The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn April 22, 2015 The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn Usman Malik He will inherit the Unseen. The Ways of Walls and Words April 15, 2015 The Ways of Walls and Words Sabrina Vourvoulias Can the spirit truly be imprisoned? Ballroom Blitz April 1, 2015 Ballroom Blitz Veronica Schanoes Can't stop drinking, can't stop dancing, can't stop smoking, can't even die. Dog March 25, 2015 Dog Bruce McAllister "Watch the dogs when you're down there, David."
From The Blog
April 22, 2015
Daredevil, Catholicism, and the Marvel Moral Universe
Leah Schnelbach
April 22, 2015
The Old Guy Action Comeback: I’m Getting Too Old for This Sh*t
Ryan Britt
April 20, 2015
The Net is the Meat: Bruce Holsinger’s Middle Ages
David Perry
April 17, 2015
Spring 2015 Anime Preview: The Hellish Life of a Pizza Delivery Boy
Kelly Quinn
April 16, 2015
The Disney Read-Watch: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Mari Ness
Showing posts by: alex brown click to see alex brown's profile
Wed
Apr 8 2015 11:30am

Diversity and Inclusivity at WonderCon 2015

This year was my third year attending WonderCon, and while it’s not my favorite con (that would be Worldcon), it’s still three solid days of geeky fun. As always, I went with my best friend, and she and I went through our usual range of emotions: being bored on Friday; overwhelmed, annoyed, and slightly disappointed on Saturday; and pleased and totally satisfied by Sunday. Prolonged exposure to that many people is equal parts challenging and entertaining for a pair of friends that are basically the 32-year-old versions of Daria and Jane.

We switched from Comic Con to WonderCon a while back for a lot of reasons, but mostly because the former never felt as comfortable as the latter...

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Mon
Mar 30 2015 2:00pm

The Walking Dead, Season 5 Finale: “Conquer”

The Walking Dead season 5 finale Conquer

Season 5 has had a lot of ups, but even more downs. Where season 4 looked to be turning the ship in the right direction, now we’re right back where we started with repetitive main arcs, stalled subplots, cipher personalities, and unresolved questions. Between Father Gabriel and Sasha’s descents into madness, Michonne and Tyreese’s recovery from violence, Rick and Carol solidifying their brutal plans, Glenn and Maggie keeping everyone from killing everyone else, and Abraham, Eugene, Rosita, and Tara, um, existing, The Walking Dead keeps on keeping on. Like the rest of the series, “Conquer” looked great and effectively teased out tension, but ultimately the whole thing just sorta sat there.

[“We had to stop being out there.”]

Mon
Mar 30 2015 10:00am

Pull List: Getting Emotional Over Bitch Planet

Originally, this edition of Pull List was supposed to be all Kelly Sue DeConnick all the time as a co-review of Bitch Planet and Pretty Deadly. And then I read issue #3 and curled up in a cuddle puddle with my pet rat and cried for half an hour. I don’t even know how to explain everything, all the emotions that Penny’s history flooded up inside me, and even if I could it’s far more than this post could sustain. This review is rambling and wandering, but if you could manage to talk about a series like Bitch Planet and not get worked up emotionally then there is something terribly wrong with you.

[“...and you bastards ain’t never gonna break me.”]

Wed
Mar 18 2015 4:00pm

iZombie Gets Badass with Banter, Bodies, and Brains

iZombie

Before the boat party from hell, Liv Moore (pun!) was a promising physician with a Type A personality and a studly fiancé. One night she decides to step out of her comfort zone and hang out with some work friends at a party when it all goes awry. A new synthetic drug called Utopia gets passed around and turns the users and anyone they scratch into zombies, including Liv. Five months later, she’s traded her job for a gig in the ME’s office, broken up with the man she loves, and gone into virtual hiding, too haunted by the terrible events of the recent past to even consider having a future. Because she doesn’t know how to tell them what she really is, she isolates herself.

Liv’s unhappy with her un-life, so she mopes around like an emo ghost and sneaks brain noms from post-autopsy corpses. Trick is, with every brain she consumes she sees flashes of the dead person’s life. Even worse trick is that if she doesn’t eat brains on a regular basis—or if she gets overstimulated—her baser, more violent nature kicks into high gear. When her supervisor discovers her deadly little secret, finding a cure becomes his prime directive. Suddenly a future doesn’t seem so impossible, and Liv decides to use her gift/curse to help Seattle PD solve unsolvable crimes.

