Tagged: YouTube

Dennis O’Neil: Being “There”

O'Neil Art 130725Did you see me there?

Where’s there? Oh, come on…The San Diego Comic-Con! Where else? And, as I type this on Monday evening, are you perhaps just getting home. Are you frazzled? Exhausted? And are you happy? Was the adventure all you’d hoped it might be? Do you have, encased in plastic and two slabs of thick cardboard and tucked into your carry-on, that one special issue, the one you’ve sought for years. the one whose absence has left as yawning crater in the middle of your collection – finally, triumphantly yours? Have you met the person of your dreams, wearing, perhaps, an X-Men costume? Or had your picture taken with the celebrity who occupies a god niche in your psyche? (Okay, it cost you what you pay for a week’s groceries, but some treasures are beyond price.)

Hooray. That’s all well and good. But now the important question: Did you see me there?

If you did, I must have had some Dr. Strangey astral projection mojo working, because I haven’t been anywhere near Southern California this year. (Denver is as close as I got.) So – either I astrally projected (while napping?) or you saw some other septuagenarian chrome dome. I didn’t do any disembodied jaunting last week but…I did do something similar.

The late Arthur C. Clarke once said that any sufficiently advanced technology would appear to be magic to primitive people. (Let’s assume that “primitive” is relative.) Well, abra my cadabra, because while sitting upstairs in the dining room I spoke to a group of people in Lima, Peru – gave a talk and then answered questions. Mr. O the bilocated – at once in New York and Peru! Be in awe, you primitives!

The magic was, of course, technology, and not cutting edge technology, either. (Though, come to think of it, maybe this story would be better if it were.) What we were using, the attendees of the Lima Book Fair and I, was Skype, which is surely old news to many of you. Too me – not so old. I’d used it once before, to record something for use on YouTube, but I had the advantage of a tech savvy offspring at my elbow on that occasion. This time, Marifran and I were pretty much on our own, though we did have help from Eduardo, an affable cyberwizard from – where else? – Peru. I won’t say that all proceeded glitchlessly. (Does Dr. Strange ever suffer interference from, say, a snotty kid riding a Hogwarts broomstick?) But the glitches were minor and the event, I’ve been assured, was a success.

And just recently, a book I wrote about a dozen years ago became available as an e-book. So I guess I’m being dragged into the twenty first century, That, or I’ve taken up residence where eldritch forces are manifest. Either way, as the great prophet Bobby told us, the times they are a’changin’, and, there being nothing to do about it, let’s enjoy the ride.

Did you see me at the Con? Are you sure?

THURSDAY AFTERNOON: Martin Pasko and the Big Show

FRIDAY MORNING: Martha Thomases and Sexy Kitties




Emily S. Whitten: SDCC Part 1 – Zac Levi’s Nerd HQ!

Whitten Art 130723San Diego Comic-Con International has come and gone, and it was a blast! But boy, am I exhausted. I definitely need a little bit of mellow down-time after all of the (great!) excitement of the biggest genre con in North America (or maybe the world? I’m too tired to look this up, y’all). That’s why even though I’ve got lots of fantastic news and interviews coming your way (Psych! Almost Human! I Know That Voice! Warehouse 13! Marvel’s S.H.I.E.L.D.! Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox! Captain America: The Winter Soldier! Guardians of the Galaxy! Interviews with voice actors Rob Paulsen and Dee Bradley Baker!), today I want to talk about the most chill place I hung out this weekend – Nerd HQ.

Nerd HQ, now in its third year, is technically not part of SDCC, being the brainchild of Chuck star Zachary Levi and operating as its own thing, but it took place in nearby Petco Park during the con and featured a number of celebrity guests, which made it feel a bit like a mini-SDCC or arm of the con. The atmosphere, however, was a nice and relaxed change from the hustle and bustle of the con floor and crowded panels; and also, it was free to walk around and enjoy the main area, which is cool.

