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Showing posts from 2010

Guilty Pleasure Gifts For Geeks

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Shopping for your nerdy pals is an easy task, especially if you yourself identify with "nerd" culture. Buying for these like-minded companions ends up feeling like shopping for yourself ("I would love to have this Indiana Jones bust, thus such-and-such will love it, too!"). There in lies the challenge to find the perfect present, the overlooked specialty item that your Doctor Who loving friend didn't notice. You could go for the obvious Sonic Screwdriver, or you could get the light up Tardis USB hub, with sound effects to boot. It's about finding a gift that isn't just what your loved one would buy for themselves; it's finding something they didn't even know they wanted, and perhaps would be a bit embarrassed to purchase in person. Below are a few items that will surprise even the most devoted fans, and guarantee that the recipient will be more than grateful for your inspired choice.

For the Spider-Man Fan:
The Spider-Man Snuggie
Where to Find It…

Charities For Nerds

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During tough times, the holidays are when we all throw our budgets out the window in order to show our friends and family a little appreciation. It's also the time of year when those in need are most deserving of that something extra. It's easy to forget that despite the stress from my current job and the lack of funds I face from time to time, I still have a job, something 1 in 10 adults in this country don't have. Many of those people don't have the luxery of cutting back on purchases in order to pay for Christmas presents because there is no budget to cut.

Fans of comic books are no strangers to charity. Many of our most beloved characters give of themselves selflessly year round, serving as role models for us all to aspire. We may not be able to save lives in the heroic manners that Supes and Spidey do, but the faceless charity donor makes a difference in lives, too. Since this is a blog in appreciation of all things nerdy here is a list of some of the best chariti…

Headscratching Headlines in Comics

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Syke! Marvel does not plan to roll back any current titles to $2.99. Expect to see minis, one-shots, and the horrible 90's sounding "Point 1" comics at the lower price. I guess everyone feels pretty dumb for believing those Marvel editors when they claimed otherwise at recent panels. The timing did not help either considering these (now retracted) announcements came hot on the heals of DC's promise to lower all $3.99 titles back to $2.99. Well played, sirs. Dirty, but well played.
Grant Morrison appears in the new My Chemical Romance music video! I saw this a few weeks ago when the video premiered after an episode of Jersey Shore (don't judge me) and I thought maybe I was  imagining things, but a quick trip to the internet has since confirmed the cameo. His appearance isn't that surprising since Morrison is a fan of The Umbrella Academy, singer Gerard Way's awesome Dark Horse book (Morrison wrote an intro for the trade). It is possible that Grant Morrison…

Comics To Keep You Up At Night

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It's the day before Halloween and you don't have a costume yet; you probably aren't planning to hit the town except maybe the local video store to rent horror movies. Not all of us have the desire to dress as our favorite comic book characters, but there is an alternative to enjoying the holiday with comics in mind; seasonal reading of course! Grab a cup of pumpkin spice latte and dig into your bowl of Halloween candy while you read some of these spooky tales.

Arkham Asylum
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Dave McKean
Publisher: DC
If you like...: David Lynch films, Victorian horror stories, The Shining

One cannot have a list of eerie tales without Grant Morrison's Arkham Asylum. The Dave McKean drawn graphic novel is one hell of a creepy story no matter what time of year you pick it up. The book follows two parallel stories about Arkham; a present day Batman entering the madhouse after it has been taken over by the inmates, and a look into the asylum's troubled begi…

Halloween Costumes On The Cheap - Part VII

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Peter Parker / Jimmy Olsen

These two are together since they require a lot of the same items. Both are photographers for major newspapers (albeit in different universes), and both are fans of sweater vests. Here’s what you’ll need for either costume:

A camera; doesn’t have to work, but an older 35mm one with a neck strap will look bestKhakis White shirt tucked in, with sleeves rolled up to the elbowsSweater vestFor Jimmy Olsen, a bowtie; for Peter Parker a regular tie or nonePress pass with newspaper and character name on it (I found a sample of one made for Parker's Daily Bugle)Manila folder containing photos (for Jimmy, blurry shots of Supes flying through the sky, Peter will have better pics of Spidey)
These costumes are so simple yet accurate, I’m disappointed there aren’t more of them at Halloween or at the cons. All of the details add up and even people who are vaguely familiar with the characters will enjoy your costume.

That's all folks, if you don't have a costume ye…

Halloween Costumes On The Cheap - Part VI

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Buffy!!!

