Originally had planned to write a recap of Spartacus: Gods of the Arena but that will have to be put on hold. Instead, I bring you something that immediately inspired me as soon as I saw it.The Nerd Bucket List.
It was actually brought to my attention by another female comic book enthusiast who goes by the name of Jill The Nerdy Bird and guest writes for Newsarama.com. She penned up an article there with her own very specialized Nerd Bucket List as opposed to one that must be adhered to by all nerds.
So, you probably guessed by now that the remainder of this entry is going to be about my own personal Nerd Bucket List. The very exciting thing is that I’ve managed to cross off quite a few things on the list already! These are in no particular order or sequence, as all things are equally important to a nerd like me. 😉
MINDY’S NERD BUCKET LIST
Meet Katee Sackhoff and Edward James Olmos. Obviously – she is my female heroine idol and it would be the shining moment of my days to shake her hand and tell her that she totally changed my perception of what a female heroine could be with her performance. I would also HAVE to ask her, “What do you hear Starbuck?” Because no one
has ever asked her that before. 😉 And Edward James Olmos is like the Grandpa I never had. His gravelly voice and reading glasses and general demeanor are as comforting as a glass of warm milk. I’m especially excited to learn that he might return to the BSG Exhibit in Seattle this year for another script reading. I’m so there.
Visit NYC and lurk outside the Marvel Office. They don’t do regular tours, but I can still be a creeper and maybe snap a few pictures with an editor or something out on the street. Or maybe contact them ahead of time and see if a tour is possible. Or rewind time back to 1998 and be this kid.
Cosplay as a sexy superhero. This is probably something that should be done before I turn 30 (so like, next year) because after 30 I’ve decided is the cut-off for any kind of sexy cosplay. Please time, do not make a liar of me. I don’t know though – Steampunk has made dressing up in costume at any age a work of art, so that might be the loophole in the future. Not sure what superheroine I would like to attempt. I’ve done Rogue before for a superhero party and all that hair dyeing was such a hassle. Any suggestions?
Participate in Thrill The World in full zombie regalia. At least once. Complete with zombie eye contacts and a clever costume.
Obtain a comic book artist portrait. That sounds so ridiculous, but I’ve always fantasized about becoming a comic book character. Not sure what the process would entail either – probably scouting out a decent picture and passing it off to the artist at a convention. Thinking Pablo Raimondi, Pia Guerra or Joelle Jones. Unless someone has an alternate suggestion?
Join or lead a geeky volunteer group. Like the PDX Browncoats. As mentioned before, this would unite my passion for contributing to the community AND displaying geekery in all it’s glory. Plus meeting and hanging out with a group of like-minded folks. Hopefully that can be checked off in the near future!
Sketch from Alex Maleev. Dude, he lives here in Portland but I haven’t seen him attending one convention in the last year. He was even noticeably absent at SDCC. What gives? He is elusive as fuck, which makes a sketch from him about as prized as a Unicorn horn.
Sit inside the cockpit of a Colonial Viper. It wasn’t just enough to SEE them. Seriously. It’s the equivalent to some fans of LOOKING at the Millenium Falcon. Want to touch! Want to see what it would look like if I was flying through space, blasting some frakin’ toasters. So say we all!
Create a comic book. I’m no artist, but I’ve dabbled in all forms of writing save one (or two) and it seems especially strange given my passion for comics. How hard would it be to work up a script? Probably not that difficult. The scary part would be in finding an artist who would be willing to put in the blood, sweat and tears to see those words brought to life.
Meet Joss Whedon AND Brian K. Vaughn. The last of the comic book scribes whose work has inspired and thrilled me over the years. They are both hugely talented and the opportunity to shake their hands or stare at them obsessively while my mind goes helplessly blank and my knees give way would be truly special.
Complete all Assassin’s Creed games with 100% achievements. Just cause.
Finish up the Phoenix Tattoo in the next two years. Provided both the DH and I can find stable employment situations. Have had to reschedule twice now, so London no doubt thinks I’m a flake. But I don’t intend to have a half-finished tattoo on my body forever.
BUCKET LIST ITEMS ALREADY COMPLETED
Attend San Diego Comic Con At Least Once. This was listed as one of the top items on the collaborative nerd bucket list, so I believe I can safely assume the mantle of nerd for the rest of my days – having traveled to the geek mecca and survived the eye-gouging dangers of Hall H and witnessed the glory that was the Avengers Panel (even if we were in the back row and it was on the jumbo-tron). Check out the recap of SDCC 2010 starting here.
