Apparently we’re pretty cool! (Melinda)

Hey folks! So super awesome news! We have only been up for about 2 months and we have already hit over 1,000 views! So glad that people are enjoying our little blog! We’ve been adding a few things here and there, links to other blogs and links to Caitlin’s and my Twitter feed for those who are interested! We’re going to try to be expanding even more! In the future be on the lookout for group questions, interactive polls and maybe even a video post or two!!

We’re so excited that people are as excited about Comic-Con as we are! Please feel free to use the comments sections as forums for discussion and excited outbursts. We love hearing from people! We love you all! ūüėÄ

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Prelude to SDCC: Starfest! (Caitlin)

This April 15-17th in Denver, Colorado, our household of merry geeks will be attending Starfest! For those of you not familiar with Starfest, it was originally a Trek con back in the day (geeze, with a name like Starfest, who would have thought?), but is now all-around-sci-fi-oriented. There are still plenty of Trek-themed events, like a Klingon Breakfast (which I can only assume is like those Disney character breakfasts, and the idea of having some surly Klingon serve me pancakes is HILARIOUS) and a Tribble Race (again, in my imagination this involves dressing children up like giant furballs and having them run down a track as they confusedly run into each other for my amusement).

This will be my first real con, though I am no stranger to nerd events and parties, so I’m pretty stoked. Guests include Jonathan Frakes, Mark motherfucking Sheppard (he’s that big of a badass, guys, check IMDB), Morena Baccarin, and a bunch of the DS9 crew.

Interesting note: my mother, who lives back on the east coast, has been looking for a reason to visit me out in Colorado. She’s a big Trek fan, so I’ve been trying to convince her to fly out for this. Here is an excerpt of the conversation:

Me: Come to Starfest! Doooo it.
Mom: Well, the last day of it is Palm Sunday, and the church–
Me: What’s more important here, really? Going to church, or telling Jonathan Frakes you thought he was dreamy 20 years ago? JESUS WILL UNDERSTAND!
Mom: You make a convincing argument.

For more information on Starfest, check the link-age: http://starland.com/wp/starfest/

Comics: The Heart and Soul of Comic-Con (Caitlin)

It seems like it should going without saying, right? Comics and comic culture should be a big part of why people go to SDCC; however, for better or for worse, SDCC covers a lot more ground these days. Movies, television shows (even Glee? REALLY?), toys, webcomics (if you want to go comics-on-comics-meta, read The Gutters), tech/nerd toys and collectibles…I could go on. Now, as excited as I am to go to panels for things like Supernatural and Venture Bros., Hall H gods willing, I cannot wait to see some of my favorite comic book writers and artists. The list of special guests for this year’s SDCC ¬†is a work in progress, according to their website, but I see some big names that make me smile!

CONFIRMED:

Grant Morrison
Yeah, he’s the crazy bastard who made Batman a pirate. The picture of him in this year’s SDCC annual (which is the same picture in Adam’s post below) makes Mr.

He was also a caveman.

Morrison look like a Bond villain. These are all…choices. Still, Grant Morrison is one of the top names in comics for a reason. All-Star Superman, Arkham Asylum, Batman and Robin (though his run has ended, his influence lives on in the current storyline), and¬†Batman Inc. (which is an exceptionally fun read with astounding art, so stop what you’re doing and go catch up) are just some of his works for DC. The guy’s done a ton of stuff for Marvel, as well. He’s not Alan Moore talking-to-the-snake-gods-in-his-beard nuts, but he manages to juggle entirely silly amounts of references and character moments and plot points that you want to point at him and scream “You convoluted jerk! I’m going to be SO MAD when the smoke monster turns out to be some autistic Robin’s dream!”, but really…I can’t be mad at you, Grant Morrison. Please autograph my tits so I can get a tattoo of it.

Jo Chen
Don’t worry, dear readers, I won’t ask Jo Chen to sign my tits. She seems like a classy lady. Jo Chen is responsible for the stunning covers that accompany Buffy

Our Lady of Joss.

the Vampire Slayer: Season Eight. I have a special place in my heart for Chen’s work after Melinda and I stumbled upon¬†a poster of her “Buffy with scythe” painting that had been signed by Joss Whedon and Chen herself at Forbidden Planet in NYC. Melinda put white candles around it on sconces and calls the painting “Our Lady of Joss”. Jo Chen’s iconic art has helped keep the Buffy legend alive and well, and for that I’m grateful.

