Monday, June 30, 2014

Greendale Community College Saved from Oncoming Comet!

     Earlier this year, the show "Community" joked that, after five seasons, they would definitely return for a third...unless of course the fictional school of Greendale Community College was hit by a meteorite. The after credits joke even included a line up of truly eye-roll worthy programs that would be replacing the show. Whether the writers knew something we didn't at the time or were just intelligent enough to be precognisant (which explains the awesomely clever comedy on Community), the show was indeed cancelled. And, lo, were the wails heard from the Janitor's closet to the Biology room.

     However, the show's creators were hard working, and there were rumors of their attempts to find a home for this magnificent show, including at Netflix. Finally, as of today, we can say that Community will live [record scratch]. Yahoo, also known as from whence your grandparents get their forwarded joke-emails and the latest celebrity gossip, has not been known for being a visual content distributor. Perhaps that is about to change. Perhaps this is NOT the darkest timeline.

For more information, try here!

Cons for Fun vs Cons for Money - Does it Matter? by Mike Fatum

For the last ten to fifteen years, geek culture has been booming. We've gone from a group of people who hid away from the world, playing Magic and D&D in dark corners, to a fully fledged movement that has our TV shows, films and events aimed just at us. Whether that's a good or bad thing is an argument for another day - if you've read this blog enough you know what I think. But the fact is, geek culture couldn't have exploded this way without the rise of the Convention.

San Diego Comic-con is the most prominent example, and as it's moved from a tiny gathering of comic book fans to a major launching point of Hollywood films, people all over the world have noticed a very important fact: Geeks are not just a source of angry opinions on the internet. We're also a great source of money.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Pacific Rim 2 is coming!

What a beautiful, glorious day this is. Pacific Rim, loved by millions but technically a bomb at the box office, was thought to be consigned to history as a one-movie franchise. But today, we got some great news, and we got it straight from the mouth of Guillermo Del Toro himself. Not only is Pacific Rim getting a sequel on April 7th, 2017, but tons more of the Pacific Rim world is coming our way sooner than that. Hit the jump for all the details.

BREAKING NEWS: Doctor Who Season 8 Premiere Date!

Breaking news!

Doctor Who season 8 starring Peter Capaldi and Jenna Louise Coleman will be returning to BBC America on August 23rd at 8/7c!  The first episode, according to the Doctor Who facebook page will be called "Deep Breath"!

Here's the youtube clip linked in that post:

We also got to see a very brief, dark glimpse at Capaldi in the teaser trailer that BBC had released several weeks ago.  You can check that out here:

What will be in store for us this coming season?  Will the Doctor remember how to fly the TARDIS?  Will Clara continue to be the coolest companion? (shots fired)  And what about the sparks flying off the TARDIS console in the teaser trailer?  Sound off your thoughts in the comments below!

Episode 107: Please Turn to Page 96

Picture The Ace of Geeks dive right into their review this week, talking about the new movie with unfortunate release timing, How to Train Your Dragon 2. Jarys just began reading The Way of Kings, and Mae Linh just finished The Name of the Wind, and then we start talking deep philosophical questions, like whether Magneto could beat a Mistborn in a fight.

Episode 107!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

How Star Trek: Into Darkness Should Have Started - By Thomas Tan

     Okay, so I watched Star Trek 2 yesterday, and I was trying to put my finger on why the opening scenes didn't really click for me. They seemed altogether unpolished, and didn't really set the tone/emotional attachment to the characters for the rest of the film. So I spent a lot of last night and this morning thinking about it, and here's how I would have done it.


     First of all, lose the whole indigenous volcano people thing. It’s weird and not at all the dark tone of the rest of the film, and therefore doesn’t really push the audience in that direction. If they wanted to set up the whole “dealing with an uncivilized threat in a civilized world” angle, they could have had the Enterprise deal directly with some kind of Klingon skirmish. It would firstly establish the Klingons as an actual threat, but it could also establish the forced dichotomy of responses. Kirk would want to fight or respond with some kind of show of force, Spock would dictate the Federation laws or whatever that prohibit said actions, Uhura would explain how Klingon culture would require said show of force (causing friction between her and Spock), and John Cho would nervously explain the situation as it grows steadily worse. If you wanted to keep the “I would do anything for my crew” angle, it could even be a hostage situation, instead of the whole Spock needing to sacrifice himself angle. Heck, I think it would even be better if it was a lower ranked crew member instead of Spock in danger, because then it would drive the point home that Kirk wouldn’t leave ANY members of his crew to die, something Spock might have done in the interests of keeping to regulations/needs of the many. This could be the thing that even triggers the conflict between him and Uhura, leading to more of a “Would you have left me to die too?” argument from Uhura, and putting Spock in a much more precarious position.

