Wednesday, October 22, 2014

30 Day Mass Effect Trilogy Challenge + Updates

Via The Vanishing Blog

I really am a total nerd, something that I've touched on a few times. I've now done two challenges on really geeky things (Buffy and Battlestar Galactica), and I am one hundred percent okay with this. And to continue on my path to Complete Nerd-dom, I bring you the Mass Effect challenge for this November. For those of you not in The Know, November 7th is N7 Day, referencing Commander Shepard's vocational code (N7 - special forces with the highest level of proficiency) within the Alliance military. What? I told you I was a fucking nerd.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Pull List for October 22, 2014

I have absolutely no Marvel titles this week. I'm not sure what this says about me. Like, I used to be so damn sure that I was a bigger fan of Marvel than of DC, but that is quickly proving to not be the case. For instance, Green Lantern: New Guardians is quickly becoming one of my favorite series; Batman and Justice League have intrigued me with their current story lines; Earth 2: World's End doesn't confuse the hell out of me like I thought it would, considering how many different characters there are; and Batgirl is probably one of the most fun things I've read in a while. Plus, they're putting out a lot of new titles - Gotham Academy, the below-mentioned Arkham Manor, and the whole Multiversity series - that are, so far, pretty great. Granted, Marvel, I think, tends to have series that suit me better - Ms. Marvel, Captain Marvel, Thor, the soon-to-be-released Spider-Woman - and indie publishers like Boom! Studios and Image keep exciting me far more than the Marvel and DC combined, but this may change as I become more interested in the DC universe.

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Pull List: Deadpool's The Art of War #1 Review

You know, I think Deadpool walks around with Lit's "My Own Worst Enemy" playing in the background at all times. That's what I kept hearing as I was reading the first issue of the new Deadpool miniseries, at least. He keeps getting these grand ideas - agreeing to help Dracula with a "package," killing the Marvel universe and then the famous literary heroes that inspired the writers of the Marvel universe, joining up with Brute Force (and a mecha-orca), etc. - and, so far, things haven't always worked out like he thought. But hey, that's what keeps bringing readers back, am I right?
Via Comic Vine
Spoilers ahead, kids, so if you'd rather start reading blind, you can turn back now. Or ... just don't click on the "read more" thingy.

Continued progress on Harley :D

I'm incredibly proud of this piece, you guys. Like, seriously. I may actually sell these where I work.
Harley Quinn as the Greek goddess Eris
Nearly complete!
All Rights Reserved by Jennifer Trela 2014
Also, the contest is coming to a close here in a few days, and while I can't comment (yet) as to whether there is or is not a winner, I will say that I will be doing a few consolation prizes in addition to the grand prize of three (yes, I changed it as of this post) prints of my DC Goddesses. Two runners up will receive one print of their choice, so be sure to check my Instagram and comment your guess as to what my costume is going to be! I'll be posting some more obvious clues there over the next couple of days, and there's always a chance you could be a winner.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Dear Sister Person Book Club: Touched by an Alien by Gini Koch

Dear Sister Person,

What have I ever done to you? Is it because I chose Beth Ciotta twice? Is it because I once refused to go back into Bruegger's Bagels to retrieve your retainer from the trash (because you couldn't do it yourself, for some reason)? Is it because I "ruined" your childhood by telling you Santa Claus wasn't real? I mean, absolutely none of those - combined even - warrants forcing me to read about Katherine "Kitty" Katt and her misadventures with winged "superbeings."
Touched by an Alien by Gina Koch
Via My Not So Vacant Shelf
Also, it does not bode well for this book if the dude on the cover looks like the least favorite of my exes.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Happy Holidays?

So, as many of you know, I'm doing that 100 Happy Days challenge thing over on my Facebook, where I post a picture a day of something that makes me happy. I'm forty-five days in - and I'm actually a little surprised that I've only been late twice - and each day, it's actually getting easier to decide on what I'm going to post. Yesterday, I settled on "the holiday season" as my next picture, and I jump on Google, ready to indulge myself on lots and lots of images of Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, and Winter Solstice. And feel free to remind me of any others that I'm forgetting.

