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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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Geeky Newborns Following in Their Nerdy Parents’ Footsteps

From http://www.boredpanda.com/geeky-newborn-baby-photography/

We can all pretend that a newborn’s first photoshoot is supposed to be all about the baby, or we can give in to our secret desire to dress babies as characters from our favorite fantasy and sci-fi movies, books and TV shows. It’s hard to tell who’s having more fun with these pop-culture newborn baby photos, the parents or the babies.

Before arranging such a photoshoot, just be sure that your baby is comfortable and that all of the materials being used are safe – but if you’re the parent of a newborn baby, you probably don’t have to be told that.

If you have a cute photo of your baby showing their (or their parents’) true nerdy colors, please add it to this list – and upvote your favorites, too!

#1 Baby Princess Leia

Baby Princess Leia

#2 Baby Mario

Baby Mario

#3 Baby Ninja Turtle

Baby Ninja Turtle

#4 Baby Spock

Baby Spock

#5 Baby Star Wars Jedi

Baby Star Wars Jedi

#6 Baby Ewok

Baby Ewok

#7 Baby Flash

Baby Flash

#8 Baby Harry Potter

Baby Harry Potter

#9 Baby Yoda

Baby Yoda

#10 Baby Gamer

Baby Gamer

#11 Baby Spiderman

Baby Spiderman

#12 Baby Olaf

Baby Olaf

#13 Baby Knight

Baby Knight

#14 Baby Batman And Baby Wonder Woman

Baby Batman And Baby Wonder Woman

#15 Baby Luke Skywalker

Baby Luke Skywalker

#16 Baby Doctor Who

Baby Doctor Who

#17 Baby Hobbit

Baby Hobbit

#18 Baby Batman

Baby Batman

#19 Baby Alice In Wonderland

Baby Alice In Wonderland

#20 Baby Wonderwoman

Baby Wonderwoman

#21 Baby Ninja Turtle

Baby Ninja Turtle

#22 Baby Luke

Baby Luke

Click to Tweet: Geeky Newborns Following in Their Nerdy Parents’ Footsteps at http://wp.me/p31Xf4-Pc via @Nimpentoad


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Famous Spaceships from TV & Movies

I enjoy a well-conceived plot and fully fleshed-out characters, but like every science fiction buff, I also enjoy high tech gadgetry. This post is a gallery of some of the best known, nay, iconic spaceships from TV and movies. Enjoy the variety of shapes and sizes!

Enterprise
USS Enterprise (original Star Trek TV series)

“The USS Enterprise (NCC-1701) is the central starship in the fictional Star Trek media franchise. The original Star Trek series features a voice-over by Enterprise captain, James T. Kirk (William Shatner), which describes the mission of Enterprise as “to explore strange new worlds; to seek out new life and new civilizations; to boldly go where no man has gone before”.” — Wikipedia

Millenium Falcon
Millennium Falcon (Star Wars)

“The Millennium Falcon is a fictional spacecraft in the Star Wars universe commanded by smuggler Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and his Wookiee first mate, Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew). The highly modified YT-1300 light freighter first appears in Star Wars (1977), and subsequently in The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Return of the Jedi (1983) and in a cameo in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005).

According to Star Wars creator George Lucas, the Millennium Falcon’s design was inspired by a hamburger, with the cockpit being an olive on the side. The ship originally had a more elongated appearance, but the similarity to the Eagle Transporters in Space: 1999 prompted Lucas to change the Falcon’s design.” — Wikipedia

DeathStar
Death Star (Star Wars)

“A Death Star is a fictional space station and superweapon appearing in the Star Wars science-fiction franchise created by George Lucas. It is capable of destroying an entire planet with its powerful superlaser.

The original Death Star’s completed form appears in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. Commanded by Grand Moff Tarkin (Peter Cushing), it is the Galactic Empire’s “ultimate weapon”, a space station capable of destroying a planet with one shot of its superlaser. The film opens with Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) transporting the station’s schematics to the Rebel Alliance to aid them in destroying the Death Star. Tarkin orders the Death Star to destroy Leia’s home world of Alderaan in an attempt to pressure her into giving him the location of the secret Rebel base; she gives them the false location of Dantooine, but Tarkin has Alderaan destroyed anyway, as a demonstration of the Death Star’s firepower and the Empire’s resolve.” — Wikipedia

DrWho
TARDIS (Doctor Who TV series)

“The TARDIS; Time and Relative Dimension in Space) is a fictional time machine and spacecraft in the British science fiction television programme Doctor Who and its associated spin-offs.

A TARDIS is a product of the advanced technology of the Time Lords, an extraterrestrial civilisation to which the programme’s central character, the Doctor, belongs. A properly maintained and piloted TARDIS can transport its occupants to any point in time and any place in the universe. The interior of a TARDIS is much larger than its exterior, which can blend in with its surroundings using the ship’s “chameleon circuit”. TARDISes also possess a degree of sentience (which has been expressed in a variety of ways ranging from implied machine personality and free will through to the use of a conversant avatar) and provide their users with additional tools and abilities including a telepathically based universal translation system.” — Wikipedia

ALiensDropship
UD-4L Cheyenne (Aliens)

While technically more of an orbital assault ship than a spaceship, we’re including the Cheyenne Colonial Marine Dropship because of its cool combination of firepower and troop transporting ability, without which, the Colonial Marines wouldn’t be able to face off against the aliens in, well, Aliens.

