Monday, August 24, 2015

Review: Snowden by Ted Rall

By Reboot

Today I'm reviewing the new graphic novel from Seven Stories PressSnowden, by Ted Rall. As you may suspect (or hey, maybe not. It has been a while.), this is about THAT Snowden. Edward Snowden. Before we go into this graphic novel specifically, I'd like to take a little time to tell you about who Ted Rall is.

For those of you who don't know, Ted Rall is an award winning syndicated political cartoonist who has been making contributions in that field for decades. However, his career is not without controversy. Over the years he's angered people with more than a couple of his cartoons. He was both incredibly critical of the American public for re-electing George W. Bush in 2004 and also called for President Obama's resignation. And in the field of comics specifically, he made remarks about Art Spiegelman that caused Ted Rall a great deal of grief shortly after. Even as recently as this past July, he caused controversy when a story he's shared in regards to an altercation with the LAPD back in 2001 was allegedly misrepresented, leading to him being dropped by the Los Angeles Times.

Now that you have some background on Ted Rall, let's dive into Snowden. The approach of this book is fairly 101. It goes over much of the basics of the story in an easy to follow, mostly linear narrative. In this narrative, we're usually given a series of facts, followed by Ted Rall's analysis of the data. Some of the analysis makes perfect sense and shows Ted Rall's experience as a seasoned political observer. 

A few of his observations, unfortunately in this review, really made me scratch my head. Ted Rall discusses how Edward Snowden was in the Boy Scouts and harps on it to the point of near obsession for a time, and tries to draw some sort of connection between what he was taught as a Boy Scout and how that may have some how directly led to what he has done. Moments like that sucked me out of the book and made me question the integrity of the piece. That's not the kind of reaction you want for your biographical graphic novel.

The art throughout the book is a mixture of both his own art, photographs, and screen captions. Ted Rall's style is fits well with a syndicated newspaper strip. It's rough, most of the characters drawn look similar, and lacks expressiveness.  Nearly every character has the same facial expression, but the art is just a tool to tell his story. Like how someone would drive a beat up used car with the idea of it is just meant to get you from point A to point B.

If you have a vague interest in politics, and have heard of Edward Snowden, but don't really know much about him, Snowden is a good book for you and I would recommend it. If you're a casual bio/autobio graphic novel reader with an interest in politics, I'd also suggest that you give it a peek. But if you are more into high art/experimental art in graphic novels, or are looking for deep cuts into Edward Snowden's life, you're not going to find it here.

Snowden is available in the US on August 25th.

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Sunday, July 12, 2015

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice - Comic - Con Trailer

The new Dawn of Justice trailer has arrived, and I'll admit I'm now a little more intrigued by it. I've been fairly ambivalent to the whole thing because of the usual reasons, not a Snyder fan, hated Wonder Woman's outfit, and didn't care for Man of Steel, etc. etc., but this trailer makes me think there might be more to the movie than it just being a piece of mindless action. Take a look and tell us what you think. Does this make you change your mind? And is it just me or does Jesse Eisenberg's Lex Luthor seem a little more like the Riddler than Lex?

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Saturday, June 6, 2015

Black Widow Flash Mob #WEWANTWIDOW

Today, hundreds of cosplayers and internet supporters around the globe are taking a stand about the inequality of female super heroines in the media and on the shelves, especially for the First Lady of the MCU. We want to see Black Widow given the same attention as her male counterparts. She deserves it. We deserve it. Today, we want our message heard loud and clear ‪#‎WeWantWidow‬

Spearheaded by Kristin Rielly, mob captains from all over have been covertly coordinating these flash mobs to bring awareness in a positive and fun way. 

How you can help: You can find all the deets about this multi-city flash mob movement at you're unable to get to one of these mobs, please spread the word online, using the hashtag #WEWANTWIDOW, change your profile/cover pic to featuring Black Widow or get dressed up at home and post pictures. Every little bit helps. 

Below is the press release:


WHAT   We have coordinated a massive multi-city flash mob for June 6th 2015, where hundreds of cosplayers will be dressed as Black Widow to send a POSITIVE message that this is a character we WANT to see more of. We want to see her star in her own movie, we want to see her on apparel, and she totally deserves her own action figure! 

Each city flash mob has a secret location where Natashas will appear, create buzz, get their images online, and trend our message #WEWANTWIDOW.

In collaboration with our cosplayers, we have hundreds of online supporters that will be simultaneously changing their profiles to a Black Widow image while sharing our flash mob photos across every social media site. 

