8 Essential Facts About Marvel's Mentally Unstable Hero, Moon Knight

Tuesday, December 24, 2013 at 6:00 am

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Between Marvel's big Netflix deal bringing four street-level heroes to the small screen, and the announcement that superstar writer Warren Ellis would be tackling a new, weird, crime-focused Moon Knight series, now seems like a great time to revisit the mercenary-turned vigilante Marc Spector.

Or is that Jake Lockley? Or Steven Grant?

It's complicated. You see, Moon Knight isn't just a white-clad Batman ripoff by way of Mack Bolan; he's also one of the trickiest characters in Marvel's stable to get a new reader's head around. Ellis promises to embrace that weirdness with the character's new ongoing in March, but why don't we take a look at this street-level superhero who spends as much time battling his personal demons as he does doling out disproportionate justice to the street criminals of the Marvel Universe.

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7 Hilariously Terrible Disney Movies You Probably Didn't Know Existed

Monday, December 23, 2013 at 6:00 am

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Walt Disney Studios pumps out as many as 10 movies a year, and inevitably some of them are awful. They're hack jobs intended to make a quick buck before vanishing into oblivion - you all know Monsters, Inc. but I'd be impressed if you were familiar with Max Keeble's Big Move, which came out just a month earlier.

Thanks to the magic of the Internet and the fact that Disney executives would sell their own feces if they thought there was a market for them, these once-forgotten films are readily available online. Age hasn't been kind - they've gone from mediocre at best to laughably terrible. But what's bad for them is great for fans of unintentional comedy, so sit back and enjoy the awful.

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5 DC Comics Properties That Would Make Good Low Budget Movies, and 5 That Wouldn't

Friday, December 20, 2013 at 6:00 am

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So DC Comics and Warner Brothers made quite the splash recently with news that Wonder Woman would indeed be in the Man of Steel sequel, currently going by the name Superman Vs. Batman. If rumors pan out that Dick Grayson is in this movie, they should really just be up front and call this sucker The Super Friends. In any event, that wasn't the only bit of DC news to hit; Bleeding Cool ran a story that Warner Brothers is going to be taking a different approach to their DC properties than Marvel Studios, which so far have only been making big, expensive tentpoles in the $150-200 million dollar range. According to the story, Warner is keeping the tentpoles to their "Big Guns" - one assumes Superman, Batman, Justice League and hopefully solo Wonder Woman films, and a possible Green Lantern reboot. Meanwhile, they'd take their lesser known properties and make "mid budget" films between the $20-40 million dollar range.

If this does indeed pan out, it would be incredibly smart for Warners to do this. Unlike Marvel, a lot of DC's properties outside the Justice League are harder to justify spending major bank on the way Marvel Studios did. Say what you want about characters like Iron Man and Thor being "C-List" - before they got movies made about them, both of those characters had successfully headlined their own comics for the better part of fifty years and almost without interruption. At DC, only five superhero characters have succesfully headlined their own books for decades that length of time; they're the "Big 5"... and then there's everyone else.

The original report says that WB/DC have been considering titles as diverse as Suicide Squad, Deathstroke, Booster Gold, and Team 7 for these smaller budget films, aimed at Spring and Fall releases. Most of these are smart choices (although Team 7? Who's clamoring for that one?) but there are plenty of other characters and concepts for DC to handle in a smaller budget way. And there are some characters who shouldn't ever be handled by cheaping out.

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8 Terrible Christmas Gifts to Ruin a Geek's Holiday

Thursday, December 19, 2013 at 6:00 am

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There's a fine line between "nerd culture" and "people and products you're ashamed to be associated with." For every legitimately awesome geeky product there's some hack writing "The cake is a lie" on a coffee mug, because a marketing executive figured out that idiots will buy anything with references to nerdy pastimes slapped on them. "I've discovered a way to make people pay 20 dollars to be reminded of a thing they like," the exec said, and then business students began worshipping him as a dark god.

That's how we ended up with the following gifts, which are sold by shameless culture war profiteers and bought by people who claim to watch My Little Pony ironically even after they're caught masturbating to it. Whenever we geeks gain too much mainstream credibility these products appear to put us in our place, and buying one as a Christmas gift is the adult equivalent of telling a child that Santa doesn't exist.

