Warning: Possible Spoilers for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Marvel’s The Avengers, and possibly a few comics. You have been warned.
A full trailer for Marvel and ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. television series premiered this week. The series – starting fall 2013 – features Agent Phil Coulson of the Marvel movie fame (reprised by actor Clark Gregg) and some younger S.H.I.E.L.D. agents dealing with various super-powered incidents. The series also stars Ming-Na Wen, Brett Dalton, Chloe Bennet, Iain De Caestecker, Elizabeth Henstridge, and – at least in one episode – J. August Richards playing a maybe-but-not-confirmed Luke Cage.
From this trailer, we’ve learned two key points of the series in its relation to the overall Marvel Cinematic Universe – the Marvel films made in line with Marvel’s The Avengers.
- Agent Coulson is alive after is questionable fate in Marvel’s The Avengers.
- This series takes place AFTER Marvel’s The Avengers.
I’ve heard the argument lately that Coulson’s rise from the supposed dead has taken the wind from the sails of the series and it’s dramatic potential. The argument is that Coulson’s not-death has rendered real-death meaningless, that all fan-favorite characters have the same immortality as the main titular ones. Sure, Iron Man or Captain America won’t die, but neither will their comrade in arms of lesser fame whose death gives them their final push to beat the bad guy and save the day. If they can’t die, then what about the damsel in distress, or the cute kid sidekick, or even the big bad itself everyone fawns over (looking at you, three-peat Loki).
What dramatic suspense is there when anyone with enough fan following gets a pass from the Grim Reaper?
Maybe I’ve been reading comics for too long (LIES!), but a character returning from death alone isn’t enough to faze me out of the story. We comic fans have gone through this time and time again. Superman, Jean Gray, all the X-Men, Jason Todd, Batman, Captain America, Hal Jordan, Barry Allen, Bart Allen, Norman Osborn, Spider clones, and more than I can count. DC’s 2009-2010 Blackest Night crossover comic and event is a huge joke on the premise of comic book characters returning from the dead.
Some returns from the dead are good, and some aren’t. It all depends on the story. Is it well written? Does the return make sense? Is the emotional impact still valid? If it’s still a good story, and if the original death story maintains its emotional impact, then bring it on.
Admittedly, the premise is a difficult one to pull off, but it can be done. For example, I really enjoy the (currently on Netflix) DC animated film Batman: Under the Red Hood (NOT the original comic version). The return from death is also a premise that shouldn’t be used too often, just as overplaying any story trope can kill that trope’s effectiveness.
Now let’s return to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Coulson. Given some of the suspicious aspects of the character’s ending in Marvel’s The Avengers, and my faith in Whedon’s storytelling, I don’t expect to be disappointed in the explanation of Coulson’s coming to be in this series. As long as it’s written and pull off well enough, I look forward to the everyman Agent Coulson character returning. Plus, I wouldn’t put it past Whedon to bring him back just to kill him again.
In the end though, anything’s better than a Superboy Prime reality punch…
Was there a character whose return from the dead you thought was handled well? Handled poorly? Why?
Are you looking forward to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. this fall? Why or why now?
Recommended Viewing: Max Landis’ The Death and Rebirth of Superman
In retrospect, I feel I should have made last week’s column promoting Free Comic Book Day. Maybe even post twice last week. (*gasp*) Unfortunately, that is then and this is now, the week following Free Comic Book Day.
Really quick, what is Free Comic Book Day? The first Saturday in May, participating comic shops across the country and beyond give out specially-created free comic issues to increase awareness for the comic book medium and the shops that sell them. You can learn more from reading Free Comic Book Day’s FAQ, or just listen to Wolverine himself: Hugh Jackman.
I took a good tour of the local Nashville comic shops throughout the day, visiting Rick’s Comic City, The Great Escape Madison, and Comix City Too. While each one celebrated Free Comic Book Day, each one did it in their own way.
Rick’s Comic City, located in a strip mall in the Donelson area of Nashville, made the day a big event. Their free comics were outside on tables in front of the store, thankfully covered from the rainy day by an overhanging roof. RCC attracted several costumers and even local artists, such as Guy Gilchrist of the newspaper comic strip Nancy. The neighboring store in the strip that’s not typically part of RCC housed more merch and the artists who signed and gave drawing lessons. The store even gave out a ticket to exchange for more books for each $10 spent. (I picked up two copies of Iron Man: Extremis, which the third Iron Man film is partially based on.)
