Thursday, December 20, 2018

Dice Porn - aka how I learned to love D&D

It’s been a minute since I’ve last been on the blog. Months, probably even a year or so. No matter, I’m going to share my latest obsession with you, Dungeons & Dragons. Even more specifically, the pretty, pretty dice in my current collection.

All photos by @glitchmatic. Lips & Dice are mine

 It’s hard to believe I just started playing for the first time in January of this year. I’m pretty lucky my boyfriend is a feckin’ amazing Dungeon Master and had all the guides, tiles, minis and game modules  to start not one but two different campaigns for me and my friends.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Cosplay From Start to Finish - Mercy from Overwatch

In an attempt to chronicle my journey as a beginner cosplayer, I have taken a page from book of the amazingly talented, beautiful, and awe-inspiring cosplayer, The Geeky Seamstress, and decided to dedicate a post about the making of my latest cosplay project, the character Mercy from Overwatch.

Friday, July 22, 2016

10 Easy Tips to Surviving a Comic-Con

With San Diego Comic Con in full swing, I wanted to share my tips to surviving a Comic-Con, large or small, local or national, whether you come as you are or if you are wanting to cosplay for the first time.  Read on.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Thursday, March 31, 2016

10 Things Batman V Superman; Dawn of Justice Did Right

In case you haven’t heard, critics and audiences have been trashing the new Batman V. Superman; Dawn of Justice film left and right.  While I do agree with many of the complaints, I actually liked the film.  I’ve always been a stalwart DC comic book fan but there are some points in the movie that Zack Snyder and Co, actually did right.  Obviously, spoilers will follow, but I’m guessing you are not reading this to determine whether you will go watch the movie or not, but rather because maybe you enjoyed the film too.

  • 1.       Wonder Woman and her theme song. Duh, obviously.  I won’t pull any punches here and I do realize this fair ground to enrage the masses, that the best character in the film isn’t even one of the main characters, but by gods!  DC fans have seen such disastrous attempts at Wonder Woman before.  Gal Godot’s performance was perfection.  A Wonder Woman to appeal to pretty much everyone, and her theme music was so energizing and bad-ass.  Everyone in my theater sat up and took notice once that music started.

Just a few years ago, this was the Wonder Woman we would have seen on tv.

  • 2.       Cameos of Aquaman and Cyborg.  Now I do realize that not all the cameos in the film were handled well, ie Jimmy Olsen but Jason Momoa as Aquaman and Ray Fisher as Cyborg were handled well.  We get a clear look at Aquaman in costume and see a bit of his powers.  This tiny bit was immensely satisfying to me.  A head and shoulders above what we usually see as a cameo in superhero films, usually we only get to see a part of their costume, or the actor in their civilian clothes.  Aquaman is a character that has largely been ridiculed in recent pop culture.  Snyder took a risk in showing Aquaman in costume on screen.  Both the non-white casting for Aquaman and the inclusion of a black character, Cyborg, in the new post 52 Justice League have been seminal in seeing more persons of color roles in the superhero world.  Synder made the right decision to have both heroes appear in the film, rather than reduce them to merely appearing in a photo, as they did with Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor.

  • 3.       Batman’s fight scene. –While this version of Batman rubbed many fans the wrong way, Batman’s fight scene against the men holding Martha Kent hostage, is simply put, one of the very best fight scenes to ever occur in the Batman franchise.  Yes, I do admit Batman’s fight with Superman was not handled as nearly as good and felt quite stilted and fake in some spots.  The Dark Knight is still my favorite Batman movie and despite Christopher Nolan’s jaw dropping talent in writing, shooting and directing ability, the fight scenes in Batman Begins, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises are quite competent but never really cinematic.  Nolan only comes into his own with fight scenes after Inception.  Car chases, action scenes, special effects; the man blows all the competition out of the water, but a raw, physical choreographed fight scene?  Not so much, until like I mentioned, Inception.  My favorite part of Affleck’s fight scene?  Multiple bullets to Batman’s head.  We see a henchman get the drop on Batman and fire two rounds to the back of his head and Batman reacts realistically.  There’s panic in his eyes as he moves the eff out of the way.  I have NEVER seen that in a Batman movie and it’s something that happens to you pretty quick in the Arkham Asylum/City/Origins video games.  As Batman you can take a bullet to the head once, but after two or three times you’re dead.

