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January 2017

Birds of Prey (Vol. 9): Dead of Winter

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Simone, Gail, Nicola Scott, and Doug Hazlewood. Birds of Prey (Vol. 9): Dead of Winter. 2008.

Barbara’s former college rival, Katarina, also known as Spy Smasher, has taken control of the Birds. They are en route to Russia for this adventure. They are to take back a weapon the Russian government has, and that’s being guarded by the Secret Six. When they discover that the “weapon” is in fact a person – a hero who has been dead for quite some time – the Birds, especially with their recent change in management, may be up for their deadliest mission yet. Can Barbara take back her organization before it’s too late?

The action never stops in this volume! The writing is incredibly fast-paced and the art dynamic. Tensions within the team are particularly high here, and the facial expressions of all the ladies were captured particularly well. There are some great moments with Big Barda and Lady Blackhawk – who are quickly becoming my new favorites XD

– Kathleen

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Guest Post on Just Dread-full

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Today my guest post about my First Fright is on the Just Dread-Full blog site! Nightmares, spiders, rats and Freddy Krueger are ALL part of my sleeping issues to this day! Check out this amazing blog centered about horror movies, books and tv series! It’s frightfully good!

-Nancy

The Singing Bones

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Tan, Shaun. The Singing Bones. 2015.

The Singing Bones is a unique book that defies classification. Not quite a graphic novel, not quite a non-fiction book, nor quite a book of fiction- it is all and yet none of these categories.

Shaun Tan the author and illustrator of the wordless graphic novel The Arrival, puts his considerable artistic talents towards creating clay works of art to evoke Grimms’ Fairy Tales. As Neil Gaiman says in the foreword , the sculptures “imply, they do not delineate”  the stories that are shown.

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Tan showcases seventy-five snippets of fairy tales with accompanying art. The sculpture doesn’t tell the story, it hints at it’s essence. There are no sculptures of beautiful maidens to conjure up your memory of Cinderella or Snow White, instead the art gallery captures the idea of Grimms’ stories in abstract form.

In addition to the many tales, the book is elevated due to it’s further extras. Neil Gaiman writes a fond foreword the the book, and Jack Zipes writes an informational introduction to the history of the Grimm brothers and how the tales were collected. Once you are done enjoying the fairy tale vignettes, the author writes an afterword to explain his inspiration for this project. And while many of the tales told in the story are familiar, an annotated index is included that has a concise summary of the tales, as some are more obscure. The less known tales were to me the best to study, for you can see if what the sculpture hinted at is what you would imagine the tale to be.

So if you love singular collector pieces and fairy tales, try this book, as these museum quality works of art will please both art lovers and fairy tale enthusiasts.

-Nancy

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Flash: Season 2

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***There are spoilers for the end of Flash S1 ahead***

Oooh boy. Hold on to your hats, kids. This season of Flash was just wild.

The singularity that opened when Eobard Thawne, the Reverse Flash, was defeated, has been closed. It came at a terrible cost. Ronnie and Dr. Stien fused into Firestorm to help Barry close it, and Ronnie died in the attempt. Barry now works alone, in an effort to keep more of his friends from dying. Team Flash has scattered: Cisco now works with Joe in the metahuman task force at the police department, and Caitlin is at Mercury Labs.

But then a brand new metahuman shows up, saying he was sent to kill the Flash by a person called Zoom. And another. And then another. Cisco and Caitlin, along with Joe and Iris, beg Barry to rethink his whole lone vigilante thing and let them back on the team. Barry eventually caves, and Team Flash is reunited.

Someone else shows up at STAR Labs, too. He introduces himself as Jay Garrick, the Flash from another earth – Earth-2. He says that the singularity Barry just closed led to his Earth, and he was sucked into it while fighting Zoom and has lost his powers. He warns them of Zoom’s terrible speed, and his awful hunger for more. He offers to help Barry get faster, to learn more about his powers, in order to defeat the monster.

More and more people from Team Flash’s life start to reappear. Francine, Joe’s ex-wife, wants to reconnect with her family. She bears some terrible secrets from being gone for so long. The Earth-2 doppelganger of Harrison Wells travels through the breach, scaring the hell out of everyone. He came in order to help Barry defeat the metas from his Earth that Zoom is sending to kill him. Some of those metas are doppelgangers of Team Flash’s friends, family, even themselves…

Meanwhile, Zoom is always one step ahead of Team Flash, taunting them, promising to steal Barry’s speed. He’s much faster than Barry, much faster than the Reverse Flash ever was. How can they hope to defeat him before he takes away everyone they love?

