One of the things I miss most about our pre-internet days is the art of letter writing. There used to be nothing more exciting to me than coming home to find a letter waiting for me from a close friend. Sure, I still receive the occasional postcard if one of my loved ones happens to be traveling, but receiving a handwritten letter by post is something very rare in this day and age. An email just doesn’t hold the same kind of excitement that a tangible letter does, which is why I was so excited when I found about a new project that Leslie and Em have been working on putting together. It’s called the International Geek Girls Pen Pal Club and it pairs geek girls from around the world with one another to delve back into the world of physical post. The girls encourage you to express your geeky interests within your letter writing by “adding a little Doctor Who decoupage, throwing on some Pokemon stickers or doing a little Star Wars doodle.”
All you have to do to join the International Geek Girl Pen Pals Club is fill out the form on their website sometime before April 1st when signup closes. The girls will then pair you up with another girl who is close in age range, does not live near you, and shares in your common geeky interests. I am so excited to jump back into handwritten correspondence and make some new friends along the way! The girls are constantly tweeting about ideas for the club, and you can find even more information about it by tracking their official hashtag #IGGPPC. So, sign up before it’s too late, and who knows, maybe we’ll end up being pen pals!
I was overly delighted when IDW announced that Steve Niles would be penning a new special about the Mystery Society. Although Fiona Staples, the other half of the creator owned team did not return on the artwork (it was instead illustrated by Andrew Ritchie), the issue in its entirety was worth the wait. Previously, Mystery Society was released as a 5 issue miniseries, but thankfully Niles wrote one more oversized special issue this week. When we left off, Nick Hammond and his wife Anastasia Collins, members of Mystery Society, had defeated a villain and obtained both the skull of Edgar Allen Poe and a pair of twin girls during their dangerous pursuit of the artifact. See, the Mystery Society exists to uncover all of the paranormal secrets and myths in the world. In reading the previous issues of Mystery Society, I fell in love with Nick and Anastasia. They are a very wealthy couple who work together to solve mysteries and uncover the truth, while motivating each other to be better people. They are perfectly matched and within the course of the first five issues Niles did a fantastic job developing their relationship and demonstrating how much they love one another. Although, my favorite character is Verne, a robot with the brain of Jules Verne, and not only because he calls Nostradamus an attention seeking hack that makes him want to vomit oil. In the 2013 special, the gang heads underwater to trade Poe’s skull with an eclectic collector. Within minutes of meeting the man conducting the trade, Mr, Hunley, it is evident that he was never planning playing fair. He imprisons Verne and Secret Skull and threatens them with poisonous gas among other things. As it turns out Mr. Hunley is housing some of the world’s most feared monsters. Considering the Mystery Society consists of a band of misfits, caging creatures doesn’t sit well with Nick and Anastasia. Even when they’re warned about setting a particular legend free, they recognize the fault in keeping him imprisoned. Without giving anything away, let’s just say this character turns out to be quite charming despite his contemporaries warnings. If you haven’t already read the initial miniseries, I would definitely recommend doing so. The special issue can be read and enjoyed as a stand alone, but you will feel a much stronger connection to the characters if you’re familiar with their full history. I can only hope that IDW will bring Mystery Society back at some point as an ongoing series because there are so many more stories that can be told about Nick, Anastasia and their motley crew.
It was less than one one mere week ago that the Veronica Mars Kickstarter launched and broke several records all within 10 hours. With a 2 million dollar goal until the project was fully funded, Veronica Mars had the highest asking price of any film Kickstarter to date. It surpassed it’s goal by 9pm that very same night. Rob Thomas, the shows creator, put together an endearing proposal using Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars), Jason Dohring (Logan Echolls), Ryan Hansen (Dick Casablancas), and Enrico Colantoni (Keith Mars), to film a teaser video of the actors asking fans to donate, promising to film this summer should they reach their goal, and highlighting some of the top rewards a backer could choose from. If you were already a fan of the show, after having watched the trailer, it would be impossible not to donate. Just seeing all of the same actors together in one room is enough to realize that this reunion is something that could actually happen. The immediate success of the Veronica Mars movie sparked hope in other cult television fans who prayed the same could be done for shows like Firefly (Joss Whedon already denied this possibility), Chuck, Pushing Daisies, Deadwood, and even Twin Peaks. But it wasn’t long until others like James Rocchi started criticizing studio use of Kickstarter, calling it such absurd things as “food stamps for the 1%.” But as Wired points out, there is no sleight of hand going on here. Fans have paid for a Veronica Mars movie and that is what they’ll get.
