Star Wars-ing: Star Wars at Comicpalooza

Every con we go to, we like to make Star Wars connections.  I usually am meticulous with my research for this kind of blog, but this week my real job is taking most of my time, so I’m kind of doing this one on the fly.

  • Jessica Henwick: The star of Iron Fist was also Jess Testor in The Force Awakens
  • James Robinson and Tony Harris:  This comic team brought us the one off for C3PO.  But don’t be fooled by the one-off. This is one of the best single issue comics in the new Marvel line of Star Wars comics.  It brings up serious issues about artificial intelligence in a moving and thought-provoking way.  It is simply fantastic.
  • Ben Templesmith did work in the previous Marvel Star Wars runs.
  • On Friday at 10 am, there will be a panel on the Storytelling of Story Wars in 370D.
  • Later at 4 that same day, there will be a Star Wars improv show in room 362A.  On Saturday, at 2:30 this will be repeated.
  • At 4:30 on Friday in room 361C, a local theater troop will put on a reading of William Shakespeare’s Star Wars.  At 4:30 on Saturday, the reading will do the second half of it.
  • On Saturday at 1, there will be a Star Wars Enthusiasts of Huston Mega Cosplay Photo Shoot in Hall B3 if you want to see some great Star Wars costumes.
  • Saturday evening at 9 pm, there will be a discussion as to what is better Star Wars or Star Trek.  Personally, that’s comparing apples and oranges to me, but I love both equally!

May the force be with you!

ComicCon-ing: We Will Be Podcasting at Comicpalooza

We will be podcasting at Comicpalooza!  We will be at Booth 3319 from 12-1pm Saturday.

Of course, we are a little nervous.  We have only been  podcasting for the last six months, and we have never done an episode in front of people.

Because the focus of our podcast is Star Wars and comic cons, we will dedicate most of the time to it.  We will talk about our previous experience with Comicpalooza and some of this year’s guests who have worked on Star Wars films and comics.

We are still working on our outline, but I’m hoping it will be a good show! We hope to see you there!

ComicCon-ing: Comicpalooza Kicks Off This Friday!

Texas’s largest comic con starts this week!  Great guests such as Chuck Norris, Charlie Cox, Anthony Mackie, and the newly added Shannon Elizabeth will be just a few of the celebrity guests that will be there.

The event schedule for the con can be found here.  One of the great things that Comicpalooza does is that it includes autographing and photo ops in its list.  This actually allows you to plan your days.

We will be getting to Houston around 6-7 on Friday, so I’m not sure if we will make any activities even though they go on into the night. So, here are a few events we love to go to on Saturday and Sunday (of course we might have to split up to achieve a few of these, lol):

Saturday

Comics in Academia – Room 351C – 10:30am

Lance Henriksen Q&A – Room 332A – 10:30am

 

Star Wars Enthusiasts of Houston Mega Cosplay Photo Shoot – Hall B3 – 1-2pm

Valiant 101: The Story Starts Here Room – 371C – 1:30-2:30pm

Anthony Mackie Q&A – General Assembly – 4:30 to 5:30

Sunday

Daredevil Q&A -General Assembly – 11:00-11:45

SpongeBob SquarePants Q&A – Room 332A – 12:00-1:00pm

Technology of The Expanse: How NASA Operates in Space in the Present and in the Future – Room 381A – 1:00pm-2:00 pm

Remembering Carrie Fisher – Room 351C – 4:30-5:30 pm

You can see all of our coverage of Comicpalooaza here.

Reading: Free Comic Book Day!

Every year, your local participating comic shop hosts Free Comic Book Day!  That’s right, you can go to your local comic book shop and get free comics.

The New Orleans area has some great comic book stores three which we frequent often.  Our comic shop is BSI Comics in Metairie.  However, we highly recommend More Fun Comics and Crescent City Comics as we often shop there when we are in that area.  Heroes Corner in Metairie is also fantastic.  Kenner also has a great shop across from Wal-Mart whose name escapes me at the moment.

Each comic book store has their own little party.  BSI will have author Blake Petit and actor Jason Carter from Babylon 5.  Crescent City will be having a sidewalk party including a lemonade stand since it’s also lemonade stand day.  The 501st usually appears at more than one shop. A quick facebook or google search will let you know what your local store is planning.

