Category Archive – Super Fan

Week of Geek: The Return of She-Ra

by  | Category: Pop Culture, Super Fan
Bookmark and Share

See the source image

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!

Image result for he man transformation gif

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.

Image result for she ra gif

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.

Week of Geek: A Good Old Fashioned Comic Binge

by  | Category: Pop Culture, Super Fan
Bookmark and Share

Image result for nimona

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).

Image result for nimona

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.

Week of Geek: Springfield, New New York and Dreamland

by  | Category: Pop Culture, Super Fan
Bookmark and Share

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.

Week of Geek: Pride Month Recommendations Part 4: Books!

by  | Category: Must-Read Fiction, Pop Culture, Reading Lounge, Super Fan
Bookmark and Share

Image result for carry on rainbow rowell

Hi again Geeklings!  Welcome to our final week of Pride Month 2018 and a whole lot more recommendations, just for you.

So let’s get to a library’s bread and butter; BOOKS!  SO MANY BOOKS!  Unlike last week’s post, where I was kind of coming up empty, we have no shortage of titles to suggest this week.

It wasn’t always like that though.  For the longest time the only way stories about LGBTQ+ people got published was if they were marketed to adults and ended in tragedy.  As this article points out, back in the middle of the 20th century if a book showed gay characters having positive experiences the book would’ve been considered obscene and would’ve been confiscated at post offices.  What?  Really?  Really?

I’ll Get There.  It Better Be Worth the Trip by John Donovan is largely considered one of, if not the first, YA queer books to be published, all the way back in 1969, which was the same year as the Stonewall Riots and only a couple of years after The Outsiders kicked of a new wave of YA fic.  In the 1960s homosexuality was still considered a mental disorder and was against the law in a lot of places.  Early YA novels featuring homosexuality still contained a lot of tragedy, and that didn’t really start to turn until the 1980s, particularly with books like Annie On My Mind by Nancy Garden which was published in 1982.  That book has been frequently banned since it’s publication, and was even publicly burned at a school in 1993.  Change came slowly, with many books featuring only side characters that fit the rainbow, and whether side or not most LGBTQ+ characters were male or white.  It was the early 2000s when queer YA really started to take off, and to feature not just gay characters but trans, ace, bi, fluid and all sorts of people.  Though there are still many missteps and many imbalances that continue to this day, the market is there so publishers and authors keep putting new stories and new voices out there.  And nowadays we can expect dozens of queer YA books to be published each year, whereas before we’d be lucky if we got one.

So short overview.  Again, click on that article link to learn more.  But now, let’s get to the books!

Some I like to recommend are…

The Summer of Jordi PerezThe Summer of Jordi Perez (and the Best Burger in Los Angeles) by Amy Spalding – I’m currently reading this one, so the jury’s still out, but really liking it so far.  It’s sweet, it’s summery, and it’s main character Abby, though a girl with quite a few insecurities in some areas of her life, also does not let the fact that she’s plus-sized stand in the way of her fashion dreams or her fashion sense.  She’s someone who knows what she likes and is quite comfortable in the fact that she’s gay.  It’s just finding someone who likes her back that way that’s the problem.  But her fellow intern at a trendy boutique, Jordi, is the latest girl to catch Abby’s attention.  Between that, competing for a coveted job and hanging with her new friend Jax while they taste test burgers in LA, it’s shaping up to be quite the summer.

Carry onCarry On: The Rise and Fall of Simon Snow by Rainbow Rowell – I LOVE Rainbow Rowell.  I LOVE Fangirl.  And I LOVE Harry Potter.  And The Adventures of Simon Snow was Fangirl‘s in-universe version of Harry Potter.  And Carry On is a companion novel to Fangirl featuring Simon Snow.  Confused yet?  I don’t blame you, but here’s the gist; Simon’s attending his last year at Watford School of Magicks.  He’s supposed to be the Chosen One, but certainly doesn’t feel like he’s living up to that, what with his girlfriend breaking up with him and his roommate, Baz, probably plotting against him.  And Baz is also probably a vampire.  Simon’s going to have to figure all of this out and also save the magical world.  It’s kind of a slightly more realistic Hogwarts, as the witches and wizards in this story still live in regular homes and still use tech.  Give it a try.  And there’s a sequel coming!  Wayward Son is not due until 2020, but it is coming and I can’t wait!

The Love InterestThe Love Interest by Cale Dietrich – This one involves teenaged spies and unexpected attraction getting in the way of being a teenage spy.  Caden and Dylan have been raised by a secret organization to be ‘Love Interests’.  Their job is to seduce a young lady who’s bound to make an impact on the world, with the goal being that she’ll choose one of them as her husband, and then the chosen spy feeds information about her to the organization to sell to the highest bidder.  Caden is a ‘nice’ and Dylan is a ‘bad’, so a nice guy and a bad boy.  And the stakes are high, because whoever she doesn’t choose gets hunted down by the organization and killed.  You might’ve guessed the twist.  Caden and Dylan might actually be falling… for each other.  *cue ominous music*

Ship ItShip It by Britta Lundin – This book had made my list of 2018 releases to watch out for, and having read it I stand by that inclusion.  Claire is a 17 year old fangirl, and her favorite show is Demon Heart.  She ships the two male leads hard.  But when she gets the chance to ask the panel of the show’s actors at her local comic con about that ship, one of the actors shoots her down in a less than kind way.  The reaction goes viral, the show needs to repair it’s image, and Claire is whisked away with the cast and creators to hit up other comic cons.  She’s determined to make her favorite ship canon… but she’s also interested in Tess, the artist who keeps showing up at these cons.  As much as I may not agree with everything Claire does in this book, as a proud fangirl I do get where she’s coming from.

