Watching: The Matt Smith Years of Doctor Who

Matt Smith was our worst con experience ever.  We paid $99, and he didn’t even say hello or look at us.  He didn’t even acknowledge we were there.  Sure getting his autograph was nice, but part of what you pay for is the 20-second exchange with an artist. And this was before we even watched an episode of his. We wanted to hate his seasons.

But we couldn’t.

I mean how could we.  His first season is as perfect of a television season as possible. His companions, Amy and Rory, are both two of the best ever. Steven Moffet hits many of his highest notes as showrunner during this time.

Yet, standing above it all is the brilliance of Matt Smith. Let’s face it, the cards were against him following David Tennant. Mr. Smith could have been brilliant playing a version of that character.  Yet, the decision to let go a lot of the anger of his character was an important one. His Doctor learned a lot of hard lessons from the Tenth Doctor. Yet, even though he was a quirky Doctor, he still made sure people knew he was not a man to be trifled with. Surprising, when we rewatched his episodes, we noticed that there was a darkness to his Doctor that was always lurking beneath the surface.  His quirkiness was often a way for the Doctor to deal with the darkness.

Watching that first go around, we would often state how we loved that episode but still didn’t like Mr. Smith.  Then we watched The Crown and saw how much range he truly has. He isn’t particularly likable as the Duke of Edinburgh, but he is utterly captivating.   We have been rewatching Doctor Who, and we flew through his season. While the ninth is Cristina’s Doctor and Tenth is mine, he will always be one of our favorites. He still made us laugh and cry.

If we do get to meet him again at a con, we will.  Of course, we will tell him about our first experience, but how his work, and the quality of it, couldn’t keep us mad.

 

ComicCon-ing: Discussion Panels at Wizard World New Orleans

For the next two weeks, most of our blogs will be about Wizard World New Orleans. The Convention is held at the Morial Convention Center on January 6,7, and 8th.  This week we will be previewing the event, and next week reviewing the event. 

Wizard World New Orleans allows people to find others with like minded interests. It also allows for fan groups to get together and discuss their favorite fandoms. Other people enjoy talking with others about social issues in the comic community.   If you are looking for thought provoking discussions, then these panels might be for you.

Here are just some of the discussion panels that will be taking place at Wizard New Orleans.

Friday

7:30-8:15 POE IN POP CULTURE (ROOM 240):  Bill Pulkovski and Tony Miello will lead a panel to discuss Edgar Allan Poe’s influence over modern pop culture.

Saturday

12:30-1:15 ONLY SHEEP EAT ROTTEN TOMATOES (ROOM 240): For those of you who liked Batman v Superman, this panel will be on your side.  This panel will attempt to prove those critics wrong.

1:30-2:15 PETER PARKER AND THE WOMEN THAT LOVED HIM (ROOM 240): Oh, Spidey and his love life.

2:30-3:15 CIVIL WAR: PICK A SIDE (ROOM 240)  I really hope this panel makes Iron Man fans sit on the right, and Captain America fans on the left (or vice versa).

2:30-3:15 STARSHIP SMACKDOWN: A SALUTE TO STAR TREK (ROOM 343): This panel will allow you to put forth your theories about which starship would do the most damage.

3:30-4:15 DON’T READ THAT! A HISTORY OF CENSORSHIP IN COMIC BOOKS (ROOM 240) I’m leaving this one in bold, because yours truly will be part of this panel.  This panel will be led by the Longbox Guys and will also feature a fellow educator colleague of mine.  We will look at books that have been challenged and why. I hope to see you there.

3:30-4:15 HARRY POTTER MANIA: SURVIVING HOGWARTS:  Harry Potter will be dissected by psychologists, professors, and a Burlesque performer. Normally, I wouldn’t miss this one, but it is at the same time as my panel. 🙂

4:00-4:45 TWO CENTURIES OF GENIUS: CELEBRATING THE SPIRIT’S WILL EISNER AND THE AVENGERS’ JACK KIRBY with MARVEL ZOMBIES’ FRED VAN LENTE, EISNER AWARD WINNER TY TEMPLETON, FANTASTIC FOUR’S DEAN HASPIEL & THE AVENGERS’ DANNY FINGEROTH (ROOM 238)  I will be running from my panel to this one. Mainly because of the topic and the presenters.

4:30-5:15 GODS AND MONSTERS: H.P. LOVECRAFT’S HORRIFYING CREATURES (ROOM 240) Horror fans, this is where you should be if you have no prior commitments.

