5/31/2011

Tom "Pieface" Kalmaku
The new Green Lantern movie has brought something to my attention. It seems like there's been some retconning going on with Hal Jordan's faithful sidekick and best friend, Thomas "Pieface" Kalmaku. Let's set the record straight.

First of all, non-geeks may be asking "Who's Pieface?" Here's a quick review: Tom Kalmaku is Hal Jordan's best friend and sidekick. He first appeared in the second issue of Green Lantern in September 1960. He's an Inuit from Alaska and a mechanic at Hal Jordan's Air Force base. He's also Hal Jordan's best friend, knows Jordan's identity as the Green Lantern, and helps him out on occasion in Hal's fight for justice. His nickname is "Pieface" or just Pie for short.

The current explanation for his nickname "Pieface" is that Tom likes to eat Eskimo Pies. That may be the current explanation, but that's not the real reason he's called Pieface. Pieface was (and still is) a racial slur for Asian people, referring to their relatively flat and round facial features, comparing them to the bottom of a pie. It's true that Tom is not technically Asian, but in the 1960's, they didn't make those kinds of distinctions. Anyone with Asian features was a "pieface," just like anyone with dark skin was a "Negro."

It's not like DC hasn't tried to fix the problem. The nickname disappeared from comics during the eighties with Hal just calling him "Tom" until the DC crossover event Millennium, where Tom is elevated to superhero status. During Tom's ascension, Hal whispers "Pieface" as an affectionate reference to how far Tom had come. Then DC: The New Frontier re-told their first meeting, and Tom chastised Hal for using the nickname. In a recent issue of Green Lantern, Hal's original origin was (again) re-visited and Tom reacted violently to another pilot for using the slur. Hal defended him, and said that he would never use it, thereby retroactively erasing every time Hal used it later on. Some people found that too PC, but I liked it. There are a lot of things in the world (and comics) that we can do without. Instead of trying to re-write history to make the slur acceptable, let's just go ahead and stop using it. Now if they can just get rid of Marvel's African-American superhero duo, Fried Chicken and Watermelon...

5/27/2011

Will Kirk fall for it again?

[Image Source: The Chive]

5/25/2011

May 25th, 2011 is the tenth anniversary of Towel Day. What is Towel Day, you ask? It's a celebration of the life and work of the legendary Douglas Adams. Adams created and wrote the famed satirical science fiction novel, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. May 25th is exactly two weeks from Adams' death on May 11, 2001 (which also happened to be his birthday). Why a towel? Because according to Adams', "a towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have." Personally, I consider the Hitchhiker's series to be a landmark in the formation of my sense of humor, and understanding the possibilities of science fiction literature. If you're a fan, how can you celebrate today? Here are some suggestions:
  • Carry a towel with you. All day. Everywhere.
  • Donate gently used towels to your nearest animal shelter.
  • Read any or all of the five novels from the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy trilogy.
  • Take a picture of yourself with a towel and post it to Flickr.
  • Meet some friends at a local pub (or a local "bar" as we Americans call it). Ask the bartender for a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster. Get very angry when the bartender says he has no idea what you're talking about. Argue with the bartender until you get thrown out. Find another pub. Repeat.
  • Have some friends over for some Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters (technically impossible to create on Earth based on the original recipe, but the official Hitchhiker's fanzine created an Earth version, and a nightclub called Zaphod Beeblebrox created another version that isn't as strong and glows in UV light). Or you can have one yourself and feel very lonely.
  • Visit the Towel Day Facebook page.
  • Watch the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy movie. It's not the perfect version of Adams' work, but it's the only movie we have.
  • Watch a marathon of the original mini-series. The special effects, costumes, and sets are kind of cheap, but it's the most faithful portrayal of the original novels out there.
  • Visit Towelday.org to find events going on near you or around the world.
  • Buy our exclusive "I know where my towel is" T-shirt or coffee mug.
 How will you celebrate Towel Day? Did you even know Towel Day existed before this?

5/24/2011

Today's free scifi category is the 2011 Hugo Award nominees for Best Short Story. If you're not familiar with it, the Hugo Awards are like the Academy Awards for scifi. Another similarity to the Academy Awards is that you may not be familiar with the nominees. Unlike the Academy Awards, you can catch up on the nominees for free. Here are the four nominees for best short story, along with links to where you can read them online.

"Ponies,” by Kij Johnson - A little girl and her talking pony discover how far they have to go to be part of the crowd. (WARNING: Contains graphic violence and disturbing images)

"For Want of a Nail," by Mary Robinette Kowal - What starts as a routine repair to a malfunctioning starship computer uncovers a secret that threatens the crew's future.

"Amaryllis," by Carrie Vaughn - In a fishing community where life is managed by quotas, one woman's boat is threatened by a vindictive overseer.

"The Things," by Peter Watts - What if John Carpenter's The Thing were told from the perspective of the Thing?


After you've read them (or if you already have), let us know your opinion: Which story do you think deserves to win Best Short Story?

5/20/2011

Even though Thor lacks an epic story and romance, its themes of family and epic visuals make it a triumph.

