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Children's & Fantasy/Sci-Fi Books


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Action Figures Come To Life

Finally, a use for all those collectible action hero figures gathering dust on the shelf, thanks to Hot.kenobi and the mad geniuses at Bored Panda.

“Japanese photographer Hot.kenobi plays with his action toys and uses photography to tell their entertaining stories. Osaka-based Hot.kenobi creates a universe where box office rivals DC and Marvel comics (sometimes Disney’s Star Wars as well) not only battle each other, but also have some fun in both surreal and everyday situations. Most of his compositions are explosive and feature a lot of movement, perfectly supplemented by special effects and a healthy dose of humor.

Whether it’s Hulk smashing a can of soda, or Spiderman trying to ‘play’ Captain America’s shield on a CD player, these images bring the colorful personalities of unlikely friends and foes.”

Action Figures

Action Figures

Action Figures

Action Figures

Action Figures

Action Figures

Action Figures

Action Figures

Action Figures

Action Figures


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Crocheted Superhero, Video Game & Comic Characters

A fun yarn from Geeky Hooker and the mad geniuses at Bored Panda.

“A not-so-long time ago (5 years ago), in a galaxy not-so-far away (Milky Way, Earth, Houston TX), I taught myself how to crochet. I tinkered around, starting out with lumpy generic little dolls, until I got bored and started making lumpy little superheroes instead.

From there things got a little out of control, and it got to a point where if it was geeky and fun, I’d try to make it out of yarn. Captain America? Done! Chewbacca? Got it. Frida Kahlo, for no reason other than the fact that I REALLY wanted an excuse to put a tiny little unibrow on her? Done and done. Five years later, I’ve amassed a collection of little characters ranging in categories from comic book characters to sci-fi monsters to stuff in the all-encompassing “I just freaking felt like making it” category.

Sometimes I keep the little guys for myself, but most of the time I give them away, and every year I make a bunch to scatter around San Diego Comic-Con for people to find. I tag them with my contact info, and then I cross my fingers and hope that they’ll be given good homes. So far I’ve had a good turnout of adoptions, and hopefully they’ll eventually take over the world, one goofy little sack of yarn at a time!”


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Popular Comic Characters Reimagined As Dragons

By Lynton Levengood and the mad geniuses at Bored Panda.

“I love drawing dragons, they are so much fun. Recently with the release of Deadpool some of my friend requested to see a Deadpool dragon. I liked the idea and painted it and it was fun so I decided to do another, and another. I’m at 10 now and I will definitely do some more!

I have recently started a patreon account so if you would like to see more of my work and support the creation of many new dragons make sure you check it out and perhaps become a patron.”

Hulk Dragon

Dragonpool Dragon

Bat Dragon

Loki Dragon

Ghost Rider Dragon

Iron Dragon

Nightcrawler Dragon

Storm Dragon

Venom Dragon

Wolverine Dragon


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Ten Best Female Comic Book Supervillains

Courtesy of Goliath

Comic books, more than any other genre, are responsible for creating strong female characters. And many of the strongest female characters happen to be supervillains. More than femme fetales, these are often strong, powerful women who have amazing superpowers and can kick some serious ass. They also happen to be evil and, more often than not, out for revenge. Many a superhero has been tripped up by a beautiful but evil supervillain. And for every Lex Luthor there seems to be a Catwoman, for every Dr. Doom a Poison Ivy. So here is a list if the top 10 comic book female supervillains of all time.

01Harley

10. Harley Quinn – Batman

Originally conceived as a female sidekick to the Joker for the 1990s animated Batman television series, Harley Quinn proved so popular that she moved into the Batman comic books as well. And it didn’t take long for Harley Quinn to get her own comic book series, and later a starring role in theBatman spin-off title Gotham City Sirens. Harley Quinn’s fandom is due to the fact that she is mischievous, revels in being bad and can kick some ass when she needs to. Harley Quinn is also the perfect female counterpoint to the Joker and has proven to be a handful for Batman. A brand new Harley Quinn comic is now in the works at DC Comics, and the character will be played by actress Margot Robbie in next summer’s blockbuster film Suicide Squad.

