5 Fandom Friday: 5 Times I Totally Fangirled

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!)

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!)

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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.

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PAST & UPCOMING TOPICS

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March 13th – My Fictional BFF’s
March 20th – My Comfort Films
March 27th – One Fandom Item Styled Five Different Ways
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April 3rd – 5 Times I Totally Fangirled
April 10th – 5 Magical Items I Would Love To Own
April 17th – 5 Favorite Theme Park Rides (Disney or otherwise)
April 27th – 5 Games I Love to Play
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Top 10 Comics

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

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9) Gotham Academy

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8) Silver Surfer

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7) Rat Queens

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6) Sex Criminals

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5) The Wicked + The Divine

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4) Batgirl

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3) Sandman Overture

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2) Lumberjanes

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1) Saga

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Bonus: Bee & Puppycat

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Best Comics Of 2013 Part Two Of Two

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

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Morning Glories by Nick Spencer & Joe Eisma1

Superior Spider-Man by Dan Slott & Ryan Stegman2

Sex Criminals by Matt Fraction & Chip Zdarsky3

The Private Eye by Brian K. Vaughn & Marcos Martin4

Batman ’66 by Jeff Parker & Jonathan Case5

Daredevil by Mark Waid & Chris Samnee6

Pretty Deadly by Kelly Sue DeConnick & Emma Rios7

Manhattan Projects by Matt Fraction & Nick Pitarra8

Captain Marvel by Kelly Sue DeConnick & Jaimie McKelvie9

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

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

Coffin Hill by Caitlin Kittredge & Inaki Miranda

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

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Why Marvel’s The Avengers Will Always Hold a Special Place in My Heart

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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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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5 Comic Book Characters I Relate To Most

Anyone that has known me since I was old enough to write can attest to the fact that I adore making lists.  Whether they be traditional to do lists or grocery shopping lists, New Years Resolutions and goal oriented lists, or simply lists of the next movies, television series, or books I plan to indulge in, I cannot get enough when it comes to list making.  Perhaps it’s the accomplished sense I experience when I get to slide my pen across the page and cross off another thing I’ve completed.  Others may argue that I have OCD, but either way, no one can come between me and my lists.  So for my first list blog post, I decided to layout the top 5 comic book characters I relate to most.  I don’t think anyone will be surprised which leading lady comes in at number one but I will spell out exactly why I identify with her so closely.
5. Sailor Moon – For one thing, Usagi Tsukino and I can certainly both rock pigtails and bow-back dresses.  Throughout the manga series Sailor Moon grows to be a more mature heroine than she is in the first book which is something we all go through in our own lives.  Both Usagi and I share a love of arcade games and comics, and we both spend a lot of our time daydreaming and shopping.  Other similarities include our love of ice cream and other sweets, pretty jewelry, rabbits, and the color pink.  We both value friendship above all else and we’re always successful at achieving our goals once we set our mind to them.  Sailor Moon is a true friend and she is always going out of her way to befriend other girls and include them in her group of Sailor Scouts.
4. Casey Blevins – Casey Blevins of the Morning Glories ranks as number four on my list of comic book characters I relate to most.  Casey is very close with her family and even after her admittance to MGA, she refuses to cut off contact with her parents.  She tends to take on a similar persona to me in that she is always looking out for other people (ie. Jade).  Casey never gives up hope in Jade and she is able to help turn her life around.  Casey is a determined girl who will not let anything get in her way.  She takes responsibility for her actions, and for events that she cannot truly be held accountable for.  Casey takes on the leadership role in her group and she plots to get even with the evil Headmistress without any concern for the consequences of her actions.  To put it quite frankly, Casey is full of spunk and she realizes that she is responsible for her own future.  She takes the necessary actions to change her life’s course instead of wallowing in sorrow about her loss and complaining like other kids her age may do.
3. Cinderella From Fabletown – I’ve always enjoyed Cinderella from the Fables series, but it wasn’t until she received her own spinoff series that I realized just how similar the two of us are.  Cinderella comes off as an innocent Fable who loves shoes (she owns her own shop) and traveling around the country.  Many of the other Fables think Cindy is kind of flaky partly because she assumes a dumb blonde stereotype, but little do they know that Cinderella is actually an undercover agent carrying out missions for Bigby.  Both Cinderella and I have been trained in martial arts (crazy, and downright unexpected, right?!).  There is more to both of us than meets the eye.  Part of the reason Cinderella is able to be such a master of espionage is because, like me, she looks very nonthreatening.  The back cover of the first volume of Cinderella From Fabletown says it best “Fashionista, Socialite – Spy? Hey, if the shoe fits…”
2. Supergirl – Kara Zor-El, or my Kryptonian counterpart as I often refer to her, exerts an energy level that rivals my own.  We both thrive in the warm yellow Earth sun and it serves as a method of recharging our batteries so to speak.  In the summer, I barely sleep and I’m able to function perfectly.   This ability actually tempts me to move to a place that’s warm year round (but alas, I can never picture myself leaving New York City).  Like me, Kara is very motivated and is more concerned with her career than she is with other distractions.  We both recover quickly and have quick metabolisms.  Kara is blonde, bold, brave and willing to risk her life for her family.  I’ve also recently taken a strong liking to the Supergirl of DC Nation’s Super Best Friends Forever, because really, where would a girl be without her super friends?
1. Gwen Stacy – Everyone who follows my twitter account should’ve known that Gwen Stacy would be number one on this list.  Gwen and I share many similar characteristics in addition to our love of Spider-Man.  This past June when I saw The Amazing Spider-Man movie, I could barely breathe when Peter Parker set foot into the OsCorp building because of how familiar it was.  Within seconds I realized that the actual building filmed as OsCorp where Gwen Stacy interned was the Hearst Building in Columbus Circle, which is the very same building that I myself interned in while I was in college.  Unlike Mary Jane, Gwen is interested in science and she genuinely falls in love with Peter Parker whereas MJ seems more drawn to the mask than the man behind it.  That’s not to say that Gwen and Peter don’t have their fair share of issues, but hey, whoever said true love is easy?  One thing Gwen and I definitely share is our ability to be rational in difficult situations.  Upon reading Marvels, one can see that although Spider-Man is present in the death of her father, Captain Stacy, Gwen is able to be logical and realize that Spider-Man is not to blame for the unfortunate event that occurred.  Another quality we share is the ability to forgive people no matter how deeply they’ve hurt us.  Gwen is a good hearted character who doesn’t want to see anybody get hurt.  Above is a painting of Gwen Stacy done by Paolo M. Rivera which was brought to my attention by Dan Slott (@DanSlott).  The painting closely resembles me and I’ve loved it ever since Dan tweeted it!
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