So as a trio, we enjoy getting together to watch certain shows. The current series we’re enjoying as a group is Game of Thrones. We’re already five episodes into the second season, but we’ll jump in right away. Keep in mind, the three of us have read and enjoyed the books, so there will be spoilers as to content that may or may not show up in the show. For those wishing to avoid spoilers of the books or who haven’t seen this week’s episode, avert your eyes.
Without any further ado, Game of Thrones Episode 2.05: The Ghost of Harrenhal.
I have to say that after watching the last few episodes and the last episodes at the end of season one, I am a little disappointed in this one. A Clash of Kings, which this season is based on, is one of the most action filled books of the series. For Christ’s sake, the time is called the “War of the Five Kings.” So far they have cut out the siege of Storm’s End, Jon Snow finding the dragon-glass and they are not really mentioning all the raping and pillaging being done by the Mountain That Rides.
Before I go any further, I want to iterate that I do enjoy this season so far. It is just that last night’s episode left me disappointed. For an episode titled “The Ghost of Harrenhal,” it left me wanting more Arya. I know they have a lot to cover but it feels like they spread this episode. If I remember correctly, I recall the show runners stating that they would not “Tyrion knock-out” other battles. Maybe they are saving it all for the Battle of Blackwater that comes later in the book, but I am not seeing a change from last season.
I may just be whining to whine, but there are things that I do honestly miss in this show that are in the book. The dialogue between Stannis and Renly with the peach, the taking of Storm’s End and one of the best known bastards of Robert, and Arya’s interaction between so many characters at Harrenhal are all gone from the show. Yes, they have to cut stuff to fit into the show. It does not mean I am happy about it. Hell, they have even added things that are not in the book to flesh out the story. I guess with a book that is over ten years old, they get to play a little more loose than I would have liked.
On to the positives of last night’s show. Missing some of the character moments that are taken out, I am happy they kept that oath between Catelyn and Brienne. I was not a fan of their characters in the book, but I can always appreciate the connection those two shared. Visually, the show continues to shine. I immediately liked how they showed the wildfire in the glass vase. It was an interesting look that I wanted to grab and launch as a grenade. Every showing across the Narrow Sea is showing some fantastical images and magic. The differences between Qarth and Westeros really intrigue me. Westeros is dull and stuck in reality. Qarth is bright and full of magic. But I am still waiting to see my damn cape of feathers!
Next week I can not wait to see more Halfhand and to see more about a certain marriage proposal.
And a little bonus: Roy Dotrice, the narrator for the audiobooks, plays the pyromancer. He has such an excellent voice and presence that I got a kick out of.
This episode is really moving us closer to big events. We started out with a major show of magic and of course the scheming began shortly after. That Tyrell girl doesn’t want to be A queen… she wants to be THE queen. Very bold statement from a character that is kind of a pawn in the books. Natalie Dormer was tapped to play her for a reason, I believe that we will see this girl make some moves this season.
My favorite character in both the book and television series is Tyrion Lannister. He is witty and conniving, but at the end of the day his motives are for the greater good. He is not pleased to find out from a raving peasant that the people see him as the source of all their suffering, but he pushes on with his own agenda. This episode we get to see wildfire which is revealed to be this glowing-green-extremely-explosive substance. Cersei has apparently been stockpiling it and Tyrion has just stolen it for his own purposes. The groundwork is being laid for a huge battle and I hope we get to see it in all its green glowing glory.
On the other side of the world we have Daenerys finally out of the desert and into some color. I find Daenerys to be one of the most interesting characters because we are watching her grow and learn to play the games of society on many levels. She is one of those characters that teaches the audience about the world through her experiences. She started out this lost little girl being sold to a barbarian and now she is the mother of dragons demanding hospitality. Inside Qarth we get a glimpse of the warlocks from the house of the Undying. I really hope we actually get to see more from that before we leave Qarth behind.
All in all, this episode had so much story and I am excited for what’s to come. Hopefully we see more magic and more action!
One last thought though… What about the red comet? I haven’t heard much about it in a few episodes.
Life can get pretty busy, so the invention of the Digital Video Recorder, aka DVR, has been a godsend for those of us who love television programming. Well, I’m one of those people. In this weekly article, I’m going to talk about some of the shows I am keeping up with on my DVR. Pretty straight forward, right? Well let’s get started.