02Elektra

9. Elektra – Daredevil

Who doesn’t love a female ninja assassin? For pure fighting spirit and ability, Elektra is one awesome female antagonist. And while she straddles the line between good and evil, she’s bad enough to warrant a spot on this list. Created by comic book genius Frank Miller in the early 1980s when he was writing the Daredevil series at Marvel Comics, Elektra was the love of Matt Murdock’s (aka Daredevil’s) life. She also had some epic battles against arch nemesis and fellow Frank Miller creation Bullseye. Elektra has also had several of her own comic book miniseries, appeared in Marvel titles ranging fromSpider-Man to The Punisher, and even had her own movie in 2005 where the character was played by actress Jennifer Garner. Cool, tough and sexy, it seems that it has never really mattered that the character of Elektra was killed off in Daredevil issue #181. The character is so popular she has defied death.

03Mystique

8. Mystique – The X-Men

A sexy shape shifter who can change her appearance to emulate any woman or man she comes into contact with, Mystique has been a thorn in the side of the X-Men for years. A founding member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and very close to its leader, Magneto, Mystique is the closest thing on this list to a femme fetale having used her feminine wiles to seduce men and get what she wants. However, Mystique is also the mother of X-Men character Nightcrawler and the stepmother of Rogue. This gives her a strong connection to the superhero team, which she has exploited on several occasions. The character has been effectively represented in the X-Men movies by actresses Rebecca Romijn and more recently Jennifer Lawrence, each of whom have kept the character’s sex appeal intact.

04StarSapphire

7. Star Sapphire – Green Lantern

Star Sapphire began her illustrious career as a supervillain back in the 1940s when she first fought against the Flash. However, over the years, the character of Star Sapphire has been most associated with Green Lantern. And while she has veered over to the good side at times, Star Sapphire has primarily been a baddie. Hal Jordan’s girlfriend Carol Ferris turns into the evil Star Sapphire when entranced by an alien crystal from outer space. Over the years, it was revealed that Star Sapphire is part of an entire legion of alien beings similar to the Green Lantern Corps. And Star Sapphire has fashioned the crystal that turns her evil into a ring similar to the one worn by Green Lantern. It’s as though she is the female doppelganger of Green Lantern.

05CatWoman

6. Catwoman – Batman

Is it us, or does Batman have a number of the best female supervillains? Here we come to the iconic Catwoman. While not an outright supervillain, Catwoman was introduced to readers of Batman comic books as a jewel thief. Over the years, she has manipulated, used and abused Bruce Wayne and Batman. And while she has, at times, teamed up with the Dark Knight and the two characters have even been lovers at times, Catwoman always ends up discarding Batman or hurting him once he’s served his purpose to her. A longtime fan favorite, Catwoman has surfaced in countless Batman titles as well as the last Batman movie—The Dark Knight Rises. And the character was given her own movie in 2004 starring actress Halle Berry in the titular role.

06BlackCat

5. Black Cat – Spider-Man

The Marvel comic equivalent of DC Comics’s Catwoman, Black Cat places a notch higher for being more vicious and more of a true supervillain. Black Cat also has super powers in that she can bring bad luck to her enemies thanks to an experiment carried out on her by Kingpin. Originally named Felicia Hardy, the character of Black Cat is the daughter of a renowned cat burglar who taught herself martial arts and has been a foe of Peter Parker since The Amazing Spider-Man issue #194 published in July 1979. She was ranked 27th on the Comics Buyer’s Guide’s 100 Sexiest Women in Comics list, and has proven extremely popular with Spider-Man readers. Black Cat starred opposite Wolverine in the mid-2000s comic book miniseries called Claws, and film writer/director Kevin Smith wrote a miniseries in 2002 called Spider-Man/Black Cat: The Evil that Men Do. The character of Black Cat was also featured in the 2014 movie The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and was played by actress Felicity Jones.

