Happy Birthday Stan Lee From Your Friendly Neighborhood Gwen Stacy!

Last year I wrote this Happy Birthday blog post/love letter to Stan Lee for On Wednesdays We Wear Pink and I thought I’d share it on my personal blog this year in honor of Stan the Man’s birthday<3!  Stan means a lot to me as he’s created so many of my favorite characters.  I read his biography a few years back and it made him all the more charming.
Today is comic book legend Stan Lee’s 89th Birthday! For those who don’t already know, Stan is responsible for creating the majority of today’s most popular Marvel superheroes.  Some of his brain children include SPIDER-MAN (he’s our favorite at OWWWP), Iron Man, the Hulk, the Fantastic Four, Thor, Daredevil (with Bill Everett) and Doctor Strange (with Steve Ditko).  If you have not yet read Stan Lee’s autobiography Excelsior! I highly recommend it.  One of my favorite parts of his book was the story of how Stan Lee created Iron Man.  One of Stan’s bosses at the time remarked about how easy it was to make a superhero because everybody loves a hero.  Stan obviously knew better so he made a bet with his boss that he could create a successful superhero who the antithesis of everything America believed in at the time. During the height of the Cold War, when young American’s everywhere protested and despised the current war, Stan created Iron Man as a millionaire industrialist who developed technology and supplied the military with weapons. And as we all know, Iron Man became a favorite character of everyone. Another thing Stan shines some light on in Excelsior! (which by the way means Onward and Upward to Greater Glory!) is his early life and how he kind of fell into comics. Even after taking a brief hiatus and joining the army to assist in World War II (Stan ended up filming instructional videos and writing manuals for the soldiers going off to fight) he made his way back to Marvel.
With the mere mention of Marvel nearly everybody’s first thought is drawn to Stan Lee. Stan  is truly responsible for making Marvel what it is today. When nobody believed that there was any future in comics Stan just kept working even harder and has ultimately proven them to be very wrong. Last year at New York Comic Con (2010) was the first time I had the pleasure of seeing Stan Lee up close and personal.  I attended his panel about the new and exciting characters to expect from Marvel in 2011. Even then at 87 years old, Stan was one of the most charismatic people I have ever seen.  He thrives on being in the spotlight and he jokes around constantly.  As soon as he entered onto the stage the room took on a completely different ambiance. Everyone was just sitting with expressions of shock and awe on their faces, marveling at the fact that this legend was standing a few feet away from them.  Stan has also gone on to make cameo’s in Marvel Entertainment’s movies (we told you he loves the spotlight).  But our favorite cameo appearance we’ve seen Stan do was when he was on The Big Bang Theory. Stan played himself, signed comics at Stuart’s store and when an overexcited Sheldon showed up on his doorstep, Stan told him off, dismissing him as an annoying fanboy and called the cops.  We loved this scene so much because we know that it is the complete opposite of Stan’s usual fun loving attitude.  So we hope you’ll join us in celebrating Stan Lee’s 89th Birthday today by picking up a new (or old comic) of one your favorite Marvel superheros that wouldn’t exist today with the genius himself.  Thanks Stan, Excelsior!
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12 Best Christmas Themed Episodes on TV