Short list this week, as I’ve fallen behind on some shows.
Up first, Young Justice. This has been a great animated show. It definitely maintains the standard set by the Justice League animated series. This past weekend saw the season premiere. Felt a little weird considering the previous season finale was the week before, but I digress. This season pulls a “Five Years Later” on us. Dick Grayson/Robin has graduated to Nightwing and has also passed the mantle onto Tim Drake (a personal favorite). Aqualad, Artemis, and Kid Flash appear to no longer be members allowing room for new members such as Bumblebee, Blue Beetle, and Lagoon Boy. Zatanna and Rocket have also achieved League membership which Miss Martian, Superboy, and Nightwing have all turned down. Definitely a status quo shake up for the new season. I look forward to finding out more of the missing years especially with the slight hint of Jason Todd’s death as Robin. This episode we also get to meet Lobo (with a cool redesign), Wonder Girl, and Batgirl. Next episode looks like we’ll get a peek at Rann and find out about the missing sixteen hours of the six Leaguers.
And, Ultimate Spider-man. A few episodes in, and we’ve yet to see Spider-man’s rogues gallery really take some action. Doc Ock is still meddling in the background for Norman Osborn (aka Green Goblin, but not yet). The series has a fun feel to it, similar to the Teen Titans series from a few years back, but I’m not completely sold on the illustration style of the characters. I felt like last week’s episode was stronger with its ties to the Marvel movie universe, but this week fell a little flat. Taskmaster is the villain of the week, and they do some cool/overdone things with mathematical equations as he learns the heroes’ moves. This episode also highlighted the relationship between White Tiger and Spider-man which is being hammered to death. We get it… she takes everything more seriously than him. I’m gonna leave this on the DVR for a couple more episodes, but it may become a dud.
Check back in next week, hopefully I’ll be caught up with shows like Once Upon a Time, The Voice, and Thundercats. If not, I will definitely be able to talk about series two of Sherlock.
The track list for the Avengers Soundtrack was released last month and they are taking my excitement level up a notch. The bands involved definitely confirm that this will be one of the most action-packed movies in this genre.
Here is the track list:
1. “Live to Rise” – Soundgarden
2. “I’m Alive”- Shinedown
3. “Dirt and Roses”- Rise Against
4. “Even if I Could”- Papa Roach
5. “Unbroken”- Black Veil Brides
6. “Breath”- Scott Weiland
7. “Comeback”- Redlight King
8. “Into the Blue”- Bush
9. “New Way to Bleed”- Evanescence
10. “Count Me Out”- PUSHERJONES
11. “Shoot to Thrill”- Theory of a Deadman
12. “Wherever I Go”- Buckcherry
13. “From Out of Nowhere”- Five Finger Death Punch
14. “Shake the Ground”- Cherri Bomb
15. “Pistols at Dawn”- Kasabian
Avengers is a long awaited movie. There have been excited whispers for years now and the story appeals to multiple generations. I’ll have one of the comic book experts actually go into detail, but I think the comics have been around since the sixties which creates quite a large fan base. However this soundtrack mainly caters to the fans from 1990 – present. The bands range from Alternative rock legends Soundgarden to new comers Black Veil Brides.
I have previewed a lot of these tracks and man my neck is sore. Heavy power chords definitely dominate.
Previous Superhero movies have made us all expect heavy metal and rock tracks to be the majority, but usually a few alternative songs get thrown in for those nice visceral moments. This soundtrack has opted for soundtrack favorites Evanescence. Cherri Bomb an all teen girl rock band has an awesome track, presumably for those Black Widow fans out there. This band is one of those you might wanna watch for. They have opened for Foo Fighters and Smashing Pumpkins and most of the members are only fifteen years old! Damn, doesn’t that make you feel a little unaccomplished right about now?
As If you needed more reason to be keyed up for this album, Soundgarden is back with its first original song in fifteen years! So exciting for Chris Cornell fans. It will be featured as the credits roll so if you are watching Avengers with die-hard fans you will have the chance to listen to it in its entirety while waiting with bated breath to find out if there is a secret sneak peek clip after the credits.
Enjoy! The soundtrack hits stores May 1st along with the score.
