My apologies for the Mindy overload here, had to jump in a few pictures with these awesome folks.
Slideshow of the great costumes at Emerald City Comic Con 2012:
As many of you might have guessed – watching Red Riding Hood this weekend was a low-point in my long career of
movie watching. Thank the maker (yes, that is a Dragon Age reference) we had some free movie passes.
THE WOLFMAN COMETH….
It’s difficult to understand how a movie with an exciting concept (adapting a classic fairy tale), a fantastic cast, visually appealing set designs and costumes – as well as the majority of girldom on it’s side – it’s difficult to understand how this movie could so utterly fail and turn itself into an unintentional comedy in the process.
And why – WHY – are werewolves perpetually the red-headed stepchild of Hollywood movie monsters? From their second-class citizen status in the Underworld trilogy, to the dismal The Wolfman released last year, to this teen angsty catastrophic failure. Werewolves in Hollywood cannot catch a break. What’s so sexy about vampires, I wonder? What makes wolves so much less appealing?
Personally, I would take the dude who only turns into a savage beast one night a month to the guy who wants to drain the blood from my body every day. So when it comes to why Werewolves cannot seem to gain the popularity of their less hairy horror cousins…I am genuinely puzzled.
This conversation has been proposed before on this blog. I don’t want to tread again on old ground, but it makes me pause and wonder why the last great werewolf movie (An American Werewolf in London) was filmed 30 frickin’ years ago. And you could realistically argue that the last great Vampire movie was…30 Days of Night? I dunno, maybe my thesis is incorrect and vampires are getting just as shitty a treatment as werewolves in pop culture these days.
I will go so far as to argue that werewolves are always the…underdog…in a love triangle. And in the last three years no werewolf is getting the tail they chase unless it’s their own.
Red Riding Hood just puts another nail in that coffin.
I think horror-genre dramas and romances are falling out of popularity, which might ultimately be for the best. Nerds cannot handle sharing their obsessions with the masses for too long.
OK – what was so terrible about this movie?
The acting was bizarrely grating. Many of the actors and actresses I’ve seen before and thought highly of – especially the lead actress Amanda Seyfried (inexplicably named “Valerie”), Billy Burke who plays her father and freaking Michael Hogan (Colonel Tigh from BSG) but they just had zero believability and credibility in this film. When that many exceptional actors are ringing false, that has something to do with the content of the film and directing.
Which is difficult to admit, as a woman, because I want so badly for Catherine Hardwicke to make a successful Hollywood film with a strong female lead. As one of half a dozen female directors in Hollywoodland who get any recognition from the general public and Academy, a lot is riding on the success of her films. OK, success and coherence and general viewability. All of which are lacking in Red Riding Hood because there was no substance to the story, no tension, no building of a coherent narrative or mood from one scene to the next. That is the job of a director – to keep hold of the overall vision of the film and make sure everything is serving that purpose.
The characters were difficult to connect with because the pacing was all over the place and their motives were entirely unclear. The lead actress was insipid and cowardly – the plot twists with the relationships utterly unsurprising or lacking any emotional power because they either arrived too early or too late within the film, and there was very little built around them to create even an illusion of depth.
The lead female character should have been strong and engaging with a mind of her own.
Instead she is caught between two lovers, unable to make a decision to save the lives of the people around her, and is given many opportunities to prove herself and fails at recognizing or applying herself to any of them.
DAY TWO RECAP: L4D COSPLAY, THE GUILD PANEL, MASQUERADE
The morning got off to a rocky start with a late breakfast at the hotel restaurant and getting my parents settled in to the room. We’d all (except for Erin) decided to do a little Cosplay for Saturday – my parents dressed in Star Trek uniforms for their picture with William Shatner, my dad once again sporting some stylized facial hair.
Dan and I were sporting our Left 4 Dead costumes – Dan dressed as Bill and I went as Zoey. It took us about two months to put the costumes together. Most of the pieces were purchased outright or items we already owned, but some were customized.
Clothing items we already owned: Dan’s pants, white undershirt. My jeans and white undershirt.