Kickstarter is a relatively new platform in the grand scheme of things and while many people are familiar with it and have even contributed to projects on the publishing level, it wasn’t until the Veronica Mars Kickstarter launch that people started to question it. One of the major concerns being raised is that Kickstarting studio projects could potentially ruin the movie business. This made me wonder, what makes this Kickstarter different than any of the comics Kickstarters I’ve contributed to? My answer: Nothing. Original, company funded comics are still being published in addition to projects that have been crowd funded. So why would it be any different for film? Some of our beloved shows have been cancelled due to a lack of viewers. Regardless of whether a fan buys the DVDs or watches the show when it’s released on Netflix, if they are not watching live while the show airs, the ratings will inevitably result in the show to be cancelled. For a series with a cult following like Veronica Mars, it’s clear that fans wanted more. And if they were willing to back the show, what right does anyone else have to criticize their methods? By launching a Kickstarter, they haven’t harmed anyone in the process of obtaining the necessary funds, and it can even be argued that they’ve developed a sense of community among “Marshmallows.” The Veronica Mars movie has mostly been funded by the audience they already had. By fans investing in something they believe in, a movie that never would’ve been made will come to fruition and their fan base will expand even further. Kickstarter is a wonderful platform for creators who truly believe in their projects, to have the opportunity to make their dreams become a reality. As for the opinion that fans funding projects should be raising money for charity instead of feeding more revenue into Hollywood, no one has the authority to claim that the same people donating to the Veronica Mars Kickstarter aren’t donating to charities as well. I myself have donated to both Kickstarter projects that I would love to see funded, as well as a plethora of charities. Plus, it will probably take a while before the trend catches on. Until the Veronica Mars movie is successfully made, and fans receive all of the rewards they were promised, we probably will not see too many other major film projects using Kickstarter as their means of funding. It’s safe to say that Veronica Mars is the guinea pig in this new crowd funded experiment. So please, enough with the criticizing of Kickstarter and the fans who choose to put their hard earned money towards something they believe in.
It’s been a few weeks since I’ve written a personal post about what I’ve been up to, so I figured that now is as good a time as any to get back into the groove of weekly updates. It’s kind of a vicious cycle because lack of posts means I’ve been extra busy, which in turn means I have that much more to write about! We’ve had an influx of West Coast visitors in New York in the past week which is part of the reason I haven’t had time to write/sleep/etc. Our first visitor, my Super Villains Comic Book Club cohost, Jen, flew into NYC on Wednesday, aka new comic book day, and since she hadn’t ever been to Midtown Comics, Melissa, Brad, and I made sure to bring here there as our first order of business. Jen was in awe of the amazing toy and statue selection at Midtown, and after swooning over several of the Scarlet Witch Bowen statues, we completed our purchases and headed back to her hotel to film an extra special live episode of our aforementioned club. Melissa has been a guest in the past and I was so happy she could join us again to discuss Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples’ Saga. The three of us purchased our trades together, and had them signed by the creators at the Midtown Comics booth at New York Comic Con last year, so the story holds even more meaning for us. Since we were filming at a hotel and didn’t have our usual home amenities, we forgot all about needing glasses, and a bottle opener. After extensive googling and many failed attempts at using shoes, hangers, hair pins, pens, and the wall, it occurred to us to call the front desk and thankfully they were able to accommodate us. We filmed in what we called, a “slumber party style,” since the giant hotel bed was the only place we could get all three of us to fit in one screen.
That same weekend, Molly McIsaac, who I hadn’t previously had the pleasure of meeting came to New York for a weekend visit. Molly is absolutely lovely in person and I was surprised at how much the two of us had in common from our vegetarianism, to our love of fashion, to our preference for Matt Smith over David Tennant. I met Melissa, Jill, Molly, and Leo, at The Museum of Sex near the Flatiron building and we perused the gift shop before jumping back in Jill’s car, sharing in a traumatic experience, and then promptly heading to The Modern for drinks. After almost an hour of driving around and searching for a parking spot, we finally found one. Little did we know, another woman was going to get out of her car, bang on all of the windows of our vehicle, scream obscenities at us, and claim that it was her spot. After being told we would be in for “a rude awakening today,” the psycho woman realized that Jill had been filming our entire interaction and she quickly drove away. Nonetheless, her behavior was completely uncalled for and all of us were rather shaken. After all of that we realized the spot was too close to a fire hydrant anyway, and we ended up parking in a garage near the museum. It is amazing to me that a person could become so enraged and uncivilized over a parking space that wasn’t even hers to begin with. Once we were inside MoMA we were all really excited to see Edvard Munch’s infamous painting “The Scream,” but sadly, the museum closed before we were able to make our way to the top floor. Next, we headed to Canal Street for some shopping, and to Mayfield for dinner where we met up with Ali, Brad, and Nate. I had the most delicious chopped kale salad, but was ridiculed by fellow dinner goers for supplementing my healthy salad with a side of fries. They were worth it though, so delicious! You would think we’d be exhausted at this point, but the fun continued at The Way Station, aka the Doctor Who bar, where we met Rachael, and Jen (who was still in town until the next day). It was karaoke night, and after several River Songs (the bar serves Doctor Who themed drinks… I know, right?!) we went onstage and joined in the fun.