  • 4.       Focus on the heroes’ mothers.  I probably don’t even have to tell you how many time we see a father’s influence on a heroes journey and hear nothing about the mother.  She’s either dead or barely holding it together.  I can count on one hand the few times a mother is included at all; Brave probably being the best example.  I have read about critics flippantly dismissing the plot line about both Clark and Bruce’s mothers sharing the name Martha, as being superficially coincidental and idiotically conceived.  Now, granted, I do agree that even though this moment was properly foreshadowed by Bruce seeing blood seep out of his mother’s grave, the pay-off was mishandled somewhat and was not as potent as it could have been.  However, the realization that both Batman and Superman, have the same motivation is not lost and I applaud that a big, dumb superhero movie realizes this and plays up the mother’s influence, something you RARELY see, in any action film, period.

  • 5.       Superman does the right thing even when he is hated.  He is not a god, and he has limitations.  Another accusation fans and critics have against Zack Snyder is that he has almost fatally mis-interpreted Superman.  Most are in agreement that this version of Superman is too grim, too dark, and doesn’t make for an enjoyable film.  I do agree in some part but Snyder did not misinterpret Superman.  This is a very real facet of the Superman mythos.  Superman carries the weight of the world on his shoulders, not because he should (or shouldn’t as Lex, Bruce and others in film imply) but because he can and he struggles with that decision every day.  Superman IS NOT A GOD.  He lacks the ability to foresee every unanticipated impact of his actions.  His motivations to help come from his innate goodness as developed by his human parents.   This is not unlike ourselves.  Do you use your talents and abilities for good?  This is a struggle, America as a world power, sees EVERY DAY!  Do we take action against the terrorists in other countries?  Does that ultimately help or hurt us?  Does that help or hurt others?

  • 6.       America is not the only country featured.  Mexicans!  Yes, I’m half Mexican and I have to make everything about Mexicans, all the time, and every time but lord above!  Superheroes seem to go everywhere except Mexico and I liked that Mexico is portrayed as having a different opinion than in the US.  You ever read Japanese manga and realize that almost every story revolves around Japan as being the only country really ever mentioned in that world?  And then you slowly realize this is what American movies, tv shows and media must seem like to other nations as well?  As I have said, I wouldn’t expect a big, dumb superhero movie to realize this but this one does.

  • 7.       DC’s Trinity in action.  DC’s Trinity refers to DC Comics Big Three, Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman.  Every official incarnation of the Justice League features them and they have had several comic arcs all to themselves.  There is no comparison in the Marvel world.  Maybe Iron Man, Captain America and possibly Spider-Man but even then you’d have some lively debate as whether is should be Thor rather than Spider-Man.  I digress.  Watching DC’s Trinity fight a Big Bad like Doomsday at night, amidst swirls of dust and rubble, this is concept that sold this film out of the gate, and in this Zack Snyder does not disappoint.  This is really the number one reason anyone would friggin’ watch this movie, at all and this is why I do not even lament the 2.5 hour run-time.  This scene lives up to all various incarnations comic book nerds have pictured in their heads for decades.  Decades, people!  This was probably the trickiest of hat tricks the film had to complete, and they nailed it!

  • 8.       Jeffrey Iron’s Alfred is a marked improvement on Michael Cain, and is actually shown to be doing some work.  Who knew Alfred Pennyworth could actually be improved upon, after Michael Caine?  I don’t really count Sean Pertwee’s amazing work on Gotham, as his role is somewhat of a prequel version of Alfred, like trying to compare Alex Guinness to Ewan McGregor, because while they are playing the same character, each are playing Obi-Wan at different ages and thus are not the same role.  As much as Michael Cain ably plays the sage adviser role to Christian Bale’s Batman, his Alfred doesn’t really do much work around Wayne Manor. He introduces Bruce to Lucius Fox early on, whom tends to most of Batman’s tech.  Caine’s Alfred just kinda wanders around the Batcave and gets repeatedly hood-winked by Selina Kyle.  Iron’s Alfred can be seen working on equipment and the Batmobile, literally getting his hand dirty as he acts as Bruce’s voice of reason.  This is not the Alfred that hangs out around the house like everyone’s genial drunk uncle but rather the jack of all trades, Alfred Pennyworth that has become common in the comics.

  • 9.       Progression on Batman’s timeline, Wayne Manor is gone and a modern glass enclosed house in now on the grounds.  I do agree with most, we don’t need to see another interpretation of Batman’s origins in another DC film for at least 10 years.  It’s been sooooo overdone and Batman is probably the one character, audiences the world over, know about.  We don’t need to witness his parents murder, time after time after time.  However, I don’t hear anyone commenting on the progression of Batman’s timeline, something this film takes the time to set up.  Clearly the Joker has gotten to one of the Robins, Wayne Manor has been destroyed and Batman has seen some darker days.  This is a Bruce Wayne with gray in his hair and no longer in his 30’s.  We have never seen a Batman quite this old before, even George Clooney was 36 back in 1997 during the filming of Batman & Robin, Ben Affleck is 42.  Again for a big, dumb superhero movie this was handled surprisingly well.

