feels most more approachable for players,” suggesting the old anime trope of boys falling all over themselves to impress a girl. Implying that the feeling was that any female main character in FFXV would ruin the ‘bro road trip’ vibe is a little bit short-sighted and is a clever way to earn a Deuce of Geeks award. The game itself still looks fantastic, but we’re a little disappointed; hard to know if this is better or worse than their being “harder to animate”.

Elsewhere on the Internet:

Joe Quesada namedrops Peter Parker for Spider-Man movie, not Miles Morales (Comic Book Resources)

Mateus Ward reportedly testing for Spider-Man (Comicbook.com)

John Williams recording Star Wars: The Force Awakens Score in Los Angeles (Comicbook.com)

Brett Ratner trying to remake Enter the Dragon (Ain’t It Cool)

Sharknado 3 Now Has Title, Release Date (Epicstream)

ISIS Hasn’t Seized Luke Skywalker’s Farm (The Daily Beast)

JJ Abrams on The Force Awakens spoilers (Epicstream)

Star Trek 3 may cast Idris Elba (The Mary Sue)

Boeing patents vehicle-based force field (Tech Times)

NASA announces progress on Asteroid Initiative (NASA)

NFL Offensive Lineman publishes original math study in scientific journal (Bloomberg)

Hot Topic releases Orphan Black line of items (The Mary Sue)

Hearthstone player attempts longest turn ever (Kotaku)

Konami’s official words on Hideo Kojima (Kotaku)

Transformers producers hire Akiva Goldsman to fast-track spinoffs (Newsarama)

Donnie Darko mixed with Majora’s Mask is surprisingly good (Kotaku)

Matt Smith up for the lead in Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them (IGN)

Walking Dead spinoff gets name, first promo date (The Mary Sue)

David Duchovny on The X-Files and why Mulder was a terrible FBI Agent (New York Times)

Iron Man writers tackle Alien Nation remake (Comic Book Resources)

Johnny Storm returns to Attilan in Uncanny Inhumans (Kotaku)

Marvel teams up with Five Four for men’s fashion collection (Comic Book Resources)

Second Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Author Solutions Inc. (Writer Beware)

Avengers “Rule the World” in Dan Abnett’s new novel (Comic Book Resources)

Chuck Palahniuk breaks his silence on Fight Club 2 (Maxim)

Judiciary Committee Press Release uses GIFs to oppose Obama on immigration (Judiciary Committee)

In the Video Corner:

Three members of the Flash cast sing the Ballad of Serenity

Watch a fire being extinguished with sound

Stephen Amell sends a twelve-year-old fan a birthday video greeting

Is this a teaser for an Astro Boy reboot?

The Inspector Gadget trailer, from Netflix

The Age of Ultron “Super Siblings” spot

The Terminator: Genisys “Help” spot

A rap battle for the very ages: HODOR vs GROOT

Plenty to share this week — hopefully this will keep you occupied straight through until next weekend, too! Don’t forget to check out the podcast and we’ll see you for next week’s Geekly Roundup.

The Geekly Roundup is a weekly Ace of Geeks feature that brings together all the interesting things we've encountered across the Internet this week.  The Geekly Roundup podcast this week features Mark Foo, Ellie, and Jonathan.

Contributions for this week's Roundup were submitted by Ben, MalKontent, Raven, Ellie, and Jonathan.

Friday, March 27, 2015

DC Reveals The Cities Of "Convergence"

Not to be shown up by Marvel’s paltry attempts at uniting several disparate continuities into one in Secret Wars, DC has been working on its own universe-wide semi-reboot, putting all of their titles on hold for a two month period while they combine several cities from various disparate continuities into one in the Convergence.

Lest this sound too familiar, though, longtime DC fans may be thoroughly excited at DC’s take on the company-wide maneuver as a number of continuities thought forever lost to the sands of reboot time will be making appearances throughout the event!

Check out DC’s slowly expanding Convergence page here, as well as a preview guide featuring all of the cities hosted here by Newsarama — and io9 previously showed us some of the impacts and storylines we’ll be seeing from the various Convergence series.

For some of the highlight "cities" from the upcoming event, hit the jump.

Richard III Laid to Rest with Honor

Portrait of Richard III next to his corpse verified by DNA testing
For anyone familiar with English history, this is a pretty big deal. The often maligned Richard III is being reburied, and this time with honors. Richard III's body was found in 2012 when a parking lot in Leicester was being dug up. Apparently, this is where his body was unceremoniously dumped and covered up after the Battle of Bosworth in 1485. The great point of interest is that the Queen, Elizabeth II, has asked the Countess of Wessex to represent her at the burial and to deliver a eulogy. According to sources inside the court, the eulogy is "surprising and sweet" and calls on the Britain as a whole to recognize the importance that Richard III played in its history. The Duke of Gloucester will also be in attendance, filling out the royal contingent.

