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Chris Greenland

Community is the Best Science Fiction/Fantasy Show You’re Not Watching

Tonight, the NBC comedy Community is airing an episode where the characters spend most of their time playing Dungeons & Dragons. Personally, were I to get stuck watching someone play a tableop RPG l would start wondering how my life got to that point, yet I can’t wait to see how Community will use this facet of fantasy culture.

Part of it is the absolutely stellar cast and part of it is a writing team so sharp they rescued Chevy Chase from 30+ years of comedic irrelevance (Chevy Chase, people!)

Mostly, however, I can’t wait to see tonight’s episode because the show has demonstrated time and time again that it knows science fiction/fantasy culture.

[Seven examples below the cut]

Jupiter Brings Fear

Blogger Brad Goodspeed recently posted the above animation of how selected planets in our solar system would look if they hung in our sky at the same scale as the Moon. (Check out his site for more science-y goodness.)

Seeing the Earth hanging in the sky brings to mind all sorts of science fiction scenarios. What belief structures would we have created with a lush world hanging in our sky? How would we have reacted once we found out our world looked similar?

While those questions are fun to ponder, it’s Jupiter who steals the show here, fueling primal fear with its enormity. Set the video to fullscreen, turn up the music, and watch as our sky turns into naught but a hellish maelstrom.

Chris Greenland wonders if this will replace that one nightmare where he can hear Data laughing endlessly but can’t ever find him.

Axe Cop Movie Translates Insanely Well to the Screen

On the heels of the Axe Cop comic collection (by Malachai Nicolle and his illustrator brother Ethan) comes this homemade Axe Cop movie snippet from director Peter Muehlenberg, producer Afrim Memed, and cinematographer Anthony Koreny.

The style is note perfect, even down to the forced-perspective dinosaur toys. (Which somehow make all the more sense within the world of Axe Cop.) If you watch only one utterly joyful axe-themed movie on the internet in your life, make it this one.

Axe Cop: The Movie – Part 1 from Peter Muehlenberg on Vimeo.

How To Get Into Doctor Who In One or Two Easy Steps

So there’s this fantastic science fiction show that encompasses over 700 episodes and nearly 50 years of history. It’s about a Time Lord (what?) who travels in his TARDIS (what?) and regenerates into a new body whenever he dies (WHAT).

That sounds like a hell of a lot of work to learn about, but unlike other long-running science fiction shows, Doctor Who makes itself spectacularly easy to jump into. Want a good idea if you’d like this show? Below the cut, I’ll suggest some good jump-on points.

[All of space and time to choose from]

Series: The Twelve Doctors of Christmas

Axe Cop. That is all.

The graphic collection of the online Axe Cop webcomic is out today from Dark Horse. I don’t really need to tell you what it’s about, do I? It’s a story told by a five year old named Malachai Nicolle and his illustrator brother Ethan. There’s a cop. He finds an axe. Everything else happens with the same kind of rapid and slippery logic in which kindergartners conduct all of their business.

You either like it or you don’t. Though that quality, that certainty, is in itself appealing. If you don’t like it, that’s fine, a five year old boy is not expected to provide entertainment with consistency and depth. If you like it, fantastic! It’s awoken a piece of you that has perhaps forgotten how to view the world with uncomplicated enthusiasm. Axe Cop harms none. Except for criminals and villains. With his axe.

Chris Greenland is pleased to read something that he can just read.

Three Reasons AKA Jessica Jones Makes Me Worried

Variety reported on Friday that Marvel will be bringing Alias by Brian Michael Bendis into the television realm under the title AKA Jessica Jones.

If they had stopped there, I would have no reservations. Alias is tailor-made for television. It centers around Jessica Jones, a private investigator who briefly flirted with a career as a superhero. Her origin story as both a superhero and a self-loathing gumshoe are very well realized, and the vibe of it melds with the bright, shiny world of superheroes in a variety of amusing and realistic ways. Episodes could tackle superpowered done-in-one cases while dealing with Jessica’s backstory. When written by Bendis, Jessica Jones tended to be so entertaining that you didn’t care what she was up to, you just wanted to follow her around. Alias had an engaging main character, a great supporting cast, a powerful premise, and flexible story format.

It’s hard to mess that up, but the following three elements make me skeptical.

[Read more]

Visit Sunny Monster Island!: Justin Van Genderen’s Comic Book Travel Posters

Graphic designer Justin Page has posted up a handful of original comic book travel posters by Justin Van Genderen over at his blog Rampaged Reality. I am a sucker for two things, comic books and art deco design, so finding these was a particular highlight of my day.

It looks like Van Genderen is just getting started. I’d love to see a bigger selection. How about the above-mentioned Monster Island? Or Atlantis? (DC or Marvel!) Latveria’s poster probably demands you to have a good time.

The possibilities for offworld travel posters are even more endless. The vistas of Oa must be amazing, and who wouldn’t like to visit beautiful Zenn-La (post-Galactus)? You could even sell a “discontinued” poster for Krypton. (Too soon?)

[Edit: In the original version of this post, Justin Page was mistakenly credited as the artist for these posters. Thanks to Prince Crispin for rectifying the error!]

Wednesday Comics Pull-List: Final Battles

Welcome to Wednesday Comics Pull-List, here on! Every week we post reviews of a select handful of this week’s comic releases. From those reviews, we let you know what we would pull for keeps.