NOTE: Not as precarious as this position

     Honestly, though, I would have ditched that kind of opening number entirely. I think sequels these days don’t give audiences enough credit, and somehow feel compelled to start everything pretty much where the last film left off. I would say, start this off like Ghostbusters 2, where everyone is kind of in a stable, but unhappy, situation, and the audience is left wondering “Hey, what happened? Why is Pike captain? Why is Kirk following him around? Why’s Spock with that other guy?” Wondering means the audience can get invested, and an invested audience can be played with. Start the film after Kirk’s demotion, with him as Pike’s first officer. Everyone is on their way to this big meeting after the attack on the archives (another scene which should have been left out; we didn’t really need to establish Khan’s blood could save people twice, and we didn’t really need to establish him manipulating some guy to blow it up). Kirk could be then talking to Pike about how it doesn’t make sense for someone to attack a public archive, and even mention how ridiculous it is for everyone to meet in one place like this. Enter Spock, tailing that other captain as his first officer, who explains that it is regulations for senior captains/officers to assemble after any kind of terrorist attack or whatever, explaining the logic of having everyone discuss intel and how to proceed. Kirk can make a few remarks about how he has a bad feeling about things, especially getting everyone together in a relatively unsecured location. This gives us time to establish and bond with all four of these characters during their conversation: Kirk will want to fight fire with fire and hunt the perp down, Spock will want to follow the rules, Pike will find something funny about the situation like Kirk, but will follow the rules anyway, and the last captain could even be a sort of more developed Spock character (making sense for him to have the Vulcan as a first officer).

     So, now that we have our two leads and their mentors established, we can arrive at the meeting. Admiral Marcus explains the situation and shares the secret: it was NOT an archive after all, but a secret facility! We need to find this traitor-operative before it’s too late! This obviously causes a rift in all the people present, maybe even two separate ideological rifts. On one side you have the people who are appalled at some kind of top secret government hideout, and on the other side you have people who understand its necessity. Then on one hand you have the people who want to hunt down this “John Harrington” with the full might of the Federation, and others who explain that he needs to be brought in to stand trial and we need to follow the rules, etc. During this big argument number, Kirk could be studying that same picture, trying to talk to Pike about his gut feelings. Pike will shush him as usual, maybe even with that same glib remark when Marcus asks what they’re talking about (“He’s just adjusting to his new roles as First Officer, sir.”). When Marcus presses, Kirk could explain something to the effect that Harrington is obviously dangerous, and that maybe bending a few rules to catch him more effectively would be acceptable. Spock would interject, explaining how we have those rules in place for a reason, and we should absolutely not bend any of them to catch this guy, terrorist or not. This earns Spock an admonition from his own captain, but it further reinforces how he still prioritizes arguing with Kirk more than serving his role on a new ship. Marcus then explains that he agrees with Kirk, maybe complimenting him boldly for his suggestion. Have a quick funny exchange between Marcus and Pike, mirroring the relationship between Pike and Kirk, and now we have three generations of tough white dude captains established. We should like Marcus almost immediately at this moment, someone who understands our hero Kirk, and someone who agrees with his core philosophy. Likewise, we shouldn't like Khan from the beginning, which I think was a major mistake of the film as it was shot.

I'm going to stare at you until you LIKE me. -Ed

     We can still have a moment after this (maybe Kirk feels bolder now that Marcus likes him), where Kirk says how he doesn’t feel it necessary for everyone to gather in one place like this, or at least maybe not somewhere so obvious. Maybe some kind of easy metaphor about putting all the eggs in one basket or something to that effect, just something to explain his uneasiness at that situation. And then BAM, right on cue, enter Khan in the jet, firing on a bunch of unarmed, unprepared captains and their officers. Marcus eats one in the shoulder or leg as he’s already diving for cover. Spock’s captain is caught completely by surprise and is killed easily. Spock is forced to see this happen right in front of him, and this jolts him into taking cover. Pike is shot pushing someone out of the way, and this is what kills him. Maybe he dies saving Kirk, really giving Kirk something to chew on for the rest of the movie, but I think it could work just as well if he was saving someone else (maybe Spock?), just to drive home that he’s that kind of guy, and that’s what Kirk aspires to be. Either way, it gets Kirk to realize that they’re all going to be sitting ducks here, and he takes off to find a way to stop the jet. It could even be the same gag as they did in the film, by using the firehose to destroy the jet’s intake port, giving Kirk just enough time to see Khan’s face before he porta-warps away. It would be nice to see Khan in a mask (maybe that wrap that he has when we see him on Kronos?), just to dehumanize him a little bit at this attack, but if we have to see his face, it should be one of utter disgust with Kirk. Here is this kid, someone genetically inferior to him in every way, and he just stopped his glorious revenge (before getting to Marcus to boot!) with a goddamn firehose. It should be a look of about 10% surprise, 20% respect, and 20% frustration, and 50% “the look of disdain you give an insect when it stings you.”