  • 10.   Accuracy to the comics, almost all the major plotlines have precedence in the comic book history.  The connection between the two Marthas, Superman’s death at the hands of Doomsday, Batman vs. Superman and their differing ideologies, Batman aging appearance and radically pro-military stance, Darkseid’s eventual recruitment of Superman,  Batman causing harm by not trusting.  Different versions exist of both Lex Luthor, Superman and Batman in the comics.  Batman has killed and has used guns in the comics.  I have heard other review accuse Snyder of not remaining true to the comics, and I could maybe make a case for that if you went by canon, which has be re-done and rebooted over the decades many, many times and did not include any of the Elseworlds comics. 

  • Via Wikipedia, Elseworlds was the publication imprint for American comic books produced by DC Comics, in which stories take place outside the DC Universe canon.  Some Elseworlds titles include Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, in which a grizzled, elderly version of Bruce Wayne goes after criminals and even Superman with insane amounts of violence and ruthlessness.  Even if you only wanted to count what is canon, then you need to realize that Batman, in his very first appearances, used guns and killed people all the freaking time.  I agree with many that this is not my all-time favorite interpretation of the character but to wrongly assume that Snyder and Co. did not do their research or were not faithful to the comics in any way is dead wrong.  If anything Zack Snyder has proved he has gone deep into the DC legacies of both Batman and Superman, even if you didn’t like the presentation, the love, the research and the understanding of these beloved characters was always there.  Audiences shouldn’t always have to go beneath the surface to enjoy a film, but for those that do, you will be rewarded.

From the pages of the Dark Knight Returns.

Look, I’m no great defender of superhero movies.  I was disappointed Deadpool turned out to be little more than a Lifetime movie cancer drama with two actions scenes added to the beginning and the end.  It needed to be funnier, have more action and really needed to be directed by Guardians of the Galaxy’s James Gunn.  But this movie was any better than it had any right to be.

Even one of the most deservedly, geek-lauded directors of our time, Joss Whedon, could only make one and a half good superhero team movies and he knows comic books better than any living director today, he wrote one of the best versions of the X-men comic book to date.

Check it out, it is glorious!
These type of movies are notoriously hard to get anything right.  I know geeks like to point out that the director of the Mad Max movie franchise, George Miller, had a Justice League movie in the works with Armie Hammer as Batman, which in theory sounds amazing until you realize the movie was to be filmed entirely as a CGI-Animated film, “Australian filmmaker George Miller was hired to direct the $200 million plus-budgeted Justice League. Early reports suggested that the movie would be a CGI-animated feature with the characters brought to life via motion capture technology a la Robert Zemeckis’ The Polar Express and Beowulf.”  I rest my case.  

I leave you with this;

Jim Gordon: He's the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now. So we'll hunt him. Because he can take it.

DC will survive this, Zack Snyder will survive this, the true fans will survive this, Batman and Superman will survive this.  They can take it. And I can too.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Ghostbusters Reboot - I Ain't Afraid Of No Ghosts.....

via @paulfeig
....OR HATERS!!!!!

 Surprising probably no one, there have been many vocal haters, mostly men but some women too, on social media outraged at the upcoming Ghostbusters reboot film helmed by Freaks and Geeks' Paul Feig and starring Melissa Carthy of the Bridesmaids fame.

I have only really asked one such self-described lady nerd why she dislikes the Ghost-busters reboot from the trailers alone.  In short, she said "they took a movie and put women in place of men.  Gave them the same character traits and personality of the men and now women are supposed to jump for joy?....forces Paul Feig to come up with better schtick (sic) and and original roles for women."

To which I offered this rebuttal , "I don't think Ghostbusters is too sacred to be immune from remakes....I loved what Feig and McCarthy did in Spy, which was original and proved to me they could handle the Ghostbusters franchise."

Action, humor and original roles for women all around. 

Feig and McCarthy know what they are doing.  Spy has a 94% on Rotten Tomatoes and this glowing review on  You could've hated the movie, but cumulative reviews would disagree with you.  I can add that it was easily one of my favorite movies of 2015, in addition to Mad Max: Fury Road, Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Spotlight.  Oh and two of those movies I just named are sequels or soft reboots.

