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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
Hi everyone, I hope you’re all doing well! I know I’ve been a little MIA this past week on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and such, but I’ve just had a crazy week. Things are getting back to normal though and I’ll be resuming my regularly scheduled nonsense come tomorrow morning. I wanted to offer a quick update on what I’ve been up to since I disappeared! It all starts with my new job as a video host for my favorite comic book store, Midtown Comics. I recently began narrating their weekly action figure and collectibles newsletter which you can view and subscribe to on the Midtown Comics YouTube channel! The first video I did was for a toy that I’ve been coveting since I first saw photos online- Hot Toys Thor modeled after Chris Hemsworth. It’s literally to die for! Sadly, I had to miss filming last weeks video which was for an exclusive Cable statue by Bowen, but I’ll be resuming next week! We usually film at the Time Square store, but they recently announced a change in store hours (Midtown will now be open from 8AM-Midnight!!), so we’re moving over to the Grand Central store instead. But of course, I’ll probably do some shopping at Times Square beforehand.
Last Friday night after work, I met one of my best friends, Rachael, for an epic night of fun! First we attended Chris Hardwick’s stand up comedy show at Caroline’s in New York City. Both of the opening comedians for Chris were hilarious, and Rachael and I giggled along as we sipped our glasses of wine and bourbon. I wish I had caught their names, but unfortunately, I didn’t and I can’t seem to find them online. Next Chris took the stage and he interacted and poked fun at the audience members. There was a girl who is currently in school and works with cadavers, a guy who bore a shocking resemblance to Firefly’s Alan Tudyk who had broken his leg dancing, and as always, a bachelorette party full of rowdy women. After the show, we waited around a bit to see if Chris would come out to meet some of his fans, but alas there was a 10pm showing directly after ours so he didn’t have the time. Following our comedy date, Rach and I headed over to a bar on Broadway called McGee’s. It’s the same bar that was used as the model and inspiration for MacLaren’s on How I Met Your Mother. It’s funny because the bar set up looks nothing like the bar in the television show, but it’s a fun place nonetheless. There are signed posters by the cast members throughout the bar and while the layout is completely different, the decor of the booths is similar. As per usual, we ended up staying out too late despite having to wake up early the next morning for MoCCA Fest. But it was well worth it! Below is an awfully blurry photo of Chris during his set.
Then bright and early Saturday morning it was time for our next adventure. Each year the 69th Street Regiment Armory on Lexington Avenue holds a festival celebrating indie comics and artists called MoCCA Fest. MoCCA is an acronym for the Museum of Comics and Cartoon Art. All of the money raised through ticket sales goes towards benefitting the museum, so where I normally would apply for a press pass, I chose to pay the entrance fee and support the museum. Plus sometimes a girl just needs a day off! I met Melissa, Jill, and Rachael, and we roamed the floor together for hours. I was really excited to see the First Second table because I was looking forward to picking up a copy of Lucy Kinsley’s Relish: My Life in the Kitchen, as well as meeting Noelle Stevenson who writes and illustrates the webcomic Nimona. There was also an adorable book I found that is illustrated by Scott Campbell, called Zombie in Love which I didn’t get a chance to purchase, but I’m planning on acquiring a copy very soon! Later in the day we met up with one of my favorite geek guys, the charming Alan Kistler, and roamed around a little more before leaving and heading to Dos Caminos for mexican food and margaritas. (Side note: Alan is brilliantly talented and he just finished writing a book all about the history of Doctor Who, aptly named Doctor Who: A History and you can already preorder a copy on Amazon!) After dinner our plan had been to see Jurassic Park in 3D but due to our lack of energy we decided to go our separate ways and head home. I went to Midtown Comics near Grand Central with Alan and his lovely girlfriend Lisa, and we chatted comics for quite some time before making our final purchases. The next day Alan surprised me with a digital copy of the first Superman story ever in Action Comics #1 which proved to be a fascinating read.
Then Sunday, I had some family things to attend to, which is the main reason I haven’t been able to be online. My poor mother was rushed to the emergency room and she needed an operation. It was initially very frightening due to what our family had gone through last year, with my mom overcoming cancer, but thankfully she is okay and the doctor let her return home today! And my crazy brother is worrying us all to death because he somehow decided to visit South Korea right when the government is threatening to launch missiles. We made him register with the US Embassy before leaving so he would be on record and be able to evacuate safely if need be. He comes home on the 20th, and I’ve received several emails from him so far, so I know he’s enjoying his trip, but I’ll feel much better when he lands on U.S. soil. So anyway, those are my updates and I am so sorry again for disappearing. I’m happy everything worked out and I can’t wait to catch up with you all!