The big draw this season was the introduction of the multi-verse. Though we only dealt with one other Earth this season, at the end, it was heavily hinted that there will be more in future seasons, which is so exciting!!! I’m eager for season 3 to wrap up already and come out on DVD so my boyfriend and I can marathon it 8D

The writing, as ever, was superb. The “return” of Harrison Wells was met with the appropriate shock and outrage by everyone on the team, especially Barry. The incorporation of the multiverse was excellently explained. Everyone on Team Flash really went through the ringer this season with their own tragedies and heartaches, even the unsympathetic characters. Still, you can’t help but root for them.

My one bone to pick this season was the romance. They introduce Patty Spivot, a crime lab assistant in the comics, as Joe’s new partner and member of the metahuman task force. Barry inevitably starts dating her. My boyfriend and I spent every episode of their too-long romance rolling our eyes. I know they do it to draw people in and keep them watching, but anyone who’s been paying attention knows that Barry and Iris ultimately will end up together. When? Who knows??? But it’s been hinted at enough that they can’t put it off forever. So they may as well just cut out the middleman and make them a thing already. Spare us this unnecessary secondhand embarrassment.

I think Flash is by far my favorite DC TV show. It’s got humor. It’s got heart. It’s got kickass characters, plenty of action, and now, it’s got the multiverse. There was plenty to feast on this season and now we have some things to chew over for the next few.

– Kathleen

Thor (Vol. 1): The Goddess of Thunder

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Aaron, Jason, Russell Dauterman, and Jorge Molina. Thor (Vol. 1): Goddess of Thunder. 2015.

I was grabbing stuff off my library’s graphic novel shelf, desperate for material ‘cuz my queue for this blog ran out with my last Birds of Prey post. I’d been curious about this title since it came out, and figured with my holiday breaks (two 4 day weekends in a row!!!), I’d get some serious reading and writing done.

Thor is no longer worthy of wielding Mjolnir. He sits on the moon, trying desperately to lift it, but the hammer will not budge for him, nor for any Asgardian. Someone needs to lift it soon, because Frost Giants are invading Midgard. Not about to forsake his duty to Earth, Thor travels to Midgard and attempts to beat them back. While he is gone, someone goes to the moon… and is able to lift Mjolnir! A woman is worthy of the power of Thor! But who is she? Thor Odinson, dismayed and enraged at the hammer’s betrayal, will do anything to get it back.

Lady Thor was a big pull for me. I haven’t read any Thor, but have seen the movies, and that power in the hands of a woman is exciting! The art is beautiful, detailed and colorful with dramatic lighting, positively crackling when thunder comes into play. The writing is witty and heartfelt – you really feel sorry for Thor as he struggles to accept that the power that was once his has fallen to another. Nancy, be proud – I will definitely read more! Lady Thor kicks butt!!!

– Kathleen

Star Wars Holiday Special

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This picture is misleading, it was never, and will never, be officially released on DVD!

I can understand why this special has not seen the light of day since it’s poorly received 1978 debut. I’m dating myself when I say I vaguely remember this on tv when I was very young. It confused and upset me and I didn’t finish watching it. Years later I wondered why I knew Chewbacca had a family, but I assumed I read it in a Star Wars book.

Back in November, I saw someone post a link about “Life Day” on Twitter. Busy with grad school and the holidays, I did not have time to watch the video until now.  As I wasted 1:36 of my time so you don’t have to, I will regale you with my thoughts as I (re)watched this monstrosity. To make it more fun, I have added a drinking option. Take a shot anytime that: that the actor Harvey Korman shows up and the term friend is used!

Here we go:

:00 Han Solo and Chewbacca are flying the Millennium Falcon! Cool!  Life Day is mentioned, and obviously it’s a BIG deal.

:01 Star Wars word crawl

:02 The actors and actresses are introduced. The Wookies look scary. The special guest stars are an interesting lot.