When:    Saturday, June 6, 2015 beginning at 12:00 p.m. local time 

Where:   From Seattle to Boston, and Canada to Sydney

WHO:   We have hundreds of cosplayers and online supporters already signed up for this massive event. Our “City Captains” are the ladies organizing this important event in their hometown: Kristin Rielly (Founder & Event Coordinator), Jay Justice (Event Coordinator, Philly), Juli Mayers (Boston), Autumn Wheelock (NYC), Andrea Levine (NYC), Jennifer K. Stuller (Seattle), Theresa Marie Salvador (Tampa), Jennifer Williams (Las Vegas), Belle Bredehoft (D.C.), Tanya Wheelock (Orlando), Sarah Boutcher(Ottawa), Priscilla Crocker (Minneapolis), Kelly Kirstein (Detroit), Keisha Howard (Chicago), Courtney Cuellar (San Diego), John Marcotte (Sacramento), Stephanie Rector (Sacramento) Catherine Kyle (Boise), and Variable (Sydney).

*In memory of Terrance Kelly, father of our honorary City Captain Bronwyn Kelly*

Monday, May 4, 2015

May the Fourth Be With You!!

Happy May the Fourth!  Take today to celebrate all the awesome that is Star Wars!  Embrace the glory of the Force!  Or at the very least, wear a Star Wars t-shirt.

As a little May the Fourth gifty, check out Hasbro's time lapse video of fans building Cloud City! That's right, at Star Wars Celebration, Frank D’iorio’s Diorama Workshop built a massive Cloud City diorama at the Hasbro booth! They built it over four days, with the help of approximately 1500 fans who made custom pieces! The diorama is 640 square feet and consists of over 400 setpieces, including approximately 800 figures and toys by Hasbro and Kenner.


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Thursday, April 16, 2015

First Glimpse of Justice League: Gods & Monsters

Bruce Timm is the pinnacle of DC Animation and has been producing some of the best animated shows over the years.  So you should be as excited as I that he is helming a brand new story in the newest animated release, Justice League: Gods & Monsters!  As per Warner Bros. press release:

Monday, February 16, 2015

Toy Fair '15: Must-Have Kickstarters

While wandering the toy fair floor, I checked out two Kickstarters up close and personal. And guess what? I liked them enough that I'm sharing them with you!

First up is the Four Horsies of the 'Pocalypse. It may sound ominous but who can be terrified of these cuties! Created and designed by Klim Kozinevich, this collection of art toys is just freaking gorgeous. I can't wait for the apocalypse to arrive at my house with Calamity, Clash, Ghost and Raven at the helm. These were preceded by the Maddie figure, whose Cthulhu-like presence is truly fearful. You can get the set of four in original coloring, glow in the dark or clear. If you want, you can also add in a Maddie figure too!

While at Toy Fair, the Bigshot Toyworks team highlighted these very limited edition colored Maddies, which are also available in very, very limited supply.

The clock is ticking on this, with about two days or less to hop on board the 'Pocolypse!

The next Kickstarter I'm highlighting is Ghostbusters:The Board Game from Cryptozoic Entertainment. Based on the original movie, this episode based board game is for one to four players.  It even includes original art from the comics!

While they didn't have many unrevealed tidbits at Toy Fair, talking with the Cryptozoic staffers about the game really showed the passion this team has for the product. They don't just want to bring out the game; they want to give fans the game they have been waiting for!

Everyday it seems a new stretch goal is unlocked and a new awesome character is revealed. They have more than doubled their goal and still have over three weeks left on the campaign. Get in while you still can!

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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

First Glimpse of Batman Unlimited: Animal Instincts

We are definitely in Penguin-mode right now, especially with the amazing performance by Robin Lord Taylor on Gotham.  So, it's no surprise that we are seeing Batman's fishy villain in the newest animated release, Batman Unlimited: Animal Instincts!  As per Warner Bros. press release:

Another storm is brewing in Gotham and it's not only raining 

cats and dogs but evil Cyber Animals! When the city is plagued 
by a slew of bizarre crimes committed by an animal-inspired 
villain squad known as the Animilitia – comprised of Silverback, 
Cheetah, Killer Croc and Man-Bat – Batman must swing into 
action to investigate. These animalistic villains bring new and 
exciting challenges for the hero of Gotham, and Batman must 
find a way to bring these criminal creatures to a halt! But could 
the Animilitia be working for powerful businessman Oswald Cobblepot 
a.k.a. The Penguin? How does The Penguin's new invention of robotic 
Cyber Animals fit into the mix? In the end, it'll the combined forces 
of Batman, Flash, Green Arrow, Nightwing and Red Robin to 
combat these Animal Instincts.

This looks great!  The film will be released on May 12, 2015 on BluRay, DVD and Digital Download.  If you can't wait, watch the trailer below.

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