Category Archive – Reading Lounge

Week of Geek: A fond farewell… with trailers!

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Hiya Geeklings!

So, bad news first.  This will actually be my last post for the Teen Vortex website.  We’re going to be moving away from blogging here and looking into other options.  So don’t worry, I’ll still be around in the libraries and creating lists on the catalog and hopefully I’ll find another place to write, it just won’t be here anymore.  Womp womp.

So quick thank you to you all.  To everyone who read my posts.  To anyone who glanced at them.  To anyone who commented.  Hopefully you enjoyed them as much as I enjoyed writing them.  High fives all around!

So let’s cap off the Weeks of Geek the way we always have… by talking about geeky stuff.  I’ve got a few trailers for you, ’cause it’s what I do.

So we got our first look at the live-action remake of The Lion King.

Just a glimpse for now, but hearing James Earl Jones again gave me all the nostalgic feels.  Though really, can you call this live action?  All the animals are animated!  Well, we have until this summer to decide.

And a popular book series by Eoin Colfer is getting the big screen treatment.  Check out our first trailer for Artemis Fowl.

And lastly, remember I was talking about Venom last week?  Well it’s coming out on Blu Ray in December (we’ll get it into the library as soon as we can), and apparently Sony is in on the fandom response to the movie, as the trailer announcing the blu-ray release has been tweaked to make the film look a little more rom-com.  Well played Sony!

So there we go, a few fun things to tide us over.  Again, thanks everybody!  Stay tuned for new programs and new ways we’ll be keeping you guys posted on what’s going on.  And again, don’t hesitate to come in and talk to us, let us know how we can make the library better for teens, for geeks and for everyone.

Until next time, End of Line. 😉

Week of Geek: Can we talk about Venom for a minute?

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Image result for venom memes

Hi again Geeklings!  How’s November treating you?

Well, we got some sad news from the world of Marvel last week.  Stan Lee passed away at the age of 94.

He was a cool guy.  I had the pleasure of being in the audience when he made his last appearance at Fan Expo and he was delightful.  He created amazing characters and touched a lot of lives.  He’ll be sorely missed.  We can all take comfort in knowing that his legacy is not going away anytime soon.  Under Disney, Marvel is expanding ever outward in movies and TV shows.  The comics are still a thing and other studios are creating movies as well.  What Stan Lee helped create will be around for a long long time.

Today I thought I’d talk about one of the stranger examples of a Marvel movie to come out this year.  One that had everything going against it, and yet, and yet, has been a huge success financially.  It’s inspired memes, a lot of head scratching and a rather unexpected ship.

I of course speak of Venom.

So first of all, who, or what, is Venom?  In a nutshell, Venom is actually two characters, the alien creature known as Venom and whichever host he’s inhabiting.  Venom is from a race of these almost liquid-like creatures that can inhabit a host body.  With Venom, his host is reporter Eddie Brock (there have been other hosts in the comics, including Spider-Man himself, but Eddie is the go-to).  A symbiote (the common name for what Venom is) can give it’s host a lot of super powers but it also has a mind and will of it’s own and, depending on it’s temperament, can cause a lot of damage and can full on eat people.  Venom is a quintessential anti-hero.

This big screen version was released back in October, and it was riding a wave of heavy skepticism and bad reviews.  It’s currently sitting at 29% on Rotten Tomatoes which, if you know your percentages, is not good.  But even before the reviews came in people were expressing disdain.

First problem is that it’s a product of the deal Marvel and Sony made years ago where Sony acquired the movie rights to Spider-Man and his various properties.  Since Sony now has an arrangement with Marvel Studios to use Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Sony still has ownership of other Spidey-related characters, and they thought ‘Why not make a movie featuring just long-time villain Venom?’.  A movie that features a well-known Spider-Man villain… but it doesn’t have Spider-Man.  To a lot of people that just didn’t make any sense at best and at worst was downright sacrilege.

Secondly fans were hoping the movie would have an R-rating… but that didn’t turn out to be the case, as it now has a PG-13 rating.  Which is great for more people to watch it (including most of you guys) but it could also take the teeth (heh) out of the film.  And it sounds like there were reshoots during it’s production, which is not always good for a film.