Clothing items we purchased: Green beret, pink track jacket, black hi-top cons, black army boots
Bill’s green beret was customized with a yellow patch which Dan ACTUALLY sewed on. Very proud of him for that. Zoey’s jacket we purchased online at Wal-Mart. It was the closest match I could find and also the cheapest. They’re on clearance right now, if you want to pick one up before they’re gone. I had to do a bit of alteration – cutting, gluing and sewing white fabric on – Thank God this jacket comes equipped with black fabric as an outline for all the places you need to add material. Also had to cut the black fabric off the collar, as well as remove the tacky glued on bits underneath. THAT took awhile. Way too damn long but aided with the help of one of those de-fuzz-baller-things.
Dan spray-painted two guns black to cover the orange tips – one a machine and another a shot-gun – both appear in the video game series. We printed up some hilarious “Pain Reliever” labels for generic aspirin bottles here, attached it to the side of our pants with velcro and safety pins.
We also purchased two red expandable duffle bags from Wal-Mart which we customized with white fabric. We attached them to our backs with safety pins so they would seem to inexplicably hang there.
Finally – we made up “Boomer Bile” bottles which took searching at three or four different stores to find the right container. We went with water bottles purchased at our local Target (not finding them online), augmented with flat toothpicks and spray painted to match the white color of the lids. We added a bit of red tape to the lid, and then printed up a label found here on sticker paper. The boomer bile we modified based on a recipe we found on this Cosplay forum. Highly suggest the forum – it has a ton of great ideas for manufacturing props and putting together accurate costumes.
Boomer Bile Recipe Used: Lime Green Gatorade, Green Food Coloring and a dab of Cornstarch. Just gotta shake it up every once in awhile if the starch settles. It gives off a delicious green glowing color…and you can drink it for full effect.
The results of all this time and effort looked something like this:
DAY ONE RECAP: BSG EXHIBIT, TONY HARRIS CONVO, LGBT PANEL AND BUFFY THE MUSICAL
Day One of Emerald City Comic Con 2011 got off to an early start. We left Portland around 7:30am (after final packing and gassing up the car) and arrived in Seattle around 10:30am. We checked into Sixth Avenue Inn to see if they had a room ready for us, and shockingly it was already prepped.
All the amenities that are important to con-going on a budget were available – free wifi, microwave, and mini-fridge. The only big issues we had were the “flankets” (fake-blankets) and the small ass shower. I had to turn sideways in order to wash my hair or my elbows would have popped out the curtain.
Anywho – we unloaded the car, oriented ourselves and then made the long trek up to the Science Fiction Museum. We took a detour and had a delicious pre-BSG Exhibit Thai lunch at Golden Singha. Highly suggest it if you are in that area.
Finally entered the museum doors and wandered up to the third floor where the exhibit is housed. Upon entering you are greeted by a Cylon frakkin’ Raider complete with rolling red eye. Somewhere there exists a video of me geeking out when I realized that it was…sentient. Well, mock sentient.
Other exciting mysteries include Starbuck’s pilot suit, her for reals dog tags, the infamous Number Six red dress and a gorgeous outfit worn by President Roslin in the opera house scene. The Mark II and Mark IV Vipers were pretty wicked as well…though I would have LOVED to touch and climb into one of them. It wouldn’t hurt for them to make up a fake one that fans could enter and snap a photograph. I would pay EXTRA for that privilege.
I don’t wanna post all the pics here because if you really, really love BSG, you should go and check it out yourself. The exhibit is running through March 4th, 2012. In fact, one of the staff mentioned plans to bring back some cast and crew in the next year to do script readings or signings. I signed up for their mailing list so expect updates.
As we were exiting the exhibit, we met Leyla from Missouri who was super excited to find another female fan. We chatted for quite awhile about Caprica and Blood and Chrome. She definitely inspired me to finish off Caprica and get pumped for Blood and Chrome by referencing how Caprica explains the resurrection ships and ties into the rest of the series. I exchanged info with her and we’re now FB friends – she even picked up a business card from Sarah Hulin for the Starbuck Mandala earrings. You can check out Sarahhoo’s Etsy shop here.
We wandered over to the Museum store and picked up a handsome collection of propaganda posters. We haven’t framed any of them yet, but here’s a sample of them from the store display:
That was just about the end of the BSG exploits, so we trekked back to the hotel and prepped for the con.
