05.23.2011

Doctor Who Opening Credits Mash-Ups

These are fun! I think the Buffy and Friends ones are probably the best put together.

05.19.2011

Nerd Lunch Crashed Our Geek Lunch!

At some point in college, it’s expected you’ll crash at least one stranger’s kegger.  However, as an adult crashing a fellow geek’s lunch is a whole other matter!

Nerd Lunch versus Geek Lunch

There I was enjoying my monthly “Geek Lunch” with the beautiful ladies from Girls-Gone-Geek, when suddenly this giant nerd barges his way into our conversation!  Not cool, dude!  See for yourself…

If you’re unable to view the embedded video above, please click here.

All kidding aside, my thanks to the folks at NerdLunch.net for inviting us on their show.  CT, Savannah, and Scott were great!  They did such a fantastic job with the camera work and editing!  I absolutely loved Vanessa and Erika’s expressions!  Priceless!  Be sure to check out previous episodes of Nerd Lunch: The Web Series! Also, you can follow them on Twitter by clicking here.

If nothing else, this video proves that I’ve got a face for radio.  :)

05.4.2011

REVIEW: Avengers Earth’s Mightiest Heroes on DVD Vol. 1 & 2

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I sat down to watch The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes vol. 1 & 2 on DVD.  The Avengers are one of my all-time favorite superhero teams.  I have nearly 400 issues of Avengers comics, so I consider myself a reasonably dedicated fan.  Iron Man and Iron Man 2 were such spectacular films, they set the bar way-high for anything that follows.  While there were parts to love of the Avengers animated series from 1999, it was mostly a disappointment.  With such anticipation surrounding the upcoming Avengers feature film, I was worried this new animated series might crash and burn like the 1999 series.

Boy was I wrong!  The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes is a truly great cartoon!

The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes

Right from the opening credits I was in love!  That theme song rocks!  “Fight As One” by Bad City – Google it, seriously.  Another neat feature of the opening credits is the group shot of the team at the end.  The team composition changes depending upon the team status in each episode.  Nice attention to detail!

The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes DVD vol 1 covers the first seven episodes of the series.  Essentially this introduces all the main characters and shows the formation of the team.  Each of the first five episodes spotlights a main character: Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Captain America, and Ant Man & Wasp.  This worked great on DVD, but I’m not so sure it would have worked for the once-a-week viewer on television.  For those viewers, they didn’t get to see the Avengers together as a team until they’d been watching the show for six weeks.  Regardless, it plays out really well on DVD and helps you understand each character better than expected.

No time was wasted detailing the origins of Iron Man or Hulk.  They assume the viewer is already familiar with these movie franchise icons.  The voice actor playing Tony Stark did a reasonable job mimicking Robert Downey Jr., while the Pepper Potts voice actress sounded exactly like Gwyneth Paltrow.  Additionally, Jarvis was dead-on from the Iron Man films.  I really enjoyed this interpretation of the Hulk.  He’s aggressive and simple, but not a mindless savage.

Iron Man on The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes

Hulk on The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes

Most surprising to me was how exciting Thor and Captain America came across on-screen!  Personally, I’m not much of a Thor fan.  I’ve never enjoyed his monthly comic, with the exception of the stories by Walt Simonson and Warren Ellis.  Thor is a difficult character to make accessible to the average person and I wasn’t expecting to enjoy him in this cartoon.  Another surprise here — they did an excellent job conveying Thor’s back story and making Asgard an exciting place to explore!  Thor is an awesome character in this series and I look forward to seeing more of him!  Captain America is another challenging character to make interesting.  His out-of-time morality and relatively low power-level could have worked against him.  Instead they managed to create a compelling and inspirational hero that can hold his own with the Avengers!  With the upcoming theatrical releases of Thor and Captain America, these character’s popularity is going to skyrocket.

Thor in The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes

Captain America in The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes

The Avengers team is finally formed in the two-part story that bridges episodes six and seven.  There is an astonishing battle with Graviton in those episodes that blew me away!  The action was non-stop!  This was the kind of epic superhero battle I’ve been longing to see on-screen.

The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes

The majority of the story elements in The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes is based in the comic’s continuity.  For example, the team composition matches that of the original comic heroes, and the machinations of Loki are responsible for bringing the team together.  Other nods to the original comics include Hulk quitting the team during their second adventure and the discovery of a frozen Captain America.  I enjoyed the inclusion of the New Avengers comic plot point that the team banded together to hunt down a group of escaped supervillain inmates.