Instead of going the event route, The Great Escape Madison used the opportunity to show off their other merch. In addition to comics, TGEM also sells albums, movies, video games, toys, and collectibles. It’s a nostalgic trip of a store. Its free comics were in the back of the store, not hidden as signs and staff made their location clear. Their placement forced people inside the store to be enticed by their merchandise and take advantage of their 40% discount on used comics and trades. (You know I did.)
The same thing happened at Comix City Too, keeping its comics further back in the store. CCT showcased its table top gaming. In addition to comics, this store prides itself by serving fans of board games, card games, and pen-and-paper RPGs with extensive merchandise selection and regularly-hosted tournaments and game nights. If you’re a Warhammer fan, this is the store for you.
Despite the differences of these three stores – from making Free Comic Book Day an event all its own, using it to showcase a varied selection, or merging it with an already-established gaming event – each of these stores were packed in attendance. I had to wait an entire half an hour in line for the register at RCC, and the other stores had respectable crowds as well. I wish I thought to take some photos of the several friends and other cool people in costumes and show off how popular the day is.
Free Comic Book Day seems here to stay in Nashville’s comic shops, and I hope it was just as successful at your own.
What did you do for Free Comic Book Day?
What books did you pick up?
Beware anyone with scissors, glue, and a spare weekend.
As my fellow comic book fans are aware, we tend to collect a surplus of individual comic issues that we generally don’t care about. Usually because they aren’t that good or we have no interest in reading again. We often end up with a lot of incomplete story arcs and one offs because of this. (More recently, I’m looking at you, Rick Remender’s Captain America, but great work on Uncanny Avengers.)
What do you do with your leftover comics? Do you keep them in a long box, never to see the light of day again? Do you try to sell them, getting mere pennies back on your investment (if you’re lucky).
Over this weekend, inspired by a comic collage coffee table my roommate made with some of our comics, my girlfriend and I made comic collage posters!
What went into these?
- Old IKEA scenery poster boards
- Variety of my comics, admittedly heavy on the Marvel side
- Mod Podge matte waterbase sealer, glue, and finish
- 1″ paint brush
At the end, we turned one of these:
Into one of these:
Improvement? I’d say so. Classy and creative wall decoration? Definitely.
What do you do with your leftover comics?
Have you done any recent craft projects lately? If so, what?
Shame on me and my continued blogging tardiness (not to be confused with tardisness, which would fix my tardiness). The sad part is that I don’t have a convention to blame it on this time. Simply a birthday and an great steak dinner from my dad.
Speaking of conventions, another con has come and gone in the last few weeks. MTAC , the Middle Tennessee Anime Convention, took place March, 29-31. The immediate time before and after the convention (not to mention during) tends to suck my time away, making sure all information is released in time and we are tracking feedback after the show. I’ve been so preoccupied with the convention and with trying to wind down from it, that I’ve had a hard time figuring out what to WRITE about it. Then I found myself reflecting on one of my more memorable events of the weekend, then on some fan feedback, and then BAM! Topic found – the generosity of convention goers.
First, story time! I lost my cell phone. I left it charging in the floor of the MTAC media suite. Someone found it thinking it was left behind and lost, so they took it to find the owner (which required charging it because it was dead). I searched around for about an hour and a half, but I wasn’t too worried. I believed whoever had it was probably going to return it. Return it they did when the individual called my girlfriend (after the aforementioned charging period), and we met up to get it back. To be honest, I was slightly disappointed there weren’t any funny photos taken.
As I said though, I was certain I’d get it back, because I believe in the kindness of my fellow con-goers. In the several years I’ve been going to fandom conventions, I’ve learned that most con-goers are good people. Sure, sometimes you find a rude individual who tries to cut in line or knocks into you while running down halls (don’t run in halls, kids). There’s even the occasional pick pocket or the prick slinging hurtful insults or worse at cosplayers. However, by and large, people who attend fandom conventions are good people. We come together because we all enjoy generally the same thing, whatever that may be, and we like enjoying these things together.
With that said, your fellow geeks and nerds and fan community members will be nice to you only for so long if you don’t reciprocate the sentiment. No con is without incident, especially when it gets into the several thousand member count (MTAC 2013 – 9,691 members). I’ve heard a few people from the con mention rude fellow attendees and stolen personal items. Most people are good, but it only takes one to ruin someone else’s experience. Don’t be that person. Everyone is here for the same reason you are: to have fun.