The story of Spell Checkers cynically answers the question, what would teen girls do if they had magical powers? Apparently, they would cheat on every homework assignment, smoke like chimneys and become tyrant lords over their whole school. They would be cruel to their parents, teachers and each-other. It’s like every nerd’s worst nightmare back in High School, where the three most popular girls really do have the power to enslave the masses.
The story revolves around three High School aged witches, Jesse, Kimmie, and Cynthia who suddenly find themselves under attack by magical graffiti slander. The book opens on the present, with Joelle Jones inking the past and Nicolas Hitori De providing the art for the current timeline.
Some of the elements Jamie S. Rich weaves into these characters might be spot-on for teen girls in High School. But for me to be personally engaged with a character, I’m going to need a lot more than the snotty witches from this first story to compel me to pick up another book. I’m going to need one or two of them to be relatable.
Actually, that was what I hoped this plot-line was aiming for. With a common enemy they must unite against, the plot seemed rife to help expose the girls weaknesses and give them a little humility to soften their rough edges. Or even, perhaps – give them some kind of character arch. Not so much.
There was arch to the story, and a quick paced plot, so the point isn’t to skewer the writing here. The snarky exchanges between the girls are amusing most of the time, but then sometimes devolve into vengeful bitchiness for no apparent reason.
If your characters don’t like one-another, why should the audience or reader like them? Yes, they make with the funny…but I can get funny and identifiable or interesting somewhere else. Pure funny, especially if it’s mean, isn’t enough to keep me gripping and turning the pages.
It’s also not to say I can’t stand a character with loose morals and a bad attitude. But they must possess at least some interesting quality which makes watching them equivalent to enjoying a guilty pleasure. They’re bad for you, but they taste so good. No one character (or the trio combined) stand out as nasty treat I want to indulge in.
In fact, I found myself rooting for their common enemy by the end.
It’s fun to write snarky, and every author should get the opportunity to purge it from their system, but that doesn’t mean it’s always fun to read, especially in such high dosage. Snark works best when taken in moderation and coupled with a sign that mean girls actually do care about something besides their own scheming ends. We’ll call that – The Cordelia Chase factor. We could stomach Cordelia’s bitch-tasticalness because inevitably she would do the right thing. Or mostly the right thing.
THIS Saturday, May 1st is Free Comic Book Day, an annual event in which local shops hand out special comic book editions designed by a wide range of publishers…for FREE. It’s a great, economical way to get non-comic fans hooked – especially kids. It usually occurs the first Saturday in May, and it so happens to coincide this year with the first of the month (anyone else have that song stuck in their heads now?) Portland Comic Shops are hosting the following events…
– From 11am-7pm FREE books while supplies last
– 12-3pm, the shop will host artists and writers for signings:
- Michael and Laura Allred (Madman, The Atomics)
- Jim Valentino (Shadowhawk, Image Comics Founder)
- Zachary Baldus (New Mutants, American Splendor)
- David Hahn (Bite Club, Spiderman Loves Mary Jane)
- Joshua Williamson (Necessary Evil, Dear Dracula)
- Vincent Navarette (Dear Dracula, 10 Gallon Tales)
– From 11am-7pm FREE books while supplies last
– From 12-7pm special guest artists and writers:
- 12-3pm Shannon Wheeler (artist/writer, Too Much Coffee Man)
- 2-5pm Steve Lieber (Whiteout, Underground)
- 3:15-6:15pm Erika Moen (DAR)
- 4-7pm Jamie S. Rich and Joelle Jones (Spell Checkers, Dr. Horrible)
- 4-5:30pm Terry Dodson/Rachel Dodson (Uncanny X-Men, Wonder Woman)
– From 10am-6pm Free Comics while supplies last
– Local cartoonists in store signing:
– 10am-6pm Free Comics while supplies last
– In-Store Signing
- Paul Gulacy (Time Bomb, The Terminator, Batman)
– We arrived at the Stumptown Comics Fest 2010 around 11am yesterday, checked in and got our volunteer badges. Our first stop was the Dark Horse Comics booth to pick up some freebies (buttons, poster, etc) AND Dan showed off his tattoo to the guys, who took a pic and posted it on Twitter.
–We promptly ran into Joe M. – a friend and former co-worker who also has a strong obsession with comic books. It was a pleasant surprise. Joe is big into the Yelp community, and was attending a Food Cart event later that day, but he hung out with us long enough to attend the first panel.
– We made a beeline for Natalie Sept and Matt Howard’s table – they were selling some awesome buttons and prints. You can find their products on this website here: natmatt.org.
