Where I Freak Out About ‘Sandman Overture #2’

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OMFG YOU GUYS! I cannot even deal with how friggin’ gorgeous Sandman Over #2 is! J.H. Williams III is a GOD. I will build an alter in his honor and put food there every Wednesday (because that’s the sacred comic book day). Next door to the JHW3 alter I will build a shrine in honor the letterer, Todd Klein. I will pray to The Endless there and all my dreams will come true.

Williams’ panels in Overture #2 are some of the most creative I’ve ever seen. But he’s been stuntin’ on these pages since Overture #1. Remember that “OMG IT’S A MOUTH! Panel”? Genius!

Well back to #2. I open the first page and there is Daniel Dream looking gorg in all white (Oh hey, boo. *wink*). But peep the panels! I mean can you even call them panels at this point? Well, the pentagon goes all Inception on us because it’s a panel within a panel. The pentagon shape itself probably has some Gaimanesque 4-layer literary meaning. But I can’t figure out because I’m lost in Dream’s beautiful black eyes.

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Neil Gaiman’s story is too magnificent to be confined to regular box panels. The rest of the issue is all like, “Panels? WTF is a panel?”

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Then you skip a few pages and you feel like you’ve taken some hallucinogen. But don’t worry, it’s just what happens when you combine the awesome power of Klein’s lettering, JHW3’s art and Gaiman’s words. You start trippin’!

Then there’s a freakin’ Dream convention which is both brilliant and hilarious. We meet the very first Dream (holy crap!) and all of the creatures he was/is Dream for (holy crap!). Then all of the different Dreams basically realize that they can be, “self-satisfied, irritating and self-possessed”. I love him, but come on; Dream can be such a dick. If you’re like me, you probably spent like 10 minutes on this page because there is so much going on. It’s so overwhelming! But it makes you happy because it’s so epic. I took the time to marvel at every single Dream.

This page is also where Todd Klein shows why he’s an OG. The thing with lettering in comics is you don’t really notice it most of the time because most speech bubbles are “regular”. But Klein’s lettering in Sandman is legend. My favorites are Dream’s black bubble with white text (and sometimes the opposite) and Delirum’s rainbow bubbles and irregular text size.

On the page below, he goes ham and each Dream gets their own unique speech bubble. This was my favorite part of the entire comic. I had so much a fun coming up with the voices for Dream to match the different types of bubbles.

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Then some really cool things happen in the story. Like we find out Dream is going to see his DAD with the Dream of Cats. OMFGWUT?!

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East of West #9: The Black Experience Done Right

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Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Art: Nick Dragotta
Colors: Frank Martin
Publisher: Image Comics

People of color are underrepresented and misrepresented in comics (we should all know that by now). However, there are some creators who do diversity right. (Quick shout-out to the creators of ChewSaga and Nowhere Men, to name a few.) This issue of East of West took it a step further and not only had an issue full of black folk, but it gave them depth and realism.

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East of West is a crock-pot that’s brewing an oncoming apocalypse and each issue is an ingredient. Because of this, there isn’t much progression in the story, just more world expansion and history lessons. The newest ingredient is the black Kingdom of New Orleans. This is where Jonathan Hickman does the black experience justice.

Too many black characters in comics are what I like to call “happenstance black”. Their blackness has little or nothing to do with the character’s personality. They are the token black character. Don’t get me wrong, just because a character is black doesn’t mean everything about that character should do with race and racism. But it cannot be ignored either.

The King of New Orleans mentions that the other nations call blacks “oilmen, like it was a slur”. This was a smart way to add an aspect of racial realism. Even the last name of Jonathan Freeman gives the reader more insight into this family and their core values. But these are not simply race-related plot devices just for the sake of it, they blend effortlessly with the story.

East of West shows us that it’s possible to incorporate the black experience into a comic in a genuine way… if you give a damn.

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Manga & Millennials: How I Found Comfort in “Solanin”

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Solanin, by Inio Asano, is about Meiko Inoue, a recent college grad working a 9-5 that she hates. Sound like anyone you know? She fears she’ll end up a faceless employee, so she quits. Her boyfriend, Taneda Naruo is a freelance illustrator and doesn’t make enough to support himself so he permanently crashes at her apartment.

Meiko, like many of us twentysomethings, is in that transitory stage where she’ll have to make critical decisions that may affect the rest of her life. She struggles with figuring out her place in society, which causes her to question if she’s even cut out for the real world.

With our thirties tapping us Millennials on the shoulder, we are left with this nagging feeling to search for purpose before we get trapped in a passionless routine. (Queue existential crisis.) Like a remixed version of Joan Didion’s essays, a lot of us are “Slouching Towards Adulthood”. It’s a splinter we try to ignore. We hope it goes away, or that we’ll get used to the pain. But there will come a day when we’ll have to either do something about it, or decide to live with that splinter. To quote my favorite anime Cowboy Bebop, “You’re gonna carry that weight.”solanin_meiko

Meiko’s first step was quitting a job that wasn’t fulfilling. But what’s next? What do you do, when you don’t know what to do?

