Category Archives: fandom

An Announcement…

Greetings Earthlings. Forget May the Fourth and Revenge of the Sixth, May is Star Wars month. Why do I say that? Because May 25th marks the 40th anniversary of A New Hope, the one that started it all. But the other five films were released in May and their celebrating their milestones as well. May 21st marks the 37th anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back. May 25th also marks the 34th anniversary of Return of the Jedi. Attack of the Clones celebrated its 15th anniversary on the 16th while The Phantom Menace and Revenge of the Sith celebrated their 18th and 12th anniversaries respectively on the 19th. George Lucas also turned 73 on the 14th.

To mark this occasion, I’ve opened a shop on Etsy to sell some sci-fi themed keychains and jewelry. It’s called – what else? – The Lady From Planet X. Star Wars isn’t the only franchise I’m selling. Since we’re still in Star Trek‘s 50th anniversary, I’m selling some ST keychains. This year marks the 30th anniversary of The Next Generation and I hope to add some TNG themed items soon. It’s also Wonder Woman’s 75th anniversary and I’ll add some Wondy items as soon as their ready. In the meantime, stop to peruse the Xena keychains I’ve made.

Enjoy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Enough With The ‘Star Trek’ Vs. ‘Star Wars’ Debates

Star Trek is turning 50, which means lots of new goodies for fans to consume with their wallets – among them collectors’ issues from your local magazine rack. Among these issues, expect to find, once again, the perennial Star Trek vs. Star Wars articles as to which franchise is better. Eyeroll please.

When I was a teenager, I was a Star Wars fan first and foremost. I had never seen any episodes of Star Trek, whether it was the Original Series, the Next Generation, Deep Space Nine or Voyager. There were no TV stations playing the Original Series at the time (not even the then popular TV Land was airing the show regularly). Yet the no. 1 question I would get from people after learning that I loved Star Wars was “do you like Star Trek?” For years – even after I had become acquainted with the show – I had no clue there was supposed to be a “rivalry” between fans of both franchises. I ‘m convinced there isn’t and it’s all a pointless ploy by the media to create divisions and since it isn’t working, they won’t give up.

So to beat them at their own game, I’m going to tell you what both franchises have in common and why they both made our society all the richer for it (no, I will not point out the differences because they’re too obvious).

1. They Premiered In Double Digit Years.

Star Trek made it’s debut in 1966. Ten years later, in 1977, Star Wars: A New Hope  made its debut in theaters across the US. September 2016 marks the 50th anniversary of Star Trek. May 2017 will mark the 40th anniversary of Star Wars. Lord, time flies!

2. Both Had Something To Say

Gene [Roddenberry] envisioned a future where humanity had overcome their fears and prejudices and were willing to use science and exploration to their advantage. George [Lucas] envisioned an epic space adventure story using age-old mythological tropes. Both franchises are morality plays that dealt with topical and age-old issues: racism, oppression, good and evil, the importance of loyalty, the need for teamwork, why we should be forgiving, why we should look for the good in others, and so forth. They also broke ground in representation: Star Trek was the first major sf show to depict a diverse crew – that included a technically savvy black woman, an Asian helmsman and a Russian at the time of the Cold War, who weren’t ethnic stereotypes –  regularly, while Star Wars broke ground by introducing cinema’s first action heroine, challenging traditional male stereotypes with its main character and introducing a black character in a position of power – 28 years before the US would vote in a black president. I would also like to add that The Phantom Menace brought us, for the first time in cinematic history, a queen who wasn’t evil.

Here’s another point: both had potential to be even more groundbreaking, had circumstances not gotten in the way: the Enterprise‘s second in command would’ve been a woman, Obi-Wan Kenobi would’ve played by Toshiro Mifune, etc. But either way, both franchises changed people’s lives.