     From here, we can cut to a group funeral ceremony, everyone in their dress uniforms, pictures of the deceased up for everyone to see. Give Kirk a long take of looking at Pike’s picture, and milk all those emotions of sadness, fury, and a desire for revenge. Maybe the eulogy in the background could be talking about Captain Pike at this moment, talking about his bravery and last act of self-sacrifice. Maybe even have Kirk bail at this pivotal moment, unable to handle being there (and he has a history of running from his problems, after all). Cut to him meeting with Marcus, now using a cane or has his arm in a sling or something of that nature. Marcus could be talking about how Pike was a great man, someone he thought of like a brother (or a son?). Maybe Marcus and Kirk even share a drink over their lost friend (maybe even Marcus says something to the effect of “We’re not supposed to drink on duty, but I think this is an exception” and Kirk definitely agrees). Marcus asks Kirk what he wants to do, and Kirk responds with how he wants a “carte blanche” to do whatever he can to track down this guy and make him pay for what he’s done. Marcus sidesteps, explains how Pike would definitely disagree with Kirk’s desire for revenge, and would ask him to calm down before doing anything rash. Kirk acknowledges this to be true. Then Marcus nods and explains that Pike, while a great man, would often have trouble doing what was necessary when push came to shove. Marcus then can tell Kirk that they tracked Harrington’s porta-warp to Kronos, and explain the tense situation they have with the Klingons at the moment. He then tells him the plan to go to the edge of the Neutral Zone and fire at the fugitive’s location in the abandoned ruins. Kirk will explain that the Federation lacks any kind of weaponry capable of such a feat, to which Marcus debuts the new proton torpedoes developed at the secret facility that was bombed. “But sir, wasn’t it just a secret government intelligence office? I thought all weapons development was halted a long time ago!” or something to that effect from Kirk. This should be our first clue that Marcus isn’t all that he seems, and Kirk is starting to see it a little bit. Marcus responds by saying this is a dangerous time we’re living in, with the Klingons making trouble and terrorists like Harrington on the loose. He says something to the effect of “desperate times call for desperate measures” or “in order to fight monsters we must become like monsters” or something equally both reasonable and terrifying. Kirk begrudgingly agrees, maybe spurred on when Marcus mentions Pike again. Kirk will then ask about what ship he’s going to be taking, listing off smaller shuttle and fighter type ships, thinking this is a mission for him and him alone. Marcus then can turn around and say something like, “Oh no, son; you’ll be taking the Enterprise. Any problems with that, Captain?”

You can trust me

     From there, we can have a quick refresher of the major crew members on the Enterprise, even with the same argument with Scottie about loading the new top-secret missiles on the ship. But the important things are that we’ve already re-established Kirk and Spock’s dynamic, as well as raised the stakes for the whole ship and even the Federation. We need to feel for Kirk’s mission, how it must be THAT personal for him, as well as pushing the boundaries about what is acceptable and unacceptable in the pursuit for this dangerous criminal. More importantly, we can’t feel that Khan’s mission is just, and we especially can’t be on his side from the beginning. In the film, the only way we end up looking at him as a bad guy is because Old Spock told us so, and then Young Spock tells us again. We never actually SEE Khan express a desire to eliminate inferior beings; as far as we know he just wants to wake up his friends and live off the grid. It’s fine if we feel for him a little bit; after all, it just makes sense for someone to want their family back. But it needs to be established earlier that he’s the worst kind of arrogant, that he looks down on everyone that isn’t this superhuman badass, and that he feels the galaxy would be a better place without them. As it was shot, Khan comes off looking much more like the one who was wronged, justified in his desire for revenge against Marcus, who inversely comes off as looking like a cartoon supervillain. By really taking the time to establish their characters and motivations, Into Darkness could have been a very intriguing and dark look at the universe of the Federation. What it would mean for a peaceful society to interact with a belligerent one, what lengths people can and won’t go to for their friends, and what it really means to be the guy who jumps on the grenade. The movie could have explored all of these themes, and could have been really poignant about them, thought-provoking in the way that only science fiction can be. But instead, we got a silly spectacle of lights and explosions, a special effects action party just like nearly every other summer blockbuster that comes out. It is, to be perfectly blunt, disappointing.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Cards Against Humanity is (not) Ruined! - By Jarys

     Did you see the tweet where the Cards Against Humanity player burned their copy of a card...and then the apologetic response by the game's maker? What's going on? Do we all have to burn our Cards for the PC police? Can't that player take a joke? It's just a game.....why would the creator agree with them and then apologize? Has the "nothing sacred" attitude of the game been swept away in to irrelevance?

     I don't think so.

     Let's clear up what happened. An owner of the game "Cards Against Humanity" found themselves tired of the card "Passable Transvestites". There were Trans* friends in this player's circle and whenever the card dropped, the mood would too. In frustration, the player burned that card in their sink and tweeted a picture of it, attempting to make a statement, including the clear-as-crystal "DEATH TO TRANSPHOBIA". That statement made its way to one of the game's creators, Max Temkin, who wrote "I regret writing this card. It was a mean, cheap joke. We took it out of the game a while ago. It's embarrassing to me that there was a time in my life when this was funny" Add a bit of galvanized reaction and that's pretty much the end of the story.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

How to Stop Being Called a Fake Geek Girl - Don't Engage. by MelissaDevlin

Do we really need yet another post on fake geek girls? Yeah, maybe one more. But not for the reason you think.

Look I know there is supposed to be geek pride, and geek culture, but with geek anything comes a lesson everyone needs to come to at a certain point in time.


Seriously, just stop. If someone calls you a 'fake geek girl,' it is a sign of massive insecurity and it's probably from someone who doesn’t want to admit he’s attracted to you. Don’t stand there debating how many comics you’ve read, how detailed your knowledge of Star Wars is. Take a cue from non geek girls and roll your eyes and move on. Because it is about one thing and one thing only:

Attention. Yours.

That little troglodyte has, for the time being, got your focus as you try to prove to some nameless stranger, exactly what? Why you belong? He’s not the gatekeeper to geek culture, there are none. You don’t have to justify yourself to anyone. Skip the battle because the confidence you seek is internal.

