String Theory – Book Reveiw

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Finished reading:

String Theory (Wayward volume 1) by Jim Zub; Steve Cummings ★★★★

Expectation

First of all I really like the creepy cats on the cover.  This is one of the newer titles from Image comics and it came out this year. I heard some positive reviews and decided to give it a go.

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Summary

After I read the introduction I liked this graphic novel even more. It is a story about a girl moving to Japan to live with her mother who is Japanese. Shes never been there and the readers can see much of it trough her eyes. New and intriguing country, people and culture.

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We come across a lot of creatures from Japanese mythology. The group of heroes starts forming and what I really like about the story is a the part where it woke up some Buffy feels. Monsters and dangers are many. There are even more questions and mysteries including the main characters themselves. But the ease at which they are all put together reminded me of Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series.

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At first I was rethinking doing the review but when I saw how little is known about it I decided it needs some attention. The lack of images online almost made me want to snap some pictures from the copy I was reading.

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Conclusion

I would like to continue reading Wayward graphic novel. It is cool and story wise intriguing. The Japanese letters trough the artwork made me regret not finishing lessons in Japanese I used to learn. Who knows I might still make it one day!

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Artwork is cool and I like the additions at the end of the volume 1. Monster explanation and extra graphics. What irked me is the fact that it ended all too soon and ended at a major cliffhanger. It made me mad and in want of a next volume!

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Sass & Sorcery – Book Review

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Finished reading:

Sass & Sorcery (Rat Queens vol 1) by Kurtis J. Wiebe and illustrator Roc Upchurch ★★★★★

Expectation:

This graphic novel has been on my reading list since Easter. A friend read it in chapters as it came out and she was very positive about it. It has been a while since I read a good graphic novel and I was really looking forward to this one. I haven’t played DnD for a while now and I’m really interested in this story of all female DnD butt kicking party!

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Summary

Here we’ve got four quirky women who have banded together and make a living by supporting local city and get things done accepting quests from locals. They call themselves The Rat Queens. The story is set in a classic DnD manner. Local city captain passes out quests to questing groups willing to work as mercenaries. They are almost like police units only a lot more colorful and wild.

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One of the authors has explained the story as: Lord of the Rings meets Bridesmaids. The heroines of the story each have a intriguing background: Betty is a halfling rogue who considers packing drugs and candy as food on a quest nutrient sufficient; Dee is a human cleric of a giant floating squid deity in search for her own self; Hannah is an elf wizard with an attitude and a black arts dabbling family; Violet is a dwarf fighter that stopped shaving her beard long before it was a thing with the young today.

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What I love about these characters is their energy. They are living in an imagined world but their lives, their troubles and hurts are unbelievably real and urban. They are no damsels that need rescuing – they do their own battles and will not shy from a good bar fight. They will probably be the ones starting it…

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The first volume has been nominated for a prestigious Eisner award – which is like an Oscar for graphic novels and comics. It has been nominated for a Hugo this year as well.

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This graphic novel has recieved GLAAD Media Award and many praises by the LGBT community for a positive portrayal of characters.

Before it was going to be launched as a Kickstarter project editor for Image Comics picked it up and decided to start with publishing a chapter per month which makes two volumes a year.

Last year Heavy Metal Magazine and Pukeko Pictures have announced an animated series to be made based on the story.

Conclusion

I loved the story and the characters. They make for some good cosplay material already. I recommend you to read this graphic novel and get on the fan bandwagon before this stuff gets more popular!

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I’m looking forward to read the next volume and I’m very eager to see how the animated series turn out!

 

 

Buffy corner

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Finally I’ve made my own little Buffy corner. I’ve managed to put together all my Buffy and Angel themed books, graphic novels and few other things that are Buffy related into one single shelf. It’s a bit crowded on the shelf…

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It is not a shrine to all things Buffy I own but it might be close. Beside the bookish things I have, there’s also an original soundtrack, an original game for Play Station 2 (I’ve never owned a Play station 2) and a first season of Buffy on VHS :p

Soundtrack is really good and I replayed it a few times. It’s basically teen angst compilation that went really well with the show. My favorites are Bif Naked and K’s Choice.

