Category Archive – Movie Madness

Week of Geek: DC Heroines on the Big and Small Screens

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Hi Geeklings!  Everyone have a good long weekend?

Couple of interesting things over from Warner Bros and DC to report this week.  Looks like Supergirl is getting her own movie.  After the success of Wonder Woman and of the small-screen Supergirl series, it seems Warner Bros is willing to take another chance on the teen superheroine and bring her back to movie theaters (an attempt was made in 1984, but the less said about that the better).  For anyone unfamiliar, Supergirl is Superman’s younger cousin and a hero in her own right.  She has the same powers as her cousin and is known as the Girl of Steel.  Details are super scarce at the moment for a film version, but regardless it’s still exciting news!

While DC’s big feature films are hit and miss, it’s television universe is thriving and growing.  The Supergirl TV series is part of the Arrowverse, a collection of series that began with Arrow and are all interconnected and have frequent crossovers.  It was recently announced at San Diego Comic Con that Batwoman will join the Arrowverse, possibly with her own show.

And she’s also been cast.  Exciting times!

So how to get in on this?  Well, for Supergirl may I recommend…

Superman/Batman Vol. 1Superman/Batman Vol. 1 by Jeph Loeb – I LOVE this series, it actually got me back into reading comics in my 20s.  This volume collects the first two storylines, and the 2nd one reintroduces Supergirl after she hadn’t been in the comics in years.  Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman are all here, as well as Big Barda and villain Darkseid.  Everyone is shocked when Batman discovers the pod carrying Kara Zor-El in Gotham harbor, and now everyone, including Kara, has to decide what must be done, especially when someone as powerful as Darkseid catches wind of her arrival.  The events of that story were also made into an animated movie (I personally preferred the comic, but give both a try).

Supergirl: Being SuperSupergirl: Being Super by Mariko Tamaki – This four-issue stand-alone series took a more YA approach to Supergirl, her origin and her day to day struggles.  Kara Danvers has superpowers and crash landed to earth in a ship, but she’s fine to put all of that aside as she tries to deal with the pressures of high school and hang out with her friends and adoptive parents.  As Kara gears up for her 16th birthday an earthquake in her small town unearths some dark secrets, some misplaced trust and kicks her superpowers into overdrive.  Will she figure everything out or will this be her undoing?  You’ll have to read to find out.

Image result for supergirl blu raySupergirl TV Series – Launched in 2015, this popular CBS/CW series has introduced a new generation to Kara, and it’s popularity has helped convince Warner Bros to give a movie a chance.  In this series Kara Zor-El is sent to earth from a dying Krypton like her cousin Kal-El.  But Kara is 13 years old when she’s sent and was tasked to watch out for her baby cousin.  But when her ship is sent off course and finally arrives on earth decades later Kal is grown up, now named Clark Kent and famous the world over as Superman.  Years later, when Kara is 24 she attempts to launch a superhero career of her own, trying to get out of her cousin’s shadow and to hold a normal life at the same time.  (And yes, Superman does make an appearance in this show, but not until season 2.  Patience.)

Age of AtlantisSupergirl: Age of Atlantis by Jo Whittemore – If you’re digging the TV series and want more, there’s a book series tie in!  In this volume Kara has noticed that a lot of superpowered people are turning up in National City, but if that weren’t enough the Department of Extranormal Operations has caught a sea creature… a humanoid one.  So Kara now has 2 mysteries to sort out; all the superpowers showing up and what drew this individual from the sea to the city.  There’s also a collection of digital comics that tie into the series as well.

You can find the rest of the Arrowverse shows from our collection in this handy list.

As for Batwoman, be sure to read…

Batwoman by Greg Rucka and J.H. WilliamsBatwoman by Greg Rucka – This first volume introduces us to the New 52 version of Kate Kane, showing her backstory and her current work as Batwoman.  Former military, kicked out for being gay, Kate decides to take inspiration from Batman and begin fighting crime herself.  But a new threat comes to Gotham; the Religion of Crime and it’s riddle and storybook loving leader, known only as Alice.  But Alice may have secrets… secrets that tie to Kate and to her family.  It’s a riveting tale and a great introduction to this thoroughly modern hero.

