World of Warcraft and other Massively Multiplayer Online games (MMOs, for short) have long since been a beacon of hope for the friendless, the obsessive, or the bored among us. Now, thanks to an article in Monday's New York Times, MMOs have become a bastion for TERRORISTS. Or, more likely, bored NSA operatives grinding for experience and writing off their monthly subscriptions as a "work expense."
Whatever the case, the major media has had an odd relationship with MMOs over the years, since their inception in the mid-80's to their unexpected mainstream success over the last decade. Here's a look at seven other strange news stories to come out of the various MMO universes!More >>
Unlike the deluge of Star Trek fanzines in the 1960s and 1970s, which we looked at last time, there don't seem to be quite as many Star Wars fanzines. There are still plenty, but not quite as much of a slew as there had been for Trek. Part of this, I suspect, is because the largely adult / female fan base for Trek was a bit more industrious than the teenage / male base for Wars. I'm aware that I'm speaking in generalizations, and of course the fandoms span generations and genders, and I don't want to ruffle any male feathers, but the earliest Trek fans and zinesters were women, plus the majority of the 'zines we'll look at below were edited by women - a fact that was not lost on some of the male readers at the time. The merchandise-and-marketing train was also already barreling forward by the time the movie came out, so there just wasn't as much of a niche for 'zines to fill, and Lucasfilm's open disapproval didn't help. But they were made all the same, so let's enjoy some of the best art from 'em!
Fans of gothic TV horror have been undergoing a bit of a Golden Age this season. The Vampire Diaries has spun off a sequel, The Originals; American Horror Story: Coven is constantly finding new ways to creep us out; Dracula is attempting a comeback in the form of the Jonathan Rhys Meyers drama; Grimm continues to deliver Germanic-flavored were-beast crime drama; and The Following is prepping a second season of adventures for its Poe-worshipping cult of serial killers.
But one of the breakout hits of this season has been Sleepy Hollow, the new series on Fox inspired by Washington Irving's "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and its many adaptations. Comparisons to shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer are to be expected, as the show follows a small group as they deal with the demonic goings-on in their hometown, which is gearing up for an apocalypse. But while comparisons in quality would be premature (and highly debatable), the show is actually highly entertaining, sufficiently creepy and intermittently funny enough to make room for in your TV-watching schedule. With the first season approaching the midway point, and Season 2 greenlit, now's as good a time as any to check it out. Here are ten reasons why you should.More >>
If the reaction to Ben Affleck donning the Bat-suit in Batman vs. Superman made large segments of fandom apoplectic with rage, Warner Bros.' announcement Tuesday that Fast & the Furious 6 actress and former model Gal Gadot would be cast as Wonder Woman was met with the kind of charmingly dismissive and patronizing reactions actresses tend to be subjected to when Internet commentary and big-budget comic book properties collide.
We've collected some of the more... contentious assessments of Ms. Gadot's casting from around the web. What say you: do the teeming online masses have a point, or should they keep quiet until the first footage of Gadot gets some play?
Finding the movie in a novel isn't always easy, and finding the movie in the decades-long ongoing soap operas that are superhero comics? That is maybe a million times harder. At least a novel is usually written by a single author with a single vision, and therefore easier to translate to film, but comics change hands constantly, and one creator's version of Batman, for example, is vastly different from another's. Frankly, given these facts, it's a miracle any superhero movie turns out to be any good at all.
Some of the most successful adaptations of superheroes often just take the basic characters and origin stories of the heroes and then do their own spin on them, Hollywood style. The Avengers is a great superhero movie, maybe even the greatest, but as an actual adaptation of fifty years of Avengers comics? it seems that Joss Whedon and Marvel Studios didn't even bother to try. The Iron Man movies, by and large, play pretty fast and loose with the comics they were based on too. So this isn't about which superhero movies are the best, but which superhero movies made the best and worst use of the decades-long stories on which they are supposedly based.
I should stress that this is NOT a best/worst superhero movies list, hence the lack of movies like Catwoman or Steel, which don't even attempt to adapt the comics, just use the names. That's a whole other list.