Then on Wednesday I met up with Rachael, who took me to what is quite possibly the coolest bar I have ever been to. It’s a speakeasy in Chelsea and I have never been so impressed with a bars delicious drinks, service, overall atmosphere, and of course, fantastic company. The bar is located inside an unmarked door, and if you aren’t already privy to location, you would never find it on your own. Even once you manage to seek out the door and open it up, two black velvet curtains hang in your immediate view causing you to wonder if you might be in the wrong place. But once you bravely push back the curtains and overcome the fear of possibly breaking and entering into an abandoned building, you’ll be welcomed by dim candlelight and a very friendly bartender. In typical speakeasy fashion, there are no menus to peruse so you must tell the bartender what you enjoy and he’ll make you something he thinks would please you. He completely hit the nail on the head with my drink order. I usually stick to wine, but the next time I go back to the speakeasy I will be asking for another gingery, citrusy, glass of heaven. After catching up and realizing that neither of us had eaten enough for the day, we headed to the original Shake Shack where I indulged in more french fries, and a mushroom burger. Also! I was so proud of myself because after leaving Rachael at 9:41pm on 23rd street and Madison Avenue, I was somehow able to speed walk back to Penn Station (34th and 7th avenue), where I made a 10:08 train with nearly 10 minutes to spare. (Excuse the grainy quality of the below photo. We may be grainy, but we’re still adorable!)
And finally, all of these events lead me to one of the best stay in girls nights that I’ve ever had! In the wake of the Veronica Mars Kickstarter miracle that launched on Thursday morning and was fully funded by 9pm on Thursday night (you can still donate and reap some of the awesome rewards here if you haven’t had a chance yet) Jill had the brilliant idea of having us over for a Veronica Mars marathon. Melissa, Rachael and I came fully equipped with snacks and various selections of wines, cider, bourbon, while Jill supplied us with tacos and champagne. We watched about six episodes of the show in total, with many, giggling breaks in between (which you may have noticed if you happened to read any of our Twitter accounts on Saturday night). I had seen the least amount of episodes of the show so we stayed within the first season, and Rachael was kind enough to lend me her DVDs at the end of the night… which I’ve now been watching for six straight hours. I deeply admire Veronica for the decisions she makes, the character she possesses at such a young age, and her willingness to help anyone in need. She is quite the detective. I’m probably going to finish the first season by tomorrow night which is why I had to order the second season with Amazon Prime (thank gods for 2-day shipping!). We successfully managed to avoid the overcrowded New York City bar scene on St. Patrick’s Day. The extent of my St. Patrick’s Day attire has always consisted of Green Lantern t-shirts and accessories for as long as I can remember so I’ve continued the tradition this year. A bunch a of other things have happened in the midst of what I’ve already recapped, but due to a combination of 1) keeping this post to a readable length, 2) lack of memory, and 3) being summoned downstairs for St. Patty’s Day dinner with my family (in which the vegetarians will eat salad, and everyone else will eat corned beef), that will be all for now! OH! And my genius brother Bob was accepted to Columbia’s graduate program to get his masters in journalism and I could not be more proud!
Yesterday I spent 3+ hours attempting to customize all of my iPhone apps because I’m a sucker for pretty images. When I began the process, I had no idea just how time consuming a task it would become. I’ve been getting a ton of people asking how I managed to change mine, so I thought I would write a quick post so you’re aware of what you’re getting yourself into before you begin this laborious task! I’ll forewarn you immediately that if you are not 100% committed to customizing your images, you will give up. And reasonably so for it is a very irritating process. The first thing you must do is download the CocoPPa app. It can be equated to an app icon designers social network. You’re able to follow icon designers, look at popular designs, sort by category, color, or tags, and ‘like’ designs. Once you sign up for an account, you’re able to browse through and start applying all of the icons, wallpapers, and stamps until your heart is content.
One of the most important things to know about the app is that although you are adding new icons to your home screen to replace your current apps, you must not delete the original. The new icon simply links back to the you’re attempting to access. In an effort to keep my screen organized, I created a separate folder for the apps that I added new images for. As for for the pros to using the app, the resulting look is the biggest benefit. There are many frustrating aspects to customizing your apps, so you will need to exercise a great deal of patience if your heart is set on making the cutest home screen in the world. Here’s a screenshot of what my new home screen looks like (on my current Nightwing by Artgerm background):
But now for the cons… and sadly, there are a lot of them. As I mentioned before, this doesn’t replace your current app. Instead the new image links back to the app that holds all of your data. Besides the obvious con of double apps on your phone, this also delays startup when you use the new icon to enter a program, as well as opens both apps, so if you’re looking to conserve your battery, you’re better off clicking on the original application. Another con is that the app seems to have connectivity issues. I spent time choosing my images and attempting to add them to my screen for a grand total of three hours. Much of this time was spent hitting the reload button when a pop up appeared advising me to check my connection. I was in an area where I had full 3G service and all of my other apps were adequately functioning so this could not have been an issue on my end. The process of choosing an icon is fun (provided the additional pages will load), but again, there are several obstacles to overcome on your way. The first is that not all apps are supported by CocoPPa. I was unable to link my Chase app back to my new Chase icon, so as an alternative I chose to link it to the Chase website through the Safari web app. Once you choose the app to link back to, the new image opens in Safari, and you click the arrow button which gives you the option of adding the image to your home screen. Yet another disadvantage is for the phone, mail, web, and message apps, you are only able to link them to a specific contact or website, and it does not pull information directly from the app. For example, when I click web, I am automatically taken to Google.com. If I were to click on phone or message, it would only launch an email or text to the number I specified. (I actually opted not to customize the messages button for this reason because I’m somewhat of a text addict and I need to have all of my contacts easily accessible.) This could be fun if you want separate icons for all of your friends, but seeing as how I don’t really need that I’ve been using my old apps and just keeping the new ones for aesthetic reasons. It takes a bit of getting used to once you reorganize and alter the images your brain has been accustomed to, but I’m hoping it’ll get easier within the next few days of use. Below is a short video about CocoPPa which is adorable, but I’m unable to read it since it’s in Japanese. Aren’t the best things always in Japanese?
Should you choose to attempt your own customization, I wish you luck! I’d love to see photos of the icons you choose, so please feel free to leave them in the comments or to tweet them to me @SuperSpaceChick!
First I would like to forewarn you that there will be spoilers in this post (not until the last paragraph, but still, they’re coming). But if you haven’t seen The Avengers yet then you are doing yourself a disservice and I encourage to immediately disconnect from all social media and spend a solid 2+ hours reveling in Joss Whedon’s film adaptation. The other day I had gotten into a conversation with a friend about Marvel’s The Avengers, when I realized what I dork I am when it comes to that epic masterpiece of a movie. It turns out that I remember the exact date of the first time I saw the film (April 26th), and for me, it’s theatrical release date (May 4th – it was a struggle but I ultimately decided to sport apparel supporting Earth’s Mightiest Heroes even though it was Star Wars Day) has become intrinsic knowledge. I attended a midnight showing despite having to wake up at 5:45am the next morning for work (even though I had already seen the movie!). At the time that The Avengers was debuting, there were a ton of exciting things happening in my life. Regardless of how the actual film was, I knew I would always have an emotional attachment to it, but as time has passed and certain memories have been corrupted, I am thrilled to say that The Avengers haven’t been tainted in the slightest.
After many of the things I mentioned in my 2012 recap blog post had come to pass, I was finally ready to start going out and living my life again. I’ll never forget sitting at my desk on what I thought was going to be just like any other day when suddenly, my Twitter DM notification went off. I had my suspicions as to who would be sending me a private message at that time, so I was even more shocked when I looked down to find that one of my favorite Spider-Man writers, Dan Slott, had DM’ed me about going to the Marvel screening with him to see The Avengers a whole week before it debuted in theaters! I was so excited during the week leading up to the release that I made an Avengers headband out of felt from Michaels (as seen above), among other things. It’s events like this where it’s near impossible for me to suppress my inner nerd, so I obviously felt the need to accessorize with a plethora of pieces representing as many Avengers as I could. I already owned an Avengers skirt, I had previously transformed my Tokidoki Iron Man frenzie into a necklace (also seen above), and I ordered squinkie Thor earrings, and a Captain America hair bow, to complete the look I wanted to create. What can I say? I’m enthusiastic! AND THIS IS THE AVENGERS! Hence, no justification is really needed.