But the average viewer/moviegoer wasn’t the only person to be inspired by these stories…

3. Both Have Inspired Scientists 

I KNOW what you’re going to say! Star Trek is sci-fi, Star Wars is space fantasy, so you can’t even put the two in the same camp. Try telling that to the many scientists who’ve been inspired by both franchises. While Star Trek is the more obvious of the two – check out the charming documentary How William Shatner Changed the World for more information – Star Wars, believe it or not, has also inspired scientists to “stretch out with their feelings” when it comes to their scientific endeavors, be it space travel, biology, or prosthetics. Here’s a list of scientists (and scientific discoveries) inspired by that galaxy far, far away:

Holly GriffithThe Crew of Expedition 45Israel SanchezJonathan ArmbrusterKelly B. Miller and Quentin D. WheelerNate Lo

Here’s another documentary to watch: Star Wars Tech.

4. Both Produced An Expansive Tie-In Novel Collection

Curious as to what happened to the the crew of  the MirrorEnterprise after the events of “Mirror, Mirror”? Want to know more about the birth and life of Khan Noonien Singh before he was introduced in “Space Seed”? Want to learn more about Vulcan philosophy or Klingon rituals? Star Trek has produced, so far, over 200 tie-in novels written by talented authors, who fill in the blanks left open by the shows and movies that answers many a fan’s burning questions. From 1977 to 2014 the Star Wars Expanded Universe answered questions regarding how the myriads of characters in that galaxy far, far away got involved in the situations presented in the movies: who was Darth Plagueis the Wise? Why do the Sith follow the Rule of Two? How did Luke rebuild the Jedi Order? What happened to the survivors of Order 66? After April of 2014, a new canon novel timeline was introduced which included the novelization of an unfinished story arc from the canceled Clone Wars TV series. Whether you prefer the EU or the CU is up for debate. Because of the successful sales of Trek and Wars books, other franchises, from the X-Files to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, have also released tie-in novels furthering the adventures of their characters, albeit with less success.

Let’s also give a shout-out to all the comics, reference books and magazines published since ’66 and ’77.

5. Both Have Given Us Well-Written And Thought-Provoking Cartoons

If you were alive in 1973, were you under the impression that cartoons were silly, humorous entertainment strictly for kids and nothing more? Star Trek: The Animated Series shot that notion into a black hole with its intelligent, thought-provoking storylines, its continuation of groundbreaking moments (such as when Uhura briefly became captain of the Enterprise) lack of cutesy talking animal characters and its toned-downed humor. And because of that, the show won the franchise its first Emmy and paved the way for more serious, adult-oriented shows like Batman: The Animated Series. And if you ask me, Star Trek: TAS deserves more love.

In 2003 and 2008, Lucasfilm released two TV series that explored the war only hinted at in A New Hope and Attack of the Clones. The 2003 Star Wars: Clone Wars used minimal dialogue to portray the earliest battles of the Clone Wars and introduced a new, scary villain (and also netted the franchise its first Emmy) while the 2oo8 Clone Wars gave us more details, a deeper philosophical insight into the Force, more ambiguous moral conundrums and a new iconic female character. That series also won an Emmy (eventually) and was Cartoon Network’s most watched show.

6. Lots And Lots of Merchandise

…And counting. Could sports or music memorabilia ever compete with a fan’s extensive Star Trek or Star Wars collection? That depends on who you ask. Start with Marc Bell or Steve Sansweet (warning: your mind will be blown or you may covet these collections).

So let’s follow George Takei’s advice and stop this silly rivalry. Remember only a Sith deals in absolutes.

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You can also buy this shirt over at Society 6 in any size you want!

 

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Planet X Puts Simon Pegg On Trial For Crimes Against The SF Community

(Note: This is a work of fiction. However, real people with real quotes have been inserted into this work of fiction. This is also an inaccurate example of a trial. I’ve tried my best to be as close to real life as possible, but this is a mock trial on another planet. And you know what they say: “when in Rome, do as the Romans”. If your reading this and your an expert on the criminal justice system, any and all corrections are welcome.)