Through the course of these DVDs, we’re also introduced to characters such as Black Panther, Hawkeye, and Black Widow.  Nick Fury plays heavily in these adventures, his character coming across as an amalgamation of the movie version and the comic version.

Hawkeye and Black Widow on The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes

The Avengers Earth’s Mightiest Heroes vol 2 DVD continues the team’s grand adventures.  In this volume we see: the team begins to gel and figure how they’ll function as a unit, Captain America makes his modern day debut, Wonder Man makes an appearance, and the DVD wraps up with a massive Gamma Monster brawl!  Both vol 1 and vol 2 offer a unique bonus feature with sneak peaks at season two of the series!  Nice featurettes that got me excited for further adventures!

I watched these DVDs with my eleven year old step-son and my five year old daughter.  I was interested in getting their opinion on the series.  Like me, they loved it!  Probably most surprising was my daughter’s intense interest in the show.  She’s very much a princess & pink kind of girl, so I didn’t expect her to latch onto this series as much as she did.  As we progressed through the episodes, this five year old child was spouting off bits of continuity from previous episodes that even I had forgotten about!  Understandably so, her favorite character was the Wasp.  I think Wasp might just be my favorite too.  So heroic and adorable!  Interestingly, both my kids noticed the immense amount of collateral damage and innocent bystanders in this series.  The superhero battles are big, bold and destructive.  I thought it was a very astute observation coming from children.

Wasp in The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes

The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes vol. 1 & 2 on DVD went on sale last week.  Here are the details:

The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes DVD Volume 1Volume 1 Episodes:
1. Iron Man Is Born!
2. Thor The Mighty
3. Hulk Versus The World
4. Meet Captain America
5. The Man in the Ant Hill
6. Breakout: Part 1
7. Breakout: Part 2
BONUS FEATURE: New Looks, New Heroes

The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes DVD Volume 2

Volume 2 Episodes:
8. Some Assembly Required
9. Living Legend
10. Everything Is Wonderful
11. Panther’s Quest
12. Gamma World: Part1
13. Gamma World: Part 2
BONUS FEATURE: New Stories, New Threats

I feel the quality of the stories, animation, and characters in this series are reminiscent of DC’s Justice League Unlimited animated series.  Make no mistake, that’s high praise coming from me!  While I enjoy many superhero cartoons, I don’t typically watch them a second time.  I feel confident saying that I’ll be re-watching these cartoons again in the near future.  If you’re a fan of superheroes or comic books, these DVDs are for you!  Buy them today!

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My thanks to Walt Disney Studios for sending me copies of these DVDs for review.

04.26.2011

Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes on DVD Today

The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes animated series comes out on DVD today from Walt Disney Studios!  They’ve spread the first 13 action-packed episodes across two volumes.

Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes DVD volume 1

Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes DVD volume 2

I’ve been an avid collector of Avengers comic books since the early 1990s.  I love this team and I love these characters.  The animated series really has an interesting take on these fan-favorite heroes.  I haven’t seen every episode of this series yet, so I’m looking forward to watching the entire run on DVD.  Pick up your own copies today and watch for my review of the series here in the near future!

04.20.2011

Elisabeth Sladen, Doctor Who’s Sarah Jane Smith – RIP

If you’re a fan of Doctor Who, you’ve probably heard by now that Elisabeth Sladen (the actress who portrayed Sarah Jane Smith) passed away yesterday.

Elisabeth Sladen as Sarah Jane Smith

For news of her passing, visit the Doctor Who News Page.  Those folks will do an excellent job providing all the newsworthy details of her death.  While they report the news, I’m going to focus on my own personal feelings.

Hearing the news about Elisabeth Sladen really shook me.  Just a few short months ago we lost Nicholas Courtney and now this.  I realize death is part of life, but c’mon!  This isn’t fair!  This has totally blown any anticipation I had for this Saturday’s Doctor Who season opener.

I’ve been watching Doctor Who for nearly 30 years now.  Hands down, Sarah Jane Smith is my favorite companion.  Always has been, always will.  I first encountered Sarah Jane in Genesis of the Daleks in 1982, my very first glimpse of the show.  The early Tom Baker years were the first episodes I saw on a regular basis, so like most other young men I totally crushed on Sarah Jane.   She was everything a 10 year old boy wanted from a girlfriend.  Her smile lit up the room, she went on adventures, she fought evil, she constantly needed rescuing, she was so very sweet and friendly, and she always stuck by her best friend.   She was cool!  She wasn’t just a companion, she was a hero!