07Enchantress

4. Enchantress – Thor

One of Thor’s greatest enemies, Enchantress has been giving the Son of Agard fits since she first appeared in Marvel Comics back in 1964. Originally sent by Odin to kill Thor’s human love interest, the character has spent much of her time in cahoots with Thor nemesis and half-brother Loki, as well as a charter member of the Masters of Evil. Armed with spells and enchantments, the character has frequently succeeded in getting Thor to do her bidding after putting him under various spells and states of hypnosis. Enchantress has also enslaved several members of the Avengers over the years and formed the all-female evil syndicate known as the Lady Liberators. Strong, confident and sexy, Enchantress is nevertheless a very bad person. Poor Thor…

08BlackWidow

3. Black Widow – Avengers

She may have been presented as a hero in The Avengers movies, but in the comic book world Black Widow has been a villain since the character was first introduced in Inhumans issue #5 in 1999. Black Widow then had her own comic book miniseries, as well as a miniseries with Daredevil. From her inception, Black Widow has been portrayed as an amoral Russian spy and super assassin. A cold-hearted mercenary, real name Natasha Romanoff, Black Widow kicks ass but also is ruthless and cruel—working for the highest bidder and screwing over or killing anyone who gets in her way. And after flirting with S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Avengers, the character of Black Widow actually joins forces with the evil group HYDRA and is genetically altered to give her the power to copy all of the superpowers of the Avengers, which she uses against the super group. Ouch. Not only is Black Widow one of the toughest female comic book villains, she is also one of the most diabolical.

09Deathstrike

2. Lady Deathstrike – Wolverine

It’s hard to argue with a name like Lady Deathstrike. But this is one badass female villain. And probably the villain that gives Wolverine a run for his money more than any other foe. Part of Wolverine’s Japanese mythology, Lady Deathstike’s real name is Yuriko Oyama, and she is the daughter of Lord Dark Wind, who created the adamantium-bonding process that was forced on Wolverine as part of the Weapon X project that turned his bone claws into indestructible metal. A self-styled warrior trained in the ninja arts, Lady Deathstrike hired the villain Spiral to bond adamantium to her own skeleton in addition to other cyber-genetic enhancements that essentially turned her into a female version of Wolverine, complete with her own set of deadly claws. Over the years, Lady Deathstrike has worked as a mercenary and assassin, and feels a need to prove herself by killing her rival Wolverine. And she’s come close on several occasions. The character has been featured in both the X-Men and Wolverine film series. Lady Deathstrike has been named one of the top 100 supervillains of all time on several lists of both male and female evildoers. Scary.

10DarkPhoenix

1. Dark Phoenix – The X-Men

For sheer power, there is no badder female supervillain than Dark Phoenix. Introduced as part of an extended X-Men storyline that ran from Uncanny X-men issues # 129-138 in 1980, Dark Phoenix emerged from the X-Men character Jean Grey, who is exposed to the deadly radiation of a solar flare while on a mission in outer space. This brings the mutant telepathic powers of Jean Grey to a boil and the character is reborn as the ultra-powerful but sinister Dark Phoenix. Among her many powers, Dark Phoenix had the ability to go supernova and destroy everything in her path. Manipulated by the villains Mastermind and Emma Frost, Dark Phoenix is eventually killed, as is the character of Jean Grey, and this forever alters the X-Men and the characters of Cyclops and Wolverine, who each have strong feelings for Jean Grey. However, Jean Grey was later resurrected as part of the comic book X-Factor, which reunited the original members of the X-Men. Reincarnations of Dark Phoenix have surfaced in the X-Men and various comic book miniseries over the ensuing years, and elements of the Dark Phoenix saga were included in the X-Men movies. But whenever Dark Phoenix appears it always seems to portend doom for those involved.