The burial ceremony
But why should we care about Richard III? Richard III was one of many English kings during the War of the Roses, which ranged from 1455 through 1487. Richard the III garnered notoriety when he became king after the death of his nephew, Edward V, and his little brother who died in the Tower of London. The circumstances of their deaths is still unknown to this day, but folklore claims Richard III (at the time Richard the Duke of York) and regent until his nephew came of age, killed the two princes seizing the throne. Richard III was later killed in 1485 by Henry Tudor who cut the crown from Richards helmet and rode to London to be crowned King Henry VII. Histories about the time are confused and often very similar to other source material, but a good primary source would be Sir Thomas More's "History of King Richard the Third". If you've read William Shakespeare's play "Richard III" you might find similarities as it is believed that the bard leaned heavily on More's history. Shakespeare went out of his way to make Richard III the ultimate villain of English history, but almost a villain you could root for. Frank Underwood of House of Cards. Suffice it to say anything concerning Richard III is fraught with controversy, yet there are whole societies devoted to disproving some of the history surrounding this dead monarch.

What is also of interest, is that the current monarch of England and her family claim the throne through the Tudor line of succession. It could be argued that the early Tudor monarchs (Henry VII, Henry VIII, Mary I, & Elizabeth I) may have gone out of their way to damage Richard III's memory as a way of cementing their claim to the throne, as it was very tenuous and under threat through out their reigns. While this reversal of royal opinion is surprising, some might feel that it is lack luster. Philipa Langley, head of the Richard III Society,  claims that she is not surprised to see any more senior royals in attendance as the current royal family still claims that Richard III was a usurper of the throne on their official website. Langley claims that there is copious evidence that Richard III removed Edward V and his little brother to the continent (Europe) for their own safety and protection. Furthermore, Richard's closest aids, Sir James Tyrell and Sir Edward Brampton, supposedly took a large quantity of money to Portugal suggesting that the two young princes were moved there. She also posits the idea that anyone could have killed the princes, and if they were killed, Henry Tudor and the Duke of Buckingham had just as much to gain from the death of those young princes as Richard. However, Langley is glad to see that the Duke of Gloucester attended as the Duke is a patron of the society. Controversy aside, the internment of the body of Richard III is the first royal funeral since the death of Elizabeth II's father, George VI. So let us give pause for the remembrance of a controversial leader in a chaotic era. Farewell Richard III, may your bones rest easy in honor and peace.
Crest of Richard III

Star Trek in Discussions to Return to TV

If you thought the silver screen would be your only source of new material in Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek universe, it turns out you could be wonderfully, delightfully wrong.

A new report from Latino Review suggests that not only is CBS in discussions to produce a new Trek television show, but that director Bryan Singer has been mentioned as potential executive.

When contacted, CBS employees who preferred to remain unnamed said, “All we know is that talks are being had in good faith. We don't know how much longer it will remain talks.”

Though various attempts to return Trek to the small screen have come and gone, the Latino Review article points out that the strength of recent fan productions, like Star Trek: Phase II or the upcoming Star Trek Axanar fan film (of which the existing “Prelude to Axanar” apparently includes Singer as a fan) will provide an excellent baseline to existing executives as a benchmark of what the show and storyline are capable of with fan-originated budgets and modern technology.

As a long-time fan of this fantastic franchise, I’m very curious to see what a modern take on the Star Trek universe might look like on the small screen. If nothing else, though, with any luck we’ll have Idris Elba and Star Trek 3 to tide us over in 2016.

Ben Fried-Lee is a blogger, podcaster, dancer, and lifelong Star Trek fan living in the Bay Area. There are at least three phasers lying somewhere around his house, as soon as he also finds the tricorder to search for them.

Sony Secures "Robotech" Rights

After years in development ice, Robotech may see the silver screen yet after being picked up by Sony for production by Gianni Nunnari and Mark Canton (of “300”, among others), as Variety reports.

Though the rights to Robotech had last lain with Warner Brothers, Sony has picked up the title and views it as a potential long-term franchise of movies.

The rights to Robotech are a complicated morass due to its source material; rights for Macross and Southern Cross are not entirely Sony’s or Harmony Gold’s, but the stories of Rick Hunter and Lynn Minmei are now available for spinning off, rebooting, or any number of potential stories.

It’s been the Decade of the Reboot so far, and Robotech may be no exception — Sony apparently wants to start production quickly, according to the article; hopefully, the first Robotech movie, which already has attached Michael Gordon as scriptwriter, will make its way to the silver screen soon without languishing in the oft-cliched but all-too-real development hell.