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Chaos Bleeds for Play Station 2 I’ve tried playing a few times on a borrowed console. I liked the voice actors and all the little extra stuff in the game. Witty dialogue and Buffy talk are up to the standards of the show and I loved hearing them in the game.

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Bad thing is it seems to have a glitch and the whole game freezes when I battle evil druid/magican Giles. It was a bit frustrating since he’s like a big boss or something and I never got to see how the ending of the game looks like 😦

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The VHS box set for the first season is with Croatian regional settings and subtitles! It is the ONLY season that was available for buying in Croatia. The actual store I bought it in got burned down a decade ago and was never rebuilt.

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The first season is only 12 episodes long and watching it on VHS is a completely different experience. The tapes themselves need to be re-winded from time to time because of the magnetic tape. I have DVD/VHS player that can do that and I need to watch them soon.

It is actually a piece of history as a media type and a cultural quirk.

I would like to get at least one action figure Buffy themed for the shelf and that goes on the wishlist for the future. It will not happen any time soon though since I’m poor and they are not exactly easy to find around here.

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Books that changed me – Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge

One of the books that changed me is a manga with an English title The Wallflower by author Tomoko Hayakawa. Japanese title is Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge which roughly translates as “Perfect Girl Evolution”.

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This manga also has an anime version and drama series version.

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This manga was something I shared with my childhood friend. We were two girls who would rather stay indoors and play video games than go out. Playstation and the two of us at her place. We used to spend summers this way.

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I used to buy this manga and she liked it. Soon we were reading it together and buying it together. We shared it by having half of the series at her house and at my house.

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The story and the little drawings through out the manga we enjoyed together. Something about the emo main character and all the pathos made us feel lees awkward in our teenage years.

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As things do in life some things happened. I was going trough a rough period where my life teared apart. I was counting on her support. She was to busy to be there for me. I never could forgive her that. For months while my life reached the bottom her absence wounded me. It went on that way until I snapped and made a scene. I don’t think it as an excuse for all the bad stuff I did to myself while I used some horrible words on her birthday. The real truth is that for the most part I was under the influence and can’t remember exactly what happened.

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She naturally got offended and all I could hear at the time was the pain echoing inside me. The hurt that she couldn’t see that I needed her and she let me down. After a while I used ignoring her in public as a way to hurt myself.

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Few years back she approached me in public. But I was not ready to make peace. Seeing her reminded me how badly hurt I was. She used to be a big part of my life. And she got swept away in my life storm. I am still recovering from how self-destructive I was.tumblr_lyetm9h4Vu1rn3s3zo1_500I has been almost a decade since I lost my friend. As a sad reminder I have half of the manga series on my shelf. Volumes 11. to 17. She got the first ten. I used to move them to the back of my closet so that I don’t have to look at a reminder of a friend I lost. I still have them in the back row of one of my bookshelves. Just slightly out of sight so that I don’t have to think about how I miss my friend.

 

Pretty Guardian Sailormoon

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This Christmas I have finally finished reading the Pretty Guardian Sailormoon manga series by Naoko Takeuchi. Sailor Moon since its start in the 1992 was a sort of favorite of mine. I watched the anime show, I sang along with the intro song in more languages I care to admit and I turned into a girly girl when I finally purchased my own manga set.

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I had few issues with reading the manga version since I watched the anime version long ago and kept trying to compare the two. Manga has 12 volumes and in comparison to anime has much more stuff going on. It was really hard to keep up with all the things in manga, and at times it was a rather psychedelic experience. So many characters who look very similar, and since the manga is all black and white it was hard to keep track at times.

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The whole first two seasons of the anime version were summed up in one volume and a half of manga version. The dynamics between characters were much more complex in manga version. I was not prepared for how fast paced the plot was.

 

Crybaby Usagi was my childhood hero. I’m very glad I have it and all trough the volumes there were funny and cute reading moments. I loved the happy ever after ending and this manga shoujo classic.