If you work for a convention staff, even as simply a volunteer, being on your best behavior goes double for you. Triple even. It’s easy during the stress of the weekend to let fly a curt word or two, to not mind your manners or drop your customer-friendly demeanor even for a moment. You have to be on your best behavior for every attendee, because you are the face of whatever convention you work for. This is true for very up-front positions like registration, customer service, and public safety, and it’s also true for lower visibility people like the guy laying down cables behind a stage or managing the conventions IT.
You may be the only staff member an attendee encounters the entire weekend, so your impression could make or break that person’t opinion of the entire staff.
Everyone’s at a convention to have fun. The convention staff is there to have fun by putting on a fun event for con-goers to have fun at. Fun all around! Don’t be the one who tries to ruin it.
Or, in the words of Internet Celebrity of the 24th Century Wil Wheaton, “Don’t be a dick.”
Do you attend any fandom conventions?
What’s a time you experienced the generosity of your fellow con-goers?
What’s a time you experienced the
Apologies for the slim pickings of blog posts lately. My convention work has been consuming a lot of time, even after MTAC has come and went March 29-31.
I don’t have a full con review yet, or much else of a blog post. Instead, I want to leave you with a tidbit I heard from TEDxNashville this past Saturday. One speaker, David Baker, brought up the argument against seeking opportunity as it sacrifices, and he described it like this (paraphrased by yours truly):
Imagine your focus and commitment as a glass of water. You can pour that water into something wide like a cookie sheet, which represents wide opportunity, but the water would be shallow and lack any real depth at any point in a sheet.
Or you could pour your water into a champagne flute, a tall and slender container representing a few opportunities you dedicate your true depth on.
It’s better to focus on few opportunities with greater commitment than on too many with little intensity on the important ones.
Learn to pick the opportunities that really matter, and learn to say “no” to those that don’t.
I almost actually forgot about this.
This upcoming weekend – March 29-31, 2013 – is the Middle Tennessee Anime Convention in Nashville, TN. Working with the con is consuming most of my time this week (as well as the past few), so I apologize for the lackluster post.
I do, however, highly encourage anyone in Tennessee or surrounding states to attend this weekend. It’s going to be a blast with three days of anime, Japanese culture, music, and convention fandom. It’s MTAC’s 13th year, and it’s celebrating with a supernatural and occult theme Devil’s Dozen. With a plethora of industry, music, and artist guests, as well as over 200 events (including a tokusatsu panel ran by yours truly), there’ll be something for every geek out there.
If that doesn’t float your boat, the Full Moon Tattoo and Horror Festival is at the same venue on the same weekend, with guests like Norman Reedus from Walking Dead.
Check out both. Have a good time. Now if you would excuse me, I have to avoid my email box long enough to catch some shut eye.
It’s been a week since I’ve returned from Momocon, but it feels substantially longer. I’ve been on pre-con crunch time, with the con I work for now a week and a half away. I feel only a little guilty taking time out to write this post, but that’s mitigated by the joy of not looking at my email in this mean time.
Momocon is an animation, comic, and gaming convention in Atlanta, GA that happened over the March 8-10, 2013 weekend. It was held in the Hilton Downtown Hotel, which would be familiar to any Dragon*Con attendees as one of their main five hotels. It’s a large hotel, but that didn’t stop Momocon from keeping it full with over 12,000 attendees, an almost 4,000 growth from the year before.
As usual, I attended as a promoter, pimping out my home con MTAC to the Atlanta masses. By simply assessing that, the trip was incredibly successful. Over 1,200 fliers were handed out, all that we had with us. Our promotion booth, while not the most prominent of the weekend (that honor goes to Atlanta’s June convention Seishun Con), the MTAC booth was definitely attention grabbing with its colored lights, dual-screen promo videos, and brand new convention mascot Conkitty. All of that is great, but it also needs pairing with old-fashioned handling the crowd and chatting people up, which we did in spades. An impressive booth display and personable promoters. Also, N64 Goldeneye. Everyone loves Goldeneye.
I have a lot of fun when I visit Atlanta, thanks to all the friends I have down there from the con circuit – Momocon, Seishun Con, Anime Weekend Atlanta, Dragon*Con. Not all of them travel my way often, so it’s good to see them and pal around the few times I’m in their neck of the woods.