I get that some men, not all men, feel invalidated by seeing a Ghostbusters sequel without male leads. They feel they are being overlooked as the core Ghostbuster audience to which any and all sequels should appeal to.  What the old audience is slowly realizing is that Ghostbusters have always appealed to a much larger fan-base than just white males that grew up during the 80's.  

I'm excited to see this movie.  I love Ghostbusters as a young girl growing up in the 80's and 90's and am thrilled to see an all female squad.  That does not and will never invalidate the original Ghostbusters films starring Bill Murray, Dan Akroyd, Harold Ramis and Ernie Hudson.  The reboot is it's own thing.  I do not view it, in any way, potentially tarnishing the original films.  A good franchise will always survive. Look at Batman, Star Wars, and James Bond.

Tldr; This Ghostbusters movie was not made for you.  Watch it or do not, but please, get over yourselves.  No one appointed you gate-keeper for the franchise.  Doesn't matter how many cartoons, comics or Ghosbusters toys you bought or your parents bought for you.  

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

3 Tributes to the late, great Bea Arthur in Postmodern Cartoons

One of my obsessive fandoms is cartoons, which stretches all the way back to my formative years watching Batman,The Animated Series.  I have never stopped watching cartoons.  Starting in the late 90’s some cartoons have reached or succeeded the same level of storytelling as live action shows for adults.  My favorite shows of all time are Avatar; the Last Airbender and Breaking Bad, IN THAT ORDER!!!

Sacrilege, I know.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

So, Batman, Cookie Monster and a Jawa walk into a bar....

Stop me if you've heard this one.  So, Batman, Cookie Monster and a Jawa walk into a bar because the Abbey Underground in Denton, Texas was hosting a Fandom Dinner and Cosplay Cocktail Party Saturday night from 5pm-2am.  A bar hosting a party for people in costume with drinks, food, a Lego Minifig vendor, a band, a costume contest and a DJ?  Hail yiss!

I decided to attend purely on a whim. Did I know anyone going to this party?  Well, no.  Did I have a costume ready to go within a day's notice?  Actually, I did!  I made a couple of cosplay costumes last winter after attending last year's Wizard World Comic Con in Tulsa, OK, where I came away ablaze with inspiration.  

Prior to that convention I rarely attended cons and truly believed that I would never cosplay simply because I am plus-sized.  However after witnessing so many young cosplayers at the Tulsa Comic Con, from little children to teenagers dressing up in costumes they had made themselves.  I changed my mind.  Drastically.  Cosplay is for everyone.  I get a huge thrill out of someone recognizing my fandom and a huge surge of happiness whenever I make decent looking props from a pile of garbage, or clay, or felt, or cardboard.  

So for the cosplay party at the Abbey Underground, I donned my Ramona Flowers costume from Scott Pilgrim comic/movie, complete with the "Power of Love" sword made from a plastic Halloween ninja sword and Ramona's iconic purse made from a spray painted cookie tin and went forth to meet a bunch of strangers, in costume.

I arrived a little early.  Most people arrived later in the night, but I didn't know what to expect so I got there a little after the doors opened at 5 pm, to be sure I would be allowed in.

I met the featured cosplayer, MisspmjCosplay, who was dressed as the upcoming Suicide Squad movie version of Harley Quinn.  She was there to raise proceeds for the non-profit agency Heroic Inner Kids.  I loved that she is a HUGE DC fangirl, like myself.  She had recently completed the Dagger Type, gold and black version of the new 52 Batgirl Comic costume, which she explained the plotline in precise detail to me, and my jaw practically dropped.  She is the real deal and a lovely person to boot.

As the costume contest was taking place, I met a super-cute, friendly cosplay couple.  She was dressed as Kagura of the Wind from Inuyasha, which I used to beg my younger sister to tape for me on VCR whenever it aired on Cartoon Network back in the day.  Her husband was dressed as Metal Gear Solid's Snake. 

My new friends in line for the cosplay contest, standing behind Elsa and Dr. Mrs. The Monarch.

Kagura of the Wind by @t0xicassie

Lil' Link and Twilight Sparkle!

Sadly, my new friends didn't win.  Top Prize went to a cosplayer from Borderlands but as the night I geeked out with new people on superhero movies from the 90's such as The Phantom and Dark Man.  My metal cookie tin purse felt apart twice but both times cosplayers immediately came to my rescue, corralling my wallet, keys and phone, handing them back to me. Thank you, Princess Leia!