So yeah, bad reviews, rough history, a lot of fan skepticism.  Venom did not arrive in theaters with a lot of hope.

But then something strange and kind of awesome happened.  During it’s opening weekend Venom smashed box-office records, gaining the highest opening weekend in October to date.  Remember that low Rotten Tomatoes review I mentioned?  That was just for critics; the audience score is currently at 86%.  Fan art emerged, the internet came up with a bunch of jokes.  And the shipping, my gosh, the shipping, that was petty unexpected too.  And just today I read that Venom is pegged to make more money globally than any X-Men movie to date, including Deadpool.  Whaaaaaaaaaaaa?

So what happened?  How did this weird problem-prone little movie become such a hit?

Well, that article I linked to about it surpassing the X-Men movies theorized that it’s because of brand value.  Venom is an iconic character and so people will see a movie about him.  I’m not so sure about that though, and if you look at the comment (there was only one at the time of this writing) written below that article the person posting thinks that it’s because Tom Hardy‘s take on both Eddie Brock and Venom was so entertaining that it overshadowed the rest of the movie.

I went to see Venom actually, after I saw all the buzz on my favorite fan sites, and I have to agree with that poster, not just about Tom Hardy (who is a great actor, let’s not deny it) but about other components of the movie as well.  Ya see, my knowledge of the character Venom is pretty slim.  I watched the 90’s Spider-Man cartoon and he was one of the villains there.  I never saw the third Sam Raimi Spider-Man movie where Topher Grace tried to play Brock/Venom, and from what I hear I’m not missing much.  And I read about him a little in the comics.  So yeah, I didn’t go into it as a hard-core Venom fan but I did know the broad strokes.

And my take on the movie?  It was not a good movie, not by any stretch, but darn if it wasn’t fun.  Eddie was a surprisingly relateable character, just kind of a doofus who genuinely wants to do good but often times messes it up.  And Venom is… well, Venom.  But the two of them learn to work together, and it actually gets kind of adorable between the two during the last act.  There were some funny moments, some good action scenes and… yeah, it was just fun.

And sometimes that’s all a movie has to be.  Just fun.  Clearly it’s struck a nerve with a lot of people, and now there’s a good chance a sequel will happen.  Maybe we can even hope for that crossover with Spider-Man.

One last minor point; I’m really glad they changed the pronunciation of ‘symbiote’ in the movie.  Yeah, it’s a made-up word, but every time I’ve heard it spoken in a Marvel property they’ve always pronounced it as sym-BEE-ote.  One of the early trailers for Venom tried to pronounce it sym-BYE-ote.  It just sounded wrong to me.  But when I saw the movie it was back to the original sym-BEE-ote.  Thanks Marvel/Sony!

Also, this was my favorite bit of dialogue.  What a power move!

Anyway, did any of you guys see it?  What did you think?  Post away in the comments below.

Have a great week guys, and until next time, End of Line.

Week of Geek: Back to the Wizarding World

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It’s almost time again, Geeklings!  Time to head back to that magical realm, where wizards and witches live undercover, where history gets a sprinkling of sorcery, and where the most unlikely of individuals can become heroes… or villains.

Yup, this Friday Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald opens in theaters.

And though the early reviews are ‘meh‘ and this flick is already coming in controversial, I’m still excited.  How could I not be?  It’s Newt!  And Queenie, and Tina, and Jacob, and Credence!  And even Albus Dumbledore!  DUMBLEDORE!

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Yaaaaas!

As a wand-carrying, scarf-wearing Gryffindor, I am ready, willing and able to see what the next chapter will bring.  Though it’s so hard to beat the original Harry Potter series, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was a nice surprise for me.  I loved the characters, I loved the setting of 1920s New York, I loved the magic in America historical context (MACUSA and the New Salemers), and I loved the message.  Also, the beasts, my goodness the beasts!  So many amazing critters, including Nifflers, which have become one of my favorites.

And now we’re back!  A few years later, a growing threat, some new characters and some familiar faces.