Christmastime is hands down my favorite time of the year.  I always do everything I possibly can to enjoy each moment of the holiday season before it ends and I’m forced to wait until next year to celebrate again.  Some of my favorite traditions include helping my mom bake Christmas cookies (this year we baked gingerbread cookies, raspberry thumbprint cookies, pecan danties, almond crescents, butter cookies, and rainbow cookies in Christmas colors), driving around aimlessly to admire all of the festive lights, watching some of my favorite movies (The Nightmare Before Christmas, Elf, A Charlie Brown Christmas, The Santa Clause, Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, It’s a Wonderful Life, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Home Alone, Love Actually), enjoying way too many of Starbucks’ gingerbread lattes while visiting all of the holiday shops and Christmas trees set up around New York City, reading some of my favorite stories (Nicholas Was… a short story by Neil Gaiman, Batman Noel [which Jen & I just did a Super Villains Comic Book Club episode about], Polar Express, Tim Seeley’s Hack/Slash Christmas issue and Christmas Trees by Robert Frost), decorating everything in sight from my house to my desk and even my car, and loudly singing along to the Christmas music I grew up listening to (as Buddy the Elf says, “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear).  Well this post has turned into a list of all of the Christmas entertainment I love, but the purpose was to focus on television episodes.  Below are my 25 favorite Christmas themed television episodes in no particular order!
1) Buffy the Vampire Slayer – ‘Amends’ (Season 3, Episode 10) – Amends is the only Christmas episode of Buffy that was made in all eight seasons.  In this episode Angel is haunted by his past by the forces of the The First Evil, and Buffy struggles to get rid of the Bringers.  The episode ends with a beautiful snowfall in Sunnydale.
2) Batman: The Animated Series – ‘Christmas with the Joker’ (Season 1, Episode 2) – The Joker escapes from Arkham Asylum on Christmas Eve on a Christmas tree and begins to wreak havoc in Gotham.  He kidnaps Commissioner Gordon, Barbara Gordon, and Harvey Bullock, and the gives Batman and Robin until midnight to save them.
3) Doctor Who – ‘A Christmas Carol’ & ‘The Doctor, The Widow & The Wardrobe’- In ‘A Christmas Carol,’ my favorite Doctor, the charming number Eleven, attempts to save his companions Rory and Amy who are trapped on a space liner in a strange cloud belt.  The Doctor has to convince the Scrooge, Kazran Sardick, to help and he does so by trying to change his past and make him into a nicer person.  The following years’ special ‘The Doctor, The Widow, & The Wardrobe,” is a Narnia-esque fairy tale in which two children happen upon a present the leads to an alternate universe.  The universe is inhabited by a bunch a treelike people who are attempting to escape through a human vessel.
4) Supernatural – ‘A Very Supernatural Christmas’ (Season 3, Episode 8) – Sam and Dean chase a pair of Pagan gods who have assimilated themselves to society but still require a yearly sacrifice.  The pair sell Christmas wreaths which ultimately ties them to the murders.  All of their victims are mysteriously pulled up their chimneys before disappearing forever.
5) Tales From the Crypt – ‘And All Through the House’ (Season 1, Episode 2) – The episode begins with a woman murdering her husband in order to get his life insurance money.  Afterwards she is chased all through her house by an escaped mental patient who is dressed in a Santa Claus outfit.
6) Smallville – ‘Lexmas’ (Season 5, Episode 9) – Lex Luthor, one of my favorite characters on Smallville, is shot and he slips into a coma.  During the time he is unconscious he is visited by his deceased mother’s ghost and she shows him what his life would be like if he denounced his father Lionel.  Lex sees himself happily married to Lana who is pregnant with their second child.
7) Adventure Time – ‘Holly Jolly Secrets Parts 1 & 2’ (Season 3, Episodes 19-20) – In which, Fin and Jake find the Ice Kings video diary and try to decipher it in an effort to discover the Ice King’s deepest secret.  In part 2 of the special, the Ice King tries to steal his video diaries back from Fin and Jake.
8) The X-Files – ‘How the Ghosts Stole Christmas’ (Season 6, Episode 6) – Mulder and Scully spend their Christmas Eve investigating a haunted house in Maryland where a couple had made a lover’s pact and died together so they would never have to be alone.  Now the ghosts of the dead lovers are trying to convince the new living couple who move into the house to make the same pact.
9) Kim Possible – ‘A Very Possible Christmas’ (Season 2, Episode 16) – Kim is forced to travel around the world searching for Ron after a very thoughtful Christmas gift he plans for Kim goes awry.  Ron and Drakken bond over a Christmas special they both love called Snowman Hank, and Kim and the rest of the Possibles save the day.
10) The OC – ‘The Best Chrismukkah Ever’ (Season 1, Episode 13) – In this very Seth Cohen centric episode, Seth struggles to keep his family together by celebrating Chrismukkah, a holiday he invented as a child which combines Christmas and Hanukkah.  Meanwhile, Seth is also struggling to choose between Anna and Summer.  He makes the same mixtape for them while Anna gives him a homemade  comic book starting Seth as the hero, and Summer dresses up as Wonder Woman.
11) 3rd Rock From the Sun – ‘Jolly Old St. Dick’ (Season 2, Episode 12) – The High Commander played by John Lithgow, prepares his alien family for their first Christmas on Earth by cutting down a Christmas tree from someone’s yard which results in his arrest.  Meanwhile Sally gets a job wrapping presents at the mall, and Harry as one of Santa’s elves.  Although, Harry becomes enraged when he discovers that he is not in fact working for the real Santa.
12) The Big Bang Theory – ‘The Bath Item Gift Hypothesis’ (Season 2, Episode 11) – Shledon, already skeptical about the holiday season claiming that Christmas is just a ripoff of the Pagan holiday Saturnalia, has always been against gift giving.  Once he learns that Penny has gotten him a gift, he struggles to find something for her that will be worth an equal value.  Once he learns what Penny’s gift is, Sheldon is uncharacteristically overcome with emotion, and it is the first time we see Sheldon embrace Penny in a hug.
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Jill’s 30th 80’s Party & the SoHo Hello Kitty Art Show

