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Children's & Fantasy/Sci-Fi Books


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Put a Cuttlefish On It!

Not familiar with cuttlefish? Wikipedia offers some fun facts about these amazing cousins of squid and octopuses.

cuttlefish3

Fans of the TV series Portlandia are familiar with the expression “put a bird on it!” It’s a scientific fact that putting a bird on things spruces them up, and makes them pretty.

In celebration of my new picture book, LITTLE RED CUTTLEFISH, and in acknowledgement that cuttlefish are way cooler than birds, we’ve created the hashtag #PutACuttlefishOnIt. Some examples are below. A free cuttlefish.png download is available to help you Put A Cuttlefish On It.

You’re welcome.

Gollum
“The rock and pool, is nice and cool, so juicy sweet. Our only wish, to catch a fish.” #PutACuttlefishOnIt

IronMan
Although it’s not mentioned in the Avengers movies, Iron Man has a pet cuttlefish. #PutACuttlefishOnIt

Sanders
This cuttlefish made an unexpected appearance at a Bernie Sanders rally. #PutACuttlefishOnIt


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Superheroes in Watercolor

Superheroes in watercolor by Clementine Campardou, from the mad geniuses at Bored Panda.

Sometimes, you need to kick yourself in the butt. That was true for me at least, being the panda that I am. That’s why, some two years ago, I challenged myself to paint a new picture every day, and share it with the world for free. Challenge accepted!

Today, I have published more than 500 paintings, my very own way of spreading happiness, with big splashes of color and happy shapes.

I work mostly with watercolor, I need it to be fast and I like the spontaneity of it. Sometimes paintings seem like they are moving on their own, alive, like clouds in the sky. Shapes can appear from a part you didn’t control, letting your imagination do the work, like a Rorschach test.

Beside finding the time, the challenge is to find the inspiration. Mine comes from the things that either moves me or excite me, or just blow me away. POP culture from the 80’s, movie characters, strong independent women (the real heroes), France where I’m from, or Bondi and Australia, where I live. I have a thing for Super Heroes too 🙂

 


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A Mashup of Superheroes and Buddhas

When 3-D printing, comic books, and religion meet, you get Superhero-Buddhas by Dovas at http://www.boredpanda.com/pop-culture-laughing-buddha-3d-printing-chris-milnes/

There are people whose obsessions with pop culture icons like Darth Vader, Frankenstein or Master Chief seem like religious infatuation, so New Jersey-based 3d printing artist Chris Milnes did away with the formalities by creating a series of 3d-printed Buddha statues. Now, fanboys and fangirls around the world will be able to pray night and day to their favorite heroes and villains.

Now, the Hulk may not be the best representative for inner peace (or perhaps he is?), but there’s still no denying that these are awesome.

 


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Super Flemish – Superheroes Remade for the 17th Century

Sacha Goldberger is a genius, having combined fairy tale, science fiction, and comic book heroes with a 17th century penchant for frills. Well done! Look at those amazing costumes!  http://sachabada.com/portfolio/?portfolio=super-flemish-8

What if Superman was born in the sixteenth century? And what if the Hulk was a Duke? How might Van Eyck have portrayed Snow White?

Sacha’s discovery of these characters, which goes back to childhood, gave birth to a desire to re-appropriate them, to take them back to a time forming the cornerstone of modern western art. Sacha wants to confront these icons of American culture with contemporary painters of the Flemish school. The collection demonstrates the use of 17 century techniques counterpointing light and shadow to illustrate nobility and fragility of the super powerful of all times. It also invites you to celebrate the heroes of your childhood. These characters have become icons to reveal their humanity: tired of having to save the world without respite, promised to a destiny of endless immortality, forever trapped in their character.

The superheroes often live their lives cloaked in anonymity. These portraits give them a chance to « fix » their narcissism denied. By the temporal disturbance they produce, these images allow us to discover, under the patina of time, an unexpected melancholy of those who are to be invincible.

As science fiction meets history of art, time meets an inexhaustible desire for mythology, which is within each of us.

alice Batman capnamerica catwoman darthvader greenlantern hulk ironman Joker leia robin Snowwhite spiderman stormtrooper Superman wolverine wonderwoman yoda


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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.


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Comic-Con 2013 Badge Resale Drawing #SDCC

This just in from the folks at Comic-Con.

comiccon

“Comic-Con International is pleased to announce that because of returned/cancelled badges we will once again be able to offer those badges for resale. This year we have also reduced the allotment of reserved badges for certain departments. Comic-Con has decided to add these badges to the resale for our attendees. We currently have several thousand single day badges available for resale, only 3,100 of which are Saturday badges. 4-Day badges are sold out.