Featuring mainly a long promenade which included an arcade where fans could play video games both old and new (there were several actual arcade games there, along with games on laptops and larger screens for console games), the area also had some nice seating that allowed fans to sit and look out at the field if they wanted to, possibly while eating the food available for purchase nearby. One very nice feature is that the area was covered but open, so fans could get a little fresh air while nerding out during the weekend; which is a great way to decompress after a stint on the con floor or in con program rooms. Just walking around for a few, still immersed in “my people” having a good time but also away from the intensity of the con, certainly did me good when I went over on Saturday.

There was also a stage at the end of the promenade where a YouTube channel (GeekWeek, I believe?) was filming events such as a costume contest and a puppet show to stream throughout the weekend. On the nearer end, a photo area was set up so that fans could get photos with celebrities who dropped by sporadically throughout. Zac was there taking photos when I walked in, and apparently greats such as Stan Lee had also been there at various times. Although the very efficient security whisked me away from stopping to watch the photo experience for too long, I did witness a happy fan on the phone with a friend afterwards, literally in tears because she’d gotten a photo with Zac. So that feature of Nerd HQ was definitely a success in fan enjoyment.

Another great part of Nerd HQ is the Conversations for a Cause; small panels limited to 250 fans, which generally feature guests who are in town for the con anyway. The Conversations took place in a glassed-in area overlooking the field (possibly in the VIP boxes? It was hard to tell with the setup, but it was nice), and (happily for me, after my mad dash from the convention center for the panel I attended) had fans or air conditioning of some sort keeping the area cool. Although the tickets for some of these panels sell out in a hot minute (the Joss Whedon one sold out in 30 seconds or less, along with about three-fourths of the others in the first flight of panels announced), I was able to get a ticket to the Zac Levi & Mystery Guests panel. It would have been fun just to see Zac on a panel, of course; but the mystery guests for the panel turned out to be ace too; being Nathan Fillion and Alan Tudyk (which made my Firefly shirt especially appropriate attire), and Rob Kazinsky (who turned out to be perhaps the biggest geek of all, and was a great panelist).

Zac both moderated and participated in the panel, which mainly consisted of people asking questions from the audience. The answers were often hilarious and well-worth the $22 ticket price, and Alan Tudyk made things infinitely cooler for the question-askers by bringing along a bag of neat swag to give them (and now I know that if I ever see Alan Tudyk again, I should not give him anything, because he is the World Champion of re-gifters). Possibly the coolest prizes (in my opinion) were several clothing items he had from various places, such as a couple of Dollhouse-related coats, and a giant duster that Russell Crowe and Christian Bale had apparently bought during filming for 3:10 to Yuma and given to him.

Along with being highly entertaining, we learned some new things about the panelists, such as how they got their first big breaks (and with no context whatsoever, because Gondor needs no context, I present this quote from Zac regarding Alan’s story: “Alan, as much as I appreciate your tranny bar story, what was your big break?”). We also learned that Zac’s favorite superhero is Deadpool, which, as anyone who reads my column (or @Ask_Deadpool) will know, automatically raises his coolness factor by infinity; and that Rob Kazinsky manages to be both badass (having been a stuntman and trained extensively with swords) and a nerd to outnerd all nerds, possibly including Zac himself. And Nathan Fillion showed himself to be the sweetheart I already suspected him to be by offering to buy several meals for a poor fan from Australia (I think) who’d had her bags stolen while in San Diego (yikes!).

I did mention that there’s a ticket price for the Conversations; and the photo ops cost money as well. However, the prices are reasonable, and even better, the proceeds go to charity, or more specifically to Operation Smile, which I first learned about from voice actor Rob Paulsen, who also supports them. Operation Smile provides free surgeries for kids with cleft lips, cleft palates, and other facial deformities; and how could anyone not think that’s a worthy cause?