I’m sorry my feminist friends, this is not about equality, lack of representation, a hostile environment, it is all about playground politics. Yes, it is about power. The power to incite irritation, to be remembered, to lash out at a sexually attractive young woman who is just trying to enjoy her wonder woman costume or what have you. But the bottom line is the problem won’t go away by complaining about it, fighting about it, writing post after post about it, because the more ire, aggravation, and frustration you give to the topic, the more power you have thrown at your troll.

That’s all the person is doing. There is no thought involved. The guy who yells “get back in the kitchen” is just repeating what he read on World of Warcraft that day. It’s unoriginal, uninspired, and worthy of a good belly laugh. Because if you really want to cut a bully down to size, you find the humour.

Is it stupid? Yes. Does it suck? I guess, if you care what other people think. Does it matter? Not really. Can we ever get it to go away? Yes. But not by challenging it and fighting it, but by diminishing its role in our lives. By making the statement irrelevant and out dated. By not taking insult. By recognizing it as impotent hostility and regarding the speaker as a slightly backwards child in a sea full of wonderful people.

Because most geeks just want to talk to you about their passion, the reason they identify as a geek. And if you (like me) are a little rusty on your geek culture they don’t toss you out as a fake geek girl, they start bringing you up to date pronto. (Never seen Firefly? We’ll fix that!) I know that in a usually accepting environment it can be a splash of cold water to encounter a troll. Let it roll off your back and move on.

Life is too short to argue with people who have already closed their minds. And including a boring, trite, pseudo-jab in your conversation is nothing if not a marker for someone who doesn’t think for himself. Why, good lord, why would you engage in an argument with someone like that?

Be free geek girls. Say this in the mirror a few times. “I don’t have to prove myself to someone who can’t even come up with an original insult.”

Melissa Devlin is a writer and avid gamer who lives and works in the San Francisco Bay Area. 

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Monday, June 23, 2014

Welcome to Nightvale Denied a Panel at Comic-Con

Dear Readers,

I come to you today with urgent news. No, it isn’t the news about the ominous flock of three-eyed birds that have been circling the Jack in the Box for three days without rest or alteration in rhythm. Neither is it about the carnival that came to town nor the people mysteriously vanishing with it. No, I come to you with some more severe. Something for which I must ask you to sit and if you are sitting I must ask you to stand.

Welcome to Nightvale will not be at a comic book convention.

Though I shuddered even through that very sentence, this news is as real as anything. Which is to say it isn’t real at all, but we should still ascribe it meaning for personal reasons. Welcome to Night Vale will not have a panel at Comic Con.

This news came to us today for reasons I cannot say. By this, I mean I physically cannot say it. When I try to speak it, my mouth binds to itself as if by unholy curse or that type of peanut butter Carlos insists I try but I do not like. There are some that speculate that it was due to our late application. Still others that believe it was a deliberate rejection of our specific radio broadcast by Comic Con officials. I cannot affirm these, nor may I submit my own theories. I can only tell you that if you go to Comic Con expecting a panel consisting entirely of five people describing their lives in perfect unison… if you were excited to join a Q&A where the audience can ask things like “When will it happen, what will it be, and why does this virtually unknown concept frighten me?”... if you had plugged into your Smart Phone that July 24th - July 27th would be the time that you could stare into the face of the Abyss itself and also get its autograph… strike it from your schedule. It. Will not. Happen.

When reached for comment, a local resident known only for his distinctive tan jacket had this to say:
"That being said, we will still be in the area on July 26th, as part of our work with the Thrilling Adventure Hour. Please stay tuned for updates on that."
(Station Management interrupts this broadcast to inform you: There will be a bake sale on Friday. Woe, woe and flee, for the bake sale is coming. Also, since this article was written the details on the TAH/Nightvale team up have been announced, and can be found here.)

Readers, as grave as this news is, we must persevere. We must press on. For it is true that all moments of darkness are moments within a tunnel. And if we keep walking, no matter how slowly, we will eventually reach the light.

That’s all the news for now, my dear and valued. Stay tuned next for a distant scream set against alarming, chaotic noises.

Good night.

There are About To Be Too Many Comic Book Movies. by Kyle Johannessen

I know what you're thinking. This is Ace of Geeks! There can never be too many comic book movies! Well allow me to politely disagree with you, my friends. Don't get me wrong, I love comic book movies. One of my favorite movies of all time is a comic book movie (The Crow) and Marvel's films ever since the original Iron Man have been, at worst, entertaining and, at their best, wonderful to watch and instant classics.

But now DC Comics is revving up its Cinematic Universe. Most of you already know about Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice coming out in 2016, but more information has leaked that will see the number of super hero movies climb astronomically through 2018, with a whopping three DC titles a year. If you haven't seen it yet, here is the lineup:

Friday, June 20, 2014

Rian Johnson to Write and Direct Episodes 8 and 9?

Deadline is reporting that Brick and Looper director Rian Johnson is in talks, or possibly even confirmed, to take over the main Star Wars franchise after JJ Abrams' stab at Episode 7. Rian would both write an direct the last two installments of the trilogy, bringing the nine-film saga finally to a close. (Well, a close until Disney's stand-alone films by folks like Godzilla's Gareth Edwards and Chronicle's Josh Trank come out.)

It's an interesting choice, to be sure. Johnson's films are known for a dark, gritty style, that doesn't necessarily seem to fit the Star Wars mold, and he has no proven experience with the kind of giant set pieces these films will require. Still, if Brick is any indication, he knows how to have fun with a concept. I'll be interesting to see what he develops for the future of Star Wars.