All rise. The Court of Planet X is now in session. Judge John W. Campbell presiding. Please be seated. Calling the case of the people of Planet X versus self-proclaimed geek, Simon John Beckingham Pegg.

Me: Your Honor. Geeks and nerds of the jury. The defendant has been charged with the crimes of haughtiness, rudeness to his peers and disrespect to his elders regarding beloved sci-fi franchises. Four incidents of this disreputable behavior will be used as evidence.

Exhibit A: A Constant Nagging Criticism of George Lucas and the Star Wars Prequels.

The defendant has always let it be known that he has a boiling disdain for George Lucas’ 1999-2005 trilogy. He has spewed bile about it in interviews over and over again. Take this quote for instance:

And I think if anyone can pull Star Wars out of the mire its J.J. He’ll bring the fun back. Lucas seemed to misread what made the first ones great, and concentrate on things that people didn’t really care about, or willfully ignore the things that people cared about. Whereas J.J. embraced them all. We’re going to see the Millennium Falcon again. We’re going to see those characters again. All the things we see about the first three, we will see again.

Or there’s this one:

They’re a monumental misunderstanding of what the first three films are about. It’s an exercise in utter infanticide, like George Lucas killing his kid.

Yet many fans disagree with Pegg’s views. And his response leads to…

Exhibit B: Bully Those That Like The Star Wars Prequels.

This is what Mr. Pegg had to say about those fans. First is this little gem from his show Spaced:

Note: He plays character named Tim and he’s shouting at a little boy for liking “The Phantom Menace”

“You are so blind! You so do not understand! You weren’t there at the beginning. You don’t know how good it was! How important! This is it for you! People like you make me sick!…take your pocket money AND GET OUT!

[little boy runs out crying]

“What a prick.”

He didn’t stop there, he said nasty things about prequel fans out of character too:

I don’t really have any respect for anyone who thinks those films are good. They’re not.

Now that we’ve seen evidence related to Star Warriors let’s move on to the other fans Pegg has offended – the Trekkies.

Exhibit C: Outright Rudeness Toward Star Trek Fans.

Star Trek Into Darkness, the sequel to 2009’s Star Trek reboot was released in 2013. It has an 86% at Rotten Tomatoes and made 467.4 million at the box office. But looks can deceive. At a Star Trek convention in Las Vegas, Into Darkness was voted worst the worst Star Trek movie of all time. Pegg did not take kindly to the news. Here’s his kind, thoughtful response:

You know what…it absolutely isn’t the worst Star Trek movie. It’s asinine, you know. It’s ridiculous. And frustrating as well, because a lot of hard work and love went into that movie, and all JJ wanted to do was make a film that people enjoyed. So to be subject to that level of sort of, like, crass, fucking ire, I just say, fuck you.

But then his criticism of Star Trek fans shifted to sci-fi fans in general.

Exhibit D: Accusing SF of Dumbing Us Down

Obviously I’m very much a self-confessed fan of science fiction and genre cinema. But part of me looks at society as it is now and just thinks we’ve been infantilized by our own taste. Now we’re essentially all consuming very childish things – comic books, superheroes…Adults are watching this stuff and taking it seriously!

And, not surprisingly, geeks did not take kindly to his words because he blamed everyone but himself.

Judge: The prosecution may call its first witness.

The People call the first witness, Israel Sanchez.

Clerk: Please stand. Raise your right hand. Do you promise that the testimony you shall give in the case before this court shall be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help you God?

Sanchez: I do.

Clerk: You may be seated.

Me: Where do you work, Dr. Sanchez?

Sanchez: I work at the National Museum of Natural Sciences in Madrid.

Me: And what is your occupation, Dr. Sanchez?

Sanchez: I am a biologist.

Me: Can you tell us about the fossilized remains of this animal you discovered, Xenokeryx amidalae?

Sanchez: In central Spain, we discovered an amazingly preserved giraffe relative that lived between 23 million and 5 million years ago. Its physical characteristics included a short neck, two ossicones and a cranial, T-shaped appendage.