I’m still recovering from what was quite possibly one of the greatest weekends ever, but I had so much fun that I felt compelled to write a blog post about it before attempting to catch up on some sleep!  I only spent a total of 9 hours (including sleep) at my house this weekend but it was worth every minute!  As a long time LOTR and Hobbit fan I knew that I had to see The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey on opening night.  I was overcome with joy at the thought of spending more time with Gandalf and seeing Bilbo’s adventure finally come to life, so I brought my plushies of Gandalf and Bilbo to snuggle with during the film.  But before heading to the theater, I unintentionally stalked my good friend Alan via Twitter who happened to be filming at Midtown Comics.  Melissa and I met him there to buy a graphic novel for Thursday’s Super Villains Comic Book Club and then stumbled into a Ricky’s to buy wigs for the next days festivities.  Before arriving at the theater we met the birthday girl, Jill, her boyfriend Brad, and one of my closest friends, Dan, at an adorable restaurant that was decorated beautifully for the holidays!  Next, we proceeded to stock up on movie snacks since we knew there was an almost 3 hour journey ahead of us.  We all agreed that the film was rather lengthy, but I really enjoyed it anyway.  I did not however enjoy the 48 frames per second 3D aspect of the movie.  It was just plain odd.  Everything looked too real so it was as if you were watching a documentary.  But I adored seeing Gandalf again, and Martin Freeman did a wonderful job playing Bilbo.  Plus Thorin is the hottest dwarf in Middle Earth.  But my favorite scene of the whole film was towards the end when Gollum and Bilbo were exchanging riddles.  The same scene in which Bilbo happens upon the ring.  I was pleased that the film was much more action packed than I was expecting, and I would really like to see The Hobbit again in 2D before it leaves theaters.
By the time I arrived home it was nearly 4:15 am but since I hadn’t eaten dinner/ wanted an excuse to stay up later and watch my current tv obsession, Adventure Time, I did just that.  By the time Jake and Finn finished saving entrapped princesses from the Ice King, I ended up getting close to four hours of sleep for the night.  I didn’t have much time to get ready and pack on Saturday before dashing back into NYC again for the main event of Jill’s birthday, an epic 80’s style prom, that would rival any John Hughes movie.  I tweeted on Saturday about how crazy my neighbors must think I am because I was seen dashing across my lawn in a Batman sweater and carrying high heels.  It was truly evident how much time and effort Jill put into organizing her party from her 80’s mix, which is the best soundtrack I’ve ever danced to, to the deliciously themed drinks (Pretty in Pinks, White Weddings, Return of the Jedi shots, and my personal favorite, Flux Capacitors), to the Save Ferris sign, and of course, the silly outfits we all decked ourselves out in!  Jill’s awesome brother Adam set up a photo station where we took 80’s style prom pics and plenty of other ridiculous photos.  I was also really excited to see Rachael who is one of the kindest and most genuine girls I’ve befriended this past year.  Below is a collection of some of my favorite photos from the night!  After the party a few of us headed to a dinner for a late night snack/ early breakfast, and then Melissa and I watched Bio-Dome before going to sleep.  At 5:30.  Again.
Then on Sunday, instead of spending the day resting before the work week started, I met up with two of the most awesome girls I know, Sarah and Lauren, and we roamed around NYC in the cold, misty rain.  First we stopped at Georgetown Cupcakes, and indulged in our favorite flavors while giggling and catching up on gossip.  Now that they’re both on their winter break from classes I’m really looking forward to seeing a lot more of them :o)  But our main goal for the day, which we achieved, was going to the Hello Kitty art show in SoHo.  They had a bunch of gorgeous paintings by a wide variety of artists.  My favorite was the Simone Legno print.  Simone is the designer for Tokidoki and i simply adore each and every one of his creations.  A close second was the superhero style Hello Kitty and a rock and roll style painting which made Hello Kitty resemble Adventure Time‘s Fiona.  While we were there we saw a girl outfitted in a Christmas style Lolita ensemble, and a giant Hello Kitty cosplayer.  Even though we had been trudging through the rain we couldn’t resist taking our picture with them by the Hello Kitty Christmas tree.  We also met the artist Tara McPherson and had her sign bookmarks for us.  Afterwards, it was back to wandering around in the cold rain and visiting random SoHo boutiques in search of Christmas presents.  Then we had a delightful dinner at Red Bamboo, a vegan restaurant in the East Village, where we drank shirley temples and conversed about the Star Wars expanded universe and all of the endless possibilities Disney has for expanding the franchise even further.  We were having such a great time that none of us wanted to leave, but alas, the Dexter season finale was premiering at 9 and since Lauren and I are avid fans we had to be home in time.  I won’t say anything just yet since the episode only aired last night, but it was mind blowing.  I am so pleased with the way this season has turned out after the lackluster sixth season.
I’m so happy that I was able to see so many of the people and I and care about just before the holidays.  Plus walking around Manhattan during Christmastime is pure magic.  And cupcakes.  Cupcakes make the world a better place.  I hope everyone else had a great weekend as well!  One one more week until Christmas! Wheeee!
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Why The Walking Dead Mid-Season Finale Just Didn’t Do It For Me [Spoilers]