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Superheroes as Little Kids are Super Cute

Before they were superheroes, they were supercute kids. Artwork by Alberto Varanda (http://www.alvaranda.com/). First posted by Rebecca Pahle and the wonderful folks at The Mary Sue – http://www.themarysue.com/little-kid-superheroes/

bats

Little Batman will sneak into your heart.

catwoman

“C’mon, kitty, I’ll show you what to do,” said Little Catwoman.

hulk

When little Hulk gets angry, he busts out of his diaper. Yikes!

robin

This little Robin isn’t much of a mouser. Perhaps it’s the full diaper…

spidey

Even  little Spiderman had a way with the ladies.

supes

Love little Superman’s untied shoes. Not a problem – he can fly!

thor

Little Thor’s philosophy: when you have a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

wolvie

Little Wolverine cleans up bad guys AND litter.

wondy

Little Wonder Woman jumping rope with her lasso of truth is the cutest image of all. Honest!


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Disney princesses as heroines from other speculative fiction by Isaiah K Stephens

Just in time for Halloween, Isaiah K Stephens gives us Disney princesses taking on alternate heroine roles from other works of speculative fiction. Well, played sir. His website is http://izzydoodledump.tumblr.com/.

Ariel-BlackWidow

Ariel as Black Widow (The Avengers)

Aurora-DaenerysTargaryen

Aurora as Daenerys Targaryen (Game of Thrones)

Belle-HermioneGranger

Belle as Hermione Granger (Harry Potter)

Jasmine-Chun-li

Jasmine as Chun-li (Street Fighter)

Merida-Rogue

Merida as Rogue (X-men)

Mulan-Xena

Mulan as Xena

Pocahontas-Katniss

Pocahontas as Katniss (The Hunger Games)

Rapuzel-SailorMoon

Rapunzel as Sailor Moon

SnowWhite-WonderWoman

Snow White as Wonder Woman

Tiana-AvatarKorra

Tiana as Avatar Korra (Korra / The Last Airbender)


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SDCC cosplay ideas: suits of armor from children’s books and comics

When we consider children’s books and comics, we typically think in terms of interesting characters and compelling stories. So while the focus of children’s books is not on armor, some of the tales taking place in fantasy setting, have armor that plays an important part of the story. After all, The Lord of the Rings tale would have turned out very differently if Frodo had not been wearing mithril armor when he was stabbed by the troll in Moria.

Compiled below are some famous suits of armor from children’s books, comics, and graphic novels. With San Diego Comic-Con just around the bend, these armor choices could serve as inspiration for SDCC cosplay as well.

The Witch King of Angmar

witchking
“The Lord of the Rings” series by J.R.R. Tolkien
This guy is Sauron’s right-hand man, er, wraith. If you had any doubts about his alignment, a spiky helmet is always a tipoff that someone works for the dark side. Although you can’t really see it in this photo, his gauntlets and boots are beautifully crafted. Plus, he one-handedly wields a mace the size of a naval mine!

From wikipedia.org:
“The Witch-king of Angmar, also known as the Lord of the Nazgûl and the Black Captain, is a fictional character and a major antagonist in J. R. R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth fantasy writings. In Tolkien’s novel The Lord of the Rings, he is the chief of the Nazgûl (Ringwraiths), the chief servants of the Dark Lord Sauron. His name is not revealed in any of Tolkien’s writings, nor are the names of any of the other Nazgûl, except Khamûl.”

Thor

thor
“Thor” by Marvel Comics
Here is actor Chris Hemsworth rockin’ Thor’s combination plate and scale armor. I’m not sure why Thor and Loki wear armor, since they appear to be indestructible (recall the beating The Hulk gave Loki in The Avengers movie). And although Edna Mode is not a fan of capes, the red cape really sets off Thor’s armor nicely.

From wikipedia.org:
“Thor is a fictional character, a superhero who appears in comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character first appeared in Journey into Mystery #83 (Aug. 1962) and was created by editor-plotter Stan Lee, scripter Larry Lieber, and penciller Jack Kirby.

Debuting in the Silver Age of Comic Books, the character is based on the god Thor of Norse mythology. He has starred in several ongoing series and limited series, and has been a perennial member of the superhero team the Avengers, appearing in each volume of that series.

