Dear readers,

Today I bring you an import from my tumblr, because this topic & movie are important to me (and now that I’ve upgraded the space on my blog again, I can actually get it posted here with images):

ghostbusters holtzmann gun lick let's go times square fight

Alright, here’s the thing.  If you haven’t yet, and have any inkling that you may want to see the new Ghostbusters movie at some point, go see it.  (Like, right now.)

Who You Gonna Call?

As we all know,  the new Ghostbusters has had a crap load of unsubstantiated vitriol spewed on it since its inception.

ghostbusters aldridge mansion erin gilbert gets slimed ectoplasmic projection

Not unlike a vat of ectoplasmic discharge from a Class 4 apparition.

And, yes, that has already gotten way more attention than senseless hate ever deserves so let’s just drop a towel over that mess, spray some Febreze, and carefully (carefully) inch away.

This movie is a perfect summer/all around fun flick. It’s not a perfect film in the sense that it’s going to sweep the Oscars but that’s not the point of it (and certainly wasn’t of the original 1984 Movie). For me, Ghostbusters 2016 is just the right mix of goofy, and awesome.

We finally get some female action heroes and, bonus, they’re intellectually brilliant, dressed practically for their job, and have genuine, real friendships with each other.  On top of that, we get to enjoy this quartet’s clear comedic genius being front and center.

ghostbusters 2016 hero shot - melissa mccarthy, kate mckinnon, kristen wiig, leslie jones

(If any of that sounds like something bizarrely reasonable and has you wondering why a person should be as excited about it as I am, then please point me in the direction of the media you’ve been consuming because what Ghostbusters bringsmic drops onto the table is in precious short supply in the realm of entertainment.)

I’m a fan of the original movie, and I came out of the theater from my first viewing cheering and more than pleased.  The story is fun, funny, heartwarming (we’re all ghost girls, now), features a completely badass action sequence, and the performances from every actor are spot on.

Viewers familiar with Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy may already have expectations for their characters (physicist Erin Gilbert & paranormal researcher Abby Yates, respectively) based on past performances, especially in McCarthy’s case.  I’ve heard some light criticism in regards to this point, about having expected more from their characters, bigger performances…but when I hears this, I have to ask: where does an actor’s reputation fit in conjunction with a story’s character?

ghostbusters kristen wiig as erin gilbert and melissa mccarthy as abby yates

I love Wiig and McCarthy’s performances here. The fact that they weren’t over the top is on par with their character’s personalities and motivations in the film, in turn making those characters more relatable in terms of realistic characters, and more relatable to viewers of all ages.  I’ve no doubt this film is as fun and inspiring for me as it is for a young girl watching and already planning a Ghostbusters costume (okay, I may already be planning that, too).

I understand expectation, and wanting to make the best use an actor’s talent and full range, but they find a great balance and use of just that in Ghostbusters.

An interesting, alternate thought I’ve heard on this point is that Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy’s more understated performances give room for their not quite as well known counterparts in the film, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon, a chance to shine.  Regardless, they do.  They really, really do.

Despite being, admittedly, the only non-scientist of the team, Jones’ character, Patty Tolan, is brilliant and brilliantly used in the team dynamic.  Unofficial historian, officially stylish and no-nonsense, Patty becomes an integral part of the operation and Jones really brings this sensible character to life.

ghostbusters leslie jones as patty tolan and kate mckinnon as jillian holtzmann

Then there’s Jillian Holtzmann, engineer and resident mad scientist of the group who is so fantastically weird in the best possible way, with an unabashed disregard for convention.  McKinnon knocks this performance out of the proverbial ballpark.

Chris Hemsworth may be the well-intentioned but daft receptionist, Kevin, but he gives a genius comedic performance as well.

Together this new team of Ghostbusters kick ass and bring serious laughs.  With its awesome leading ladies, smart social commentary, and in a year where a good laugh seems more difficult than ever to find, Ghostbusters 2016 is a needed breath of fresh air.  Couple that with it’s heartwarming underlying tale of friendship to weave it all together, and this movie easily busted it’s way into my heart.  I pray to the silver screen gods that there will be a sequel, because this is exactly what I need more of in my life.

ghostbusters 2016 leslie jones, kate mckinnon, kristen wiig, and melissa mccarthy ('and to love is what you have shown me')

(^ click for full gif set)

Which brings us back to the central point.  If your interest is piqued by this movie, at all, I urge you to consider going to the theater to see it before its run finishes.  When it comes to Hollywood, this is our voice and as much as I dislike the the concept, money talks.  Ghostbusters represents an important milestone in the genre that I hope will kickoff a trend.  And hey, who knows?  Maybe I’lll see you at the theater – I’ll be the crazy one grinning excitedly about seeing it for a fourth time in not so many weeks.  (Have I mentioned how great this movie is?)

Thank you Sony/Paul Feig/Katie Dippold/Wiig/Jones/McCarthy/McKinnon/everyone involved for this film, hopefully films.

This has been a tumblr update, brought to you by no-wrong-ratio wonton soup and salty parabolas – you try saying no!  Cheers, readers.  Until then…

Mischief managed

Dear readers,

It’s more than fair to say that the brilliant show, Parks & Recreation deserves it’s place in this ongoing Celebrating Female Characters series. If Leslie Knope isn’t an ‘instant classic’ character role model, I’m not sure what is.

Parks & Rec - Be the Leslie Knope of Whatever You Do

One person’s ‘annoying’ is another person’s ‘inspiring and heroic’.

The heart and soul of the show, the character of Leslie Knope is an unflinchingly optimistic and idealistic woman working hard to make a difference in an often thankless and male-dominated job.  The world of entertainment/fiction needs more Leslie Knopes in it (and don’t tell us placing strong female characters front and center doesn’t sell, because, ugh, hugely success female led COMEDY right here).

Being written as a woman in government/politics, her character is given many opportunities to make a stand for gender equality.  The show’s writers do an amazing job of tackling this issue without backing down.  Whether it’s bringing a needed dose of common sense to a ‘Piemary’ Contest or beauty pageant, or leading the ‘Pawnee Goddesses’, Leslie Knope always stands for her beliefs (unpopular opinion? Bah!).

At the same time, she can admit when she’s wrong and has the maturity to reevaluate those beliefs or actions when necessary.  When Leslie comes to the conclusion that she’s done something to wrong someone else, she won’t rest until she’s set things straight.

I took your idea and I made it better.

The setup of Parks & Recreation also provides a strong basis for Leslie’s ambition.  And let’s not mince words – Leslie Knope is ambitious.  Is that a big deal, you ask?  It’s a very big deal.

When thinking of the word itself, ambition, what do you associate it with?  How does that change when applying as an adjective for a man and a woman?  What sort of woman comes to mind with the term?

Right, so what it boils down to is this: In men, ambitious is perceived as a positive and natural trait, but for women it usually goes along with words like, ‘bossy’, ‘conniving’, and ‘bitchy’.  Oh hey, double standard, hey!

Luckily, there’s now a push (at least in certain aspects of media) to address this problem, though still only to an extent which is why characters like Leslie Knope truly matter.  So I say again, Leslie Knope is ambitious and that’s fantastic.

Click to view!

Parks & Rec is hardly the first show to have a leading female character exhibit that trait, but Leslie is not ambitious in the petty, negative way many women with this trait are still written in television (especially shows with a political spin!).

We see her ambition manifest when she’s driving herself and others to make real change happen and when she goes above and beyond to be the best friend she can possibly be.  Is it over the top sometimes?  You bet.  But it’s over the top caring, and Leslie’s ambition stems from that innate desire to make the world a better place.

We have to remember what’s important in life…

When talking about the character of Leslie, we can’t not address friendship.  She may come off as a little crazy at times, but I love the fact that this character could care less about social convention (which, of course, makes her a magnet for bringing people together).

Leslie and Ann.  The perfect example of a healthy dynamic and positive friendship between two women.  I wish it were more common on television, but there you go.  Too often cheap drama or gags are used at the expense of a this dynamic (and what is that supposed to teach us about acceptable relationship practices?), but Parks & Rec gets it so right here.  Let’s hope this A+ example at the forefront of a popular show paves the way for future female duos.

So right.

Ann and Leslie will quite literally do anything for the other.  Doctor’s appointments as you consider having a baby on your own?  There.  Gotta eat a whole cheesecake so you don’t look bad?  Done.  Extremely supportive, there to be the other’s voice of reason when called upon, and partner in crime when necessary, everyone should have a Knope to their Perkins or a Perkins to their Knope.

What I hear when I’m being yelled at is people caring really loudly at me.

Leslie and Ron hold viewpoints in opposition of each other on so many subjects, but that doesn’t stop them from finding the common ground when it comes to the things in life that really matter – a lesson that seems more important than ever to remember in our own lives.  There is an incredible mutual respect between them, and though Ron would never admit it in so many terms, they are basically bffs.

Leslie and April share a wonderful, touching bond as well.  Again, on the surface here are two opposite personalities but Leslie worms her way into April’s heart (despite any claims to its non-existence) and is one of the only people we see April truly open up to in moments of vulnerability.  Neither ever asks the other to be something they’re not.

Between these two another example of an amazing lifelong friend/mentor/mother-daughter relationship is formed over the course of the show.  Watching April’s journey is just as satisfying as Leslie’s as we see how much this relationship positively influences her own path to happiness.

parks and rec gif - april and leslie final episode

#RelationshipsInOneLook (So much love and respect. <3)

At the risk of this becoming a post of gushing love for every single character relationship and group dynamic, I’ll just say that basically every one of them is special and written with so much care.  (I mean, Leslie & Ben?  #RelationshipGoals.)  More than that, these dynamics are interesting and compelling without any out-of-character ‘personality morphing’.

What’s Galentine’s Day?  Oh, it’s only the best day of the year.

ALL of the female characters in this group are simply fantastic.  April’s sense of individuality, dripping sarcasm, secretly really cares attitude; Donna being a boss in every aspect of her life, knowing when to treat herself, bringing the sass and honesty but always having her friends’ backs; Ann’s independence, ability to roll with everyone’s crazy, and fierce protectiveness of those she cares about.

parks and rec donna meagle thor's hammer mjolnir gif

Even the minor roles tend to be forces to be reckoned with (Tammy & Tammy Two, campaign strategist Jennifer Barkley, Leslie’s mom,…) and I love that such diverse, quirky, and strong personalities were given the chance to be female characters.

Finally, shout out to the actresses who brought this cast of wonderful female characters to life so perfectly.  Figures like Amy Poehler are personal role models.

It’s so encouraging to see women who not only succeed in this field – especially in comedy – but take it by storm and in such positive ways.  So I’ll be keeping an eye on the Parks & Rec gang (all of them, men & women – brilliant writers included – as it was certainly a team effort) because I hope to see a lot more of these talented people in the future.

Thanks for reading, cheers!  Until then…

Mischief managed

Need further evidence on why we need more strong, well-crafted female character leads on television?  In 2016 we apparently still face issues of shows being #toofemale for prime time spots.

Dear readers,

Previously on The Adventure is Afoot, we reflected on how awesome 2015 was for pop-culture fans – the return of Star Wars, a new Avengers movie, Mad Max, Inside Out, etc. etc.  But 2016 is set to be even more jam packed with geeky goodness, and we’re well into the fray already.  So.  Y’all  ready this?

Superhero Central

superheroes-villains-comic-characters-rotation-gif

Is it just me, or is this the most comic-film saturated year yet?

Deadpool

  • We already had the pretty much perfectly executed Deadpool, which I have to say I was a little iffy on going in. I questioned whether it’d be my brand of humor and if it would go over the top with that or violence.  I’m not familiar with the character beyond the many hilarious pics and gifs of Deadpool cosplays at cons, but I ended up really enjoying it.  Such a fun flick, Deadpool hit a lot of the right notes balancing story, fourth wall humor, and genre parody.

B-Man vs. S-Man

  • Dawn of Justice was also recently released, and if Deadpool was the ‘surprise’ success story then this one has to go down as the ‘surprise’ low-review movie of the year so far.  The bro and I saw it a couple of weeks ago and I have to say it was better than I thought it would be (thanks negative media).  While I haven’t been a huge fan of the new DC films thus far, I want to give it a chance.  And while the movie certainly has its issues, for the most part I was invested and interested in the characters.  If you’re on the fence about seeing it, give it a try and come to your own conclusion (then come back and so we can compare notes).

Me and the bro, DC-in it up for Dawn of Justice

Justice league, assemble?

Captain America: Civil War

  • On the Marvel side, we’ve got Civil War opening this week and it looks phenomenal (emotional, traumatizing…).  I have to say that it is interesting that both B-Man vs. S-Man and Civil War are coming out at the same time, and both in a politically significant year.  I didn’t make that connection until fairly recently (of course, now it seems rather obvious) but what better time, I suppose, to sell choose-your-side mentality than in such a charged climate?

spongebob-squarepants-no-people-lets-bring-it-off

But seriously, 2016, what’s with all this heroes pitted against against heroes?  Can’t we all just get along?  Isn’t surviving an election year enough?

Suicide Squad

  • Another DC flick, Suicide Squad is heading our way this Summer and I have mixed feelings on this one.  It’s generating a lot of excitement, but in most cases I’m one of those people who has a really hard time rooting for villains.  Can I empathize with them and come to an understanding on how they got to be where they are?  Sure.  But cheer them on as they do horrible things with twisted justifications offered as an excuse? Bob's Burgers Tina Belcher 'uhhhh' gifHowever, it is being set up as a reverse, ‘villains being called in to do the hero work‘ story, so we’ll see.

Plus: X-Men: Apocalypse and Doctor StrangeAm I missing any?

Disney

Zootopia

  • Currently in theaters, Zootopia is a must-see and wouldn’t be surprise me if it remains one of the best movies of 2016.  The story and characters are smart, entertaining, and funny, and Disney really nailed it in terms of heartfelt story with social commentary.  Zootopia addresses discrimination in every form confidently and cleverly.  It makes common-sense statements about extremely relevant issues, opens a door for further conversation.  Plus, as a ‘kids’ movie, it does so in a way that makes it impossible to let hotheadedness into that conversation.  Major props, Disney.

Disney Zootopia train gif Judy Hopps

The Jungle Book

  • Alright, so there’s no way you could have missed the announcement in recent weeks of The Jungle Book’s release.  I’m a lot more excited for this one than I expected to be when a live-action version of the story was first announced.  It looks visually stunning, the score sounds amazing, the cast is A+, it’s Jon Favreau (Iron Man, Elf, among others) – how can this not be a magical experience?

Disney The Jungle Book Mowgli and Baloo on the river gif

Finding Dory

  • And we’ll just keep swimming right along to Pixar’s newest film, Finding Dory.  Is it possible that a person exists in this world who thinks Finding Nemo is a terrible movie?  I mean, I suppose it’s possible.  I can admit that their sequels can be hit or miss, but I have high hopes that Finding Dory will be close to par with the original.  Then again, I don’t foresee a time in the near future where I won’t err on the side of giving Pixar the benefit of the doubt, for even the rare ‘miss’ isn’t a bad movie.  My guess is that a lot of care will have gone into this one, so I, for one, am looking forward to June.

Plus: Moana (!), Disney’s version of The Big Friendly Giant (err, is it sacrilegious if I admit that I missed out on reading this one as a kid?), a revamp of Pete’s Dragon (also unfamiliar with the original…), and Alice Through the Looking Glass.

And More Big Hitters

  • Just as exciting, a new Star Wars movie (Rogue One), genderbent Ghostbusters, the new Star Trek Beyond, and two new Harry Potter-verse stories (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them & The Cursed Child) are headed our way this year!

On Your Television

The X-Files (Reboot)

  • If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll have definitely noticed a new X-Files trend around here.  Although it (sadly) has already come and gone, 2016 marked the return of the series to t.v. in the form of a 6-episode mini season event.  But more on that to come!

X-Files Reboot Promo Gif, Mulder & Scully with flashlights

Sherlock

  • Also already come and gone was a new BBC Sherlock episode in the form of a sort of Christmas special (hey, we’ll take new Sherlocks whenever we can get ’em!).  They aired the special in theaters and it was great.  I wasn’t expecting it to tie into the larger story arc of the series, but they spun it brilliantly to make it work just so.  Moffat, Gatiss, and crew did a fantastic job bringing that whole Victorian-horror genre to life in this one, and it maintained the wonderful sense of humor that should always accompany the world of Holmes and Watson.  And, yeah, also more to come…

Gravity Falls

  • The finale of Gravity Falls bringing Weirdmageddon to an end.  I’ve only recently caught the Gravity Falls bug thanks to a rec from my cousin, and when I did, it was a done deal.  The show now easily counts among my favorites and I only wish there could be more of Alex Hirsch’s fantastic series.

Gravity Falls Dipper & Mabel Pines chips gif

Oh, hey – guess what?  More to come on this one, too.

Plus: More superheroes (and villains) – Flash, Arrow, Agents of Sheild, Gotham, etc. -, season finale and return of Star Wars Rebels, the return of Steven Universe, and more!

In Your Gaming System

  • On the console end of things, 2016 is bringing the 4th and final installment of the super fun Uncharted series.  It’s a franchise that feels true to the tone and style of video games of past, one I love and that sadly seems to be dying out.  There’s hope yet, though, and 2016 will see the return of Star Fox for Nintendo plus a new Legend of Zelda game and 20th anniversary Pokemon memorabilia, while other franchises with new releases include Persona and Final Fantasy.  Then there are the intriguing-looking/new altogether titles for 2016 including No Man’s Sky and Firewatch.

Honestly, the reason for this post is mostly because it blows my mind a bit with how much nerd-variety pop-culture 2016 is packing…

Bill Nye Reaction gif mind blown

Mind blown.  (Thanks, Bill!)

We’re in the midst of an era where such content is the norm.  Will it last?  (That’s rhetorical, but a geek can dream.)  But, however long this cycle does last I plan to enjoy it.

Your turn!  What geeky things are you most looking forward to this year?  Leave a comment with your thoughts below!

And as always, thanks for reading, cheers.  Until then…

Mischief managed

Posted by: brookenado | April 2, 2016

Celebrating Female Characters: The Crystal Gems

Dear readers,

Seeing as another International Women’s Day has come and gone, I was once again inspired to continue the Celebrating Female Characters series with a few new posts!

If you haven’t heard of Steven Universe and you’re a fan of shows that depict women as complex individuals with unique strengths and motivations, then stop what you’re doing and keep reading.  Having recently finished watching the first season (Hulu, when will you have season twoooo?), I am blown away by the depth and charm of this show.

Trust me, it’s delightful.

Not only is Steven Universe the first female-created show to debut on Cartoon Network (about time – rock on, Rebecca Sugar!), but much like the Avatar series has done on Nickelodeon it brings a much needed freshness to the traditional cartoon format (t.v. format in general, really).

The show follows the adventures of a boy named Steven and the three humanoid-aliens he lives with called the Crystal Gems (Pearl, Garnet, & Amethyst).  Steven is a half-human, half-gem in training, working to help the Gems protect the world as he comes to inherit the conflicts of their past.  At its core it’s a coming of age story and yes, the main character is a male, but this is part of what makes this show so refreshing, serving to strengthen the argument of real female representation.

The Gems

Starting with the obvious, the Crystal Gems are some powerful ladies.  They kick butt!  Each Gem has unique weapons and abilities – all normal features of their kind but which seem like superpowers to us.  Let’s dig deeper, though, because their empowerment comes from more than just these awesome powers.

Strong in the Real Way

  • Pearl is the ‘mom’ of the group and the most involved in teaching Steven.  She’s responsible to a ‘t’, can be neurotic at times, can’t stand messes, and loves being right (who doesn’t, Pearl, who doesn’t?).  But above all else, Pearl is driven by love.  Over the coarse of the first season we learn of this deep love and relationship to Steven’s mom, Rose Quartz.  Though Rose Quartz ultimately chose to give her life up in order have Steven with his dad, it speaks the most of Pearl’s character that she will do anything to keep Steven safe and to protect him, Amethyst, Garnet, and even Greg (Steven’s dad) from harm’s way.

pearl_by_kuropop-d9alpmy

 

  • Essential Season 1 Pearl Episodes: Coach Steven, Giant Woman, Space Race, Rose’s Scabbard

Made of Love

  • Garnet is the undisputed leader of the group.  She’s calm, collected, and just plain cool.  Though she talks the least she says the most, lending to an air of wisdom and mystery about her.  And while she may be a Gem of few words, she’s powerful and carries herself with a strength that radiates from inside out; a self-confidence without ego.  Garnet is balance and harmony, yin and yang, both the masculine and feminine.  Hers is a mix a personality traits I don’t often seen attributed to female characters – the ‘strong, silent type’ – but Garnet owns it and more.  While she may not be as hands-on in training Steven, the two clearly share a special bond and when it comes to Steven just being Steven and she tends to be to most supportive and encouraging Gem.

  • Essential Season 1 Garnet Episodes: Future Vision, Garnet’s Universe, Jail Break

The Wildest Cat in the Jungle

  • Aside from Steven Amethyst is the youngest Gem, the unruly ‘older sibling’ type of the group.  Scrappy, wild, and independent, her character helps bridge that gap between Steven/us and Pearl and Garnet, both maturity-wise and backstory-wise.  In some ways Pearl’s opposite, Amethyst enjoys making messes, at times being lazy (guilty), and would much rather improvise or rely on brute strength than make a plan.  Although her confidence manifests itself more rambunctiously than Garnet’s, throughout the season we see the chinks in the armor which this attitude hides.  It’s this self-doubt, even self-loathing at times, about who she is that makes Amethyst real rather than trivial.  While I may relate to her outward personality the least, I can easily empathize with her character.  Sugar and her team have taken a lot care with their cast, and they’ve done a wonderful job here in creating a such a strong-willed character without getting caught in the one dimensional trap.

  • Essential Season 1 Amethyst Episodes: Tiger Millionaire, Giant Woman, On The Run, Maximum Capacity

Isn’t it remarkable, Steven? This world is full of so many possibilities.

Though no longer ‘living’, Steven’s mom, Rose Quartz, is very much a character as well as we get to know her little by little through flashbacks and the other characters.  And despite her physical absence, Rose Quartz still manages to protect Steven (think Lily Potter here).

Though you may not guess from her appearance alone, Rose Quartz was the leader of the Crystal Gems and it’s her actions from many, many years ago that drives the overarching plot of the show.  As Steven pieces together information about her, it becomes clear that Rose was an exceptional being who led fiercely, loved greatly, and had a deep sense of empathy for all living things.

The Humans

Steven isn’t just surrounded by these Gems with incredible powers, and every character in Beach City is given some individual focus throughout the episodes of the first season.  The ordinary human female characters are just as realistic and, in a non-physical, superpower-y sense, just as strong in character as the Crystal Gems.

Connie and Sadie, in particular, are given the most screen time.  Each has a special relationship with Steven.

steven universe connie gif

Though upon her introduction it’s clear that Connie is to be Steven’s love interest, that’s not what their relationship or her purpose in the story is built around.  First and foremost she is a friend and an individual whom Steven looks up to.  Intelligent/nerdy, brave, and responsible, Connie is cool in the face of danger and not afraid to speak her mind.  The episode, ‘Open Book‘ is a prime example of this and how perfectly their relationship is treated in the show.

Sadie is like a big sister to Steven and she really rolls with the punches when it comes to his powers and adventures.  It’s  her relationship with her male counterpart, Lars, at the doughnut shop, though, that has the most fun playing around with the idea of ‘gender norm’ traits.  Stocky, tough, and easy-going, Sadie is constantly pitted as the more traditionally ‘male’ role in their partnership while Lars is skinny, moody, and overly self-conscious.

steven universe lars and sadie island adventure - I catch you cook

This is most obviously seen in the episode ‘Island Adventure‘, but she’s not always the one taking charge.  Like the best of us, Sadie can let her crush on Lars get the best of her and become a bit of a pushover to accommodate others, but that’s what gives her life and realistic complexity.  And at the end of the day, Sadie always knows and stays true to who she is which, above all, is both strong and kind.

So here’s a show that has a male protagonist who has a variety of strong female characters that serve as direct role models.  Unusual, no?

And although this post is to call out the awesome female characters, I’d like to mention the way the male characters are presented as well.  The way they act and react to the female characters, as well as the way they themselves are characterized, plays just as much of a role in what makes Steven Universe such a gender-progressive show.

Gif set of quotes from the article, 'Strong in the Real Way: ‘Steven Universe’ and the Shape of Masculinity to Come'

Telling it like it is. (See link below for more)

I think it may best be explained through this post of gifs.  Just as the ladies are complex and detailed individuals, the dudes are treated with just as much care.  They’re given their own sets of strengths, quirks, flaws, and motivations with similar freedom from standard gender traits.  Steven and his dad are just as compelling of characters as much as the Gems.

So have you heard enough about Steven Universe now?  If you haven’t checked this show out yet, consider adding it to your watch list.  It won’t take up much of your time as each episode is only eleven minutes long, but it’s an eleven minutes jam-packed with powerful social messages, adorable goofiness, and tons of geeky references.

And if you are a fan, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the gender dynamics of the show – don’t forget to comment below!

Thanks for reading, cheers!  Until then…

Mischief managed

Posted by: brookenado | February 15, 2016

X-Files Doodles: The Jersey Devil

Hey there readers & fellow X-Philes,

We’ve arrived at the second (or first full) installment of X-Files Doodles!  So, without further adoodle…

*Cue the wistle*

X-Files Doodles - Mulder couldn't resist an 'I heart the Jersey Devil' shirt & Scully is less than thrilled

Today’s doodle inspired by: S1E5 – The Jersey Devil

Thoughts about 1×05…

  • Can we just talk about how awesome Dr. Diamond is?  Not only is he willing to hear out a far-fetched theory, but he doesn’t rat Mulder out when he’s caught by the detective in the warehouse.  I mean, this guy just met Mulder, isn’t in regular contact with Scully, has no idea they didn’t technically have the jurisdiction to be there in the first place and yet, he embraces the role of co-conspirator instantly and completely.  Po-po chasing after us while we chase after a potentially dangerous human species anomaly? NBD.  No doubt about it, this kickass prof is a kindred spirit.  (Hence, shirt-buddies.)
    • Shout out to forest ranger guy, who also made a fine addition to our rag-tag team at the end.
  • Scully.  I love when we see the small connections between Mulder/Scully and their world outside of the X-Files.  It makes sense that it happens less as the series goes on, but it’s nice to get that reminder and a deeper sense of their characters.  This was put to good use in Jersey Devil as we get a link to Scully’s past (Doc D) and her present life outside of the bureau (Ellen/godson/date) all the while nicely tying it in with the whole theme of the episode.  Essentially we’re still feeling out the X-Files at this point along with Scully, and I’m glad we get this glimpse into her life and her mind as we see her begin to let the door close on the ‘normal’, choosing instead Mulder and the X-Files.

‘And look who’s holding the door.’

  • Ok, and along with this we get some initial light hints of a possibility of MSR (Mulder-Scully romance) down the road.  It’s ok, Scully, we think Mulder’s kinda cute (/crazy), too.  (And Mulder?  Feign disinterest all you want but we’d be a bit gonna-deny-it-disappointed-about-your-date-secretly-pleased-no-second-date, too.)  I’m not grinning stupidly, you are.
  • Mulder.  I enjoyed the ways in which we find further insight into Mulder’s character in Jersey Devil, especially as an early episode.  For one, the depth of his emotion at the way the situation concludes is striking.  And not only do we see more of Mulder giving everyone, no matter who they are, the chance to tell their story while listening without judgement, but here’s a guy who would sleep on the street (in the cold, next to a dumpster) to follow a lead AND give a man with nothing his hotel room when he could easily have just taken what he needed and pushed the guy out of his way.  The little things often say far more about a person than the big, dramatic moments.
    • …It also marks the first time we see Mulder land himself in jail as well as are first acquainted with his choice, err, reading material.  So, yeah.  There’s that.

Mulder, where are you?

  • ‘Eight million years out of Africa, I don’t think we’re all that different.’  ‘Mulder, we’ve put men into space, we’ve built computers that work faster than the human mind.’  ‘While we over-populate the world and create new technologies to kill each other with. Maybe we’re just beasts with big brains.’  Nailed it.

Overall The Jersey Devil is a solid MOTW (Monster of the Week) episode.  There’s fun Mulder/Scully dialogue, it’s a nice twist on the Bigfoot-type tale, and the questions it poses are as relevant today as they were twenty years ago.

Now I do believe that’s a wrap, stay tuned for the next X-Files Doodle – and stand by for #Babylon tonight.  Thanks for reading, cheers!  Until then…

Mischief managed

Posted by: brookenado | January 28, 2016

Conspiracy Theories & X-terior Design

Hey readers,

Just a quick post today.  Did you watch the two-night premier of the new X-Files mini-series this week?  If so, you’ll know that Joel McHale (Community, The Soup) is guest starring as right-wing talk show host Tad O’Malley in the series’ revival – a man seemingly as bent on exposing the truth as Fox Mulder.

And as both a Community and X-Files fan, there was an opportunity here that just couldn’t be missed…

Community & X-Files crossover (Conspiracy Theories & Interior Design)

It’s the x-over we’ve all been waiting for.

Scully may have just instigated the biggest interdepartmental war the FBI will ever see.  Let’s hope Jeff/Tad brought the friendship hats.

If…

  • This makes little to no sense, go watch “Conspiracy Theories and Interior Designs”, and the later quasi-follow-up episodes “Digital Exploration of Interior Design” and “Pillows and Blankets of Community.  You will not regret it.
  • You haven’t watched “My Struggle” and “Founder’s Mutation” yet, what are you waiting for?  I won’t dive into the episodes here (definitely need to rewatch, not to mention the countless versions of premier analysis already circulating the web) but I will say that my excitement over everything X-Files is going strong.

The hype was real, people.

I’m still geeking out about being able to watch the series live for the first time.  Shout out to the many awesome XPhiles (#XPhileForLife!) out there on Twitter making the experience that much more fun (and commiserating when football delays the long awaited premier).

That’s it!  Now go watch some X-Files and/or Community and share your own conspiracy theories and crossovers.

Thanks for reading, cheers!  Until then…

Mischief managed

Posted by: brookenado | January 17, 2016

On being a New X-Phile

Dear readers,

If you noticed some longer delays between posts last year, a part of that blame can be comfortably placed on The X-Files.

Uh-huh, I’m looking at you two.

Yes, that sci-fi, paranormal, both serious and humorous, brilliant crime-mystery-conspiracy-thriller television show that threw off so-called ‘normative’ gender roles and inspired a cult following after first airing in 1993.

While I haven’t been investigating unexplained phenomena and secret government plans myself, I have found myself thrown into a deep investigation of The X-Files.  That is, I’ve made it a priority to watch every episode before January 24th.

An ambitious goal?  Maybe.

But the truth is out there, readers, and I want to believe.

David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson as Special Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully

(And if I’ve become quickly invested in the show and it’s leading characters since, so be it.)

Like Star Wars, Jurassic Park, Full House, A Series of Unfortunate Events, and various other franchises now getting reboots, you may have heard that The X-Files will be returning for at least one mini-season.  I’d heard good things here and there about the show before, but seeing this announcement last year (and a slice of the general fandom meltdown thereafterthanks Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny Twitter convos) finally piqued my curiosity enough to start watching.

Best.  Decision.  Ever.

I’m sorry now that I missed the prime X-Files fan time back in the 90s and into the 00s, though it seems fortuitous that it should make its way back onto the scene when I’m at an age to fully appreciate the show.  Now I’m determined to be caught up and a part of the shared experience of the revival.

You know I’m all about that zeitgeist.

Alight, so I began watching back in May and it’s been a lot like reading a great book series.  It drew me in quickly and I wanted to know more and more about Mulder, Scully, and their never dull world, but at the same time I wanted to pace myself.  The closer I came to being caught up, the more I didn’t want it to end.

As of today I’m seven seasons down, two seasons and a movie to go.  And T-minus 7 days until premier day.  Like it or not, I do believe some intense binging may now be in order.  (Update: Success!)

The problem with being born a generation too late…

Being born a generation after a great pop-cultural phenomenon can leave you with the feeling of ‘fan isolation’.  You’re isolated from the existing fanbase and content as you catch up, because, well…

Now I love the Internet as much as the next geek, but if you’re a stickler for spoilers like me, then being on it when delving into a new fandom can feel like playing Minesweeper with 100 squares and 99 mines.

Resisting all temptation to read fanfiction, look at fanart, fanvids, and basically search anything related to the topic as you get sucked into it can be a real problem.  Then you’re isolated from the excitement factor, because the original hype came and went and you’re just playing catch up. And come on, we’re geeks!

Our enthusiasm for the things that interest us can boarder on the obsessive (in a good way), and while you want to share the greatness of this thing you’ve just stumbled upon because the excitement is bubbling up and threatening to explode, it feels like you’re the only person to which this thing is front and center right at that moment.  You want to be part of the fandom, but again, spoilers, and you’re not quite sure where you fit into this group that’s already been connecting for years.

John Fitzgerald ByersThe X-Files, Unusual Suspects (5x03)

Internet, I have a proposition for you…

Let’s create a fandom hub that’s geared toward new fans. Let it be a microcosm of the original (a sub-hub within a hub), a place for new fans to mingle as the original fans once did – to predict, to express feels without danger of spoilers, and once caught up, to integrate into the existing hub.

Because yeah, being a new fan in a pre-existing fandom can be hard. Fanzines are out of print and not online (Star Wars, I’m looking at you – thank goodness for The Gossamer Project in this case) you missed the original forums, theories, golden eras of heightened cultural awareness (references, merch, etc. etc.), and all of that.  That’s not to say older fandoms can’t be and aren’t going strong, or be very welcoming of new fans – they are!  But as a new fan you’ve missed out on that first wave of excitement and you know it.

Ok, fan-remorse aside, the real point of this post is this:

As I’ve been getting caught up and ready to be a part of the fanfare this time around, my status as a #NewXPhile in self-imposed fan isolation has manifested itself in silly ideas that become sillier drawings.  I give you, the X-Files Doodles!

X-Files Doodles (We've entered a two-dimensional world, Mulder...) by Brookenado

Moving forward you’ll have to excuse my newfound enthusiasm for the show with more ‘X-Files Doodles’ updates.  I apologize in advance to any non x-philes because unless you’ve seen the show, I’m sure they will make little sense.  Enjoy!

Thanks for reading, cheers!  Until then…

The truth is out there

Mischief managed

Posted by: brookenado | January 1, 2016

Thanks for a Geektastic Year, 2015

Dear readers,

Happy New Year!

A lot happened  in 2015 around the world, and like a microscopic scale of that my year personally had both moments of greatness and moments of not so great-ness.  When it came to fandom, however, 2015 was a good year.

As geeks we had a lot to nerd out about – from cons and announcements, to movies, shows, games, and more.

Let’s take a look at the highlights:

  • Fresh on everyone’s mind is the long-awaited, most-highly anticipated reboot of the year, Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  Did it live up to its (actually very well-controlled) hype?  You bet the Millennium Falcon it did.  Who else is ready to start the New Year with another viewing?
  • Marvel.  Are they ambitious in their MCU plans?  Maybe, but I for one am a fan!  2015 saw both the second installment of the Avengers films hit the screen, Age of Ultron, as well as the introduction to Ant Man.  Say what you will of either, maybe they’re not perfect films and I’m not particularly well-versed in the source material, but I really enjoyed both.  I love the characters, the humor, the optimism, and the awesome action sequences depicted as they are in the MCU.
  • The final season of Parks and Recreation aired early in 2015 and it was absolutely perfect.  I had only started catching up and following the show the year before and it quickly became one of my favorites.

Goodbye Leslie Knope & gang, 2016 won’t be the same without you.

  • I admit that I’m behind the times in video games as I don’t currently own my own system, nor have a computer up to par for those bad boys.  I’m stuck in original Wii Land and Nostalgia Xbox & N64 Land, slowly catching up on some games from the last couple of years with my brother’s (currently not working) PS3.  However I’ve watched (occasionally helped) my brother play some of 2015’s most anticipated games.  Favorite PS4 game released this year I’ve actually seen and played?  Batman: Arkham Knight.  Other franchises that saw new games come out last year included Metal Gear Solid, Fallout, Assassin’s Creed, Battlefront, and of course, some classics with Super Mario Maker, Legend of Zelda, and more.
  • We went Back to the Future on October 21st to catch up with Marty McFly and Doc Brown.  Where are our hoverboards?  Let’s get on that, 2016.
  • Comic Con.  Nerd Con. Star Wars Celebration.  Cosplay.  Panels.  Signings. And everything else in between.  Getting together with nerdy friends and making some new ones.
  • Disney/Pixar.  There was Inside Out, the new live action adaptation of Cinderella, and The Good Dinosaur.  I haven’t seen the latter yet, however Inside Out was a very well-concepted, heartfelt addition to Pixar’s shelf and Cinderella was wonderfully joyous; simplistic in the best way possible and a truly charming gem in what seems like an overly saturated market these days of explicitly gory, etc. approaches, and/or apocalyptic visuals.  Simply have courage and be kind.

Speaking of apocalyptic, let’s take a look at my 2015 geekdom fails:

  • The final segment of the Hunger Games films came out and despite being a fan of the books and the movies, I still haven’t seen it.  Fail.
  • Mad Max: Fury Road found an entirely new fanbase (at least according to my Tumblr dashboard) and despite what surprised me as very positive reviews from many, especially fellow female geeks, I still haven’t seen it.  Fail.
  • Jurassic World rebooted the classic and well-loved Jurassic Park series.  It set box office records last summer.  It has Chris Pratt.  It has dinosaurs.  I still haven’t seen it.  Epic fail.

I know, I’m sorry.  Please don’t hurt me.

Aside from films and a few t.v. shows, some of my favorite fandom parts of the year that define 2015 for me came not from new releases but in discovering pre-existing shows.

#NewXPhile

  • Yes, prompted by the show’s upcoming return I finally discovered the X-Files and had the ongoing goal since May to catch up on the entire series before the newest episode airs.  I won’t go much into detail here because there is a whole post and omgXFileskeyboardsmash-ness coming your way, but suffice it to say for now that I’m so glad I finally did jump on this conspiracy-aliens-government-unexplained phenomena-lovable duo-quest for the truth.  I want to believe.

#SixSeasonsAndAMovie

  • Community.  I don’t know why I never watched this show before 2015 because it’s amazing.  I’d always enjoyed the random episodes I had seen on t.v., and had started to record them so I could begin watching regularly when it so happened that I needed to finally bite the bullet and pay for a subscription service like Netlix or Hulu to continue watching the X-Files (I know, like a crazy person I’ve lived without either until now).  My decision between the two was based solely on which had both of these shows and I have kind of been in love with Community ever since.

#CrystalGems

  • I love a good animated show.  I’m of the opinion they often offer more depth, better writing, and more humor when compared to many other ‘grown up’ shows on t.v. these days.  So recently prompted by excellent reviews and the gap left in my heart from the finale of the Legend of Korra at the end of 2014, I’ve started my journey into the world of Steven Universe.  I’ve been catching up on the first season and I have nothing but good things to say about this show.  It’s happy and sad, goofy and serious, and it fits an incredible amount of character and story depth into its 11-minute episodes.

More on each of these to come, I’m sure…

So, was 2015 a pretty great year to be a geek or what?  And the best part?  It’s just going to keep on going.  2016 already looks to be just as, possibly even more exciting a year for us.

Case in point?  Tonight BBC Sherlock is #221Back!

So full speed ahead – bring it, New Year!  2016 Geek Look Ahead post pending.

Thanks for reading, cheers, and be sure to leave a comment with your favorite 2015 geek happenings!  Until then…

Mischief managed

Posted by: brookenado | November 16, 2015

Saying Goodbye to a Friend

Dear readers,

It’s been a tough month – one of those months that catches you off guard, sticking a leg out as you walk by.  A month that makes you realize you’ve reached one of those stages in life when things are changing, sometimes pretty fast.  Of course, now as I write this November 13th has come and gone, and with it the terribly sad events around the world.

So yeah, one of those months that makes you want to hide under the carpet and not come out.  One of those month’s in which the tiredness reaches your soul.

October started out fine, the sis settling into a new job across the country and my mom and I getting the house decorated for Fall and Halloween.  But then the bad news started coming…and coming, and coming.  It’s taken me a couple weeks to sit down and write this out, but for about three or four weeks it was just one thing after another.

After my sister moved and my dad went to see his family to pick up some of her stuff and see his aunt who was in the hospital, his uncle ended up passing away (his aunt has since recovered…life giveth, and life taketh away I suppose).  Following that, I got a call from my sister who was in the midst of a personal dilemma and at a crossroads.  One of the toughest things for a sibling – especially a big sibling – is knowing your little bro/sis is in pain and being able to do nothing but offer words of limited wisdom and comfort.  It sucks.

If we thought things were beginning to settle down after that, we were to be sorely mistaken.  We had only just begun to look over the edge, just one push away from tumbling down proverbial rabbit hole of bad news…

The slide began with news of another family member in the hospital.  My grandma had suffered a mini-stroke (thankfully, she’s out and recovering now) and then we received sudden news of the death of a friend from childhood’s father.  This coming just two years after her mother passed away and my heart broke for their family.  We joined a walk on the beach lead by her and siblings to honor their father, and I was stuck by their strength.  However sad the occasion, I have to say that I’m glad it gave me the chance to reconnect with this friend.

  
The following week my sister had come to a decision.  A six-year relationship came to an end soon after.

While I want nothing more than for her to be happy, it was still hard news for our family to receive as we had all come to accept this person as a part of it.  I’m heartbroken for him, and sad to see something that seemed so permanent end, but at the end of the day if she’s happy, I’m happy.  Ironically, perhaps, it’s just going to take a little bit of time for us all to move on.

So all of this had us feeling out of spirits.  But like every tale of ‘these kinds of months’, the worst was still to come.  We were sliding down the hole but hadn’t come crashing into the ground yet.

And that faceplant came two days later.  My mom found out first.  A friend I grew up with had just suffered a heart attack.  I couldn’t believe it – this friend was hardly older than I was, an athlete, and it just made no sense.  None.  We all sent out our thoughts/good energy/prayers, and at one point they were able to get her heart going on its own again.  I was so sure she was going to get better!

It was even more of a shock, then, when my mom called me at work the next day to tell me she hadn’t made it.  She was gone.

For once I was glad for the long drive home and the chance to process the news on my own.  As soon as I got home my brother enveloped me in a big hug and we just cried together for a few minutes.  Over the next few days I would come to see through news around town and Facebook posts how much a person can affect a community.  It made me both glad and more upset at the same time.

Readers, I’ll ask you to bear with me here for the rest.  As my blog has become a place to get my thoughts out and just be me, it just made the most sense to write what I needed to out here.

A final goodbye.

Dear friend,

I know it’s been a while since we’ve talked, and I wish I had made the effort to connect with you again sooner.  Even so, some things you know just never change, and I do believe our friendship is one of those things.

You were one of the best friends I had growing up and I hope you know how thankful I am to have had you in my life at that time.  While so many people are caught up trying to figure out their own place when growing up, you were constant – someone I would come to look up to as a big sister. I don’t believe anyone knows exactly who they are then, but if anyone did it was you, and I always admired that sense of self and purpose.  You expected the best in others without expecting them to be something they weren’t.  Sometimes fierce, always kind, and a true leader.

I always had so much fun hanging out with you – goofing around after soccer games, camps and sleepovers in the Summers…I hope you know how much that friendship meant to me.  As you know I could be pretty shy and reserved back then, and I want to say thanks for always standing by my side, never demanding an explanation for my being on the quiet side, and always making me feel like a part of your team both on and off the field.  You had the best dry sense of humor around (complemented my sillier side perfectly, you know) and a great compassion for others.  For as many smiles and laughs you brought to my life then, I only hope I brought some of the same happiness to you.

And now, I just want you to know that you really did have an impact on my life, and even though you’re gone I have a feeling you’ll continue to inspire not only me, but everyone else whose lives you’ve touched with your strength.  I wish it hadn’t been you, it really doesn’t seem fair.  At all.

In the end though, what I really want to say is how thankful I am for the time I’ve had with you and being one of the people who knew you.  So, cheers to all of the good times!  When I think of you it will always be with a smile.

Until we meet again…

Mischief managed

greer and brooke

The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater.‘- J.R.R. Tolkien

Posted by: brookenado | September 3, 2015

Water, Earth, Fire, Comic-Con…

Dear readers,

Long ago, I became a fan of a show called Avatar: The Last Airbender.  Then everything changed when Comic-Con arrived. Only cosplaying as the Avatar, master of all four elements, could take my love for this series to the next level…Two days of Comic-Con passed, and a panel, a meetup, and a signing helped me discover a new group of fellow fans. And I believe, it was the best Avatar-themed day ever.

Alright, well, ordinarily I’d go for the day-to-day, play-by-play, but there’s too much residual good feeling surrounding Avatar-related happenings at July’s annual nerd convergence in San Diego (a.k.a. San Diego Comic-Con, or SDCC) not to start with them.

The following events took place between the days of Friday, July 10th and Saturday, July 11. Bum bum.

Avatar State Korra, Aang, and Raava group cosplay

If you’re unfamiliar with the show, you can learn a little more about the characters and premise in my Avatar/The Legend of Korra Celebrating Female Characters set of posts.  My goal this year (ahem, semi-frantic scramble) for SDCC was to complete a Korra costume for a cosplay based off of a design from the final season that aired last year.

Two Avatar panels were being featured on Friday and Saturday of the con, which acted as my high priority  con goals on both of those days.  And with a bit of luck and planning, two consecutive, early-to-be-on-the-safe-side, but not too bad mornings saw me make it into both!  The first was a Dark Horse panel with the two creators of the series, Micheal DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko.  The panel focused on both Book 4 with the end of Korra’s journey, and the comics that continue the original ‘Gaang’s’ story.

The big announcement?  Well, actually, Korra’s journey isn’t quite at an end yet.  Fans can expect her adventures to continue with her own Dark Horse comic, but that’s not all.  Both Mike and Bryan will be the creative team behind this new Korra comic – flameo!

The second panel on Saturday morning was an Avatar Legacy Fan Panel hosted by AvatarMom, and featuring a range of guests: Sculptor and artist Magda Escobedo Bazaldúa, Puppetbender creator Kevin Coppa, series director Giancarlo Volpe, head writer Aaron Ehasz, and Jack Desena (voice of Sokka), Dante Bosco (voice of Zuko), and Darcy Rose Byrnes (voice of Ikki).

It began with a few funny animations the crew had put together while working on the show, and ran through some other amusing videos such as Puppetbender outtakes and a show-inspired martial arts video.  The panel also included a short preview reading of Smoke and Shadow, a cosplay contest, and a pretty interesting Q&A with all present.

Things I never knew: Iroh’s backstory was actually inspired by a question asked at an SDCC panel after the premier of the first season about him not being the current Fire Lord as the older son.  Mike and Bryan only ever intended for ‘Cabbage Man’ to appear once, but the joke in his recurrences was something carried out by the writers. The argument in favor for the final decision to change Toph from being a male to a female character was made by a few of the writers who believed the fun and unexpectedness of girl Toph would be more exciting than generic tough guy Toph (here, here!).

And my personal favorite question asked? Favorite character growth moments. Answers included the Blue Spirit episode, beach episode, Zuko going on a date, Katara bloodbending, and Tenzin’s kids finding Korra in Book 4.

Waiting in line each morning was a breeze as fans chatted with each other and took awesome cosplay pics.  Another plus one for best Avatar Comic-Con day ever?  Oh, just the fact that I got a picture with Dante Bosco right after the fan panel.  Dante.  Bosco.

Awkward close-up selfie of me and Dante Bosco!

Go ahead, bask in the glory of this unintentionally close-up selfie.

While waiting for Saturday’s panel, an Asami cosplayer I happened to be next to in line on Friday mentioned that there would be a cosplay meetup after the fan panel.  I had nothing pressing to get to afterward, so why not?

It was, without a doubt, the right decision.  After the gaggle following Dante Bosco (who was so gracious and nice to fans who wanted an autograph or photo while staff were telling him he had to go) broke up, I hung around with other cosplayers still in the hallway, hoping to follow them to the meetup.  Turns out most of us where in the same pickle, and luckily there was a Yue cosplayer who knew exactly where to go.  It bears repeating that the Moon Spirit rules with compassion and lunar goodness.

The meetup was such a blast!  Everyone was excited to be there, and everyone was kind, enthusiastic about each other’s costumes, and basically awesome.  Photos were to be gotten as we mingled, followed by a big group photo on the steps, and a bunch of amazing group photos for each smaller grouping (Earth Nation, Water Tribe, Avatars/spirits, villains, Republic City peeps,…see overload of pics at the bottom of the post!).

Of course, both serious and goofy photos were to be expected.

I was having such a good time, in fact, that I was one of the last to leave, which lead to taking an already fantastic day to being the best day ever.  After a few more shots, the exchanging of information and where to find the Facebook group page, and an invitation to the Avatar meetup dinner that night, a small group of us cosplayers who I shall henceforth refer to as, ‘Squad’, was created.

Initially I had intended to be in line trying to get into the BBC America Doctor Who meetup happening offsite at the House of Blues at this point (and don’t get me wrong, Whovians, I would have be thrilled to have gotten in!), but I decided that spontaneity had been my friend thus far, so why not keep rolling with it?

And so it was that myself and four others formed an Avatar cosplay group where we set out to roam the halls of the convention center.  Our four hour mission?  To bring the Avatar style to all, and seek fellow cosplayers to take pictures with until a Nickelodeon booth signing happening later that afternoon.

SDCC Squad selfie - Avatar/Korra group cosplay

This – this – is what Comic-Con is all about.  Sure there are the appearances from awesome actors and professionals, sneak peeks, displays, art, and merch that will make your wallet tear bend.  But when it gets right down to it, the joyful gathering of fans and spontaneous finding of friends is what it’s all about.

Now I had never really done a full cosplay group before, but there is something infinitely cool about being a part of one with copslayers from the same fandom.  Any self-doubts about your passion and costuming efforts disappear, and you feel like you can take on the world (or maybe that last part is the unique effect of this group).

As we strutted our bending stuff, more people than I expected wanted to take our picture and we soon had poses down and a conch shell-like summoning call of ‘SQUAD!‘ to pull us together when someone requested a photo.  I’ll freely admit it, vain as it may sound, but it’s a uniquely awesome feeling to have people admiring you and your group, legitimizing the work that went into your character presentation.  More than that ego-boosting experience though, I had unexpectedly met a group of amazing people who shared this same crazy love I did, and we had instantly clicked.

Some friendships are so strong, they can even transcend lifetimes.

Now, understandably you may be thinking at this point, sure seems like an incredible SDCC experience so far to me – could it possibly get any better?  Absolutely it could.

Remember that Nickelodeon booth signing I mentioned a few paragraphs ago?  Let me explain; it was a Mike and Bryan signing.  While only one of our Squad had gotten an actual ticket for this event the day before, we all decided to try our luck anyway based on some input from wiser con-goers than myself.  In order to prepare for the ‘just in case’ scenario, we stopped by the Dark Horse booth to get beautiful art books from the show (think an animated show version of a ‘making of’ documentary) to get signed.

And readers…behold:

After standing faithfully at the Nickelodeon booth before and during the signing, proving our dedication as fans and attracting the attention of con-goers wanting photos as we and other Avatar cosplayers waited hopefully, the staff at the booth kindly offered us some left over passes (you rock, Nick booth!) to meet the duo and get our books signed.  I fist-bumped Bryan, it was awesome.

And so, the best Avatar-themed SDCC day ever was had by all.  Combined, the panels, the signing, and the cosplay meetup made my Avatar-themed days of Comic-Con unforgettable. Meeting and forming Squad made it something special.

The end.  Until the next Comic-Con post.  Which is coming soon, I promise.

Readers, deepest apologies for the delay and post hiatus.  My excuse?  The Women’s World Cup (USA!) and getting prepared for Comic-Con, then Comic-Con was upon us, and then a mixture of life stuff and blogger’s block came together to put a frustrating slow spell over sorting images from the con and getting this post up.  Things are back in a more normal swing now, however, and I plan to continue posting more regularly.

As always, thanks for taking the time to read and I hope you find the photos of this post as fun and fantastic as I do.  Cheers!  Until then…

Mischief managed

**Special shout out to the Squad member who took so many of our group photos for us (and is soon to be our Zuko!), and the various folks at the meetup who kindly took some of the group photos on my camera for me – you all rock!

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