UPDATE: Adorably, Rian just tweeted this video in response to the news:

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The WWE and the Glass Ceiling. by Jon Cain

            Vince McMahon lost a very impressive three hundred and fifty million dollars in only 24 hours.  After signing a contract with NBC/Universal, his company's stock to dropped from the twenty nine dollar mark to nineteen dollars. This is what happens when a CEO of a company chooses not to listen to the people. WWE has been on a steady decline as of late, so this news should be not surprising to anyone. However, I feel this latest bump in the road is more a symptom of a greater illness. 

            We can all agree that the current state of WWE product is significantly under the bar. Ironically the bar they are below is the very bar they set.  I could go into a long explanation of why that is, but that would be off putting to some and the informative nature of it would be lost to others. So to steal a line from the great John Hughes “In the simplest terms, and the most convenient definitions” here we go.  Anytime time you grandstand in wrestling, whatever positive draw you have, at its end you will be met with an even greater time of drought. Simply put: You met the glass ceiling.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Budget Geeking: A Visit at the local Ross

I'm not sure how many of you out there are aware of these amazing things called budget stores.  Places like Ross, Big Lots, Marshalls, and TJ Maxx get cheaper goods than retail, but you have to wait around longer for them. This can be an amazing place to grab some of the pieces of your geek collection that were hard to get or expensive at, say, Toys R Us. While each of these stores is a different animal, and present different levels of discount, product availability, and other factor, I will be focusing on my most recent visit at a Ross.

For those who are collectors of Transformers, GI Joe, Marvel Legends/Universe, and Power Rangers (or any Bandai America brand like Ben 10 and previously Thundercats and Kamen Rider Dragon Knight), you might be aware of the treasure trove that is Ross.  Around three to six months after a toy is released on regular retail, these brands show up with a fair amount of consistency at Ross, at around half off their retail prices.  Marshalls and TJ Maxxes have the same pattern, but they tend to discount off the highest (like Toys R Us prices) retail prices instead, so they run slightly more.  Big Lots only carries post-clearance products from retail, though they are at best inconsistent about what will show up. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Found in the Alley vs The Ace of Geeks Movie War Super Draft Update 4!

Welcome back! It's been a shocking and tumultous two weeks in the movie war. We're not even into July yet, but this one might be over for one major competitor. Plus! A surprise hit closes the gap! All this and more in this week's update!

Your favorite podcast, The Ace of Geeks, and their ugly stepsister-podcast, Found in the Alley, have gone to battle over the summer movies. We each had 100 points, and used them to draft films from a list of thirty of the biggest releases coming out this year...and The Protector 2. Listen to the podcast that began the war for all of the rules and prizes, and check out Updates 1, 2 and 3 for everything that's gone down so far! Hit the jump for the details on this week!

Monday, June 16, 2014


Yesterday, I happened across this May 10th article by Andy Hunsaker. It talks about his chat with comics writer, and legend in his own time, Grant Morrison. The topic of Andy & Grant's conversation centered around two of Grant's upcoming projects: "Wonder Woman: Earth One," and also "Multiversity." Now, if any of you know me, you know that I can go on and on for hours upon hours about anything Wonder Woman related. Therefore, I'm going to stick to "Multiversity" and try to make this article short and sweet by getting to the point as soon as possible. 

This new "Multiversity" epic project is scheduled to release the 1st issue in August of this year. It's going to have rotating art teams, and most of all it will be a comprehensive guide to the many worlds of the DC multi-verse. I can't tell you how excited I am about this. However, in my day job, I'm an actor. This means in order to formulate opinions about things, I more often than not default to the human condition to be my predictor of events. In this case, I'm sorry to say, but to me the future is looking grim. Here's why:

Friday, June 13, 2014

Episode 105: Hoop and Stick

Picture Jim Butcher's latest Dresden Files novel, Skin Game, came out and the Ace of Geeks are all over it. Mike, Mae Linh and Jarys spend the first three quarters of this podcast analyzing and gushing over this book. Then, the conversation turns to Star Wars, and how freaking good The Clone Wars is. Spoilers everywhere.

Episode 105!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

ReBoot getting a Rebo- I mean Sequel?

     Of the many cartoons that rocked some form of computer graphics in the nineties, such as Spider-Man and Beast Wars, none were as all encompassing, versatile , or as heartfelt as ReBoot. ReBoot used physical comedy, puns, and complex metaphors to depict life for programs inside a home computer. It, uniquely, portrayed the user not as a god but a malevolent force of chaos. When games were opened, whole sections of the cityscape sectioned off and our protagonists had to act as the forces acting against the user in the game. The show had a strange and often dark sense of humor and style. It was also, on occasion, silly. At one point, entire seasons were summarized to an all-cast chorus. Of course, they sung to the tune of "Modern Major General." Glorious.

Fans Love ReBoot!

     Well now, ReBoot may be coming back. Rainmaker Entertainment is bringing back its television entertainment wing, called Mainframe Entertainment, with two shows; a new ReBoot and a show based off of the Tiger's Apprentice book series, which will also be created with CGI. They have also announced that Jane Start, Producer of Tuck Everlasting and The Indian in the Cupboard, will be working with Mainframe. After two decades of  development in computer animation and the advance of computer literacy, this may be the perfect time to renew (and, hopefully, not) ReBoot.