Me: And why did you name it, Xenokeryx amidalae?

Sanchez: If you remember the Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace film, when Padme Amidala is queen of her home planet Naboo, she shows off several complicated dresses and hairstyles. Well, one of the hairstyles from a scene in Coruscant is strikingly similar to the occipital appendage of Xenokeryx. Yes, I am a fan of Star Wars.

Me: And how does it make you feel to know that actor Simon Pegg has no respect for you?

Sanchez: I think it’s unfortunate, though I don’t think I’ve ever heard of him.

Me: Members of the court. I’d like to take this moment to name other famous fans of the Star Wars prequels: Robert Kirkman, comic book writer and creator of The Walking Dead. Joey Fatone, singer, dancer and former member of *Nsync. Actress Jaime King. Even more important are scientists like Nate Lo, who discovered bacteria in mitochondria and named it Midichloria mitochondrii. And last, but not least, astronauts Scott Kelly, Kjell Lindgren, Sergei Volkov, Oleg Kononenko, Kimiya Yui and Mikhail Kornienko, who posed as jedi for their Expedition 45 portrait and watched Revenge of the Sith in space. These are the true geeks who, inspired by science fiction, the very genre Pegg says is “infantilizing us”, spend their lives studying the world around us and using their findings to help society better understand our world. And because their tastes are different from Pegg, he has no respect for them. Thank you, Dr. Sanchez.

Judge: The witness is excused. The prosecution may call the next witness.

The People call George Takei.

Clerk: Please stand. Raise your right hand. Do you promise that the testimony you shall give in the case before this court shall be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God?

Takei: I do.

Clerk: You may be seated.

Me: Mr. Takei, tell us your occupation and work history.

Takei: I am a 61-year veteran actor and activist. I played Enterprise helmsman Sulu on Star Trek.

Me: Mr. Takei, can you tell us about the week of July 4, 2015?

Takei: I was informed by John Cho, the actor who plays a younger version of my Star Trek character – that it would be revealed that Sulu would have a husband and a young daughter – as a form of inclusion and as a nod to me as a gay man. This decision was made by Simon, who wrote the screenplay and Justin Lin, the director.

Me: And what was your reaction to the news, Mr. Takei?

Takei:

I’m delighted that there’s a gay character. Unfortunately it’s a twisting of Gene’s creation, to which he put in so much thought. I think it’s really unfortunate.

Me: So what did you suggest to them?

Takei: I told them to…

Be imaginative and create a character who has a history of being gay, rather than Sulu, who had been straight all this time, suddenly revealed as being closeted.

This movie is going to be coming out on the 50th anniversary of Star Trek, the 50th anniversary of paying tribute to Gene Roddenberry, the man whose vision…carried us through half a century. Honor him and create a new character.

Me: And did they respect your wishes?

Takei: I thought so at first. But they didn’t.

Me: What was Mr. Pegg’s response?

Takei: He said that he respectfully disagrees with me and that if he created a new gay character, it would be tokenism because audiences would just see that character as “the gay character”.

Me: And what did he say about Mr. Gene Roddenberry?

Takei: He said…

The viewing audience weren’t open-minded enough at the time and it must have forced Roddenberry to modulate his innovation. His mantra was always ‘infinite diversity in infinite combinations’. If he could have explored Sulu’s sexuality with George, he no doubt would have.

Me: Your Honor. Members of the jury. I did not use Mr. Takei’s predicament as Exhibit E, because I felt it was better to hear the victim tell his story in his own words. And it’s this recent incident that convinces me that Mr. Pegg should be found guilty.