Ed Benes
While his iteration of the Huntress costume is not my favorite (belly window +

Don't fuck with Oracle.

ass hanging out = FAIL), Ed Benes gave Gail Simone’s¬†Birds of Prey a distinctive¬†look that I can certainly appreciate. His art has a great sense of action, which is important for a team of badass ladies like the Birds. The SDCC website indicates that this year’s con will be his first US con appearance ever, which¬†makes the occasion quite special!

 

 

WISHING AND HOPING:

Gail Simone
The writer for Birds of Prey, Secret Six, and a bunch of other stuff I care about, Gail Simone writes for those who enjoy badass, pro-GLBT characters with a sick sense of humor. Her Secret Six is easily one of the most wonderfully¬†bizarre¬†things on the market right now, and there’s no way to hate her Birds of Prey. Gail Simone made Hawk and Dove cool again, with the assist from Geoff Johns in his master plan for Blackest Night/Brightest Day, no easy task there. Her Huntress is a kick-ass woman, and it’s clear she loves the character even more than I do (which is to say, a LOT). Ms. Simone has also written some fantastic episodes of Justice League Unlimited and Batman: Brave and the Bold.

Bryan Q. Miller
The man behind the current run of Batgirl, Mr. Miller is known for his quirky dialogue that isn’t entirely unlike Whedon-speak (anyone who grew up with Buffy, Angel, and the like know what I’m talking about). He took a Batgirl a lot of
us weren’t sure about initially–Stephanie Brown–and made her likable and worthy of the cowl at the same time. Mr. Miller also wrote some of the better episodes of Smallville. Yes, I said it. Smallville. Got a problem with my not-so-secret nerd shame? (Side note: it’s okay to admit to watching Smallville. I promise. It’s the highest damn rated show on the CW, has been for years, so trust me when I say you’re not the only one watching.)

So what comic creators/writers/artists are you hoping to see this year at SDCC? Who have you seen at SDCC in the past that made you wet your pants with excitement/surprise/abstract horror? Shamelessly name drop in the comments!

Excited About Comics (Adam)

Sooo excited that we got our hotel setup and are one step closer to being at comic-con! ¬†To prep for SDCC, I’ve been getting back into my comic roots. I used to work in a comic shop for 3 years during¬†high-school. It’s probably one of the best jobs a nerd could ask for, especially at that age. However since my youth I grew apart from working with comics and these past months I’ve been working to get caught up in the comic book universe. Particularly Batman, because he is my favorite. I currently don’t have time to be catching up on the major publishers, so I’ve decided for now to just focus on DC.¬†However if anyone has suggestions, leave a comment letting me know what is currently a “must read”! I am really trying to catch up in time for comic-con!

Getting caught up is hard! You leave a universe for 6-7 years and a lot happens! Apparently there was this thing called Infinite Crisis that hit right when I stopped reading, which sprung a bunch of other Crisis books¬†and now we have the Green Lantern based¬†Blackest Night series in 2010, which has NOW turned into Brightest Day. At least its not another crisis (or IS it?). There is so much to figure out in the DC universe since I left it. ¬†I’ve been going through and catching up on a lot of the history which is ultimately leading up to Blackest Night. ¬†My hope is to be caught up on Brightest Day by comic-con.

Besides Blackest Night, I’ve been catching up primarily on LOTS of Batman. I’ve recently finished up The Return of Bruce Wayne and I’ve moved on to¬†Batman Inc. and the traditional back to basics¬†Batman. Its always good to have an ongoing series to follow in your life and I’ve been enjoying these a lot. Also…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Batman’s a PIRATE! Also a Caveman,¬†Pilgrim and Cowboy. I’m excited with the Batman stories and where they have been in recent months. Can’t wait to see where this is all leading! Also Bruce Wayne recruiting people is a cool concept that I really can get behind. It just makes a lot of sense to me and I’m glad they have A) brought him back and B) are moving him in an interesting / new direction. I have also recently made the realization that a lot of this new Batman work is coming from someone I remember from way back in the day, Grant Morrison.

Yup, Grant Morrison. I remember him from back when I was in my comic shop days. Back then he was doing X-Men and shit (among other things, probably drugs), and now he is back on DC! It is really cool to see someone who I liked back then still making things happen in the comic world today. I’ve gotten even MORE excited now that I can go to Comic-con and MEET him. Really powerful stuff.