5:30-6:15 DOCTOR WHO PSYCHOLOGY: A MADMAN WITH A BOX (ROOM 343):  A look at the kind of person the Doctor really is.

Sunday: 

11:00-11:45 HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE STEREOTYPES IN COMIC BOOKS (ROOM 343) Our good friends, the Longbox guys (link to the left of your screen), will be hosting this panel.  It’s in bold because we have attended this one before and it gets our highest recommendation.  

12:00-12:45 THE END OF WORLD IS ONLY THE BEGINNING: PREPARING FOR THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE (ROOM 238) Dr. Robert Collins, of Dillard University in New Orleans, will look at how real life disease prevention can be aided by all those apocalypse programs and movies.

12:30-1:15 ZINES: FROM FANDOM’S EARLIEST PUBLICATIONS TO CONTEMPORARY CULTURE (ROOM 240):  New Orleans Public Library librarians will talk about the history and culture of zines.

2:00-2:45 WHO’S THE MOST NEUROTIC SUPERHERO? INSIDE THE MINDS OF BATMAN, SPIDER-MAN, CAPTAIN AMERICA, JESSICA JONES AND MORE with BATMAN AND PSYCHOLOGY’S DR. TRAVIS LANGLEY, MARVEL ZOMBIES’ FRED VAN LENTE, THE RED HOOK’S DEAN HASPIEL, SUPERHERO THERAPY’S DR. JANINA SCARLET & SPIDER-MAN’S DANNY FINGEROTH (ROOM 238)  Again, not only is the topic fascinating, but the leaders of the panel are fantastic. Fred Van Lente is one of my favorite writers and I highly recommend this book by him.

This whole week I’ve attempted to share just some of the panels that will be going on at Wizard World New Orleans.  There really is a lot to choose from and I didn’t even mention them all. In fact, the more I look at the list the more I’m upset I can’t be in two places at once. It really is one of the better panel line-ups I’ve seen.  Hope to see you there at a few!

 

For a full listing of the panels at Wizard World New Orleans, click here.

Reading: Nerd Links for October 8-14, 2016

The Definitive Guide to Cord-Cutting in 2016, Based on Your Habits:  The New York Times is a little full of itself with that title in that it really doesn’t bring anything new to the discussion except the part about habits. We have cut the cord and really haven’t missed much.  We can get most sports stuff with our antennae, however it would be nice if ESPN did a standalone service like HBO Now.

Obama, the nerd in chief, unveils $300 million for science: As a computer science teacher and a nerd, Obama’s push for science and science education is one of his greatest strengths.

Fans Slam Trebek After He Mocks ‘Nerd’ on ‘Jeopardy’Fans Slam Trebek After He Mocks ‘Nerd’ on ‘Jeopardy’: Um, Alex don’t you know your audience?

Grilling Tips from Mark Zuckerberg, Barbecue Nerd: Of course, I loved the fact that he has a Big Green Egg.  Personally, I would love an offset, but our townhouse doesn’t have the room for one which is what makes the Big Green Egg perfect for us.

Nerd Navigators: New Orleans: This post reminds me that we haven’t written a Nola-ing blog in a while. We need to remedy that.

Van Gogh, Mental Illness, and Doctor Who: This is an excellent article that the author, who is not a medical professional and states so, shares her thoughts on mental illness using the Van Gogh episode of Doctor Who.  It is a sweet, tender blog who uses her fandom to tackle an important subject. She even states that she discovered Van Gogh because of Doctor Who. After that she did research about h is life and made real world connections. I think that shows the power of nerd culture.  It often fills in gaps in our education an inspires us to learn more.

Editorializing: Beware of Canon and Gatekeepers

Bring up the word “canon” to nerds about a show/book/movie about a movie they love, you better make sure you have enough time on your hands for the dissertation you are about to receive.  Canon will start nerd fights, ruin nerd friendships, and cause dizzying headaches.

First, let’s start with the definition

canon

noun  can·on \ˈka-nən\

Definition of canon

  1. 1a:  a regulation or dogma decreed by a church council b :  a provision of canon law
  2. 2[Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin, from Latin, model]:  the most solemn and unvarying part of the Mass including the consecration of the bread and wine
  3. 3[Middle English, from Late Latin, from Latin, standard]a:  an authoritative list of books accepted as Holy Scripture b :  the authentic works of a writer c :  a sanctioned or accepted group or body of related works <the canon of great literature>
  4. 4a:  an accepted principle or rule b :  a criterion or standard of judgment c :  a body of principles, rules, standards, or norms

 

“Canon.” Merriam-Webster.com. Accessed April 13, 2016. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/canon.