For more on the impact of Robotech on Western culture and acceptance of anime, check out this great article from Blastr featured in last week’s Geekly Roundup.

Ben Fried-Lee is a blogger, podcaster, and baseball fan in the Bay Area who, like you, still can’t decide whether or not he’s morally opposed to rebooting everything under the sun. He’s slated to be rebooted next month, and played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

Reynolds Gloriously Reveals Glorious Deadpool Movie Costume

After that little sneak peak at Deadpool in the latest X-Men movie, some fans weren't that happy with how the character was presented. Most fans seemed to agree that casting Ryan Reynolds was genius - or a very good casting choice, at least, in spite of the fact that Deadpool as portrayed was devoid of all the things that made him what he was - no disease, no costume - and worst of all, no mouth. But the attitude was there, and sometimes that's all it takes to make some people (okay - maybe just me) happy.

Reynolds was just okay in Green Lantern, but Deadpool is a much better character for him to showcase that smart-ass, out-of-bubblegum-kick-ass, "don't bother giving me your name, I don't care if your mama knows" kind of persona. And if the little peeks he's been teasing us with are any indication, he'll be doing it with his usual panache and aplomb! Especially the glorious reveal he gave us today, of the full official costume from the Deadpool film.

Spoiler alert: It's perfect.

Episode 144: Don't Bring Your F-ing Kids

Mike is joined on the podcast this week by Doc Atrocity, Scorpion (yes, THAT Scorpion) and Broseph Joe Brody from Oakland's own Hoodslam for a discussion about professional wrestling on a weekend that is entirely coincidental and has no big wrestling events on it at all. They'll discuss how a group of wrestlers goofing around with each other turned into one of the biggest drawing shows, with 1000+ packed into Oakland's Metro Opera House every month. We'll also break down wrestling's macho culture in the wake of the latest training scandal, whether the internet's passionate wrestling community is helpful or harmful to running a live show, and how interactivity and truly connecting with the fans is the future of wrestling.

Episode 144!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

iZombie episode 2 Recap: "Brother, Can You Spare A Brain?"

Last week's episode brought the funny and a little bit of ass-kicking. This week's episode worked, but was not as exciting and a little too much of Captain Obvious for me. An artist dies, and the cop figures out who did it right away. Buuuut they have to follow due process anyway and investigate. Along the way, Liv comes face-to-face with her nightmare vision from last week's episode, and she also goes somewhere she shouldn't have - and, of course, it ended in tears.

There is one thing that bugs me - the voice-over narratives. In last week's episode, it seemed like half the story line was recited in a narrative. This week, there isn't as much of it, but it's still annoying as hell. It doesn't do anything really to tie anything together; it just seems to serve as a segue point or unnecessary epilogue. It's not very useful otherwise. The information divulged in the voice-overs are easily deduced from the scenes preceding, under, or just after it. I hope that it is going away, and not becoming a regular thing.

There are also some things that I am really, really liking a lot. The Chief Medical Examiner Ravi Chakrabarti seems to take extreme pleasure in the fact that there are actual zombies in existence. Rahul Kohli brings a great sense of morbid humor and joy to the role. I wish that he had a bigger part. I also enjoy the dialogue a lot! It's a bit too much in some spots, but can be very witty and appropriate in others.

There does also appear to be a secondary story developing fairly quickly. There really isn't a whole lot of time being spent yet on the characters' back-stories yet. Last week, it was pretty much "Here's our zombie girl. This is how she got that way. And here's the good cop, here's the bad cop who also happens to be the bad guy, and here's the zombie girl's NPC's. Have at it." This week, it's "Here's the crime victim, here are the potential suspects, and here's the jerkwad from from episode 1 building his own story. Let's see what happens."

So... shall we? Hit the jump for the recap, and let us know what you think in the comments!

Final All-New, All-Different Avengers Roster Revealed!

We had our own theories, in an article earlier this week, on who might be revealed to be a part of the All-New, All Different Avengers. And it turns out we were...mostly right. (I admit, I was completely off on that Doctor Doom thing, my bad.) Today, thanks to a 4 Chan leak, Marvel released an image of the full new roster of the Avengers, post-Secret Wars. And it looks like a really fun team. Hit the jump to see the full image.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

"Ready Player One" Gets Absolutely Perfect Director

If you haven't read Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, you're missing one of the greatest stories told in the last decade. Seriously, go read it right now, we'll wait.

Still waiting.

God, how long does it take you to read a book?

Anyway, Cline's fantastic semi-dystopian vision of the future has been optioned into a feature film since pretty much the moment it was published. And while names like Edgar Wright have been bandied about before, Deadline has finally confirmed the choice of director, and it's a doozy.