Remember, though, that the old adage of nothing is actually for free.  Your comic book shop  has to pay for those comics.  The point of Free Comic Book Day is to get bodies in the stores.  If people enter the store, then they might be inspired to buy something. So PLEASE buy something if you go.  Comic book stores often have great trade paperbacks (I highly recommend Vision or Darth Vader), toys, and other collectibles.  Pick a comic and start a pull folder in which the shop pulls comics for you and stores them for when you can make it.  The only thing about a pull folder is that the store is placing their trust in you that you will pick up your comics on a very regular basis. If not, they are losing money.

Free Comic Book Day is for readers.  Not for just comic readers.  There is some great literature being produced in the medium, so don’t let the medium stop you.  As a teacher, I can not recommend comics enough for young kids and for children who don’t like reading.  Also, don’t be discouraged by the Simpsons comic book shop persona.  We visit comic book stores in every town we visit, and we are always welcomed and given recommendations.  The stores I’ve listed above all are run by wonderful people who love talking to comics with expert collectors and novices alike.  In most cases, I think they like the novices more because (a) they are potential new customers and (b) they are possible new people to talk comics with!

So go get some free comics and pay for some as well!

See you at the comic shop!

 

 

 

Star Wars-ing: May the Fourth Activities in NOLA

If you want a hot dog in New Orleans, you have two choices.  First, is Lucky Dog.  This is a sidewalk vendor that makes perfect dogs for those needed nourishment after making the most of the day and/or night in the Quarter.  The other is Dat Dog which makes gourmet dogs of all different varieties.

This year for May the Fourth, Dat Dog is teaming up with Intergalactic Krewe of Chewbacchus (IKOC) for Shoeboxus. Shoeboxux is “the ultimate satirical ‘May the Fourth Be With You’ mini parade.” This parade will begin and end at Dat Dog’s Marigny location at 601 Frenchman Street.

Wookiee Shrine (10) (2).JPG

There will be Food & Drink Specials from 6 pm to midnight including:

  • $1 off certain special IKOCtails including Jedi and Sith-themed cocktails
  • $1 from every Wookie Wiener (made up of andouille sausage, andouille sauce, sauerkraut, grilled onions, and chipotle mayo) will go to the STOMP Troopers.  The STOMP Troopers is a program that aims to find ways for children with autism to take part in the Chewbacchus parade and other cultural events in New Orleans.

The parade will line up at 6 pm and roll at 7 pm.  Everyone is invited.

The Audobon Aquarium of the Americas will also be celebrating May the Fourth Be With You.  A list of events include:

  • Star Wars Divers in the Great Maya Reef Tunnel from May 2-7.
  • The 501st will be greeting customer from May4-7
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will be shown at the Entergy Giant Screen Theater from May 4-7 at 5 pm.  It is $6.95 for adults and $5.95 for children and senior over 65. If you are an Audubon Member, the price is 4.95.

May the Fourth Be With You.

Running: The WDW Second Star Wars Dark Side Half Marathon

IMG_2071eAs soon as I crossed the finish line of my first half-marathon, I knew that I wanted to do another.

Life got pretty crazy after my first half-marathon. I flew back to Virginia and started a new full-time job. I took a few months off from running, but I still signed up for the second The Dark Half-Marathon when registration opened in August. I started my training back at square one doing Couch to 10K to get me eased into the walk/run intervals. I did pretty well in Fall but definitely didn’t train as much as I wanted in the Winter. I thought it was hard to run with a baby in a jogger stroller, but it is even more difficult running with an active toddler who does not want to stay in the stroller.

My main running time would be on the weekends when my husband Darin and I would take turns watching Layla while the other ran. I would try to do lunch time or after work walks, but it didn’t always happen. I underestimated how hard it can be to make time for myself while working a full-time job and having a toddler.

entertainment

I was pretty nervous on race day. We hadn’t done any races since the first The Dark Side Half-Marathon, and we were in the last corral. We were actually in the second to last corral during the first Half-Marathon, so the pressure was definitely on this time to stay ahead of the balloon ladies. I had only seen them from a far distance last time, but this time we started in a mini-wave only minutes in front of them. I looked at Darin and said, “I am one with the force, and the force is with me.”

beforerace

The race started, and even though I had used the bathroom three times before going to the corrals, I drank a lot of water (later I would realize I actually drank too much water) and knew that I wouldn’t be able to comfortably run until I used the bathroom again. Thank goodness we at least had a mini-wave in front of us because that allowed me to take a much-needed bathroom break at mile 2. The balloon ladies caught up thanks to the long bathroom line, and I took off running as soon as I jumped out of that porter potty. I accidentally left my husband behind because he was being sweet and waiting for me. Oops. The balloon ladies passed him, and a couple people around him were already quitting. I called him to let him know I had started running right away out of fear of that Death Star balloon getting too close, and he easily got back to me.

