Wednesday, July 23, 2014

MangaKast 18 (With Bonus Fan Art)


I drew Renji last night because I felt like it.  If you're ever curious about my crappy fan /art you can feel free to browse my deviantART account (which is under my secret fan name): http://junko222.deviantart.com.

Here's the link to the MangaKast, if you're interested: https://mangakast.wordpress.com/2014/07/23/you-are-my-sunshine-eighteen/

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Newest Installment

The newest installment is up on Wattpad.  In this exciting episode, tool-welding magpies stage a jail break!  Part 17: The Cleverness of Birds

I wrote this latest bit while watching the birds in the feeder just outside my sunroom window.  If there's a lot of repetition of the word "fluttering" it because those noisy little so-and-sos were doing just that.  We have a lot of trees around our house, so there's a been a plethora a squawking babies demanding beak-feeding at the feeder as well.





Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Manga Madness

Mason and I actually recorded our MangaKast #17 early because a number of the weeklies came out early.  There is much silliness, accidental poetry, squee, and spoilers for Bleach, Toriko, and Ao no Exorcist/Blue Exorcist.

https://mangakast.wordpress.com/2014/07/15/seventeen-came-early/


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Tuesday with Tate!

Yep, it's that time again.  There's another short adventure for you to enjoy up on Wattpad:



There's a lot of magic happening in this bit, as Alex finds herself arrested for assault and tossed into a holding cell that seems to have been built to hold a very specific thing....


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Hella History

So, I think I posted here that I got an e-mail inviting me to try out "Blogging for Books," which, when I went to check it out, appears to be a Random House thing where you get free books if you post a review about them somewhere.  Free books is never a bad deal and they had a graphic novel check-box, so I thought, okay, what the heck, and had them send me "The Harlem Hellfighters" Max Brooks/Caanan White.




So, here are my thoughts:

The Harlem Hellfighters follows an all-black regiment in WWI and showcases the racism they dealt with and their astounding bravery in spite of it.  This is typically the kind of tale that I never get tired of, the against-all-odds heroes who go above and beyond duty—all while being spit on (and worse) by their fellow soldiers.  This story gets an extra boost because the regiment is real and many of the characters that appear in the pages come straight out of history.

The author, Max Brooks, is best known for his World War Z comic book, which, admittedly, I haven’t read yet.  And, while I enjoyed The Harlem Hellfighters, I’m not sure that this book would make me seek out his other work.  I feel that maybe because Brooks was trying to hit all the history, he missed out on a stronger narrative opportunity or two.  The Harlem Hellfighters would make a great addition to a junior high/high school library because it’s really more a ‘fun’ way to read about history than a graphic novel for comic book fans, you know?  I didn’t leave this graphic novel thinking, “Wow, this was a great story! I loved Edge’s character!” so much as, “Wow, I learned a lot.”

Which surprised me, because there are some amazingly moving scenes and we, for the most part, follow a single character.  I can’t quite put my finger on why I was never able to sink my teeth into this.  It might be the skipping through history; it might also be the art.

Like a lot of graphic novel/comic book fans, I need to have both working for me to get the ultimate experience.  I can enjoy a book where the art is better than the story, and visa versa, but it’s a far better ride for me when both are hitting the same notes.  I wonder if I’d have felt differently if it were an affordable option to print all the pages in color.  Regardless, at this point it comes down to preference and stylistic bents… and, thus, to each their own.  My experience with the Caanan White's art might be completely different than yours.

So, I guess, ultimately, I’d give The Harlem Hellfighters a recommendation to anyone interested in World War 1 history, African American experiences, or the history of racism in America (and Europe.)  For comic book/graphic novel fans, it could be hit and miss.  I would still say check it out if this sounds like your kind of thing. (I should note, the cover price is $16.95, not too steep for a graphic novel, many Marvel collections for instance are much higher, though you do often get full-color pages in those.)

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Tuesday with Tate

Yep, so here it is, Tuesday...  and yes, a new installment is ready for you at WattPad, which I cleverly named, "Part 15: A Damn Dam" (wait for it, it makes sense.  I promise), in which the two demons continue to interrogate Alex:

http://www.wattpad.com/58616453-unjust-cause-part-15-a-damn-dam

Sorry I didn't continue my convention report.  I got caught up in some post-con drama (all of which has been not only resolved, but well exceeded my expectations.)  I may write about all of it at some point, but suffice to say that there was some panel confusion and Programming is awesome.  My take away being, however, that there are some regional conventions that could learn a lot about conflict resolution from the folks at CONvergence.

I will, however, post more about it (including more cool costumes) this week.  I do, however, considering that today is more UnJust Cause, show you something AWESOME.  A friend of mine cosplayed Alex!




Amazing, right?  She even has (thought you can't see it because my camera decided to act up), blue extensions in her hair--because Alex's blue dye-job is growing out, if you remember that detail from the book.  The snake tattoo and the coroner shirt, of course, make it.