Okay, so you kind of need to look the part for this one. But if I had blonde hair right now, I’d totally go as my favorite Slayer. I think the best way to get this costume across is to dress like Buffy during her most stylistically iconic era, that being during seasons 1-3 where she wore skirts and had a French manicure most of the time. Later seasons have her wearing a lot of turtlenecks. And Leather pants. So many leather pants! This is just a loose guideline for how to dress like Buffy:

Mini skirt and white tank top ORA spaghetti strap dress, a red satin one will look very 90’s chicJean Jacket or skirt length shirt to wear over outfitBoots. Cute ones, preferably leather knee highsManicured nailsSmall hoop earringsA big gaudy silver cross necklaceC ring from Angel (and these are pretty easy to find at thrift stores seeing how popular they were in the 90’s)Frosty make-up (think pinks and whites)The stake (this is all you really need to make the costume)
Again, without the blo…

Halloween Costumes On The Cheap - Part V

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Matt Murdock / Daredevil


This costume is far more comfortable than Daredevil’s tight red leather suit, and is probably less embarrassing considering the general public associates that with the terrible Ben Affleck film. Here’s all you’ll need:

Suit, button up shirt, and red tie; nothing too flashy or expensive (he’s a lawyer but not high paid)A pair of red tint sunglassesA walking stick covered in red tape with a white tip (electrical tape will look best)Having waves of ginger-tinged hair will help
If anyone asks who you are, just say a blind lawyer. If they don’t get it yet, they probably won’t appreciate it when you tell them you’re Daredevil. It’s also pretty easy to use the same method as the Clark Kent costume, but replacing the Superman logo t-shirt with a scarlet red tee that has “DD” on the chest. Again, a sharpie will do the trick here since his logo is nothing terribly intricate.


(More comic book themed costume ideas here, here, here, and here!)

Halloween Costumes On The Cheap - Part IV

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Scott Pilgrim / Ramona Flowers
These costumes require a little more DIY action, but from the number of Scott / Ramona’s I saw at the recent Chicago Comic Con, it’s a pretty easy costume to make. If you plan to wear it this weekend, better set aside an evening to make a trip to your local thrift and drug stores. Instructions for both costumes are after the jump!

Halloween Costumes On The Cheap - Part III

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Death

It’s tough thinking of easy costumes for the ladies. There aren’t a lot of iconic alter ego costumes, and as much as I love Alias, Jessica Jones is obscure, even for comics. If you are a Neil Gaiman fan, there is a 78% chance that you already own a Death costume. Those of us who didn’t go through a Goth phase during high school can still easily come up with the necessary items:
All. Black. ClothesFishnets in some form will help, leggings, sleeves, shirtHeavy black eye make up / lipsBlack chipped nail polishMessy dark hair (I think making it look like The Cure’s Robert Smith is best)An ankh symbol necklace
The ankh charm may be the only thing you’ll have to hunt down, but I think even cutting the shape out of cardboard and painting it black will do just fine. Being pale will also help you with this costume, but with that many black accessories, short of being Jersey-Shore orange you will look the part. People who aren’t familiar with the Sandman comics will have little reason to que…

$2.99 Comic Books - Too Little Too Late?

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With the recent announcements from both DC and Marvel that they would release all new comics at $2.99, I find myself torn between feeling relief / confusion / skepticism. This drastic measure is no doubt a direct result of rumbles amongst fans and retailers alike the past few months, not to mention slumping individual issue sales. Until these changes hit the shelves, it's hard to say how this gamble will play out for the big two - will it be a winning move or a bust? Here's a look at the possible outcomes from both sides.

Cheaper Books = More Customers = More Sales

2010's mantra among fans seems to be "less is more" as pull lists have gotten shorter and shorter for many regular customers. Citing high price tags and waning interests, fans are finding that they can live without the five ongoing Avengers titles and stick to one or two. With the prices being lowered, those that dropped a title for the high price tag may decide to start reading it again. A 25% discount…

Halloween Costumes On The Cheap Part II

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Hellblazer 
Unless you run in knowledgeably nerdy circles, this costume probably won’t be easily recognized. Random strangers on the street may recognize the name Constantine but they will be confused when they see you don’t look / act like the Keanu Reeves catastrophe. But for the H-Blazer fans that see you on Halloween, this obscure costume is sure to leave a lasting impression. Here’s what you’ll need: A tan trench coatBlack pants and suit jacketBlack thin tiePack of cigarettesA crossA small bibleVial of holy water (a clear hotel size shampoo bottle filled with water marked “holy water” will work great)Carefully disheveled hairBritish accent
This costume is all about attitude. No gimmicks, no “ah-ha” moments upon viewing. You simply have to be the character. With the necessary props and a reluctantly badass attitude, once they realize who you are, comic book fans in the know will love you forever. If you have an equally nerdy pal willing to go along with it, have him dress up as a cab…

