TEEN CHALLENGE – Week 4

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Welcome to Week 4 of the Teen Challenge!

This week’s challenge is pretty cool – Mysteries and Thrillers.  Time to put your sleuthing hats on and try not to be too freaked out.

As per usual you’ll find the challenges either online or at your local library.  Get in on those draws.  And this is the last week to vote on a Summer Party.  You have until July 20th to get your preference in.

Happy mystery solving!

Week of Geek: A Good Old Fashioned Comic Binge

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Hiya Geekings!  How’s the summer going?  Getting in those Teen Challenges?

Speaking of which, as I mentioned, this week’s theme is comic books.  Not only is that a favorite topic of mine but I’ve also been reading some new comics lately, so I thought I’d highlight some books so we can all enjoy them.  Yay!

NimonaNimona by Noelle Stevenson – FINALLY got around to reading this one.  Set in a fantasy realm where science and magic mingle, known villain Lord Ballister Blackheart (who, BTW, may be one of my new all-time favorite characters of any genre) just got an unpredictable shape-shifting hot-headed sidekick named Nimona.  Nimona’s past is mysterious, but she’s eager to take a bite (sometimes literally) out of Blackheart’s nemesis, the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics.  Their main champion, Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin, has a history with Blackheart.  I won’t give too much away, but I would wholeheartedly recommend giving Nimona a read.  The characters are compelling, the dialogue is great and the setting is cool.  Loved it!  (BTW, it’s not due until 2020, but Nimona is getting a movie).

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LadycastleLadycastle by Delilah S. Dawson – A fantasy series featuring princesses, lady kings and lady knights.  But none of them started out that way (well, except for the princess).  You see, the women in this kingdom couldn’t really do anything when King Mancastle and his knights were around, as he made sure all women were firmly oppressed, even locking up his eldest daughter in a tower.  When the king and his knights get eaten by a dragon and a curse falls on the kingdom that will draw more monsters to them the women decide to handle things themselves, learning how to fight, how to build and how to run the kingdom together.  With great artwork and some great song references, this was fun and empowering.

Brave Chef BriannaBrave Chef Brianna by Sam Sykes – If you like cooking, this is one to check out.  Brianna is the only girl out of 16 children, and her famous and ailing father has a proposition; whoever opens the most successful restaurant will inherit his cooking empire.  One rule though is only one of the 16 kids can have a restaurant in each city, and Brianna ends up in Monster City – which, as you may guess, is made up almost entirely of monsters.  Though Brianna is eager to prove herself quite a few things stand in her way, such as city ordinances, monsters who aren’t keen to have her there and her own really negative inner monologue.  But some unexpected friends and some good food may just turn the tide.

Heavy VinylHeavy Vinyl by Carly Usdin – This one is set in 1998, which already appeals to me as I was a teen during the 90s.  17-year-old Chris has just started a job at Vinyl Mayhem, the local record store, and as a huge music fan she’s ecstatic to be working there… and the fact that her crush, Maggie, also works there is a huge bonus.  But then a favorite singer disappears just before her band is set to do a show at Vinyl Mayhem, and that’s when Chris discovers the truth; everyone at the shop isn’t just sorting out albums, they’re also a teen girl vigilante fight club!  What?!  One complaint I have is that volume 1 ends pretty abruptly.  But, aside from that, you’re going to enjoy these girls and how much butt they kick.

Misfit CityMisfit City by Kirsten Smith – In the Oregon town of Cannon Cove, not much happens.  The town’s biggest claim to fame is that it was the setting for a cult kids classic film called The Gloomies (yeah, I think we all know what film that’s a stand in for), and it’s a tourist spot for Gloomers (the fans) but not much else is going on.  But just when Wilder, Macy, Dot, Karma, Pip the dog and their friends think they’ve seen it all in Cannon Cove, a deceased sea captain, an uncovered treasure map, a legend of a pirate named Black Mary and people willing to do anything to get their hands on that treasure all pull the girls head first into an adventure all their own.  Like Heavy Vinyl, volume 1 of Misfit City ends pretty abruptly, but it’s pretty darn fun.  And we’re going to see if we can get volume 2 in to our collection.

Gotham City Garage Vol. 1Gotham City Garage by Collin Kelly – It’s your favorite DC characters as you’ve never seen them before, and a lot of them ride souped-up motorcycles!  In the spirit of DC Bombshells and taking cues from film series like Mad Max, GCG takes familiar characters and puts them in a new scenario, and this time we’re getting post-apocalyptic.  Decades ago Governor Lex Luthor turned Gotham City into the Garden, an oasis under a dome protected from the Wasteland outside.  But the citizens of the Garden are not free, as Kara Gordon knows all too well when the electronic brainwashing every citizen experiences doesn’t affect her.  But when she’s forced to flee the dome she meets up with the women of Gotham City Garage, who ride their bikes all over the Wasteland and who look for every opportunity to take Luthor and his system down.  Some villains are heroes, some heroes are villains, some heroes are heroes and some villains are villains.  You never know what you’ll get with this series.