– We browsed for a little while longer, and ended up at the Things From Another World booth – where they were selling a ton of Trade Paperbacks for 50% off. It was pure torture! Dan scored a BPRD paperback and I bought the Marvels paperback – each for about $10. You can’t got wrong, right?
– Then it was time for the Teaching Comics panel. I’ve put together some video from the event.
The video is not comprehensive by any means – the panel itself was nearly two hours, and the real meat of it happened towards the end, but it might give you a better idea of what it was like to spend two hours witnessing the intriguing conversations brought up by these folks. It felt like the beginning of something wonderful. The initial moments of a movement to make comic books a more respected literary tradition. The professors were just as compelling as the industry folks – sometimes more so. Featured in the video – James Sturm (Center for Cartoon Studies), Diana Schutz (Portland Community College), Brian Michael Bendis (Portland State University), Benjamin Saunders (University of Oregon), Trevor Dodge (Clackamas Community College, Pacific Northwest College of Art), Katya Amato (Portland State University).
Another exciting factoid – Portland State University has the ENTIRE DARK HORSE COLLECTION available for viewing. No really, everything. How wonderful is that?
Posts regarding the Stumptown Comics Fest 2010 will be dominating this blog for the weekend – I’ll also be doing a lot of tweeting with pics and some footage from the different events I attend, so prepare for some uniquely Portland, Oregon content gracing these walls. The agenda breaks down in the following days.
Celebrate the start of the Stumptown Comics Fest in style! Featuring a book release party, slide rule comic strip slideshow, $450 in prizes. Art exhibit by Graham Kahler.
– Arrive at the Fest at 10am to get volunteer badge and schmooze a bit
– Enjoying the Fest until our volunteer gig starts 4pm-6pm
- Scoring a signed copy of Spell Checkers from Joelle Jones and Jamie S. Rich
- Visiting with Natalie Sept and Matt Howard (HS friends who are exhibiting)
- Hitting up the Dark Horse Comics booth for some promised free goodies
Other than that – just soaking up the atmosphere of Portland’s Big-Little Comic Book event. I’ll try and do as much live blogging as is humanly possible!
Let me know if there’s something I’m missing folks. 😉
Hoping to return with more reviews and other kinds of love next week.
Skipping yoga last night was totally worth going to this event. I was doing some research for an entirely different story (on Brian Michael Bendis teaching at PSU) and happened upon an internet flyer promoting a ‘gallery display’ of original sketches by Joelle Jones at a comic book store downtown. This is in conjunction with the PDX First Thursday that happens in the Pearl District every month.
The news piece on the Floating World Comics website didn’t necessarily say that Joelle herself would be there – it only stated Matt Wagner (Grendel scribe) would be there signing copies of the Madame Xanadu issues which Joelle inked. It seemed like a cool opportunity to check out some of Joelle’s sketches AND pick up a few books that came out on Wednesday. Two birds, one stone.
Imagine my surprise when we finally arrive and not only is Joelle there, but so is Jaime S. Rich, writer of 12 Reasons Why I Love Her and You Have Killed Me fame. Joelle was seated at the signing table, but Jaime was loitering around talking to other Oni Press staff and folks who’d come to the signing. Crazy!
Still feeling gawky about approaching them, I held the book and started browsing again. Insanely enough – Jaime S. Rich approached me and started up some conversation – and he was totally cool. I let him know that I was a big fan of his work, and had just checked out the 22 page preview of Spell Checkers which is being released in April.
Inside scoop: He told me they are planning to unveil it at the spring Chicago Comic Con the week of April 16th, and that it should be available in stores on the following Wednesday. Right now they are doing the final edits and he spoke a bit about that process.
The Oni Press website says it will be available on 4/14/2010 – but I suppose that date might change according to when the book actually gets to press.
After that I was able to get both Joelle and Jaime to sign the book and snap a pic with them. So, one of my goals of the San Diego Comic Con is accomplished before I even get there!
Other cool news – they WILL be at the Stumptown Comics Fest which I’ve signed up to volunteer at, and that’s where I can pick up Spell Checkers and have them sign another book. Woot!
Another super awesome comic book fan showed up to the event as well. Our friend Hisham, who writes a comic book review blog here stopped by and we got the opportunity to chat about all things nerdy. He happened to have a copy of Kick-Ass in his car (fresh from his review/early screening) and let me borrow it, so I didn’t have to drop another $20.
On the docket for review is:
2. Stumptown #1
Not to mention a stack came through from the library – and hopefully I’ll be getting books 6-8 of Ex Machina this weekend and writing up my thoughts on that.
