Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Breaking the Comfort Zone - The New Ms. Marvel

It is rare that I go out of my comfort zone and try something new, especially where comics, movies, and fiction in general are concerned.  There is a set of things I go for.  I love Laser guns,  I love predictable cliche stories, and generally I like Doctor Who (but I think this goes without saying).  When I do go out of that comfort zone I usually come back with a respect but not a . . . Can't wait for the next one. . . "

But this week I tried something new.

Ms, Marvel #1 (Marvel Comics)
I have been catching articles for the last few months about the new Ms. Marvel that Marvel is bringing out.  The articles kept talking about how groundbreaking it will be not just for super hero stories but for comics in general.  It was being compared to those early issues of spiderman, you know back when Peter Parker was going through the angst of high school.  Its a story we all know.  The twist is that the main character is a young muslim girl who is making her way through high school in New Jersey while being an uber fan girl of the actual heroes especially Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers).

I had to give it a try.  I'm going into this fresh in several ways.  1) I am not up to date on the Marvel Universe.  I pretty much stay in the silver age.  2) I am not up to date on previous Carol Danvers versions of Ms. Marvel or Captain Marvel.  3) I am ashamed to say it but I don't keep up with many female characters.  Its not for any reason but none of them have piqued my interest to this point.

I looked it up on comixology and downloaded it and it is worth the hype.  The Art reminds me of so many of the independents that line the aisles at Heroes Con.  It doesn't have the perfect lines that I have become used to in the modern marvel age of comics.  It doesn't feel so mechanical.  Actually it looks and feels very human!  I am only familiar with Adrian Alphona's previous work in passing.  I have seen his art in Runaways and it was good but beyond that I have not really paid attention.  But I am glad I picked this up as now I am a fan!
Some of Alphona's art from Ms. Marvel #1 (Marvel Comics)

Of course the art it part of the whole.  G. Willow Wilson is the writer
of this line.  While the story is just starting and we haven't even seen what the our hero, Kamala Khan, can do yet, we do get a sense of where it is going.  This story is going to deal with being a teenager in many of the same ways that Peter Parker dealt with it, but at the same time we are going to find the cultural ramifications that Kamala will deal with both in society and with her family all the while dealing with super powers.

This new Ms. Marvel is a part of Marvels move to strive to push strong female characters.  I have to say I am excited to see where this is going.  this is a strong book and I will come back.  Hopefully it will break me out of my comfort zone and let me explore lots of other good comics that are out there.

If you get a chance to pick this book up I recommend you do it.  Even if this book is not the kind of thing you would pick up I think it is well worth it!  Take the time to check it out.

What are some comics that may have been out of your norm but you picked them up anyway . . . and maybe even enjoyed them.  I would love to hear some suggestions of what to pick up next.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Kickstart This: On a Roll: Level Up your RPG

Over the past few months I have been jumping into some kickstarter projects.  I jumped in on the Cool and Collected Magazine project and my friend Scott Fogg's Comic project Phileas Reid Knows We're Not Alone.  I have enjoyed sponsoring dreams.  In the case of Scott and his project is kind of local and it is always nice to help out locals.  It helps that his comic also is amazing!

Another Kick Starter I am very excited about is another local friend of mine. Ryan Faricelli is putting together a book called "On a Roll: Level Up Your RPG"  in which he is imparting tips and tricks on playing and running RPGs.  The book will cover both the tabletop and LARP verity of games.  Ryan has been playing these sorts of games for over 25 years and I think if this is something you are interested in this will be a great project to back.  I think it will be especially good if you are new to the hobby or want to learn a little bit about it.

Check out the Kickstarter Page HERE and you can watch the video below!

Playing these kinds of games is something I love but unfortunately I don't get the chance to play like I was once able to.  I am looking forward to reading Ryan's thoughts on the subject.  

Are there any Kickstarter projects you are looking or have already backed.  I would love to know what some of you are looking at!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

2013 in Review

2013 wasn't quite the year I had wanted it to be.  Instead of the year of doing I had anticipated this time last year, it was a year of learning.  I'm ok with this as it made it equally as important to me.