Here he is, once again, declaring that he knows the franchises he claims to love better than the creators that spent, hours, days, months and years imagining, writing, outlining and fighting for their work to be released to the public. Franchises that he had nothing to do with in the first place. He was a consultant on The Force Awakens, despite the irrefutable fact that he was only 7 years old when A New Hope was released and had no involvement whatsoever with the making of the original trilogy. They already hired Lawrence Kasdan, the co-screenwriter for The Empire Strikes Back to write the script. Because of this, The Force Awakens lacked creativity and originality. It was nothing more than big budget fan fiction with no heart and no soul. And now Pegg is using his delusions of grandeur against not only against Mr. Takei, a legend and icon among many, but the late Mr. Gene Roddenberry, by assuming he knows Roddenberry – a man he has never met – better than Takei, a man whose worked closely with Roddenberry for 23 years. And Pegg is now in charge of the screenplay for the 13th Trek film, Star Trek Beyond. Why? This man wasn’t even conceived when the very first Star Trek series premiered on September 8, 1966. Now, with him at the helm, so to speak, his decision to turn an established straight character, gay, is not only lazy, it’s inconsistent with Trek mythology. Since these contemporary films are prequels, it would be awkward to show Sulu with a family, and then watch the Original Series and wonder why he never brings them up in casual conversation. For gay fans of Star Trek, it would look as if Sulu went back into the closet. It would make Kirk’s aside about not knowing that Sulu had time to start a family in Star Trek Generations, all the more perplexing. I will close my arguments by pointing out that making Sulu gay as a tribute to Mr. Takei is undermining Mr. Takei’s work as an actor, a job that requires you pretend you’re something other than yourself for the sake of suspending audiences’ beliefs for an hour or two. That his sexuality is the only thing that defines him despite the fact that the roles he took as a Japanese American man broke barriers.

Judge: Will the jury foreperson please stand? Has the jury reached a unanimous verdict?

Foreperson: Yes. The jury finds the defendant…guilty.

Judge: Thank you jury. Ladies and Gentlemen. Due to the amounting evidence against Mr. Pegg, I think we can’t afford to wait another day to give the defendant his punishment.

From this day, forward, Mr. Pegg, you will be stripped of any film making duties, be it screenplays, producing, directing, editing and creative consultant. You will be restricted to acting and acting in other’s films only. However, you will be suspended for one year from film roles to spend the next two years, with worker’s compensation, reading and studying the works and history of science fiction. You will be given all the major classics of SF, from Asimov to Zelazny, to complete while wearing a different Star Wars prequel t-shirt everyday.

Court dismissed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Campbellcon 2015

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I’ve never been to San Diego Comic Con and honestly, I have no interest in going. I’m uncomfortable with flying and I think SDCC is too commercialized.

But I’ve been to a few toys and comics shows with celebrity guests in the CA bay area. I’ve been to a toy. comics and collectibles show in Pleasanton, Alameda and San Jose. Campbellcon in (where else?) Campbell, CA was my first trip to this lovely city.

I first learned about Campbellcon through an advertisement at a local toy shop in Union City. It said that some Star Wars: The Clone Wars voice actors would be there. As a Star Warrior, I wanted to meet these actors and I wanted to buy some comics and some SW action figures to my collection. So I paid for a ticket online ($21.94) and printed out driving directions to Campbell.

On November 7, I headed out towards I-880 S. After some distance (and getting a little lost – but not too lost) I reached my destination. The con was held at the historic Campbell Community Center which used to be a high school. It’s a very nice building as seen above.

After I was allowed in, the first thing I did was go to the celebrity table. I forgot to mention that most of the CW actors I wanted to meet had canceled their appointments. But there was still one SW actress that showed up: Debbie Lee Carrington, who played Romba the Ewok in Return of the Jedi was there signing pictures of her in the saga and Total Recall. But before I stopped at her table, I went to see another actress: Lana Wood, sister of Natalie and former Bond Girl. I wanted to ask about her time on The Wild, Wild West. She had guest-starred twice on the classic sci-fi western, “The Night of the Firebrand” and “The Night of the Plague” as two different characters. I had hoped that she would have a photograph from the show that she would sign (hopefully one with Pernell Roberts) but, alas she didn’t. However, she offered to send some pictures to my e-mail address. We had a nice chat, took a picture and I ended up buying a wonderful picture of her and her legendary older sister which she signed.