I think that the stories which come out of comics are the most interesting part. Thats why when writers, like Grant Morrison, get it right I’ll normally pick up whatever they tend to write out of principal. (Used to be into Warren Ellis like that, but he doesn’t really write much now. ‚̧ Planetary)

There are a ton of people from the industry that will be at SDCC this year and I’m very excited to meet them. Without the people behind comics, we wouldn’t have something as awesome as comic-con this year. I feel its really important to show these writers, artists, producers and publishers that their fans not only care about their creations but the people behind them. A lot of fans go to SDCC for other media, mainly films and television. But the core is comics. People forget that the reason we are there is because of comics.

To check out some of the people that are going to be there, hopefully you already have, check out the list of guests currently attending.

http://www.comic-con.org/cci/cci_guests.php

You should also walk down Artists Alley at least once while there. Check out the new talent. Today’s asshole in a Star Wars shirt could be tomorrow’s Stan Lee (in a Star Wars shirt). Who knows?

It’s going to be a great time this year at SDCC and can’t wait for all the comic goodness that awaits on my arrival!

ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED: HOTEL ACQUIRED! (Melinda)

We received our confirmation for a hotel this morning!! Super excitement! As a result much of the fear stress as gone down and we are back to being our happy, awesome selves!

We will be staying in Misson Valley at one of our first choice places with a shuttle that goes right to the convention center. We wanted to stay somewhere that would also give us access to going out fun places when con days turn into con nights, so we’re super duper thrilled about placement. Anyone else staying in the Valley?

Hotel Morning Maaaaaaadness!! (Melinda)

This morning was Hotel Registration for the SDCC discounted hotels that they bought up all over the city thusly inducing panic to us noobs a few weeks ago when we could NOT book a hotel.

So it was just little ol’ me this morning. Apparently¬†I am the only one of the four of us with no real life. For more information on this, see the¬†length¬†of ¬†my previous posts. So with a list of 20 hotels in hand and a cup of tea I had been sitting at my computer filling out the hotel request form as humanly possible. After what was basically 4 minutes I clicked SUBMIT!!! and waited for the¬†inevitable¬†death to strike me down with some message such as ERROR! OVER CAPACITY! YOU WANT HOTEL ROOMS YOU HAVE TO SUCK VIRTUAL DICK MUHA HA HA HA!

But to my¬†pleasant¬†surprise, I was met with no virtual cock slap. Instead I was left with this….

So that’s pretty nice.

No stress, no crazy reloading. No virtual dickitry! Go team.

However NOW is the raging torrent of the¬†inevitable. We must WAIT for 48 in hope that we may possibly get a slot. WHICH MAKES ME PERSONAL NERD RAGE! I’m personally¬†terrible at this kind of waiting, as I fear we should be making a back up reservation as I type these words (stupid Melinda) but I shall¬†persevere¬†and¬†¬†hopefully we will have good news for you all later! In the mean time I will be compulsively checking my email all day. ūüėÄ

PS: Things that are going to be hilarious 101: We’re all (theoretically) sharing a one bedroom. So if any of you lady folk (or¬†gentlemen, we’re equal sexual¬†opportunists¬†here) want to take the boys off our hands for a couple of nights Caitlin and I would be just thrilled. *thumbs up!*

Twi-hards and Potterphiles: Dealing with Modern Fans (Melinda)

Hello dear readers. I am once again about to talk about something that no one wants to talk about, so get ready to have the blood¬†angered¬†up a bit. Feel free to Hulk out even! If you do pull a Banner however, I will ask you to send photos because that sounds hilarious and would love to see a thousand green, angry¬†gigantros¬†in torn clothing in my inbox. Clearly this is why I write on the internet. It’s the little things that get me through the day.

So it was announced recently that the newest Twilight movie, “Breaking Dawn” is going to be showing footage from the new film at Comic Con this year. This is not the first time they have done such things and it will not be the last. And yes, it’s going to suck.

A lot of people blame the crowds and the difficultly to get tickets to SDCC on these newer fan base. As Comic-Con has grown and as more and more genred teen fiction has taken the forefront of modern literature it is absolutely no surprise that the two subjects would eventually collide in a sticky mess of acne and angst. The history of nerd and fan culture is a cavalcade of hatred and vehement anger towards groups, so I wanted to take a minute (or 20) to take a step back and talk about dealing with new fandoms in this here modern-day time.