FifthElement
Fhloston Paradise (The Fifth Element)

This  Steampunkesque space cruise ship gets shot up pretty badly as Corbin Dallas and Leeloo retrieve the four Element stones from Plavalaguna, and fight off a group of heavily-armed Mangalore mercenaries who also want the stones. Later, the ship is blown to bits, after the cruise ship passengers have fled. The ship’s destruction also helps  the passengers avoid the food poisoning so common on real-world cruise ships…

Thunderbird5
Thunderbird 5 (Thunderbirds TV series)

“Thunderbirds follows the adventures of the Tracy family, headed by American multi-millionaire philanthropist Jeff Tracy. A widower, Jeff’s adult sons – Scott, John, Virgil, Gordon and Alan – are named after Mercury Seven astronauts: Scott Carpenter, John Glenn, Virgil “Gus” Grissom, Gordon Cooper and Alan Shepard.

Unknown to the public, the Tracys are the force behind International Rescue: a secret organization committed to saving human life, founded and funded by Jeff. Assisting the family in this mission are technologically advanced land-, sea-, air- and space-rescue vehicles and equipment, deployed after conventional rescue techniques prove ineffective. Foremost are five machines called the Thunderbirds, each assigned to one of the five brothers:

  • Thunderbird 1 – a 115 feet-long, hypersonic, variable-sweep wing rocket plane used for fast response and rescue-zone reconnaissance, and as a mobile control base. Piloted by primary rescue co-ordinator Scott Tracy.
  • Thunderbird 2 – a 250 feet-long, supersonic, VTOL, lifting body carrier aircraft, which transports major rescue equipment and vehicles to rescue zones in detachable capsules known as “Pods”. Piloted by Virgil.
  • Thunderbird 3 – a 287 feet-tall, vertically-launched, re-usable, single-stage-to-orbit spacecraft used primarily for space rescue. Manned by astronaut Alan (with Scott as co-pilot).
  • Thunderbird 4 – a 30 feet-long utility submersible used for underwater rescue. Piloted by aquanaut Gordon and typically launched from Thunderbird 2’s Pod 4.
  • Thunderbird 5 – a space station, 296 feet-wide and in permanent geostationary orbit, which monitors SOS transmissions and relays communications within IR. ”
    — Wikipedia

spaceghost
Phantom Cruiser (Space Ghost TV series)

“Space Ghost is a fictional character created by Hanna-Barbera Productions and designed by Alex Toth for CBS in the 1960s. In his original incarnation, he was a superhero who, with his sidekick teen helpers Jan, Jace, and Blip the monkey, fought supervillains in outer space. In the 1990s, the character was brought back as a host for his own fictional late-night talk show, Space Ghost Coast to Coast, on Cartoon Network and Adult Swim. In the 2000s, he was revamped as a serious superhero once again in a DC Comics mini-series.” — Wikipedia

Futurama
Planet Express Ship (Futurama TV series)

“The Planet Express Ship is a fictional spaceship in the animated series Futurama, which bears the official designation U.S.S. Planet Express Ship. The ship was designed and built by Professor Hubert Farnsworth and is the sole delivery ship of Planet Express, a delivery service owned by the Professor. The ship is typically treated as an inanimate object, though Bender refers to the ship’s autopilot as “him” (and laments being defeated in a martini-drinking contest by same) in “How Hermes Requisitioned His Groove Back”. The later episode “Love and Rocket” shows the ship to have an artificial intelligence, voiced originally by Maurice LaMarche and then (after installation of “new improved ship’s personality software” including “adjustable voice”) by special guest Sigourney Weaver.” — Wikipedia

A Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy
S.S. Heart of Gold (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy)

“S.S. Heart of Gold is the first prototype ship to successfully use the revolutionary Infinite Improbability Drive. It is 150 metres long and has been represented in various shapes. The original radio series did not specify a shape. In the novel adapted from the first four episodes of the radio series, it was described as a sleek white running shoe, which the TV adaptation adopted as a basis for its depictions. In the 2005 movie, it is more spherical with a hole and red brake lights on the rear that form the shape of a heart, a shape derived from a teacup in the brownian motion producer that powers the Infinite Improbability Drive. It also features a mural around the hole which depicts the invention of the Drive. It was built as a secret government project on planet Damogran from where Zaphod Beeblebrox, the then-President of the Imperial Galactic Government, stole it at the launching ceremony.” — Wikipedia

Jupiter2
Jupiter 2 (Lost in Space TV series)

“Lost in Space is an American science fiction television series created and produced by Irwin Allen, filmed by 20th Century Fox Television, and broadcast on CBS. The show ran for three seasons, with 83 episodes airing between September 15, 1965, and March 6, 1968. The first television season was filmed in black and white, but the remainder were filmed in color. In 1998, a Lost in Space movie, based on the television series, was released.

Though the original television series concept centered on the Robinson family, many later story lines focused primarily on Dr. Zachary Smith, played by Jonathan Harris. Originally written as an utterly evil but extremely competent would-be saboteur, Smith gradually becomes the troublesome, self-centered, incompetent foil who provides the comic relief for the show and causes most of the episodic conflict and misadventures.” — Wikipedia

Serenity
Serenity (Firefly TV series)

“Serenity is a fictional spaceship that appears in Joss Whedon’s Firefly television series and related works. Set in the 26th century, the series follows the nine-person crew of the Firefly-class vessel, a small transport ship, as they earn a living through various legal and illegal means. The ship is the main setting; it appears in all fourteen episodes, the film, and all of the published comics.