Honorable Mention:

GeekerellaGeekerella by Ashley Poston – So technically the two main characters in Geekerella are not queer (or at least not in any way that’s shown in the book), but some of the other characters in the book are.  But mostly I’m including it here because I really REALLY like it!  Seriously, it’s been a while since I’ve liked a book that much.  This take on Cinderella features Elle, a die hard Starfield fan living with her step mother and step sisters and working out of the Magic Pumpkin food truck.  Her favorite show is being made into a movie, and she’s not sold on Darien, the actor chosen as the lead.  She ends up registering for a cosplay contest at the local convention… if she can do it without her step family finding out.  It’s such a good book!  And a sequel is coming for this one too, due out next year, called The Princess and the Fangirl.

Do we have more?  Heck yeah, we have more!  I have a massive list posted below.  We’ve got books featuring gay, lesbian, trans, ace, bi and fluid characters.  Click on the title of the list to see the whole thing.

I SO want to read Noting Happened, Ash, All Out, It’s Not Like it’s a Secret, Let’s Talk About Love, Sometime After Midnight (another Cindrella take), Queens of Geek (can’t believe I still haven’t read that one yet) and The Pros of Cons.  So many books, so little time.

Any books you’ve read that you’d recommend?  Add any suggestions to the comments section or check out WriteIt.

Hope you guys enjoy the rest of Pride Month.  Get ready for Canada Day and the rest of summer, make sure to sign up for the Teen Challenge, and until next time, End of Line.

Image result for pride month canada

Week of Geek: Pride Month Recommendations Part 3: Movies

by  | Category: Movie Madness, Pop Culture, Super Fan
Bookmark and Share

Image result for love simon

Hi again Geeklings!  Welcome to week three of our Pride month recommendations.

This week though, I wanted to talk about movies.  I was wholeheartedly excited to put a list together of teen-friendly flicks that celebrate pride.  In reality, it turned out to be a heck of a lot harder to find those kinds of movies than I thought.  Here I am trying to write up some film options that are a) appropriate for the under-18 crowd and b) would appeal to today’s modern teen.  And… I’m kinda coming up a little empty.  Many of the most acclaimed films of the last year that highlight LGBTQ+ themes (like Moonlight or Call Me By Your Name) are rated R, which doesn’t really help you guys.

So why the dry spell?  Well, I think it’s mostly because while a lot of books and TV shows are starting to get more open about that kind of representation, a lot of mainstream movies are still REALLY hesitant to represent LGBTQ+ characters (here’s a more current assessment).  And like a lot of things in life, the main explanation as to why seems to be money.  Franchises like Star Wars, Marvel and the Wizarding World spend millions upon millions of dollars on their films, and they want to make that money back as well as turn a profit.  This means that the stakes are higher for them then for a TV show or a book, and they have to appeal to the widest audience possible, both at home and globally.  And since LGBTQ+ practices are still pretty darn taboo in a lot of places, many countries will not screen movies that have explicitly gay/lesbian/trans/etc content.  Or in places where they are screened some movie goers will simply not buy a ticket for them.

It’s one of the reasons why we’re not getting any mention of Dumbledore’s sexuality in this year’s Fantastic Beasts movie.

Which is a huge bummer, if you ask me.  Mainstream films are just starting to come around to the idea of including more women and people of color in their casts, but anyone of a different orientation or gender identity is still being left in the closet.  Many filmmakers hint at it (like Valkyrie in Thor: Ragnarok or Antiope in Wonder Woman) but hardly anyone will come out and say it.  It’s beyond frustrating for a lot of people… and for librarians who want to talk about movies for you guys.

So what DO we have?

Well, how about Love, Simon?  Based off the book Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda, this film follows Simon Spier, a teen who’s trying to balance his family, his friends, his school and being gay but not out.  But a couple of people pop up online; one person’s trying to blackmail him by threatening to out him, and another person has caught his romantic interests.  What will Simon do?  Put a hold on the movie and find out!

One I’d really recommend is Easy A.  Though the main character isn’t gay, one of the big characters in the film is, and that kind of sets up the whole story.  Released in 2010, it stars Emma Stone as Olive Penderghast, and since she’s already lied about losing her virginity she’s asked by her friend Brandon to pretend to sleep with him so everyone will think he’s straight and the bullies will leave him alone.  Olive decides to fully embrace her new bad girl image, even stitching a red ‘A’ to her clothes after her class reads The Scarlet Letter.  But, as things often do in these situations, everything gets out of hand.  Funny and smart, Easy A is definitely worth a look.

Anything else?  Well, last year I talked a bit about LeFou in the live-action Beauty and the Beast.  It turned out that was a whole lot of nothing, much hinted but not outright stated, but the film is still fun.  There’s also The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Struck by Lightning and Saved.

So yeah, kind of a short list today.  Hopefully that’ll change soon, and more studios, directors and producers will take a chance and tell more stories that represent more people.  Any movies you guys like that I missed?  Post away in the comments section.

One more week to go for Pride Month.  Stay tuned, have a great week and until next time, End of Line.

Image result for valkyrie marvel gif