I’m aware this may be an unpopular opinion as The Walking Dead has risen to become one of the top television shows currently running on cable television, but as a lover of Robert Kirkman’s comic series, I am sorry to admit that the adaptation is really falling short.  Perhaps it’s because having read the series, I can envision just how spectacular the show could be, or perhaps it’s the steady decline in well written episodes ever since Frank Darabount’s forced departure after season one.  The lack of strong female leads is certainly a major contributing factor.  But either way, The Walking Dead television series simply is not cutting it.  It seems as though the average viewer is willing to overlook poorly written scripts and lack of character development as long as they see a few good zombie kills at some point during the episode.  This completely takes away from Kirkman’s original intention for the series.  He has always explained that The Walking Dead is a tale about the survivors, and how they cope in the aftermath of the zombie apocalypse.  In fact, Kirkman created the series due to his love of zombie films, but since he always felt curious about what the survivors would do when the movie ended, he started writing The Walking Dead so there would be a long term tale.  Zombie apocalypse’s don’t just end when the movie does, which is why The Walking Dead is currently up to its 105th issue.  Now I’m not complaining about the zombie kills, because who doesn’t love seeing them?  But when the best episodes of the season are the ones with the least amount of dialogue, I think it’s safe to say there’s an issue.
Now, for the most unpopular opinion of all; the television show has made me feel love and sympathy for the Governor (played by David Morrissey).  Having read the comic, I hated the Governor.  There’s no denying he was a terrible human being who did unspeakable things, but as far as the television show is concerned, I cannot find any evidence of his wrongdoing.  It seems as though the only reason people dislike him is because of their preconceived notion of him from the comic, or because they were told about him from their friends who have read the comic.  So far, the Governor has offered Andrea and Michonne refuge in his camp, nursed Andrea back to health, provided a safe and functioning community for his people, and even has a scientific program in place to help learn about the walkers, all the while stowing away his little girl who he lost to zombies during the apocalypse.  So far, I’m seeing a broken man trying to make the best of his situation and protect the majority of survivors.  At the weak “cliffhanging” end of the episode, the Governor ousts Merle to the community as a terrorist whose lie allowed their camp to be infiltrated.  Again, this is completely justified.  Putting my love of Daryl aside, the Governor has no intel about Daryl’s camp.  For all he knows they could be a horrible group of people who are banding together to steal what he’s built for his community.  And after finding out that Merle lied about murdering Michonne, (another potential threat to his people), and that the attack his camp just faced was made by Merle’s brother, it’s only natural that the Governor assume that Merle is a traitor.  Right before the cliffhanger, we see the poor Governor get attacked by Michonne, who not only thrusts a sword through his little girls head, forcing him to experience her death for a second time and takes away all hope of ever finding a cure for her, but she also sticks a long shard of glass in his eye, causing him to lose his sight and begin wearing an eye patch.  How could you not feel sympathy for this man?  Even if this is the big turning point where the Governor starts acting irrationally and cruelly, I will still feel sympathetic for him because we saw exactly what changed his attitude.
My next issue is with all of the women characters on the show.  Why are they all being painted as these weak creatures who rely solely on men for protection?  We have Andrea, who started becoming stronger towards the end of season two, revert back to the scared young woman who lost her sister.  She barely challenges the Governor about the things she disagrees with, and she is completely wasting her talent for accurate shooting by playing girlfriend to the man in charge.  It’s only natural for someone to look for protection and happiness, but at what cost?  The Andrea of the comic would not behave in the same manner as television Andrea.  Next we have Maggie, who also started out strong in season two as she rode in on horseback and slayed a zombie in her first cameo.  This same woman folds within minutes of being brought into the same room as Glenn during the interrogation they were facing while a very beaten Glenn stays silent and tries to protect their camp.  I won’t even go into all of my issues with Lori because she is finally gone, and quite honestly, I could go on for pages and pages.  Next there’s Carol.  Does anyone really even care if Carol is around or not?  She’s really only served as a background prop this season.  I know some people who didn’t even realize that she had been absent for several episodes because she has played such a minor role.  Although, I’m certain she’ll receive extra screen time during the episode they kill her off in (see T-Dog & the attempt to redeem Lori).  Then finally, there’s Michonne; my favorite character from the comic who is nothing like her literary counterpart.  Glen Mazzara tweeted earlier today “Michonne’s personality is actually based on a close friend of mine.  If I were in a ZA, that’s who I’d want on my team.”  Great, so it’s no wonder Michonne hasn’t done anything worthwhile yet since she isn’t even based on Kirkman’s character.  In fact, she’s really coming off as the stereotypical bitchy woman.
Now, I’m not saying that I hate The Walking Dead.  I still read the new monthly comic issues as they debut, and I obviously haven’t given up on the show just yet.  The fact that I even took the time to write this post and sort out the issues is a clear indicator that it’s a storyline I’m passionate about preserving.  As a longtime fan of the series, I’m really hoping that the TV show can get its act together by the mid-season premiere.  I’ve never been one to be overly critical of adaptations because I understand that film and print are two completely different outlets.  I’ve previously enjoyed that some story elements were changed (i.e., Shane, Daryl & Merle [another first season element by Darabount]) as it allotted for the element of surprise to the readers.  But there’s only so many poorly crafted episodes that I can overlook before I start to lose interest.  I even took the time to talk to some people on Twitter and converse with fellow coworkers who hadn’t read the series to see if their perspective had been drastically different than mine.  What I’ve found is that even they were less enthusiastic about the mid-season finale than they had been last season.  I really hope that things turn around for the show and that Mazzara gives us at least one strong female lead before the third season comes to a close.
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Super Villains Comic Book Club!