When I was older and re-watched several of her episodes, I was surprised just how likable she was as a character.  This was entirely due to Elisabeth Sladen’s fantastic performance.  Sladen’s Sarah Jane was warm, friendly, and believable.  Seeing Sarah Jane in later stories such as The Five Doctors or Dimensions in Time just reaffirmed how excellent the character was. While I can find something to like about every companion, Sarah Jane was THE premier Doctor Who companion as far as I was concerned.  Re-watching episodes like Genesis of the Daleks or Ark in Space, I can now see just how foxy she was as well!

When Elisabeth Sladen returned to Doctor Who for the episode “School Reunion” in 2006, I was overjoyed.  That episode was a real tear-jerker for me.  Seeing one of my favorite characters back in action after so long really pulled on the heartstrings.  Shortly after that, BBC announced The Sarah Jane Adventures.  Good for Elisabeth Sladen!  Nearly 30 years after leaving Doctor Who, she was granted her own spin-off (for a second time if you remember K-9 and Company)!  It’s not often an actor or actress can walk away from a role, then turn around 30 years later and make it even more popular!

She was really a great actress, even in her more recent appearances.  In the Doctor Who episode “Journey’s End”, Sarah Jane starts to cry and quiver with fear after hearing Davros’ voice again after 30 years.  Every time I watch Elisabeth Sladen cry, I start to tear up as well.  Also, it’s a testament to Sladen’s performance that the character of Sarah Jane Smith has worked so well with numerous Doctors (Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker, David Tennant, and Matt Smith).  She made you believe these actors were playing the same character that she traveled with all those years ago.  She was so good!

I’ve only seen Elisabeth Sladen in a few interviews, but she always seemed like an absolutely wonderful lady.  From everything I’ve read about her, she was a talented and dynamic actress who was always friendly.  I had hoped to meet her one day at a convention, but now that can never happen.  Such an amazing woman and character.  She will be sorely missed.  The following cartoon speaks for itself…

K-9 farewell to Sarah Jane Smith - Dork Tower

When I was a child I thrilled to the adventures of the Doctor and Sarah Jane.  One of my greatest Doctor Who-related joys is that 30 years later and my own children have been able to thrill to their new adventures!  Elisabeth Sladen and Sarah Jane Smith… rest in peace.

UPDATE:

This post was a sort of catharsis for me. I had a lot of feelings roiling around about Elisabeth Sladen’s death and I had to work through them somehow. Upon re-reading this entry, I really didn’t convey what a wonderful actress Sladen was, what a great character Sarah Jane was, and the empty hole left behind by her passing.

My friend Ed sent a link to an article about Elisabeth Sladen on io9. I highly recommend you go read it. Some of the quotes and comments started me tearing up again.

http://io9.com/#!5793664/rip-elisabeth-sladen-doctor-whos-apprentice

04.13.2011

Listen Up: Star Trek First Contact Discussion

I consider myself a pretty big Star Trek fan.  I’ve seen most of the TV episodes, all the movies, and read quite a few of the novels and comics.  However, I don’t hold a candle to the guys over at Two True Freaks!  These fellas really know their Star Trek! This month they were kind enough to invite me on their show to discuss my favorite Next Generation film, Star Trek: First Contact.  Chris and I had a great time bantering back and forth on the merits and challenges with this film.  Download the episode and give it a listen!  Be sure to hang around to the end to hear my true feelings about Chris.  ;)

Two True Freaks Star Trek Monthly Monday - First Contact

Here is the description of the episode from their website:

Scott was busy becoming an official MONORAIL PILOT so Chris invited The Irredeemable Shag to sit in on this special episode focusing on Star Trek: First Contact, the first full Next Generation movie! This is Shag’s first Star Trek episode on Two True Freaks and his enthusiasm shows! Stick around to the end to see exactly how enthusiastic he can get! Continuity issues are hashed out, Oobie Doobie gets played, a Borg Gorn is proposed and so much more!

My thanks to Chris (and Scott) for letting me appear on their show!  I love me some Star Trek and this was a blast to record!  Be sure to check out Two True Freaks!

04.1.2011

My New Blog… B’wana Beast’s Blog

Because apparently I’m not busy enough already, I’ve started another blog!  B’WANA BEAST’S BLOG – A blog dedicated to DC Comics’ Jungle Master – B’wana Beast!