[“What’s the worst that could happen?”]

Wed
Mar 18 2015 2:00pm

Pull List: Women’s History Month

Pull List Women's History Month

It’s tough being a girl in comic books. You don’t have a lot of options. The big divide is between being a superhero or a mundane, but that’s just physics. In reality your choices aren’t based in whether or not you have any powers but what kind of woman you are.

You can be the Romantic Love Interest—with the option of becoming the Wife if you can convince the hero to stick around or, if he dumps you, the Femme Fatale/Villain. If you are a Career Woman, you usually only do that while biding your time until the hero proposes or dumps the Sexy Girl. The Sexy Girl exudes sexuality and seduces other characters left and right. She functions under what should be sex positive behavior but is generally treated by the creators as a chance to get a woman as close to naked on the page as they can. She wears nothing but bikinis, revealing costumes so tight they look painted on, or outfits perpetually coming undone. Sometimes you can be the Lesbian, but most of the time that’s just an excuse for the writers to have you talk about all the sex you’re having and for the artist to draw you in a variety of titillating poses. In other words, you’re the Sexy Girl with slightly different window dressing.

[Things aren’t all bad, though.]

Wed
Feb 25 2015 11:00am

Pull List: Sex Criminals

Can this whole intro just be the lyrics to “Fat Bottomed Girls”? No? Fine. In that case, let’s talk about sex, baby. Specifically, sex involving bank-robbing, library-saving, relationship-ruining criminals as written by the kind of comics creators who do great work in the mainstream and off-the-wall-awesome work at Image Comics. This is the story of a fledgling relationship, of two young people struggling with the whole “adulthood” thing, of people who can stop time, of sex scientists and sex cops and sex criminals, of the ways we live and love and screw and screw up. So put down that street muffin, brimpers. This is about to get weird.*

*But not that weird. This review is totally SFW. Unless you click the links. So maybe wait to do that until you get home. Ok? Ok.

[“Anyway, so… Freddie Mercury huh?”]

Fri
Feb 13 2015 12:00pm

Pull List: Black History Month

For all their talk about diversity and inclusion, comic books still tend to be pretty straight, white, and male (and catered to same). But that doesn’t mean there aren’t a lot of great characters of color that do more than fill the token role. There are a ton of problematic ones (see: Tyroc), but just as many have been retconned into redemption or were lucky enough to start out on the awesome side. Black History Month is the perfect time to devote special attention to some great Black comic book characters, from BAMF humans to magic aliens to superheroes.

I admit there are a lot of people missing from this list, but that doesn’t mean they’re forgotten. It just means that this post was getting long and unwieldy, so it was either write a ridiculous longread of 30+ characters or cut it down to something more manageable. So instead of a Best Of list, you’re getting my top ten favorite Black characters. And if you want to tell me what a tragedy it is that Sam Wilson or Luke Cage or anyone else aren’t here, well, that’s what the comments section is for. Keep in mind, quite a few (like Renee Montoya and Dee) will turn up in Pull Lists for Women’s History Month and Pride in the upcoming months...

Be warned: minor spoilers ahoy.

[Read more]

Mon
Feb 9 2015 12:00pm

The Walking Dead, S5 E9: “What Happened and What’s Going On”

If the midseason premiere is any indication of where the show is headed and at what level of quality, well, your guess is as good as mine. While I admire the risk of an episode like “What Happened and What’s Going On,” I’m not sure I would’ve picked it for the premiere. I mean, closing out one arc with the death of a good character who still believes in kindness and empathy only to start a new arc by killing off the last remaining character not consumed by nihilism is a bold choice. Surrounding that death with a meaningless, empty plot probably didn’t help matters...

[“I’m a struggling man, and I’ve got to move on.”]

Thu
Feb 5 2015 10:00am

Don’t Touch That Dial: Midseason Superheroes

Welcome back to “Don’t Touch That Dial,” a seasonal series in which I, your friendly neighborhood television addict, break down some of the shows screaming for your attention. I already told you what’s new this spring, so now we’re diving a little deeper. In this very special episode we’re covering a kickass secret agent (Agent Carter), a dead hero (Arrow), an adorable speedster (The Flash), and a Batman show for people who don’t like Batman (Gotham).