The events that transpired between Black Friday and Cyber Monday this year were unlike any other I had previously experienced.  We all tend to save up and shop a little more than we probably should during the days following Thanksgiving, but it was a purchase I made this year that quickly snowballed into one of my favorite projects thus far.  One of my best friends, Jen, has always had an affinity for Namor, and seeing as how Amazon had some of the trades on sale, I decided to buy two and see what all the fuss about Marvel’s Atlantean was all about.  Naturally I texted Jen as soon as I placed my order and she wanted me to let her know what I thought about them when I finished reading.  We had been trying to schedule a Skype date for after the holiday (we’re on different coasts) and that’s how the ball started rolling.  We thought it would be great to discuss the trade during our chat, which we quickly decided would be made even more fun with the addition of wine.  We joked that it would be like our own little comic book club.  Both of us possess really enthusiastic personalities coupled with a love of comics, so it was only mere minutes before we realized this should be something we do every week.  As we continued to get excited about our new weekly chat, it dawned on us that other people may want to join in the conversation as well! And so, the Super Villains Comic Book Club was born.  I mean, what could be better than attending a weekly book club from the comfort of your own home?  We filmed our first issue last Thursday, based on Namor The First Mutant Volume 1: Curse of the Mutants.  In case you missed the video, you can watch it below or on YouTube.  And you can even subscribe to our channel and take part in upcoming issues!

Since this was our first episode we didn’t have a planned structure, but we’ve been working on fixing that ever since and our next issue will be far more organized.  We decided to film the first club meeting as a test issue to see how we liked it, and take any feedback from viewers so we could improve upon our club and organize future issues.  We’re going to be broadcasting each club meeting (aptly referred to as “issues”) live on YouTube on Thursday nights at 7:30pm EST (4:30PM for all of you west coasters), and you’ll be able to converse along with us in the Google+ hangout chatroom, or on Twitter with the official Super Villains Comic Book Club hashtag #SVCBC.  At the end of each each issue, we’ll also be announcing the graphic novel that will be discussed during the next issue.  One of the changes we’ve already decided upon is that next week’s trade we’ll be chatting about is going to be one of my personal favorites, Spider-Man Blue by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale.  We had originally thought about continuing with the second volume in the Namor The First Mutant series, but we ultimately decided that two consecutive issues about Namor may be overkill (unless you’re Jen, in which case, there can never be too much Namor).  We also decided that we will be discussing spoilers during the club, so if you haven’t read the trade yet, or you prefer not to have the story spoiled (even though most of our selections planned for next month are older publications), you may want to wait to watch until you’ve finished reading.
In addition to our YouTube channel subscription service, you can also interact with us in a few other ways.  We’re working on developing a website where we’ll recap episodes. It’s currently under construction, but you can view our progress here.  Another way to send us a more private means of feedback, make comments, or offer suggestions for future SVCBC book selections, is to email Nonsense@SuperVillainsBookClub.com.  And newly up and running is out Twitter account @SuperVillainCBC.  In the coming weeks we’ll also add a Facebook page and have several other announcements we’re excited to share with everyone.  So, don’t forget to pick up next weeks selection, Spider-Man Blue by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale, and a bottle of wine, and we’ll catch you next Thursday! Thank you to everyone who has already shown support for us this far by watching our video, subscribing, following our twitter and sending us emails.  We love you all!
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Brief Musings on Skyfall

