Geek in the City

Mixing pop culture news, reviews, and socially biting commentary with mildly amusing entertainment.

Look Kids, Comics!

No, really. Look:

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Two cases of La Brujeria sitting in Casa de Geek. It is a strange and great feeling to see those books sitting there. A year of hard work compressed into 23 pages of words and art; sitting in two 50 pound weight cardboard boxes.

See you all Saturday, January 15 at Bridge City Comics!

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Three for Me – September 29

There are literally dozens (sometimes hundreds) of new books that hit your local comic book shop every Wednesday. These are the three you might want to check out for September 22, 2010…

Machete #0 – IDW

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I have no idea if Robert Rodriquez’s glorious Mexploitation flick will work well on the page, but I damn well want to find out. Not your typical “how did Machete become Machete” tale, as we kinda’ saw that in the reflection of Steven Seagal’s katana. (Bionic katana mind you). Penned by filmmakers Rodriguez and Kaufman, Machete promises a high body and boob count. We’re in!

Action Comics #893 – DC Comics

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Honestly, this might be the only title from DC this week worth dropping your hard coin. (Vertigo has some strong entries this week, not so much from the parent company). Indeed, the last few months of Action Comics has been a fantastic ride. Under writer Paul Cornell and artist Pete Woods, Lex Luthor’s obsessive quest for all the Lantern power rings has been a welcome surprise. Who would of thought in 2010, Action Comics could still brings the four-color fun. Superman / Shuperman, I want my adventures of Lex. With a follow up story about Jimmy Olson, penned by the rising star behind Morning Glories, Nick Spencer, Action Comics #893 is my prediction of the week. Oh, it also stars Grodd! Sweet.

Terminator 1984 #1 – Dark Horse Comics

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From Zack Whedon and Andy MacDonald, an intriguing tale of another time traveler doing his duty to protect the future. Terminator 1984 reads like an expanded script from James Cameron. Revolving around Kyle Reese’s friend, Ben, Terminator 1984 is a much slower build than the run and gun film. Exploring the earliest days of Skynet, Terminator 1984 explores another aspect of the original film. Taken together, the original film and this new issue from Dark Horse Comics makes for a full Directors Cut experience of the series.

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Superheroes & Villains Converge…

This week, Geek Trivia at Vendetta goers will get a special treat: our guest hosts are Benja Barker and Sarah Shads from the Alter Egos Society!

They will be offering up some excellent geek questions that are sure to wrinkle your brains. Plus! Not only will the gracious hosts be in costume, but any team that plays in costume will receive an extra two bonus points! (All members–up to five per team–must be in costume to qualify for the bonus points.)

Prizes include Alter Egos Society patches, t-shirts, and Archives of the Fantastic DVDs. The grand prize: an official Alter Egos Society membership (with exclusive patch, member ID card, decoder card, certificate signed in invisible ink).

This is a once-in-a-lifetime event you won’t want to miss! As usual, you must be 21 or older to play. Hope to see you there!480_schoolgeek

Archives of the Fantastic – The Ninth Cosmic Convergence

There is a very fine line between making fun of superhero fandom and having fun with superhero fandom. One gives you flashbacks of hiding in the back of the classroom, avoiding the glares of your classmates. The other, well, it does the same thing, but you’ve got one hell of a grin on your face. The talented pool of artists within the Alter Egos Society provide the later with their short film, Archives of the Fantastic – The Ninth Cosmic Convergence.

Portland’s first (and so far, only) 100% homegrown superhero movie, Archives of the Fantastic is tongue-in-cheek love letter to a seemingly bygone era of heroics. The plot is simple. Portland, like many major cities, plays host to heroes and villains. The villains to bad things (but never too bad) and the heroes save the day (yes, always in the nick of time). However, as the title suggests, something terrible and Earth shattering forces the heroes and villains of Portland to band together and save the world! As simple as this plot sounds, there is a definite refreshing quality to the story. A little nostalgia trip to a time when characters weren’t eviscerated or violated every other issue. When a slice of naivete was welcome in your tale.

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Still, it isn’t the plot that drives Archives of the Fantastic. It is the people behind it. The actors that make these non-Hollywood heroes and villains come to life. It is the creative heart of filmmakers Benja Barker, Steven Schmucker, and Daniel Miller that make the movie come to life. Archives of the Fantastic has that certain “something” you hear people talk about. Everyone involved has a passion in bringing this short to life and it shows on every frame. That alone would make Archives of the Fantastic a worthy addition to any movie collection, but the Alter Egos Society – in a rather heroic turn – have decided to donate all the profits from the film the p:ear. A Portland based non-profit, p:ear aids homeless and transitional youth through education, the arts, and positive recreation.