Then after much browsing and buying only one trade paperback, I went straight to Ms. Carrington’s desk. She noticed my Xena tin lunch box (where I was keeping my money) and told me that she was friends with Lucy Lawless (“she’s a wonderful person, very down to earth”). I picked a still of Romba and she signed “Greetings from Endor!” (how cute!) and shook my hand.

Now for the low points of Campbellcon: merchandise-wise, it was very disappointing. As I said earlier, I bought only a comic book: Young Justice. Most other comic books available either didn’t interest me or I had already read. And as regards to finding the Star Wars action figures I’ve been desiring, forget it. A majority of the SW toys were from The Force Awakens. You see, I’ve been craving that new Black Series Ceremonial Gown Leia, that Hasbro had to push back a couple of months because that’s one of my favorite Leia dresses. I’ve also been hoping to find that Vintage Collection Ahsoka Tano action figure but there wasn’t any. Oh well. Keep searching and you will find…

But there was another positive realization I came to at Campbellcon, especially when it comes to Star Warriors.

There were a couple of cosplayers in attendance and most of them were dressed from the prequel or EU era. One person was dressed as a clone trooper. There were some men in jedi and sith robes selling lightsabers (I think it was the Saber Guild). Another young man was dressed in a sith robe with a double-bladed lightsaber, (but judging by the hilt design, it wasn’t Darth Maul’s or Bastila Shan’s). And as I left, I passed by four teenagers in jedi robes. It taught me that there is a difference between the internet and real life. While the internet may have you believe that “fans” have a seething hatred for the direction the saga took in recent years, those “fans” spend most of their time raging on the internet while the more positive fans are out and about expressing their devotion and having fun.

Another thing I learned is the importance of attending your local sf/comic book convention. Why go to San Diego, NYC or Anaheim every year when you can show your support for a pop-culture related event, no matter how small. It boosts morale. It’s good for your local economy. I’m looking forward to the next available toy and comics show.

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unnamed (2) carrington

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Seriously, Can We Give Batman a Rest?

September 26th was “Batman Day” and online there were offers galore for every type of Bat-merchandise you can get your hands on.

Uh, didn’t we just celebrate Batman’s 75th anniversary last year? Weren’t there events and activities throughout 2014 to celebrate the milestone and tons of merchandise to boot? I have nothing against the Dark Knight. I love the 1966-68 Batman show. I love Batman: The Brave and the Bold. I like Batman: The Animated Series. Batgirl, Catwoman, Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn are some of my all-time favorite characters. But this Bat-worship is getting tiresome. You’d think that Batman was the only hero in DC’s roster. It’s like how fans have been accusing Marvel for recently “avoiding” X-Men and The Fantastic Four simply because the characters are owned by Fox.

In 2013 Superman had his 75th anniversary. Nothing much was made to commemorate it except for this awesome animated short. There was no “Superman Day” at Barnes and Noble, where you could buy one Supes comic and get one free of your choice. Or participate in a Superman trivia competition or buy from a huge display of Superman merchandise that was half-off (or less). The Flash reached his 75th anniversary milestone this year. Raise your hand if you knew that. At Hot Topic, the percentage of Bat-merchandise is higher than that of the other DC heroes.

I could pin the blame for all this bat-obsession on DC alone but I wonder if the fans are just as much to blame for voting with their wallets. DC is still a business and they’re not willing to go out on a limb for a superhero that doesn’t sell. If DC is reluctant to shine the spotlight on Wonder Woman when she hits the big 7-5 next year, it’ll make me really sad.