So of course, Warner Bros, the studio behind the movie, is getting everyone excited, releasing some videos to catch people up and get them in the mood…

And on Peter’s Hill in London, Warner Bros UK unveiled something pretty darn awesome.

So yeah, people are excited.  Is it going to take us in a whole new direction?  Is it going to answer questions we may have?  Is it finally going to let two main characters be gay in a mainstream movie?  Is it going to fall flat on it’s face and totally muck things up?  Who’s to say?  We’ll have to wait until this weekend to find out.  But what do you guys think?  Are you excited too?  Indifferent?  Over it?  Post away in the comments below.

Enjoy Geeklings, let us know what you think, and until next time, End of Line.

Image result for fantastic beasts albus dumbledore gif

Week of Geek: Month of the Macabre, Part 2

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Hi again Geeklings!  Welcome to week 2 of our Month of the Macabre, designed to get you in the spirit of October and celebrate all the spookiness that comes with it.  This week, let’s talk about graphic novels, the books that deliver both verbal and visual scares.

First, let’s talk Archie Horror.  The Archie comics offshoot that started with one title everyone thought was pretty crazy and has since blossomed (get it?  Blossom? As in Cheryl?) over the last few years into it’s own publishing line.  Taking familiar characters in very unfamiliar settings you can find pretty much anything your horror fan heart could want.

Afterlife With Archie Afterlife with Archie, Book 1: Escape from Riverdale by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa – Some people thought it just wouldn’t work.  Take some of the most long-lasting and wholesome characters in all of comicdom, and drop them into a no-holds-barred zombie apocalypse.  Well, it happened, and it was a huge hit.  Jughead’s dog Hotdog is killed in a hit and run, and he turns to Sabrina Spellman, the resident witch, for help.  Going against her aunts wishes, Sabrina uses forbidden and dark magic to raise Hotdog from the dead.  But Hotdog doesn’t come back right, and one bite is all it takes for everything to be turned upside down and for the survivors to band together and try to stay alive.  Though this was advertised as a parody of horror films it gets downright grim at times.  Seriously, it made me cry.  But the artwork is gorgeous and it is suitably gory for your Halloween needs.

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Book 1: The Crucible by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa – By far my favorite book of the Archie Horror Line (so far).  Going back to Sabrina Spellman, this sets the teen witch’s story in the 1960s.  A lot of the same elements are there; Sabrina’s a half-witch being raised by her full witch aunts while maintaining a double life at Greendale High School and dating regular guy Harvey.  The main twist in the horror version is that Sabrina’s family are witches because they’ve sold their souls to the devil.  And on her 16th birthday (which is also Halloween night) Sabrina must decide if she’ll undergo the dark baptism or live as a mortal.  It’s intense and dark but so well-written and intriguing.  Plus, Netflix is making a TV series out of it.

Jughead: The Hunger Vol.1 Jughead: The Hunger Vol. 1 by Frank Tieri – Jughead Jones has always been famous for his insatiable appetite.  Where does it come from?  How about a nice big dose of lycanthropy?  Yup, in this universe Jughead is one of a long line of Jones werewolves, and another prominent Riverdale family are also werewolf hunters from just as long of a time back.  Looking at how much Jughead can eat in one sitting this makes a lot of sense to me.  And the two families locked in combat and with real consequences are just more reasons to read this series.

Vampironica Vampironica Issue 1 by Greg and Megan Smallwood – Veronica Lodge has had pretty simple goals in life.  Be rich, be popular, date Archie and sometimes Reggie, and maintain a frenemy status with Betty.  Everything changes when she ends up the victim of a vampire attack and she comes back as a blood sucker.  How will the change affect Veronica and her goals?  Will she be the same old shallow teen or will this make her something more?  You’ll have to read to find out.

So you’ve got those four series, and there’s more coming.  In 2019 Archie Horror will release two new series.  One is called Blossoms: 666 and features the Blossom twins, Cheryl and Jason.  Still popular and wealthy, but one of them is the Anti-Christ and no one, not even them, knows which one, and both twins want the title.  The other series is Jughead: The Hunger vs. Vampironica, which is exactly what it sounds like.  In the meantime, you can find more issues of all four of the current series on Hoopla.