The 2011 film Thor, based on the character and comic, was directed by Kenneth Branagh and starred Chris Hemsworth as Thor. Hemsworth reappears as Thor in The Avengers, and Thor: The Dark World is set for release in 2013. Thor placed 14th on IGN’s Top 100 Comic Book Heroes of All Time in 2011.”

Elrond

elrond
“The Hobbit” by J.R.R. Tolkien
Elrond is one of the senior elves left in Middle-earth, and bearer of one of the three Elven rings of power. As befits an Elf Lord, he is wearing stunningly beautiful armor. The mauve and gold colors are striking, and the gracefully curving lines convey the armor’s elvish provenance.

From wikipedia.org:
“Elrond Half-elven is a fictional character in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth legendarium. He is introduced in The Hobbit, and plays a supporting role in “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Silmarillion”.
Elrond was Lord of Rivendell, one of the mighty rulers of old that remained in Middle-earth in its Third Age. He was the son of Eärendil and Elwing, and a great-grandson of Lúthien, born in Beleriand in the First Age, making him well over 6,000 years old by the time of the events described in “The Lord of the Rings”. Elrond’s twin brother was Elros Tar-Minyatur, the first High King of Númenor.”

Batman

batman
“Batman” by DC Comics
Flexible black armor that renders you bulletproof! What’s not to like? Plus a utility belt with all kinds of useful gadgets. And a cape that lets Batman glide. Protective, functional, and stylish!

From wikipedia.org:
“Batman is an ongoing comic book series featuring the DC Comics hero of the same name. The character first appeared in Detective Comics #27, published in May 1939. Batman proved to be so popular that a self-titled ongoing comic book series began publication in the spring of 1940. It was first advertised in early April 1940, one month after the first appearance of his new sidekick, Robin, the Boy Wonder.
The first stories appearing in the Batman comic were written by Bill Finger and illustrated by Bob Kane, though Finger went uncredited for years thereafter. These early stories depicted a vengeful Batman, not hesitant to kill when he saw it as a necessary sacrifice. Although not canonical, Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns introduced a significant evolution of the Batman’s character in his eponymous series; he became uncompromising and relentless in his struggle to revitalize Gotham. The Batman often exhibited behavior that Gotham’s elite labeled as excessively violent as well as antisocial tendencies. Miller portrayed him with an anti-heroic and near villainous characterization.”

Iorek Byrnison

goldencompass
“The Golden Compass” by Philip Pullman
Three words: Talking. Polar. Bear. In gold plate armor. OK, seven words. Imagine the power and ferocity of a polar bear, encased in the protective embrace of lovingly crafted sky-iron.

From wikipedia.org:
‘Northern Lights’, known as ‘The Golden Compass’ in North America, is a young-adult fantasy novel by Philip Pullman, published by Scholastic UK in 1995. Set in a universe parallel to ours, it features the journey of Lyra Belacqua to the Arctic in search of her missing friend, Roger Parslow, and her imprisoned “uncle”, Lord Asriel, who has been conducting experiments with a mysterious substance known as “Dust”. Northern Lights is the first book of a trilogy, ‘His Dark Materials’.

King Iorek Byrnison is a male armored bear (panserbjørner in Norwegian). Like all Panserbjørner, Iorek follows a very strict code of conduct, and will not, in any situation, betray a promise he has made. He possesses incredible strength, and like many of his kind is an expert smith. He is a great friend and comrade to both Lyra Belacqua and Lee Scoresby.

During the first book of the His Dark Materials trilogy, Northern Lights, Iorek Byrnison is found shaping metal for humans in an Arctic port town. These humans had deceived Iorek by giving him spirits, then stole his sky-iron armor while he was intoxicated: this left him no choice but to work for the humans.”

Prince Nuada

princenuada
“Hellboy” by Dark Horse Comics
Admittedly, it is hard to not think about Prince Nuada’s extendable spear and his incredible fighting prowess. But his beautiful leather armor is light and flexible, and therefore better suited to his lightning fast fighting style than would be clumsy plate mail.