And yet, what do I see??

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Pull List for October 15, 2014

I'm slowly starting to shave off a few titles from my monthly pull list. Sensational Comics Feat. Wonder Woman, Transformers, and Death Vigil are just a couple that I've decided not to read any longer, which is a huge sigh of relief from my pocketbook. There are a couple on this week's list that might not make it for many more weeks, but for the most part, I think I've established my rhythm for the time being.

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Pull List: Batgirl #35 Review

It's taken me quite a while for me to come to terms with the fact that I am part of the Millennial generation, even if I am at the tail end of it (1983, bitches!). Now, it's kind of one of those things where I begrudgingly look at my life situation and think, "Ugh, YES, I feel what these 20-somethings are feeling." However, this is not to say that I don't find my younger counterparts to be equally baffling and irritating, as evidenced by a recent obsession with VHS tapes. Like, really, Millennials. Do you know nothing about the crappiness of VHS tapes? Half of the ones you're purchasing for ten cents each don't even work, and there's a good chance that - even if you were able to find a VCR that wasn't complete junk - whatever you were hoping to watch has been taped over by someone's mother's soap operas or The Price Is Right.

Ahem. Anyway. Batgirl. Right.
Via Paste Magazine
Cover Art by Cameron Stewart
After the doozy of a one-shot from last month, I am damn near relieved to see the new direction Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher are taking Barbara Gordon, even if it is trending toward the Too Trendy, and Babs Tarr's art is so. fucking. refreshing.
Via Comics Alliance
Via The Word of the Nerd
Look at Maris Wicks' colors! Look at the movement! Just look!!! It's such a departure from the Nolan-esque artistic choices in many DC comics as of late, especially when it comes to anything related to Batman, and for me, it is a welcome change. Instead of Barbara going off to train under Bane (???), Babs is now a college-aged crime fighter, who signs up for online dating (it's for a case, alright?) and struggles with money and damaged relationships (hi, Dinah!) while living in the trendy part of town. While I may be eight years out of college, I can still identify with her plight, minus the dating part, since I am of the wedded persuasion, or living in an area that is considered "cool." Hey, my apartment's directly on the bus line and has all utilities included; what more could you ask for?

And this doesn't even include her first "villain!" I think that Stewart and Fletcher took a page from Faction's Hawkeye by choosing a more realistic (for comic books, anyway) adversary than a supervillain with delusions of grandeur. Riot Black (probably not his real name) is a dude straight out of my worst disco-douche nightmares.
Credit to Babs Tarr and DC Comics
Also, is that Sailor Moon's transformation pen tattooed on his side???
Mad props to Tarr for drawing the most revolting toolbag I've seen in comics for the past couple of months, and I don't even mean that sarcastically. I'm not sure if I could have designed someone more obnoxious. Basically, Black runs this website, "Are You in the Black Book?" where he uploads scandalous and/or humiliating pictures that he has stolen; he's the personification of revenge porn, in addition to being lame enough to speak in hashtags. Now, I don't know when this issue was finished, but, like Genius coinciding with the Ferguson riots, it seems absurdly prescient being released shortly after the recent celebrity nude photo leak. Then again, this is something that so many of us, especially those who use social media, must deal with on a daily basis. Hell, it's something my mother warns about: what if someone got a hold of your most personal information? And what if that someone wasn't the most magnanimous human on the planet? If you're Barbara Gordon, you kick the guy's ass and then proceed to trick him into deleting his own data hive.