This past weekend I saw the newest Bond movie, Skyfall, and overall I was really impressed the film.  The opening credit sequence was beautifully filmed and the song performed by Adele was perfect.  The movie was about 2 and half hours long but it was so exciting that it held my attention throughout.  I didn’t even look at my phone to see what time it was until the two hour mark, and even then I couldn’t believe that much time had passed.
Javier Bardem was a superb villain.  I hated him during the film.  Just the sight of him and hearing his awful laughter would get me to tense up.  His backstory and his master plan were well thought out and believable.  As for Bond, I also think Daniel Craig did a great job.  Growing up, Pierce Brosnan was always my Bond, so although I’m used to a classier, more refined 007, I still enjoyed Craig’s performance.  (Although, Bond only drank one martini in the film, opting for scotch as drink of choice.)  Judi Dench played M, and Ralph Fiennes antagonized her as Gareth Mallory, the man who would transition into her role after her forced retirement.  Dench was faced with many difficult decisions and shouldered a lot of the blame for the course of events in the film, but she played her part with dignity, a strong sense of pride, and a deeply rooted love for her country.  Ben Whishaw, who played Q was adorable.  I particularly enjoyed the conversation he and Bond had upon first meeting each other.
As with all Bond films, action is what the viewers are hoping to see and Skyfall certainly delivered.  There were explosions, collisions, dangling on ledges, kimono dragons, and William Tell style shootings.  The movie reminded me of a well played chess game.  You always want to be a few steps ahead of your opponent, and Bardem was.  It was up to 007 to change the game.  The only element that was severely lacking from Skyfall was a Bond girl.  There were several girls in the film, but none of them really stood out to me or anyone I saw the movie with as the quintessential Bond girl.  Although Eve Moneypenny has a shot in the next film.  If you haven’t already seen Skyfall, I definitely suggest seeing it in theaters.  And if you did see it, what did you think of the movie?
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Why Spider-Man is Amazing & Why You Should Have Faith in Dan Slott

If you follow me on any form of social media or have known me since high school, it’s no secret that Spider-Man is by far my favorite superhero (Marvel, DC or otherwise).  Marvel’s The Amazing Spider-Man comic series is coming to an end this December with issue #700 which is written not only by one of my favorite Spidey authors, but also one of my close friends, Dan Slott.  A lot of people have been giving Dan grief online about his new series, Superior Spider-Man, that debuts in January of 2013 and as a longtime reader of his work, it’s been driving me nuts.  Personally, I think it’s just silly to be questioning Dan’s storytelling skills after everything he’s written for us so far, so I’ve decided to compile a list of my favorite issues from his Amazing Spider-Man run as a reminder why you should be looking forward to whatever he has planned for us all!  Don’t worry, I haven’t included any spoilers, so if you’re looking to begin reading Spider-Man, below is a great place for suggestions on where to start!  If you’ve read #697, the last page should’ve gotten you PUMPED for the final three issues.  So in conclusion, don’t be mean to Dan, or you’ll have to face me (and I have a black belt in karate)!
 

5. #693-#694 – One of Dan’s most recent story arcs about Spider-Man’s accidental sidekick, a tween named Alpha, comes in at number 5 on my list.  After a school field trip to Horizon Labs, a previously unnoticed kid who was in attendance acquires superpowers.  Peter is tasked with mentoring and training him.  The boy is given the name Alpha because he is the only “Alpha-level” superhero on the planet.  I really enjoyed this story because it was interesting for Peter to see a kid who was in the same situation as him royally screw up and use his powers for selfish reasons.  It served as a kind of affirmation that Peter’s life choice of fulfilling his potential and taking responsibility, was the correct one to make.  Seeing Alpha act as a self centered teenage heartthrob who books an appearance on The Vampire Diaries was in a way, like seeing Peter through the looking glass if he hadn’t had Aunt May and Uncle Ben to instill such noble values in him.   The trade for #693-#694 isn’t out yet, but check with your local comic book store about obtaining the issues! (Update: You can buy the trade The Amazing Spider-Man: Danger Zone on Amazon!)

4. #648-#651 – Dan’s first Spider-Man story arc after Brand New Day ended and the page count per issue increased, ‘Kill To Be You,’ is one of my favorites because it lays the groundwork for the Spider-Man universe we were to expect as Dan’s run continued.  It’s the perfect jumping on point for anyone who is interested in reading Spider-Man comics.  Peter finally obtains the coolest job ever as an associate at Horizon Labs, a job that allows him the flexibility to fulfill Spider-Man’s responsibilities as well as pay his rent.  Basically, Peter is a little older, a little wiser, a little smoother, and a whole lot cooler than his previous incarnations.  The story is quite eventful and includes the reintroduction of the Hobgoblin, finds Spider-Man in a new suit, and has Peter team up with Black Cat to face off with Kingpin and Montana.    You can read the full story in Spider-Man: Big Time.

 
3. #677 – Issue #677 features an unlikely team up between Spider-Man and one of my other favorite superheroes, Daredevil.  After Felicia Hardy, also known as Black Cat, is framed for a robbery, Peter employs Murdock to help prove her innocence.  He knows it to be true because after breaking up with Carlie, Spider-Man spent the previous night trying to mend his broken heart and catch a rebound date with Felicia (who refused his offer).  The second half of the story (collectively called ‘Devil in the Details’) can be found in Daredevil #8 penned by Mark Waid.  Part of what makes this crossover so entertaining is that Daredevil and Spider-Man have less than compatible personalities.  If you’re interested in finding out if they were able to get Felicia off the hook, you’ll want to pick up Spider-Man: Flying Blind.
 