Halloween Costumes On The Cheap

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Not willing to splurge on the $100 Batsuit with utility belt? Want to avoid the embarrassment of going to a party dressed in the same Joker costume as your co-worker? Or are you simply too broke to go for a store bought costume? There are plenty of comic book character costumes you can make from items in your own closet. Keep checking back as I will continue posting ideas until the holiday weekend arrives!


Clark Kent

It may not be as fun to dress up as Superman’s alter ego, but you’ll certainly get more props for creativity. And let’s be honest, most of us can pull off Clark more easily than Kal-el. Here’s what you’ll need: 
Jacket and dress pantsA button up dress shirtRed or blue tie you won’t mind parting ways withSome bendable wire, or a thin wire hangerBlack rimmed glassesSuperman logo t-shirtTwo safety pins

Most of these items are pretty self-explanatory (glasses, suit) but what makes this an awesome costume is that everyone will know it’s Superman, but you won’t have to wear a cape…

24 Hour Comics Day - Chicago

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Update 10/21/10: Here is a link to the completed comics created at Graham Crackers Comics in Edgewater, along with a video shot on location by Cameron Keleher!


With the changing of the leaves comes the desire to lock one's self inside their apartment and hibernate for several months (at least that is the urge here in Chicago, where the nightly temperature is dipping closer to 30 degrees every night). Perhaps that is why 24 Hour Comics Day works so well as an annual fall event; it's a great catalyst to keep creators motivated during the cold winter months. Here's the gist of the project: create a 24-page comic book in 24 hours. The experience forces artists to finish a complete comic book, typos, scribbles and all. No more putting off that idea, or waiting to be inspired. Besides the opportunity to overcome creative blocks it's also great exposure, with all of the completed works scanned and hosted on websites for public viewing (see above links), and a few are selected …

The End Is Nigh... And Other Popular Headlines

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I've been a little preoccupied lately with "real life" to read my comics as of late (see previous post), and it has also put me behind on following the industry. Boy have things gotten ugly in my RSS feed. Science has yet to prove this theory, but negativity is a contagious and all-consuming force. It's why bad reviews seem to get more attention than the glowing ones; and why painfully embarrassing moments caught on film are so popular on YouTube. We are a race enamored with bad news; that's how a fiasco like the Balloon Boy incident can garner three hour non-stop coverage on CNN. When it was revealed to be a hoax, people were pissed because they can stomach needless tragedy more easily than intentional stupidity.

That was a bit of a tangent, but I am making a valid comparison: coverage of the comic book industry is susceptible to sweeping negativity just like any other media coverage. Is the industry really headed towards inevitable doom as some have implied, or…

Nerd Wedding

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Hello everyone.

I think we can get a little personal now since I am writing this post about getting married. Before heading to Chicago Comic Con (or previously Wizard World Chicago) on Saturday, August 21st, my husband and I boldly went where neither one of us have gone before. To make things nerdier, we held our Star Trek themed nuptials at Challengers Comics+Conversation where co-owner Pat Brower officiated the ceremony. We will be having a more traditional ceremony for our families in about a years time, but as far as custom made weddings are concerned, this could not have been more perfect for us. There was even a Borg cube cake! A special thanks to Pat for going above and beyond our requests; and to Michelle, Molly, Shelby and Dane for participating, especially Molly for making the delicious wedding day desserts. You can view images and video of the short ceremony below:

The Vulcan taking photographs was my cousin, Veronica. I constructed both her's, mine, and my husband'…

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World - Dare I Say The Perfect Adaptation?

Perhaps for me to write an unbiased review, I should wait for this big stupid grin to leave my face. But I'm certain my love for this film won't diminish any time soon, might as well write it now while the film is still fresh in my mind. Firstly, this movie could not have come at a better time. I have been suffering from a disease shared by many movie goers and comic book fans alike called "adaptation fatigue". I've encountered so many poor translations in recent memory, that I don't even bother seeing all of the comic-to-movie adaptations these days. The Losers, in my queue. Kick-Ass, waiting to be watched. Wolverine, yeah. I still haven't seen it. Even the movies that usually deliver the well-adapted goods have disappointed, such as the most recent Harry Potter film. (Any fan of the book who claims to have enjoyed The Half-Blood Prince movie is certifiably insane - it was awful.) Enough about those movies that I have been too lazy or uninterested to see…

Remember When X-Men Didn't Suck?