Due to the very limited number of badges available and our vendor EPIC Registration being focused on coordinating onsite registration, the Comic-Con 2013 badge resale will be conducted utilizing a random drawing.

To enter the Comic-Con 2013 Resale Drawing, login to your Member ID account now and click the blue notice that says “Click Here to Enter a Drawing to be Eligible for the Comic-Con 2013 Badge Resale!”

The drawing entry period will remain open for 48 hours only, and will close June 12, 2013 at 10:59:59 AM Pacific Daylight Time (PDT). Late entries will not be accepted.

You must have a valid and confirmed Comic-Con Member ID to enter the drawing.
Anyone who has already registered for or purchased a 4-Day badge (with or without Preview Night) or a single day Saturday badge will not be eligible to enter the drawing.

Those selected to participate in the Comic-Con 2013 badge resale may purchase their own badges, as well as badges for one additional guest. You may purchase for any guest who has a confirmed Member ID (as of June 7, 2013) and does not have a 4-Day badge (with or without Preview Night) or a single day Saturday badge. Your guest does not need to be selected from the drawing pool to be eligible to purchase.

Comic-Con will notify everyone who is selected to participate by email on or before June 17, 2013.”


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10 Best Suits of Movie/TV Armor

Mike Eisenberg did a fantastic piece over at screenrant.com on the 25 Best Movie Weapons of All Time (though I have to say I missed seeing Prince Nuada’s extendable spear from Hellboy II or vampire Selene’s exploding shuriken from Underworld II). His article inspired this post.

The Witch King of Angmar – The Lord of the Rings trilogy

witchkingThis guy is Sauron’s right-hand wraith, and he’s bad-ass to begin with. He’s strong, he’s mean, he casts dark magic, and he rides a frickin’ dragon. Any time you’ve got real pointy armor, you are clearly up to no good. The gauntlets and boot armor visible when the Ringwraiths are hunting the Hobbits in the Shire are exquisitely detailed.

Batman – Dark Knight movies

batmanDon’t hate me, but I’m not a big fan of the Batman movies because I think they’re poorly written. That said, Batman has some wonderful toys, and flexible body armor that just won’t quit. Plus a cape. Who says stylish can’t be functional?

Robocop – Robocop movies

robocopAn oldie, but a goodie. The armor design left some of his face exposed, but I think that was to remind us he was still part human and so we could hear him better. Love the tuck-away holster feature built into his armor.

Prince Nuada – Hellboy II

princenuadaUnlike many of our other featured suits of armor, Prince Nuada’s is light and flexible. That is perfectly suited to his lightning fast fighting style. I’d say his fight in the Elf Throne Room is the best sword fight in cinematic history. Hellboy II is a fun movie, but it is worth watching for that scene alone. I have a theory that Nuada is Guillermo del Toro’s version of Tolkien’s Feanor. Nuada gets bonus points because every piece of clothing he wears in this movie is stunning.

Lord Tywin Lannister (and everyone else) – Game of Thrones

tywinWe all know the meatgrinder plot of Game of Thrones and the gratuitous nudity are a big part of the appeal of Game of Thrones, but for me, the beautiful suits of armor are also a draw. Lannisters always pay their debts, and always wear beautifully crafted armor. Game of Thrones gets bonus points because every piece of clothing that nobility wear in this movie is stunning.

Lord Elrond Halfelven – The Hobbit

elrondYes, Elrond kicks goblin butt in The Lord of the Rings too, but I fell in love with the mauve armor he wears in The Hobbit. Classic elf armor – functional but swooping and suggestive of nature. Elrond gets bonus points because every piece of clothing he wears in this movie is stunning.

Ripley’s Power Loader – Aliens

aliens2Technically, a power loader is not intended to be armor, but Ripley uses it with great effect. “Get away from her, you bitch!”

Vampire Armor – Underworld II

underworld2Vampires are fast and strong. Now wrap them in steel. Then mount them on horses. What army on earth could withstand a charge from Vampire heavy cavalry!? Love the Spartan style helmets. One of the best opening scenes in action movie history.

The Black Knight – Monty Python and the Holy Grail

holygrailWhat this armor lacks in effectiveness, it more than compensates for in humorous effect. And you’ve gotta’, er, hand it to the Black Knight. He takes a lickin’ and keeps on kickin’… “Have at you!”

Iron Man – Iron Man & Avengers movies

ironmanLet’s face it. Iron Man’s armor is the Holy Grail of, er, sets the gold standard for armor. Protection, movement, and firepower. All it needs is a vending machine attachment for when he gets hungry.