AMERICAN HORROR STORY: COVEN Illustrated Character Portraits

This season of American Horror Story has quickly become my favorite anthology of all three to date because witches.  I just can’t get enough witches and magic and I love watching the girls try to sort out their issues in a campy, over the top kind of way.  Confession: I still refer to some of the characters with their season one names (I still believe that Violet and Tate should be together forever, despite the twisted factors of their relationship).  Artist Patricio Oliver must feel the same way because he’s released these gorgeous illustrated portraits for each of the main characters in the series.  And if you visit his tumblr, you’ll also see a bunch of other beautiful pop culture artwork.

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Best Comics Of 2013 Part Two Of Two

Without further ado, here is the second half of my best of 2013 list.  If there’s a title you didn’t see on either list that you think I should’ve included, leave a comment below!

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Morning Glories by Nick Spencer & Joe Eisma1

Superior Spider-Man by Dan Slott & Ryan Stegman2

Sex Criminals by Matt Fraction & Chip Zdarsky3

The Private Eye by Brian K. Vaughn & Marcos Martin4

Batman ’66 by Jeff Parker & Jonathan Case5

Daredevil by Mark Waid & Chris Samnee6

Pretty Deadly by Kelly Sue DeConnick & Emma Rios7

Manhattan Projects by Matt Fraction & Nick Pitarra8

Captain Marvel by Kelly Sue DeConnick & Jaimie McKelvie9

Amelia Cole & the Unknown World by Adam P. Knave, D.J. Kirkbride & Nick Brokenshire10

Wraith: Welcome to Christmasland by Joe Hill & C.P. Wilson III11

Coffin Hill by Caitlin Kittredge & Inaki Miranda

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HONORABLE MENTION: Harley Quinn by Jimmy Palmiotti & Amanda Conner – Harley Quinn gets an honorable mention because at the time I wrote this post, issue #0 is the only book to have been released.

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Best Comics Of 2013 Part One Of Two

I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it plenty more times, I love lists.  Which is why I also love when the year is ending because it’s the perfect time to reflect on the things you enjoyed in the past 365 days, and compile them into one comprehensive guide (or in this case, one comprehensive guide in two parts).  There were so many amazing comics published this year that it was too much of a challenge for me to narrow the list down to ten.  I decided to divide my favorites into two parts with 12 on each list.  Even with a total of 24, I feel as though I’m still neglecting several series that I thoroughly enjoyed reading this year.  The list is overwhelmingly Image and Marvel titles and as much as I adore each of the series I’ve chosen to highlight, I am hoping for more diversity next year.

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Batman by Scott Snyder & Greg Capullo

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Itty Bitty Hellboy by Art Baltazar & Franco

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Rat Queens by Kurtis J. Wiebe & Roc Upchurch

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Killjoys by Gerard Way, Shaun Simon & Becky Cloonan

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The Wake by Scott Snyder & Sean Murphy

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Hawkeye by Matt Fraction & David Aja

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Revival by Tim Seeley & Mike Norton

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Locke & Key by Joe Hill & Gabriel Rodriguez

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Mind MGMT by Matt Kindt

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Young Avengers by Kieron Gillan & Jamie McKelvie

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Trillium by Jeff Lemire

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Saga by Brian K. Vaughn & Fiona Staples

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DC Collectibles Adds Stargirl To Bombshell Line

I recently wrote about my obsession with the new line of DC Bombshell statues designed by Ant Lucia.  Since then I’ve acquired Supergirl, Poison Ivy, and Harley Quinn!  Then, DC released their collectible preorders this week and it appears they have a new addition to the line, Stargirl! She’s set to be released in July, and her design is one of my favorites in the collection so for.  Stargirl is rocking a beautiful retro hairdo, high-waisted shorts, a halter top, a gorgeous tattoo, deep red lips, and she’s accessorized with mid calf boots and wrist length gloves.  She’s currently available for preorder on Entertainment Earth for $99.99.  I’m really hoping DC will add a Zatanna, and a Catwoman to line as well!

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A Very Geeky Christmas: My Graphic Novel Christmas Tree

This weekend I decided to make a Christmas tree out of my extensive collection of graphic novels.  I was inspired by a post I saw on Hypable about how to make a Christmas tree out of books, and I knew that the only way I could make it better was if I used comics.  I placed some of my favorite trades in the front of the tree including Scott Pilgrim, Bendis’ Daredevil, Scott Snyder’s The Black Mirror, Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke, Brian K. Vaughn’s Runaways, Mark Waid’s Kingdom Come, and many, many more.  When it came to decorating, I adorned my tree with R2D2 Christmas lights from ThinkGeek, and I knew immediately that I had to top the tree with a Star.  A Star Sapphire that is.  If you’re interested in creating your own version, the best way to assemble your graphic novels is to keep the heavier, bulkier books towards the bottom (think omnibuses), and the smaller more compact editions (ie Sailor Moon, Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane, etc.) towards the top.  The second photo is un-instagrammed so it gives you a clearer look at some of the books that made it into my Christmas tree.