EMERALD CITY COMIC CON
We entered the doors, grabbed our badges and toured the floor. It was much more crowded than I remember from 2009 and I was happy to note that the media guests were in a separate section of the convention hall to keep the flow of the show-floor open. We hit up a few booths pretty immediately – Jason Palmer Studios which was a carry-over from SDCC, where Dan purchased this Jayne shirt. They were sporting some gorgeous BSG prints and a new Sereni-Tee design…but we were being cautious about too much spending the first night.
Lazy Friday blogging – but I’m pretty excited about a number of these links, and if you can’t link spam at least once a month, then what else is the internet for?
BATTLESTAR GALACTICA: THE EXHIBIT
The Experience Music Project and Science Fiction museum in Seattle, Washington is hosting a BSG Exhibit starting in October. You can also enter to win tickets for two, along with free airfare and a hotel for the grand opening. It features three full-size prop spaceships, costumes, exhibition films, music and other props from the original and re-imagined series. Battlestar Galactica opens to the public Oct. 23, 2010 and runs through March 4, 2012. It’s a bit lame, seeing as the exhibit closes the first day of the Emerald Con. Perhaps we could tack an extra day onto the trip and plan to see this on March 3rd. I’ve been meaning to see the Science Fiction museum for quite awhile, I’m sure it will be filled with enough nerdosity we could justify an entire day of it.
The idea of planning a whole separate trip to Seattle is not terribly enticing. And yes, when we do go (no ifs about it) we will totally dress in costume. In fact, we’ve been talking about making the BSG costumes a convention mainstay and decking them out/beefing them up to be as realistic as possible.
If anyone else is interested in joining us, lemme know. And if you haven’t started watching BSG yet…why the hell not? It’s a fantastic series, and you don’t need to love space or robots for it to make sense.
THREADLESS: The X-MENAGERIE
This one will be short and sweet. The history behind this shirt: Addie picked one up on Preview Night of Comic Con. Threadless had a small store presence there featuring comic book related desigins on Wednesday and Thursday, but our schedule was too busy to allow us to take a detour and pick one up.
I guess the moral of the story is that patience can be a virtue for a lady who loves hoodies. Yes – this awesome design is now available on a hoody, with a schweet X-slash on the front. The only frustrating thing is that I wasn’t quite sure if the sizing is right, so I ended up with a Small because it’s a uni-sex/dude size chart. Hope it’s right, or if not, I can swap it out for Medium before they all sell out.
Got an email that it shipped on Thursday afternoon. The hoodie is $30, and the shipping/handling is only $5, which is pretty damn reasonable for purchasing clothes on the internetz. It’s supposed to arrive in 5-8 business days, so I’m looking at next week to bring me the most fantabulous hoodie a nerdy-ass girl could ever want.
RUNAWAYS CASTING CALL: Racebending?
It’s tough to watch beloved pieces of entertainment being white-washed yet again. It sort of makes me want to slap Hollywood’s hands away from anything that features women or characters of color, because it’s nearly impossible for them to not fuck it up – even when a minority is at the helm or race plays an integral part in the story line.
As if The Last Airbender weren’t insulting niche fans enough – Runaways the movie is promising to offer up more of the same. Seriously Hollywood, you can’t fuck with niche fan-groups like you can with huge, best-selling franchises and expect the same kind of loyalty or money. In fact, you can pretty much guarantee some kind of completely valid boycott.
No one has been cast yet – so the concern is just being raised over the casting call announcements, which are purposefully color blind in regards to Nico Minoru, who is a major Japanese American female figure in the comic books. The casting call assumed to be for Nico reads:
Girl 1: Uniquely beautiful, nurturing but guarded
Female, must play 16-18
Must be at least 16 by January 2011
“Uniquely beautiful” must be the way that Hollywood chooses to describe a biracial person, without actually having to use that descriptor. It also leaves it open for one of the movie’s main characters to not share the same race as her comic book counter-part.
Day 3 was another early rise – and it was COSTUME DAY! We donned our BSG gear and headed out around 8am fully prepared to snag the Trolley. We lucked into a shuttle ride over and plopped ourselves down in the Hall H line for the Green Lantern, Harry Potter and Sucker Punch panel.