What do we think Geeklings?  Excited?  Meh?  Keep giving us Marvel?  Post away in the comments or on WriteIt.

Have a great week, try to stay dry, keep your eyes peeled for Fan Con news, and until next time, End of Line.

Week of Geek: Your 2018 SDCC Trailer Round Up

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Hiya Geeklings!

So this past weekend was San Diego Comic Con, and as per usual we got a ton of news coming out of California on some of our favorite fandoms.  So today I thought I’d let them do the talking and post some of the new trailers that you guys might be interested in <3

Movies

Marvel’s Cinematic Universe didn’t have any panels or announcements this year (probably because they’re avoiding spoilers for the last Infinity War film) so that gave DC and Warner Bros a chance to shine.  We got our first trailer for this December’s Aquaman.  We first met the Atlantean royalty in previous films like Batman v Superman and Justice League but now he headlines his own film, and it’s looking pretty epic.

DC also unveiled a trailer for this April’s SHAZAM!.  If you guys aren’t familiar, Shazam is a long-running DC superhero (he used to be called Captain Marvel until Marvel Comics put a stop to that).  His alter ego is Billy Batson, a kid who becomes an adult superhero when he shouts SHAZAM, the name of a wizard who imparts his powers to him and an acronym for Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles and Mercury, all Greek gods and heroes (comics are weird but wonderful, aren’t they?).

This looks like a lot of fun, which is something the DCEU has not been known for lately.  Aquaman looks like it’s going for a more playful tone too, so hopefully that will continue.  These movies are supposed to be fun after all.

To get caught up check out the previous DCEU films.

Warner Bros also released our latest look at the Wizarding World with a new trailer for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.

I’m torn about this one, as I mentioned in a previous post.  Still looks amazing and I love this franchise and a lot of these characters so much but man, those two big problems are hard to get past.  We’ll have to see.  But, of course, we’ve got a perfect excuse to watch the other Wizarding World films (not like we really needed one)…

And we’ve got some monster movie fun for you with Godzilla: King of the Monsters.  If you’ve been watching Stranger Things you might recognize the star.

TV

The new Doctor is getting ready to make her debut and this new series looks delightful.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars is coming back!  This was a big surprise at the Con this year.  Fans of the original series had hoped there’d be more episodes, as the show hadn’t really ended the way it was intended too, but there was no real indication that was happening… until the 10 year anniversary panel and this trailer was screened.  Fans are over the moon!  Plus we have the new show Star Wars: Resistance coming soon as well.  Good times for Star Wars animated series.

Netflix and Dreamworks’ Voltron: Legendary Defender screened a trailer for it’s 7th season and announced that there’ll be some representation in their series by introducing Shiro’s boyfriend Adam.

And we got another look at Netflix’s new Matt Groening series Disenchantment (I’ve already hyped this one up pretty hard, take a look).

Other news

Supergirl announced that it has cast the first transgender superhero on network television.  Nicole Maines, a transgender activist and actor, will play Nia Nal, a re-imagined version of Dream Girl, in the shows fourth season.  Awesome!

And Star Wars books.  So many Star Wars booksE.K. Johnston will be returning to the galaxy far far away to pen a stand-alone novel for Padme Amidala, the queen/senator/mother of Luke and Leia that we first met in The Phantom MenaceQueen’s Shadow tells of how Padme transitions from queen to senator and how she and her loyal handmaidens must navigate the metaphorical treacherous waters of the Galactic Senate.  There’ll also be a novel by Claudia Gray about Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi and there will also be a horror comic series called Tales from Vader’s Castle.  LOVE IT!  Read the full list of announced books here.

So that’s all for now.  Anything I missed?  Post away in the comments section.  Keep your eyes peeled for more news about our own Fan Con, coming Sept 29, and until next time, End of Line.

Week of Geek: Pride Month Recommendations Part 3: Movies

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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.

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Week of Geek: A Brief History of Anime Fandom

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Hiya Geekling!  Enjoying the warm weather?  Ready for summer (and by extension, school to be over)?  I know I am.

So I just got back from Anime North this last weekend.  Had a lot of fun, learned some new things, got a little puppet-type critter that I hope will sit on my shoulder during my visits with the public and will delight young and old alike.  Good times.