Serenity first appeared in the pilot episode of Joss Whedon’s Firefly, which is set in the year 2517, in a star system humanity migrated to after using all of Earth’s resources. She is the property of Malcolm “Mal” Reynolds (Nathan Fillion), a former sergeant who served on the losing side of a civil war that ended six years before the series began. Mal acquires Serenity from a used spaceship yard after the war (as depicted in flashbacks during “Out of Gas”), intending to hire a small crew and take various jobs to support himself and wartime comrade Corporal Zoe Alleyne, while keeping out of the way of the Alliance, the multi-planetary government they were fighting against.” — Wikipedia

BattlestarGalactica
Battlestar Galactica (Battlestar Galactica TV series reboot)

“The story arc of Battlestar Galactica is set in a distant star system, where a civilization of humans live on a group of planets known as the Twelve Colonies. In the past, the Colonies had been at war with a cybernetic race of their own creation, known as the Cylons. With the unwitting help of a human named Gaius Baltar, the Cylons launch a sudden sneak attack on the Colonies, laying waste to the planets and devastating their populations. Out of a population numbering in the billions, only approximately 50,000 humans survive, most of whom were aboard civilian ships that avoided destruction. Of all the Colonial Fleet, the eponymous Battlestar Galactica appears to be the only military capital ship that survived the attack. Under the leadership of Colonial Fleet officer Commander William “Bill” Adama (Olmos) and President Laura Roslin (McDonnell), the Galactica and its crew take up the task of leading the small fugitive fleet of survivors into space in search of a fabled refuge known as Earth.” — Wikipedia

Buckaroo
Black Lectroid Ship (The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension)

“The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension!, often shortened to Buckaroo Banzai, is a 1984 American science fiction film. It concerns the efforts of the multi-talented Dr. Buckaroo Banzai, a physicist, neurosurgeon, test pilot, and rock musician, to save the world by defeating a band of inter-dimensional aliens called Red Lectroids from Planet 10. The film is a cross between the action/adventure and sci-fi film genres and also includes elements of comedy, satire, and romance.

Banzai prepares to test his Jet Car, a modified Ford F-350 pickup truck powered by a jet engine and capable of exceeding Mach 1. The car is also equipped with a secret device called an “oscillation overthruster”, which Banzai and his associates hope will allow it to drive through solid matter. The test is a success: Banzai stuns onlookers by driving the Jet Car directly through a mountain. Emerging on the other side, Banzai finds that an alien organism has attached itself to the undercarriage.

Hearing of Banzai’s success, physicist Dr. Emilio Lizardo breaks out of the Trenton Home for the Criminally Insane, after being held there for 50 years. A flashback shows Banzai’s mentor, Dr. Hikita, was present at Lizardo’s failed overthruster experiment in 1938. Crashing half through the target wall, Lizardo had been briefly trapped in the 8th dimension where his mind was taken over by Lord John Whorfin.

Whorfin is the leader of the Red Lectroids, a race of alien reptiles who wage war against Planet 10. After being defeated by the less-aggressive Black Lectroids, Whorfin and his group were banished into the 8th dimension. Lizardo’s failed experiment accidentally released Whorfin and he soon brings many of the Red Lectroids to Earth in an incident that was reported in 1938 by Orson Welles in his radio broadcast The War of the Worlds, only to be forced by the aliens to retract it all as fiction.” — Wikipedia

Click to Tweet: Famous Spaceships from TV & Movies at http://wp.me/p31Xf4-DV via @Nimpentoad


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Eight Diverse Movie & TV Roles by Benedict Cumberbatch

Benedict Timothy Carlton Cumberbatch’s (that’s a mouthful!) career is skyrocketing. And with good reason. Here are some diverse roles he’s played in movies and on TV.

12years

12 Years a Slave (Ford)

FifthEstate

The Fifth Estate (Julian Assange)

khan

Star Trek Into Darkness (Khan)

sherlock

Sherlock (Sherlock Holmes)

smaug

The Hobbit (voice of Smaug & Necromancer)

SnapeSimpsons

The Simpsons (voice of Alan Rickman –> art imitating life imitating art)

???????????????????????????????

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (Peter Guillam)

WarHorse

War Horse (Maj. Jamie Stewart)

Click to Tweet: Eight Diverse Movie & TV Roles by Benedict Cumberbatch at http://wp.me/p31Xf4-Dl via @Nimpentoad


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Robots in Movies

This post was inspired by Doug Gross’s CNN article at http://www.cnn.com/2013/12/19/tech/innovation/robots-pop-culture/index.html. The first nine robot writeups below are from him. Although they don’t have feelings, some important movie robots have been overlooked, so I’ve appended them below.  Enjoy.

01-robots-capek

Rossum’s Universal Robots

“R.U.R.”

“Rossum’s Universal Robots — was a Czech play that premiered in 1921. It is believed to be the first time the term “robots” was used to describe artificial people (who, in the tale, are made in a factory from synthetic material). In Czech, “robota” means forced labor. As happens in these cases, the cyborg-like creations in the play seem perfectly happy to serve humans, until an uprising ends in the extinction of the human race. Can’t win ’em all. The play was a huge success and, by 1923, it had been translated into 30 languages.

