Tag: Week of Geek

Week of Geek: The New Doctor and Women in Genre Fiction

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Hiya Geeklings.

‘Member a while back when we had a new companion on Doctor Who?  Well, in perhaps even bigger news, we have a new Doctor.  Yep, the actor playing the Doctor changes from time to time, which on the show is explained as a process called regeneration.  And, for the first time, the latest Doctor incarnation will be played by a woman.

While there has been speculation for the last few years if a female actor would step into the part, we’re now seeing it happen.  Fellow Time Lord The Master regenerated into Missy in the 8th season, so there was precedence set.  And now we’ll finally see a woman, namely Jodie Whittaker, playing everyone’s favorite face-changing time-travelling world-saving alien.

So far the reaction from fans has been generally positive.  There have been some naysayers, as there always is with fandom news like this (remember when the last Ghostbusters came out?), and there have been some great sarcastic responses to said naysayers.  Personally I’m excited.  To me, the Doctor has never seemed overly masculine; he, and now she, just is.  Just The Doctor, and everything that entails.  So I have no trouble picturing a woman in the role, but what do you guys think?  Post away!

And the news seems to be indicative of a bit of a turn of the tide to see more women represented in genre fiction and fandoms.  And it’s about darn time if you ask me.

Though female fans have asked for more representation in their favorite shows/books/movies/games/everything for years and years and years now, there were a couple of incidents fairly recently that, I think, really highlighted that there were still changes that had to be made, and they involved two characters in particular; Black Widow and Rey.

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Back in 2015, when Avengers: Age of Ultron came out in theatres, fans quickly noticed that in all of the merchandise hitting store shelves, next to nothing featured Black Widow.  A few months later, when Star Wars: The Force Awakens arrived and all of their merch was released, fans AGAIN noticed that very few things featured Rey, who is arguably the star of the film.  What heck?

Though the companies that sell these toys tried to tip toe around the issue, people have come out and said that, yes, many executives leapt to the conclusion that boys would not buy something if it had a girl on it.

And that leads to one reason many people don’t realize propelled Disney to buy the Star Wars and Marvel franchises to begin with.  There were a lot of reasons to buy both, but one big one was that they wanted to appeal to boys.  They figured they had girls down with the Disney Princess line, and they wanted more boys to buy their products.

Yes, it’s silly.  And it’s a line of reasoning clearly stuck several decades in the past, as they soon found out.  They didn’t count on the fact that a lot of girls LOVE Star Wars and Marvel, and always have.

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And when those hardcore fans could not find the characters that they loved on t-shirts or on toy shelves, they would not stand for it.

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DC certainly noticed the fan outrage, and decided to pounce.  Enter DC Super Hero Girls that same year, which was an attempt to highlight their roster of female heroes by putting them in a high school setting, creating lots of dolls and action figures (I have the Batgirl figure, natch) and animated shorts and films.  DC’s also had tremendous success with their digital series Bombshells, and will have an upcoming series called Gotham Garage, both of which heavily feature superheroines.

For their part, Disney seems to have learned it’s lesson the last couple of years, releasing more merchandise with Widow, Gamorra and the Scarlett Witch.  And just this year they launched Star Wars: Forces of Destiny, a series of animated shorts on YouTube, along with books, dolls, etc. that highlight the heroines of the franchise, from Rey to Leia to Ahsoka to Jyn and more.

So while more work still needs to be done, I think this is all very encouraging.  What do you guys think?  Post away in the comments or write your own thoughts on the WriteIt website.

If you’re looking for more books to add to your TSRC tally might I recommend Black Widow: Forever Red (and the sequel Red Vengeance)?  Or how about Ahsoka or Rebel Rising?  Get your heroine read on!

Keep your eyes peeled for more news, keep reading to run up that TSRC tally and until next time, End of Line.

Week of Geek: Food, glorious food!

by  | Category: Pop Culture, Randomness, Super Fan
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Hi again Geeklings!  How’s the summer going?  Reading those books for TSRC?  Make sure to register and log in to keep those pages coming and increase your chances to win that GoPro.  We believe in you!  And check out the WriteIt site while you’re at it.

So, you know what I like?  Food.  You know what a lot of people like?  Food.  You know what a lot of people also like?  Fandoms.  So a lot of fandoms feature food.  Specific food.  Special food.  Food that may not ever be completely and perfectly replicated in real life but that hasn’t stopped many fans from trying.