The line was pretty comparable at that point (at least, we thought) to where we were at on Thursday, but we ended up in the last five rows of the auditorium despite our early rising and pre-planning. The WB swag for this panel was incredible – a reasonably sized tote bag, a “Wanted” HP shirt, a limited edition Green Lantern comic book and a Sucker Punch bracelet.
The Green Lantern panel itself was pretty exciting. Ryan Reynolds is a bright and terribly funny dude, and the clips they showed had some pretty wicked cool CGI. They will feature a lot of the Lantern Corps characters (none of which I know, but the audience seemed pretty excited) and even had the scribe Geoff Johns on the panel confirming that the movie will be bad-ass. They skirted the issue of a Justice League film in the future…but clearly this film is a jumping off point for that.
Ryan Reynolds had a delightful exchange with a young questioner who asked him how it felt to recite the Green Lantern oath (which he promptly did to the delight of the audience) and signed a free comic book for the boy, who was wearing a green lantern ring. Then Reynolds handed off his own ring to one lucky con-goer.
The Harry Potter panel was next – and Tom Felton aka Draco Malfoy arrived to show us the clip, which was an extended trailer rather than a chunk of the film itself (which many of us were hoping for). It all looks very stunning, but honestly the 3D didn’t add much to my experience, so I don’t think I’ll be plunking down an extra $3 in November. It was a little under-whelming and half of the Hall bolted out the door (including Smalls, on her way to a Vampire Diaries signing) immediately after.
Which leaves us with Sucker Punch. I’d seen a single image from it – featuring four scantily clad dangerous looking womens and some leering male ringleader, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from this one. Clearly there is fighting and action as the title would seem to indicate, and the presence of Jenna Malone brings an element of respectability to the affair…though I am on the fence about Zack Snyder as a director. The premise is intriguing – a woman confined to an insane asylum creates a fantasy world along with three other ladies who can share in these adventures which centered around killing Nazi zombies, slaying dragons and fighting robots. So – count me in. Even if it lacks substance, the visuals alone were quite stunning.
I was annoyed though by our proximity to the entrance doors, the constant stream of chatting and rustling during the panel made it hard to hear and concentrate on the women. Snyder kept referring to them as “the girls” as if they were one unit, and the majority of the audience questions were “did you know you’re a woman?” Ugh. It was frustrating.
We sacrificed our long wait for Hall H seats after that and dashed over to the Hilton for The Guild panel. We happened to arrive there just at the same time as Ryan Reynolds, so Dan was able to shake his hand and compliment his work as an actor. It was definitely a very cool moment.
Just a little over-shadowed by our complete inability to make it into the panel we wanted. We waited for an hour and then gave up once the announcement was made. But we got to hang out by the Bay, stare at a Dole boat and catch a glimpse of some crabs…so it wasn’t entirely wasted time.
Since we didn’t have anything else on the docket aside from potentially seeing Scott Pilgrim vs. The World in the evening, we wandered back towards the Convention Center and noticed that the Hall H line was nearly empty, so we decided to camp out and try to make it back in for the Marvel Panel.
She Has No Head! is a great column I’ve been reading for the last few months written about comic books from the female perspective. Kelly Thompson usually publishes once a week, and maintains a personal blog you can find in my blogroll under Kelly Thompson: 1979 Semifinalist.
We share a similar background in how we originally entered into the comic book world (that damn X-Men cartoon), except she’s ventured into the field more artistically with drawing and writing.
Anywho – she posted an insightful interview with Hope Larson, who writes YA graphic novels specifically catered towards young women. Larson somewhat informally surveyed 200 girls and women to find out how they’d gotten into comic books, what they read, where they get it, etc. so she can better market her material.
She shared the findings with Kelly Thompson in an interview format – mostly talking about some of the things women experience as barriers to the medium – social shunning of comic books, misogyny and sexism on the pages, not enough access, etc.
The comment section kind of exploded after that. There is clearly a lot of frustrated men out there who want to hold onto the outdated and faded concept that “comic books are for boys.” I spent at least two hours reading through the comments and formulating a response. I’ll re-post it here:
The prevailing concept of “comic books are for boys” is like an addiction. The idea needs to hit rock bottom before the people who harbor such notions can truly accept the change this medium needs. Anything else is just lip service and they’ll end up in rehab six months down the road claiming that “girls don’t like comic books.”