02-robots-metropolis

Maschinenmensch

Maschinenmensch

The first movie robot wasn’t far behind. In 1927, Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis” became the first feature-length sci-fi film, painting a picture of a dystopian future that would be echoed decades later in movies like “Blade Runner.” In it, rich industrialists deploy a female robot to impersonate Maria, a woman they fear will organize the workers they oppress. Pop artists from Queen to Nine Inch Nails to Madonna have made music videos either inspired by “Metropolis” or using clips from it. A half-century after “Metropolis,” the appearance of “Star Wars” droid C-3PO would be largely inspired by the robotic Maria.

03-robots-asimov

Asimov’s Three Laws

The short story they come from, “Runaround,” was written in 1942, but would become more widely known when the story appeared in science-fiction writer Isaac Asimov’s 1950 collection, “I, Robot.” Before Asimov, most robot stories followed a similar pattern: Scientists create robot; robot goes haywire and attacks its creators. Bored with that, he set up new rules of the robotic road. His Three Laws are:

A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

• A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.

• A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law

It wasn’t that things would always go well from there. Many of Asimov’s stories, and the stories and films that his laws inspired, focus on trouble that arises when robots have trouble knowing how to obey the laws in tricky real-world situations. But they are also credited with helping create the “lovable” robot in science fiction: an archetype popularized in TV and movies, from “Lost in Space” to “Star Wars” to “Short Circuit.”

04-robots-robby

Robby the Robot

Robby made his first appearance in the 1956 movie “Forbidden Planet.” From there, he became arguably the silver screen’s first mecha-celebrity. In old Hollywood’s great tradition of over-the-top, and often misleading, ballyhoo, the movie’s poster showed Robby manhandling a maiden, but he’s actually a helpful robot with a dry wit to boot.

After “Forbidden Planet,” Robby, or sometimes just the vaguely humanoid suit, went on to appear in dozens of movies and television shows, from “The Twilight Zone,” “Lost In Space” and “The Addams Family” to the much later “Mork & Mindy” and “Earth Girls Are Easy”.

05-robots-hal

HAL 9000

“2001: A Space Odyssey” was Stanley Kubrick’s epic, groundbreaking film from 1968, and HAL 9000 was unquestionably its star. Represented by an impassive, disembodied voice but able to mechanically control the spaceship Discovery, which he’s tasked with running, HAL represented our fears of technology gone awry as the Space Age dawned.

Instead of obeying Asimov’s Laws, HAL, first and foremost, is devoted to making sure his ship’s mission is a success. And that command has a deadly, and near-disastrous outcome. Some argue that since he didn’t have a physical form (at least by the strictest standards) HAL is not really a robot. But Carnegie Mellon thought he deserved to go into the Robot Hall of Fame with its inaugural class in 2003.

06-robots-star-wars

R2-D2 and C-3PO

It’s hard to argue anyone did more to propel robots from hardcore science fiction into the wider public consciousness than these two when they hit the screen in 1977. Full of personality, gallant and always helpful, the pair have appeared in all six “Star Wars” films to date. Creator George Lucas has said that R2-D2 is his favorite character from the movies.

07-robots-terminator

Terminator

Mention any major advance of robotics, technology or artificial intelligence and, to this day, you’ll inevitably hear something like this: “Skynet just became self-aware. Skynet is the system that leads to the Terminators, the titular robots of the series of movies (and later TV shows) which began in 1984. A new embodiment of our worst fears, the robots of “Terminator” are time-traveling killing machines — and it’s all because the people in charge let what we can do get ahead of what we should do.

08-robots-star-trek

Data

Call Data the “anti-Terminator.” The android from “Star Trek: The Next Generation” is a creation that science has made so painfully close to human that his hyper-powered mind can’t help but yearn to be one of us. The bad jokes weren’t enough. Ultimately, an “emotion chip” granted Data’s Pinocchio-like wish to become “real.”

09-robots-wall-e

Wall-E

The idea of a friendly robot with a ton of personality was well established by the time “Wall-E” came along in 2008. But the Academy Award-winning film is arguably Pixar’s best, and a huge reason for that was Wall-E’s wordless yet emotionally moving “performance.” Like much great science fiction, “Wall-E” also tackles larger societal issues like rampant consumerism and environmental waste, while still offering up a robot who connected with millions of viewers, young and old, on a personal level.

I’d like to add the following honorable mentions that failed to make Mr. Gross’s list:

Bishopinhalf

Bishop from Aliens

Lance Henriksen plays the creepy “synthetic” Bishop, who is good at mumbly-peg, fixing radios, distracting Alien queens, and speaking after he’s been torn in half by said Alien queen.

From Wikipedia: Aliens is a 1986 American science fiction action film co-written and directed by James Cameron and starring Sigourney Weaver, Michael Biehn, and Lance Henriksen. It is the sequel to the 1979 film Alien and the second installment of the Alien franchise. The film follows Weaver’s character Ellen Ripley as she returns to the planet where her crew encountered the hostile Alien creature, this time accompanied by a unit of Colonial Marines.

gigantor-volume-one-dvd-review-20090428114839410-000

Gigantor

Yeah, sure, it was a TV show, not a movie. But a giant robot!? That could fly!? One of my favorite shows growing up.

From Wikipedia: Gigantor is an American adaptation of the anime version of Tetsujin 28-go, a manga by Mitsuteru Yokoyama released in 1956. It debuted on U.S. television in 1964. As with Speed Racer, the characters’ original names were altered and the original series’ violence was toned down for American viewers.

iron_giant

Iron Giant

You don’t want to get this robot mad. He makes Optimus Prime look like a sissy.