So, what else we got?

Anya's Ghost Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol – Anya’s having a bit of a rough time and could really use a friend.  Even a ghost who’s been dead for a century that Anya finds at the bottom of a well seems like as good a friend as any.  But, of course, it’s not that simple.  Will this ghost be a new best friend or something much darker and more sinister?

 

 

Gotham Academy Gotham Academy, Vol 1: Welcome to Gotham Academy by Becky Cloonan – Set in a school supported by Bruce Wayne (aka Batman; you’ve probably heard of him), Gotham Academy follows Olive Silverlock and her new friend Maps as they navigate regular teen stuff in addition to ghosts haunting the school and old secrets from Gotham’s past being unearthed.

 

 

Tokyo GhoulTokyo Ghoul, Volume 1 by Sui Ishida – A series that’s become a classic in horror manga.  In this world Ghouls exist, and they look pretty normal but they really really like human flesh.  Ken Kaneki is a typical college student until a chance encounter leaves him not quite a Ghoul but not fully human anymore either; something in between, and the first of his kind.  Now stuck between two worlds, Ken must learn how the Ghoul society operates if he wants to get a handle on his new powers and survive this new life.

Wytches Wytches, Volume 1 by Scott Snyder – This story takes witches and makes them about as spooky as you possibly can.  Hogwarts students these guys ain’t.  Sailor Rook and her family moves to the town of Litchfield NH to escape a family tragedy, and all Sailor wants to do is start over and get settled into her new high school.  But there’s something in the woods.  Something sinister, and it has other plans for the Rooks.

 

Death Note Death Note, Volume 1: Boredom by Tsugumi Oba – Another manga horror classic with some big questions and some Japanese legends to boot.  Light Yagami is brilliant but bored.  But everything changes when a rogue Shinigami death god leaves the Death Note lying around and Light finds it.  It’s a notebook that kills whoever has their name written in it.  Light wants to use the Death Note to rid the world of evil but, of course, things get complicated.  One of the biggest complications is the Shinigami, named Ryuk, who is pretty darn scary just in appearance alone.

So there’s a few to get you started.  Any really good ones I missed?  Sound off in the comments below.

Stay tuned for more scary selections.  Have a great week and until next time, End of Line.

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Week of Geek: Month of the Macabre, Part 1

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Hiya Geeklings!

Before I get started with today’s post, a big thank you to everyone who came our for Vaughan Fan Con this past Saturday.  We had a great time, there were some amazing costumes, and it made my little fangirl heart proud!  Thank you so much!

And now… HAPPY OCTOBER!

I’ve waited all year to all-caps that and shout it from the rooftops.  This is, without a doubt, one of my all-time favorite months.  It’s a month where the leaves start to change, the air gets cooler, there’s a sense of just a little bit of foreboding in the air, and it’s a month where you’re allowed to be as creepy as you want.  You can watch all the scary movies and read all the spooky tales and listen to all the creepiest podcasts or audiobooks and just… bask in the season.

Plus, there’s delicious food.  Thanksgiving noms and pumpkin everything and candy, to be precise.

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So, what I thought we’d do this year is to take these next 5 weeks, right up to Halloween, and talk about some spooky stuff you can indulge in.  Books, Graphic Novels, Movies, TV shows and Audio (music and whatnot), not necessarily in that order.  We’ve got a lot of great, teen-friendly creepy stuff for you to borrow and lots of recommendations.

Since we are a library, let’s start with the books.  Novels are one of our main breads and butters, you know.

This list has been freshly updated by yours truly.  I put Scream Site on hold and am eagerly awaiting it’s arrival, but there are definitely other titles I want to check out too, like The Lantern’s Ember and Dread Nation.  A comfy couch, something hot to drink, a warm blanket, candles and a spooky story.  Perfect way to spend an October evening.

Any favorite scary books you’d like to recommend?  Post away in the comments section.

That’s it for now.  Tune in these next few weeks for more recommendations, enjoy your Thanksgiving weekend and until next time, End of Line.