From wikipedia.org:
“Hellboy is a fictional character, a comic book superhero created by writer-artist Mike Mignola. The character first appeared in San Diego Comic-Con Comics #2 (Aug. 1993), and has since appeared in various eponymous miniseries, one-shots and inter-company crossovers. The character has been adapted into two live-action feature films in 2004 and 2008. Prince Nuada was the villain in the latter film.”

Prince Nuada, played by Luke Goss, appears in the Hellboy II movie. He is the son of the Elf King Balor, and brother to Princess Nuala, with whom he shares a symbiotic yin-yang relationship. He resents the diminishment of the Elf realms to the point of madness. His lust to restore the Elves’ former glory leads him to ruthlessly kills a room full of humans, as well as his father, to obtain two pieces of the magical crown that controls the unstoppable mechanical Golden Army.”

Minotaur

minotaur
“Narnia” by C.S. Lewis
While he is not a named character in the book or movie, this minotaur is sporting some some ornate and evil-looking armor (that’s as it should be, since he’s a minion of the White Witch). Plate armor, combined with steel-tipped horns, immense strength, and feral ferocity make him an opponent to be feared.

From wikipedia.org:
“The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” is a high fantasy novel for children by C. S. Lewis, published by Geoffrey Bles in 1950. It was the first published of seven novels in “The Chronicles of Narnia” (1950–1956) and it is the best known; among all the author’s books it is the most widely held in libraries.

Most of the novel is set in Narnia, a land of talking animals and mythical beings that the White Witch has ruled for one hundred years of deep winter. In the frame story, four English children live in a big old country house during their World War II evacuation from London. In Narnia the siblings seem to fulfill an old prophecy, so they are soon adventuring both to save their lives and to deliver the country.”

Iron Man

ironman
“Iron Man” by DC Comics
Iron Man’s armor not only provides protection, but also enables him to fly, fire offensive weapons, and to receive tactical artificial intelligence. This high tech outfit is literally and figuratively the gold standard in armor.

From wikipedia.org:
“Iron Man is a fictional character, a superhero who appears in comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character was created by writer-editor Stan Lee, developed by scripter Larry Lieber, and designed by artists Don Heck and Jack Kirby. He made his first appearance in Tales of Suspense #39 (March 1963).

An American billionaire playboy, industrialist and ingenious engineer, Tony Stark suffers a severe chest injury during a kidnapping in which his captors attempt to force him to build a weapon of mass destruction. He instead creates a powered suit of armor to save his life and escape captivity. He later uses the suit and successive versions to protect the world as Iron Man. Through his corporation ― Stark Industries ― Tony has created many military weapons, some of which, along with other technological devices of his making, have been integrated into his suit, helping him fight crime.

Warriors Working With Wicked Witch of the West

OzHalbardiers
“The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” by L. Frank Baum
Although formidable in her own right, the Wicked Witch of the West has two sets of minions: those delightfully scary flying monkeys and halberd-wielding and ornately uniformed royal guard. Although the bearskin caps and leather jerkins are impressive looking, their protective value is questionable, given three of them are quickly overpowered by the Tin Man, Scarecrow, and Cowardly Lion. Still, they had to be included in this list for the sake of nostalgia, if nothing else.

From wikipedia.org:
“The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” is a 1900 children’s novel written by L. Frank Baum and illustrated by W. W. Denslow. The story chronicles the adventures of a young girl named Dorothy in the Land of Oz, after being swept away from her Kansas farm home in a cyclone.

The Wizard of Oz is a 1939 American fantasy adventure film produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The film stars Judy Garland. Notable for its use of Technicolor, fantasy storytelling, musical score, and unusual characters, over the years it has become one of the best known of all films and part of American popular culture. It also featured what may be the most elaborate use of character makeups and special effects in a film up to that time.”

This article is also published in the San Diego Children’s Book Examiner.