From Wikipedia: The Iron Giant is a 1999 American animated science fiction film using both traditional animation and computer animation, produced by Warner Bros. Animation, and based on the 1968 novel The Iron Man by Ted Hughes. The film was directed by Brad Bird, and stars Jennifer Aniston, Harry Connick, Jr., Vin Diesel.

optimus

Transformers

C’mon, who wouldn’t want a Camaro like Bumblebee? Firepower AND street cred.

From Wikipedia: Transformers is a 2007 American science fiction action film based on the Transformers toy line. The film, which combines computer animation with live-action, is directed by Michael Bay, with Steven Spielberg serving as executive producer. It is the first installment of the live-action Transformers film series. It stars Shia LaBeouf as Sam Witwicky, a teenager who gets caught up in a war between the heroic Autobots and the evil Decepticons, two factions of alien robots who can disguise themselves by transforming into everyday machinery.

austin

Fembots from Austin Powers

C’mon, who wouldn’t want a Fembot or two? And bra-mounted machine guns!?

From Wikipedia: Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery is a 1997 American action comedy film and the first installment of the Austin Powers series. It was written by Mike Myers, who also starred as both Austin Powers and the antagonist Dr. Evil, Powers’ arch-enemy. The film co-stars Elizabeth Hurley, Robert Wagner, Seth Green, and Michael York. Will Ferrell, Mimi Rogers, Carrie Fisher, Tom Arnold, Rob Lowe, Christian Slater, Cheri Oteri, Neil Mullarkey and Burt Bacharach made cameo appearances.

goldenarmy

Golden Army from Hellboy II

Um, yes, I would like an army of indestructible golden steampunk robots, thank you very much. And may I just add that the sword fight in the Elven throne room is the best cinematic fight scene of all time.

From Wikipedia: Hellboy II: The Golden Army is a 2008 American supernatural superhero film based on the fictional character Hellboy created by Mike Mignola, starring Ron Perlman. The movie was written and directed by Guillermo del Toro.

westworld

Westworld

Again with the robots we don’t know are robots? Those are the scariest kind.

From Wikipedia: Westworld is a 1973 science fiction-thriller film written and directed by novelist Michael Crichton and produced by Paul Lazarus III. It stars Yul Brynner as an android in a futuristic Western-themed amusement park, and Richard Benjamin and James Brolin as guests of the park.

BladeRunnerjpg

Blade Runner

No list of movie robots is complete without this film. It has some of the best movie quotes of all time (see my favorites).

From Wikipedia: Blade Runner is a 1982 American dystopian science fiction thriller film directed by Ridley Scott and starring Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young and Edward James Olmos. The screenplay is loosely based on the novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick. The film depicts a dystopian Los Angeles in November 2019 in which genetically engineered organic robots called replicants—visually indistinguishable from adult humans—are manufactured by the powerful Tyrell Corporation.


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Eight reasons why Karl Urban is bad-ass

I just watched the movie Dredd, and I have to say that Karl Urban is bad-ass. Beyond being a wonderful actor for action roles, he has managed to outdo his Lord of the Rings co-star Orlando Bloom in terms of appearing in a range of fantasy, sci-fi, and other big movie franchises. Let’s take a look, shall we? Here are eight reasons why Karl Urban is bad-ass:

vaako

Lord Vaako in Riddick (2013) and Chronicles of Riddick (2004). He’s got a necro-mullet, black armor, and a triple-headed halbard. Plus Thandie Newton and Alexa Davalos.

Star Trek (2008) Directed by: J.J. Abrams

Dr. McCoy in Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) and Star Trek (2009). OK, so he’s not the fighter that Kirk and Spock are. But he’s still got that wry wit. Plus Zoe Saldana

dredd

Judge Dredd in Dredd (2012). His unrelenting Sly Stallone imitation, a voice-activated gun that fires bullets, high explosives, incendiary, and armor piercing rounds. Plus Olivia Thirlby.

blackhat

Black Hat in Priest (2011). No, that’s not a typo. He’s a vampire – a rare evil role for an actor who typically plays good guys. And, no surprise, he wears a beat-up black hat.

grimm

John Grimm in Doom (2005). Plus the BFG 9000. The most powerful weapon in the Doom video game, it fires giant balls of green plasma. It can clear entire rooms of foes, and is often an instant kill if a target takes a direct hit from the projectile.

kirill

Kirill in The Bourne Supremacy (2004). CIA officers are paying $3 million for the “Neski files,” documents about the theft of $20 million seven years earlier. Kirill originally frames Jason Bourne by planting his fingerprints and proceeds to kill the agent and the source, stealing the files and money.

eomer

Eomer in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) and The Two Towers (2002). He becomes King of Rohan upon Theoden dying in battle. “I would cut off your head, dwarf, if it stood but a little higher from the ground.”

caeser

Julius Caesar in Hercules: The Legendary Journeys (1996-1998) and Xena: Warrior Princess (1996-2001). I suspect it is to his everlasting embarrassment that he also played a blond, winged Cupid. Oh the horror!

This post can also be viewed at the San Diego Children’s Book Examiner.


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Interview with ‘Star Wars Craft Book’ author Bonnie Burton @bonniegrrl

Author of the books ‘The Star Wars Craft Book’ (Random House), ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Planets In Peril’ (DK Readers), ‘Draw Star Wars: The Clone Wars’ (Klutz Books), ‘You Can Draw: Star Wars’ (DK Children), ‘Girls Against Girls: Why We Are Mean To Each Other And How We Can Change’ (Zest Books) and ‘Never Threaten To Eat Your Co-Workers: Best Of Blogs’ (Apress). She edited/wrote for comic book anthologies ‘Womanthology: Heroic and Womantholgy: Space’ (IDW Publishing). Bonnie also written for Wired, Star Wars Insider, Geek, Bust, Craft, and Organic Gardening, CNN.com, Huffington Post and has a column in SFX magazine. Hosts web shows “Geek DIY” for Stan Lee’s World of Heroes, “Vaginal Fantasy” Book Club on Geek & Sundry, & her vlog “Ask Bonnie.”