But one of my favorite things I did this weekend was attend a panel on anime fandom in North America, presented by these guys.  I like fandoms, I like fans, I like history, and I like anime so this was a win win win win.  And in the interests of public service, I thought I’d pass some of the interesting tidbits I learned on to you guys, ’cause I’m nice like that.

So first of all, fandom for Anime on this side of the globe is much older than most people would expect.  A lot people think that it really took off in the early 2000s (or if you’re old like me, you peg it somewhere in the 1990s).  North American fans of anime have been around for about 60 years.  WHAT?!  But one of the reasons most of us may not know that was because being able to access anime was much more difficult back then than it is now.  You basically had to hope it was on broadcast TV or you had to know a guy if you wanted to see it.

One of the big things to kick it all off was a little show called Astro Boy.  It aired on NBC in 1963 and actually beat The New Adventures of Superman in the ratings.  It was followed by Speed Racer in 1968, and then more shows followed, so a lot of Baby Boomers grew up with anime shows.  Funny thing; we had protesters on Sunday convention, but the panelists pointed out that that was nothing new; there were protesters back in the 60s.  TV watch groups wrote a scathing review of Speed Racer back when it first aired.

So there’s that.

In the 1970s you got giant robots coming on the scene with Shogun Warriors.  These were toys that were popular even without a show to back them up.  The first mini festival for anime fans was held in that decade.  The first English language manga, Barefoot Gen, was published.  After Star Wars became huge a lot of related-anime was released, like Battle of the PlanetsGalaxy Express was the first anime movie to get a theatrical release in the US.  The show Star Blazers aired in 1979 and became so popular it spawned it’s own fanzine and it’s own mini cons.  It was during this decade that you got to see the first anime cosplayers at these events (though the term ‘cosplayer‘ didn’t really come into use until 1984) and where you got the first real divide among fans between heavily edited and dubbed English versions and the original Japanese versions of anime.

On to the 1980s.  Now we have Japanese arcade games and laser disc games coming onto the scene, as well as home video in 1984.  Voltron aired that same year.  Yamoto Con was the first official con in North America.  More magazines, model kits and shows came out during this decade.  You could conceivably come home from school and watch an afternoon of anime shows.  The term ‘Japanimation‘ was first coined in the 80s.  Akira was given a theatrical release in 1989 and that was a pivotal moment.  It was a film that made even the staunchest of critics, the ones who insisted all of this was ‘just for kids’, take notice and realize we had a genuine art form on our hands.

Then the 1990s, when things got even more mainstream.  It was rough for the first part of the decade because of changing economics in both the US and Japan, making it more expensive to buy and produce shows.  Some toy stores went out of business during this time, and despite studios attempting to crack down on them, bootlegged VHS tapes, merchandise and fan dubs were pretty rampant.  But when production costs went down things got much better.  Stations like the Sci Fi Channel, Toonami on the Cartoon Network, YTV and Global were all known for airing anime on television.  Sailor Moon and Pokemon came out during this time and exploded in popularity.  We had anime-inspired movies like The Matrix.  It was starting to take off globally too.Image result for anime meme sailor moon

In the 2000s though, pretty much any barrier that had existed to keep you from getting into anime dissolved.  In the early part of the decade you could still watch stuff on TV and in cable packages.  We had new franchises like Cardcaptors and Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, which was the #1 show on Cartoon Network across all demographics, even with a Japanese theme song (that hadn’t happened before).  DVDs and Blu Rays changed the game, as they took up less space, were often less expensive and could include both subtitles and dubs.

And then came the internet.  Good heavens, the internet.

That brought anime fans together worldwide, and made it so much easier to promote conventions.  Before we had search engines we had websites like Anime Web Turnpike, which listed all the anime-related sites you could visit (back in the days when the internet was small enough you could list certain sites on one page).  Fansites and webcomics exploded.  From 2000 – 2006 there was a huge spike in peer-to-peer file sharing and fan subs.  There was also an explosion of conventions and memes.