The band Luna Royale played dressed as Obi-Wan, Doctor Who, and Batman on the drums.  It's too bad I didn't take a full photo of Batman in costume as he was wearing the black underwear over grey leggings version.

Princess Leia and Jafar looking on.

After the band and some weird Dragon-Ball Z male fight/strip show?!? (it was weird. Two actors play-fought then stripped to the waist, grinding up on Harley Quinn.  I took pictures as first but even my camera was like, "wha??? Ah hell, no!") the DJ started spinning, mostly playing Michael Jackson and oldies.  No Drake or Bey.  I stayed until my purse exploded for the last time, all over the dance floor. Then left awash in a vague feeling that I just experienced a very odd but fun fever dream.

I don't know that I would go again to small events outside of the larger conventions, it makes for a memorable experiences but it is really difficult to remember different cosplayers you might have met before, because they look soooo different from costume to costume.  Also some of the cosplayers have pre-established groups or family members that they cosplay with, so it seemed to me that they weren't super open to outsiders.  I usually make friends quite easily but with costumes involved, it just seemed different, not quite as easy.  People do kind of look at your costume and what it represents, rather than seeing you as a person.  It's just what we do as humans.

I want to definitely keep cosplaying but sometimes I just got to remember that the friendliest face I have, is actually my own.

Until next time!

(All photos are my own.  Please let me know if you'd like to be credited as one of the above cosplayers.  Thanks)

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Speed Dating at a Comic Con

Hey guys and gals.  Over Valentine’s Day weekend I attended the Dallas Comic Con Fan Days 2016 with my bestie, where we decided to go in costume and attend the speed dating event hosted by SciFi Speed-Dating.  Ah, Nerds in Love!  The headline practically writes itself.

Meet a life size Ninja Turtle is off my bucket list.
“Do it for the story!”  I urged my also single, best friend.  “We will go in costume!  It’ll be hilarious.”  I promised.  This seemed to me to have all the potential in the world to be the best meet-cute scenario in the history of adorkability. 

Friday, February 12, 2016

Convention Spotlight: Wizard World Tulsa - Day Three

Day Three – October 25, 2015

On the last day of Wizard World Tulsa I actually got to the convention kind of early, partly because I was terrified I would sleep past my check-out time at the hotel so I woke up super early and grabbed breakfast downtown. Afterwards I walked around to see more of the city until the convention started. Downtown Tulsa is very walkable.

(All photos are my own.  Please let me know if you'd like to be credited as one of the below cosplayers.  Thanks)

Convention Spotlight: Wizard World Tulsa - Day Two

Day Two - October 24, 2015

I arrived at the convention center on Saturday close to noon and walked around the Exhibition Hall, where I found out vendors were selling beer!  Beer at a comic con?  How is this possible?  This is allowed?  I love Wizard World Tulsa!!!  I spotted the most adorable mother-daughter cosplay team walking past me, I love – LOVE that the mom was Peggy Carter and her daughter vintage Captain America, because, really, any mom will tell you their baby is the absolute love of their life.

(All photos are my own.  Please let me know if you'd like to be credited as one of the below cosplayers.  Thanks)

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Convention Spotlight: Wizard World Tulsa - Day One

Hello again.  In my first post for 2016, I mentioned how I wasn't ready to review 2015 in full.  This is because I got the opportunity back in October to cover all three days of the Wizard World Tulsa Comic Convention 2015 for a pop-culture website for women, PaperDroids.

Update - My full coverage has been posted at PaperDroids blog - please read for coverage of all three days.

(All photos are my own.  Please let me know if you'd like to be credited as one of the below cosplayers.  Thanks)

Day One - October 23, 2015

Before Wizard World Tulsa, my convention experience was limited to the time I went about 8 years ago with my younger sister to a local anime convention inside a halfway crumbling janky-looking mall, in the pre-streaming anime days, when you had to buy dubbed DVDs from Sam Goody and Borders.  I went more recently with my friend to Dallas Comic Con Fan Days for Saturday only, where I dressed up as a casual Wonder Woman lugging around three to four merchandise bags at a time, and not generally knowing how to do “hero poses” despite dressing as superhero.  Would I be able to stand all three days of full blown convention put on by Wizard World in a different city four hours away? 

Day One, I got to the Cox Convention Center in Tulsa just as the door were opening at 3pm.  I didn’t take a costume this time, preferring to dress comfortably, but I did bring a back-pack with an empty water bottle.  The convention was nicely laid out, well-staffed and brimming with excited volunteers.  The building itself is very pretty inside and it’s hard not to go “ooh” and “ahh” immediately as you walk in.