The Flash's Joe, Cisco, and Eddie Perform an Acapella Ballad of Serenity

The Flash's cast members keep impressing us with their extracurricular activities. You may have seen Cisco and the good/evil/good (stop confusing me, Flash writers!) Harrison Wells performing an acapella trombone performance over Christmas, but this one takes the cake. Jesse L. Martin (Joe West), Carlos Valdes (Cisco Ramon) and Rick Cosnett (Eddie Thawne) break out into three part harmony to perform a beautiful, gospel-style rendition of the Ballad of Serenity. Get your daily dose of goosebumps after the jump.

Get Your First Look at Jesse Eisenberg's Lex Luthor

It seems to be a pattern these days - actor gets cast in a major comic book role, fandom riots, actor shows the potential that the director say they had, fandom gets excited. Today, we seem to be on the "fandom gets excited" upswing of Jesse Eisenberg's turn as Lex Luthor in the upcoming Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice film. The WB released their first look at Eisenberg in character as Luthor, and boy does he look perfect. Of course, looks aren't everything, but anyone who's seen Eisenberg in Zombieland or The Social Network knows he has the chops to give the world a convincing, and hopefully terrifying, young billionaire version of the iconic character. Check out the first look after the jump.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Who will be the All New, All Different Avengers?

Marvel released a nice little teaser today for their Free Comic Book Day issue of their All-New, All-Different Avengers, with two members revealed and four in shadow. So who will be the newest members of the Avengers post Secret Wars? Here's our thoughts, with some educated guesses and some rampant speculation. Hit the jump to see more.

The X-files is Back!

It's finally official - Fox released a press release this morning confirming they've put The X-files back into the production. The seminal 90s sci-fi TV show, featuring David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, is still highly celebrated amongst its fanbase, with its popularity justifying two feature films after it was cancelled. Now, thanks to that same fan demand, the show will return to Fox with it's two leads, and original creator Chris Carter at the helm.

That sound you hear is podcast co-host Jarys trying to stop bouncing up and down with joy.

Cosplay Shennanigans Vs the World!

A few weeks ago, Crystal from Crystal Rose Creations told me, "I'm gonna be Ramona Flowers (from Scott Pilgrim Vs The World) for Long Beach Comic Expo!" and this was a week and a half before the convention.  She needed a hammer, and... (this really happened, I swear), there were streamers and a disembodied voice screaming "CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!"

Monday, March 23, 2015

Marvel Universe Live - Fun for Kids, Maybe Not Great for You

Arena shows are a tough thing, especially in the modern world. Back in the day, the Ninja Turtles would show up, tell a few jokes, kick a foot ninja in the face, and everybody goes home happy. But now these supposedly "kids properties" are the subjects of major motion pictures, with billions of dollars spent and effects by the wizards at Industrial Light and Magic. It's no longer enough to just show up in costume and call it a day - a modern arena show has to bring kids at least a semblance of the same magic they'll see on the big screen. So far, Batman was on point but disappointing, and How to Train Your Dragon (I can't believe we never reviewed this) blew me the hell away. So where does Marvel Universe Live fall on that scale? Somewhere in the middle.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Geekly Roundup, March 22nd: Crisis On Infinite Reboots Edition

Welcome back to the Geekly Roundup, your source of all the fun, interesting, and poignant news we’ve collected that didn’t make it into an article this week!  We've got world-famous D&D sessions, World-Wide-Web tributes to a beloved author, underrepresentation in urban fantasy, and more.

This week on the Geekly Roundup Podcast, Mark, Mike, and Ben discuss the lack of a Dredd sequel, Tommy Wiseau and James Franco, and tackle the delicate topic of rebooting comic characters in an excellent discussion that we hope you enjoy as much as we did!

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation Teaser Trailer Teaser!

That's not a typo...this is a teaser trailer for a teaser trailer. Just so we're clear - not a full trailer.

And given the fact that this badass thing would be totally acceptable as a full trailer, begs the question: What in the heck is the actual trailer going to look like? Hit the jump to see Tom Cruise, Simon Pegg, and Jeremy Renner back in action one more time.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

SDCC's Hotelpocalypse Now - How to Book A Room

To those who beat the odds and purchased a badge, I salute you. You made it soldier, but now unless you plan on sleeping in line for Hall H each night, you need a hotel room. Comic-con's official hotel sale is this Tuesday, March 24th at 9 am.

In 2013 all hotels were gone in 3 min.
Last year all downtown hotels were gone in 90 seconds.

Comic-Con International has said it for years, the demand simply outweighs the supply of available hotel rooms. So how do you stand a chance against the hordes vying for a room? You plan like your life depends on it.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Episode 143: Somebody Better Open Up a Window!