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Topless Robot's Last-Minute Geeky Gift Guide

Wednesday, December 18, 2013 at 6:00 am

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Hannukah may be over, but there are still nine days until Christmas and ten to Kwanzaa, and if you don't have all of your gift items picked out by now, you should probably wrap it up soon. Luckily, in this competitive retail world we live in, rapid one-day processing and two day shipping is the norm, which means you still have time to place an order for that perfect item you've been searching for to finish up your holiday shopping. We scoured the Internet and found some items for everyone on your list, assuming that everyone on your list is some kind of geek, or has slightly geeky interests. Who knows, this may be the year you get them to go full geek - sometimes a little push is all they need!

[Editor's Note: Keep your eyes peeled, folks - we're giving away some of the items in this list! Look out for the ones that tell you to post a comment below to win. As with previous contests, you must be a registered commenter with email on your profile to win, and you get one comment, stating which item you want. Sharing the gift guide on Facebook and Twitter gets you one additional comment each. Giveaway ends Sunday at 11:59 pm.]


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6 Great Things About Dead Rising 3 (and Two Notable Flaws)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013 at 6:00 am

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Back in 2006, Capcom revealed a zombie-filled horror game called Dead Rising for a still-young Xbox 360. A massive, action-packed sandbox game which featured a shopping mall full of huge hordes of zombies, a sense of humor, and the ability to use virtually everything around you as a weapon against them? For me, it immediately turned the Xbox 360 into a must-own console. I mean, it was a freaking virtual Dawn of The Dead! Who wouldn't be tempted by this sort of slaughter-filled sweetness? And while the end result definitely wasn't perfect, it was still an absolute blast that I had no regrets over purchasing.

Fast forward seven years to today......

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The Top 18 Dragons Who Aren't Smaug

Monday, December 16, 2013 at 6:00 am

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Look, in the world of Nerdery, dragons are a pretty big deal. They're among the archetypical monsters of the human narrative tradition; something that passes for a dragon can be found in the folklore of peoples from all parts of the world. They're in both the Asian and Western zodiac, and the Archangel Michael and St. George each famously kicked a dragon's ass. And they hold a special place in the hearts of nerds, in fiction ranging from Eddison's Worm Ouroboros to the Chronicles of Narnia to Game of Thrones, and movies from Dragonheart to Reign of Fire to Eragon. They are, for that matter, what just naturally comes after the phrase "Dungeons and..."

But even within the world of Dragon-dom, Smaug is a pretty big deal. Indeed, the hoarder dragon from Tolkien's The Hobbit is the all-but-undisputed heavyweight champ of his kind. He was depicted fairly well in the 1977 Rankin-Bass animated version of the tale, voiced by the oddly but effectively cast western star Richard Boone. But he has now been realized, almost more spectacularly than could have been hoped for, in Peter Jackson's current The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.

So even if Jackson's movie has fallen short of last year's Hobbit at the box office, it still seems like an auspicious time to recognize a few of Smaug's runners-up. But understand that I'm well aware that this is a personal, whatever-comes-to-mind list, and that even if it ran to 30, 50 or a hundred examples, there would still be entirely worthy dragons omitted. The dragons here, however, though rooted in classical mythology or literature, have all been through the pop culture filter - movies, TV, comics, video games. To make this list, in other words, a dragon has to be a commercial sell-out.

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10 Surprising Facts About Titmouse Animation Studios

Friday, December 13, 2013 at 6:00 am

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Liz Ohanesian
Inside Titmouse studio. Mural by Travis Miller.

If you watch late night cartoons, then you're probably familiar with Titmouse. The animation studio with headquarters in Los Angeles got into the grown-up TV game with Metalocalypse. Soon, they expanded from high-maintenance metal stars to include adventurers and villains (The Venture Bros.), a bizarre prison (Superjail!), a really terrible university (China, IL) and much more. But, as supervising producer Ben Kalina notes, they don't do every show on Adult Swim. Contrary to the comments that Titmouse co-owner Chris Prynoski (aka Chris P.) hears, they don't do Archer either. They also don't just make cartoons for adults. Prynoski created the series Motorcity, which is no longer on the air, but still brings a ton of fans to their convention panels. They're also the home for Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja.

Titmouse has had its hand in some big projects, but there's a lot about the animation studio that even die-hard fans might not know. That's why I headed down to the L.A. offices recently to tour the large facilities.

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7 Other Weird (and Sometimes NSFW) News Stories About World of Warcraft and Other MMOs

Wednesday, December 11, 2013 at 10:28 am

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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!

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The 20 Coolest Illustrations from Star Wars Fanzines

Tuesday, December 10, 2013 at 6:00 am

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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!

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