2. #678-679 – Time travel is my favorite science fiction topic to read about.  Because there are so many rules, time travel is a difficult topic to tackle, but when it’s done correctly, the result is something so intriguing, that I am barely able to express my love for it in words.  The time door arc is one of those very stories.  Grady, a co-worker of Peters, creates a time door which allows the person who enters to step one day into the future.  There’s no problem when Grady steps through it, but when Peter does, we see that New York is completely destroyed.  Peter must go back to the previous day to try to stop his ‘day off’ from resulting in the future he foresaw.  With only the help of Grady and the next day’s newspaper, Spidey must heed Madame Web’s warnings and race against the clock to save our city.  Plus there’s a bunch of sweet Doctor Who references.  You can read the story in Spider-Man: Trouble on the Horizon.

 
1. #666-673 (Spider-Island) – It is not uncommon to hear people claim that Spider-Island is the story arc that made them love Spider-Man again.  And trust me, said claim is justified.  Whenever anyone asks me for recommendations of my favorite Spider-Man stories, I always suggest Spider-Island first and foremost.  All you need to know is that the entirety of New York City is infected with a plague, giving them the same powers as Spider-Man.  That means that roughly 8 million people have spider powers.  Chaotic?  That’s an understatement.  Spider-Man employs the help of the rest of New York’s finest (superheroes that is), and they assemble to ward off the Jackal and his newfound army.  The hardcover trade also includes issues of Venom, the prologues to Spider-Island (named Infested), and several other issues.  You can buy Spider-Island here.
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On Fake Geeks And Why Everyone Should Just Leave This Topic Alone

I’ve never written a post about my opinion on the “fake” geek before so I felt like today was an appropriate time given the earlier controversy.  Not that this isn’t a reoccurring topic (sadly).  Every time an article or an ignorant comment surfaces online I feel like pulling out my hair and screaming “WHY?!”  Do the people who say these outlandish things really have enough spare time to be concerned with what others are doing?  If they do, I can’t say I envy them.  They may argue that they’re trying to protect what they love from being ruined by outsiders, but wouldn’t someone who claims to love something be excited to share it with a new audience?  I mean logically speaking, the more people that spend their money in our industry (no matter what their motivation might be), means more money gets invested in our industry.  I like to see my favorite authors and artists become popular and receive the praise and royalties they deserve for their creations.  I’m completely ignoring the gender issue that usually arises in conjunction with said ridiculousness because quite honestly, it’s completely irrelevant and disgusting that it could even be a factor in any argument.  Last time I checked we hadn’t taken a TARDIS to the past when gender discrimination was tolerated.  Guess what, plenty of women are “geeks,” and so are plenty of men.  Which bring me to my next topic.  Some people get very upset over the prospect of “booth babes,” but I do not understand that concept either.  So what if a woman chooses to be employed as such?  Did Chris Evans playing Captain America ruin The Avengers for you since Chris isn’t a geek in real life?  How is an actor getting payed to play a part in a film any different than a woman getting paid to help promote a booth?  Many of the girls that do cosplay and work at cons actually love what they’re doing, not that should have to explain themselves either way.  Should they be made to feel alienated because they decide to wear a revealing costume?  I don’t think so.  Why wouldn’t you flaunt what you have?  I know girls who spend months working out and dieting before conventions just so they can feel confident in their cosplay.  Are they to be punished for putting effort into their appearance?  What gives anyone the right to judge anyone else?  There is always going to be someone who knows more about a certain topic than you do and that’s okay!  In fact, it’s kind of exciting.  It makes for great conversation, it allows us to connect with one another, and it means that there’s always something new for us to discover.  There are so many areas of fandom to explore and years of content to memorize that the prospect of being an absolute geek god in any number of topics is improbable (unless you’re my good friend Alan Kistler [@SizzlerKistler] but that guy is just exceptional ^.^).  And isn’t geekdom all about enthusiasm anyway?  Why turn something that was created to be an outlet for entertainment and enjoyment into a contest?  Being a geek is not like being a member of some elitist club.  One of the reasons I’ve always loved the geek community is because overall, it’s a very accepting and loving group of people.  If anyone is making a conscious effort or showing an interest in one of my passions, I’m the first one to offer up recommendations.  I find it satisfying to get new people involved.  In fact, I get so excited about reading comics that I often force other people (namely my brother) to read them too.   Then I get to talk about how awesome whatever it was had been! It’s a win-win situation.  I can’t think of one negative result of engaging more people in reading.  Call me crazy for being so inviting, but a world with a little more superhero and a little less Jersey Shore can only be a good thing.  Plus, everyone has to start somewhere!  So instead of wasting our time defending ourselves why don’t we move on, continue to have fun, and deny the haters the one thing they crave most; attention.
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I’m Happy Just Because

