Monthly Archive – July 2018

Week of Geek: The Return of She-Ra

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Hi again Geeklings!  Some of you may be looking at that post title and thinking ‘The Return-a WHO-ra?’  Yep, yet another 1980s property is getting a reboot, but this time I think it’s going to be pretty awesome.  We just got our first look at some of the art for She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, and I, for one, am SUPER stoked this particular 80s property is getting a new treatment.  Let me tell you why…

(Yup, heads up, Aunty Ali’s getting all nostalgic up in here.  It’s one of THOSE posts.)

Let me take you back to 1985.  Live Aid concerts were going on.  New Coke had just been introduced.  The Nintendo Entertainment System came out in North America.  What a time to be alive.  But you know what else debuted that year?  She-Ra: Princess of Power.  It was a spinoff of the Masters of the Universe franchise that toy maker Mattel released in 1982, which featured He-Man (yes, He-Man), Skeletor and others.  The 80s were a weird time, don’t judge us!

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Basically, the whole franchise is what you’d file under ‘Sword and Planet‘ fiction.  A little bit of space, a little bit of Sci Fi, a lot of swords and magic (Thor could be cataloged under that genre too).  For He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, it’s set on the planet Eternia.  Prince Adam becomes He-Man when re raises the Sword of Power and declares ‘By the Power of Grayskull’, referring to Castle Grayskull where he draws his power from.  With the help of his friends, He-Man defends Eternia and Castle Grayskull from the evil Skeletor, who wants that power for himself because of typical super villain reasons (funny thing about Skeletor; he looks plenty creepy but then you hear his voice and you can’t help but chuckle).

There were a LOT of other characters, because Mattel wanted to sell action figures to kids.  Was it a shameless way to make money?  You bet.  Did it work?  Yeah, pretty much.  They made millions of dollars.  But, as the awesome Netflix series The Toys That Made Us explained during their episode about He-Man, the people at Mattel couldn’t help but notice that it wasn’t just boys playing with these action figures.  Girls were playing with them too, which nobody really expected.  So what to do?  Appeal to girls and sell even MORE toys, of course.  Enter She-Ra.

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Mattel went to the people working on Barbie and asked them to come up with something, and that something turned out to be She-Ra.  Princess Adora is Prince Adam’s long-lost twin sister, who was kidnapped as a baby by the evil Hordak and raised on the planet Etheria to be a villain.  When Prince Adam finds her and frees her, she decides to stay on Etheria and lead the rebellion.  Like her brother she wields a sword, the Sword of Protection, and can transform into She-Ra when she holds it aloft and calls on Grayskull.

So there are some brief summaries of very indepth franchises that have had several reboots through the years.  Yep, I watched the originals as a kid, both He-Man and She-Ra, and have many fond memories… I even had some of the toys, as did my brothers.  But I am really excited about this new one, officially called She-Ra and the Princesses of Power.  First, the animation looks great.  As much as I loved the original Filmation series, it has not aged well.  This new version of She-Ra looks like a real girl, with a much more practical costume (I cannot for the life of me understand why anyone thinks you can fight in heels and really short skirts).  Canonically speaking, when we first meet Adora she is 16 years old.  Look at that gif up there from the original 80s show.  Does she look like a 16-year-old girl?  I think not (Adam/He-Man doesn’t look 16 either, what heck?).  This new version of Adora looks the part.  Her friends look like real people too.  And did you see that pic of Bright Moon, the city on Etheria?  So pretty!  Plus, Dreamworks is behind all of this, and they do know a thing or two about animation.

But the other thing I’m really excited about is who’s running the show.  Noelle Stevenson is one of the producers, and she’s been making waves lately with comic series like Nimona and The Lumberjanes, which are both charming, inclusive and exciting series with complex and relatable characters.  I loved Nimona and the Lumberjanes, so I have full confidence that Stevenson can give this franchise the update it needs while still keeping the fans happy.  Plus, another producer is Chuck Austen, and he’s worked on Steven Universe, another gorgeous, inclusive and complex show.  We’re in good hands.

So we don’t know too many details yet.  No word on whether He-Man will make an appearance, but I’m happy to focus on Adora for now.  The show premieres on Netflix in November (my birth month!) and as soon as it becomes available on Blu Ray or DVD we’ll see if we can get it into the library.  In the meantime, we’ve got Noelle Stevenson’s works to read and love (see links above).  If you want to check out the original animated series, we have The Secret of the Sword, which shows Adora’s origin.  There’s an official YouTube channel with quite a few episodes uploaded of both shows.  It’s goofy and ridiculous at times but quite endearing.  We have a volume of the 2012 comic reboot of The Masters of the Universe as well.

Let me leave you with what may be one of the most insane yet AWESOME creations of fanart to ever come out of this franchise.  Have a great week and until next time, End of Line.

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.