I’m leaving you with a track from the album:
Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead just came out this week on various platforms. I played the PC version of the game using Steam. I have been a fan of Telltale Games for some time and would not miss their interpretation of a game for a favorite comic series. You can buy the game episodically (5 episodes to the game) or just plunk down the money for the entire game and wait. Either way, you’re going to spend $25 for the experience. I finished the first episode, titled “A New Day,” in a little over two hours. For five dollars, not a bad use of my time.
The game follows Lee Everett, a man on his way to prison before the zombie apocalypse we all know is coming. He eventually finds a small girl named Clementine who he decides to protect in this new world. I am not spoiling anything here, most of this has already been revealed by Telltale. Also you might as well know that these events happen before Rick Grimes wakes up in the comic book series, or TV show if you are so inclined. Knowing that, you get to run into a few people that will play important roles in the comic book series. The characters showcased excellently. Glenn is still the hero we know he tries to be, Hershel is as straight forward as we respect him to be.
The game follows a lot of the adventure game tropes that Telltale is known for, but they decide to throw in some action with the zombies. Simply; you find items and used them to aid you in the world (try figuring out how to use a pillow in the zombie apocalypse). Then Telltale throws some interesting loopholes: decision-making. Most dialogues will have options to pick from, the kicker though is that these options are timed and can decide how others perceive you. Then there are a half-dozen big decisions to make, obvious one would be who to save during a zombie attack. To throw more tension into fighting, the game has some quick time events not to mention forcing you to align head shots during point-and-click sections. These moments can cause you to die! I know, I have died (yes, I am a terrible player to die in an adventure game).
Either way, this is a good buy. The game is fun and exciting with an interesting story. You do not have to be a fan of adventure games to enjoy this one.
Rating : 4/5
Being a nerd gets to be expensive. Comics are $3-4 usually, going to the movies are moving past the ten-dollar mark and of course video games are costing you a whooping sixty dollars plus tax. In this weekly article, I will show you what to buy on this nerdy Cheap Date.
Wednesdays are great days to make these purchasing decisions. Comic books are released today. Most physical media (video games, DVDs or CDs) have come out the day before. And in a couple of days the new movies are opening in theaters.
Now let us see what we can get this week, which I am aiming for under $30.
Comics – $9
I know it is always hard to cut down on your stack, but this is the biggest money-eater. God forbid if they actually had good weekly comics, all the time. Anyway, there are only three books you need to buy this week.
Daredevil #11 from Marvel is the conclusion to the “Omega Effect” crossover. The interaction between Daredevil, Punisher, Spider-Man and “Punishette” is beyond priceless. Spider-Man’s mouth moves all on its own.
American Vampire #26 and the New Deadwardians #2 from Vertigo. Snyder is an excellent writer and I have decided to pick up all his books up on principle, this includes American Vampire. I have yet to go wrong with Snyder (why do I feel like I just jinxed something?). Yes New Deadwardians is a another vampire book, but also another zombie book. The dichotomy of the comic set in a Victorian period had been an interesting read. It is an eight-issue run, so should be worth the time.
Movies – $10
To be honest, there are two movies you could catch this weekend. I will start with the one I pick, The Pirates! Band of Misfits. I have always been a fan of Aardman Animations and Wallace and Gromit. This movie should be a fun show for kids, big and small. Plus I am a sucker for traditional animation.
Then there is Five-Year Engagement with Jason Segel and Emily Blunt. It is hyped as part of the Bridesmaids styling. I must admit that I caught Bridesmaids much later, out of theater and really did not like it. But I like the cast and they have not let me down yet. Can not hurt that they have my latest “Hollywood girlfriend,” Alison Brie, in the movie.
Games – at least $2
The Indie Gala just went on sale and the latest Humble Bundle is still active. To those new, these indie bundles are pay-what-you-want for a couple of indie games available on the PC and sometimes Mac. You can decided where the money goes to developers, organizers or it can all go to charity! But here is the kicker, if you pay above the average then you get some extra games. Either way, you get a few games for a lot less than they retail. I really recommend playing Machinarium. It is a fun, puzzle/adventure game with a great art style.
For under thirty bucks you get three great comics, to watch a new movie in theaters and a whole bunch of games for the PC. Check it out and let me know if this was worth the money for you.