Saturday, July 05, 2014

There's an App for That: #CVG2014

Seriously, these CONvergence people are good. I really rather adore waking up to have my schedule magically in my in-box. Here's today's:

3:30pm-4:30pm
Plaza 2
Anime Series: Year in Review
A yearly showcase of the past year's best anime series, presented by a group of anime fans who've watched and enjoyed them. Those looking to enter the anime fandom as well as those who've been otaku for years are welcome to attend. Panelists: Lyda Morehouse, Jessi Silver, Boris Smelov, Jo Thrace, Heather Deakman

5:00pm-6:00pm
Atrium 2
SF Writing Groups: The 2014 Scene
This annual (since 1986) get together of the Minnesota Imaginative Fiction Writers' Alliance helps science fiction/fantasy writing groups link with writers who are looking for a critique group. Panelists: Eric M. Heideman (mod), Lyda Morehouse, Tyler Tork

10:00pm-11:00pm
Atrium 6
Loki Can Rule Me Any Day
Loki is very popular, even though he wasn't the main character (or even necessarily a "good guy"). An exploration of side characters who have become fan favorites. Wolverine, Agent Coulson, Jayne, Connie Mk II - What makes us like them so much? Panelists: Lyda Morehouse, Kamuran Paradis, Damarra Atkins, Todd Murray, Anne Lyle

11:30pm-12:30am
Plaza 2
Which Supers Should Hook Up?
If Thor and Storm got together, they would have cute little thunderbabies. Panelists: Lyda Morehouse, Kenneth Konkol, Lathan Murrell, Samma Johnson (mod), Christopher Jones


So, a busy day, but all starting afternoon, which will be a nice thing. 

Yesterday, I brought Mason along. He last minute decided to cosplay kid-Luffy, from One Piece. We spent much of the morning in search of the Straw Hat crew. Instead, we found a lot of really great cross/cosplay Marvel characters:

These ladies were really good (also traveling with a Thor and Tony Stark, though I only saw them later at the Marvel panel.) I was particularly enamored of Nicole Fury, as she had the perfect Wolverine claw mark scars visible under her eyepatch.
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Lady Deadpool! Every con needs a Deadpool, why not a Lady Deadpool?
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Fourth of July is Steve Rogers's birthday, so I wished this Stephanie Rogers a happy one and complimented her amazing 1940s style hair. (She defied my picture skills, though. Blurry here a little, but much worse when I tried to get her to pose with the two Peggys that were also at the Marvel panel.)
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Another Cap (though, tbf, she might have been dressing as one of the traveling dance troupe.) Probably my favorite thing about a lot of the Captain American cosplayers is that they can embrace the 1940s aesthetic and be beautifully buxom and curvy.
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There might have been a secret organization that was placing people in key positions at con, but I won't say who they were (*whispers*Hail, Hydra!*whispers*)
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And, Old School Gambit, who isn't cross playing*, but come on! Look at this! It's perfect:
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*today, according to naomikritzer this guy often cross plays "Slave Girl Leia." Rumor has it he's coming as "Slave Boy Leo" today, so I'll be sure to try to catch a shot of him, if I can, because that sounds phenomenal.

Mason and I spent much of con wandering around looking at all the cool costumers and wandering around the dealer's room. He bought a new Munchkin pack (zombies this time) and I found a cell phone charm of Renji/Hihio Zabimaru chibi, and I can never, ever resist chibi Zabimaru. Sadly, my cell phone does not have the technology to accommodate a charm. Seriously. It's not a smart phone, so I have no case to which I can hook such things. But, it was cheap and will fit my keyring just the same.

The Marvel Roundup panel was phenomenal. I had great fellow panelists and despite my voice, I managed to squee and maybe even make a few points of interest here and there. With any luck, you'll be able to judge for yourself. One of the panelists, Shaun Duke, is (among other things) a podcaster and he recorded us for his Hugo Award-nominated Skiffy and Fanty Show. If our panel gets posted there, I'll send along a direct link. It was probably the most high energy panel I've had so far, so I would think it would make a fantastic podcast.

Then there was more wandering, and Mason finally caught up with some of his crew:

Here's Mason with Zoro (green-hair) and Nami (orange-hair):
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And in a time paradox, an older Luffy!
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My final panel was "Cyberpunk 101," which went fairly well. Admittedly, my energy was starting to flag. Probably the most interesting part of the panel for me was the fact that one of my fellow panelists was a light side hacker. He was an honest-to-goodness Mouse, a phone freak from the 1980s. (And yes, he let us touch his hem.) I could have listened to his stories for the full hour. 

Instead, we talked about a lot of different aspects of cyberpunk and, once again, the audience had some really amazing, mind-blowing questions and thoughts about the future of cyberpunk. Because the question kept coming up, "If we're living in a world already predicted, where we're saturated with technology, how do you write beyond that point? Or, maybe more importantly, is it necessary to?" 

And I don't know. People often ask me if I'll ever return to the AngeLINK universe and I'm hesitant. I love the characters, but the world is getting harder and harder to reach back for because it's become a kind of AU where Facebook and Tumblr and Google glasses never happened. 

The point was also made that one of the things cyberpunk spoke to was the fears of the day, "What if we become so dependent on our technology that we're no longer human?" That's not really the thing we worry about these days. We worry about the environment. We *do* still worry about corporations taking over, but a lot of what we feared has already come to pass. I mean, corporations as people? Pretty sure that was warned about in any number of early cyberpunk novels. 

Also, as our resident hacker pointed out, it's actually a bit harder to by-pass The Man. Technology has outpaced some simple phone hacks. It's harder to break-in and it's much, MUCH harder to escape without leaving a trace.

Our fiction has also become a lot darker. No one believes any more that taking out one corporation/Power That Be will solve all the problems... without causing others. The revolution is murky and complicated and deeply underfunded...

It was a good panel, but in comparison to the squee fest of the Marvel Roundup it felt far lower key. But maybe that was because it was "meatier."