The Witcher

kJn33XmEvolution of the Witchers Medallion – one of the most known symbols in the Witcher game series

I was a great fan of the Witcher when it first came out. I badly wanted to play it, but my computer was not capable of such feats back then. I’ve upgraded and recently came across the game series again. It came as a nice surprise that the graphic novel version was published in September. I never read the books and I’m using this opportunity to add them to my monstrous reading pile list. Also I’m adding them to my wishlist!

The Witcher USAFirst three books of the Witcher Saga by British publisher Orbit from 2008. , 2009 and 2013 respectively.

The first book with English title THE LAST WISH in the Witcher Saga first came out in 1993. by Polish author Andrzey Sapkowski under the Polish title Ostatnie zyczenie. It was later developed into a rather successful game series with some great video scenes and an amazing story.

Introduction video for the first instalation in the Witcher game series.

The main character is named Geralt of Rivia, also known as “White Wolf”. He is a monster hunter of sorts and leads us trough the dark and gritty fantastic world full of intrigue and magic. The story of Witcher would not be complete without the added effects of sex and violence. For an emotionally challenged character with supernatural abilities and monster hunting day/night job he never lacks for a female companionship.  He was for me and still remains, quite the heartthrob.

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One other piece of merchandise from the Witcher series is the newest addition of The Witcher Adventure Game by Fantasy Flight. This is a fantasy board game that really got my attention.

the-witcher-adventure-gameThis one also goes on my Wishlist!

This post was inspired by the graphic novel version I read recently.

House of Glass (Witcher Volume 1) by Paul Tobin (story); Joe Querio (Illustration)

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This was a first volume from what I hope to be a longstanding series. It is a story where we see Geralt of Rivia at his “business as usual” ride trough the countryside. I enjoyed reading this graphic novel.

The art was not the kind I usually prefer but it went well with the general theme of the story. The story hinted at many creatures and possibilities the world of Witcher has to offer to fans and readers.  And this was what made up for all the shortcomings in the visual sense. It reminded me of the game and made me want to read the books just to discover more about these characters and the world they occupy.

Here is a quote that made me smile while reading what is generally perceived to be reading material for male reading population. Granted this comes from the mouth of a possibly mad and removed from reality character, but it is a great quote nonetheless.

“Women are divine creatures, Witcher! They command our respect! No man can understand a woman, not ever! Their reasons are too mysterious! Too chaotic! We must accept them for what they are. “ – House of Glass (Witcher Volume 1) Chapter three.

 

 

Librarians TV series

The Librarian: Quest for the Spear first came out a decade ago.

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I was amazed and amused, since we – the students of information science, were just discussing the topic of librarian stereotypes.

It hit a point with me and covered certain things like reasons why someone who is young would like to work at a workplace traditionally seen as an old grannies job in a funny way. Not only funny but to some of us more introverted it was like having a superhero movie made out of a otherwise boring career choice. And when the next two movies came out I found it as a sacred duty to watch them.

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So with great pleasure I share these trailers for the upcoming TV series “The Librarians” that comes out in December!

 

I am so very happy about this!

Book review – Kingdom Come

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by Mark Waid (Author), Alex Ross (Artist), Todd Klein (Calligrapher)

“Even super-heroes need to grow”

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This graphic novel was published on 1997. And the same year it won 4 prestigious awards.

What I really loved about it was the introduction written by one of the most prominent graphic novel DC writers Elliot S. Maggin.

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I like the idea this graphic novel presented about what it is to be a hero and what it means to be human. Some of the ideas were inspiring to say the least. This is a story about Superman and an alternate world Elseworld where things take a different turn than most cannon Superman novels.

From the Introduction by Elliot S. Maggin

“The heroes of fable and fact to whose virtue we aspire, are not only colorfull people leading vivd lives; they traditionaly understand the value of human life in all its places and conditions. But real-life heroes, unlike many icons we created, also understand human dignity and human immortality, … Heroes especially need to understand the value of the things of a life: it’s artifacts, it’s ideas, it’s loves. It is markers that you leave along that road that define you.”

