SDCC ’13: Dream Panel Schedule

One thing that every experienced con-goer learns is that once you hit the show floor, despite all of your meticulous scheduling, things rarely go according to plan.  Whenever I plan my convention schedule the first thing I do is look at the programming and panels.  I always designate at least one full day to shopping in booths and purchasing artwork so I like to have a handle on which day is ideal for acquiring all of geek swag before I get there.  Below is my dream convention schedule.  I know I probably will not have the time/patience/energy etc., to go to all of the panels I’ve listed below, but in a perfect world I would be at them all.  Either way, I always enjoy the planning that I put into conventions and it helps me decide what’s actually most important to me while I’m there.

Wednesday: Preview Night – I will not be attending any sneak peek pilot screenings because I’ll be waiting in line to buy all the things!  Here’s a list of my must-haves.

Thursday:

  • 11:30AM – DC Entertainment: All Access – At DC Entertainment, there’s never been a better time to be a comics fan! Find out what DC’s top talent is has been up to! With Brain Buccellato (Flash), Mark Buckingham (Fables), Derek Fridolfs (Batman: Arkham Unhinged, Li’l Gotham),Adam Hughes (Before Watchmen: Dr. Manhattan), Geoff Johns (AquamanJustice League, Justice League of America), Jeff Lemire (Green Arrow, Justice League Dark),Gail Simone (Batgirl, The Movement), Tom Taylor (Injustice: Gods Among Us), and more!
  • 3:00PM – I Can’t Write, I Can’t Draw, But I Love Comics – Just because you missed out on the writing and drawing genes doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for you in the comics, animation, and gaming industries. Panelists include animation/motion capture supervisor Derron Ross (Blur Studio), previs wiz Kerry Shea (The Third Floor), linguist/Language Creation Society president David Peterson(Game of Thrones), and Man At Arms star/weapons maker Tony Swatton (Pirates of the Caribbean). They’ll discuss their gigs, the skill sets they hire, and ways into the biz you may not have even considered. Moderated by Susan Karlin (Fast Company).
  • 5:45PM – Vertigo: Defy – Vertigo is ready to blow your mind with the next wave of trend-setting comics! From horror to mythic fiction to sci-fi and beyond, see what amazing new ideas are coming your way from the imprint that’s on a mission to defy all your expectations! With Mark Buckingham (Fables), Jeff Lemire (Trillium), Scott Snyder (American VampireThe Wake), and others.
  • 6:30PM – Showtime: Dexter – You’ve been there for every edge-of-your-seat moment, every kill, inside Dexter’s most intimate thoughts, watching him transform before your eyes. Now, after eight amazing seasons, it’s time to say goodbye to America’s Favorite Serial Killer. Join the cast, writers/executive producers, and surprise guest stars who are too big to mention, for a final farewell panel that even Hall H can’t contain! Ralph Garman(KROQ entertainment reporter) presides over a revealing interview and Q&A session with the stars and executive producers of Dexter. Featured panelists include series star/executive producer Michael C. Hall (Dexter), Jennifer Carpenter (Deb), David Zayas (Batista), and James Remar (Harry). Also appearing are executive producersJohn Goldwyn, Sara ColletonScott Buck, and Manny Coto. Satisfy your Dexterobsession all weekend. The new season of Dexter airs Sundays at 9:00 ET/PT only on Showtime.

Friday:

  • 11AM – Cartoon Network: Adventure Time – What’s algebraic and schmowzow and righteous all over? It’s Adventure Time! Holy stuff! As if chatting up the coolest kids in the cartoon kingdom wasn’t enough, get ready for your eyeballs to be fixed on some never-before-seen content and your jaw to drop at a rad surprise or two. The panel features Adventure Time creatorPendleton Ward (Lumpy Space Princess), Jeremy Shada (Finn), John DiMaggio(Jake), Tom Kenny (Ice King), Olivia Olson (Marceline), Kent Osborne (head of story), and Adam Muto (supervising producer). Part of the back-to-back Regular Show/Adventure Time Panel Extravaganza, beginning at 10:00.
  • 1:45PM – Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on ABC – Jeph Loeb (Marvel’s head of television), Joss Whedon (Marvel’s The Avengers), and surprise guests reveal top-secret new information about the first live-action television series from the House of Ideas. No Comic-Con attendee can afford to miss this historic panel!
  • 2:50 – Game of Thrones Panel and Q&A Session – Based on the bestselling fantasy book series A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin, HBO’s Game of Thrones concluded its 10-episode third season in June and will begin filming its fourth season this summer. The series, executive produced and written by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, is an epic story of treachery and nobility, set on the continent of Westeros, where summers and winters can last years. Featured cast include: (in alphabetical order): John Bradley as Samwell Tarly, Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister, Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister, Michelle Fairley as Catelyn Stark, Kit Harington as Jon Snow, Rose Leslie as Ygritte, and Richard Madden as Robb Stark. The panel will be moderated by Elvis Mitchell.
  • 6:15PM – Darkhorse: Joss Whedon – Joss Whedon has rewarded fans the world over with some of the most compelling characters and plotlines in the history of comics, television, and movies. Here’s your chance to find out what he has in store next, and get exclusive insight into Buffy the Vampire SlayerSerenity, and much more!
  • 7:30PM – Psychology of Star Trek Vs. Star Wars Episode II – Dr. Andrea Letamendi (UCLA; Batgirl) and Dr. Ali Mattu (NYU) bring their popular intergalactic sci-fi battle to SDCC! These two geeky psychologists will debate the science behind the characters, universes, and fandom of two of the most legendary franchises in pop culture. Special guest panelists include John Champion (Mission Log: A Roddenberry Star Trek Podcast) and Bryan Young (StarWars.com). Join a side and cast your vote to choose the winner! Refereed by Brian Ward (Shout! Factory).