[“For God’s sake, will you please stop shooting things?”]

Wed
Jan 28 2015 1:00pm

Pull List: Nimona

Once upon a time, a bored blogger was endlessly scrolling through Tumblr when she came across some really awesome fanart. She checked out the OP and was pleased to discover a gem of a webcomic. The blogger was immediately hooked and spent the next few hours devouring everything the artist had ever created. She reblogged the artist’s mini-comics, bought copies of her fanart, and devoured her webcomic with the kind of single-minded intensity she usually reserved for 40,000+ word fanfics. Even though the webcomic has come to an end, the blogger still keeps the RSS feed on her bookmarks toolbar, because every now and again she gets a craving.

And now it’s time for you, dear reader, to fall in love with Nimona, Ballister, and Goldenloin just as your fair blogger did...

[“Aw yeah! Let’s make some evil plans!”]

Wed
Jan 21 2015 6:00pm

Don’t Touch That Dial: Midseason SFF

Midseason Television

Caped crusaders not enough for you? Need an SFF fix? Well, you’re in luck. On our second misdseason installment of “Don’t Touch That Dial,” let’s take a gander at a time-traveller trying to prevent the end of the world (12 Monkeys), an exorcist with a chip on his shoulder trying to prevent the end of the world (Constantine), and a pair of holy witnesses trying to prevent the end of the world (Sleepy Hollow). I’m sensing a theme here...

[“Without the threat of apocalypse, what is my place in the world?”]

Wed
Jan 21 2015 4:00pm

Supernatural: Dark and Monstrous

Supernatural

Previously on Supernatural: Dean creeps closer to evil, Sam becomes a total worry wort, Cas tries to figure out what women want, Crowley goes full mama’s boy, Rowena cackles and stabs her way through Hell’s hierarchy, Hannah takes a timeout, and Claire has some issues.

[“Ok, who talks like that?”]

Wed
Jan 14 2015 3:00pm

Warm Glowing Warming Glow: Midseason 2015 TV

Summer 2014 television previewLike every year since the second year of television’s existence, most of the midseason premieres are weighed down by stuff you’ve already seen with new window dressings. Some have been run through the copy machine with old character names crossed off and new ones scribbled in, while others are old properties warmed over with familiar, mass-market appeal actors. SFF fans, however, have had a pretty decent 2014-2015 television season so far. If you like superhero/comics, that is. Or bonkers fantasy mysteries that treat plot holes like prime real estate. Lucky for me, I fit squarely into both camps. Ya’ll can have Girls and Survivor and The Blacklist, and I’ll sit over here happily binging on Agent Carter and Sleepy Hollow and Forever.

Of course, not everything came up Milhouse. Gotham has been an increasingly grave disappointment as each episode slips further and further into pointlessness. Constantine has the distinction of premiering with the same structural/character issues currently plaguing season two of Sleepy Hollow, with both shows showing little interest in salvaging themselves from the wreckage. At least we have Agent Carter. Ah, Hayley Atwell, moon of my life, my sun and stars. Hey Marvel, can I trade an Ant-Man movie for more Peggy Carter?

[“Let us all bask in television’s warm glowing warming glow.”]

Tue
Jan 13 2015 3:00pm

Getting Excited About Comics Again: Image Expo 2015

As those of you who read my monthly Pull List column here know, last year was the year I finally returned to comics after having abandoned them as a teenager. Well, specifically, it was the year I went back to superhero comics. I’d been reading alt comics and graphic novels for years—Preacher, Sandman, Hellboy, and Y: The Last Man hold a special place on my bookshelves—but even my readership in those had nosedived after my frustration with The Walking Dead comics put me off just about all illustrated works. Going back to capes meant going back to graphic novels, which lead directly to my belated discovery of Image Comics' current output.

And that’s why I was so excited to attend Image Expo for the first time last week. I’ve been to a variety of SFF cons in the last few years, but had no idea what to expect with this one. It both surpassed and underwhelmed my expectations, but regardless I had a grand time. First off, it’s not a con, at least not in the way I thought it would be. I’m terrible at judging crowd sizes, but it seemed like there couldn’t have been more than two thousand people, if that. Which worked out perfectly in a venue as small as the Yerba Buena Arts Center in San Francisco.