You live. You make mistakes. You get to know yourself. Find out what you like and what you don’t like. You cling to your passions like Teneda clung to music and his band. You do what you want to do.

I know I’m dangerously flirting with the age where I have to start acting like a self-sustaining adult. These are the years where I’m sculpting my future and I wasn’t happy with the shape it was taking. So I did something about it. Just like Meiko, I don’t want to end up spending 9+ hours of my day feeling empty.

I know nothing good can come by waiting for good to come. You have to take risks. It’s scary, but also exhilarating. If you’re a recent grad, or feeling lost about life and your place in it, I suggest reading Solanin.

Life’s too short to be anything but happy.

Always follow your happy.

Girl Gone Geek’s Best of 2013

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Let’s just dive right in, shall we?

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Game of the Year- Pokemon XY

I’m 2 badges away from beating the game because I keep getting distracted by Pokemon-Amie (but like, how can you not?!).

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Comic Book Series of the Year- Saga

What praise is left to say about Saga that hasn’t already been said? Saga is damn near perfect.

Runner up: Nowhere Men

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Comic Book Issue of the Year- Batman #17, Death of the Family Conclusion

The entire Death of the Family arc had me stressed. I was so concerned about Alfred’s wellbeing that I would think about him throughout the day and hope he was okay. Scott Snyder sure can come up with some twisted shit, but I love it!

Runner up: East of West #3

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Comeback of the Year- Sandman Overture          

I really just made this category to gush about Neil Gaiman. Sandman is one of my favorite comic book series of all time, so when I heard that he was making a prequel I practically had to call out of work because of the feels. Then! Then! They said that the J.H. Williams III was going to be the artist and I just about fell out of my seat. JH3 deserves an award alone for his imaginative panels in the first issue.

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Author of the Year- Matt Fraction

This guy! Hawkeye is pure brilliance and I was practically buzzing when I read the debut of Sex Criminals. It’s smart, funny, provocative and included a Lolita reference. What’s not to love?!

Runner up: Scott Snyder

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Artist of the Year- Fiona Staples

The characters in the Saga universe are pretty diverse to put it mildly, so it takes someone pretty amazing to make them all blend together. Fiona Staples does just that in a breathtaking way… Even that giant ogre with the dirty private parts.

Runner up: Nate Bellegarde

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Colorist of the Year- Jordie Bellaire

I am a super fan of Jordie Bellaire. From the clean lines of Nowhere Men to the expressive and painterly art of Pretty Deadly and American Vampire Anthology, Bellaire is a master of color.

Runner up: Fco Plascencia

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Show of the Year- Breaking Bad

Breaking Bad was flawless. I have never been this fully satisfied with a show since The Wire. Every episode, scene and line was carefully calculated and is easily one of the best shows. Ever.

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Film of the Year- Gravity

I don’t know what scared me more, The Conjuring or Gravity. It was intense, beautiful and emotional.

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Episode of the Year- Game of Thrones, The Red Wedding

:(

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Anime Series of the Year- Shingeki no Kyojin (Attack on Titan)

I saw someone on tumblr describe Attack on Titan as the anime that uses blood like most anime use cherry blossoms. Its first season was fully equipped with enough “holy shit” moments to probably last you the whole series. It’s a lot of fun.

Runner up: Another

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Anime Film of the Year- Wolf Children

I may, or may not have cried.

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Fandom of the Year- Welcome to Night Vale

Brilliant, eerie and funny! It’s basically Lovecraft without the stick up his ass.

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TV Special of the Year- Doctor Who, The Day of the Doctor

Clearly, I just added this category so I could add Doctor Who to my list. The 50th anniversary episode was everything I needed it to be.

Breaking Up With “The Walking Dead”

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I feel like I’m breaking up with a longtime boyfriend. I’ve been dating “The Walking Dead” for a few years now. Our first date was at the Compendium One and it was love at first sight. I was head-over-heels. Smitten even! I think it was partly due to having previously been in intense relationships with older men like “The Invisibles”, “Sandman” and “Transmetropolitan”. Albeit beautiful and brilliant, those relationships were filled with mind-fucks, counter-culture, social commentary and layers upon layers of metaphors. So “The Walking Dead” was a welcomed brain break from my “Top Three”. That’s not to say that I was dumbing it down or settling by being with “The Walking Dead”. But that relationship was heavier on the heart, rather than the mind.

I adored his grayscale gore and the excitement I felt whenever we were together. But then, things started to change…  The dates became repetitive and predictable. His friends weren’t interesting anymore or they were dead. It started to seem like all of the reasons why I loved him were slowly fading away.