Momocon serves as a stark preview of things to come, with only being three weeks before MTAC and the tables are turned by me running around and them promoting. It’s also a shining example of why I work with conventions. I enjoy the work, and I enjoy the people I meet and work with along the way. As nerve-wracking organizing trips or keeping information up to date can be, I love informing people about something I really enjoy and want them to attend. I also love seeing a lot of my con friends together. Come March 29-31, I’m going to be neck deep in the work side of things, but I look forward to seeing more of my friends. Even the ones I just saw last week.
Congrats to Jess, Stuckey, and all of their staff for another successful Momocon!
Who will be at MTAC in Nashville, TN on March 29-13?
The Belcourt Theatre, a Nashville nonprofit cinema, is showing a series of family films every Saturday morning at 10am for the months of March and April. The coincidental part of these Kids Shows is that they’re almost entirely Studio Ghibli anime films directed by the famed Hayao Miyazaki. They range from the adorable My Neighbor Totoro to the possibly NOT kid-friendly Princess Mononoke.
The best part? All of the showings are only $5 each
- March 16 – Castle in the Sky
- March 23 – My Neighbor Totoro
- March 30 – Spirited Away
- April 6 – Kiki’s Delivery Service
- April 13 – Howl’s Moving Castle
- April 20 – Princess Mononoke
- April 27 – Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind
If you’re in the Nashville area and happen upon a free Saturday morning, I highly recommend giving any one of these a watch. My personal favorites are Castle in the Sky, Princess Mononoke, and Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. They all seem to be dubbed in English language, for those that care about that kind of thing. These films all have well-done dubs though, produced by Disney, who generally know how to throw money at things in the right ways.
One non-anime film is happening this weekend, with March 9 – The Adventures of Tintin. I also highly recommend this depressingly underrated film of 2011. Seriously, one of the best films of the year, and not enough people saw it. Definitely a must see. Except that I own it and am going to be at Momocon in Atlanta, GA that weekend.
If you can go to Momocon, go to Momocon. If not, go to Tintin. If not that, then we need to seriously re-examine our relationship.
(Via The Tennessean)
What is your favorite Studio Ghibli film?
Are you going to Momocon this upcoming weekend, March 8-10?
A standing desk is pretty much what it sounds like – a desk you stand at, as opposed to sitting. More and more, I find myself living a sedentary lifestyle. I sit all day at work. I sit in the 45-min traffic to and from. I sit at my desk at home before and after. Then bed. Some bathroom breaks in the middle, and even some of those involve sitting. I’m actually getting tired of sitting and slouching in front of a computer all day, so I decided to do something about it.
One of my favorite regular sites – LifeHacker – often posts various workspaces, and a lot of them are standing desks. I figured I’d give the concept a try by using whatever I have at my disposal at home. This way, I can test out the concept, and if I find I don’t like it, I’ll just return everything back to normal with no financial loss. I also figured I’d start with my personal work desk in my bedroom because it will be the easiest one to change without seriously hindering my work style. Besides, with my laptop, I’ve got plenty of places to sit in the apartment.
Here’s my before shot, my regular desk. It’s 29.5 inches tall, supported by a mess of cables below.
I figured I’d put something on top of my desk to elevate the work space. For my first try, I settled on one of my comic book long boxes on top of my desk, to sit my laptop on. It’s about 11 inches tall and easily fits on my desk, as you can see below.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t very aesthetically pleasing, and that’s even ignoring the mess of cables below. While the notion of having my comics easily accessible is tempting, I found a better plan that allowed me to maintain my basic desk set up. Instead of starting at the top, I needed to approach this from the bottom.
I simply placed my entire desk on top of my trunk. Thankfully, my trunk only contains various books I’m not reading anytime soon. It’s about 13 inches tall, but the way my desk sits on it, the overall structure is 40.5 inches, right about at my elbow height.
The beauty of this is, if I don’t like it, I just remove the trunk and place the desk back as previously established. The trunk also hides my cables, as well as provides additional shelf space.
After using this set up for the evening, including typing this post, I’m alright with this standing desk option. The typing at this level feels fine. My feet feel the pain, but I suspect that will die down with time. I wish my primary monitor were higher at eye level so I wouldn’t tilt my head down as much, but that’s what I get for having a laptop as my primary machine.
This is day one in my standing desk trial, and I believe it’s working so far. Let’s see how long I keep this up.
What does your desk look like?
Have you tried a standing desk before? What did you think?