There are oh so many things I could write about for this week’s 5 Fandom Friday! I tend to be very excitable when I’m passionate about something. Since I know my own experiences and the awesome things that have happened to me, I think I’m most excited to read everyone else’s this week! (Apologies for some of the terrible photo quality in this post. My photography skills have come a long way since I started blogging!)
5) Attending the red carpet premiere of American Hustle & meeting Jeremy Renner at the afterparty – Last winter, my friend Leonard and I were lucky enough to attend the NYC premiere of American Hustle. Before the film, the director, David O. Russell gave a speech and we saw Christian Bale while he answered questions on the red carpet. After the movie we got to attend the afterparty along with all the stars in the film (sans Jennifer Lawrence because she’s doing press for The Hunger Games). Jeremy Renner aka Hawkeye put his arm around my waist while we were talking and it was SO hard to act normal! We also saw Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, and Louis C.K.
4) Dan Slott inviting me to see The Avengers a week early for the Marvel screening – Most people are aware that my favorite superhero is Spider-Man. A few years ago when I was just starting to use Twitter I became friendly with Dan Slott, the writer of Spider-Man and I almost fainted when he invited me to see The Avengers an entire week early with him at the Marvel screening. I wrote a blog post about why Dan’s invitation and The Avengers means so much to me<3 Dan also took me to see Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, which is the silliest musical adaptation. Luckily, no one was hurt during the performance we attended!
3) Every single time I’ve come in contact with Neil Gaiman – The first story is the best which is when Neil Gaiman literally interrupted me to ask if I needed a hug because I could not stop talking. I told Neil Gaiman that I want his brain but not in the way that zombies want brains. That’s an actual thing I’ve said to my literary idol. The time I am speaking of occurred at Barnes and Noble for the Best American Comics signing (in retrospect, I’m sad that I couldn’t pay more attention to my interaction with Bryan Lee O’Malley but I was just so over-excited about seeing Neil). Since then I’ve also seen Neil in conversation with Lev Grossman at the 92Y, dressed as Charles Dickens and reading A Christmas Carol at the NYPL, and most recently, in Washington Square Park handing out free books in the freezing cold with Lemony Snicket.
2) Working on the Star Wars fashion show in NYC during Fashion Week & meeting George Lucas and Hayden Christensen – I wrote a full post about this as well, but in a nutshell, I attended the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC for college and as luck would have it, I was able to volunteer and work on the Star Wars fashion show which showcased all of the fantastic costumes from the films. I was able to meet George Lucas and Hayden Christensen (who is super handsome in real life but meh prequels). And yes, the models walked down the runway to John Williams’ score. (Side note: what an embarrassing photo!)
1) Interning for Stan Lee / Being cast on a TV show on the Syfy channel – I’ve always wanted to visit LA and after a grueling three year process, I was chosen to be a cast member on a TV show called Fangasm which gave me the opportunity to LIVE in LA. The show was produced by the same company who created Jersey Shore, only it sounded wildly more interesting to me because we were able to intern for the living comic legend, Stan Lee! While on the show there were a number of wonderful things that happened to me. I can now say that George Takaei was in my living room, I pitched an original comic idea to Stan Lee, had Adrianne Curry (the first winner of America’s Next Top Model) in my living room so I could interview her for a podcast, hosted a party in the Great Hall at Whimsic Alley, attended the Syfy party at SDCC and hung out with cast members from Being Human and Warehouse 13, went to E3 and stayed at fancy hotels, filmed promos and been part of professional photoshoots, all the while being followed by cameras and having a bruised back from my ever present microphone. Midtown Comics also hosted a premiere party for me and it was so much fun! It’s still so weird to me to think about have worked on the set of a television show.
PAST & UPCOMING TOPICS
I read fewer comics this year than I did in 2014, but there were so many amazing titles to choose from that it was very challenging to narrow it down to only 10. Here are my top 10 favorite comics of 2014 in a very particular order! Don’t forget to check out the Top 10 Books of 2014, and Top 10 TV Shows, Top 7 Movies, & Top 5 Broadway/Off Broadway Shows of 2014! What were your favorites this year?
10) The Woods
9) Gotham Academy
8) Silver Surfer
7) Rat Queens
6) Sex Criminals
5) The Wicked + The Divine
3) Sandman Overture
Bonus: Bee & Puppycat
Without further ado, here is the second half of my best of 2013 list. If there’s a title you didn’t see on either list that you think I should’ve included, leave a comment below!
Coffin Hill by Caitlin Kittredge & Inaki Miranda
HONORABLE MENTION: Harley Quinn by Jimmy Palmiotti & Amanda Conner – Harley Quinn gets an honorable mention because at the time I wrote this post, issue #0 is the only book to have been released.
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.
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.
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.