Instead of thinking fondly of the future we’d have together, I find myself focusing on the good times we had in the past. I used to get excited whenever I saw him. Nowadays, I barely make time for him. A relationship that started with love now exists solely out of habit and comfort. I keep telling myself maybe he’ll change. Maybe the next time I see him, things will be different. He’ll be different. But things went from bad to worse when he brought a tiger to one of our dates.

It’s hard to break up with “The Walking Dead” because I’ve invested to many years into this relationship. But I think it’s time to let go. After the next few series of dates, it will be time to part ways. It’ll be tough. We had great times together, but I have to be the bigger person and know when it’s just not working out anymore. Maybe we’ll grab coffee every few months and I’ll see how he’s doing. I don’t know. We’ll see…

How Hawkeye #13 Helped Me Deal with Death

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Hawkeye #13 made me cry. It’s not because I was emotionally attached to Grills. Although, I was fond of him and it was sad that he died. But as some of you may know, my uncle passed away last year. I’ve blogged about him a few times. We were close and he was the biggest influence in my life when it came to comics and geek culture. He took me to my first comic con when I was little. And he’s been even more top of mind because New York Comic Con was this past weekend and we would go together.

hawkeye013_2On Wednesday I headed over to Forbidden Planet to pick up my comics after work. I hadn’t been there in two weeks so I had quite a few to catch up on. I knew I wouldn’t get to them all that day, but Hawkeye was one of the top titles on my list that I had to read that night. If you’re a fan of Hawkeye, you know the series went on a little break, so I was super excited to get back into the world of Clint Barton and his crew.

Once I started reading I knew I was in for an emotionally heavy issue. But I had no idea how much it would end up affecting me. I was in Clint’s head. I felt what he felt. Which then in turn, brought up my own personal feelings. I saw myself in Clint. It was a comic about me.

After my uncle passed, I’ve been more sensitive to death, even fictional death, because I now have a point of reference. It’s easy to kill off characters in comics, but it’s not easy to make the reader connect to that loss.

If someone wanted to know why I love comics so much, Hawkeye #13 is why.

Chew Takes a Bite Out of NYCC 2013

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I’ve been a big fan of the comic book series, Chew, for a while now. John Layman’s writing and Rob Guillory’s style are a perfect match. It’s one of the few comics that actually make me literally LOL. If you haven’t had a chance to read it, pick up the first volume. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it!

Being a fan, I was excited to see the Chew crew for the first time. During the panel, we learned that Chew started off dark. I mean really dark. Which isn’t surprising considering the main character eats human flesh on a frequent basis (he gets telepathic readings from meat). But thanks to Rob’s artistic style, Chew turned out to be more light and goofy.

Chew1The art style John wanted Rob to use in Chew was actually Rob just screwing around on the internet because he confessed that no one actually liked that style. No one except for John Layman. The first three issues of Chew weren’t written for Rob’s style, so as the series went on, it got funnier because John would write to Rob’s strengths. They both thought Chew’s concept was so crazy no one would buy it. But a few years and one Eisner Award later, they were proven wrong.

It comes to no surprise that Rob channels Broadway’s dramatic over-actors when illustrating the characters. He likes that you can tell what’s going in the story, even if there was no dialogue. Speaking of exaggerated, the two talked about fan-favorite Poyo, the cyborg rooster that’s kicking ass for the USDA.  John descried Poyo as, “Chew without the rules.” Fans should be happy to know that the next arc will feature Poyo, followed by The Vampire, then Mason Savoy and ending with Tony Chu.

You may remember hearing about Chew being pitched to Showtime for as a show. John updated the fans that it’s no longer on the table. It seems that the Showtime people weren’t interested in a cartoon, which is the direction John and Rob wanted to go in in order to keep the story genuine. Thankfully, they have a new “Hollywood guy” that’s focused on animation and they want to keep it to as close as the story as possible.

If nothing else, learned that John Layman is a pretty big gamer an really just wants to play Warcraft and GTA all day.

[Photo via Bleeding Cool]

10 Tips For Surviving New York Comic Con

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I’ve been going to New York Comic Con (NYCC) for a couple of years now and I’ve discovered some tips that’ll help you make the most of your wonderfully geeky weekend. If you’re going to NYCC and wanna say hi IRL, hit me up on Twitter or email me at jamila[at]girlgonegeekblog.com! nyccc-mobile-promo

1. NYCC App

The NYCC App has everything you need to know about the con including panels, guests, rules, exhibitors, map and a bunch more. My favorite feature is that you can add panels to your schedule and they’ll remind you when it’s coming up.

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2. Comphy Shoes & Clothes (Cosplay Willing)

If you plan to be there all 3 or 4 days you will be exhausted. The convention space is huge and you’ll be on your feet for a good portion of that time. Do your feet a favor and wear comfortable shoes. Of course, if your cosplay requires heels pack some emergency flats!