While 3 and 4 are really what we are talking about here, don’t think for a second that some people don’t look at canon as falling under one and two.

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ComicCon-ing: Pensacon 2016 Full Recap

Pensacon celebrated its third year in Pensacola this year and we decided to make a weekend of it and attend all three days. The first year, I drove up on Saturday morning with two of my good friends and last year, Kurt and I drove up on Saturday morning. Both years we made the three hour trek back to New Orleans at the end of the day, but this year, we drove up Friday afternoon and came back Sunday evening. Thus, we were able to experience much more than in previous years and enjoy many more aspects of the con that we had missed.

One of my big collections is autographs. I love meeting celebrities that star in shows that I love to watch and having that thirty second connection with them. This year, there were almost twenty people I wanted to meet and besides one, whom I decided to put off until another con, I accomplished my goal and received many new autographs and treasured items in the process. Continue reading

ComicCon-ing: A Preview of Pensacon

This weekend Nola Nerd Couple will be attending Pensacon in Pensacola, Florida.  We believe this is one of the best Comic-Cons on the Gulf Coast and in the South.  Perfectly located near the beach and I-10, Pensacon allows for a perfect getaway weekend.

Pensacon is a growing con that always gets great guests.  A few of the guests that we are excited to meet this year are:

Of course, there are plenty of more guests to check out from such series as Star WarsDoctor Who (Strax!), Agents of Shield, and Game of Thrones.

Pensacon also has a great lineup of artists as well. Probably the biggest name in for the artists is Neal Adams whose credits include Batman and X-Men. Doug Sneyd’s cartoons have been featured in Playboy since 1964.  Artists may do commissions so check the Pensacon website, um now, to find out if you need to book in advance.  The artist alley is usually my favorite part of the con.  Not only do we find great things to decorate Nola Nerd Couple Headquarters with, but also the artists are always so nice.  I, personally, love that they found a way to become successful by working hard in a field in which they had some natural talent.  It is always great to hear their origin stories. In fact, the best conversations I have had at any con have always been with the artists.

Besides media and artists guests, Pensacon has a full schedule of events.  There will be tons of panels by the actors, artists, and experts on issues related to comics and comic cons. I personally recommend “Horrible Horrible Horrible Horrible Stereotypes in Comic Book History” on Saturday at 4:45 as my colleague and friend, Bill Plasse, will be one of the presenters (Looks like Bill can’t make it, but the panel will still go on!).  Of course, I always explain Comic-Cons as “jewelry shows for geeks” and, accordingly, there will be ton of vendors there. In addition, there will also be a cosplay contest a short film festivalsci-fi speed dating, and Southeastern Teen Shakespeare Company Performance.

We will be taking plenty of pictures and may interview a few artists and convention attendees for our blog next week.  Until then, have a happy con!

 

Collecting: Free Comic Book Day

Top Row: Comics we collect that we purchased on Free Comic Book Day  Bottom Row: Free comics from Free Comic Book Day.  Of course, Stan Lee approves.

I wish I had read more comic books as a kid.  I read almost everything I could get my hands on, but not comic books.  Part of the reason was location.  Growing up in a small town on Bayou Lafourche, we did not have access to a comic book store.   Libraries are great, and I sure used mine, but it really was not until recently that most libraries started carrying comic books/graphic novels.  As a teacher, I would like to have a do over in my time in New Orleans Public Schools and introduce my students to comic books and graphic novels.  Comics are a great way to get people interested in reading.  They are great for people who have trouble visualizing what they read.  They often discuss difficult subjects which can lead to discussions about current issues.  Think about it, the most political movie of this decade might be Captain America: The Winter Soldier. That is why we woke up early and headed out to Metairie and New Orleans on May 2 for Free Comic Book Day.  Free Comic Book Day celebrates comic book stores by having them give out free comics.  Of course, the goal is to support comic book stores in return by buying some comic books, toys, cards, dice, and any of their other wares.  It’s a great day to entice children to read as there are many comics geared to all age levels and to kids of all ages (adults too!). Because most comic books are serial in nature, the comic book industry hopes that you will return to the stores at least monthly to purchase the next issue in the series.

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