I know that many people are drawn to Batman because he has no superpowers and he seems more “relatable”, but what is relatable anyway? What may seem relatable to one person may not be the case with another. I relate to Wonder Woman because she comes from a matriarchal society and she has a sisterly attitude towards other women. I’m drawn to Superman because he looks like someone you could give a big bear hug and share a bag of popcorn with. I like Captain Marvel because he’s goofy. I like the Birds of Prey because they’re women (both with and without superpowers) from different walks of life working together as a team. But Batman feels too aloof and distant to me and his rogues gallery often overshadows him. Gotham City is too dark and dreary and sometimes reading a Batman comic can be leave me feeling disturbed.

When I read superhero comics, I never think: “how do I relate to these characters”. I’m drawn to superheroes because they’re not like everyone else. I didn’t want to be like everyone else when I was a teenager, so I guess that’s why I’ve always been drawn to DC: they’re fine with being different from everyone else as long as they can still get along with the rest of humanity.

I’m not asking that we toss the Caped Crusader into oblivion, never to be seen again. I’m just saying let’s shine a spotlight on the other DC heroes when it comes to merchandise and media – especially some of the obscure ones (some Vixen, Blue Beetle and Black Canary merchandise please) so that all fans can feel included.

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Why Is Fandom Today So Limited?

I went on YouTube today and caught this cute little animated video about why fangirls just can’t escape the MCU. As I watched it, I had noticed that, once again, the media presented me with the same type of fans: the Whovians, the Trekkies, the Marvel fangirl, the Star Warrior (aka Star Wars fan) and the anime fan. Even though I was charmed by the video, I kept wondering: where’s the Xena fan, the Steampunk, the Dune fan (who could quip that no one’s done an adaptation since the disasterous 1984 film), the DC fan or the gamer?  Why were the only Star Wars fans represented, displaying OT era clothes. Couldn’t one of them been dressed as Ahsoka Tano? She has fangirls too.

This isn’t the only incident of limited fandom.

Yesterday was Fangirl Friday at Barnes and Noble as part of their Get Pop Cultured Month. On their Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog, they had a test made by Sam Maggs, author of The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy. Depending on which answers you chose (and how many times you chose a, b, c, etc.) your results are that you are a fan of: Harry Potter, Joss Whedon, Dr. Who, Tolkien, Supernatural, Sherlock, Game of Thrones, comics, YA literature and Disney (the test is here, for those of you who are curious).

I’m not  a fan of any of the aforementioned book series. I don’t see the appeal of Joss Whedon or his works. I’m not a Marvel girl (though Lord knows I’ve tried to be). I’m a DC girl but Marvel’s been getting all the media attention (and praise) lately and even my love for Disney has waned in recent years. So I just skipped the test all together.

Why are we constantly being exposed to the same type of tv shows, movies and comics when it comes to SF and F? Why do todays “geeks” seem so alliterate when it comes to SF and F literature except when it’s a best seller? Where’s the love for Isaac Asimov, H.G. Wells, Ray Bradbury or C.L. Moore? Why are OT Star Wars fans or TOS Star Trek fans given a voice in public blogs and websites and not TNG fans or PT fans? Where’s the appreciation for shows like The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits or films like Invasion of the Body Snatchers and The Day the Earth Stood Still, media that pioneered the genre? It’s very frustrating.

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The Ape, the Dinosaur and Me

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On June 20th, 2015, the Historic Bal Theatre in San Leandro, CA hosted it’s fourth “Godzilla Night”. GN is a mini film festival of movies featuring the king of the kaiju. This night, they were playing Godzilla, King of the Monsters and a collection of newly discovered monster films called Kaiju Gaiden.

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But the film I went to see was the ultimate beast brawl, King Kong vs. Godzilla. It was the first Godzilla movie I saw as a child. Released in 1962, KK vs G pits the ultimate American movie monster (Kong) against the ultimate Japanese movie monster (Godzilla). A Japanese pharmaceutical company that collects narcotic berries from some jungle island (I forget where), is pressured by a tv exec whose show is sponsored by the company, to go back to the island and “find him a monster”. So two men named Sakurai and Furue go to the jungle island. Did I mention that the natives there worship a giant god? Did I also mention that the two explorers give the gift of cigarettes to the natives (including a child)? Did I forget to mention that a giant octopus attacks the village? Seriously, why aren’t we talking more about the giant octopus?