Overall, Nerd HQ is a pretty chill place to go for a break from the SDCC madness, and I had a great time at the panel and a fun time briefly wandering the promenade. I would suggest better availability of both directions (like noting that 7th St. has two names for the stretch next to the con!) and information overall. For instance, visiting fans who haven’t been to Nerd HQ before might not know what-all is available to do for free there; or might not realize they can get photos with celebrities or sometimes walk right in and go to a panel that’s not sold out. Having one of the cheerful volunteers already on hand give out a one-page flyer as fans enter, explaining the set-up of Nerd HQ (and including URLs for things like the YouTube stage, which I can’t find listed anywhere), wouldn’t go amiss, especially since the website doesn’t have really specific information, and cell service can be spotty near the con anyway. There’s also apparently a NERD party sometime over the weekend; and I love a good party, but have no idea where I should have looked to find out more about it. I totally would have considered it if I knew anything more about it!

But don’t take these small critiques to mean I don’t think Nerd HQ is a great thing! It’s pretty rad; and being something that started in a sort of spontaneous way, is bound to have some growing pains. Apparently this year’s HQ was bigger than last; so I’m looking forward to seeing what next year’s is like (while hoping it doesn’t get too big and unwieldy, or it may lose its charm). If I get to SDCC again, it will definitely be on my list of places to go!

In the meantime, stay tuned for all of my other SDCC coverage; and since there’s so much of it, it’ll be coming through as fast as I can get it done, rather than just on my regular Tuesday column schedule. So keep an eye out here to hear about all the other cool stuff I saw and people I talked to at SDCC.

And until then: Viva La Nerdolution! And Servo Lectio!




First RED 2 TV Spots

First RED 2 TV Spots

We enjoyed Red so much that we were thrilled to hear that there was a sequel coming. Then we saw the first trailer and knew it was in good hands. Now come the first television ads for the July 19 release.



Directed by DEAN PARISOT


Based on Characters Created by WARREN ELLIS and CULLY HAMNER


Executive Produced by JAKE MYERS, DAVID READY



In RED 2, the high-octane action-comedy sequel to the worldwide sleeper hit, retired black-ops CIA agent Frank Moses reunites his unlikely team of elite operatives for a global quest to track down a missing, next-generation lethal device that can change the balance of world power. To succeed, they’ll need to survive an army of relentless assassins, ruthless terrorists and power-crazed government officials, all eager to get their hands on the technologically advanced super weapon. The mission takes Frank and his motley crew to Paris, London and Moscow. Outgunned and outmanned, they have only their cunning wits, their old-school skills, and each other to rely on as they try to save the world-and stay alive in the process.

Saturday Morning Cartoons: Patton Oswalt’s “Star Wars VII” for the 30th Anniversary of “Return Of The Jedi”

Return Of The Jedi #1

In honor of the 30th anniversary of the release of Return Of The Jedi and the 36th anniversary of the release of Star Wars, we have something a little bit different for you.

Last month, for an episode of Parks and Recreation, Patton Oswalt ad libbed a seven-minute vision of what Star Wars VII ought to be, complete with the Avengers and several Greek gods. Now his rant has been animated by YouTube user Izac Less:


Oh, and here’s the original:


And consider yourself lucky. If we really wanted to do Saturday morning cartoons to commemorate Return Of The Jedi, we would have gone with this:


Yubnub yourself, buddy.

David Brent Returns Next Week

David Brent Returns Next Week

Ricky Gervais is bringing his character David Brent from The Office back with a series of videos for YouTube Comedy Week, starting May 20.

Here’s the teaser:


This is a part of YouTube Comedy Week, showcasiong the best of comedy with live events, video premieres and creative collaborations from the world’s funniest people. From May 19-25, YouTube Comedy Week will bring together the biggest names in comedy on YouTube and beyond to create a one of a kind experience for comedy fans.

Clips from Upcoming Summer Films

Clips from Upcoming Summer Films

As the clock counts down to the May explosion of genre releases, additional clips are rolling out. For example, with a week to go, we get one more glimpse from Iron Man 3:


Meantime, two weeks later is Star Trek Into Darkness and here’s an extended moment already teased in the trailers:

And here’s the final Monsters University trailer ahead of its June release.