Somewhere in its show-tuney middle, Disney's animated musical Frozen throws a bone to the young monster geeks in the audience. Elsa, the magically (and literally) frigid young Queen who can freeze fjords and cause climate change and sculpt ice palaces out of the brisk air with a few waves of her hand, conjures up a personal bodyguard: "Marshmallow," a formidable giant made of snow and ice.
He's cool, no pun intended, but only the latest in a long list of terrifying pop-culture monsters confined either to wintry seasons or chilly climes, or both. Some are just grotesque version of arctic or Antarctic fauna, or aliens comfortable at equivalent temperatures on their own planets. A few are actual snowmen, monstrous supernatural versions of Frosty, as in the low-rent 1997 horror favorite Jack Frost or the even creepier wholesome "family" film of the same title that came out a year later. You may recall that even the slow-witted "Abominable Snowman" that affectionately plagued Bugs Bunny melted when he got below timberline.
But most of what falls into the category of "Abominable Snowmen," sometimes known by their Himalayan name of Yeti, are shaggy, burly giants that haunt the cold places, and are generally quite content to be left the hell alone. They're rarely a danger to humans so long as we're sensible enough to stay where it's warm.
Here are 13 of pop culture's most memorable hyperborean horrors:More >>
Capcom's Dead Rising series helped kicked off the last console generation with the Xbox-exclusive first entry and promises to do the same with the release of Dead Rising 3 alongside the newly-released Xbox One. And across three games so far - Dead Rising, Dead Rising 2, and the digital prequel, Dead Rising: Case Zero - what a curious series it is, full of fratricide, odd eroticism, plague bugs, killer clowns, and, uh, photography?
Although reviews are indicating that Dead Rising 3 might take a darker tack with its open world zombie-killing formula - Kotaku says the current game attempts to keep the narrative "grounded," while IGN isn't sure if the game knows it's a parody - we thought we'd revisit some of the stranger choices in the first three games. Let's celebrate the weirdness of the dead, from the stories, to the mechanics, to the question everyone will ask: why are you so needy Otis, oh god won't you leave me alone?!More >>
Sony The goal.
This year, my wife, daughter, and I made a momentous and terrible decision to join the midnight/overnight shoppers on Black Friday this year. We wanted to mass upgrade our Xbox 360s to Playstation 4 units and it seemed the only opportunity to finally obtain them. We had missed the original launch and stock has been scarce since (more on this later). It was a fairly difficult decision as we were tired and full of turkey and mashed potatoes, not to mention our feet already hurt after preparing food that morning...but we went ahead with it. And so, in honor of this fine consumerist holiday, here are some things I learned while you sane people were sleeping:
Let's face it - we like to bitch. It's not for nothing that Star Trek fans have the original reputation of nit-picking fictional facts - all fandoms like to do it, and the Trekkers were just the most visible ones to do it first and take the hit for the rest of us in the popular mindset.
That's why I like to take stop and stock of what I'm grateful for every year, but I thought an entire list on my own might come off boring or long-winded. Instead, I have collaborated with many of the other TR writers to come up with something more comprehensive and personal to each. While it's not a specific item on the list, they epitomize one other thing I am always very thankful for - a staff of freelancers with diverse interests, without whom I would have a ton of extra writing to do each morning, and a site more monolothic and narrowly tailored to only things I know.
Here are eleven things we feel that all nerdkind can be thankful for this year...More >>
The mystical island nation of Japan has an odd curiosity about Western religions, as anyone who has ever seen Neon Genesis Evangelion can attest. The anime and manga world is a largely secular one in a dogmatic sense, but anime and manga creators are more than eager to swallow up influences and iconography far and wide in order to add some color and foreign allure.
Of course, the majority of our American pop culture that leaps across the Pacific Ocean is similarly secular, but occasionally intrepid manga and anime auteurs remind themselves that, yes, Jewish people do indeed exist! And on this Hanukkah, here are seven Jewish characters who've shown up in anime and manga!More >>