Picture This week, Jarys invited their old friend Jasmine Joshua-Messenger into the podcast to talk about her newest show; the musical 1776 with a fully female cast. After Jasmine describes her first experience with 1776, they explore the myriad factors in producing a show, from Indiegogo to selling tickets. They touch on the passion driving the project as well as the difficulties. Somehow, they find the time to moralize their favorite author, the Late Sir Pratchett. Caution, history nerdetry within.

Episode 143!

Make sure to check out Jasmine's Indiegogo campaign!


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Morena Baccarin to Play Copycat in Deadpool movie

So much ink is spilled over whether one actress makes a female character strong, or whether one role makes a feminist icon, so let's take a larger look, shall we? Fair warning ths is written by a man.

Morena Baccarin first came on my radar as Inara on Firefly. A "companion," something like historical geisha, a woman who is equally comfortable coaching a client in how to improve their life under a stifling parent as she is with them in bed.

After the movie Serenity I lost track of her until Gotham when she stepped into the role of Leslie Thompkins, a take no prisoners physician who very quietly shatters the preconceptions of a woman's place in any workplace putting herself out front of a murder investigation that stymies the big guns of GCPD homicide.

And now we get to see her as Copycat. For those unfamiliar with Vanessa here's a brief rundown.  This is the woman who made her first appearance shooting Deadpool in the back, backed Cable down while tied to a chair and is generally one of the biggest badasses in the 616. This arc of Ms. Baccarin's career is gearing up to give all geeks another positive female role model.

Star Wars Battlefront to Debut at Celebration

If you've missed galavanting across the universe, meeting interesting beings, and then killing them, have we got news for you. We've all known since E3 2013 that Star Wars Battlefront was on its way back, from Battlefield Developers DICE, but now we finally know when we'll get to see more of it. EA Announced Today that Battlefront will make its debut at Star Wars Celebration, which means in less than a month we'll finally get to see what all the hype is about.

Can't make it to Celebration? No worries, we'll be there, tweeting and posting everything that happens at the convention. Keep your eyes here.

First Footage of Live-Action Attack on Titan!

It's happening. The live-action Attack on Titan has been in the works for a while now, and finally we get our first look at what the celebrated manga/anime will look like on the big screen. So far, it looks really good. As a Japanese production, they don't have a Hollywood budget, but they use some great tricks to hide it well, and while the actors look a little older than I might like, they still look like they're giving fantastic performances. I can't wait to see the finished product - hit the jump to see the trailer, interspersed with some Japanese news show footage.

New Avengers Trailer: Hear Quicksilver Speak!

Marvel has released a third - and way more "fun" - trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron. Mostly designed to introduce you to all of the characters (except Vision), this is a more action packed trailer than we've seen before, and while Tony is still kind of the focus, every character gets a beat, including Quicksilver. Spoilers ahead, but hit the jump to see the full thing.

iZombie Raises our TV Hopes from the Dead

I'm not a big fan of Veronica Mars. I watched the first few minutes of it once and was like, "bored now..." But it took off, and that's what I'm hoping will happen with iZombie - it hits all the right notes with current pop culture trends: 80's nostalgia, zombies, drama, zombies, whodunnits... did I mention zombies? 

All the elements are there:
  • The plucky zombie protagonist coming to terms with her situation and making the most of it
  • Her boss - the Chief Medical Examiner, the enabler who covers for her as she helps herself to dead brains that she takes (after the examinations and notes are made, of course - she may be dead but dammit she still has her ethics)
  • The detective who benefits from her work as a medical examiner in the morgue
  • The dysfunctional family and social situation - her family and friends don't know she's a zombie, and can't understand why she left her fiance
Check out the recap after the jump and tell us what you think in the comments! 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Daredevil and Fantastic Four Will Have Their Classic Costumes (Eventually)

The latest news from the somewhat grimdark Daredevil and Fantastic Four reboots? They may not, in fact, spend their respective series or movie clad in nothing but black. We’ve discussed this in the past in our Geekly Roundup podcast with takes on Daredevil (looks awesome!) and Fantastic Four (warily waiting).

io9 brings us the latest on each; in the case of Fantastic Four, the director points out that to avoid the FF’s iconic blue outfits would be “very odd”, going on to say, “There is some servicing there. You've got to give that to the fans. That's what it's all about.”

Regarding Daredevil, we could see a somewhat Arrow-esque transition from a cobbled-together outfit to the DD we know and love. As showrunner Stephen DeKnight brings us, “The idea was to back the story up to the point before Matt is Daredevil. Then we could take him to a place where some version of the red suit works in a grounded world.”

Murdock will begin with a tied back black mask, much as the character did in the original show. Will we see the old black and yellow DD? Probably not, but we will see the costume develop over time as Matt learns and adds pieces to make it better — eventually evolving into the classic red suit as he continues taking on the thugs of Hell’s Kitchen.