It’s hard because so many men responding here want to see change. They get frustrated (as do we) when they have to read about someone feeling excluded from a mode of entertainment they enjoy. They wouldn’t read the articles if they didn’t care. They wouldn’t be upset if they didn’t recognize the truth. Some are upset because to change the system would unbalance something that is clearly in their favor. It’s hard to give up privilege because…it’s so damned privileged. And yes, you are privileged to believe you have an entire medium devoted to your gender (even if it’s not truly the case). Women don’t usually get such a luxury – we have genres (romance, fantasy, YA Fiction). Not entire mediums.
Honestly it makes me feel warm and fuzzy that so many dudes read your posts and care enough to respond. To those who apparently have the buying power (as the dollars I spend mean little to nothing to mainstream comic book writers, creators, editors and artists)…what are you doing to make fundamental changes so the books you love can represent women and minorities equitably?
And if you don’t care…why are you here – reading a blog that is clearly approaching comic books from a feminine perspective? I’ve read a couple different times now a plea for the author to review good books sans female interpretation. Why does she have to neutralize her gender?
Because male is the default gender of our society. And the female perspective is not an applicable lens with which to view the world. It’s not the voice of academia or authority.
Most men fail to realize how much of gender informs what they deem good or worthy of reading. And when they take the time to review, rarely mention gender at all.
It is no accident that women routinely reflect on gender when reviewing things. We experience gender as a very real barrier to many things we would otherwise be fully able to love and enjoy about our lives. And nine times out of ten, when we share that experience with men – they either deny it, or play down the importance of our experience.
I think most of the men in this forum do care. I would say most people desire stories with well represented characters from both genders. We probably love and have close relationships with both men and women. You know, cuz we’re not robots. Well, most of us. It’s very heartening to see men here willing to approach comic books from a perspective that is not their own and have reasonable discussion.
It means a lot to me to have dudes on the side of women when it comes to making a change in the industry. I’ve mentioned this before…but I find myself less and less attracted to superhero books because of the blatant sexist depiction of women. Yes – Rogue’s new costume – half-unzipped and boobs hanging out is the reason I’m not buying the X-Men Legacy title right now. Even if she is the central character and the writing is fantastic. Sorry, there are some things I’m absolutely unwilling to compromise on.
There’s a lot of compelling discussion happening in the comment section of this article and if you are a person who wants to see the medium revitalize and superhero books regain the admiration of women, I think this is a great place to start.
I’m really heartened that many of the guys who read this blog and Thompson’s column seem to recognize that as a woman, it’s important for us to reflect on gender and discover where it is represented in the male-dominated comic book medium. The feminine perspective is one of the primary lenses with which I have to view the world, and it’s important to do so…because (as I mentioned in my comment) – the male perspective is the default view of academia and authority. Well, it’s just the damn default view in general.
As is the white lens. I haven’t brought up much discussion of race on this particular blog in relation to comic books. I’ve often felt inadequate at doing so. But the She Has No Head! article really made me stop and think about privilege.
So – going to add a race component to the Bechdel Test, using some of the suggestions from this Racialicious article.
Using pretty much the same rule:
Hoping to submit my first Bechdel entry tomorrow.
In the interim, here are some interesting articles about the Bechdel Test and race – happy to report that some of my favorite shows pass (BSG and True Blood):
It has only been a few days since Dan Robertson and I finished up all four seasons of the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica series, and we were seriously fiending for a world in which cylons and humans battle for ultimate supremacy. Yes – Battlestar Galactica is perhaps one of my favorite television series – up there with the likes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Six Feet Under, Firefly and Deadwood. And I am more than a little saddened to see it go.
We’ve both heard buzz about Caprica for awhile, but as we had not completed the sequel series, didn’t want to spoil the ending with a new show that would possibly reveal some of the answers.
Now that we’ve watched the final gut-wrenching episodes of BSG – there was no reason to wait any longer – so we queued up and watched all four recently aired episodes of Caprica.