2013 had a good lead in from 2012 being a year full of projects.  Toward the end of 2012 I had began planning my comic and doing some preparation for doing it.  Practicing, learning how to set up pages, learning how to scan pages, learning how to decently ink.  All of these things made up a huge part of 2013.  These processes taught me more than the skill of comic making though.  Through the practice I learned to sit back and make a good product instead of just putting it out.  I learned how to do things in processes.  I have, in the past, been one who just wants something finished with.  I learned to control myself (with the help of some great friends) and let some ideas simmer and develop.  While I am still not one for waiting too long and just sitting on an idea until it is dead, sometimes something you are making just isn't cooked through yet.  Of course you can see the beginning of the comic here

After Twistoid I only need one more
figure to complete my collection.
While the comic has taken up a large part of my year its not the only thing I have done.  I have continued doing toy shows, although I have done quite a few less this year.  We did three shows this year to some success.  Through this though, I have focused my collecting a bit.  I am literally one figure away from finishing my Masters of the Universe figure collection, and I think I might actually have one of those coming.  I have found other great things to add to my collection as well, but I have also cut it back to make it more focused.  I am cutting out the clutter.

A few of the Thor issues I have gotten this year while building the collection!
 As for collections I have also had the opportunity to flesh out my Thor collection.  I have
been slowly completing a collection that my dad started years ago.  I am down to needing 56 issues to complete the original run of Thor comics!  It has been a really exciting adventure to go on.  I've learned a lot about an scene I have really been away from for some time!  I am really excited about getting even closer to finishing this collection in 2014.

Me on my sweet ride while
my leg was broken!
In the middle of the year I had a few bad experiences.  Now the great things about bad experiences is that you learn how to become stronger through them.  One of the big things is that I broke a leg.  Now, this seems kind of menial as people break legs all the time.  Mine wasn't really that bad, but it helped me learn to let go and realize some things will go on even if I'm not around.  I was out of work for 2 weeks and off my leg for 6.  I learned to depend on people.  We stayed at my in laws or my parrents house for most of that time and they all helped me get through it.  I have to admit they were saints because I was a bear during most of the time!  It was a dark period.

During that time Timegate occurred.  Without me.  For those of you who don't know Timegate is an annual Doctor Who and Stargate convention that happens over memorial day weekend.  I am the co-director of the the Doctor Who Track.  It was really tough for me to miss.  I got the play by play and of course I took part in the planning.  But I was super excited about this year and I had to miss it due to my leg.  But I powered through and now I have this year to look forward to.

After this I did get to go to heroes again this year.  and I traversed it with a broken leg.  Its not something I would want to do again, but I am glad my wife encouraged me to go!  It was another great year!

2013 was kind of a dead year for the New Monster Project, which is a pop culture, geekery, video group that I am involved with.  We brought on a new member and have been planning a fairly major relaunch that involves my comic, videos, and even some podcasts.  I'm pretty excited about where we will be going over the next year.

 In 2013 I continued working on "The Oncoming Storm" podcast, which is a Doctor Who Spinoff media podcast.  Because of this I have read lots of books, comics, and ebooks, and listened to lots of audios.  Actually I would say I have read more this year that I have in any other year.  I'm proud of that, I'm really happy that I have been able to be a part of that podcast!

Speaking of Doctor Who I would be remiss if I did not mention the fact that this was the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, and while I am not directly involved with Doctor Who, anyone who reads this blog will know it is a huge part of my life.  So the 50th anniversary was  a big deal.  It was a great time to reflect on the show that I love and get a lot of new insight on it.  and through the process I may have even become a little more tolerant of new fans, which an't be a bad thing, can it?

Looking back on all of these thing I see that it probably has been a busier year than I really thought it was.  All in all its been another Whirlwind of a year.  How was your 2013.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Introducing Quinton Harrison the Man From Earth

I've been giving cryptic messages about a secret project for the last few months.  Well, it is time to make it real!  This weekend I launched a comic called Quinton Harrison the Man from Earth.  I have been working on the world and the character for the about 12 years now.  I never exactly knew what to do with him and then after getting back into comics a bit decided to try my hand at making a comic!

Quinton is kind of a love letter to all of the adventure stories I grew up on.  Star Wars, Doctor Who, Indiana Jones, James Bond, all of these influences are there!  I have been partaking in these stories all of my life and decided it was time to throw my action hero into the mix.  With a bit of action hero, throw in a little space opera, and add a pinch of 60s and 70s camp TV and you have the universe of Quinton Harrison.

The biggest challenge was that I had to learn all of this.  While I have fiddled around with sketching and drawing I do cont consider myself an artist, but I really had no one else to fall back on so I decided to do the first few stories on my own.  I spent time learning techniques and the best way to draw things to be manipulated in photoshop later.  I have a stack of books and list of websites that have been incredibly helpful through the process of getting me up to speed.  That said I stand by what I said, I am not an artist and I have no misconceptions that the art is fantastic   Its not.  But at the same time I am proud of it, and I am equally as proud of where it has gone to for the first proper issue.