BurtonBonnie

For what age audience do you write?

Most of my books are for children of all ages and teens. Though I am branching out into YA fiction soon.

Tell us about your latest craft book.

I love making crafts ever since I was a small child. Puppets fascinated me, as did making my own toys. Later, I loved making original art for my room whether it be embroidery, watercolors, mobiles, string art — you name it. When I started working at Lucasfilm 10 years ago, I thought it would be nice to have a craft section on StarWars.com for kids to make things like pet toys, holiday decorations, art, puppets and other crafts but with a Star Wars touch. The section became so popular that parents asked for a book. I created ‘The Star Wars Craft Book’ for Random House from years of crafts that I had developed for the site, as well as new crafts that I thought would be fun. It became quite a hit with fans, so much so that I’m often asked to do craft tutorials at conventions like Emerald City Comicon, New York Comic Con, Geek Girl Con, Stan Lee’s Comikaze and San Diego Comic-Con International. It’s been so much fun to see fans send me photos of the crafts they’ve made from my book over Twitter and email.

What got you interested in crafts?

Growing up. My family didn’t have a ton of money to spend on toys, so I often found myself making my own puppets, or dolls, or furniture for my dollhouse. I was always interested in arts and crafts thanks to my parents who were rather crafty as well. My mom loved to macramé, knit and crochet. My dad loved to doodle and sketch while he was talking on the phone. I had my own craft room growing up so I would spend hours and hours in there drawing, sewing, scrapbooking, journaling, painting and making puppets. I was in my own little world full of felt scraps and glitter — it was glorious.

Henry: I glued and painted monstrous plastic models – Frankenstein, Wolfman, Creature from the Black Lagoon, Dracula. No Cthulhu or Rancor models were available at the time, however.

How did you become such a Star Wars fanatic?

My childhood was spent in Kansas in rather rural areas, so I spent a lot of my time daydreaming and writing stories. When I first saw Star Wars, I was a kid in the ’70s. So this is way before video games, the Internet, and the sorts of activities most kids are used to by now. We were expected to go outside and play, or stay indoors to read, play piano or craft. So after seeing Star Wars, I was obsessed with space, robots and of course saving the galaxy from the likes of Darth Vader. I was a big fan of sci-fi throughout my childhood thanks to Doctor Who (which was shown on our local PBS station) as well as the original Battlestar Galactica and Star Trek. But Star Wars resonated with me the most because I suppose I wanted my own Wookie best friend, I had a mad crush on Han Solo and I desperately wanted to be as sassy as Princess Leia. In fact, I demanded my mom put my hair up in those iconic buns for numerous holidays, school photos, church, ballet lessons and other special occasions. Star Wars was always a favorite movie for me, and still is. It’s message that even a farm boy can become something great is something that strongly resonated with me being a kid from Kansas.

Henry: Well, who hasn’t put their hair up in Princess Leia buns, or donned a shiny gold bikini. Oops, TMI.

What aspect of writing do you find most challenging, and why?

Honestly, just beginning is the worst. Starting a project is always difficult. Once I start writing, I’m fine. But just trying to get focused at the start is almost impossible. I’m the Queen of Procrastination. So it’s rather embarrassing to admit, but I try to do everything other than write. But once I start typing, I can’t stop and that’s worth it all.

Henry: Interesting. I find it easier to start than to stop, which makes me the Duke of Distraction.

What is a powerful lesson you’ve learned from being a writer?

Don’t try for perfection. Writers are notoriously hard on themselves. We try to be Hemingways and Kafkas right from the start and we don’t allow ourselves to make mistakes. We cross out more than we should. We yell at the computer. We hate ourselves for not being bestselling authors. And worst of all, we’re horrified at the thought of failing, of being thought of as talentless hacks, and just not adding up to the brilliant novelists we think we should be. Patience is something I still struggle with.

Henry: Let he who has not punched a monitor or keyboard cast the first stone.

What has been a memorable experience that you never would have had if you had not been a writer?

I think the rush of adrenaline one gets as a writer when you finish writing a book, an article, an essay or a short story. It’s a weird energy that keeps you going ’til the next project pops up. I can’t really explain it, but you feel like you accomplished something. Even if no other soul reads it, you know you finished writing something and that means a lot. I suppose it’s not just one experience but also a combination of them. I’ve become close friends with other writers, and that kinship is also something very special to me. It’s like belonging to an elite club of talented people who make you want to strive for greatness.

Henry: I get a rush when I’m holding my book proof in my hands. An idea that’s come to tangible fruition.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

Don’t give up. No matter how many people tell you your dream is impossible. No matter how many rejection slips you get from publishers. No matter how many times you must edit and rewrite a piece over and over again. DO NOT GIVE UP. A lot of becoming a successful writer is about persistence. Keep with it. Write EVERY DAY. Even if one day it’s a poem about your dog. And the next day it’s a short story about an elephant that wants to time travel. And the next day is a grocery list written as a sonnet. Just do it. Challenge yourself to write different styles and genres. But always, ALWAYS be writing.