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Wed
Dec 31 2014 3:30pm

Pull List: Saga

There are a lot of good comics out there. Sure, there are quite a few bad comics, and a ton of mediocre ones, but the really great ones are few and far between. Those are the comics that don’t just break the rules, they shatter them into a million unidentifiable pieces. They shove convention and tradition out the window and do whatever the hell they want. The graphics are more art than illustration, and the text more literature than natter. The great ones push the boundaries of what is acceptable, what is deviant, what is perverted, and what is awe-inspiring. They force the reader to really think about their world, and revel in the thrill of the reader forging a personal connection to the characters or material. They take the medium and elevate it to such great heights that the very concept of “high quality” is redefined.

And then there’s Saga.

[“Life is mostly just learning how to lose.”]

Mon
Dec 1 2014 4:00pm

Pull List: Batgirl and Thor

DC’s New 52 reboot in 2011 was much needed, somewhat successful, and totally controversial. Women creators dropped from 12% to a depressing 1% (as of August 2014, that number is under 10% between the Big Two). Catwoman, Starfire, Voodoo, and Harley Quinn were way oversexualized. And then there was Batgirl. Barbara Gordon was thankfully spared the worst aspects of the New 52, by which I mean she wasn’t tarted up in a black and yellow bikini with Liefeld-esque accent pouches. Three years later, a new writer and artist have taken over the title and breathed new life into Batgirl.

A week before Batgirl dropped, Marvel launched their newest series aimed at young women: Thor. Yes, in the 2014 Marvel comics universe, Captain Marvel is a woman, Ms. Marvel is Pakistani-American, Captain America and Ultimate Spider-Man are Black, and Thor is a woman (with really unfortunate boob-plate armor). Quite a few characters have taken over the mantle of Thor over the years, but this time it’s for real. For now, anyway.

So, we have two old titles with two new personalities. How do they stack up? And, more importantly, should you buy? Oh, hell yes.

[“Quick, say something badass.”]

Mon
Dec 1 2014 1:00pm

The Walking Dead, S5 E8: “Coda”

The Walking Dead: Coda

And thus ends the midseason finale, not with a bang but with a whimper. This season had such a great start, but ended on a scattered, half-baked note. I don’t know what happened in the writers room the days they broke “Crossed” and “Coda,” but whatever it was it couldn’t have been good. The last two eps were way off the mark, tonally, character-wise, plot-wise, everything. Thematically I liked what both had to say, but the means by which the writers chose to express those themes was underwhelming at best.

[“I get it now.”]

Mon
Nov 24 2014 12:00pm

The Walking Dead, S5 E7: “Crossed”

The Walking Dead Crossed

The end is nigh and all the pieces are moving into place. In seasons past, an episode like this would’ve triggered an entire post railing against yet another time-killing episode. Now, however, episodes like this work well. It’s one thing to understand that sometimes you have to spend time setting the table and another when you realize it’s only happening because the people in the kitchen don’t know what they’re doing and are delaying the inevitable as long as possible. “Crossed” is functional but endearing, and if nothing else, at least we got to see Tara’s face light up as she played with that yo-yo.

[“So, what’s next on the agenda?”]

Mon
Nov 17 2014 11:00am

The Walking Dead, S5 E6: “Consumed”

“Consumed” is another solid entry in a strong season, due in large part to being 42 minutes of two of the show’s best actors doing some quality work. The episode fills in what happened after Daryl and Carol drove off after the car with the white cross but before the former returns to the church with an unknown companion (dollars to donuts, it’s Noah). It’s also chockablock with flashbacks to Carol’s major subplots from season 4.

[“I don’t think we get to save people anymore.”]

Wed
Nov 12 2014 6:00pm

Supernatural: A Single Man Tear

Previously on Supernatural: Demon!Dean is dispatched as quickly as he arrived, Sam ruins all my fun by being so quintessentially Sam, Crowley gets dumped and doesn’t care for it, and Cas has the world’s most boring romance. Also: a wonderful, fantastic, awesome musical.

[“We got work to do.”]