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3. Nomz

If you’re like me, you plan to go to as many panels as time and space permit. Which means you’ll be waiting in line and camping out in rooms for hours. Don’t lose your spot in line, or that front row seat to a panel because you were hungry or thirsty. Pack some food and drinks! Drink extra OJ and take your vitamins that weekend, you don’t want to suffer from con-flu on Monday!

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4. Chargers

Even if you have great battery life, bring your charger. You’ll be taking more photos and on your social media pages much more because it’s NYCC. There are some charging stations and random sockets around the convention center. If you have a portable charger bring that fo sho!

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5. Camera(s)

As I mentioned above, the chances of your phone dying are higher than you seeing a Homestuck cosplayer. I know real cameras are becoming pretty rare, but if you have one bring it! The quality of your photos will be better and it’ll still be around when your phone isn’t. Worst case scenario is using your iPad. I know it’s pretty embarrassing and you look like a tourist, but I’m sure you can suffer 5 seconds of side eyes if it means taking a picture of an amazing cosplayer.

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6. Sharpie

Yup, that’s it. A sharpie. Don’t be the one who runs into Stan Lee at the con with no Sharpie at hand for an autograph.

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7. BYOC

Bring your own comics. This goes hand-in-hand with the sharpie tip. Go through the list of guests and artists that will be at NYCC and bring some of their comics with you. I’ve been lucky enough to have Grant Morrison, Scott Snyder, Brian K. Vaughan, Sean Murphy, Greg Capullo, Robert Kirkman (to name a few) sign my comics!

Pro tip: At the end of the panels, rush (in an orderly fashion) to the front of the stage. Most panelist stay and sign stuff and take pictures before they leave. No pushing!

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8. Read/Watch/Play

If you plan to go to panels, you’ll be in a line. A lot. And you’ll be camping out in rooms (IGN theater, I’m looking at you kid). Although the con is my favorite place to people watch and make new friends, I suggesting bringing a book, comic, 3DS, PSP and/or an iPad to entertain you while you wait to be entertained some more. Plus, think of all the Street Passes you’ll get on your 3DS!

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9. Buy (Almost) Everything Sunday

If you’ll be there for the whole weekend, wait until Sunday to buy most of your goodies. By then, you would have gotten to see the whole floor multiple times and compare prices on all the swag you want. Also, Sunday is shorter so you won’t have to carry your loot for that long. There are less attendees as well so you’ll have the space to get a good look at everything and shift through comics without bumping into a fellow con-goer or getting accidentally hit in the face by their cosplay. Doh!

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10. Don’t Be a Jerk

Seriously, dude. Don’t be a jerk. Don’t cut in line. Be respectful of cosplayers. Revealing cosplay isn’t an invitation to be a creeper. No one likes a creeper. Help make NYCC a happy place.

Sunday Funnies: The Most Stubborn Pokemon

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[Source: Dorkly]

Tattoo Tuesday: Brian K. Vaughan’s Saga & Y the Last Man Comics

With the return of Saga last week, I thought it was the perfect time to dedicate a Tattoo Tuesday to one of my favorite comic book authors, Brian K. Vaughan!

You’re doing yourself a great disservice if you’re not reading Saga yet. But seriously, what are you waiting for?! I blogged about Saga being my favorite comic book series of 2012 and it hasn’t let me down yet. Whether you fell in love with Yorick, Mitchell, Nico or Alana, we’re all part of the BKV family!

Read more when I saw BKV at NYCC las year here and here.

I include all the information about each tattoo that was available. If you’re interested in your tattoo being featured on a past or future Tattoo Tuesday or Tattoo Tuesday Featurette, email me at jamila[@]girlgonegeekblog[.]com.

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Saga #1 cover tattoo from the  [Source 1 Source 2]

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Izabel from Saga [Source]

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Poppy’s Y the Last man tattoo [Source]

Girl Gone Geek Blog Brian K Vaughan Y the last man Comic Tattoo 3“From Jed K. in Revelo, Ky.: “My tattoo is of very last page fromY: The Last Man #60, the last issue of the series. It is Yorick’s straitjacket flying through the air.”

He adds, “I got this tattoo after I finished my graduate degree. It is my first and only tattoo. The reasons I picked this image are twofold: First of all, I really like the series and hated to see it go. Secondly, the open straitjacket represented freedom from expectations and freedom to do what I wanted to do with my life. Sappy, I know, but I’m a bit sentimental that way.” [Source]

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Y the Last Man [Source]

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Jennifer said, “An ampersand on my left wrist, to symbolize writing, plurality, a general dorky love of punctuation, and a character from my favorite comic (Ampersand the monkey fromY: The Last Man.)” [Source]