Motion Control wands coming to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter!

Later this year, the fine folks at Universal Studios Orlando are expanding their Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park. Now taking up a piece of both the original Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, the Diagon Alley expansion will add a Hogwarts Express to dart between both parks, a brand new ride through Gringotts Bank, and a ton of new shopping opportunities. But - it turns out, that's not all. One of the most fun experiences at the parks has always been getting chosen for a wand at Ollivanders (pictured above with some lady), and it turns out, the wands are now getting an upgrade.

The Super Blood Bowl, er, wait, The Blood Super Bowl, hmm, no….. by Seth Oakley

On Thursday, my friend Tau Kid messages me and tells me that the championship game of the Seaside Blood Bowl League is this afternoon at 4, and if I want to cover it for the Ace of Geeks podcast and blog, I should show up. His name isn’t actually Tau Kid, it’s Steven, but I’ve called him that for as long as I have known him, and I don’t feel like giving up traditions today. I show up at Anime Imports, the shop where the game is to be held (and hereafter known as Anime Imports Stadium), and there are about a dozen screaming fans there to watch the match. By “screaming fans,” I mean “stereotypical nerds,” and by “watch the match,” I mean “ignore Blood Bowl and play Magic.” Oh well. Steven, Lee, and Efren are crowded around a Blood Bowl mat and the game is about to begin.

Blood Bowl is a game created by Games Workshop and then handled off to Specialist Games. It would have died when Specialist Games folded, but the fans picked up the banner and now maintain a "Living Rule Book" that is shared among players. I think "Undead Rule Book" would be a little more appropriate, considering that they are essentially playing with the corpse of a previous rules set, but that’s not for me to decide. Now the rules are maintained by an organization called NAF World Headquarters. In the original rules, NAF stood for Nuffle Amorical Football, the fictional organization that controlled the fictional league. If you think that this is a parody of “North American Football,” you might be right. It is a game produced by Brits that exaggerates the violence and mayhem of Football as Americans know it.

Doesn't look THAT exaggerated. -Ed
The game is played by 2 humans that control a set of models which represent players in the game. The teams available come from the Warhammer Fantasy setting, so you will see elves, facing off against dwarves, orcs and goblins, ogres and minotaurs, skeletons and zombies, and more. NAF is constantly approving additional teams. Furthermore, there are a number of miniature lines that sell a variety of fantastical football miniatures. These include gnomes in mechs, platypus sportsmen, and dwarves with beer helmets. Players also convert and sculpt a lot of their own miniatures, since there are so few models compared to other games by the same company. With only 18 or so models to assemble and paint, many players have more than one team.

League play starts off by the human “hiring” a team of players and playing games with the same list. Injuries, upgrades and even deaths are tracked as the seasons progress. Rosters change as teams win games and get more money to hire new players, or retire older players that don’t help them out. All of these are tracked on the league website, This league has a round robin format: each player is scheduled to play another and given two weeks to find time for a game. The results are then reported to the league managers and recorded for the next round. Once everyone has played everyone else, the top two teams are given byes, the next four put in the playoffs to determine who will make it to the semis. The top two teams of the playoffs then play in single elimination tournament with the two who received byes earlier.

First place is given the top prize, a full 18 model team, purchased with the proceeds from the entry fees collected at the start. Steven said there were 11 teams this season, which is on the high end for them. Typically they have 8 to 12 teams, and it takes about 5 months to run an entire season. They had 2 “Challenges” so far, smaller events with 3 or 4 teams. Registration for season 5 is coming up, so if you are interested, head on over to their website.


The game I watched was simple enough to understand in observation, but the moves and maneuvers made by the players definitely had a hidden logic to them. The championship match was between Efren and his Rage City Brawlers, a Chaos team, against Lee and his Rotland Reapers, an Undead team. The Reapers started off with the ball and proceeded to run it up the field to score. There was a lot of pushing and shoving from both teams, rolling of dice and moving of models. Finally a hole in the defense opened up and the Ghoul ball carrier went for it. Efren brought up one of his half beast, half man defenders to hit him, knocked to ball out, and we all watched as it bounced over the pitch. Off the back of minotaurs, over the thick skull of zombies, past the mummy line man, the ball knocked its way around the pitch (moving randomly on the determination of a die roll), until it landed in open space. All the while, players are still beating on each other, pushing each other around, and tossing the opposing side into the stands. That last part is especially rough, since the fans are so blood frenzied that they can do more damage to a player than some of the players.

And that is the spirit of blood bowl. What looks on the surface to be a silly parody of a game we know, made by people an ocean away who are ridiculing it for being exceptionally violent, is actually a strategic game where the bouncing of a ball make the difference between victory and defeat. Beneath the “beer and pretzels” facade is 10 games of team planning, player acquisition, injury management, blood, sweat, tears, and lot more blood. Humans keep careful records of the game progress, who injured who, what skills that guy has, and when they should use the re-rolls that are purchased at the beginning of the game. If one of your players is a wild animal, who knows what he is going to do next round? Do you rely on him to make an important tackle, or do you draw resources from somewhere else in case he doesn’t listen? These sorts of questions show on the faces of the coaches as they puzzle out their next move, and consider their options. Don’t let the goofy looking cheerleaders or the medic model with a bone saw in one hand and oversized syringe in the other fool you: this is still a thinking man’s game.