Last time, we went through some of the basics of comic books and their vocabulary. This time around I’m going to give you a few rules (…more like guidelines) to introducing a full-grown non-comic reader to the world of the funny book. I will also look at some personal suggestions for an introductory reading list.
So what kind of rules should you follow for introducing someone to comic books? And what kind of hints should you heed if you are going into this solo?
Respect the Reader
Just because you have convinced someone to read comic books, it does not mean they want to read about superheroes. Just like all forms of art there different forms, styles, and genres. One person may enjoy serialized horror books (Walking Dead) while another may enjoy fantastical anthology books (Flight). Even if they do want to get into superhero stuff, keep in mind the next rule.
Now this may sound counter-intuitive to the wording, but start small means start with the bigger format: trades. Generally, trades are easier to read and digest. You can get a full story in a single trade as opposed to getting a portion in a monthly issue and having to wait. I always find watching a show on Netflix or saved up on my DVR is a lot easier than waiting week to week. (I know! I know! Another comparison to TV, but it’s so easy!) Also, trades are generally older stories which have a known quality.
Another thing to keep in mind about starting small. Use trades which are self-contained and not part of a series. (Sorry Sandman and Lucifer.) Anthology trades work too. Don’t necessarily expect the last read, but don’t anticipate continued reading. It might not happen.
Try Other Media
In introducing someone else to comics, don’t instantly jump in and say, “Here’s a comic book! READ IT!” There have been amazing strides in adapting graphic novels and comic books to both television and film. Walking Dead has been a cultural phenomenon that has lit up so many televisions on Sunday nights. Young Justice, while not identical to the source material, has been a thrill to watch. There also some really fantastic feature films to check out. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World does an amazing job of capturing the spirit and themes of the comic book. Marvel Studios has had amazing success with their properties (Iron Man, Captain America: The First Avenger, Thor) all leading up to the highly anticipated Avengers. DC Comics’ direct-to-DVD animation endeavors, like Justice League: The New Frontier, have adapted some of the most cherished storylines in DC’s long history without dragging in all of the continuity.
After taking the time to watch an adaptation, take a look at the source material. It’s an interesting comparison as you can see character moments that hit the cutting room floor, or find new scenes that never made it from page to screen.
Now let’s make the transition to ongoing series.
Start in the Present
If you want to get started on an ongoing series, the best way is to start with the current story arc. Make sure not to jump in mid-arc because you will get lost. If you enjoy what is happening and want to understand more of the back story, you can track down the relevant material. There is an exception to the rule: on-goings written by the creator (generally creator-owned books). Books like Fables, Walking Dead (Last time I use this as an example, I swear!), and Locke & Key are working toward an eventual end. It’s not always clear if such is the case, but a good sign of the series direction is the consistency of the creative team.
Wikipedia and sites like Comic Vine are your friend. The comic book articles on Wikipedia are surprisingly (or not, considering nerds run the interwebs) well-organized. Comic Vine runs its own dedicated wiki on characters, books, teams, and arcs. If you have the money to spend, DC and Marvel both have encyclopedias which catalog many of their characters with details such aliases, origins, history, and team affiliations.
Now that you have the guidelines/rules on getting someone or yourself started in reading comic books, what book do I suggest? Well let’s see.
Novice Level – You’re brand new and have never touched a comic book
300 by Frank Miller – This one is a great example of utilizing all the rules I just explained. It’s self-contained and collected in a trade. It is also available in another format: the 2007 adaptation by Zack Snyder. It is also a breath-taking story of honor and heroism.
Pride of Baghdad by Brian K. Vaughn and Nico Henrichon – This is a beautiful but tragic tale based on a true story of lions roaming the streets of Baghdad. This graphic novel stands on its own, and good for someone who isn’t necessarily interested in superheroes or war.
Joe the Barbarian by Grant Morrison and Sean Murphy – Released as an 8 issue miniseries in 2010, this story of friendship and imagination is a thrill ride. It actually gets better with multiple read-throughs, and I hope someday it gets made into a movie (…by me! … If only). It has since been collected into a single trade with some excellent extra content.
Wanted by Mark Millar and JG Jones – Edging into the world of superheroes, this mini-series from 2005 tells a story of wish-fulfillment and responsibility with which Mark Millar excels ( see also Kick-Ass). This would be an interesting experiment for the alternate format rule due to the vast difference from source to adaptation.