______________________________________

NERDY HISTORY CHANNEL TIME!

Or as I like to call it, “The More You Knoooooow!” *cue shooting star*

This is not the first time nerd hate and convention status¬†has clashed, so for the sake of perspective¬†why don’t we¬†take a look at the birth of convention culture.¬†Hop in my proverbial interweb Tardis and let’s learn us a thing or two!

Fan culture is widely acknowledged by scholars to have begun with the emergence of one great American television show in 1966, the infamous series “Star Trek”.¬† It was not the first science fiction show of its time, but it¬†was the ship that launched a thousand fangirls. Women in collegiate academia caught on to the little space show that could and did not let it go. Captain Kirk and his courageous crew inspired some of the most influential parts of pop fan culture today, specific examples being fan fiction, fan vidding and most importantly fan conventions. The greatness of something as large as SDCC can be traced back to a few little collegiate¬†profess-ettes sitting in a hotel convention room talking about starting fan magazines and the feminist implications of Science Officer Spock.

Flash forward to 1977. George Lucas come out with a little thing we the world likes to call “Star Wars: A New Hope”. Suddenly this film¬†inspires¬†fan culture of its own. Trekkies suddenly start to see the culture they have made for themselves over the years slip away as a younger fan base starts their own fan magazines, their own fan fiction and most terrifying of all, their own fan conventions. Ever wonder where the Trek/Wars feud started? BAM! Right there. Star Trek fans felt their culture being taken away by a younger audience who loved something that was ripped off from a japanese movie and sprinkled with some kind of outer space magic called the force.

Now, I’m not saying that¬†Twilight should be compared to¬†Star¬†Wars. Lets get that straight RIGHT now folks. But the journey¬†of one fandom’s plight to the¬†next is¬†very similar to what we see now.

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MODERN DRAMA!

People like to think that the Twilight “Saga”, a word I use in its most generous sense, is the first of these major teen dramas to ruin the face of literature and as a result our beloved Comic-Con, but this is not¬† entirely true. Thusly enters my personal nerd rage subject, the Harry Potter series.

Obviously the incredibly popular Harry Potter books have done very well for themselves and¬†yield¬†very little hatred from most fan based groups. Heck, there’s a theme park now. That counts for something.

Its growth in fan phenomenon is very similar to the idea of the Japanese school girl in the anime/manga world. Fantastical stories involving magic bring forth fans of all ages, young and old (and older) to dress in sexy school boy/girl uniforms and parade around conventions as their favorite teenagers. While yes the boys and girls of the Harry Potter series grow up, a lot of the culture is based more around the idea of dressing up as the highschool incarnations. Quidditch uniforms, house ties and button down shirts are usually the norm when thinking of Harry Potter cosplay, though I do realize that there are exceptions to this. I have been (begrudgedly) dragged to a few Wizard Music Concerts, college Quidditch matches and costumed movie/book openings (for the record I have WAY to many friends who are diehard Potter fans) in an attempt to understand the culture in its relation to fandom. It actually shocks and amazes me how similar it is to Twilight fandom.

 

Twilight character costumes are now sold on common cosplay websites. “Cullen Covens”, groups of people who pretend to be vampires within the¬†Twilight¬†universe,¬†¬†are popping up from east to west coast. The book preorders and movie tickets are as coveted beyond belief.

If you think about it, what is so different between the mother who reads and loves the Twilight series and the father in the Snape outfit at the Wizard Ball (without his kids I might add)? What is the difference between the tween who dresses up like a Slytherin fan fic character they made up on the internet and the one who goes to con as Bella?

One of these things is widely accepted as rational fandom and the other is not, with the most common argument being that the literary range of one far outweighs the other. However if you ask most literary scholars, the only real “intellectual” difference between the two series is the theme. Harry Potter fandom is based in the love of the created world, whereas Twilight fandom is based in the¬†love of the¬†emotional story.¬†People flock to Harry Potter for Hogwarts and Hogsmeade and the Quidditch fields. People flock to Twilight for the idea of torrid love affairs and personal vulnerability and the trials sharing yourself with an everlasting soul mate forever. ¬†Of course it can be argued that Harry Potter also holds a compelling emotional story and the vampiric world built in Twilight is why people enjoy it, but predominantly these are the things that the fan base evolves around. Both ¬†series are also written for teenagers, so the bulk of the intellectual verbage is on the same level as a result. Neither of them is academically considered brilliant¬†and neither of them¬†is winning any Newberry Awards¬†or Pulitzers any time soon.