The community in the US is not that large, Steven says. They have a league of 8 to 12 regulars. They have contact with the Freebooters Alliance Blood Bowl League, a southern California league. There's also the West Coast Quake, a Blood Bowl Tournament with 6 rounds. Last year they had 16 participants in Pasadena, California. These numbers seem low compared those seen at Warhammer Fantasy or Warmachine/Hordes games, and Steven admits they are. While there is a competitive aspect to the game, he sees the social draw in it too. When life or work or family get in the way of this, the game falls to the side, and other social activities take its place. In Europe, however, the scene is booming. In 2011, the Dutch Bloodbowl Community hosted a “World Cup” which brought in 478 teams. After 3 days and 9 rounds each, an Englishman took home the trophy. Steven says that 50 or 60 team leagues are not uncommon in Europe. Maybe that’s because we can play actual football here.
Seth Oakley is an educator and Returned Peace Corps Volunteer who lives in Daly City, CA. He loves costuming, analog gaming and role playing games. He got this job in a bar after making poor life choices and has to work through 94 more articles before Mike will give him his soul back. If there is an event you would like to see covered, let him know.

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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Netflix announces a reboot of the Magic School Bus

Holy crap, not only is Netflix potentially launching a Star Trek TV series, but they have officially announced a reboot of the Magic School Bus.  While I'm more than happy to re-watch my static-y VHS recordings of this show, it is so referential to the 90s.  Modern day kids and my future children will not get the same joy and sense of wonder that I used to get watching the show because they won't be able to relate to the kids. Their classroom life will be so different from Arnold's.  So thankfully Netflix is taking on the challenge of revitalizing and modernizing this fabulous series.

This show and book series in conjunction with Bill Nye the Science guy defined educational TV focused on science for kids in the 90s. (And Beakman. - Ed)  It is because of these shows that I became a science teacher and I still subject my students to the chants of "Bill!  Bill!  Bill!"  It truly gladdens my heart that my children will be able to be exposed to a modernized version of my favorite educational program.  So Netflix, in the words of Ru Paul, "don't f*ck it up!"

Marvel needs to stop making Ant-Man. NOW.

When I heard that Marvel wanted to make an Ant-Man movie, I named about twenty other Marvel characters I'd rather see. Characters like Moon Knight, Cloak and Dagger, Iron Fist come to mind. Or, I dunno, any other D-List super hero really. Ant-Man's thing is he gets really really small or really really big. Last time I checked, there weren't a lot of Kaiju in the Marvel universe, but maybe if Bruce Banner got a tick bite or something then he'd be useful.

Then I found out that Edgar Wright was going to be directing it. The guy behind the Cornetto Trilogy and Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World? And got Paul Rudd and Michael freaking Douglass to star in it? Ok, Marvel, your ability to get interesting directors and actors has made me want to see the Ant-Man movie and I'm a little pissed that you duped me into it. I don't like being tricked into things, you damn crafty Marvel bastards!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Is a New Star Trek Show on its way to Netflix?

After almost ten years since the last Star Trek show was on anything but syndication, there are more than rumors that Star Trek producers are in talks to make another show....talks with Netflix. Star Trek Producer Larry Nemecek announced at the Phoenix ComiCon that CBS is talking with Netflix about producing a Star Trek show that would run on the exclusively website. Naturally, Netflix approached CBS with the idea. 

It's obvious why they would. Netflix consistently lists Star Trek shows as among their most streamed series. They know they have an audience. But can they appease that audience? Star Trek is easy to do wrong but incredible when done well. The last show, Enterprise, fell flat with many fans which led to it's unique ending concept. Can Netflix deliver that sweet sweet powdered Tribble? And now that there are voice activated computers, hand held communicators, and 3D printers while the corporations that bring us these wonders acting more and more cyber-punk....has the world ever been more ready for Star Trek's optimistic future to be delivered to their handheld devices?

The Legend of Korra: Season 3 Trailer!

(Update: The real trailer is here! Check it out after the jump.)

The Legend of Korra is a polarizing show - so many people want so many things from the sequel to The Last Airbender, that reactions to it range from love to hate to everything in between. Me, personally, I love the show. I haven't bonded with the characters the way I did with Aang, Sokka, Katara and Zuko, but I have enjoyed the first two seasons, and I'm looking forward to seeing where it can go in the future, especially now that the writers aren't tied down with the idea that they're only a mini-series. The trailer for season 3 just appeared on the internet, so go check it out below.

Monday, June 9, 2014

GOG announces something called "Galaxy"

 This just in: GOG is making a Steam-esque chat/download/launcher thing called "Galaxy" and would like to remind you that they still do not have DRM.

Galaxy promises to be different from Steam in more than just the DRM example, however. While Steam's end goal is being a Youtube like space where anyone can create and upload a game, Good Old Games has always prided itself on curating the games it allows on its platforms. If Galaxy has the main GoG library, look for older, hard to find classics like Baldur's Gate mixed in with newer games.

It's perhaps a mark of how obnoxious the existing solutions in this space are that the main selling point of this new product is that you don't have to use it.

Further news as it breaks!