Batman: The Long Halloween by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale – This one pushes the limits of all the rules. It is a self-contained story, but it features characters from a long and storied history. Loeb does a fine job of making sure the reader does not get lost. This is also an exception to the rule of starting in the present. With characters as engraved in the collective unconscious as Batman, many of Loeb and Sales books can also be included in this list.
Advanced – Longer-form books to get into once you’re committed
Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore/Charlie Adlard – I know I said I wouldn’t use this again, but it’s so obvious. Get someone hooked on the amazing show from AMC, and then let them read the comic book. The great thing about the two is the separate path the show has taken from the comic. I would suggest starting in the beginning, especially if using the show as a jumping on point, but starting with current issues would be fine. Just remember the potential for spoilers.
Sandman by Neil Gaiman and various artists – A rich and intense epic, this long-form series will keep you on your toes. Curve balls will catch you off guard. The over-arcing story is also broken up by some very interesting vignettes.
Locke & Key by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez – A dark, yet fun series with a mystery/horror feel. It is a fairly new series, which will be easy to get caught up on.
That’s gonna be the end of Ka-Pow 101, for now. These suggestions are all based on books I am reading or have read. There are many more possibilities and amazing suggestions I could have added, but I’d love to hear from you!. Let me know other techniques you might have used to introduce new readers to comic books. Ask me anything you think I missed or forgot to mention. Let others know about comics you think they should start with. Leave a comment below.
I was recently talking to my girlfriend about comic books and realized that I’ve never seen a rule book to introducing comic books to an adult. I have a history with comic books. I got a box full at a young age and have been hooked ever since. Many of the stories that I’ve heard from other comic book fans start the same way: a relative bestows upon them the first treasured comics at a young age. I am not claiming this is the only way it happens, but in my own experience, it is the most common. But what about those who never experienced that magic moment in youth? How do they stumble into the dense and wonderful world of Kryptonians and super-soldiers? Here are a few helpful hints.
Let’s start with the vocabulary of comic books.
Comic books are generally published as single issues on a schedule (generally monthly) and generally known as “floppies” or pamphlets. Think of these as episodes of a TV series. You get one and wait for the next to continue the story. These are the most common formats for comic books. You’ll find them in your local comic shop, news stands, and some bookstores. In major bookstores, such as Barnes & Noble, these will be stocked in the magazine section.
After some time, a group of issues are collected into a single book called a trade paperback (sometimes shortened to simply “trade”). Maintaining the TV comparison, this would be a season collected into a box set. When you stumble into the wasteland of a book store, these are categorized in a section labeled “Graphic Novels” (More on that later).
Now this is where it can get a little confusing. There are also other ways issues can be collected. Certain series can gain credibility and fame over time. If a publisher recognizes this, they may release special editions in various formats including paperback and hardcover. Some terms included in these special editions: Omnibus, Showcase, Absolute, and Premiere.
Let me go back for a second. There was a term I used not too long ago: Graphic Novel. This is a very vague term in the world of comic books. Graphic novels are defined by the dictionary as: a fictional story that is presented in comic-strip format and published as a book. It can be agreed that books like The Watchmen and Maus are graphic novels. However, there’s a certain qualifier lacking in the definition. As it is, all collected comics are considered graphic novels. But, this is where my own opinion comes in. I think graphic novels are a form of comic books, but not all comic books can be graphic novels. I think there should be a certain story structure to graphic novels that does not allow for the loose-threads of serialized comics. A book like The Watchmen is self-contained and does not require outside reading to understand the basic story. On the other hand, a book like The Death of Superman requires an understanding of many aspects outside the individual story including the Matrix Supergirl’s relationship to the fully-follicled Lex Luthor. But here’s the twist, a graphic novel can be serialized. I define The Sandman series as a graphic novel series because it is a fairly finite and self-contained. Again, I reiterate: this is my opinion. If in doubt, call it a graphic novel. I won’t hate you… much.
All right, that’s out of the way. Let’s continue with a look at story structure in comics. In the early days of comics, single issues would tell a full story. As two-part stories grew into sagas, a practice called decompression allowed for the prevalence of story arcs. Story arcs followed the story structure (beginning, middle, end) over multiple issues. The common practice is to run a story arc over six issues to ease the transition to trade.