None of this would have happened however if it wasn't for an old High School friend that I got back in touch with.  He is the one that made this happen.  He took my ideas and made them make sense.  He made sure I got things done and he helped me see my ideas through.  I owe a lot of this to him.

Quinton Harrison the Man From Earth has launched over at you can go there and see the five page prologue issue.  We are in the process of finishing the first full length issue which will be available in print as well as online!  We are taking these issue by issue so we hope to begin to get on a more regular schedule, but until we do we hope to have information for you in the mean time!

Now that the cat is out of the bag I will begin posting some sketches and images that are relevant to the comic as well.  Of course you can also be sure to find my discourse on fandom as I typically do as I get time to do it.    

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Doctor Who - Celebrating the Underdog

So this is it.  The day that my fandom has been building up to for . . . well 50 years.  Today marks a momentous occasion, not only for Doctor Who and it's fans, but also in a way fandoms everywhere.  Today is one of those days that you will be able to answer the question "Where were you when the 50th anniversary special aired.  Not only is it a land mark for a sci-fi show in terms of longevity, of course it also marks the occasion of an amazing around the world Simulcast.  People all over the world will have the opportunity to see the special at the same time.  Now, I want you to think, when was the last time you can remember this happening for a sci-fi show. . .(Other than the announcement of Peter Capaldi).  I mean movies are even released at different times around the world, so it must say something about the shows raging popularity.  

The best part about Doctor Who, though, is that it is an underdog story.  Not the fiction but the story of how it even happened in the first place.  Everything was against it.  The producers and directors were often (from the very beginning) set up for failure, but they pulled through.  Its amazing that the show made it the first 26 years, but now it comes back and it is literally at the top.  This is important, because it has effected so many people in so many different ways.

The show means so many things for different people.  For many of my friends it has encouraged them to be courageous in the face of adversity.  Thats a big deal.  Others see it as a inspiration as to how to treat others.  Still there are others who it has taught to hold their temper and how to use your mind in tough situations.  For me, though, the show is an old friend who has been there for me, never changing, through good times and bad times.  Growing up there was a story for every situation.  This show has been like a comfort food for me.  It has been there for me when the day hasn't gone right. it has celebrated with me when things have gone swimmingly.  Its also been there to help wind away a boring day.

Through this show I have also gained such good friends (real friends) :).  When I was in knoxville I decided it was time that I did something to meet other Doctor Who fans locally.  This connection is something I had never had the privilege of having before.  This was during the last days of the wilderness years so doctor who fandom was not as prevalent as it is today.  I decided to start a fan group, and to advertise I made flyers (this is something you used to do) and a website.  There were a few responses here and there, but one of them, Martin, became a lifelong friend and now we co direct programming a t a doctor who convention together.

This idea of a fan group never really died, and I kept doing with it, doing local conventions with the idea that I could meet other fans. . and it paid off.  in 2008 (or 9 I can't quite remember), I did a panel at connooga, and struck gold.  There were a few other fans, Jan, Kim, and Rachel.  Together we formed a group called the TWA (Tennessee Who Authority) and as of this writing the facebook group has 593 members.  IT has been a wild ride.  

Sometime after that meeting, though, I met Alan, the director of the timegate convention and We became fast friends as well.  I got involved with the convention and the rest is history.  I've been really blessed with all of these fantastic friends and so many more that I can't even name.  Its really because of this show and the incredible community that is built around it.

I think this 50th anniversary special is a landmark for so many things.  For me it is the celebration of old friends and new friends!  It is the celebration of becoming better people.  It is a celebration of underdogs.  It is the celebration of an old man who was brave enough to leave his home to have adventures and help people.

Happy birthday Doctor Who!

- Check out the Doctor Who Anniversary special today (November 23) at 2:50pm and again at 7:00 pm on BBCA


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Let The Celebrations Begin! Familiar Faces, Docudramas, and mystical sisters!

In about 8 days the world will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of Doctor who.  I suppose that since this blog was originally created to talk about my travels through Doctor Who Fandom, it is a little odd that I have been mum on the subject of late.  I also suppose it is time that I break that celebration, at least enough so that I can celebrate this momentous occasion.