Do you ever just wake up and find yourself in a crazy random (awesome) mood?  This happens to me A LOT.  Like a lot, a lot.  It happened today.  I meant to spend my day doing productive things like writing blog posts and tons of other adult-like real people things.  But I didn’t.  What I did do was buy a purple wig.  It’s from the same company that Melissa and I bought our New York Comic Con wigs from.  It’s purpley and magical and will match my galaxy leggings.  I love wigs.  After that I decided to run around my room in a hot pink wig that I already own and pretend to be an airplane while straightening my room.  Why?  I have no idea.  And that’s right.  I spent much of Hurricane Sandy and the snowstorm cleaning and organizing my room and it’s already a little messy again.  What a failure!  I’ve also spent much of my day scouring the internet for a pink handbag that has a giant bow on it.  Sadly after looking through 20 pages of products on ebay, I was devastated to find that most pink bow handbags are actually made for Barbie dolls.  Wtf?  Anyway, my next order of business was finding a gif maker online.  I thought it would be entertaining to make a gif set of myself from the video I used to audition for a reality show this one time.   I actually got picked to be on it but they keep having production setbacks so I’m still not sure if it will actually happen.  Either way, I’ll be happy<3  Oh wait come to think of it, I already was on one reality show.  It was on TLC and it was called Geek Love.  This one (if it gets made) will also be geek-centric, but I digress.  The next unproductive topic I tackled was to sit at my laptop and think about how unfair it is that Sailor Moon and Sabrina the Teenage Witch have talking cats and I do not.  At least I had a gingerbread latte while I contemplated what my cat and I would talk about.  Well, that’s two blog posts in one day which is probably crazy.  GTG read some Batman comics and listen to Bright Eyes until The Walking Dead starts!  What have you been doing on this unseasonably warm November Sunday? Hope you like my gif.  Byeeeeeee.

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5 Fictional Places I Would Love to Live

Several days ago on Twitter, I asked everyone if they could choose a place, real or imagined, and live there, where it would be.  I was met with an overwhelming number of responses that continued throughout the day and I felt so inspired by everyone’s differing opinions that I decided to compile a list of my own fictional places I would love to move to.  The truth is that given the opportunity to move, I would choose to stay where I am, but it’s still fun to daydream!  I would create a list of real places too, but as New York is the only real place I would like to live in, the list would be quite short.  I’m sure no one will find it surprising that two of the five places I chose are fictional version of New York =^.^=
Sugar Rush – Sugar Rush is one of the newest imaginary places that I fell in love with while seeing Wreck-It Ralph last weekend.  This simulated land is the setting for a video game and it was built completely out of sweets.  Everyone who resides in Sugar Rush is a type of candy, or they incorporate candy into their signature looks (ie Vanellope’s sweet hair accessories).  Sugar Rush is like Candyland, only more pink, and ruled as a democracy.
Fabletown –  Fabletown is the first alternate NYC that I would like to reside in.  But just to be clear, I would be a Fable and not a mundy.  More specifically, I would probably be Cinderella, better known to the Fables as Cindy.  I would wander around Bullfinch street, have an even vaster shoe collection than I have now, and venture out into the real New York City anytime my heart desired.  And I’d get to go on secret missions for Bigby!  (I couldn’t find a great image of Fabletown, so the image above is one of my favorite Fables covers for issue #118)
Hogwarts – Hogwarts is a gorgeous castle with an enormous library burgeoning with tons of magical books that I have yet to read.  I’d love to spend hours reading Hogwarts, A History while drinking a frosty butterbeer in the common room, or strolling around the castle until whatever mischief I would inevitably get myself into is managed.  Plus, the Great Hall is charming during Halloween and Christmas<3
Star Wars Universe – In my mind, this could only be the perfect scenario: Traveling through the galaxy with C3PO and R2D2 accompanying Han Solo and I on the Millennium Falcon (my favorite spacecraft)!  We’d stop on the Death Star and have run-ins with Vader and some Stormtroopers and everything would be stellar.  Knowing me, I would have lightsaber fights galore (mine would be purple like Mara Jade’s).  The force is strong with my love of Star Wars and space.
Superhero Inhabited NYC – If my city was inhabited with superheroes my dreams would be a reality.  In a world where Spider-Man, Batman, the Fantastic Four, and Dick Grayson could be seen at a any moment walking through NYC, I would be an even happier girl.  I would be best friends with Stephanie Brown, and I would definitely be there to fill the Gwen Stacy sized void in Spider-Man’s heart.  There would also be so many other heroes visiting their NY friends all of the time and I’d be surrounded by everything I love most.  The only downside would be the many villains the city would attract, but something tells me there would be enough good guys to prevail that it wouldn’t be a major issue.
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