During the screening, Dan and I sat next to Cliff Chiang (one of the most amazing comic book artists in the industry), and I met a bunch of other Marvelites before and after the show. We also ran into my friend Lauren, who was currently interning at Marvel before she graduated college that semester, and best of all (well, besides the actual movie of course), was the super swag they gave to us before the screening. We received pairs of the limited edition 3D glasses (I have Iron Man, and Captain America), a giant Thor poster, which has resided on the wall next to my bed ever since, and an awesome Avengers cup that I still use to this day! And just before the film started Joe Quesada made a speech but to be honest, I was too excited to see the movie to pay attention to anything anyone may have said to me earlier that day. As I’m sure you can imagine, I laughed, I cried, and for almost the entirety of the film my mouth was agape and my eyes were open wide due to complete and utter awe. But more about my thoughts on the film later!
For most people it would be pure torture to see such a film as The Avengers and then be forced to wait an entire week before discussing it’s genius with the rest of the world, but for me it was worth the wait. The movie elated me because it was everything I was hoping it would be and then so much more. The next time I saw the film was at the midnight showing with all of my closest friends from high school. Just to interject a quick anecdote, my favorite superhero is Spider-Man, which everyone who has ever met me can easily determine. During the midnight showing one of my friends was so excited to tell me that there was a Spider-Man cosplayer in the theater but when I turned around it quickly changed into a facepalm moment because the cosplayer in question was none other than Deadpool… Yea. For this showing (don’t worry, I promise I won’t go through all five times I saw it in theaters!), I wore my Tokidoki Captain America sweatshirt (which someone else in the theater thought was a Thor sweatshirt hence another facepalm moment), my Tokidoki Thor necklace, and I brought some of my favorite plushie Funko Avengers along with me. I didn’t get home until 3am and I was so pumped from my second screening that I didn’t bother attempting to sleep that night. My favorite part of my second viewing was at the end of the film during Marvel’s infamous after credits scene when all of my friends turned to me and asked who they had just seen on screen. It was Thanos!
So now, for the reasons I was driven to see The Avengers in theaters five times before purchasing a copy of the blu-ray on it’s release date and deeming the film the official montage to every moment spent in my room thereafter. I’ll start with the writing. It’s Whedon, thus it’s perfect. The amount of humor he was able to inject into the film, particularly with Iron Man’s lines, is enough to make you crave multiple viewings. With the exception of Hawkeye who I would’ve liked to see more of, each Avenger had a complete and thorough storyline with ample screen time. Prior to seeing the film I had been nervous about Black Widow’s less than impressive handguns, but Natasha proved to be a badass. I would love to see ScarJo star in her own Black Widow film sometime in the near future! Another minor concern before the movie, mostly for continuity’s sake, was the replacement of Edward Norton (my favorite actor of all time despite detesting The Hulk movie), with Mark Ruffalo. But many people would agree that Bruce Banner stole the show. Especially in his ending scene with my favorite troublemaking villain, Loki. Tom Hiddleston simply nails the part of Loki. He has beautiful and mischievous eyes with a pristine demeanor fit for an Asgardian. And speaking of Asgardian’s, it would be impossible to neglect to mention Thor who has the best beard in any dimension. The film was an action packed adventure as The Avengers battled each other before coming together to defeat the Chitauri army which Loki had unleashed upon New York City. But the event that brought them all together was the most heartbreaking scene in superhero movie I have ever seen. Admittedly, even after viewing The Avengers more times than I can possibly count, I still break out into hysterics every time I witness Coulson’s demise. I can sincerely say that The Avengers is one of the only movies I’ve ever been to where the entire audience was completely invested. It took three viewings before I could finally hear Hulk’s line after smashing Loki into the ground in Stark Tower (“Puny god,” for all those who may have missed it). Oftentimes, when a movie is saturated with great talent, they’re trying to compensate for a lackluster script. This was not the case with The Avengers. Whedon seriously raised the bar, and not only for comic book genre films. But anyway, enough of my gushing! I’d love to hear your thoughts, and I encourage you to share them in the comments section! And then eat Shwarma after.
I was pleasantly surprised with Jack the Giant Slayer. Despite starring my new actor husband, Nicholas Hoult (see Warm Bodies), I hadn’t had high expectations for the film, but I was wrong in my assumption. Strangely enough, as I have read and re-read my review, I keep finding that it sounds more negative than I meant for it to. I really did enjoy this film even though it may seem like I am being overly critical. Jack the Giant Slayer places a modern twist on a classic fairytale. It infuses a fair amount of humor into some of the otherwise nightmarish scenes (warranting its PG-13 rating). There are numerous murders committed by Roderick (Stanley Tucci) and his evil henchman Wicke (Ewan Bremner), a touch of cannibalism (the race of giants have an appetite for normal size humans), and the film depicts the violent deaths of both humans and giants, leaving little to the imagination. Jack the Giant Slayer includes all of the typical elements of a fairytale from the princess in distress, to the overbearing King forcing his daughter into a loveless marriage, to the underestimated farm boy who ends up saving the day.
One of the obvious themes of the film is forbidden love. There are many parallels drawn between the childhoods of the main characters, Jack (Nicholas Hoult) and Princess Isabelle (Eleanor Tomlinson), and it is evident within the first few minutes that the pair are destined to be together despite their incompatible social statuses. Their major connecting factor is their mutual fondness of the legend of King Erik saving Cloister from the race of giants. After a brief run-in in the marketplace during their teenage years, the pair reconnect in Jack’s highly-in-need-of-maintenance house just before the rain hits and causes one of the magic beans to spout a stalk straight up into the sky. After many valiant attempts at rescuing the Princess, who is trapped in Jack’s house, the pair become separated, Jack slips and lays unconscious in the human world, while Isabelle is propelled by the rapidly growing beanstalk into the giant world above. Jack, who is terrified of heights, eagerly volunteers to climb the beanstalk along with the King’s royal army, and Isabelle’s betrothed, Roderick, on their search for the Princess. The film is titled for Jack and rightly so because, Princess Isabelle only proves to be a strong female lead for the beginning half of the film. Ever since she was a child, Isabelle had a strong desire for adventure, and she would sneak out of the castle to learn about the people she would eventually be leading. When she is separated from Jack, she ventures off into the new and mysterious world on her own to explore her surroundings. But once she enters the giant world, she quickly morphs into the stereotypical princess who needs saving. And while we’re on the subject of women, female giants, and all women in general aside from the Princess and her deceased mother were noticeably absent from the film.
Elmont, played by Ewan McGregor, is arguably the best supporting character in the film. He truly has the Princess’s best interest in mind, and while he reminds Jack before their journey that he is unfit for Isabelle, he recognizes how much the pair care for each other and gives them his blessing so to speak. Elmont is a strong leader, has a good judge of character (he immediately distrusts Roderick), and stays in the giant world to complete his duty without any regard for his own well being. Also admirable is Elmont’s second in command, Crawe, who is played by Eddie Marsen. As always, Stanley Tucci nails his role as the evil power hungry Rodderick, even though we are unable to clearly determine his motivation behind ruling the giants.
Three quarters of the way through the film, there is a false resolution set forth, but fear not, the battle scene you’ve been waiting for is still on the horizon. Originally it seemed disappointing to be subjected to so much fight scene build up, only to be let down by the false resolution. Once I came to terms with the lack of action, I realized I had been tricked and the battle was just beginning. While the film overall is interesting and exciting, it seems to run a little bit longer than necessary. Not that I’m complaining at the prospect of seeing more Nicholas Hoult on the big screen. It could’ve used a bit more focus and development, but as I stated before, despite my many criticisms, I did find Jack and the Giant Slayer to be an enjoyable film. I remember loving it in the theater, and it wasn’t until I began writing and analyzing everything that my opinion was slightly altered.
About a year ago it became my monthly tradition to attend the Midtown Comics book club which is hosted by my good friend Thor Parker. The comic book club convenes on the last Friday of each month at the Downtown location on Fulton Street in New York City. It’s a really entertaining gathering of people who enjoy reading comics and each month there’s a special guest (usually the author, artist or editor of that month’s selection). Thor moderates the discussion and the rest of the group listens attentively as we become privy to the anecdotal behind-the-scenes type stories and experiences that went into the creation of the book. Did I also mention that there are donuts? The discussion usually runs for about an hour and afterwards the guest will stick around and sign your book. If you love reading comics, meeting creators, and collecting signed trades, you should definitely check out the Midtown Comics book club!
At the end of each club, Thor announces the next month’s selection, and Midtown Comics always offers the book at 25% off the cover price from that night until the night of the next book club. I was absolutely overjoyed when I found out that February’s book club would focus on a Spider-Man graphic novel entitled Kraven’s Last Hunt. And even more exciting, the guest speaker would be Jim Salicrup, who edited the series! I really enjoyed reading Kraven’s Last Hunt several years ago and I found it to be an even more enjoyable read this time around, especially considering the recent direction that Dan has taken Amazing/Superior Spider-Man in. (I wrote a post a little while back about Dan’s Amazing Spider-Man run which you can read here.)
Kraven’s Last Hunt (written by J.M. Dematteis with art by Mike Zeck), is one of the few Spider-Man tales where the reader gets an in depth look into the mindset of the lesser used villain, Kraven the Hunter. Kraven successfully ‘kills’ Peter Parker and begins parading around New York City in the black Spider-Man suit armed with the demented notion that by imitating Peter and embracing the spider, he will somehow master him, and become a superior Spider-Man (No really, he says that! See page 37!). Hence, one of the intriguing parallels between Spider-Man now and Spider-Man then. A fair portion of the story is also devoted to Peter’s new wife, Mary Jane Watson. Part of Peter’s motivation to overcome the handicap that Kraven has imposed upon him is the prospect of spending more time with MJ. While I have always and will always be a Gwen Stacy fan, I have to admit that Mary Jane’s vulnerability caused by her fear of losing Peter is quite endearing. She even considers confiding in Peter’s boss at the Daily Bugle but she thinks better of it because she realizes that she’s been entrusted with Peter’s secret it’s her responsibility to maintain it. There’s a scene where Mary Jane thinks she has found Peter, but she quickly realizes that it’s not her beloved in the suit after she witnesses the masked Kraven’s overly violent crime fighting techniques. When Peter returns he is forced to deal with the repercussions caused by the havoc that Kraven has been wreaking. The ending of Kraven’s tale is shocking, but you’ll just have to pick up the trade if you’re curious about how the story unfolds.
Jim told us all about how Kraven’s Last Hunt was one of the grittiest and darkest Spider-Man tales ever told, especially at the time of its publication in 1987. The story was originally shopped as a Batman/Joker story, but was transformed into a Spider-Man tale before it was released. It was originally titled “Fearful Symmetry,” but the name was changed to Kraven’s Last Hunt in trade. Jim was one of the first editor’s to attempt to streamline all of the Spider-Man titles under the Marvel umbrella instead of selling each title as an individual story. This is why Kraven’s Last Hunt collects Web of Spider-Man #31-#32, Amazing Spider-Man #293-#294, and Spectacular Spider-Man #131-#132, yet when read together, the issues form one cohesive story arc. I always love to hear stories about the inside workings at Marvel, and about the great comic legends who paved the industry for today’s writers and artists so I found Jim to be a particularly interesting speaker. He touched upon his interactions with Stan Lee, and John Romita Sr., and several other Marvel bigwigs. We also learned that Jim had originally gone by ‘James,’ until John Romita Sr., had dubbed him ‘Jim.’ While Jim’s time at Marvel has ended, he is still actively contributing to the comics industry. Jim is currently the editor in chief of Paprercutz which publishes graphic novelizations of Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, and one of my childhood favorites, Tales From the Crypt.
After careful consideration I decided to take the weekend off (after the Midtown Comics Book Club and an early morning movie screening), and spend the remainder of Saturday and Sunday at my house being productive and such. Since my closet/room/life, etc. is in a perpetual state of chaos, it felt like the perfect time to attempt to tackle a portion of the disarray. I had already consumed brunch, dropped my brother off at the train station, and picked up my treinta unsweetened green iced tea from Starbucks, so the only pre-cleaning task that remained was choosing the perfect film to keep me company. The obvious choice was Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. My love for Scott, Ramona, and co., has never wavered, but ever since the color editions of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s beloved series started being released, I’ve found myself re-immersed in all things Scott Pilgrim. I’ve been saying for ages that I’ve been dreaming of cosplaying Envy Adams, lead singer of The Clash at Demonhead, Scott’s ex-girlfriend, and the current love interest of Ramona’s vegan ex-bf, Todd Ingram. Scott Pilgrim & the Infinite Sadness has always been one of my favorite volumes in the series, mainly because of Envy. I’m drawn to Envy for many reasons; 1) her 100% percent rating, 2) she’s a fellow blogger (Knives is not-so-surprisingly one of her devoted fans), 3) her voluminous hair and impeccable sense of style, 4) she’s the lead singer in a super famous band that played with The Pixies, and 5) she has great taste in men (obviously). While I was enjoying the sounds of Sex Bob-omb and cleaning my closet, I realized I already owned the only two items of clothing and few pieces of jewelry needed to cosplay as the movie version of Envy Adams. And so my Sunday morphed into an impromptu cosplay day while dancing around my room to Metric.