You can find your copy of Archives of the Fantastic: The Ninth Cosmic Convergence DVD in most Portland comic book stores and online. Rush out now, lest The Devourer take a bite out of The City of Roses!

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What’s So Funny About Truth, Justice, and the American Way?

Every few years this article always finds a way to get back to the “top of the pops” as it were. My “Did Comics Outgrow Me” post a couple days back had me again thinking about the above title, and after a conversation on what single issues stand out as some of the greatest ever written… I thought a re-post was in order* – AD:

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The title above is taken from the cover of Action Comics #775. Possibly one of the greatest Superman tale, no comic tale, ever written. I’d tell you to go read it, but it came out almost 10 years ago and you’ll be hard pressed to find a collector who would part with their copy. The plot is relatively simple. A new team called The Elite has taken to killing the villains in the world. When confronted by Superman they argue that by utterly and completely wiping out the evil in the world they are making it a safer place. Superman argues (as he always does) that killing for any reason makes you no better then the people you are fighting. The Elite asks the people to decide, and they do. In a painful moment Superman watches some kids playing “superhero” and NONE of them wants to be him because “Superman can’t kill”.

There in lies the core truth to Superman. He can kill. He can kill with such force and power that NO ONE could stop him. What makes him more human then any of us mortals is that he chooses NOT TO. Superman tries to make the world a better place without causing harm. It pains Superman when he is forced to resort to his fists and heat vision when protecting the people of the Earth.

The Elite tells Superman that he is washed up. That his morals no longer apply in the new world of terrorists and nuclear despots. The Elite challenges Superman to a fight. A fight that Superman KNOWS he can not win without killing the Elite. Superman spends a sleepless night watching the city, country, world, and wife that he loves resting peacefully; knowing that in the morning he must either kill or allow himself to die for his higher beliefs. Like all events in the modern era, the fight between Superman and the Elite is televised. Refusing to stoop to their level, Superman is killed…

We are that power. America is the Superman of the world. We can utter and totally obliterate any foe we face in an instant should we choose to. As a whole I want to believe that we don’t want to pummel our foes into submission. Like Superman, I want to believe that America would prefer to extend a hand in friendship then in violence. True, the world is dangerous and scary at times. Such dangers must be met with the appropriate amount of vigilance. America should, like Superman, temper our power. Such terrible power unchecked is a dangerous and frightening image.

The Elite returns victorious. The Elite begins to strike at forces it believes to be dangerous. Their argument is an old (and valid) one. If you could have killed Hitler before he took power, how many lives would have been saved? The Elite kills those that it feels will be a threat to the world. Soon, the Elite even turns to those that disagree with their philosophy. Just as Superman claimed, the people of the world become frightened and threatened by their new “protectors”. Luckily, these are the comics and we all know that Superman isn’t really dead. Faking his death Superman challenges the Elite to another fight. No cameras, no witness’, and no rules. Full of pride the Elite accepts. Superman knows he must cross the line.

Without the world watching what would America do? Would we maintain our higher moral ground or would we simply fall back on our astonishing power and level our foes?

America is at an impasse right now. Like Superman we must make a choice. We can open our coffers and unleash our power upon the world, forcing all to do as we say and desire. Or, we can channel our power into making the world self-sufficient. A world that no longer needs figures of complete and total power to protect us.

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Superman fights the Elite to the grizzly end. He uses his power to make the Elite’s leader, Manchester Black, believe that all that he cares for has met hideous and violent deaths. Superman gives the Elite a taste of the fear they place upon the population of Earth. Black relents and Superman returns the other members of the Elite to Black’s side. However, in a final act of hubris Black asks Superman why he even bothers. Why does he care? Why bother to fight for a future that is nothing more then a dream? To this Superman responds:

“You know what, Black..? I wouldn’t have it any other way. Dreams save us. Dreams lift us up and transform us. And on my soul I swear… until my dream of a world where dignity, honor and justice becomes the reality we all share… I’ll never stop fighting. Ever.”

Interestedly, whenever DC does a story about the possible future of Superman it tends to run along two themes. One, Superman sees that humanity can not govern itself and so he sets himself up as a god. He crowns himself “Superman Rex” and rules to the end of time. Then, there is the other future. The one in which Superman is no longer needed. Humanity solves it’s problems on it’s own. In this future, Superman is no more. There is only Clark Kent, mild mannered (and happily retired) reporter for the Daily Planet.

I wonder which future we will have?

*And, every few years I get very interesting comments and emails about it. Often reflecting the current mood of the land… Wonder what surfaces this time. – AD

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