:03 We see Chewie’s home planet of Kashyyyk, shown as a tree house painting, no special effects here my friend.  We go inside, and it’s a 70’s era home decorator’s dream!

:04 We are introduced to Malla (wife), Itchy (grandpa) and Lumpy (son). Lumpy is an annoying brat, no wonder Chewie is never home.

:07 Lumpy watches a hologram of alien circus acrobats to get out of his mother’s way. What is going on here???

:11 The adults turn on a traffic control channel to see if the MF ship is nearby. All the wording is in English. I guess that must be the space universal language.

:12 Malla contacts Luke Skywalker (♥) to see if he knows where they are. Why is Luke wearing makeup? After feigning a little bit of concern, he goes back to work making repairs with R2D2.

:15 Now we go to a scene at a trading post, where we meet Saun Dann, who runs the place. He tries selling cheap crap to an Imperial Guard with a porn ‘stashe. He relays a coded message to Malla. So sly this guy.

:18 Darth Vader! By now I’ve seen the quality of the sets for this production, so I’m guessing this was unused footage from the movie, A New Hope.

:19 We head back at the Wookie home, where Malla watches a cooking show. OMG- what horror is this? Harvey Korman (*drink!) is a cross dressing alien with four hands. While this might have been comedy gold on a variety show, this is Star Wars! Stir, whip, stir, whip, whip, whip, stir!

:24 Han Solo and Chewie are fighting TIE fighters. “This is one Life Day you won’t forget!”

:25 The trader is now at the Wookie house with gifts. He gets kisses from Lumpy and Malla.

:28 Grandpa watches his porn gift in front of his family. Yes, really.

:29 Itchy gets off watching a video of gorgeous Diahann Carroll (what, Wookie females aren’t good enough for him?) sing to him, and say things like “I’m your fantasy, I’m your experience, your pleasure. It’s our moment in time”. Disturbing…

:35 Princess Leia! She also seems rather unconcerned about HS & Chewie, and doesn’t deign to talk to Malla, instead wanting to talk to the trader.

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*I must take this time to give a shout out to Carrie Fisher. When I heard of her death, I cried. Now I am not the type to cry over a celebrity’s death, but this was different. She was Princess Leia, who taught me and countless other girls that princess’s do not have to sit back and wait for a male to rescue them. She was bad-ass and REAL, in the movies and in her own life. She will be missed.*

:38 Storm Troopers arrive at the door and Saun Dann tries to distract them. One of the guards barks “Will you get on with it!’ Exactly- when will this all be over?

:43 We are forced to watch yet another video-this time of the music group Jefferson Starship slumming as they sing “Light the Sky on Fire” (Grace Slick had wisely departed the group prior to this) along with strobe lights and glowing pink microphones.

:49 Scary close up of Lumpy’s face leads us into the “best” part of this show, the cartoon adventures of the Star Wars gang. We meet Boba Fett for the first time, and he fools Luke into thinking he is a friend (*drink!). The animation is crude, and the plot is laughable, but it is still the highlight of the special.

1:03 Lumpy watches another video on how to assemble a transmitter. Harvey Korman pops up again (*drink!) to portray a malfunctioning droid. Lumpy doesn’t need instructions, he’s Chewie’s son, he should have epic fix-it skills!

1:07 Yet another video to watch- this time the Storm Troopers watch too. The video takes place on Tatooine in the Mos Eisley Cantina. Harvey Korman (*drink!) shows up yet again as a lovesick alien who moons over the bar owner, Bea Arthur.

1:15 Bea sings a song about friends (*prepare to drink ALOT) as she and the aliens dance around the bar. By now, you should be very drunk, so the rest of this special should be easy watching.

1:21 Most of Storm Troopers leave, just in time for…

1:22 Chewie’s back!

1:23 Han Solo helps push the remaining Storm Trooper to his death.

1:25 Hugs for everyone! Sweet, slightly creepy, reunion with wife.

1:26 The trader is back, to explain (lie) to Imperial Guard why Storm Trooper is gone. Obviously he feels that Wookies don’t know how to do anything, so he communicates with other humans on their behalf.

1:28 All the Wookies pick up glowing snow globes. It’s time for Life Day!  Now they are all wearing long red robes and walking in a line through space.

1:30 Many Wookies are in a large room with a stage, when the whole Star Wars gang shows up to celebrate with them!