But the true success of last night is now plastered on the inside cover of my brand new book.
Totally worth skipping yoga for. 😉
One of my major projects of the last week has been searching through the entire Multnomah County Library database of comic books and graphic novels to cull which books I would like to put on hold for future reviews. Our library boasts about 9500 comics. I’ve currently only about 2,000 left to sift through. The process has been made much easier by the fact that at least 60% of them are Manga series, which I have virtually no interest in reading. Sad story, but true.
The great news is that half of my holds were processed over the weekend and arrived today (which means I get to start queueing up even more this afternoon). And the first book of the stack which piqued my interest was You Have Killed Me by Jamie S. Rich and Joelle Jones, a duo you might remember from this earlier post. It’s another Oni Press publication.
The cover was enough to warrant a coo of complacency from me. I’m very much attracted to Jones’ artistic style, and the splashes of color were thrilling. While she works wonders with black and white, it’s unfortunate that she doesn’t seem to get the chance to work with color in most of her art, because her lines translate well. Do yourself a favor and visit her flickr collection. It was there I discovered she’d inked the Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog comic book of which I knew absolutely nothing about until today. Because I’m lame and have been out of touch. Obviously that’s going on the to-read list. 🙂 But as you can see – she is greatly expressive with faces, rendering an especially well done Neil Patrick Harris.
Her artwork does not fail in this book either – the women are sumptious and curvy, evoking a Jessica Rabbit feel which is appropriate for a detective story. The men are hard lines and rigid brows. The scenery is dark, the shadows are deep and ominous. The vibe is perfectly pitched and there are no real complaints from me – save a few scenes where the character’s expressions didn’t really seem to match with the dialogue. Overall, artistically speaking, the book was pretty flawless.
The writing fit the noir mood excellently – though there were a few times when the metaphors of Jazz and Almonds seemed strained and out-of-place. Clearly, Rich did his homework and richly peppered the dialogue with vocabulary of the day (twist has always been my favorite noir word for women), and with it’s minimal use – it didn’t stand out as being affected or cheesy.
The story itself was pretty standard noir detective fair with plot twists and turns that I didn’t always catch. I did find myself intrigued with the detective character – Anthony Mercer – and wanted to know a bit more about his past, as well as Julie Roman, the woman he is hired to locate. We could have spent a bit more time with them during their summers, and I wanted to know why Mercer had decided to give up the good life and become a detective – as it was indicated he was from high society.
While I won’t divulge the ending here for those who are interested in reading it – it was equally surprising and a bit of a let down. While I love the angst of noir, I can never quite get over it’s treatment of women, so it’s conclusions rarely sit well with me.
Overall – it was a delightful and entertaining second entry into the collaborative works of Rich and Jones. I’m definitely a fan, and therefore looking forward to future works penned and inked by these folks. While we wait, here is an interview of Jones, along with information about her upcoming independent projects. And one of Rich.
Excited to hear about their series Spell Checkers being debuted this Spring, and perhaps getting to meet and greet with them at the San Diego Comic Con.
It’s a Saturday two-fer.
In the Small by writer/artist Michael Hague is gorgeously conceived with delicious color and picturesque panels. The concept and plot are amazing too – a sudden and bizarre “flash” changes the entire world population into pint-sized versions of themselves. This seemingly eradicates a good chunk of humanity – those who are trapped in crashing planes, cars, etc.
It’s an intriguing concept – and one that seems to be popular not only in comic books but society in general. The Apocalypse makes for great entertainment.
The two main characters are a brother and sister – Mouse and Beat. It’s fine that they have nicknames (they are really Hieronymus and Beatrice) but as the plot progresses…everyone starts having weird names. Mountain, Crazy Girl, Plant Man (I made a few of those up). That didn’t really work for me. Just because people shrink – it doesn’t mean they lose their names.
The dialogue was also somewhat stilted, but I’m guessing that has something to do with this being touted as “a children’s graphic novel.” There was no profanity, nudity, etc. Quite the change of pace from the content I’ve been reading lately.
I’m also not a HUGE fan of fantasy (though I’ve been known to dip into the fantasy barrel from time to time), and I suppose I didn’t realize what I was getting into from the onset. It’s important to mention my bias against the genre though – because I became increasingly less interested the more it slipped into the fantasy realm.
Despite the younger/fantasy audience the book was geared towards – I think “Mouse’s” visionary status came on too fast. I wouldn’t have had a problem with a flashback, or even a bit of foreshadowing. But we were pretty much crammed into everything within the first few pages. It all made sense and came off – but not without feeling awkward.