Fantastic Four is set to hit theaters August 7th in the US, while Daredevil comes to Netflix starting April 10th.

Ben Fried-Lee is a blogger, podcaster, retail employee, and board game enthusiast living in the San Francisco Bay Area. His favorite sport is baseball, and so he has high hopes for the Daredevil series using Bullseye.

It's 2015, And Nintendo Has Decided To Make Smartphone Games

We all have that friend. The one who says Harry Potter is overrated, the one who won’t watch The Hunger Games, the one who refuses to see Firefly because everyone else just will not stop talking about it. Then, when the furor dies down a few years later, they finally make their way around to whichever piece of pop culture all of their friends have insisted they just need to watch one of these days and go “Huh! Maybe that was a good idea after all!”

It’s not a perfect metaphor, but Nintendo appears to be finally coming around to the idea of smartphone gaming , not long after their most recent assertion that, as Nintendo president Satoru Iwata once stated in 2011, creating games for iOS was “absolutely not under consideration”. In 2013, he had similar things to say regarding the matter. So is Nintendo making a 180° turn now? …Sort of. Hit the jump to learn how.

EndGame Oakland Commands the Largest Dropzone

Mike Montesa sent me an email about a month ago reminding me to sign up for the DropZone Commander tournament in March.  Of the 14 spots available, there were only 12 left!  Come on Mike, no need to sensationalize it.  I'll sign up, don't worry.

A few weeks later, I see another announcement on Facebook: just 8 slots left in the March tournament.  Uh huh, yeah, I'll do it.  You only have 6 people.  There are like 10 who play at Endgame.  Don't rush me.

A week later, I see the last fateful post: 2 spots left.  Wait, what?  How did you go from 6 to 12 in a week?  Okay, okay, I'll sign up, I just have to find the URL, and check my calendar, and oh shit its too late, they are grabbed.

DropZone Commander is a 10mm combined arms, dropship focused miniatures combat game by Hawk Wargames.  If you are thinking that you know that name from somewhere else, you are wrong, they have produced literally nothing else.  Each player alternates in activating groups of units to move, shoot, stab, or search for objectives.  The game is set in the year 2670, humans from Earth have expanded out to colonize the stars, found alien races and inevitably gone to war with them.  They fight mind controlling aliens, post scarcity war-loving aliens, cyborg human aliens, and rabid, savage (and yet somehow extremely effective and technologically advanced) humans.  There is a lot of history and story to the game, which can be compelling.  I play the human faction that generates a surprising number of jokes about Will Smith's character in Independence Day, mostly revolving around the oft misquoted line, "Welcome to Earf!"

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Max Landis and All of His Friends Will Make You a Wrestling Fan

Max Landis, writer of Chronicle and about a billion other things that are coming soon, is a huge nerd. You may have figured this out because he wrote Chronicle. He's been seen before giving his ideas on one of Superman's sillier storylines, in a Drunk-History-Style-clip that nearly broke the internet in half. Now he's back, and he's covering one of our favorite topics: Professional Wrestling. Yes, Max argues, wrestling isn't "real." But neither is Game of Thrones, and you all eat that up. If you've got twenty five minutes of your life to give today, go watch the life story of one Hunter Hearst Helmsley, and how twenty years of backstage politicking and stomping around has made for one compelling story. Check it out after the jump.

Ellie's Brutal Guide to Being an Extra

Comic book movies are more prevalent today than ever. And where there's a comic book movie, there's a casting company needing to fill scenes with extras. And where there's a casting company needing extras, there's a horde of geeks ready to strike.

It's like "If You Give A Mouse A Cookie," but far more annoying for working professionals in film.

With Captain America choosing to shoot in my town of Atlanta, the geek community has been blowing up my Facebook and email. With that comes all manner of annoyance at the attitude being an extra is being treated with. So time to air some grievances, and give some tips for those of you insisting on applying.

Monday, March 16, 2015

DC Pulls Controversial Batgirl Joker Variant at Artist Request

For the 75th Anniversary of the Joker, DC Comics has been releasing a series of variant covers for many of their books, depicting the Joker invading the different stories of the DC Universe. It's a tried and true tactic, but one that backfired in their face when they revealed the variant for Batgirl #41, as drawn by Raphael Abuquerque. Now, after an outcry from fans, the artist has requested that DC pull the cover entirely.

The cover, which hearkens back to the Alan Moore story "The Killing Joke," was found to be disturbing by many in the community. We have the picture below the jump break, but please be warned it can be pretty triggering.