John Ostrander: A Little Less Funny

Ostrander Art 140414I was something of an odd kid growing up so it may have made sense that I liked odd comedians. My memory was that I was the only person in our household who liked Ernie Kovacs; I must have been about 7 or 8 when his TV show was on. I thought he was funny and just so damn strange.

The same must be said as well for Jonathan Winters who died Thursday at the age of 87. A remarkable improviser, he could become anyone or anything. Hand him a prop or a hat and he could do four or five characters one after the other, morphing from one to the next in a heartbeat. Famously, Jack Paar just gave him a stick and Winters turned in character after character , including a terrific imitation of Bing Crosby.

I have a memory of Winters on The Jack Parr Show simply taking it over. Parr couldn’t get him to shut up or get off the stage. Parr was one of many many comedians or entertainers who were huge Winters’ fans. Robin Williams really owes his career to him. He pops in on this interview that 60 Minutes did with Winters and it’s fun not only to see the two riffing together but also for some of the serious insights that Winters gave on comedy and being a comedian.

What may be interesting to ComicMix readers is that he studied cartooning at Dayton Art Institute, meeting Eileen Schauder who would become his wife. Makes sense to me; his act often had him becoming a living cartoon.

He was also upfront about his stays in a private psychiatric hospital for manic depression which was brave and may have cost him. You could dismiss his act as that of someone too wired and a bit crazy instead of as the comedic genius it was.

There’s so many ways you may have encountered Jonathan Winters. He was an actor as well as a comedian. One of my favorite films that he made was The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming playing as police deputy that may have been related to Barney Fife. More manic but not more competent. He was also one of the few things that was watchable in the comedic gang bang, It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World. He was the white suited garbage man on Heft commercials who had a refined accent and pronounced  garbage as “gahrbaj” – which I still use myself on occasion.

Winters, being a cartoon himself, also voiced cartoons, voicing Grandpa Smurf. Among the others were Tiny Toons Adventures (where he once voiced Superman!) and Fish Police – based on the comic book – doing Mayor Cod.

One of the most surreal (and with Jonathan Winters, that’s saying a lot) series of appearances was on Mork and Mindy where Winters was the son to Robin William’s Mork. As you may recall, Mork was an alien and his race aged backwards. It gave Williams a chance to work with his idol. It must have been easy to script; just point the two of them in a general direction and turn them loose.

One of Winters’ best known characters was Maudie Frickert who looked a bit like Whistler’s Mother and talked like Mae West. Maudie appeared everywhere, on all the variety shows, on the Tonight Show (Johnny Carson’s Aunt Blabby was, shall we say, a “direct descendent” of Maudie), and any place on TV that you can think. She had a career of her own. Maudie was just one of several recurring characters that Winters created.

When Jonathan Winters died this last week, all those characters, all those voices, died with him. They still live on videos and I encourage you to check YouTube and other places on the webby-web for them. He was an original, an antic mind, and with his death the world is a little less funny at a time when we need a few more real laughs.




Mindy Newell: Take A Lesson

Newell Art 130304Are you sick and tired of all the crap that’s going on down in D.C?  As in Washington, D.C., not DC Comics.

Believe it or not, me, too. Here is a breakdown of the last 4½ years of political discourse between our political leaders:

“You did it.”

“No, you did it.”

“I’m telling.”

“No, I’m telling.”

“That’s my ball.”

“No, it’s not, it’s my ball.”

“You cheated.”

“So did you.”

“I dare you.”

“I double-dare you.”

For Christ’s sake, grow the fuck up, children!!!!! Or take a lesson from The Avengers – beat the shit out of each other a la Iron Man and Thor, then realize you made a mistake and come together as a team to fight the real bad guy!