Crossovers are common stories in comics. These refer to stories in which a character from one title appears in a book of another title (i.e. Superman appearing in a Batman book). This is not to be confused with a Team book, which groups multiple heroes together (i.e. Avengers). Crossovers can occur in single issues, or they can occur in multiple issues. They can also take place between two titles.
As crossovers became more popular and the stakes raised with multiple heroes, events became a staple in comics. Event comics mainly are either mini-series or crossover. These stories raise the stakes to global and even universal levels. They commonly feature multiple characters from various titles uniting against a common foe. In the case of Civil War and Avenger vs X-Men, they can also feature multiple heroes battling it out due to differing opinions of a certain catalyst.
With the evolution of events, tie-ins became necessary to explore characters and moments that can only be glimpsed in an event series. These tie-ins can be a mini-series created specifically for the event, or they can take place in titles featuring a specific character involved in the event.
And finally, let’s talk a little about titles, characters, and publishers. This is gonna be a little more free form, because it’s just clarifying a few confusing areas. First up, titles are very simply the title of the comic book. In super-hero comics, the common practice is to name the title after the protagonist. However, certain titles began as anthologies, which told various stories throughout the series. One major example of this would be Journey Into Mystery which began as a horror/mystery anthology series, but would later introduce and feature Thor and more recently, Loki.
I’m going to revisit the TV comparisons now as I talk about publishers. Each publisher is like a channel with different programming. There are two major publishers (commonly referred to as the Big Two) which dominate the market: DC Comics and Marvel Comics. Each contains its own stable of characters created throughout the years. DC’s stable of characters contains iconic heroes such as Superman and Batman, while Marvel consists of some of the more “modern” characters like Spider-man and Iron Man. They have titles (think shows) which they produce on a monthly schedule. There are other channels to watch besides NBC and CBS, so we also have other publishers. A few examples in no particular order:
- Image Comics – Walking Dead, Spawn
- Dynamite Entertainment – Robocop, Green Hornet
- IDW Publishing – GI Joe, 30 Days of Night
- Dark Horse – Hellboy, The Umbrella Academy
- Oni Press - Scott Pilgrim, Queen & Country
Now, I know what a lot of you are thinking: how does a vocabulary lesson get somebody started reading comics? It doesn’t. It’s a foot in the door. And this is only part one. In part two, I’m going to talk about how to introduce someone into the world of comic books and suggestions for books to start reading.
My name is actually Natalia, I will be covering the books and music portion of this blog (in part at least). The Princess Bride by William Goldman is one of the many books in my library as you can see from the post title.
The three of us: Ricky, Danny, and yours truly have many mutual interests. We have even read a few of the same books, like our 6 month tear through A song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin. We had started watching the series together and the second a certain beheading happened the books came out. After that Ready Player One by Ernest Cline and other pop-culture oriented reads became our focus.
There is a book I read a few years ago called Love is a Mix Tape by Rob Sheffield. This book has a line that I felt summed me up perfectly. Rob’s wife was talking to some new friends about her husband and one of the friends asked, “Does he wear glasses?” She didn’t miss a beat before answering, “No, he wears a walkman.” I immediately identified with that line because I have always had some sort of portable music device. I remember being in grade school and using my recess hiding in the corner of the playground with my walkman to listen to mix tapes my mother would make me. Even now I have an iPod on me at all times and it is filled with almost every genre of music ever conceived. I live through my ears and have even resorted to reading through my ears. I am obsessed with Audible.com and burn through at least 50 books a year.
Despite my annual reading list I never considered myself a nerd. Actually until I met my boyfriend I thought nerds were guys who wore pants that were hemmed way too high and rocked pocket protectors. My boyfriend is a comic book / video game nerd ( this is a self awarded title by the way) he redefined the word Nerd for me and I assumed you had to be a part of that small cult-ish world in order to be considered a nerd. I believed this for years and then I read the Nerdist Way. According to Chris Hardwick a nerd is someone who is compulsively obsessive and it was after I heard that, that I realized oh shit… I’m a nerd.
Now the introductions are complete and I will leave you with my album of the week.