It’s been a few weeks since I’ve written a personal post about what I’ve been up to, so I figured that now is as good a time as any to get back into the groove of weekly updates. It’s kind of a vicious cycle because lack of posts means I’ve been extra busy, which in turn means I have that much more to write about! We’ve had an influx of West Coast visitors in New York in the past week which is part of the reason I haven’t had time to write/sleep/etc. Our first visitor, my Super Villains Comic Book Club cohost, Jen, flew into NYC on Wednesday, aka new comic book day, and since she hadn’t ever been to Midtown Comics, Melissa, Brad, and I made sure to bring here there as our first order of business. Jen was in awe of the amazing toy and statue selection at Midtown, and after swooning over several of the Scarlet Witch Bowen statues, we completed our purchases and headed back to her hotel to film an extra special live episode of our aforementioned club. Melissa has been a guest in the past and I was so happy she could join us again to discuss Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples’ Saga. The three of us purchased our trades together, and had them signed by the creators at the Midtown Comics booth at New York Comic Con last year, so the story holds even more meaning for us. Since we were filming at a hotel and didn’t have our usual home amenities, we forgot all about needing glasses, and a bottle opener. After extensive googling and many failed attempts at using shoes, hangers, hair pins, pens, and the wall, it occurred to us to call the front desk and thankfully they were able to accommodate us. We filmed in what we called, a “slumber party style,” since the giant hotel bed was the only place we could get all three of us to fit in one screen.
That same weekend, Molly McIsaac, who I hadn’t previously had the pleasure of meeting came to New York for a weekend visit. Molly is absolutely lovely in person and I was surprised at how much the two of us had in common from our vegetarianism, to our love of fashion, to our preference for Matt Smith over David Tennant. I met Melissa, Jill, Molly, and Leo, at The Museum of Sex near the Flatiron building and we perused the gift shop before jumping back in Jill’s car, sharing in a traumatic experience, and then promptly heading to The Modern for drinks. After almost an hour of driving around and searching for a parking spot, we finally found one. Little did we know, another woman was going to get out of her car, bang on all of the windows of our vehicle, scream obscenities at us, and claim that it was her spot. After being told we would be in for “a rude awakening today,” the psycho woman realized that Jill had been filming our entire interaction and she quickly drove away. Nonetheless, her behavior was completely uncalled for and all of us were rather shaken. After all of that we realized the spot was too close to a fire hydrant anyway, and we ended up parking in a garage near the museum. It is amazing to me that a person could become so enraged and uncivilized over a parking space that wasn’t even hers to begin with. Once we were inside MoMA we were all really excited to see Edvard Munch’s infamous painting “The Scream,” but sadly, the museum closed before we were able to make our way to the top floor. Next, we headed to Canal Street for some shopping, and to Mayfield for dinner where we met up with Ali, Brad, and Nate. I had the most delicious chopped kale salad, but was ridiculed by fellow dinner goers for supplementing my healthy salad with a side of fries. They were worth it though, so delicious! You would think we’d be exhausted at this point, but the fun continued at The Way Station, aka the Doctor Who bar, where we met Rachael, and Jen (who was still in town until the next day). It was karaoke night, and after several River Songs (the bar serves Doctor Who themed drinks… I know, right?!) we went onstage and joined in the fun.
Then on Wednesday I met up with Rachael, who took me to what is quite possibly the coolest bar I have ever been to. It’s a speakeasy in Chelsea and I have never been so impressed with a bars delicious drinks, service, overall atmosphere, and of course, fantastic company. The bar is located inside an unmarked door, and if you aren’t already privy to location, you would never find it on your own. Even once you manage to seek out the door and open it up, two black velvet curtains hang in your immediate view causing you to wonder if you might be in the wrong place. But once you bravely push back the curtains and overcome the fear of possibly breaking and entering into an abandoned building, you’ll be welcomed by dim candlelight and a very friendly bartender. In typical speakeasy fashion, there are no menus to peruse so you must tell the bartender what you enjoy and he’ll make you something he thinks would please you. He completely hit the nail on the head with my drink order. I usually stick to wine, but the next time I go back to the speakeasy I will be asking for another gingery, citrusy, glass of heaven. After catching up and realizing that neither of us had eaten enough for the day, we headed to the original Shake Shack where I indulged in more french fries, and a mushroom burger. Also! I was so proud of myself because after leaving Rachael at 9:41pm on 23rd street and Madison Avenue, I was somehow able to speed walk back to Penn Station (34th and 7th avenue), where I made a 10:08 train with nearly 10 minutes to spare. (Excuse the grainy quality of the below photo. We may be grainy, but we’re still adorable!)