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Yeah, me too.

Preview of the upcoming X-Men / Vampire storyline


Comparison of Ultimate Avengers 3 and current X-Men vampire themed stories

A swell summary from Savage Critics of how the current x-book offerings are so very very awful


In other less depressing news, here are some more details about the upcoming Batwoman series!Batwoman #0 will be hitting shelves in November as a bridge between the character's stint in Detective Comics and the upcoming solo series, scheduled for a February release. That's a book worth marking your calendar for, folks!

SDCC 2010: Announcements Worth Noting

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What makes it bearable for fans like myself who miss the International Comic Con year after year? Why the squeal-inducing announcements made by publishers of course! Press releases throughout the year by Marvel, DC, and increasingly, movie studios, are just business as usual; San Diego is where things get serious. Or seriously awesome. Often both! These are some of the noteworthy announcements thus far, with more to come:

Batwoman is finally coming! I didn't want to get my hopes up until I saw some artwork, and now I can officially start getting excited. Technically this isn't a San Diego announcement as it was posted on DC's blog The Source a few days ago, but as they note, the timing is close enough.

The Walking Dead television series for AMC has a trailer! Though the footage has yet to hit the internet, (see below) the mere thought of seeing this in the near future is enough to send my heart aflutter. Even more exciting, Bear McCreary is doing the soundtrack! For those of…

Spotlight on Stores: Greater Dayton Area

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After many years leading a nomadic lifestyle, one thing I have come to appreciate is the unusually large selection of comic book stores here in the Dayton area. From the long running Funny Books in Vandalia, to Maverick's, the only comic book store that was open on New Year's Day of 2003, it has always been easy finding what one wants. As a teenager, most of my purchases were made at the infamous Bookery Fantasy, as well as Dragon's Lair, a store that unfortunately closed down after 30+ years because as rumor has it, the owners divorced. Since leaving Ohio for school (and to generally maintain my sanity), a lot of new blood has come into the area. Friendly staff and a "new school" feel to these young establishments make them must-see stops for locals and out of towners alike.

1. TAF Toys Action Figures

Closed Monday
Tues: 12 - 5
Wed: 12 - 7
Thurs:12 - 7
Fri: 12 - 7
Sat: 12 - 5
Closed Sunday

37 S. St. Clair
Dayton, Ohio US
(937)222-4517
tafstore[a]sbcglobal.net

TAF firs…

A Fond Farewell to Harvey Pekar

I hate to update the blog with sad news, and I'm sure many readers will have already heard by now, but Harvey Pekar, author of American Splendor, has passed away at age 70. The cause of death has yet to be determined. Since Harvey's body of work revolved so heavily around his own experiences, there is something particularly tragic about his death. How will Harvey's story end? We'll never again see where life takes him, or have the pleasure of reading stories with his unique, yet relate able perspective. For many fans, reading American Splendor was as close as they'll get to reading about themselves. His experiences and feelings were shared by many, regardless of age, background, or comic book preference. We've all hated our jobs, felt frustrated by the mind-boggling actions of strangers, or just felt like our purpose in life wasn't clear. Harvey felt all of those things, and even though his incites may have been a simple matter of expressing what he felt, t…

Con Season Always Guarantees One Thing...

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....a chance to see the comics industry through the distorted view of the mass media! Yay! As more cons garner coverage from traditional media outlets (IMDB has San Diego Comic Con coverage on their front page), opportunities for the the industry and fans to be seen in new ways are squandered, and con attendees are often presented in a not so pleasant light. Features lean towards the goofy and / or scantily clad, and creators are almost never showcased. Whether the spotlight is on fans, vendors, or special celebrity guests, the photographs are almost never flattering. Although fans relish the opportunity for their hard work to be seen by the masses, it's safe to say that most cos-players would rather have their costumes unseen than have it in the local newspaper, poorly photographed. Just look at this year's Philadelphia Comic Con coverage from this local Philly news website: For all we know, this (surprised) fan is dressed as The First Slayer. The vague caption and unnecessary…