The new Batgirl definitely isn't for everyone, obviously, since no comic can really be universally loved (I'm one of the apparently rare people who doesn't really care for The Walking Dead, neither the print nor live action versions), but a lot of the criticism is coming from long-time fans of the series. There is merit in some of their points: it's almost as if a 21-year-old tech-savvy hipster vomited all over this first issue, and artistically and thematically, it doesn't match the tones of the other books in the Batman universe. Others prefer Babs' old costume, featured below, to the new purple one that's at the top of this post.
Via Comic Vine
Like I said in my rant at the very beginning, I don't necessarily fit within the Millennial demographic that the new Batgirl is trying to capture - I find text speak in real life to be obnoxious and I thought coffee shops went out of vogue a few years ago? - but that does not mean that I didn't enjoy the hell out of it. I felt like I could relate to Barbara in a way that I haven't for a while. For too long, writers - at DC, Marvel, and indie comics alike - have relied on simply making their titles gritty and dark, supposedly "real," but it became tedious and depressing, enough so that I started picking up Bee and Puppycat, Adventure Time, Tiny Titans, etc. to bring myself out of the gloom. I have to be able to feel a kinship with the characters I follow; it's a big reason why I was such a fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Sure, the apocalypse is coming, but dammit, Buffy still has finals to take! More often than not, I am more concerned with the deeply personal conflicts that are the backdrop of the main storyline, because, you know what? I've never had to physically fight a supervillain, but I have had to stand up to an asshole (or two) that was simply being an asshole.

As far as the tone goes, I like that it's so different from the other Bat books. It's an issue that I have with large comic book universes, because there's this assumption that they can't exist separately from each other, giving each titular character room to grow while managing to tell the story of multiple facets of their shared world. Burnside is a college town, a suburb of sorts that doesn't have the same type of violent crime that Gotham proper has. An incredibly dark approach would seem forced and probably would have caused me to completely drop the book from my reading list (I've got Men of Wrath, Birthright, Wytches, and plenty more to fulfill my need for harsh themes, and anyway, I think Batman has that plenty covered.). The entire world surrounding Gotham can't be so bleak that even just one comic title doesn't have permission to be that one bright spot, right?
Via Batman News
Continuing on the "going against the dark and gritty" train, I, for one, love the more low-key, obviously handmade purple costume that Babs dons in this issue. Yes, it's not armored, but it's definitely more appropriate to the above-mentioned tone. If she were to wear her previous Batsuit, it would be like taking a gun to a verbal sparring match - completely overdone and, quite frankly, a little ridiculous. The basic design was maintained, and I figure, as long as Batgirl doesn't have to fight any armed Arkham Asylum (former/escaped) residents, it should suffice as a comfortable disguise for now.

While the first issue wasn't perfect - um, so the dude expecting a cute redhead to meet him can't figure out that the masked redhead is that very same woman? okay, then - it bodes very well for the series as a whole. The writers have a very clear idea about what they want to do with Barbara and know exactly who they want to attract. However, despite Batgirl being written for a younger audience, I encourage any older fans of Barbara Gordon to give it a chance. A lot of times, all-ages comics (or young adult, or children's) are scoffed at because they are deemed lesser than their adult-themed complements - less mature, less topical, less useful. This bleeds over (and into) the literary world, as adults who read and enjoy young adult fiction are mocked because they aren't reading a "more serious" book. But there is freedom writing for and about younger people; it seems that you can explore certain topics - um, poverty and violence in The Hunger Games, anyone? - that seem that much more terrifying if they are experienced by children or young adults. It can be a more effective approach than taking a thirty-something and placing them in a death match. I'm not saying that Batgirl is a literary masterpiece, by any means, and if you read it and it's not your thing, that's perfectly fine. There won't be any judgment coming from me. But to dismiss it as simple tripe, unworthy of your time or attention, is shortsighted, and you may miss out on what is quite possibly one of the most fun books to come out in a while. And to be honest, there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting a little lighthearted fun on your pull list.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Ello!

Via Ello
I joined Ello about two weeks ago, and I have yet to get the hang of it. It's bare-bones, with no annoying advertising or like buttons, the latter of which I have found to be rather freeing. It promotes interaction, at least as far as networking sites go, but because it's not really that user-friendly, it's not all that easy to talk to other people. I only follow, like, six people, and my feed is getting crazy enough that I actually fear following any more.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Progress on Harley!

Well, I've made pretty big strides on Harley as Eris. This weekend, I'll be finishing the line drawing and then get started on the painting!
Yeah, I messed up on the eyebrow, but I'm going to work it in there somehow.
Obviously, the prize(s) probably won't be finished by Halloween, but I should at least have the line drawings done for all of them by then. That way, whomever wins can make an educated decision. :)
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