Saturday:

  • 11AM – Once Upon a Time: Off to Neverland – Co-creators and executive producers Edward Kitsis (Lost and Tron: Legacy) andAdam Horowitz (Lost and Tron: Legacy) take you on a journey to Neverland. If the season finale left you wanting more, you will not want to miss this opportunity for an exclusive sneak peek at what’s to come. Questions will be answered. Secrets will be revealed. And Ginnifer Goodwin (Big Love), Jennifer Morrison (House), Robert Carlyle (SGU: Stargate Universe), Josh Dallas (Thor), Emilie de Ravin (Lost), Colin O’Donoghue (The Rite), and Michael Raymond James (True Blood) will all join in the fun. It’s time for you to get hooked on Once Upon a Time.
  • 3:15PM – Vertigo: The Sandman 25th Anniversary Panel and Beyond – This year Vertigo’s flagship title The Sandman returns to comics in an all-new series written by Neil Gaiman (TheSandman)! Join Neil for a celebration of the 25th anniversary of this timeless series and an exclusive look at what is in store for the Lord of the Dreaming with Neil and his past and future legendary collaborators, Dave McKeanSam KiethTodd Klein, and J. H. Williams III.
  • 4PM – Syfy: Being Human – Itching to know what goes on behind the scenes of Syfy’s smash hit series Being Human? Give in to temptation and join cast members Sam Witwer (Aidan), Meaghan Rath (Sally), Sam Huntington (Josh), Kristen Hager (Nora), and executive producerAnna Fricke as they discuss what’s in store for a larger-than-life new season. Moderated by Aaron Sagers, entertainment journalist (CNN.com/MTV.com) and geek culture expert.
  • 6:30PM – Her Universe: Geek Girl Fashion: A Dialogue Between Fashion Professionals and Fans – Actress and entrepreneur Ashley Eckstein, voice of Ahsoka Tano from Star Wars: The Clone Wars and founder of Her Universe, the leading merchandise company for female sci-fi fans, is bringing together the decision makers in the genre fashion industry and the fans for an open discussion. This conversation is meant to be educational and informative, putting the executives and buyers in direct communication with the fans. Ashley will give fans a glimpse of how the retailers stay in tune with their customers and how they develop compelling designs. Audience members will be able to give their comments and recommendations.

Sunday:

  • 3PM – Spotlight on Neil Gaiman – Comic-Con special guest Neil Gaiman has crossed over into numerous media. From comics to novels, from kids’ books to animation, from television to movies, Neil remains one of the most popular creators in the world. Visiting Comic-Con this year to celebrate the 25th anniversary of his seminal comics creation The Sandman, he’ll talk about everything that’s going on his career right now.

What are your dream panel schedules for San Diego Comic Con?  I’d love to hear what you’re looking forward to!  The full programming list can be viewed on the SDCC website.

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SDCC ’13: Top 7 Exclusives I Need!

I’m so excited that I am FINALLY FINALLY FINALLY going to San Diego Comic Con this year! It’s going to be my first year in attendance, and not only am I looking forward to seeing my west coast friends, but there’s also going to be a bit of huge news announced that directly involves me and my mysterious internet absence over the past few weeks… But more on that later :-)

As you may know, I have somewhat of a shopping problem and I’m expecting to have a difficult time controlling myself once I hit the show floor and see all of the amazing booths and what each one has to offer.  So in an effort to alleviate some of the stress of SDCC and the impending doom on my bank account, I decided to devise a list of 7 exclusives that I absolutely cannot leave the con without.  Whatever happens when I set foot on the show floor remains to be seen, but until then I’m trying to convince myself that the below items are all that I’m going to buy… With the exception of Funko because the majority of their exclusives as still unreleased.

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Super Best Friends Forever Action Figure 3-Pack

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Pullip Supergirl

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Batman ’66 #1 Variant Cover

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Hasbro’s Star Wars Black Series 6′ Boba Fett

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Hasbro’s My Little Pony DJ Pony

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Mezco Harley Quinn Keychain

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Skottie Young 24’x36′ Avengers Print (comes with the Marvel Phase 1 blur-ray set, which I don’t need but…)

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Happy 20th Anniversary Sailor Moon!

June 30th marked the birthday of one of my favorite anime characters, Sailor Moon, so I decided to write a post about what’s new and exciting in her world.  This year is an especially important year for Sailor Moon as her franchise is celebrating its 20th anniversary which is a huge milestone.  In honor of Usagi’s decades of success, Bandai is licensing a ton of new merchandise that I can’t wait to own.

I fell in love with Sailor Moon when I began reading the issues of the reprinted manga that have been re-released in North America beginning in September of 2011.  All of the Sailor Moon manga is written by Naoko Takeuchi and the entire run is told through 52 chapters, with several side-stories.  In 2012 it was announced that a new adaptation of the anime would be released in the summer of 2013, but it has since been delayed.  In the meantime, I highly suggest checking out the manga if you haven’t already.

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Back to the new merchandise releases by Bandai!  You can pre-order everything online (but you must translate the website, as everything is being released in Japan).  If that’s too confusing, you will also be able to purchase them items on eBay once they’re released.  Below are some of the items I definitely have to have:

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S.H. Sailor Moon & Luna Action Figure $45 (Pre-order) – I saw this figure at New York Toy Fair and I fell in love!  It comes with 3 interchangeable faces, 3 left hands, 5 right hands, 2 Moon Sticks, Moon Tiara Effect parts & Luna

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Luna & Artemis Phone Case $21.25 (Pre-order) – What’s cuter than two cats sitting under the moon and stars with their tails intertwined?

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Miracle Romance Shining Moon Powder $39.95 (Pre-order) – This compact is modeled after Sailor Moon’s Crystal Star Brooch

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Miracle Romance Nail Collection $53.45 (Pre-Order) – The nail collection includes the colors of the Sailor Scouts (red, green, blue, pink, orange) and the bottles are modeled after transformation items.

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Kristin

Tea & Book Chat: William Shakespeare’s Star Wars by Ian Doescher

As a total literature nerd and major Star Wars enthusiast, I can confidently state that the one thing missing from my life up until now was William Shakespeare’s Star Wars by Ian Doescher.  Doescher uses iambic pentameter to adapt A New Hope into a 5 act Shakespearian adventure involving a captured Princess (Leia), a wise (Jedi) knight, and evil (Sith) lord, a young hero (Luke), and his comedic relief (C3PO & R2D2).  (That means we get to read R2D2’s bleeping in iambic pentameter!) We all know the plot of A New Hope, but what many of us may not have realized is how well the characters in Star Wars mirror Shakespearian archetypes.  I especially love Doescher’s use of literary devices.  For example, Vader’s speech in Act I, Scene II of the book foreshadows the events that are soon to follow. Verily, A New Hope, recounts the 1977 film scene for scene, and Doescher solves the lack of visuals, by adding a Chorus who explain the actions of the characters and enhance their soliloquies.  The book also includes 19 beautiful illustrations which depict the Elizabethan attire of the cast of characters in the dramatis personae. I would love to see Doescher’s retelling performed onstage, or simply read aloud by friends at a house party.  Perhaps, next May the Fourth!  I am convinced that a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, William Shakespeare had every intention of this interpretation existing.  Believe me when I say William Shakespeare’s Star Wars is the book you’re looking for. (I had to get in some Star Wars-isms!)  I’ll leave you with this satisfying line spoken by Han Solo:

[To bartender:] Pray, goodly Sir, forgive me for the

mess.

[Aside:] And whether I shot first, I’ll ne’er confess!

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You can purchase a copy of the book here, and view the trailer below.  Happy reading!

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Free Comic Book Day 2013!

This year Free Comic Book Day (FCBD) coincided with May the Fourth and I was initially conflicted with which sector of geekdom I felt like representing that day.  Ultimately, I chose to wear a comic themed ensemble as the previous year, May the Fourth Lando’ed (horrible pun) on the same day as the theatrical release of The Avengers, and I wore Star Wars things.    And that is how my mind works.  I’m hoping that next year, we’ll get two separate days to celebrate because why not!  I ended up spending the majority of my day at Midtown Comics’ Downtown location on Fulton Street.  They were one of the only stores in New York City that had signings going on and we all know how much I love getting books signed by authors and artists!  After a slight subway mishap when my C train decided last minute that it wanted to be an F, I ended up in Brooklyn, and had to turn around and head back to Manhattan.  I had received more stares than usual on the train due to my Supergirl theme, but it was exceptionally weird when a guy started taking photos of me without asking.  That’s just creepy.  I’m happy to pose for a photo if someone asks permission, otherwise, it’s just uncomfortable.

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The first signing I went to had Nate Cosby and Chris Eliopoulos signing copies of Archaia’s FCBD offering, Mouse Guard.  I had wanted to purchase a copy of Cow Boy, which is the Archaia book that the pair created together, but sadly, Midtown was out of copies.  But I did also have Nate sign my copy of PIGS, so I was really happy about that!  While I was chatting with them, Chris took a photo of me which was posted on CBR as part of their Free Comic Book Day Coverage!  I had initially been referred to as Supergirl with her Superman, but it looks like they’ve since revised it to say my actual name.  Not that I have any issue being referred to as Supergirl.  There had already been a line formed outside for Midtown’s later signing with Scott Snyder and Jim Lee who were promoting their new Superman Unchained book for DC Comics, so Nate and Chris went outside and signed books for everyone in the line as well.  And Chris sprinted down the alley to Vine a video of the line, which was quite hilarious and ended in him getting chased by motorcycles.  I was also so excited to meet other Kristin H., who handles the official New York Comic Con twitter account.  We had previously been guests together on a special Geek Girls Named Kristin edition of the Average Intelligence podcast which is hosted by Gary, but we hadn’t ever met in person until FCBD.

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After the signing, my friend Tanya and I did a quick run to the new comic shop, Carmine Street Comics, which had just opened two days earlier.  Carmine Street Comics is run by two former employees of Manhattan Comics (the old Cosmic Comics), which sadly, closed two after FCBD.  I like that their new store focuses on indie comics.  Aside from checking out the location and stock, one of the main reasons I wanted to head there is because I had been wanting to read Brad Abraham’s Mixtape ever since fellow blogger Ari did a spotlight of the series on her site.  And now I have them! We also ran to Joe’s Pizza which is a famous pizza place which you may remember from Spider-Man 2.  It just seemed appropriate.  Next we headed to Forbidden Planet for all of three minutes before leaving to meet my friend Lauren, and her roommate Andrea for some sandwiches and comics at the Times Square Midtown Comics.  Lauren and I were the perfect embodiment of the day, with me representing Supergirl, and Lauren in a Star Wars tee.

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Then it was back to Midtown Comic Downtown for the Scott Snyder and Jim Lee signing.  The store was incredibly busy as everyone was really excited to see Scott and Jim.  Two of my friends had been scheduled to interview them both before the signing began, Ali for MTVGeek, and Alan for CBR.  After their interviews concluded we had some books signed (I had Scott sign my copy of American Vampire Volume 1, and I must’ve had a major brain freeze because I totally forgot to bring my copy of Hush for Jim to sign – who just so happens to be my favorite Batman villain).  But oh well, next time!  Then we headed out for drinks and some food, but right before leaving to head home, we ran into Scott Snyder outside of bar and he invited us in to hang out for a little while.  It was so much fun!  Jim Lee bought us drinks and Lisa chatted with him about psychology.  Then Alan, being the sweetheart that he is, drove me all the way home so I didn’t have to take the train.  Lisa, Alan, and I listened to a Neil Gaiman audio play for our mini road trip, but we only had the time for half so I’m still dying to find out how it ends!

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How was your Free Comic Book Day & May the Fourth?  Do you have any yearly traditions set up to celebrate your geekdom on either day?  I’d love to hear all about them!  I broke my usual tradition of doing a comic shop crawl and hitting all of the stores in NYC, but I had an amazing day nonetheless!  I was shocked at how quickly the time had passed.  Next year, I’m definitely going to make an effort to hit more shops!

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Kristin

Iron Man 3 Review [Spoilers]

I would just like to preface this review by saying that when judging a film adaptation of anything whether it be a book, a comic, a video game or anything else, each entity should be judged as an individual because essentially, that’s what it is.  Although two entities may be based on the same character, there are things that work in films that do not work in books, and vice versa.  With that being said, I am still going to draw comparisons between Marvel’s Iron Man comic, and Marvel Entertainment’s newest film, Iron Man 3, but I am not in any way criticizing one or the other based on how story elements have differed.

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I absolutely loved Iron Man 3.  Since Marvel’s first Iron Man film it has been clear that Robert Downey Jr., is Tony Stark, and when paired with director Shane Black, magic happened.  Black and Downey are literally a match made in movie heaven.  Black’s witty dialogue is a trademark of his, and Downey’s delivery of the script is nothing less than perfect.  Then cue Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts in the role of a strong and independent female lead, Don Cheadle in War Machine’s newly made over armor as the Iron Patriot, our main villains – Guy Pearce as Aldrich Killian and Ben Kingsley as The Mandarin, Jon Favreau as the overprotective head of security with a Downton Abbey obsession, and an unbelievably talented cast of supporting characters.  The casting in Iron Man 3 was phenomenal.  It was as if every actor hit their stride and each cast member played really well off one another.  The major theme expressed throughout the film is that a person, especially an influential person, has a certain sense of responsibility and accountability for their actions.  Tony talks about his past and creating demons on a night he barely remembered.  It just goes to show that one event that can hold little to no meaning for one person, can be someone else’s most significant milestone.

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The film serves as a believable transitory period, taking place after The Avengers, as the traumatizing events that occurred in New York leaves us with a Tony Stark who is having difficulty coping with day to day life after facing the Chitauri army.  Almost losing Pepper has, in a sense, put things into perspective for Tony, but he becomes so obsessed with protecting Pepper from imminent potential threats, that he spends his sleepless nights developing an entire basement full of Iron Man armor.  This is where the uncomfortableness for the audience commences.  We’re given a glimpse of a superhero who we depend on to protect us, at his most vulnerable (i.e.. crying in his sleep from flashbacks).  Tony finally reaches his breaking point and threatens The Mandarin in front of a herd of news reporters, and thus the action begins… and it never stops until the end of the film.  After Tony discloses his address, his home is attacked and destroyed by three helicopters piloted by people who have taken doses of Extremis. Tony is separated from Pepper and Maya (a scientist who works for Aldrich Killian on Extremis), and JARVIS follows his original flight plan and takes Tony to Tennessee, the first known site for the suspicious bombings that follow The Mandarin’s protocol.

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While in Tennessee, Tony begrudgingly relies on the help of a child (played by Ty Simpkins) who helps inspire Tony to rebuild things… when he’s not causing Tony to have anxiety attacks by asking questions about New York.  The pair hit it off and Downey again nails Black’s dialogue and converses with Harley like he’s an adult.  He offers him useful life tips, such as being cool about saving people, handling bullies, and he even shows some tough love when he takes off like Harley’s father did.  Meanwhile Pepper travels with Maya, discovers she’s involved in Extremis, and gets captured by Aldrich who injects her with Extremis doses.  Iron Patriot and Iron Man uncover Aldrich’s plan to take control of the government and execute the President in The Mandarin’s final broadcast, and it is one scene after another of destruction, explosions, plane crashes, and the like.

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After seeing the reaction on Twitter, it was clear that many people were upset with the way that The Mandarin was portrayed.  I’ve heard die hard comic fans express devastation that they turned The Mandarin into a joke, but in all honesty, it completely worked for the film.  Iron Man 3 is one of the darker superhero films currently in existence, and the impending terrorist threats combined with the large number of ex-military personnel who had taken doses of Extremis was terrifying.  The Mandarin provided a sense of comic relief which was a necessary factor in Iron Man’s seemingly hopeless situation.  Before we learn that The Mandarin is an actor, there is a scene where he gives the President an ultimatum – to call him within 30 seconds or he will take a man’s life on national television for the sake of teaching a lesson.  When the President caves in, against his advisors orders, he shows the American public that he is vulnerable to the terrorist attack, and The Mandarin proceeds to shoot the man in the head despite receiving the phone call.  After this scene, I remember gasping, becoming teary-eyed, and being extremely uncomfortable and terrified.  Particularly because this is something that could actually happen.  By turning The Mandarin into a stage actor struggling with a substance abuse addiction, and acting as the face of terrorism, it gave us the opportunity to laugh.

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Overall, the film was brilliantly executed.  There is no denying several of the plot holes, and the lack of involvement that S.H.I.E.L.D. played, but with a runtime of 130 minutes, there wasn’t much more that could’ve been packed into the film without sacrificing essential scenes.  It was a pleasure to see Pepper Potts step up as the strongest character (in less eloquent terms, she was a certified badass).  Whether she was in her powerful white suit making decisions as the CEO of Stark Industries, or after her Extremis treatment fighting Aldrich in a sports bra, Gwyneth Paltrow really stole the screen.  Also noteworthy is the number of Iron Man suits we saw shooting throughout the sky and attacking the enemies.  And adorably so, at the end of the film, Tony proves his love for Pepper by instructing JARVIS to initiate “clean slate,” which destroys all of the Iron Man armor, a much better gesture than the giant stuffed bunny he buys her for Christmas.  Even the end credits of the film are worth discussing.  The music along with the inter spliced images and video of characters had a sort of James Bond-like feel to it.  I hope you enjoyed the movie as much as I did! I’m going to detail some of the differences between the film and the comic in the section below!

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One aspect of the film that I particularly enjoyed was that although we had been told that the script was loosely based on Warren Ellis and Adi Granov’s Extremis, after viewing the film, it was evident that it also utilized story elements from Matt Fraction’s Invincible Iron Man run.  Here are four of the minor differences from comic to film:

1) In the comic – There is a doctor partnered with Maya Hansen who commits suicide after writing a note apologizing for what he’s done.  Maya seeks out Tony Stark’s help because she’s concerned about the human trials and claims she has no idea who the doctor sold their prototype to.  We later learn that Maya was also involved in the scheme of sending Extremis to human trials, but she was working alone since the doctor had killed himself.

In the film – Maya is working for Aldrich Killian, who is the main villain in the Extremis scheme.  Although Maya does go along with his plan initially, she redeems herself and tries to protect Tony right before Aldrich shoots her.

2) In the comic – Tony takes a dose of Extremis after being badly beaten by one of the other test subjects. He doesn’t know if he’ll survive but it’s the only way to merge man and machine and connect him closer to his Iron Man armor.  He appoints Pepper in charge of Stark Industries when he leaves in search of the Extremis patient, and he also leaves her an Iron Man suit which she names Rescue.  Pepper also teams up with Black Widow and Maria Hill in Tony’s absence rescues them after pretending to be Madame Masque.

In the film – Pepper is already CEO of Stark Industries and Tony has already developed technology himself which allows him to call him armor to himself by thinking his command.    Tony does not need to take an Extremis dose to face his enemy and instead Pepper survives the trial and puts Aldrich in his final resting place.  Black Widow and Maria Hill are both absent from the film, as well as Pepper’s Madame Masque disguise.  But here’e hoping we’ll see Pepper as Rescue in Iron Man 4!

3) In the comic – Tony breaches War Machine’s suit and doesn’t work with him in an effort to stop Extremis.

In the film – War Machine has been rebranded as Iron Patriot, and the pair work side by side to stop Aldrich and save the president.

4) The Mandarin (See above) – Aside from allowing us to laugh, The Mandarin also enhanced the threat of Aldrich Killian.  He put a face on terrorism and deceived the American public into believing that The Mandarin was the enemy they should be targeting.  (Similar to how Marvel Entertainment tricked us into believing The Mandarin was the bad guy.)  There’s nothing scarier than fighting an unknown enemy and by shifting the public’s focus he was able to conduct the real terror behind the scenes without much interference.

And if you’re interested in learning more about Iron Man’s armor throughout the years, you should check out this article my friend and comic book historian Alan Kistler wrote for Wired:  The Greatest Iron Man Armor’s of the Last 50 Years: An Interactive Timeline

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Kristin

My Favorite Moments: C2E2 2013

There’s really no other way to accurately describe C2E2, than to say it was an unreal whirlwind of a weekend.  It was full of comics, cosplay, artwork, a panel, plenty of drinks, and most importantly, my best friends.  One of the highlights of the weekend was when Chris, who had tricked me into thinking he wasn’t going to be able to attend (after convincing me last year that I had to!) began kicking my chair from behind in the Comix Chix panel.  I was SO excited but I had to control myself for the next half hour until I could properly freak out and hug him!  I also was able to see my friend Eric who works for Quirk Books, and he gave me an advance copy of the new book, William Shakespeare’s Star Wars, to review for my site!  Mel and I visited him all three days and he posted a photo of us each time we went to his booth.  We were kind of like the Quirk Books meme of C2E2.

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Days 1 and 2 of the convention were all about cosplay.  On Friday I cosplayed as my favorite mutant, the daughter of Magneto, Scarlet Witch.  Melissa was Snake Plissen, and Jill was the most adorable 20’s style Twilight Sparkle.  It was nearly impossible to walk more than 3 steps in any direction without getting asked for photos.  Miraculously, we managed to make our way down the floor to Artist Alley, and made a few quick stops to say hi to Tim Seeley (who gave me all four of his beautiful prints!  I had been coveting the Batman one since he released the image online earlier in the year), Joe Eisma (the extremely talented artist behind Morning Glories, who also gave me an amazing print featuring all of the Glories), our friend Agnes Garbowska, and of course, Skottie Young because I HAD to have his baby Spider-Man print (and thank goodness I made it a priority because it was sold out by Saturday).  Afterwards, we headed back to our hotel to change and try some of Chicago’s infamous deep dish pizza.  I thought it was really delicious! Very different from New York style pizza, but I wasn’t as biased as I thought I would be.  Then we went to the place everyone congregates after the con, the Hyatt bar.  We were so exhausted that we almost didn’t make it out, but since we were only there for three days, Mel and I forced ourselves, and we’re really happy we did.  We got to catch up with Jen who lives in LA so it’s rare that we’re ever on the same coast, as well as some other Californians like Mel, Kyle Higgins, and many many more.  We called it an early night because we had to wake up the next morning for the Comix Chix panel which both Jill and Jen were speakers on.

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After the panel concluded Melissa, Jill, Chris, and I caught up with Ashely Eckstein for a bit and chatted about her upcoming products.  She has some really exciting pieces debuting in the next few months, and I know I’m going to end up buying them all.  Next, we found a secluded bathroom and changed into our cosplay (I was a mod lady version of Thanos, Melissa was a female Doctor Strange, and Jill was Batgirl).  Saturday was full of tons more photos and attempting to walk around the floor.  We even had professional photos taken by Chanh Tang!  Next we went back to our hotels and changed quickly (although not as quickly as Chris wanted us to), for the big family dinner Ali planned for us all at Portillo’s.  Then it was straight to the Threadless/CBLDF party in the Threadless warehouse which had an awesome giant robot, Mario Kart, a DJ and of course free alcohol.  We danced and chatted for a few hours before heading back to the Hyatt again to meet up with everyone else.  Saturday night at the Hyatt was one of my favorite parts of the whole convention.  There were so many people we met and an incredible amount of events and conversations that I can’t write about.  Right before we left we met Lee Arenberg who is currently on Once Upon a Time, and was previously in Pirates of the Caribbean.  Overall, it was a wonderful evening.

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The next morning was a little slow moving for us all after the festivities of the night before, but we were excited to get an early start since Sunday would be the day we dressed as ourselves and were able to buy things.  After a morning that seemed like a Twilight Zone episode (Melissa accidentally tripped one of her favorite artists, and a girl opened her hotel door as we walked by and asked us for cosplay help), we left our suitcases in Jill and Brad’s hotel room, and dashed to artist alley and made our way through each row.  My two favorite prints I purchased were Silk Spectre by Amanda Connor and a Gwen Stacy/Spider-Man (obviously) print by J. Scott Campbell. Once we finished making our way through artist alley, I snuck away to the Hyatt bar to meet a few friends until it was time to hop in a cab and head to the airport.

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Overall, I was extremely impressed with C2E2.  I’m so thankful that everything worked out and I was able to attend.  Each convention that I’ve been to has a specific aspect that sets it  apart from every other con and part of the reason C2E2 holds such a high place on my list is because of the amount of people I was able to see and hang out with.  Chicago is also a beautiful city.  It’s like a quieter, cleaner version of New York, so I felt very much like I was at home during the three days I was there.  Next year (yes, I am definitely headed back!), I’m definitely planning on flying in on Thursday night so I can avoid some of the exhaustion I felt on Friday.  I’m also hoping that I’ll eventually learn my lesson and take the day after a convention off from work.  I always think it’ll be no problem while I’m booking my trip and then when I get to work on Monday morning, I’m zombielike.  Here are some of my favorite photos from the convention!

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Kristin

Mod Lady Thanos

Photos taken by Chanh Tang at C2E2 2013.

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And a full body instagram photo:

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Kristin

Cartoon Network’s Teen Titans GO! Review

Last night, the newly rebooted series, Teen Titans GO!, premiered on Cartoon Network and I was absolutely blown away by the first episode.  I love the original series from the bottom of my heart, so I had been looking forward to the new series, especially since it stars the same voice actors as the original series.  It is so exciting to me to have a weekly Tuesday night date scheduled with Robin, Starfire, Raven, Beast Boy, and Cyborg.  One of the elements that truly enhanced the episode is the animation style.  The characters are drawn adorably, and throughout the episode I found myself wishing that I could reach through my television to give them each a giant hug.  The colors are much brighter than those in the original series, and they not only capture the eye, but they really make each scene pop and enhance the story.  Admittedly, the new theme song which is somewhat a remixed version of the original will take a few episodes to get used to, but everything else about the show was perfect.

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The episode was divided into two parts, ‘Legendary Sandwich,’ and ‘Pie Bros.’  The first part ‘Legendary Sandwich,’ opens with Raven secretly watching a show called Pretty Pretty Pegasus (a show bearing a striking resemblance to My Little Pony, with main characters named Sparkle Face and Butter Bean) on her laptop.  That first scene is when I knew I was completely sold on the series.  For those who don’t know, Raven is voiced by Tara Strong who also does the voice Twilight Sparkle on MLP.  All Raven wants to do is watch her guilty pleasure show in peace and act out scenes with her toys so she sends the rest of the Titans out on a mission to obtain the ingredients to the legendary sandwich which will give the consumer eternal life.  Each Titan accepts their mission and endures a battle sustaining serious injuries for the mystical bacon (Cyborg), the King’s lettuce (Beast Boy), the stellar tomato (Starfire), and then there’s the pretzel bread which Robin has to wait on line for at the supermarket.  The supermarket scene gives us a glimpse into the comedic nature of Robin and it interlaced nicely with the more dramatic fight scenes.