The story is seen trough the eyes of an elder human minister Norman McCay who is lead by The Spectre as a witness to a time of disaster possibly so great that it might mean the end of the world. The children of superheroes and villains that once were are creating havoc to the human world. Characters we knew have gotten old…

From the Introduction by Elliot S. Maggin

“We have an obligation to know who we are and where we are and what we can do. We have an obligation to understand the ramifications of the things we do, and to choose to do them – or not – with our eyes open.”

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Dialogue between Lex Luthor (bald cigar smoking guy on the left) and The Riddler/Edward Nigma (glasses wearing guy on the right)

At times I found the art to be feast for the eyes but the story as a whole did not rise to my higher expectations inspired by the introduction. There is a strong redemption theme and a question of morality.

“It’s really very simple. In this world, there is right and there is wrong … and that distinction is not difficult to make.”
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Superman confronting elderly Batman on questions of morality

This graphic novel raises the question of Free Will against the Divine Intervention. 

“…we learn here that the most ordinary among us are heroes, and the most colorful and vivid among us are quite ordinary and flawed.”

It also has a dedication I found an awesome addition to the issue!

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Movie night recommendation!

New  DC Universe Animated Original Movie has come out recently.

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I have read the New 52 edition of Suicide Squad Vol. 1: Kicked in the Teeth by Adam Glass (Author), Federico Dallocchio (Artist) and loved it!

See the previous post here

The new animated movie with Suicide Squad was not something I was going to miss!

The characters!

I am a diehard fan of Harley Quinn and I was extra happy with how she was portrayed in this movie.

I find it stupefying how DC can make all these awesome animated movies ( last one before this was Son of Batman and it was total win for me as well! See trailer here )

YET all the big cinema hits with DC characters  (Nolan’s Batman trilogy excluded) come out on wobbly legs so to speak.

I’m actually nervous how the new Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is going to turn out.

Batman: Assault on Arkham was fun and pleasure to watch. The reason for that were easygoing characters from Suicide Squad team who got to show how badass they can be as lead narrators of the story.

The puns are pure gold.

Other than Suicide Squad members there are characters who make appearances: Batman and Alfred, Joker and Riddler and few others.

I love that we are living in time when characters from Golden Age of comics are getting their screen time and get reinvented. There are so many cool characters out there and they all should get their chance to shine.

To accentuate this here is a group compilation of only the female characters of the DC universe!

For more rants I agree with on the subject of DC movie projects for the big screen check out:

http://www.alwaysaround.net/5-things-dcwarner-bros-need-to-do-if-they-want-to-beat-marvel-studios-at-their-own-game/

I fully recommend Batman: Assault on Arkham as a great movie for DC fans who wish to see some great action animated movie not made for kids.

In the end you will find yourself cheering for the bad guys!

I’m already thinking of watching it a second time!

Here’s a link to the official trailer!

JULY BOOK A DAY – JULY 30

JULY 30.

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30) Lucky Dip -you pick

Loki 

In Nordic mythology, Loki, Loptr, or Hveðrungr is a god or jötunn (or both).

In last few years his popularity grew after Tom Hiddleston took the role of Loki in Thor movie.

He is present in many literary versions some old and some new. One of the oldest presentations of Loki are part of poems in Poetic Edda and myths in Prose Edda.

Loki has sired few children. Three upon a giantess named Angerboða. Váli (or Áli) and Narfi were Loki’s sons by his wife Sigyn, who was a giant goddess of Ásgarð. Sleipnir’s birth is a bit strange since Loki was his *mother*! Loki transformed himself into a mare (female horse) in order to distract a stallion named Svaðilfari, which belonged to a certain giant. The stallion impregnated Loki, and the eight-legged Sleipnir was the result.

In poem Lokasena which is pretty much about gods hurling insults at each other there are few interesting parts involving Loki. At one point during the exchanges, Óðinn accuses Loki of spending eight years in the form of a woman on earth serving as a milkmaid to a troll or giant to whom he, in his female form, bore children. As insults go this one is rather colorfull indeed.

He is a Trickster god and most times he is portrayed like a perfect person to blame for all that goes wrong in Norse mythology.