Then from 2007 to 2008 there was an anime crash, due to low-quality and much too expensive DVDs causing certain companies to fold, including Bandai.  But what emerges from that?  Crunchyroll.  We now have other online streaming services like Funimation, Netflix and Amazon Prime, often airing their episodes within a few weeks of them airing in Japan, or sometimes the next day.

And that brings us to now.

WHEW!

OK, that was REALLY fast and short, but you get the idea.  Anime in North America has a long and rich history, not just confined to the last couple of decades.  And the main thing to realize now is how much more accessible everything is; we can now watch and discuss these series as they air, which is really cool.

Anything else I left out?  Post away in the comments.  Have a great week Geeklings, and until next time, End of Line.

Week of Geek: Ani-May, My exploration continues…

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Hiya again Geeklings!  Hope your May is going great.  I mentioned before it’s MerMay, but did you know it’s also Ani-May?  A celebration of all things Anime and Manga?  It’s true!  And with Anime North coming up this weekend I thought I’d check back in with my Part-Time Otaku status and see what else is out there apart from my usual go-to series; Sailor Moon, Black Butler and Yuri on Ice.  Still love ’em all, but… what else we got?

A lot, it turns out.

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So, what’s new?  Well, as a teen librarian, I try to pay attention to new teen books coming down the pipelines (makes sense), and one I keep hearing about is a new (at least to North America) manga series called Isekai Izakaya “Nobu”.  The description immediately caught my attention.  It’s set in an Izakaya, which is basically the Japanese equivalent of a pub.  But it’s front door opens onto a parallel world, some sort of European-esque fantasy type realm (there are two moons in the sky, so it’s not here).  So the people who live there get to try these Japanese dishes they’d never get access to otherwise.  I haven’t read the manga yet, but there is an anime version of the series on Crunchyroll, Isekai Izakaya: Japanese Food From Another World.  I watched the first two episodes; the actual animated part is pretty short and the episodes basically consist of a couple of guys losing their minds over the food and drinks at this pub.  But the way they describe the food is delightful, especially from the perspective of people who’ve never had these kinds of dishes before. I’ve talked about food before on this blog, but really is there ever a bad time to talk about food and fandom?  I think not!

And in honor of that I’ve updated my Geek Cooking list.  Plus, we’ve got a ton of books on Japanese food.

I’ve also started a series called Magical Girl Ore (or Mahou Shoujo Ore).  This is a weird one, but a totally tongue-in-cheek and hilarious play on the Magical Girl trope.  It centers around Saki, a 15 year old girl who discovers that her mother was a Magical Girl, and is passing the torch on to Saki (along with a gruff Yakuza-type ‘sidekick’).  But when Saki transforms for the first time she… well, she turns into a guy.  A very muscular guy still dressed in frills and bows.

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That’s just one of the many ways this series subverts it’s own genre.  I’m five episodes in and I’ve discovered it also plays with love triangles, cute demons, things with tentacles and even making anime itself.  I’ve laughed out loud quite a few times and I’m loving the characters.  (A couple words of warning though; I haven’t been able to find a rating on this series, but from what I’ve watched there’s swearing, some violence and it can get pretty suggestive, so head’s up.)

And for manga, I’ve started reading Blue Exorcist.  This one’s got more of a horror element to it, as it features a boy named Rin who discovers that he is literally the spawn of Satan.  But, deciding he wants none of that, he agrees to train to become an exorcist so he can defeat the demon within.  That alone would be enough to peak my curiosity, but as I’ve been reading I’ve discovered there’s also family secrets, a really elaborate and quirky school and interesting characters.  Colour me sold.  (Funny though, I’ve had to re-read a couple of parts because I’m still getting used to the right to left style; ‘Oops, wrong order, try again’).  It also has an anime series if you want to give that a try (Crunchyroll has both subtitled and dubbed versions).

So in the spirit of all of this I decided to look at some sources online and find some great anime series and manga titles that teens (you guys!) can start out with if you’re just dipping your toes into the format.  I’ve compiled two lists.

Any favorites of yours, Geeklings?  Post away in the comments or on WriteIt.

Here at VPL we’re hard at work on year 2 of Vaughan Fan Con, so keep an eye out for that.  Have a great week everybody, and until next time, End of Line.

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