And finally, all of these events lead me to one of the best stay in girls nights that I’ve ever had! In the wake of the Veronica Mars Kickstarter miracle that launched on Thursday morning and was fully funded by 9pm on Thursday night (you can still donate and reap some of the awesome rewards here if you haven’t had a chance yet) Jill had the brilliant idea of having us over for a Veronica Mars marathon. Melissa, Rachael and I came fully equipped with snacks and various selections of wines, cider, bourbon, while Jill supplied us with tacos and champagne. We watched about six episodes of the show in total, with many, giggling breaks in between (which you may have noticed if you happened to read any of our Twitter accounts on Saturday night). I had seen the least amount of episodes of the show so we stayed within the first season, and Rachael was kind enough to lend me her DVDs at the end of the night… which I’ve now been watching for six straight hours. I deeply admire Veronica for the decisions she makes, the character she possesses at such a young age, and her willingness to help anyone in need. She is quite the detective. I’m probably going to finish the first season by tomorrow night which is why I had to order the second season with Amazon Prime (thank gods for 2-day shipping!). We successfully managed to avoid the overcrowded New York City bar scene on St. Patrick’s Day. The extent of my St. Patrick’s Day attire has always consisted of Green Lantern t-shirts and accessories for as long as I can remember so I’ve continued the tradition this year. A bunch a of other things have happened in the midst of what I’ve already recapped, but due to a combination of 1) keeping this post to a readable length, 2) lack of memory, and 3) being summoned downstairs for St. Patty’s Day dinner with my family (in which the vegetarians will eat salad, and everyone else will eat corned beef), that will be all for now! OH! And my genius brother Bob was accepted to Columbia’s graduate program to get his masters in journalism and I could not be more proud!
About a year ago it became my monthly tradition to attend the Midtown Comics book club which is hosted by my good friend Thor Parker. The comic book club convenes on the last Friday of each month at the Downtown location on Fulton Street in New York City. It’s a really entertaining gathering of people who enjoy reading comics and each month there’s a special guest (usually the author, artist or editor of that month’s selection). Thor moderates the discussion and the rest of the group listens attentively as we become privy to the anecdotal behind-the-scenes type stories and experiences that went into the creation of the book. Did I also mention that there are donuts? The discussion usually runs for about an hour and afterwards the guest will stick around and sign your book. If you love reading comics, meeting creators, and collecting signed trades, you should definitely check out the Midtown Comics book club!
At the end of each club, Thor announces the next month’s selection, and Midtown Comics always offers the book at 25% off the cover price from that night until the night of the next book club. I was absolutely overjoyed when I found out that February’s book club would focus on a Spider-Man graphic novel entitled Kraven’s Last Hunt. And even more exciting, the guest speaker would be Jim Salicrup, who edited the series! I really enjoyed reading Kraven’s Last Hunt several years ago and I found it to be an even more enjoyable read this time around, especially considering the recent direction that Dan has taken Amazing/Superior Spider-Man in. (I wrote a post a little while back about Dan’s Amazing Spider-Man run which you can read here.)
Kraven’s Last Hunt (written by J.M. Dematteis with art by Mike Zeck), is one of the few Spider-Man tales where the reader gets an in depth look into the mindset of the lesser used villain, Kraven the Hunter. Kraven successfully ‘kills’ Peter Parker and begins parading around New York City in the black Spider-Man suit armed with the demented notion that by imitating Peter and embracing the spider, he will somehow master him, and become a superior Spider-Man (No really, he says that! See page 37!). Hence, one of the intriguing parallels between Spider-Man now and Spider-Man then. A fair portion of the story is also devoted to Peter’s new wife, Mary Jane Watson. Part of Peter’s motivation to overcome the handicap that Kraven has imposed upon him is the prospect of spending more time with MJ. While I have always and will always be a Gwen Stacy fan, I have to admit that Mary Jane’s vulnerability caused by her fear of losing Peter is quite endearing. She even considers confiding in Peter’s boss at the Daily Bugle but she thinks better of it because she realizes that she’s been entrusted with Peter’s secret it’s her responsibility to maintain it. There’s a scene where Mary Jane thinks she has found Peter, but she quickly realizes that it’s not her beloved in the suit after she witnesses the masked Kraven’s overly violent crime fighting techniques. When Peter returns he is forced to deal with the repercussions caused by the havoc that Kraven has been wreaking. The ending of Kraven’s tale is shocking, but you’ll just have to pick up the trade if you’re curious about how the story unfolds.
Jim told us all about how Kraven’s Last Hunt was one of the grittiest and darkest Spider-Man tales ever told, especially at the time of its publication in 1987. The story was originally shopped as a Batman/Joker story, but was transformed into a Spider-Man tale before it was released. It was originally titled “Fearful Symmetry,” but the name was changed to Kraven’s Last Hunt in trade. Jim was one of the first editor’s to attempt to streamline all of the Spider-Man titles under the Marvel umbrella instead of selling each title as an individual story. This is why Kraven’s Last Hunt collects Web of Spider-Man #31-#32, Amazing Spider-Man #293-#294, and Spectacular Spider-Man #131-#132, yet when read together, the issues form one cohesive story arc. I always love to hear stories about the inside workings at Marvel, and about the great comic legends who paved the industry for today’s writers and artists so I found Jim to be a particularly interesting speaker. He touched upon his interactions with Stan Lee, and John Romita Sr., and several other Marvel bigwigs. We also learned that Jim had originally gone by ‘James,’ until John Romita Sr., had dubbed him ‘Jim.’ While Jim’s time at Marvel has ended, he is still actively contributing to the comics industry. Jim is currently the editor in chief of Paprercutz which publishes graphic novelizations of Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, and one of my childhood favorites, Tales From the Crypt.