1:31 Leia is singing!!! Han Solo and Luke are turned on by her voice.

1:33 Chewie remembers his time with them, and he has flashbacks to the movie.

1:35 Back at home, Chewbacca and his family sit around the dinner table (maybe eating the Bantha Surprise from the cooking segment?) and pray before they eat. My prayer has been answered- the show is over.

1:36 I am done with this atrocity!!!!! Credits roll.

All I can say is, wow. I have no idea how this was approved by George Lucas. I heard he wanted all copies burned, but with the internet, this special will live on forever.  Just in case you want to watch this show for yourself, I have included a link. But don’t watch it. Seriously, don’t.

-Nancy

 

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Look how unhappy they all look to be in this special!

Top 5 Wednesday: 2017 Goals

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Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme from Goodreads, created by Lainey from Gingerreadslainey and now moderated by Sam from ThoughtsOnTomes. This week’s topic is: 2017 Goals.  These do not need to be reading goals specifically, they can be any goals you want to talk about, such as reading goals, blog/channel/instagram goals, personal goals…anything!

  1. I need to get my sh*t together on posting! I’m always typing away on the day the post is due, I never have any in queue like Kathleen does! In fact, I had another post planned, but could not get it done in time, thus this quick post is going up in it’s place. (Look for a snarky post on the Star Wars Holiday Special tv show in the future).
  2.  Write more guest posts! I reviewed two books (Ink and Bone vs The Alex Crow) for the 2016 Tournament of Books through my Young Adult Services Forum committee that I belong to and another for The Green Onion in November. Plus I have one half written for Just Dread-full (see goal 1 for why it’s not done! ), for I enjoy the challenge on writing on other subjects than just graphic novels and geek life.
  3. Hike more! My husband and I completed the 52 Hike Challenge last summer, and after a year of consistent hiking we fell out of the habit. Some of it can be attributed to raising three fabulous kids, work and grad school, but….
  4. I like to take pictures of the outdoors, so I’d like to build my Instagram account with my nature pictures. I can take more pictures, IF I hike more! If you care to take a look at the less geeky part of my life, my account is nancyandnature.
  5. Live life with less regrets. I have a habit of looking backwards and second guessing myself. I must remember- no amount of anxiety can change the future, no amount of regret can change the past.

Will I be successful in my 2017 goals? I sure as hell hope so! I’ll have to plan a post for late in the year to see if I met them! I hope everyone has a happy 2017, and that it proves to be your best yet. ♥

-Nancy

Mystery Blogger Award

 

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Thank you to the always amazing Michael @ My Comic Relief who nominated our blog for this mysterious award! Michael is a comic fan, modern myth deconstructor, and a theology teacher so his posts are always thoughtful and fun to read! Check him out!

The Mystery Blogger Award was created by Okoto Enigma and is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging; and they do it with so much love and passion. As such, we are super excited to have been thought of by Michael for this award!!

This award has MANY components to it, and based off Michael’s post, here we go:

As always, here are the rules for the award:

1)  Display the award logo on your blog.

2)  Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.

3)  Mention the creator of the award and provide a link.

4)  Tell your readers 3 things about yourself.

5)  Answer 5 questions from the nominee.

6)  Nominate bloggers.

7)  Notify your nominees by leaving a comment on their blog.

8)  Ask your nominees 5 questions of your choice, including 1 weird or funny question.

 

Three things about ourselves:

Kathleen:

I hate horror, but Sweeney Todd is my favorite musical.

As nerdy as I am, I just started playing Dungeons & Dragons 2 and a half years ago XD

I like spinach on my pizza. And mushrooms! I love mushrooms 8D

Nancy:

I believe you can love Star Wars and Star Trek equally. Loving one does not preclude the other!

I sleepwalk regularly.

I am a very loyal person, but at times I feel taken advantage of because of it.

 

Five questions from the nominee:

1)  If you were a superhero in real life, would you let anyone in on your secret?  If so, who?  Why?

Kathleen: No way, man! I care too much about the people in my life to make them targets! Plus I get to be even more broody. You can never be too broody.

Nancy: As I am married, I would definitely share my secret with my husband! But…would I tell my children? I’d say yes at a certain age, but truth be told, my daughter is horrible at keeping secrets and she’d let my secret out in a minute!