Let us count the ways…

Cookie Cat – He’s a pet for your tummy!  He’s super duper yummy!  *sad voice from out of nowhere* He left his family behind!  Now available at Gurgens off Route 109.  So the jingle goes in one of the first episodes of Steven Universe about the title character’s favorite treat; an ice cream sandwich shaped like a cat.  It’s one of those treats that give you that warm, happy feeling.  We could all of use a Cookie Cat every now and then.

Pork Cutlet Bowls – Known in Japan as Katsudon, this is Yuri Katsuki’s favorite dish on Yuri!!! on Ice, and the inspiration for his Eros skating routine.  Yes, really.  It even inspires the grandfather of fellow skater Yuri Plisentsky to create a katsudon-inspired pirozhki, which is a Russian staple.  Yay for fusion cuisine!

ALL THE FOOD featured in Miyazaki films – The movies of Studio Ghibli are famous for the various delicious edibles you see animated on the big screen.  Too many to list here, but here’s a helpful article from Buzzfeed that you can peruse, with links to recipes so you can try to cook them yourself.  Eat up!

Pie – Supernatural‘s Dean Winchester loves many things.  His family.  His friends.  His car.  But one true love that will never die is his love of pie.  A love we can all share.

Fish Fingers and Custard – Combining fish sticks with a dessert sauce.  A weird one, admittedly, but a big part of the 11th Doctor’s persona, as it was the first food he discovered after his regeneration that he liked (getting used to new taste buds is hard you guys).

Butterbeer and various pumpkin foods – Butterbeer is awesome, no matter what recipe you use, and it’s no surprise the wizards of Harry Potter all enjoy it.  But, a personal favorite of mine from the books is the pumpkin treats.  I LOVE using pumpkin in baking!  All-year-round but especially in the fall!  Pumpkin cookies are my favorite!  So kudos to wizardkind for apparently agreeing with me.

Lembas Bread – Hobbits from The Lord of the Rings all love their comfort foods.  But for the adventurer, Lembas bread is the way to go, as one bite can keep you full for a whole day, so you don’t need to bring much of it.  Travel light.

Turkish Delight – How often do YOU betray your family for something sweet?  Hopefully not often, but this sugary treat (which is a little obscure in our neck of the woods, and a bit more common in Europe) had Edmund Pevensie siding with the vicious White Witch in The Lion, the Witch and the WardrobeConfections have rarely been so devious.

Spiced Warm Milk – If you’re not lucky enough to live in one of the wealthier parts of the Hunger Games‘ Panem, your food options are scarce and simple.  Little milk, little spice, heat it up, surprisingly satisfying.  Gotta enjoy the little things.

So there’s a few examples.  What are some of your favorites?  Post away below!

And if you’re looking to try your hand at a few recipes I’ve got a list of nerdy-themed cookbooks.

But there’s more!  Here’s another list from our friend Sarah.

And one from our friend Michel for some good, old-fashioned comfort food.  It’s hard not to love comfort food.  It’s so comforting!

So eat up Geeklings!  (But don’t overdo it.  Too much of anything is never good.)  Keep having fun this summer and until next time, End of Line.

Week of Geek: Spider-Man! An Appreciation!

by  | Category: Movie Madness, Must-Read Fiction, Pop Culture, Reading Lounge, Super Fan
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Spider-Man!  Spider-Man!  Does whatever a spider can!  Spins a web, any size!  Catches thieves just like flies!  LOOK OUT!  Here comes the Spider-Maaaaaaan!

That song’s been around since the 1960s.  About as long as the character it features.  Yep, we’re gonna talk about everyone’s favorite web-head today, which seems timely seeing as how his first solo MCU film comes out this weekend.

Spider-Man: Homecoming is Spidey’s 6th movie in 15 years, which is a high turn-over rate in film.  It’s actually his 7th if you count his appearance in Captain America: Civil War, and this is his first solo film since joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Let me break it down and bring you up to speed…

ComicsHis first appearance was in Amazing Fantasy issue #15 in 1962, and he was created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.  He was one of the first teens in comics who wasn’t a sidekick or side character, and he was specifically created with teens in mind as a relatable hero, with power but also insecurities and awkwardness.  He’s been a regular in Marvel ever since and has become one of the publisher’s most iconic characters.

TV – Spidey’s been in other media almost since he appeared on the scene.  The first was an animated series that ran from 1967 to 1970 (and that’s where his theme song comes from).  One version I saw a lot of was an animated series that ran from 1994 to 1998.  But he’s been a steady presence on small screens, with a new series coming out this year.

Broadway – Probably the less said about this, the better.  But still, it did happen.