And in my personal opinion, they are both terrible. But that is not the point.

Regardless of your feelings about Harry Potter or Twilight, they are the most mainstream unique cultures that have evolved a cult fandom following in recent days, with James Cameron’s “Avatar” following close at their heels (again, another world based fandom frenzy).

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MORAL OF THE STORY

So how do we deal with these people? Even if we hate these stories, we should still respect their fandom. SDCC is a place where adults dress up as men in tights and women in chain mail and for a few brief days, we celebrate the fact that nerds have come so far. We shouldn’t be pissed at the Twilight fans for bringing more people to Con. We should be happy that fandom has moved up to the big boy table in mainstream culture. Comic-Con has become a force to be reckoned with. It’s gone from going to your local High School theatre award ceremony¬†to going to the¬†Oscars. You’re always going to have the¬†Paris Hiltons¬†and the¬†James¬†Francos. But you’re on the goddamn red carpet, so don’t bitch about.¬†I don’t like Harry Potter fans, but I tolerate them because what they do for the bigger picture means more to me than what they as fans prefer to associate with.

I read an article a while back where Kevin Smith was interviewed about “Star Wars: The Phantom Menace” and while he has become a crazy person here in his later years, he said something very interesting. It is widely agreed by Star Wars fans across the board that Jar-Jar Binks was the worst thing to happen to the franchise. Ever. But Kevin Smith said that when he saw the film in a theatre filled with children, every child was entranced by him. And you know what that does? It opens up a whole new generation of Star Wars fans. It’s understandable to hate Jar-Jar Binks if you’re above the age of eight years old. He’s fucking terrible.¬†But for these innocent, easily impressionable minds, it is exactly what they need. It makes them want more. And personally, if exposing the children to Star Wars isn’t important then this is a¬†world I do not want to live in.

*Slight disclaimer, I could not for the life of me find that old¬†article, so this is vastly paraphrased. I’m not super concerned, as I am sure Kevin Smith will never read our blog. However if you are Kevin Smith and reading this blog, good on you! “Dogma” was awesome.*

So this is all about tolerance people. Today’s Twilight fan may be the True Blood writer of tomorrow, giving us unique gothic tales of intrigue and the supernatural. Today’s Harry Potter fan may be the next Pixar graphic designer, developing and bringing fantastical new worlds to life in vivid Technicolor. Today’s tiny Binks fan may be the next George Lucas or Peter Jackson. Let’s give people the benefit of the doubt, no matter how improbable it may sound. Theres no way of knowing what fandom may bloom into. So put your “Twilight Ruined Comic-Con” signs and your pitchforks away and just accept the fact that these people are¬†going to be there. If you do not choose to acknowledge that these people, despite our personal chagrin, do deserve to be there, think on this…

When I see a jock who used to push me in a locker for holding a copy of “Lord of the Rings” in highschool at the opening of a Chris Nolan Batman movie, I don’t like it, but I tolerate it.

When I see some slutty hot girl dressed up as¬†Super Girl for Halloween¬†not because she actually reads comics and/or knows who super girl is, but because she knows it makes her the hottest girl in the room, I don’t like it, but I tolerate it.

And when I hear girls and boys talking about how sexy and sensitive vampires are or how they wish they were getting their letters to Hogwarts, I WANT TO FUCKING MURDER THEM! But I tolerate it.

We have been set apart as a community for a very long time. I certainly remember the dark days of swirlies and other such nonsense. And while it feels great to take out our rage on something, lets take it out on someone who deserves it more. Not on our own kind.

I personally vote for the religious¬†folk who¬†picketed¬†Comic-Con last year because it was “based¬†in idol worship”. Westboro Baptist Church (the same ass hats that picketed Matthew Shepard’s Funeral fyi). Not that I have anything against religion, mostly I just want to because it is HILARIOUS. ūüėÄ

So let us be more tolerant and leave our hate at the door. Or get all your anger out on the internet. Either way leave the Twilight kids alone. Just for a few days. They won’t ruin your experience, so theres no need to ruin theirs.