Also read read read. Read a book outside your normal comfort zone. Read biographies, memoirs, mysteries, romances, horror, dramas, young adult novels, comics, and anything else you’ve never tried reading. Read a page from the dictionary once a week. Read foreign best-sellers. Read the newspaper. The more you read, the more styles of writing you’ll be exposed to. The more you read, the better the writer you will become. I promise you.

Henry: Grocery list as a sonnet!? How do I love thee, Boston Creme Pie, let me count the ways.

Do you have any favorite quotes?

I think my favorite quotes are all summed up in author Neil Gaiman’s commencement speech that he recently gave at a college. It was called “Make Good Art” and it’s brilliant for any writer or artist to listen to.

My favorite quote is the ending: “Make interesting mistakes, make amazing mistakes, make glorious and fantastic mistakes. Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for your being here. Make good art.”

Henry: We would be remiss if we did not also mention: “Do. Or do not. There is no try.”

Do you have any strange rituals that you observe when you write?

I love having music on. But frankly I do warn against having the TV on as background noise. I get caught up in shows too easily and end up using it as a procrastination tool instead of a driving force to get any writing done. I also prefer to write when there are no distractions, usually very late at night.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

To be able to put anyone to sleep instantly, not out of boredom mind you, but just put them into a very deep sleep so they stop yelling at bus stops, or drunkenly making a ruckus at 3am on my street, or fight with their boyfriends and girlfriends. I want to just say “sleep” and have them collapse where they stand into a deep, peaceful 8-hour snooze. I’d be like Sandman! Of course, I’d like to be able to give myself a good night’s rest as well. I tend to suffer from insomnia quite a bit, which probably explains why I write so much late at night.

Henry: Very innovative, and it offers a way to stop war.

If you could have three movie stars over for dinner, who would it be?

I could just pick movie stars I have crushes on, but then I suppose I would be too nervous to eat so why have dinner at all. But here goes! Sir Christopher Lee because he’s got so many amazing stories to tell that usually begin with “I remember when Errol Flynn and I…” I’d love to chat with Tom Baker because he was always my favorite Time Lord in Doctor Who, and he has such an inviting laugh that I know he must have some rather interesting tidbits to share from his acting days. And if she were still alive today, I would be honored to chat with Dorothy Parker. She’s eat me alive with her wit, but I imagine she would be quite the dinner party attendee just from her legacy of the Algonquin Round Table.

What is your favorite creature that exists only in literature?

Unicorn! I’ve always been fascinated with them and what they represent. But who’s to say they were ever fictional. They’re mentioned in the Hebrew and Christian Bible numerous times, as well as present in various Chinese legends. I’d like to think they just became extinct from overzealous hunters looking to gain some kind of medieval powers. Two of my favorite movies – Blade Runner and Legend use the same unicorn film footage, and it’s always stayed with me.

Henry: Wait, there was no unicorn reference in “And the Lord did grin and people did feast upon the lambs and sloths and carp and anchovies and orang-utans and breakfast cereals and fruit bats and…”

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Craft! Procrastinate! Play with my dog! Procrastinate some more! Watch British TV mysteries like Sherlock and Marple! Procrastinate again!

What would you like it to say on your tombstone?

“I told you I was sick!” hahahaha… no. Actually, maybe I would use that. I’m a bit of a hypochondriac. Or maybe “See you on the flipside” — that way I cover both bases. I don’t want to assume I’m headed to one destination over the other.

Where can readers find your work?

I write a monthly column for the British entertainment magazine SFX. You can find all my books on Amazon, and I’m redesigning my website – so check back there soon!

As always, I can be found hourly if not more on my Twitter.
Also, I’ll be at San Diego Comic-Con, and have quite a few panels on writing, so be sure to say hello if you see me!

Henry: We’ll be wandering the Exhibit Hall on Sunday, proudly wearing our Nimpentoad t-shirts. We hope to see you there.

This article is also posted to the San Diego Children’s Books Examiner.


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Pre-SDCC interview with IDW graphic novel publisher Chris Ryall

Chris Ryall is a comic book writer and Chief Creative Officer/Editor-in-Chief of IDW Publishing. Despite being swamped with preparations for IDW’s participation in the upcoming San Diego Comic-Con, he has graciously agreed to talk with us about writing and publishing.

RyallChris

IDW Publishing currently publishes a wide range of comic books and graphic novels including titles based on Angel, Doctor Who, GI Joe, Star Trek, Terminator: Salvation, and Transformers. Creator-driven titles include ‘Fallen Angel’ by Peter David and JK Woodward, ‘Locke & Key’ by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez, and a variety of titles by writer Steve Niles including ‘Wake the Dead’, ‘Epilogue’, and ‘Dead, She Said’.

Artists Ashley Wood and Ben Templesmith are both exclusive to the company, and their titles include ‘Lore’, ‘Popbot’, ‘Sparrow’, ‘Swallow’, ‘Zombies vs. Robots’ (Wood) and ‘Groom Lake’, ‘Singularity 7’, ‘Welcome to Hoxford’, and ‘Wormwood’ (Templesmith). Both Wood and Templesmith have been nominated for multiple Eisner Awards.

For what age audience does IDW publish?
Pretty much all at this point–comics like My Little Pony have brought us younger readers, down to 6-8 or so, and we do a wide array for the 15+ crowd, too. We don’t do many superhero books, but cover horror, fantasy, action/adventure, and have dabbled in sci fi, crime, westerns and others.