The race went really well the next few miles. My muscles were warmed up, and I was fully completing my runs and walks at an excellent pace. Every mile, the pace keepers would announce how far ahead of the balloon ladies we were running. We were getting farther and farther ahead. Running through Animal Kingdom was an amazing experience, and Darin and I high-fived as we reached the half-way point several minutes ahead of the balloon ladies.

And then things quickly started going downhill for me. My hands were throbbing and becoming very swollen. My legs and body felt great, so I pushed through. Once the sun was fully out, the heat and humidity took its toll on me. At the water stations, I would pour water on myself. I started occasionally feeling dizzy and nauseous. Thankfully, Darin and I bought running pouches so I had a granola bar and energy chews to snack on. Those helped, but not enough. Eventually, I could no longer run and just maintained a power walk. Darin was fantastic and kept track of our pace and the looming balloon ladies.

Finally, we reached Hollywood Studios. I knew that if I could make it to Hollywood Studios, then the excitement and cheering should push me to the finish line. Seeing the 10-mile marker made me smile even though I was in pain and feeling incredibly ill. Our time in Hollywood Studios was brief, but the cast members on Hollywood Blvd were in costume and cheering us on. Running through The Boardwalk is kind of a blur, but I loved all the people out with signs and encouragement. I high-fived many costumed 501st Legion members. I wanted to cry when we reached Epcot because I was so close but yet so far away. I actually started doubting my ability to finish the race. Darin tried to make jokes and keep me motivated, but I couldn’t even talk. I did enjoy seeing all the cast members in front of the countries, waving flags, and cheering. When I finally reached Spaceship Earth, I breathed the slightest sigh of relief, and it wasn’t long before I had the finish line in my sights.

duringrace

Darin and I held hands as we crossed the finish line. And after getting my medal, I went straight to the medical tent. I had heat exhaustion and salt depletion. My hands were so swollen that it hurt to move them at all. They gave me cool rags, ice packs, Gatorade, and chips. They had me lay down and told me to try not to drink water for a while because I needed to retain salt. Everyone was amazing, and now I know what to do and not do to prevent salt depletion in the future.

Overall, the race was harder for me than my first Half-Marathon because of the heat exhaustion and salt depletion that I endured. But, at least I didn’t fall down and hurt myself like last year. I am incredibly thankful that I completed the race. I don’t think I would have been able to finish without the love and support of my husband who practically dragged me through Epcot.

medal

I still have two bruised purple toenails and some tightness in my shins, but I am eager to get back into running again once I am all healed up. Eventually, I will be able to complete a Half-Marathon without collapsing at the finish line. We plan on signing up for The Light Side Half-Marathon (January 2018) as soon as registration opens, as well as doing The Dark Side (April 2018) again so we can receive The Kessel Run medals. Darin even wants to do the challenge (where you complete the 10k on Saturday and the Half-Marathon on Sunday), but I will just stick to conquering the Half-Marathon for now. He wants to be able to actually RUN during his 10ks and then be the supportive husband doing slow walk/run intervals with me during the Half-Marathons.

Thank you, Nola Nerd Couple for letting me tell my story about this year’s The Dark Side Half-Marathon. Hopefully, I can report again from California and give my take on The Light Side. And maybe one of these days I will be able to complete a race without complications or Death Star balloons haunting looming behind me…

Star Wars-ing: Exploring the Canon with DelRey Books and Marvel Comics

Of course, Star Wars is more than the movies. Since Disney purchased Star Wars, they created a new canon that includes the new Marvel Comics and DelRey Books. While invalidating the old canon angered some, it freed Disney to make the new films according to how they want to make them.  It was, truly, the only sensible business move.  That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the old canon (known as the expanded universe or Legends as Disney calls it).  I just read Scoundrels by Timothy Zahn from the Legends universe and loved it.