A Wasteland Companion – M. Ward
M. Ward is best known as half of the Indie-Pop duo She and Him. A Wasteland Companion is an album that you can listen to in the background and when you catch the lyrics you are pleasantly surprised that they are so entertaining and catchy even though they are so simple.
Now is the time to introduce myself, I guess. Let me start by saying…
Good morning, and in case I don’t see ya, good afternoon, good evening, and good night!
A simple way to say hello. Of course, the quote comes from the Jim Carrey classic, The Truman Show. Isn’t it funny how short lines from films or books can express a lot of meaning. I am nowhere near as good of a writer to throw down some unforgettable personal quote to show the world all the crass that I have to offer. But leading off with a quote shows you, the reader, more about myself. I enjoy using written or spoken quotes to help define the thought I have.
The quotes come from a cornucopia of sources. I grew up reading comics and have yet to give it up. Hell, I have yet to grow up, and I still enjoy the cartoons of today. Most of my learning experiences came from the movie screen. And the hand-eye coordination I have come from excelling at video games. (Note from Ricky: Cocky much?)
I am a nerd, a dork, a dweeb. Whatever you want to call me. I am obsessive over pop culture (thank god there are wikis). I enjoy being a kid inside an adult body. I wear goofy t-shirts and enjoy my slippers that look like Mickey Mouse feet. I still marathon game with friends. I am even anticipating my next chance to play some Risk Legacy.
Beyond enjoying the fantasy of it all, I am in love with the mythology. When I was little, I enjoyed the mythologies. Anytime that would be brought up in school, I got excited. The fantastic thing about mythology is that it is ever-present today. We may not have gods playing with the seasons, but we still have the ideas that inspire and frighten us. Instead of flying with Helios as he rides across the sky in his fiery chariot, today we fly with Superman as he saves the day. Instead of wondering how Osiris will judge us in the afterlife, we fear Freddy Krueger with his nightmares.
Long story short: I like a lot of stuff and those interests often influence me. I would like to share my interests and their influences. Enjoy!
Welcome to Call Yourself A Nerd.
I’m Ricky, and I guess I’ll take the time to introduce the new site and myself. In doing so, I have to let you all know up front: I call myself a nerd. I have been since I was a wee lad. I was introduced to my gateway drug – comic books – when my uncle gave a box full of comics to my brother, Danny, and me. These comics ranged from Thor to Batman to Spawn. I was hooked immediately. My family would sell at local flea markets on the weekend, and sure enough, my brother and I were scavenging the various lots in search of comic books. We tracked down our local comic shops. We were hooked.
The pair of us also spent a large amount of time in front of the television. At first, it was primarily cartoons. We were children in the tail-end of the 80s, and the after-school and Saturday morning cartoons were at their peak. We watched Transformers, GI Joe, Centurions, TMNT, and Ren and Stimpy. We especially loved the Simpsons. As the 90s came along, we continued plopping down in front of the boob tube watching everything Nickelodeon and MTV had to offer. TGIF was going strong on ABC and shows like Family Matters and Boy Meets World were weekly staples. As time went on, there wouldn’t be a time when there wasn’t a set list of shows we had to watch.
Movies were a huge part of our childhood as well. We’d watch our favorite classics like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Robocop, Batman and Star Wars. Spending time with some of our older siblings, we were introduced to other things we’d never thought to enjoy like The Last Dragon, Over the Top, and Howard the Duck. Double features at the mall and nights at the drive-in were some of my personal favorite family excursions.
And with trips to drive-ins and flea markets, there also came arcades and video games. Games like Altered Beast, Raiden, and Donkey Kong ate up our allowances. Back home, we would play Mario Bros. and Duck Hunt on the NES. We would later get other gaming consoles like the Sega Genesis, N64, Playstation (One and 2), and Xbox. We battled in Mortal Kombat. We raced through loops in Sonic the Hedgehog. We got killed by Cuccos in Legend of Zelda. If there has been one thing that has gobbled up more of our time, it would be video games.
This is just a taste of the things my brother and I love and nerd out about. We’ll talk about all of these topics – both nostalgic and up-to-date – and more. We also have my brother’s girlfriend, Natalia, writing about her interests including books and music. Before I say farewell, I want to let you know that we look forward to hearing your responses so don’t forget to leave comments below. Check back soon for more from us, and remember: “Call yourself a nerd.“