For the past two years, I’ve run a site dedicated to Firestorm the Nuclear Man. While I enjoyed writing about Firestorm, I felt it was time to move on to something new. When I started the site in January 2009, Firestorm had been reduced to a minor character. His monthly series had been canceled for a third time, and he was a junior member of the Justice League of America. It was easy to keep up with his appearances and I could spend lots of time focused on his history. I liked that formula. Nowadays Firestorm is practically mainstream, appearing in DC’s number one selling comic Brightest Day. With rumors abound of a new Firestorm ongoing series, I felt it was time to move on before it became too difficult to keep up.

B’wana Beast has always been my favorite character and after searching around the web I haven’t been able to find an active blog dedicated to the character. I decided it was time to bid Firestorm a fond farewell and follow my heart. Thus was born B’WANA BEAST’S BLOG!

B'wana Beast's Blog

At B’WANA BEAST’S BLOG I’ll discuss all things about the character. I’ll be covering both B’wana Beast and Freedom Beast, comic books, toys, cartoon appearances, memorabilia, advertisements, my own editorial thoughts on the character … just about anything related to B’wana Beast. For example, today I published posts featuring some of B’wana Beast’s cartoon appearances, best comic covers, action figures, and more! That’s the general idea behind the blog.

So please feel free to stop by anytime or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Support B’wana Beast! Do Justice to the Jungle Master!

B'wana Beast's Blog

03.25.2011

READING: The Walls of the Universe by Paul Melko

I’m currently reading and enjoying the novel The Walls of the Universe by Paul Melko. It’s a fast-paced read that jumps between alternate universe adventure, suspense thriller, and coming-of-age story.

The Walls of the Universe by Paul Melko

I stumbled across this book in a Science Fiction Book Club mailer and decided to give it a try.  Here is the description from the Science Fiction Book Club:

Ohio farm boy John Rayburn is in trouble after beating up the high-school bully. But his petty problems fade when his doppelgänger, Prime, appears with a device that lets him travel across worlds. For John, the lure of seeing another universe is too strong: he tries it out…and learns to his horror that the device only works one way—forward—and that Prime stole his life from him! Unable to return home, he settles in a new universe to try and fix the device.

As Prime sets out to cash in on inventions he’s stolen from other Earths—including the Rubik’s Cube—John’s attempts to lie low backfire spectacularly when he inadvertently introduces pinball to his new universe. Unfortunately, both actions draw the notice of other travelers, dangerous people who are exploiting worlds for their own nefarious purposes.

The 2009 novel was expanded from a novella that appeared in the April/May 2006 issue of Asimov’s Science Fiction.  The novella was nominated for Hugo Award for Best Novella, Nebula Award for Best Novella, Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award, and won the Asimov’s Readers Poll Award.

The book is a real page-turner.  Give it a try!

03.16.2011

Better Off Ted

Maybe everyone else has already discovered this show, but I just fell in love with Better Off Ted.  It’s friggin’ hilarious!

Better Off Ted

It ran on ABC for two seasons and is now available on DVD and Netflix Instant.  It’s technically a sitcom, but the writing is extremely sharp and clever, the actors are fantastic, and the production values are high.  It has lots of office humor, mixed with a little mad science. It’s about the product development department for a stereotypical major corporation (meaning moneygrubbing and evil).  Veridian Dynamics motto is “Money Before People”, however, they publish it in Latin so it sounds fancy.  Each episode of the show features a Veridian commercial.  Here is a Veridian commercial and a two minutes teaser for the first episode…

If you can’t view the embedded video above, please click here.

It’s got lots of humor, fun characters, and some geeky science stuff.  Imagine combining The Office, Arrested Development, and Muppet Labs. That description probably isn’t spot-on, but it’s the best I could do.

Each episode is only 30 minutes, so giving it a try isn’t a huge investment.  Even my wife is hooked on the show! I highly recommend it for geeks!

03.14.2011

Awesome Find: Starman Trade Paperback

While strolling through a local comic shop this past weekend, I came across the very first Starman trade paperback!  I own the individual issues (#0 – 5), and I realize the beautiful yet expensive omnibuses are available, but this first trade is special to me.

Starman: Sins of the Father trade paperback volume 1

It was first collected in 1996, a time when trade paperbacks were uncommon.  You really knew DC believed in Starman because of these trades.  I was pleased to get it at cover price, thinking it was extremely scarce.  Now that I look online, paying $12.95 was a fair price for a second printing.  Worth noting is the cover looks sort of odd, like a poor digital scan.  Weird.

If you’ve never read Starman by James Robinson, Tony Harris, and Wade Von Grawbadger, you really should.  It was truly groundbreaking at the time.  Nowadays it may not seem like a trailblazer, but it’s certainly still a good read.  Part of the reason I bought this trade (even though I own the issues) is to loan and get others addicted!

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