And just for good measure, I had to pic-stitch at least one photo of me as Envy and Melissa as Ramona<3
Here are several more of my favorite cosplaying friends. I can only hope that we’ll all reprise our roles one day for a major Scott Pilgrim photo shoot. (Ages: Vary, Ratings: AWESOME.)
Lauren Moran as Ramona Flowers
Giovanni Colantonio as Gideon Graves interviewing Scott Snyder
I spent a bunch of time in January and February hemming and hawing over whether I should read Beautiful Creatures before I ventured out to see the film. Beautiful Creatures is based on the young adult novel of the same name, written by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. After careful consideration I decided to see the movie first because I knew that I wanted to write a review of it, and I didn’t want said review to turn into a comparison essay between two pieces which should theoretically be viewed as separate entities. For what it is, Beautiful Creatures is an entertaining and intriguing film. Just to preface that statement, I am in no way trying to demean the film by phrasing my overall opinion with the “for what it is,” disclaimer. I have no shame in admitting that I have quite the soft spot for young adult fiction and films (sans Twilight, ugh, which I won’t even begin to rant about here), but let’s face it, when someone chooses to attend a film in that genre, they’re not expecting to see the next Annie Hall.
It is however, pleasantly surprising to see how well the film conveys the good versus evil theme. Lena (played by Alice Englert), a castor, has recently relocated to live with her Uncle Macon in Gatlin, Georgia just before her sixteenth birthday when it will be revealed during a ritual whether she will be claimed by the light or the darkness. There is a constant struggle throughout the story in which Lena flip flops from the light side to the dark side. Lena is not inherently good or inherently evil, instead she rests somewhere in the morally grey area, which affords her character to be more relatable (especially to us mortals). As much as humans would love for everything to have a black and white definition of what constitutes good and what should be condemned as evil, it is an unrealistic expectation, and there are always outside circumstances that influence an individual’s decision-making process.
Another major factor that contributes to Lena’s inability to control her emotions and her powers, is her love of Ethan Wate (played by Alden Ehrenreich). Ethan has lived in the small sheltered town of Gatlin for his entire life but he has been itching to get out, that is, until Lena shows up. (Side note: One of the best lines in the film is when Ethan’s bitterly overbearing ex-girlfriend tells him that she prays he doesn’t go straight to hell. Ethan’s response is “Oh I won’t go straight to hell. I’m going to stop in New York first.”) But alas, the exposition between the pairs love affair is slightly lacking and the viewer is expected to accept the concept of destiny in order to understand how their relationship develops so quickly.
The standout performances in the film are by Jeremy Irons, who plays Uncle Macon, Emmy Rossum, Lena’s cousin Ridley that was claimed by the darkness upon her sixteenth birthday, and Emma Thompson, Macon’s sister and Lena’s mother who is another dark castor.
The scenery is delightful to view, and there were several shots, and costume choices that seemed to be inspired by The Craft. Between the woods, Macon’s luxuriously modern and out of place mansion, and the secret castor library protected by the Seer Amma (Viola Davis), the film has its fair share of pleasurable aesthetics. The ending of the film doesn’t tie everything together which is to be expected since Beautiful Creatures is the first in a series of four books. It was obvious that the filmmakers tried to cram as much information into the first movie as possible (the book is over 400 pages!), but it still seemed as if some pertinent information was missing in areas. This helped affirm my confidence in the decision to read the book post movie because I am now curious to see which parts were cut out, if perhaps the connection between Lena and Ethan is built with a stronger foundation, and what exactly was altered to adapt the book to a film friendly screenplay. If you’re looking for a film that’s a little bit heavier than the typical light entertainment supplied by a supernatural rom-com, but will still satisfy your desire for a guilty pleasure, you should definitely consider seeing Beautiful Creatures.