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My 2013 Christmas List

In addition to shopping for other people, one of my favorite things to do before Christmas is make my wish list. As I’m sure I’ve mentioned previously, I’m somewhat of a list addict.  So much so that my brother even bought me a book about lists for Christmas one year.  So anyway, after careful consideration, I narrowed my Christmas Wish List down to these 8 items using Amazon’s convenient service ^.^ What are you asking for this year (assuming you’re on Santa’s nice list)?  Leave a link to YOUR wish list in the comments!

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The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story Limited Edition – I read this graphic novel recently and I was fascinated by Brian Epstein’s story.  This limited edition version of the book includes unique memorabilia and behind the scenes sketches.  I loved it so much that I wrote a review of the book last week as soon as I finished reading it!

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The Annotated Peter Pan (The Centennial Edition) By J.M. Barrie – Peter Pan is one of my favorite stories of all time.  Ever since I was young I’ve loved reading about the adventures of Peter, the Lost Boys, Wendy and Tinker Bell and all of their run ins, with Hook, and Mr. Grin in Neverland.

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Gandalf the Grey 1/6 Scale Statue by WETA Collectibles – I always refer to Gandalf the Grey as my future husband.  He’s by far my favorite Tolkien character, and I adore his hat and staff.  I would love to place this statue on my desk so I could admire Gandalf while I work.

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Dexter: The Complete Series on Blu-ray – Dexter has remained one of my favorite television shows of all time (mostly because of seasons 1-4).  I’ve seen every episode countless times, and I’ve spent hours psychoanalyzing Dexter and basically forcing all of my friends and family into watching the series as well.  The new Blu-ray collection comes in a collectible box fashioned after the box Dexter keeps his victim’s blood slides in.  It also includes a new documentary about the evolution of Dexter Morgan.

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Fables Encyclopedia By Bill Willingham, Mark Buckingham & Jess Nevins – The Fables Encyclopedia is a recent release, and it’s a must have for any Fables fan.  The encyclopedia explores the fairy tales used in Willingham’s Fables series as well as modern folk lore.

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Harry Potter Special Edition Paperback Box Set By JK Rowling With Cover Art By Kazu Kibuishi – I’ve blogged extensively about how Harry Potter has shaped my life and then I blogged some more on Wear Pink Wednesdays about these very covers!  Kazu Kibuishi’s new cover art puts a fantastical spin on the series.  I love the scenes he chose to illustrate and it would be a fun change to re-read the series again with the new cover art as eye candy.

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Harley Quinn Pullip Doll – I’ve been collecting the DC line of Pullip dolls and so far I have Batgirl and Supergirl.  I would love to add this beautiful Harley to my collection as well!  She comes fully articulated and her jester hat is removable, allowing you to admire Harley’s blonde pigtails.  The faces on Pullip dolls are beautifully crafted and I can’t resist their anime like style.

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Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind Box Set by Hayao Miyazaki – I’m a huge Hayao Miyazki fan, having seen the majority of his animated feature films, but I have yet to read Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, which is one of Ghibli’s own original creations.  The story is described as an epic fantasy tale, which is very pertinent to my interests.  This box set includes two hardcover volumes and a bonus poster!

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Yayoi Kusama: I Who Have Arrived In Heaven

This past weekend I spent six long hours waiting on line outside of the David Zwirner Gallery on 19th street so I could spend 45 seconds inside of Yayoi Kusama’s mirrored “Infinity Room.”  It was worth the wait.  I made three new art enthusiast friends who braved the cold with me.  We spent our time chatting about movies, comics, makeup, past NYC art exhibits, and hoping that some of the people in front of us would give up so our wait would be shorter.  We witnessed people have pizza’s delivered to them on the street, and a man behind us asked Siri how low the temperature had to drop before we risked getting frostbite.  About an hour into our time together there was a sense of camaraderie that continued to strengthen until we finally got inside.

The exhibit was split into three galleries.  One contained the mirrored Infinity Room (the longest of all the lines), another housed the tentacle room which ended with a video installation of Kusama reciting a poem she wrote after attempting suicide in the 1970’s, and then there were two large rooms full of paintings.  Kusama’s light installation was an ethereal and breathtaking experience.  You enter the room alone and stand on a platform surrounded by water.  There are lights hanging from the ceiling which flicker throughout the experience.  The walls are mirrored and your image and the image of the lights are reflected throughout the room.  Kusama was inspired to create this installation as her vision of the afterlife, with the lights representing souls floating throughout the cosmos.

The other room, “Love Is Calling,” is also aligned with mirrored walls, and it’s full of inflatable biomorphic tentacle shaped objects which change colors.  You’re allotted one full minute in this room and the line moves along more quickly because each session has ten people at a time.  There was an interesting article about the exhibit in The New York Times which describes how the crowd attracted to the exhibit is atypical because in addition to the “art crowd,” the younger “social media crowd,” is also interested in attending the exhibit to take advantage of the mirrored walls so they can post selfies on Instagram, tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook.  I’ve never spent so much time waiting for anything in my life, but I’m really happy that I did it and that I was able to experience the art firsthand.  And of course I also enjoyed making some new friends along the way!