I missed the Oscars this year because I watched Tootsie and Kramer Vs. Kramer on Turner Classic Movies, part of their “31 Days of Oscar” routine. I did read and hear about them, though, especially McFarlane’s performance as host, and watched YouTube to form my own opinion. McFarlane’s comments about Jews really offended me. In fact, most of his spiel offended me. Although I do think he’s very smart, and I tend to agree with him when he’s on Bill Maher…to tell you the truth, I’d rather he’d stick to political commentary – I just don’t find him funny.

Reading Lawrence Wright’s latest book, which is about Scientology (Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, & The Prison Of Belief). Picked it up because I was so impressed with Wright’s The Looming Tower, which is about the radicalization of Bin Laden, the birth and growth of Al Quada, and 9/11. The later is highly recommended to understand what happened and to help put today’s politics in context – I believe we are still politically paying for the attack on the World Trade Center, and in that way, Bin Laden – may he roast in hellfire for eternity – was successful. The former book, however, is not as eye opening for me; I’ve always known that Scientology is nothing but a big scam set up by a hack science fiction writer who wanted to “get rich quick.”

Scientology is L. Ron Hubbard’s definition of “there’s a sucker born every minute.”  Scientology is a Seduction Of The Innocents and its victims need a good lawyer. Matt Murdock, where are you? Take these Kingpins on. Challenge the organization’s “church” status in court and get their tax-exempt status revoked. That would help a lot of the poor schnooks who have been taken in by the scam.

The Who have it right. Hope I die before I get old.

Wolverine is lucky to have an adamantium skeleton and regenerative powers…my dad had another seizure/stroke a month ago. He’s not coming back from this one. Not really. My mother is physically and emotionally a wreck, on the verge of stroking out herself. The delivery of health care in this country is a disgrace. It’s in the control of the banksters and the insurance companies and price gougers, who get rich off of the sick while reimbursements from Medicare are being cut down to nothing, and since staffing is the biggest expense that medical organizations face, hospitals and nursing homes are forced to use the axe, the result being that patient care is dangerously compromised.

I can’t think of a super-hero from whom we can take a lesson on this one, who can fight this.

Can you?




20th Century Fox Releases Digitally Life of Pi Ahead of Oscars

Life of PiLOS ANGELES (February 19, 2012) ­ Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment today announced the availability of Oscar® Winning Director Ang Lee’s cinematic masterpiece Life of Pi on DIGITAL HD five days before the 85th Academy Awards. Nominated for 11 Oscars including Best Picture and Best Director, the inspirational epic journey can be enjoyed on connected HDTVs in your home, or on your tablet or smartphone on the go.

“Today, digital platforms offer us greater flexibility to innovate our consumer offerings,” said Mary Daily, President of Worldwide Marketing and Chief Marketing Officer, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. “Revisiting the magical world that Ang Lee has created with Life of Pi on Digital HD gives audiences the choice to enjoy this beautiful masterpiece on the device of their choice.”

Life of Pi on Digital HD is available at digital stores including Amazon Instant Video, CinemaNow, Google Play, iTunes, Kindle Fire, NOOK Video, PlayStation, VUDU, Xbox Video and YouTube for under $15, arriving four weeks before Blu-ray, DVD and video-on-demand (VOD). LIFE OF PI is also playing in theaters nationwide, experience it in stunning 3D.

Based on the acclaimed best-selling novel from Yann Martel that has been published in 40 languages, and brought to life by visionary Academy Award winning director Ang Lee, this magical adventure of hope, wonder, survival, and the power of the human spirit has been celebrated by critics all over the world. A “magnificent and moving” (Peter Travers, Rolling Stone) motion picture event that has been hailed as “a masterpiece” (Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times), taking in over $500 million in worldwide box office.  LIFE OF PI follows Pi Patel, a young man on a fateful voyage who, after a spectacular disaster, is marooned on a lifeboat with the only other survivor, a fearsome 450 lb Bengal Tiger named Richard Parker. Hurtled into an epic journey of adventure and discovery Pi and his majestic companion make an amazing and unexpected connection.