At Star Wars Celebration, I attended the authors’ panel and the Marvel panel.

Here are some tidbits from the authors’ panel:

  • Chuck Wendig didn’t really know where some characters would go in Aftermath.  He let some plot lines play out and became convinced as he wrote them.
  • Mr. Wendig definitely had some moments where he thought Lucasfilm would cut it, but they didn’t. One in particular involved Jar Jar.
  • Timothy Zahn usually just gets some “tweak” comments. In fact, the arguments he lost to the story group he is glad he lost.  He further states that if they were horrible to work with, he would have just made three novels (Legend’s Heir to the Empire series) instead of 11.
  • Mr. Zahn created one of the characters in Thrawn to serve as the intermediary between Thrawn and the audience.  (I haven’t read the book yet, so I didn’t catch the name)
  • To keep the tension in novels in which you know that the main characters survive, you have to put the audience on their toes by putting other characters in jeopardy, according to Mr. Zahn.
  • Delilah Dawson pointed out that the moderator alluded to Captain Phasma’s back story…Ms. Dawson’s Phasma book comes out later this year. Spoiler?
  • Christie Golden discussed how most villains have some good in them.  She advises young writers “to make sure their heroes have flaws, and their villains have virtues.” Now, sometimes a character is so evil, and you have to enjoy it.

Marvel

This panel was hosted by Amy Ratcliffe of StarWars.com and featured Jordan White (editor of all Star Wars comics at Marvel), Charles Soule (writer for Lando, the upcoming Darth Vader, Poe Dameron), Phil Noto (artist for Poe Dameron and Chewbacca), Heather Antos (assistant editor for the Star Wars line), Matt Martin (LucasFilm Story Group), and John Tyler Christoper (cover artists that does the action figure variants). The panel focused on previous releases and future ones.  Ms. Ratcliffe did a fantastic job of moderating making sure each person was given time to speak.  That is a hard thing to do with a group this big.

Some of the things I learned:

  • John Tyler Christopher designs his variants not like they looked, but as the 5-year-old he remembers them looking.
  • Captain Phasma, who was indeed over-hyped for the Force Awakens, will have her own comic book.  This, along with the upcoming novel by Ms. Dawson, will hopefully fulfill the promise of this character. And of course, The Last Jedi.
  • The next Darth Vader begins seconds after he screams “NOOOOOOO” in Revenge of the Sith.  He is now half man and half machine with lots of rage, and according to Mr. Soule, he will in indulge in his dark side.  Marvel is letting him make it as dark as he envisioned it.
  • Also, Mr. Soule says we will find out how a red lightsaber gets made.  Plus, not every Jedi was killed by Order 66.  We will meet some of them.
  • Poe Dameron deals with a funeral of a character.  Mr. Soule wrote it right before Carrie Fisher’s death and rewrote it as a tribute to her.
  • Mr. Soule writes out BB8’s words.  He is mostly positive with a few salty phrases.  Ms. Antos then translates it into droid speak and has gone so far as to make a notebook of translations.
  • Mr. Soule, a lawyer, actually enjoys writing Palpatine and uses that to help write him.
  • Mr. Soule and Mr. Noto got to read the Force Awakes script before it came out to help write Poe Dameron.

Really, if you haven’t read any Star Wars comics, you should.  They are well done.  They don’t have earth shattering revelations, the movies kind of prohibit that right now, but they do flesh out each character they touch.  In Leia, we got to see a strong leader allow a few cracks to show through.  In Lando, we saw that for a scoundrel, he actually love his friends.  Darth Vader reminds us that he is, for most of the saga, a villain.

I know the Extended Universe has its fans, but for me it became intimidating.  I didn’t really know where to start.  Having the books and comics come out at the same time as the movies allow for some depth to be allowed to the universe.  Again, because of the films, there will not be any earth-shattering developments, but enough to drive the story along and maybe fill in some blanks.  They also allow us to see Star Wars away from the Skywalker family.  I, personally, think this is a good thing.  To me, Star Wars is just that: tales of war a long, long time ago in a galaxy far away that is part of the living force.  The Skywalker story is the most important in this saga, but everyone’s life is affected in this universe, and their stories deserved to be told as well.