Twin Peaks May Not Return After All

It seemed like a done deal - the network had been announced, the director was on board, the actors were in place, and fans were so ready to return to the world of Twin Peaks. Today, however, Salon is reporting that all may not be ready to go in the world of David Lynch's return to the TV show he created. At a Paleycenter Q&A for the opening of the "Between Two Worlds" exhibit, Lynch was asked about the reboot. He responded:

I don't know. There are complications...I haven’t returned yet. And we’re still working on the contract. But I love the world of Twin Peaks and I love those characters. And I think it will be very special to go back into that world.

Geekly Roundup, March 15th

A new week brings a brand-new Roundup!  On the Geekly Roundup podcast this week, Mike, Mark, and Synthia discuss DC's new costumes for Superman and Wonder Woman, Blizzard's Heroes of the Dorm, and Magic: the Gathering's latest expansion, Dragons of Tarkir.  Have a listen and peruse below our first-ever Wheaton-free roundup! (We're hoping this isn't a trend.)

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Terry Pratchett, a Golem, a Dwarf, and Me.

Do you have one of those authors whose words give shape to the ideas that have knocked around your head for years? Who helps you vocalize what you could not say exactly right, to the point where people ask "Where did this come from? How long have you thought this?" You've wanted to tell them for ages, but you couldn't. What can be said about that author, about your feelings for that author, your respect for that author? What can you say about the author who inspired you to write, even as the words you write fail to express yourself?

What can I say about Sir Terry Pratchett without shaping my focus back to me? Well, I did not know him, I can't speak to who he truly was. But I can write about his impact on me. I ask for forgiveness if my words bend toward my ego or away from proprietary. I've been crying all day.

What can I say about my hero?

When I was a kid, I was weird because I saw the world in a weird way. I had gender assignment surgery, which meant I walked through the hormonally charged world of young boys feeling like a fake, believing that I had been born sub-human. I felt society was a prison of expectations from which I would be painfully ejected if anyone found out that I was not like anyone else. Then, when I was 12 or 13, my best friend Byron gave me a book called "Feet of Clay", written by Sir Pratchett (just Mister Pratchett at the time). In this book Pratchett introduced the plight of Golems, magical robots programmed by magical words in their heads, who were treated worse than slaves, told themselves they weren't good enough to be on humanity's level, and desperately wanted to feel self-valued, to feel....free. In the same book, Pratchett introduced a Dwarven character who, in a society of Dwarves who all have beards and must all act manly and gruff, was a woman. Female Dwarves were a secret that Dwarves kept from themselves, and that secret required shame and judgment on any dwarf that strayed from "traditional dwarven culture". Subtly, this dwarf's human friends encourage her to go by "her", wear dresses, act girly. To be no less awesome and no less dwarfish, but to be herself. Less subtly, another human character attempts to "free" a golem by putting that golem's writ of ownership in its own head. The Golem wrestles with its identity and its sense of self value and determines that being a person is a choice, is all about making choices, and being responsible for those choices. The Golem decides to live free of the expectations that society has on it as an "object" and joins the other characters in their on going story.

And after reading that book I knew that someone out there, who did not know me, who didn't know what I had experienced, understood.

A lot changed for me after that book. I decided to look, really, look, in to myself and who I was. I decided to be very aware of how I think and why. What I believe and what that leads to. I couldn't put words to it, but I some how knew that beliefs controlled how we thought, determined our actions and speech, and we could only be free of them when we were aware of our beliefs...and responsible for how meaningful and defining those beliefs are to our identity and experience. Especially our beliefs about ourselves. I couldn't put words to this, but Sir Pratchett could. My friend Byron next gave me a book called "Small Gods", a book that criticizes religion, not for being illogical or full of beliefs, but for holding tradition above morality and not being aware of those beliefs. Sir Pratchett gave form to what I had been trying to say for years: What we believe is important, but it should never inform your decisions without your awareness. We are all responsible. Beliefs are important, sacred...but not as sacred as people. The believers in this book wore a turtle on a chain around their neck to represent their shift from a more oppressive religion to one that celebrated debate, awareness, and ....most of all...the moral value of altruism.

So meaningful were these ideas to me that I have worn such a turtle around my neck every day since I was 15. When people ask me "Is that religious?" I honestly say, "Yes". Sir Pratchett didn't put these ideas in my mouth, but he taught me how to voice them. How very fitting that, when teenage me me was lucky enough to meet Sir Pratchett, when I tried to tell him what "Feet of Clay" meant to me, he wrote in my copy "To Jarys, a Word in Your Head". I am sure that I was one face of thousands, but I appreciated those short words.