Henry: I’m looking forward to seeing Ashley Wood’s interpretation of My Little Pony vs. Zombies…

Tell us about your latest publication
I just sent the final issue of my series ‘The Colonized’ (zombies vs aliens) to press, and am co-writing a Kiss Kids comic aimed at all-ages readers, too.

Henry: Zombies AND Aliens – what’s not to like?

What do you hope readers will get from that?
An enjoyable read, which is all I ask of any of our comics.

What aspect of publishing do you find most challenging?
The non-stop aspect of it. Deadlines never let up, and the fact that there’s so much good material out there, but limited space makes it a challenge. I hate to say “no” to good projects, but you have to at times.

What is a powerful lesson you’ve learned from being a publisher?
Don’t be afraid to say “no”. Stringing people along because I don’t want to make them feel bad is never a good thing, whereas sometimes “no” can serve as impetus to prove me wrong. At least, I hope that’s the case.

Henry: So, sometimes your mouth says “no”, but your heart say “yes”. 🙂 So, my idea for My Little Pony vs. Zombies…

What is a memorable experience you’ve had?
Hard to cite one example, but they happen almost daily. My first week on the job, I was on a panel with Will Eisner. I’ve developed incredible friendships with some of the most creative and inspiring people I could ever hope to meet, and had many chances to work with childhood heroes. All of that makes this incredibly gratifying and enriching, even on the more challenging days.

Henry: I totally agree. I’ve gotten to meet authors and illustrators (and publishers!) I admire.

What advice would you give to aspiring graphic novel authors or illustrators?
You’ve got to love this business. It’s frustrating, humbling, and requires great patience and great love. Overnight success stories are very hard to come by, and often even the most successful “breakout” creators spent years in obscurity, proving they had what it took and honing their craft.

Do you have any favorite quotes?
I’ve always been partial to the line from that song from Willy Wonka, “There is no life I know to compare with pure imagination.”

Henry: Nice. Gene Wilder all the way. I also like, “So shines a good deed in a weary world.”

Do you have any strange work rituals?
I notice that in order to keep up with the daily onslaught, I tend to reply to all e-mails as I’m reading them. So, at times, I’ll end up contradicting myself in a reply because I hadn’t read the whole message before starting to reply.

Henry: Or as Willy Wonka would say, “So much time and so little to do. Wait a minute. Strike that. Reverse it.” It just struck me Chris. You ARE the Willy Wonka of graphic novels.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
The ability to stop time so I could actually catch up on things.

If you could have three authors over for dinner, who would it be?
Rod Serling, Harlan Ellison, and Neil Gaiman. Their body of work and varied interests are answer enough, and all were/are strong personalities. I’m lucky enough to be friends with Harlan, and he is always interesting to talk to over a meal.

Henry: Jealous!

What is your favorite creature that exists only in literature?
The Hulk. Because Hulk smash. Always good to have someone ready to smash your enemies for you.

Henry: Yes, The Hulk is the correct answer because Hulk smash. Just ask Loki.

What do you like to do when you’re not working?
Write… which means I’m really never not working. But since I enjoy it, it never feels like work. That and spend time with my daughter, who is also a big reader already, even at age 7.

Henry: My sons and I will have a new book out for your daughter (and others) soon. 🙂

What would you like it to say on your tombstone?
“Sorry, I’m not accepting any more pitches.”

Henry: You’ll still figure out a way. Dropbox?

Where can readers find out more about IDW?
IDW’s website. I’m also on Twitter at @chris_ryall and I post a lot of artwork at a Tumblr page called Ryall’s Files, too. This year, IDW is at SDCC booth 2643.

Here are some sample IDW publications:

Fallen Angel by Peter David and JK Woodward

FallenAngel

One of the most critically acclaimed series of 2004 makes the jump to IDW, as new artist J.K. Woodward introduces readers to the enigmatic city of Bete Noire.

Locke & Key by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez

LockeAndKey
Acclaimed suspense novelist and New York Times best-selling author Joe Hill(Heart-Shaped Box) creates an all-new story of dark fantasy and wonder

Wake the Dead by writer Steve Niles

WakeTheDead
Modern master of horror Steve Niles (30 Days of Night, Dark Days) teams with art sensations Chee and Milx to present a tale guaranteed to terrify!

Popbot by Ashley Wood

Popbot

Popbot is an award-winning prestige format comic book written & illustrated by Ashley Wood. It features an eclectic cast of characters starring a talking rock star cat, his robot bodyguard, sexy women, robot-ninja assassins & more.

Angel

Angel
The continuing adventures of Joss Whedon’s classic vampire character, Angel.

Doctor Who

DoctorWho
The Doctor, the last of the Time Lords, survivor of the Great Time War, and along with his loyal companions, he stops oppression, darkness, and evil from spreading throughout the galaxies.

G.I. Joe

GIJoe
G.I. JOE is the world’s last defense against nefarious forces bigger than any one nation.

Star Trek

StarTrek
The five-year voyage of the Starship Enterprise was just the beginning of a rich mythology envisioned by Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, one filled with a myriad of stories and characters.

Terminator: Salvation

Terminator
The year is 2018. With John Connor as the voice of the resistance, the scattered remnants of humanity find themselves united against their common enemy—Skynet and its Terminators.

Transformers

Tranformers
TRANSFORMERS comics pit Optimus Prime and his heroic Autobots against Megatron and the evil Decepticons!

This article is also posted to the San Diego Children’s Books Examiner.