Just having typed this, I’ve noticed a pattern; a lot of girl power in these comics.  I think I’m on a bit of a kick.

Anything you guys have read recently that you’d recommend?  Post in the comments or write about it on WriteIt.  Have a great week, keep trying those challenges, and until next time, End of Line.

TEEN CHALLENGE – Week 3

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Hi Everybody!  Welcome to Week 3 of the Teen Challenge!

This week’s theme is a personal favorite of mine; Graphic Novels and Comics!  If you’re looking for some new reads, might I suggest Misfit City?  It’s a story of a group of girls who live in an Oregon town where a film very similar to The Goonies (in their case, The Gloomies) was filmed, and then they end up on their own treasure-hunting adventure.  Perfect for the summer.  Or maybe The Lumberjanes series?  Summer camp and more adventures!  We have a lot to choose from, is what I’m saying.

You’ll find the challenges either online or at your local library.  Get your names in those draws and don’t forget to vote on a Summer Party.  Rock on!

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Week of Geek: Springfield, New New York and Dreamland

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Hi again Geeklings!  Welcome to July!  Hope you had a great Canada Day!

So last week we got a first look at a new show airing in August on Netflix, and I’m pretty darn stoked.

This is our first look at Disenchantment, the third series from Matt Groening, who created The Simpsons and Futurama.  You may have heard of at least one of those shows.  While the above clip is really short, any longtime fans will definitely get a sense of the type of humor that often runs through all three shows (and that’s gotta be John DiMaggio as the king; his highness sounds way too much like Bender).

I’m excited for this new show because I literally grew up with Groening’s cartoons.  The Simpsons first aired all the way back in 1989, when I turned 8 years old.  Futurama debuted in 1999, when I turned 18.  So head’s up, a lot of this post is just going to be me gushing, because while I may not be good at a lot of languages I am fluent in Simpsons quotes.  My brothers and I still quote lines to each other to this day.  Treehouse of Horror episodes are still required viewing at Halloween.  I cannot understate how much of an impact The Simpsons has had on my life.

And it’s hard to describe how much of a big deal The Simpsons was when it first aired.  In the early 90s they were EVERYWHERE!  Merchandising, commercials, t-shirts, toys, even music.  There was a single called “Do the Bartman” and it is one of the most 90s things you will ever come across (also Michael Jackson had a hand in writing it and singing backing vocals).  The show was ahead of it’s time and considered quite risque in it’s day.

Countless guest stars, a theme park ride, a movie and some weird predictions later, the show has had almost 30 seasons by now, and there’s quite a bit of debate amongst fans when it may have gone off the rails (or definitely, depending on who you ask).  There have been quite a few recent episodes I’ve enjoyed but even I have to agree that it’s just not as funny as it used to be.  That can easily be chalked up to franchise fatigue, which is what happens when any show has been on for too long or had two many episodes.  It’s just impossible to keep that same level of quality over 30 years; you run out of jokes, ideas, storylines and character plots.  Most fans think the ‘Golden Age’ of the show was roughly between seasons 3 and seasons 9, and I’m inclined to agree.  I personally would tell any new viewer to start with seasons 4 and 5.  There are some classic episodes there.

Now Futurama doesn’t have the same problem of franchise fatigue as The Simpsons, as it hasn’t lasted nearly as long, but it has still had a bumpy history.  As I mentioned it started in 1999… but was cancelled in 2003.  It was then brought back in 2008… but was cancelled again in 2013.  But even with it’s first cancellation it had a strong fanbase, one that continues to this day.  There are people who feel Futurama surpassed The Simpsons in terms of quality, and while the show may not have had as much of an impact on me as the residents of Springfield did, the Planet Express crew and their wacky adventures and endless skewering of Sci Fi tropes still holds a special place in my heart.  They did a whole episode with the original cast of Star Trek, how could I not love them?

Besides, it has one quality that I don’t think The Simpsons quite managed; some episodes of Futurama will make you cry for days.  I still won’t watch ‘Jurassic Bark‘; once was plenty, thanks.

As was perhaps inevitable, the Simpsons and Futurama even did a crossover a few years ago.

And now we’ll see how Disenchantment does.  From what we know so far the story follows Bean, Elfo and Lucy, a princess, elf and demon respectively.  While The Simpsons is more slice of life and Futurama is more sci fi, Disenchantment will play around with fantasy.  I can’t wait!

What do you guys think?  Excited?  Couldn’t care less?  Eager to check out more Groening shows if you haven’t already?  Which one is your favorite?  Post in the comments or head over to WriteIt.

Thanks guys!  Have a great week, don’t forget to sign up for the Teen Challenge and get those ballots in, and until next time, End of Line.

TEEN CHALLENGE – Week 2

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Hi Guys!  Welcome to week 2 of the Teen Challenge!

This week’s theme is Sports.  I bet a lot of you are following the World Cup, so you already have a head start on that theme.

As with last week you’ll find the challenges either online or at your local library.  Get the challenges in to get your name in the draws and don’t forget to vote on a Summer Party.  Have fun!