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The next part of the episode, ‘Pie Bros,’ almost had me in tears. (It was a long day).  It’s Cyborg’s birthday and Beast Boy wants to buy his best friend an expensive present so he takes a job at a pie shop to help fund Cybrog’s gift.  Plus there’s singing.  Lots of singing.  ABOUT PIE.  So yeah, that in itself is a reason to watch the episode.  Beast Boy endures much torture from Cyborg about the ridiculous uniform he’s forced to wear during his shift (see: pie hat), and he’s even forced to attend Cyborg’s birthday as an employee because he needs the extra money.  Cyborg is livid that his best friend thinks a little extra cash is more important to him than their friendship so during the party he makes it his mission to throw pies on the floor for Beast Boy to clean up.  The adorable factor in this episode is through the roof.  Before Beast Boy even takes on the job, he draws Cyborg an awesome picture of the alien Cyborg riding dog Beast Boy, which he later finds out would’ve been enough.  There’s also a Sweeny Todd-esque element to the owner of the pie shop, but she fills a very secondary plot in the episode, while Beast Boy and Cyborg have a screaming pie fight that eventually morphs into more singing.

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Overall, the first episode of Teen Titans GO! completely surpassed any expectation I had for the new series.  It’s a much more kid friendly series than Young Justice, which it has replaced (all the tears), but I have high hopes for this becoming an instant fan favorite.  The show stars Scott Menville as Robin, Tara Strong as Raven, Hynden Walch as Starfire, Greg Cipes as Beast Boy, and Khary Payton as Cyborg.  If you missed the first episode, have no fear! Teen Titans GO will be repeated on Saturday mornings as part of Cartoon Network’s DC Nation block.  In the meantime, if you’re looking for more of the Titans, you can catch the old series online (Amazon, iTunes, etc.,), read Geoff Johns’ DC Comics run on the series (which is arguably one of the best series ever written), or play the game on Cartoon Network’s website.

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Kristin

Stress, Insecurities and Worries Aplenty

I can honestly say that 2013 has already been the most terrifying year of my entire life, and it’s only April.

Throughout my life I have always had a solidified plan of what I was going to do and who I was going to be.  I’ve worked hard and set ambitiously high goals for myself and throughout it all I’ve always managed to stay on track and maintain complete control of everything.  Even to the point of absurdity. My friends had always envied me for being so put together at such a young age and for being able to define and actively work towards reaching my personal and career goals.

It’s for these reasons that the level of uncertainty I’m now facing is stressing me out beyond belief.  And I’m not even allowed to talk about most of it.  As someone who has always embraced change and has easily adapted to the world around me, I’ve had a difficult time admitting that I’ve been struggling this past month.  When your future is dependent upon other people, it’s near impossible to relax or breathe easy.   I find myself incapable of making long-term plans because I have no idea where I’ll be in a month’s time.  (I haven’t even been able to respond to some wedding invitations yet because I’m so unsure about my future!)  I know that I’m on the brink of a major change, but I’m so eager to begin my transition that I think I’m trying to rush time along which is never a good thing.

I’ve spent countless hours sitting at my desk and daydreaming about receiving one simple phone call.  A phone call that will ultimately change my life forever.  Every time I feel my phone vibrate, I can’t help but scream internally and think, “THIS COULD BE IT.”  All of my muscles tense up and I fantasize about how the conversation will go before even checking to see who it is.  It’s getting close to the wire, but this last week is really testing my patience.

On top of that, I’ve also begun looking at apartments because I am finally ready to leave home.  Again, a terrifying concept, and although my family will still be close by, it won’t be like college where I’ll be leaving with the intention of returning in the summer and winter.  This time it will be for good.

I worry about my mom’s health and about my dad’s new job.  I worry about my brother who is constantly traveling, and about who will take care of them when I’m not there.  I worry about money and about how I’ll be able to survive on my own.  I worry about my friends, and their situations, and I worry about my job.  But even more so than usual and everything that always came naturally to me and seemed easy is being warped by this impending stress into difficulties that I’ve never acknowledged before.

In my heart I know that everything is going to work out.  I know that this thing that I’m waiting to have happen will happen because I can just feel that it’s what I’m destined to do.  I know that my family will be fine and I’ll love living on my own and the world will keep spinning and everyone will go on with their lives as if nothing has changed.  And I know next week when everything “clicks,” I’ll have felt silly for even expressing my worries in this post, but until then I know it’ll make me feel better to put it all out there.

Hopefully next time I’ll be able to update you all on some of these major changes, but until then, I urge you to keep striving towards your goals and following your dreams.  We only live once and I truly believe that we’re all responsible for our own happiness.  I challenge you to go out of your way to accomplish something that will make you happy whether it’s something simple like organizing your closet, or something bigger like applying for a promotion at work.

I’d love to hear what you’re worried about and what you’re going to do to contribute to your happiness so feel free to leave a comment below, or if it’s too personal to share publicly, you can always email me at Kristin@superspacechick.com.  Good luck and goodnight!

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