As I said previously, a giant octopus attacks the village. One hut in particular has a young woman and her son in it. In the nick of time, Kong shows up and fights the octopus. After that long and tedious fight, he needs a couple of drinks. Cue the berry juice which puts him to sleep. The natives show their thanks with song and dance. How he sleeps through it is anyone’s guess. A knocked out Kong is brought back to Japan.

But wait, someone else has returned. Why it’s none other than Godzilla whose only objective is to…um, uh, destroy Tokyo! How do we stop him? With rocket launchers? With a nuclear bomb? No! To fight a monster, we need a monster! Bring in the giant gorilla! An awaken, cranky Kong and Godzilla duke it out. There’s much destruction in the process. People flee! Camera’s roll! And Kong and Godzilla tumble into the ocean. Godzilla disappears and Kong, fed up with civilization and radioactive dinosaurs, decides to swim back home.

While not as strong a classic like the original 1954 version of Godzilla, it was a fun movie experience. I arrived at the theatre at 2:30 (the program started at 3 pm). Flashed the ticket I bought online. Went to purchase some popcorn, soda and candy and sat down to an orchestral recording of the Godzilla soundtrack and watched a slideshow of kaiju artwork done by children and local artists (you then could go online and vote on which artwork you liked best). Then the announcer came on stage and introduced two people dressed as King Kong and Godzilla. A woman handed them two “boulders” (they were grey beach balls) to throw into the audience. Whoever caught them won a free Godzilla t-shirt. I know what you’re thinking. No, I didn’t win one, I was sitting too far back.

After the film, I went to three different kiosks that were selling Godzilla merchandise. I bought a small Godzilla figurine for $5.

There wasn’t a huge crowd for the afternoon event but it was a sizeable assortment of people of all ages from the young to the old with some avid Godzilla fans sprinkled in. I’m not a huge Godzilla fan myself but I recently bought the Criterion Collection release of Gojira, which I was impressed with because of it’s message of nuclear disarmament and it’s depiction of Japanese culture. It’s one of the best films of the 50s.

I also went because I prefer smaller, more intimate, “Geek” events as opposed to larger, more lucrative, commercial events like Comic Con. The former (for me) is much more affordable, more easygoing and requires less travel than the latter.

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A Sci-Fi Movie Fan’s Incredible Collection

We all have favorite things we like to collect. Some people collect Barbies. Some collect Beatles or Elvis memorabilia. There are people out there who still like to collect stamps. I like to collect Star Wars action figures, Beanie Babies and SF art trading cards. But every collector, sooner or later, faces the dilemma of where to store his or her finds.

That’s not the case with Cho Woong.

According to Star Wars.com, the South Korea native has quite a collection of movie statues and figures beautifully displayed above his restaurant in Daegu (I’m guessing that’s where he gets the money to buy all these beautiful props and accessories ’cause if I tried the same thing, I’d be living in my car). Most of his collection consists of Star Wars characters, vehicles and weapons but he also has stuff from Alien, Predator, Avatar, Terminator, E.T., Lord of the Rings, Marvel and even The Creature From the Black Lagoon.

But don’t take my word for it, see his website here.

Check out his restaurant here. (This is for those of you who have more interest in his culinary skills than his collecting skills. Hope you can read Korean)

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Greetings Earthlings!

I am The Lady From Planet X. I made this blog to express my love for science fiction and because I was tired of the same narrow-minded views many professional “geek” blogs expressed. In this blog, I will discuss SF (and sometimes fantasy) books, film, tv shows, comics and even music. You may not agree with some of my views. That’s OK. It’d be boring if we all agreed on the same things. But be civil about it in the comments. Rudeness is not OK on Planet X.

You can also check out my other blog on Tumblr: theladyfromplanetx.tumblr.com

And now I’m on Twitter!

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