2)  Where would you go if you had a two week, all expense-paid vacation to anywhere in the world?

Kathleen: Ooooh. I’ve always wanted to go to Italy. Two weeks seeing the history and art and beautiful countrysides there would be wonderful.

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Nancy: While a British Isles trip would be a dream, my family are US National Park addicts. I believe I would want to stay at high-end lodges, and visit Yellowstone and Grand Teton first; and then move to the Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce and Arches parks. Two weeks wouldn’t even be long enough to do these parks justice!

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3)  Regardless of whether or not you actively enjoy doing karaoke, what is/would be your go-to karaoke jam?

Kathleen: Kryptonite by 3 Doors Down.

Nancy: Islands in the Stream by Dolly Parton and Kenny Rodgers. Cheesy I know, but I love that song and it’s relatively easy to sing.

4)  Who would play you in the movie of your life?

Kathleen: I’ve been told I look like Gal Gadot, which honestly was the pinnacle of my existance and if she could play me in a movie, I would die. Literally die.

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Nancy: I give the honor to Christina Hendricks of Mad Men fame. While my hair is brunette, I feel her curly hair and curvy figure are a good match for me.  I’m no where near as glamorous as she is, but I can dare to dream!

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5)  If you had to have a talking animal sidekick for the rest of your life, what would it be?  Why?

Kathleen: I feel like my dog Rose would have a lot of interesting things to say… she sighs dramatically a lot when we tell her she can’t have another treat or when the puppy is bothering her so she already tells us a lot XD

Nancy: I already have four talking sidekicks who live in my home now! My family has four cats, each with a different personality, and my whole family has made up voices for the cats. If a cat walks by, we pretend to talk in that cat’s voice. We think we’re a laugh riot especially when we make the cats say inappropriate things, but if someone came into our house on the sly and listened to us all talk in the cat voices (the Queen, the lone blustery male, the scaredy cat and the southern belle) they would think we were insane.

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The posts we feel are our best:

Kathleen: Though I didn’t care too much for it, I feel my review of The Amazing Spider-Man is one of my best. I really hadn’t read anything like it and I’m glad I expanded a little bit!

Nancy: I’ve had a few popular posts with a good amount of likes and/or comments, but my favorite post was about the book Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell, for it was an honest post about my personal contradictions and becoming comfortable with myself as I get older.

 

Our nominees for the Mystery Blogger Award are:

Emily @ Rose Read

Jers  @ Jer’s Comic Books

John @ When Churchyards Yawn

Louise @ louiselovesbooks

Lily @ CheekyBooky

Danielle @ uncovered-books

 

The questions you need to answer are:

1)  Who would play you in the movie of your life?

2) Where would you go if you had a two week, all expense-paid vacation to anywhere in the world?

3) What do you love on your pizza? What do you absolutely LOATHE on your pizza?

4) What would your dream job be if money wasn’t an issue?

5) Who is the person who has shaped your life significantly?

 

So there you have it- now that we answered your questions, we are mysterious no longer!

 

-Kathleen & Nancy

Birds of Prey (Vol. 8): Blood & Circuits

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Simone, Gail, Tony Bedard, Nicola Scott, Paulo Sequeira, and James Raiz. Birds of Prey (Vol. 8): Blood & Circuits. 2007.

Dinah has returned from Asia, and she’s brought someone home with her. Her name is Sin, and she was born and raised in the harrowing assassin camp Dinah was training in. Taking Sin under her wing has proven to be more rewarding, yet more challenging, than Dinah had anticipated. She’s made a decision… to leave the Birds of Prey. How will the others take the news? How can they possibly go on without her? While Dinah is starting a new future, someone from Barbara’s past has wormed her way back into her life… and it’s not good for the already fractured Birds.

Dinah with a kid hit me in places I didn’t know I could have feels. We learn a bit more about Dinah’s past and her relationship with her mother in this volume, which serves as a bit of motivation for why she took Sin in. It’s obvious that while Barbara, Helena, and Zinda are happy that Dinah is spreading her wings, they’re devastated to see her go, too. The Birds really are a family and it shows in the first half of this volume. The second half, with the new roster, is all action (for those of you who can’t take too many feels =P )!

– Kathleen

P.S…. I’m not sorry for all the bird puns.

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