In terms of Doctor Who this has been quite a year,  There has been the regular season of Doctor Who, 50th Anniversary ebooks, rereleases of older books, 50th anniversary Audios, Comics, and a wonderful 50th anniversary special from big Finish.   We even had some old stories unearthed! But of course the one thing that every one is still talking about is the Official special that we are all waiting on.  Its been teased for a long time now.  Today part of that came to fruition.  There have been murmuring for over a year that Paul McGann may be making some kind of appearance, probably on a minisode.  Today those rumors were put to bed and they turned out to be true!  Today McGann once again graced and official BBC production of Doctor Who, and it was perfect.

 For those of us who braved the wilderness years and survived it was not a disappointment because in one line, 15 years of or so of audio cannon was legitimized.  While many of us already knew it was cannon - and could prove it - Today the BBC gave the nod.  That is important.  Not 2 weeks ago I posed a question on the facebook page for a podcast I am part of asking if "Spinoff Media should be celebrated as part of the history of Doctor Who."  Today it was, I feel like we have a new life.

McGann had a great energy and in a way reminded me what I love about Doctor Who.  for the first time since 2005 we see a Doctor who has not been through the ravages of the time war.  While this doctor is portrayed as trying to avoid the war, he has not been involved in it.  He still feels carefree.  He seems untainted by the idea o the time war.  He is portrayed as an explorer and an adventurer, which is the way the McGann doctor, from the earliest drafts, was supposed to be.  They hit it, right down to the new updated costume.  Moffat nailed my image of the 8th doctor.  I only wish we were going to get more of him, he was truly amazing in the less than 7 minutes that he was on screen.

McGann's new costume in "The Night of the Doctor"

Of course while I think McGann was the best part there is more awesomeness.  The Sisterhood of Karn, who first appeared in the brain of Morbius, makes an appearance as well as the harbingers of the the John Hurt "War Doctor".  As much as Moffat says he hates to do it, he is playing a lot of fan service right now.  Bringing back fan favorites and little bits of cannon.  Seeing the sisterhood was a lot of fun to experience, especially opposite McGann's Doctor!

I think we still have a few surprises in store for the actual special, but even if we don't,  I think we just witnessed the most importance 6 minutes of Doctor Who since 2005.  Perhaps it will bring some new who fans to the fold of spinoff media and then we will be fending them off of that as well.

So, Thank you Stephen Moffat!  You made a lot of fan's day, while making a lot of new who fans scratch their heads in confusion.  For that, I thank you!

And of course in the tradition of when it rains it pours, we were also granted a first look at a trailer for the docudrama Adventures in Time and Space!  It looks very swinging and I'm probably just as excited about that as I am the special that is coming up!

And just for good measure in cas you haven't seen it the trailer that was released last weekend:

What are you most excited about for the 50th anniversary!  I'd love to hear your comments.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The League: Nightmares from the cold war

This weeks challenge from the league is "What a Nightmare."  I have delved back into a dream that still haunts me from when I was little kid

I usually don't have dreams, and nightmares even less.  I do however have a vivid memory of a nightmare I had a kid, about 5.  The odd thing is that I recall having the dream twice.

Its's strange because it is a dream that was so in line with the times.  This would have been in the early 80s toward the end of the cold war (to give you some perspective)  I was somewhere between 4 and 5 years old and, like now, didn't pay too much attention to current events!  I was much more happy playing with my toys.

The dream horrified me.  I was in my house with my mom and my grand mother.  I looked out the window and saw tanks and infantry turning into my drive way.  My mom and grandmother freaked out and grabbed me and ran out into the woods behind our house and told me to be very quiet, and then we hid.  All I knew was that the Russians had invaded.

That was it.  To this day I haven't figured out what triggered the dream.  I'm sure it was based on conversations of my grandparents and my parents or other grown ups.  I hadn't seen red dawn so that wasn't it.  It is interesting to me because it seems that my young mind just soaked up the current events of the time and created into a horror story and made me dream about it.

To this day that kind of hopeless feeling of capture/invasion horrifies me.

 So what are your thoughts?  What is a nightmare you have had?  Leave some comments, and feel free to psychoanalyze my 5 year old self!

The League of Extraordinary bloggers is a fantastic group to be a part of, you should get involved!

Also Check out some other posts from the league!

The Goodwill Geek remembers the horror movies that gave him nightmares:

Chrisloc also remembers some scary movies:

George Talks about the nightmare of having his Star Wars figures stolen.

Cold War Tank Image from