This week’s batch includes:

  • 27 #1
  • The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger–The Little Sisters of Eluria #1
  • Fables #100
  • Lady Mechanika #1
  • Widowmaker #1 (of 4)

Aside from the big anniversary issue for Vertigo’s long-running Fables title, there wasn’t much of note happening this week. Although we had a lot to say about what did happen.

Also, starting next week, the weekly comics column here on will be undergoing some changes, mixing in-depth coverage with some more news-centric items and, all in all, hopefully making it easier to talk about comics. Stay tuned!

[Read more]

Thursday Comics Pull-List: 3 Out of 6 Cthulhus Agree

Welcome to Wednesday Comics Pull-List, here on! Every week we (well, me, Matt and Annie are off for the week) post reviews of a select handful of this week’s comic releases. From those reviews, we let you know what we would pull for keeps.

This week’s batch includes:

  • Brightest Day #15
  • Buffy: The Vampire Slayer #39
  • King City #12 (of 12)
  • Shadowland #5 (of 5)
  • Strange Science Fantasy #6 (of 6)
  • Supergod #5 (of 5)

This week’s books are aptly heavy on the science fiction and half of them feature a Cthulhu monster of some sort, which probably means something dire for the human race at large. Either we’re encountering a spreading laziness in storytelling or noticing a slow emergence of the Elder Gods from our subconscious. Neither option is too stellar!

[This week, Buffy slays YOU]

“Time can be rewritten. People can’t.” Doctor Who: “A Christmas Carol” trailer

A minute-long trailer for this year’s Doctor Who Christmas special popped up this weekend. Have a look:

The episode, titled “A Christmas Carol” is written by showrunner Steven Moffat and is rumored to contain elements from “Continuity Errors,” Moffat’s first published story involving the Doctor. (In this case, the Seventh.) The special is scheduled to air in the U.K. on Christmas Day, with a broadcast to follow later that night on BBC America for those in the United States.

Some speculation to note: The episode is also rumored to begin right after the fifth series finale, “The Big Bang,” although both Rory and Amy appear in the trailer to be wearing specific costumes from other episodes in the series….

Geeky Stuffed Animals on Parade

Ever since started posting up pictures of that stuffed Appa (the above cutie-pie) I have been 1.) Amazed at how adorable an enormous slobbery sky bison could be and 2.) On the hunt for what else in the science fiction/fantasy realm might be adorable-ized by turning plushy.

You could definitely consider this post something of a Black Friday shopping list. I certainly have. (Sorry friends, spoilers.) I’ve listed my own findings below, limiting myself to retail outlets and not DIY or homemade sites like Etsy. (The list would probaby be endless otherwise.)

[Hedwig, Nibbler, microbes, and more]

Wednesday Comics Pull-List: The Uncomfortable Spider-Man

Welcome to Wednesday Comics Pull-List, here on! Every week we post reviews of a select handful of this week’s comic releases. From those reviews, we let you know what we would pull for keeps.

This week’s batch includes:

  • Batwoman #0
  • Conan the Crimmerian #25
  • Detective Comics #871
  • Kull: The Hate Witch #1
  • The Terminator: 1984 #3 (of 3)
  • Utimate Comics Spider-Man #150
  • The Walking Dead #79

Annie has a really good week with Batman and The Walking Dead, while Matt finds something very askew about Batwoman. Both he and Chris find themselves thrown from the Ultimate Comics Spider-Man train, even though they enjoyed reading it! (Conan and Kull are…different matters.)

[By Crom, this cable bill gets higher every month!]

The Secret Origins of Internet People: The Guild Comic Review

Felicia Day knows how to push your buttons.

It didn’t occur to me until I began looking up background information on Day for this review, but she is an amazing entrepreneur. Here is someone who has successfully turned her cult status and Woman On The Internet fan obsession into genuine focus on her creative enterprises.

From Slayer to Sherman, Day is known for representing characters that either gender can project their desires onto. What she perhaps should be better known for is her ability to deftly separate the idealizations of others from her work. For every sardonically sexualized “Do You Want To Date My Avatar?” music video there is a whole season of The Guild where Day is without that subtext. For every frightened Slayer growing excitedly into her power (or avoiding a Doll-pocalypse), there is a Penny being crushed between the machinations of two egotistic men. For every lead role in a SyFy original movie about killin’ werewolves there is…a Sears commercial. She defies being pigeonholed without rejecting it and this forces you to consider her work as more than online novelty and without pretense.

It’s in that spirit that I approached the new collection of The Guild comic (preview in the link). It also helps that Felicia Day is an excellent comic book writer.

[Well I was going to get to a review eventually. Spoiler-free]

Wednesday Comics Pull-List: Reaching Critical Batmass

Welcome to Wednesday Comics Pull-List, here on! Every week we post reviews of a select handful of this week’s comic releases. From those reviews, we let you know what we would pull for keeps.

This week’s batch includes:

  • Batman #704
  • Batman: The Return
  • Batman Incorporated #1
  • Deadpool MAX #2
  • George R.R. Martin’s Doorways #1 (of 4)
  • Hellboy: Double Feature of Evil
  • Nightmaster: Monsters of Rock
  • Osborn #1 (of 5)
  • Phoenix Without Ashes #4 (of 4)
  • Spider-Girl #1
  • Superior #2 (of 6)

DC Comics has gone nutty with Batman titles this week so we’re taking the opportunity, as Bat-fans, to also go nutty. Is the Batman relaunch working? Are you excited about the character again? Is it being done well? We have our opinion, but let us know…

[Go forth and be batty]

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