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Concept Art: Miyazaki’s Pippi Longstocking Movie Would Have Been Perfect

When I was kid, one of my favorite books was Pippi Longstocking and I was also obsessed with the accompanying live action film, The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking.  I was always drawn to Pippi because I admired her free spirit and her big heart.  I would make my family watch the movie constantly and no matter how many times we saw it, I never found any less amusing than the first time.  I often wore my hair in pigtail braids as a child too, as an homage to Pippi.  When I recently found out that Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata had wanted to make an animated version of the film back in 1971, but the books author, Astrid Lindgren said no, I was heartbroken.  Fortunately some of the concept art was released by Studio Ghibli for our viewing pleasure.  Upon seeing all of Miyazaki’s magical designs I became even sadder about never seeing the film that could have been.  It would have been aptly titled, Pippi Longstocking, The Strongest Girl in the World.

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Kristin

The Fifth Beatle By Vivek J. Tiwary, Andrew C. Robinson & Kyle Baker Review

I read The Fifth Beatle by Vivek J. Tiwary, Andrew C. Robinson & Kyle Baker on the recommendation of my friend Clayton and boy am I forever grateful.  The Fifth Beatle is the true untold true tale of Brian Epstein, the Beatles’ manager who spent his life busting his bum turning an ordinary group of boys from Liverpool into an international success story- bigger than Elvis Presley.  Epstein wholeheartedly believed in The Beatles and he poured his soul into building their image and preparing for their success even before they had achieved it.  If it weren’t for Epstein, we wouldn’t know of The Beatles, and we certainly wouldn’t be able to enjoy the legacy they’ve left behind to this very day.  But while The Beatles’ story is well known, Epstein’s has remained a mystery to the general public until now.  Ambitious, persistent, wildly successful, and empty are the best adjectives to describe Epstein.  On the outside, he has it all, but his personal life is full of struggle. The Beatles are known for signing “Money Can’t Buy Me Love,” and after reading Tiwary, Robinson and Baker’s retelling of Epstein’s story, it seems like the song embodies some of his personal woes.

“Mythology is better and more fondly remembered than history.  It’s more entertaining so we create legends rather than recount truths.”

The book uses a matador fighting to the death against bulls as a metaphor for every aspect of Epstein’s life.  He spent his life fighting for success (for The Beatles, and several other entertainers), fighting stereotypes (being Jewish during an anti-Semitic time), fighting to find love (at a time when homosexuals were imprisoned in England because it was considered illegal), and never once losing the drive to succeed despite all the odds being against him.  It explores his insecurities, his personal relationships, the evolution of his interaction with the band, his friendly meetings with the band’s lawyer, and his intriguing experiences with his peers in the entertainment industry.  The artwork and colors evolve throughout the story to reflect Brian’s professional and emotional progression. The visual alterations from scene to scene offer a pleasing depiction of the changes Epstein is experiencing both internally and within society.

“Well the truth always gets outed. Eventually. Only when it becomes more sensational than the myth.”

I became so involved in the story that I read it in its entirety in one sitting.  I even got teary eyed at the end which is a thing that rarely ever happens.  One of my favorite lines is when the lawyer tells Epstein “if you weren’t so damn British, Brian, I’d say you were the American dream!”  Arguably, the most important theme in Epstein’s story is love. The lack of love in his romantic life is largely responsible for igniting Brian’s need for professional fulfillment to accomplish things that had never even been dreamed of in the past.  The irony of the story is that while Brian never found love himself, he made love possible for so many other people.  Epstein left the world a better and brighter place than he found it.  You can watch the book trailer for The Fifth Beatle here, and you can purchase your own hardcover copy or hardcover collector’s edition on Amazon or in your local comic book shop.  And remember, love is all you need<3

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Why My New Goal Is To Own This Gotham City Bracelet By nOir

The jewelry company nOir recently released some new items in their DC Comics line, and among them is this Gotham City bracelet which has quickly made its way to the very top of my Christmas list.  Not only does Gotham house some of my favorite superheroes and villains, but it also reminds me of my favorite part of my own hometown, the breathtaking architecture of New York City.  The entire time I was in LA filming for Fangasm, I was feeling majorly homesick and I couldn’t wait to get back and wander the streets, so I could once again admire NYC’s skyscrapers.  Almost every producer had told me that they’d never met a New Yorker who loves New York as much as I do.  Even my own dad makes fun of me when we walk around Manhattan because I’m constantly stopping to take photos of my favorite buildings.  And I know a ton of random trivia about said buildings.  I am determined to own this beautiful piece of jewelry one day, not only to celebrate my love of Gotham, but also to have a piece of home close to me at all times.  Plus, I’ve also started reading Gotham Central recently and I’m completely addicted to the series.  This Gotham City bracelet will ship on December 19th, and it’s available on the nOir jewelry website for $310.

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