Movies – OK, buckle up, ’cause this gets a little complicated.  A really great article just came out that outlines the whole sordid affair, but let me sum up.  Some of you might be wondering why we haven’t seen Spidey on screen with the Avengers up until now.  Well, there’s a couple of reasons for that.  Back in the 90s, before the big super-hero boom in film and before they created their own movie studio, Marvel sold off the film rights to some of their most popular characters, most notably the X-Men to 20th Century Fox and Spider-Man to Sony.

Sony had tremendous success with it’s first 2 Spider-Man films, 2002’s Spider-Man and 2004’s Spider-Man 2, both starring Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker.  But trouble started to brew in 2007 when Spider-Man 3 debuted.  Though it did alright financially, it was panned by the critics and is still a sore spot for Spidey fans.  So, Sony tried to reboot the series a mere 5 years after the first trilogy (that’s a big thing you start to see when you follow pop culture trends; movie studios are first and foremost a business, and they want to make money).  This brings us to Amazing Spider-Man in 2012, starring Andrew Garfield, and Amazing Spider-Man 2 in 2014.  These were met with resounding ‘meh’s from audiences, so Sony, after having three under-performing films, decided it was time to open up communications with Marvel Studios, who have been killing it with their extended universe of films.  Sony didn’t want to give the character back to them, per se (as was the case with Daredevil and maybe Fantastic 4), but to partner up.  Thus, Spidey appeared in Civil War, with Tom Holland (the 2nd Englishman to play the part) taking over as Peter and he will now get his own film as a joint Marvel/Sony project.

So Spidey returns to the fold!  But I wouldn’t hold your breath when it comes to the X-Men.  Fox is still making good money on those characters and will likely want to hold on to them.

Other characters – The world of Spider-Man has many interesting players to read up on, especially when you get into the multiverse.  There’s Miles Morales, an alternate universe Spidey who is biracial and made a big splash when he first debuted.  One of the most recent and popular characters is nicknamed Spider-Gwen.  She’s an alternate universe version of long-time Parker love interest Gwen Stacy, but in this reality she’s the one who was bitten by that pesky radioactive spider, and became her universe’s version of Spider-Woman.  Fans were thrilled to have Gwen back and staring as the hero, considering what happened to the main universe’s version (spoilers).  And Spider-Man has a heck of a Rogue’s Gallery, some of which have had their own comics.

So there’s a relatively brief rundown, considering the character is 55 years old.  Anything important I missed?  Post in the comments section and if you go see the film be sure to let us know what you think on the Write It website.  Any and all Spider-Man comics you read this summer do count in the Teen Summer Reading Challenge, btw.  And click here and here for more MCU vids to watch.

Until next time, End of Line, and remember…

To hiiiiiiim, life is a great big baaaang up!  Wherever there’s a haaaang up, you’ll find the Spider-Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan!  (It’s hard to tell in print, but I’m actually a half-way descent singer, I swear!)

Week of Geek: Pride Month Part 4! Slash Fiction and Final Thoughts!

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Hi again Geeklings!

So June is almost over (can you believe it?) and this weekend Canada celebrates 150 years on July 1st.  So let’s wrap up Pride Month with the fourth and last part in my series on LGBTQ characters (Click for Parts 1, 2 and 3).  This time, however, we’re going to get a little unofficial.  We’re delving a bit into Slash fic.

What is that?  Well, let me throw a few terms at you.  “Shipping” in Fandom circles is when fans romantically match characters, regardless of if that match is canon or not.  If you write about, draw about, paint about, or just support a certain couple you “ship” them (you may hear the term OTP as well; that means One True Pairing, the couple you love above all others… though, let’s face it, you often can’t pick just one).  “Slash” is shipping where both of the shipped characters are guys; for two girls it’s often known as “Femslash”.  There are MANY famous slash pairings out there, often with mash-up names.  Very few of them are canon, but fans really want them to be and, honestly, they might as well be, considering the TON of fan art and fanfiction out there around them.  And on the rare occasion a ship DOES become canon… my gosh, that’s a happy day for fans!