The show takes place a generation before most of the BSG main characters are born, though it does feature a pre-teen William Adama. The main plot centers around two families, the Adamas and the Graystones, and how they deal with the reprecussions of a terrorist act occurring in the first few minutes of the pilot episode.
What’s ingenius is how cleverly they’ve merged the two series plot-lines (BSG and Caprica) while making them feel and seem entirely different. Take a gander for yourself:
The visual style was what I noticed pretty immediately. Whereas BSG had pans, quick zooms, grainy texture and a thundering soundtrack…Caprica is full of light, air and bright colors. BSG always felt claustrophobic and dim (but homey) and Caprica sprawls out lavishly on the screen. It’s wonderfully conceived with it’s stark contrast to it’s predecessor and makes me respect the series even more for taking that risk.
The casting seems effortless on so many levels – at first I felt like I was going to be put-off by the teen female lead Zoe (Alessandra Toressani) but by the end of the first episode, she had me captivated. She is a brighter, craftier version of the woman who plays the lead on Vampire Diaries – Nina Dobrev – but they both have the deep husky voice that seems to be all the rage lately with the younger ladies of film and TV (Emma Stone, anyone?). Anyway, it’s pleasant and anti-perky and makes me sympathetic and intrigued by her character.
Other bright gems were in the casting of two HBO alumni – Paula Malcomson from Deadwood and Polly Walker from Rome – a series which, like Deadwood, ended before it’s time. Malcomson plays Amanda Graystone, a medical doctor and Walker plays Clarice Willow director of the Athena School.
Dan and I hit the road around noon yesterday, on our way up to the Seattle Comic Con – otherwise known as Emerald City Comic Con. We had tentatively planned this trip a few months ago, dependent upon funds and time and the aligning of the fates.
Well, at some point last week, on the verge of deciding not to go, I checked their site to see what exciting guests might peak my interest and swing the vote. Turns out – a few, including:
Pretty kick ass line up. Then I spotted in the artist/writer’s tables Mike Mignola and Greg Rucka, and was sold even further. So – Dan and I debated up until Friday evening about whether or not we would attend. Saturday morning, we decided yes.
We didn’t arrive in Seattle until around 2:30pm, and felt discouraged about attending the Con with only a few short hours on the docket. Also we were fairly sure we’d missed an opportunity to take pics with Tahmoh (my goal for the event). Instead, we secured some wireless internet – located lodging close by (a stunning Motel 6 in SeaTac) and tucked in for the night.
After a fitful night of sleep, we checked out of our motel, hit up a Denny’s and arrived at the con a mere 1.5 hours later than we had intended. Oh – not to mention that whole day we missed too. 🙂 More madness behind the link…
This is highly unlike me. It’s rare that a video game out there manages to capture my interest with it’s attractiveness, easy playing style, and storytelling.
And most of those that do hook me end up being some kind of RPG style entity – a few that I’ve fallen for over the last few years:
And of course – World of Warcraft. I was pretty much logging like 3-4 hours a night for a three month stretch back in 2005. Yes, bask in the nerdiness of that statement. But I haven’t touched that game since then.
So – by and large I’m not a huge gamer. I enjoy RPG style outings (though I never really got into Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess) and interactive games like Wii Sports, Guitar Hero, Rock Band and DDR. But I don’t read gaming magazines, or track release dates for games. It’s just not my thing.
So, this game is one of those rare exceptions.
Dan purchased The Force Unleashed for the Wii console exactly one week ago. He played a little last Friday night while I paged insanely through Twilight, trying to ignore the John Williams orchestrations and blaster shots.
My level of interest in Star Wars waxes and wanes, and for the most part – I could care less about spaceships and aliens. However, I happened to glance up now and then last Friday evening and thought…shit, this thing has a STORY. And the voice-acting and characterizations aren’t half bad.
Dan caught me eye-balling, and then practically insisted I duel him.
Of course, he soundly kicked my ass several times and I threw the controls down in frustration. But despite the brutal beating – I enjoyed being able to wield a light saber and use incredibly fun force powers (push, choke, repel, electricity). Since adequate dueling requires that the champions be on equal footing, Dan suggested I start up a game and figure out how to use the powers.
And then I was hooked.