Later, in Unseen Academicals, Sir Pratchett introduced a character with a secret so shameful it was kept from him. This character, Mister Nutt, struggled with his own value and was alienated by a society he loved. When he is later celebrated by his community, he struggles with this acceptance and almost rejects it. In the dark chapter of that denial of social acceptance, Mister Nutt delves deeply in to his own unconscious and history. He struggles and realizes the truth; he is something everyone is afraid of. He carries a legacy that once threatened society. But he ultimately has the choice of how he expresses himself and how he relates to society. Nutt choose community and the kind and gentle personality that drew that drew his loved ones to him in the first place.

I cry every time I read that section. I do not know what inspired Sir Pratchett to write it or who he meant to move, but Nutt's experience with his self discovery mirrors my discovery that I was intersex perfectly. The story mirrors the social pressure and dynamic extremely closely, mirrors the emotional struggle with self-value exactly. I read it and was moved. Over a decade after reading "Feet of Clay", Sir Pratchett unknowingly showed me that he understood once again. He constantly changed my life, for the better. He helped me feel accepted.

Though he was sadly taken from his readership, our thoughts turn to his family most of all. We all knew, Sir Pratchett was very open with the fact that he was dying. I hope they were able to say goodbye, and I know that no preparation can truly be adequate for losing someone. It is the temptation of every writer in my position to "own" the figure they loved, connecting themselves unduly, which was never my intention. I hope that Sir Terry's family members are given the full respect (and space) of the fans. They are in my thoughts.

As a fan, especially so is Rhianna Pratchett, Sir Terry's extremely talented daughter. He bequeathed his famous Discworld series to her control and I have full faith in her. She has said she will not try to fill her father's shoes by writing new books, but will shepherd his stories in to other mediums. I am grateful.

Sir Pratchett taught us that the struggle of identity, any struggle, is cheapened by zealotry, and that the self-awareness and humility of humor is the best counterweight to the ego that culture could ever provide. He wrote incredible thoughts on the human condition, on gender and sexual struggles, on poverty and class, on race and religion, on life and on death and he made every heavy word fall neatly into place with the gentle application of humor. Not everything Sir Pratchett wrote was light. He did, after all, make a character of Death itself. Showed us the sorrow of a being who is instinctually feared by the humanity he loves so much, beings he meets only briefly and in the worst part of their, as it were, lives. He gave Death a dark yet sympathetic drive to be close to humanity. He showed us the humor and friendship of Death.

So, as I say goodbye to Sir Terry Pratchett, I do so with a smile. He taught me that Death is a friend, not one to fear, and when things are at their worse, or when a life is full and done, that friend will be there for you. I know Sir Terry Pratchett is in good hands.

Jarys Maragopoulos is one of the hosts of the Ace of Geeks Podcast. They live in the San Francisco Bay Area, with a very talented writer and two cats. 

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Star Wars Reveals Titles, Crew for Two New Movies!

StarWars.com released a ton of new details from a Lucasfilm shareholder meeting, and a lot of it is good! The first piece is a confirmation of something we reported way back when, that Rian Johnson will be writing and directing Episode VIII. This is fantastic news - Johnson's three films have ranged from good (Brothers Bloom) to great (Looper, Brick), and his episodes of Breaking Bad were some of the best in that show's run. We can't wait to see what he does with Star Wars.

The other piece of news concerns the title for Felicity Jones starring Star Wars standalone, directed by Gareth Edwards (Godzilla) and written by Oscar nominee Chris Weitz (About a Boy, Cinderella). The film is entitled "Rogue One," and was developed based on an idea that John Knoll, Chief Creative Officer at ILM, had. If that name doesn't excite you, let me explain why it should: Rogue One is the callsign for the leader of Rogue Squadron, the X-wing pilots that heroically led the charge for the Rebel Alliance and were immortalized in the series of X-wing: Rogue Squadron books. The books are no longer canon, but a film all about X-wing fighters could be amazing. And while she's not confirmed to be playing Rogue One, a film about a female leader of a group of X-wing pilots would be friggin' gold.

Also announced were the release dates for the films:

Star Wars: Rogue One: December 16 2016
Star Wars VIII: May 26 2017

DC Gives Wonder Woman Spikes, and Superman Bloody Hands

DC announced some major changes to the costumes of two of their major characters today, and they're...well, they're pretty on point for how DC has been, the last few years. As you can see above, Wonder Woman finally gets a costume that isn't a swimsuit - but it's a weird clash of colors, with giant shoulder pads,  and she now has Wolverine-ish blades coming out of her arms in a twist that screams mid-nineties. Meanwhile. Superman has decided to wear Kon-El's old outfit, because they wanted to make cosplaying as him easier I guess? And, of course, he's got his hands wrapped in bloody wrappings while blood drips on the floor all around him. Because if there's one thing Superman stands for, it's punching people until they bleed.

God damn it, DC.