Rocksteady’s Journey: Inside a cosplayer’s head while making and remaking a costume. by John Garcia

(That's it for Rocksteady 2.0 for now.  Rocksteady 3.0 will hopefully come out soon)
Looking back, I’ve been wearing my Rocksteady costume for a while, around 2 years, but I have never really stopped working on it.  I went through two versions of the Rhinoceros head so far, and I’m still working on it.  

Usually, I start an elaborate costume in time for Fall conventions like Comikaze, Pacific Media Expo, or Long Beach Comic Con.  I sometimes start another one for Spring conventions like Wondercon, the Long Beach Expo, or the Renaissance Faire, then continue improving both when summer begins, so I can have at least two tested and improved costumes by the time San Diego Comic Con rolls around - and sometimes even for Anime Expo before that.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Bill Watterson Returns to Drawing Comics!

You heard right. Bill Watterson, creator of the beloved Calvin and Hobbes and one of the most legendarily reclusive artists in comic strip history, has returned to draw a Sunday newspaper strip once again. Before you freak out, no, it's not new Calvin and Hobbes. Instead, it's a three-strip guest stint on the very funny, and very meta, Pearls Before Swine. Hit the jump to see the comics and find out how this all came about.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Episode 104: More Than Thirty Words

Picture The Ace of Geeks is joined by Melissa Devlin, who undertakes the challenge of NOT breaking Beth Fatum's record for Least Amount of Words Said in One Podcast. We'll dive into the new Godzilla movie, review X-men: Days of Future Past, and talk about watching Ghostbusters for the first time as an adult!

Episode 104!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Smash Up: How a Thirteen Year Old Game is Still Going Strong. by Mike Fatum

When I was growing up, I thought wavedashing was bullshit. I was a massive, massive fan of Super Smash Bros, and an even bigger fan of Melee, and I was beyond a shadow of a doubt the best player that I knew. I'd invite my friends over, and within two minutes the complaints would start. "Well, you're only this good because you own the game!" they'd complain, while desperately trying to avoid my unbeatable Marth tactics of dodge, dodge, smash them off the screen, wait for them to come back, and repeat. I was a living god of Smash, and there's no way anyone could be better than me unless they were cheating.

So wavedashing, L-cancelling, and all the other advanced Melee techniques that I saw glimpses of on grainy video from tiny tournaments around the country - well those were exploits performed by cheaters. No real Melee player would ever resort to such dirty tactics. I put it out of my mind and moved on with my life, blissfully aware that I was the greatest Marth player who ever lived.

Boy was I wrong.

Lego to Release Female Scientist Sets

     Lego, one of the most imaginative and versatile toy lines in the history of ever, have a reputation for imaginative fun for all ages and genders. However, while the company produces female figurines, the roles these figurines have filled have always been limited, perhaps because they do not produce a representative percentage of female figurine. The scientist figures have always been men, for instance. Until now, and gloriously so.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Gal Gadot's WONDER WOMAN costume - Finally Legit or Time Quit? by Brian J. Patterson

This week the inter-web has been all aflutter from the "leaked" photos of Gal Gadot in what is allegedly her proposed Wonder Woman costume. I put leaked in quotes because we have all seen this type of audience testing before. You know. The kind where a certain director (David E. Kelly) takes photos of his or her star (Adrienne Palicki) in a comic book superhero costume that a designer (Donna Casey) has attempted in yet ANOTHER new design of said hero, and allows said photos to be posted on-line in an effort to garner audience feedback and test to see if said costume will do well. Nooooooo....we've NEVER seen this done before! ;) Regardless of what can obviously be seen as a social media audience test, we have seen this Wonder Woman costume test at least three times from DC Comics before and it almost always ends the same way. 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Thai Protesters Using Hunger Games Salute


  In case you have not been paying attention to South East Asian politics, of late, the Thai Military has overthrown the Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and abolished the previous government. This new regime has cracked down heavily on dissent, banning any public gathering of more than five people and criminalizing dissent. In response, Thai citizens have begun to congregate in flash mobs, mass gatherings planned in secret to gather and then disperse in moments. When they do gather, they raise their hands to the sky and extend three fingers in a familiar gesture of solidarity and defiance of tyranny.

Ace of Geeks vs Found in the Alley: Movie Draft Super War Update 3!

Update 1!
Update 2!

Welcome back to the next update of the Ace of Geeks and Found in the Alley Movie Draft Super War! Previously, the Ace of Geeks had a commanding lead, leaving our comrades at Found in the Alley in the dust and looking well on our way to winning the whole summer. But the movie business is a fickle one. Did the FitA boys find a comeback since then? Have the tides turned? Read on to find out!

Here are the rules, as always: Only the opening weekend of a film counts, from Friday to Sunday. The total combined dollars of all of our picks will be added up, and at the end of the summer we'll see both which podcast won, and who the winner of each duo was. Bragging rights, and other, more sinister prizes are at stake. Listen to the podcast that started it all for more.

Monday, June 2, 2014

TONS of images from the Star Wars: Episode VII Set, and two new castmembers!

Thanks to (*sigh*) TMZ, we now have our first really good look at Tatooine in the newest Star Wars, and it looks utterly fantastic. Gritty, dirty people as far as the eye can see, rubber suits and practical effects abound, and some pieces of Ralph McQuarrie's art that were never used in the original trilogy are being recreated. It's a fantastic first step, and finally feels like Star Wars again. Hit the jump to see the whole album, but here's a taste: