What I Did This Memorial Day

Hello folks! I’m back! And before I tell you about my day, let me just take a moment to say 2 things.

1st. Big shoutout to my buddy Mike, who’s in the Navy, and all others serving or who have served in our anime forces. You guys are truly awesome.

2nd. From now on, this blog will be REGULARLY updating 3 times a week: Monday, Wednesday, Friday. Yes, it’s an easy model, but I figure it’s one that works with my schedule, especially seeing as how I just got a new job.

Right then, down to business.

I spent most of today indoors, not because of some hatred of the sun, but because it was BOILING today, as I’m sure many of you have noticed. SO I spent most of today inside, doing anime-related activities.

Anime, or Japanese animation, is quite popular amongst members of the Nerd tribes, and I am no exception. I’m lucky to have grown up with the WONDERFUL block of programming known as Toonami (which came back! thoughts on that soon) so I’ve been exposed to it ever since I was little. Yet, it wasn’t until this past year, when I joined my college’s anime club, that I began taking the medium seriously.

So now I’m making up for lost time by watching a show that many consider a modern-day classic, FullMetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. I’ll have a review of the first volume soon, but for now, let me say it is a compelling show with great animation, a unique story and characters and some good voice acting.

I watched 5 episodes of that today, then spent the majority of the night assembling this model kit my friend bought me at a anime convention recently. It was snap-together, so the job wasn’t too rough.

But the arms just kept giving me trouble. First, it was just getting the parts to stay together. Then, it was realizing that they wouldn’t connect to the arm pegs, resulting in me having to take them completely apart. Then, after about 40-ish minutes of wrestling with getting them back on, giving up, calling my friend, talking to him for an hour, then coming back to it, I realized the backs of the arms (the back being below the back shoulder plate) were switched around.

All the stickers are applied but one, but I’m not worried about that now. So, all in all, pretty good Memorial Day, I think.

My Time with the Avengers

Originally meant to post this before I saw The Avengers, but WordPress decided to say NO so you’re getting it now. OK? OK.

Really, I’ve read more of the individual Avenger stories than the Avengers comics themselves. I’ve read the first issue of the current Avengers book by Marvel superstar Brian Michael Bendis and legendary artist John Romita Jr. It’s a great first issue, but seeing as how it, like all Marvel books, cost $3.99 and I can really only afford one, it had to go. I might start buying the trades pretty soon, though.

Boiling it down to the team seen in the movie, I haven’t really read anything with Hawkeye or Black Widow. I know their significance, but I just haven’t gotten down to reading any of their stories yet. It’s a similar deal with Thor: I know how important he is, I just haven’t read anything really with him. I have a ’90s issue and an issue published as part of Marvel’s .1 initiative to draw new and lapsed readers in; they’re both good, but I haven’t, despite promises to myself, gotten into the run yet written by Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Stracynski.

Iron Man and Captain America, I’ve read quite a bit of. With Iron Man, it’s mostly the old issues of Tales of Suspense from the point Cap was added as a backup feature. Ironically, I sought those stories out to read the Cap material by Avengers creators Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, and while that is a lot of fun, the Iron Man headlining feature by Lee and artist Don Heck is even more absorbing.

I actually follow the current ongoing Cap series by Ed Brubaker and Steve McNiven and it is GREAT. Worth the $3.99, it’s got spy hijinks, intrigue, action, and strong character development. Brubaker and McNiven are the team that famously killed Steve Rogers a few years ago–he came back, obviously–so they’re old pros at this by now. But it’s still a great ride.

Now, as for Nick Fury…I’ve read quite a bit of the Ultimate version (whose appearance was inspired by Samuel L. Jackson, in a weird case of art begetting life) but not so much of the original. I DO want to get a copy of the legendary Jim Steranko’s Nick Fury 1960s series; too bad it’s so expensive…:(

Since seeing the movie, I HAVE started reading the old-school ’60s Avengers by Lee & Kirby. On issue 8 or so right now and loving it. Classic Silver Age comics, with all the melodrama and cool art intact! Highly recommended.

The Avengers!!!!

Wow. Just WOW.

I’m lucky to have grown up in the age of the geek. Some of my earliest memories are of watching Batman: The Animated Series, the best cartoon ever made. I’ve seen superhero movies and TV shows, good and bad, come through. I’ve seen comics go from a niche item to something cool and even taught about in universities.

It takes a movie as great, as impactful, as astounding, and as marvelous as The Avengers to appreciate how far we’ve come. Even 10 years ago, a movie like this would have never EVER gotten made. But in the age of the geek, all things are possible.

Of course, the film’s big gun is its writer/director, nerd god Joss Whedon, who, thanks to this film possessing the highest opening-weekend box office gross of all time, will now get every project he wants greenlighted without exception. Far from phoning it in and caving to committee crafting, Whedon does a fine job directing some of the clearest action sequences I’ve ever seen and lets his fantastic screenplay-which, by my reckoning, will win a Hugo, Nebula, Satellite, and pretty much any other award sci-fi/fantasy culture will throw at it-shine through brightly, with his trademark humor and strong character sense intact.

The cast is just astonishing=Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Samuel L. Jackson, Tom Hiddleston, Scarlett Johannson, Jeremy Renner, Cobie Smaulders, Tom Hiddleston, and ESPECIALLY Mark Ruffalo are all marvelous, bringing these outlandish characters to life.

The music is great, the effects are great, the art direction is great, the cinemetography is great. EVERYTHING. IS. WONDERFUL!!!!

I implore you, go see it as soon as you can. If you can, splurge on the IMAX 3D. It is totally worth it.

Sorry for making this so emotional, but it’s late and I am positively elated. Now to go read Avengers comics! Later!

Meant to post my thoughts on the Avengers as a comic book franchise and my history with them, but WordPress deleted it. There will be a review of the movie later tonight, but for now, this!

Hero Complex - movies, comics, pop culture - Los Angeles Times

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Surrounded by a Norse god, a super soldier, a deadly spy, a brilliant scientist who can become an 8-foot-tall rage monster, and, well, Tony Stark, it might have been easy for Cobie Smulders to get lost in the muscle-clad crowd.

But the 30-year-old Canadian actress who plays S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Maria Hill in the record-breaking blockbuster “The Avengers” made it her mission to create a space for her character among Marvel’s A-listers, which, of course, include Chris Hemsworth’s Thor, Chris Evans’ Captain America and Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man.

“I feel like I was able to hold my own quite well,” Smulders said, sitting down for an interview on a recent morning. “That was really important to me, because I was quite intimidated…. Not only is it a different genre for me, but it’s with some of the most talented actors in Hollywood.”

“The Avengers” isn’t Smulders’ first role in…

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