Some examples of slash pairs include Destiel (Dean Winchester and Castiel from Supernatural), Johnlock (Sherlock Holmes and John Watson, and that’s one of the oldest slash pairings out there), Spirk (Captain Kirk and Commander Spock from Star Trek, and like many other things in fandom, slash as it’s known today really began with Trek, appearing in fanzines before the internet became a thing), Sterek (Mieczyslaw “Stiles” Stilinski and Derek Hale from Teen Wolf), and of course the ultimate question amongst Avengers fans; Stony or Stucky?  (Meaning, who should Captain America end up with?  Iron Man or Winter Soldier?)  A couple of examples of femslash pairs include Pangie (Peggy Carter and Angie Martinelli from Agent Carter), Allydia (another Teen Wolf pairing, this time between Allison Argent and Lydia Martin) and Korrasami (Korra and Asami Sato from The Legend of Korra), though that one actually became canon.

So why do we ship?  And why do we slash?  There are a lot of theories out there, but some of the ones I like the best is that it’s a way for young fans to explore romance; that it’s a way for LGBTQ fans to find representation in pop culture which, though getting a bit better, is still lacking; and it’s proof that there are many versions of love, and that who we’re attracted to can be hugely fluid, which is always a good thing to know and normalize.

So I encourage you guys to imagine the possibilities.  And I encourage you to share your fanfics on Write It!, ’cause we’d all like to read them.  Who are some of your favorite ships?  Post away in the comments section too (but no shipping wars; all ships are valid!).

So, some final thoughts; why did I write this series on LGBTQ characters, both canon and non?  Four posts covering four different formats featuring many orientations (gay, lesbian, bi, pan, ace, etc.) and many characters.  What heck?

Well, pop culture, and really any type of art we make, is a reflection of us; as a whole, as individuals, as a society, etc.  It represents our hopes and dreams, our problems, what we wish we could change and what we shouldn’t change for anything.  Our strengths, our flaws, and the many, many ways we go through the human experience.

And I wanted to take this month to highlight LGBTQ characters because, for some of us, we may find ourselves in a position where we know something might be up with us in regards to sex or romance or who we feel we should be or whatever, but we’re just not sure what it is.  And we may find ourselves in a position where we have absolutely no one to talk to about it.  Maybe, for whatever reason, your family or friends or community isn’t really all that open to talking about homosexuality or anything non-heteronormative.  Or maybe they are, but you’re too nervous or afraid to ask.  It could totally rock what you thought you knew about yourself.  Or maybe you don’t know what to ask.  It’s a process, let me tell you.

So it’s kinda nice when you can open a book or turn on a TV or sit in a movie theatre and see a character that makes you go “Huh.  That sounds or looks an awful lot like me.”  This is why representation in our culture is so important, for all types of people.  When you see someone like you it inspires you to be your true self.  Then when you are ready to ask some questions, to vocalize all of this, it’s helpful to envision that character, or even just to know that somebody, somewhere, created something that echoes what you’re feeling.  You are NOT alone, whether support comes from nearby or from a writer writing in Hollywood or somewhere.  And just the knowledge that you aren’t alone can be very powerful, regardless of where it comes from.

Stormpilot anyone?

So if you’d like to learn more, we have resources and we have links.  As library staff we encourage people to not to be afraid to ask questions.  Allow me to promote that here.

Thanks everybody.  Happy Pride!  Don’t forget about TSRC, and until next time, End of Line.

Oh yeah, and apparently this is a thing now 😉

Week of Geek Bonus: Harry Potter turns 20

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Just popping in to remind everyone that the Harry Potter series turned 2o years old today.

Amazing that 20 years have already gone by.  I actually didn’t start reading the first book until just before the first movie came out in 2001, so I was a little late to the game.  It wasn’t until I saw the first trailer for the film that I thought ‘Oh, OK, this actually does look pretty good.  I should see what all the fuss is about.”  And I did.  And I haven’t looked back.

I am a slow reader on a good day, and I think my record for fastest time reading a novel is still Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the last book in the series.  That took me a week, and that was me reading every spare moment I had.  Sad, I know, some people read it overnight, but I really tried!

And those are just 2 memories of mine about the series that has meant so much to me and to so many people all around the world.  From the books to the films to the merch to the Wizarding Worlds to live theatre and to Newt Scamander’s adventures (with more of those coming), in 20 years the Harry Potter series has gone from one woman’s dream to an entire franchise, with no plans to slow down.  And fans couldn’t be happier, with new members joining all the time.

What are some of the Potter-related moments that have stood out to you over the years?  Post away in the comments section or write your own thoughts, poems or stories about the series on the Write It! Website.  And if you’re looking to read or re-read the series over the summer be sure to post the page counts for the Teen Summer Reading Challenge.

Book publisher Bloomsbury recently asked fans about their favorite moments, which are compiled in this amazing video.  Watch and feel the feels.  Here’s to another 20 years and beyond, and until next time, End of Line.