I spent a long time trying to come up with a title that didn't use the word "hammer" since everyone's doing it, but it really does feel like being hit with a hammer of action for two hours.

Thor is about the egotistical son (Chris Hemsworth) of the ruler of the mythical world of Asgard. They have incredibly advanced technology and during the Nordic age fought of the evil frost giants.

While on earth, he literally runs into an astrophysicist named Jane Foster (Natalie Portman). She and her friends, Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgård) and Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings), try to protect him from a government agency trying to identify a mysterious unmovable hammer that has crashed to the New Mexico desert. Meanwhile, his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is scheming to take over as ruler of Asgard.

In 2002, a Congressional candidate from Alabama named Michael Williams caused a stir when he proposed a sales tax on science fiction related material to fund NASA. The idea was that a few extra cents added to any sales of merchandise like Star Trek and Star Wars would go directly towards NASA's budget. In that way, geeks everywhere would pay for space exploration.

Considering Williams was an underdog and technically not even a politician at the time (his day job was bagging groceries at a supermarket), his proposal gained a lot of attention. Lots of people weighed in on how impractical the plan was. How do you define science fiction and what to tax? Why should science fiction fans be forced to pay an extra tax other fans don't? If science fiction isn't that profitable to begin with, what would an added tax do to the industry? Could sales on action figures of Captain Picard and plastic lightsabers really pay the billions needed by NASA every year?


All fair points, and not only did Williams' proposal not get off the ground, but he didn't even win the Congressional seat. But I think a lot of critics missed the point. The idea was to take funding of NASA out of the hands of politicians, and put it in the hands of the people who actually care about space exploration.


Maybe a blanket sales tax is a bad idea, but what if it was more targeted? What if NASA teamed up with high-end toy manufacturers like Todd McFarlane to create a line of space-related merchandise with an added tax that would go towards NASA's budget?


If it worked, then the most important tool in NASA's arsenal could end up being the best-selling tax software TurboTax and an iPad.

Would you buy an incredibly detailed copy of the Lunar Lander, especially if you knew the money you spent would go directly towards a real mission to the Moon?

Via Wired
On Thursday, NASA came one step closer to creating its own real-life Fantastic Four, which is what we all really want in life. They attached a device called the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer to the International Space Station. It cost two billion dollars, and is the result of almost twenty years of research. NASA claims its boring purpose is to study subatomic particles for antimatter and dark matter. The reality is that it's scanning "cosmic rays," that awesome interstellar radiation that spawned so many of Marvel's superheroes. Now all we need to do is crank that baby up and aim it at the space station to create our own superheroes. If only real-life was as cool as the comics. If this was the Marvel Universe, John Glenn would be made out of rocks and shooting laser beams out of his eyes.


[Image Source: Hollywood News]

5/18/2011


[THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED]

We're so excited about this month's contest! Would you or someone you know love a Green Lantern costume? Enter our contest and spread the word about the contest to all Green Lantern fans!

BuySuperheroCostumes.com has an amazing assortment of superhero costumes from old school comic book versions to newer movie versions of costumes! If you don't win or aren't entering the contest, you should still check them out.
The Prize
One of our readers may choose from one of the two awesome costumes available.

Plus size or female option available.

How to Win
You can win by doing one of the following to promote the contest!
Each of the following entries count as a separate entry so you can increase your chances of winning by promoting in several ways.
  1. Create a Twitter, blog or Facebook post about Green Lantern and mention the contest with a link to this post.
  2. Subscribe to our updates via RSS or Email.

(Leave a separate comment for each entry. Limit of 5 entries total per person.)
There are no restrictions as long as its Green Lantern related and has a link to our contest.
The winner will be chosen randomly and contacted by email.  The contest ends on June 1st 11:59 P.M. CST. The contest is restricted to US residents in the contiguous United States 18 years or older.
So, hit the Internet and start promoting the contest today!
About the Company
BuySuperheroCostumes.com has an extensive collection of superhero costumes for a child or adults. From classic comic book versions to modern movie adaptations, their costumes will bring you a little closer to living out your dreams of saving the world.

Are you or someone you know ready to save the world?

5/16/2011

[Image from: Motifake.com ]

5/12/2011

With the upcoming Green Lantern movie, the world at large will discover the Green Lantern Corps. An interplanetary police force that spans the entire Galaxy, the Corps draws from every race and creed, and that's taken literally. In a way, the more bizarre the alien Green Lantern, the more inclusive the Corps seems. That concept of the Green Lantern Corps has allowed artists and writers to get really creative. Over the years, they've come up with some truly unique lifeforms to wear the ring. Some of them are beautiful and cool, like Tomar-Re and Salaak. Others are downright freaky. Here's our picks for the freakiest members of the Green Lantern Corps.


10. Galius Zed - Galius Zed holds a special place in the hearts of all Green Lantern fans, because he's so weird looking. He's nothing but a gigantic head with arms and legs.Kind of like if Pac-Man were recruited by the Green Lantern Corps. As if that weren't enough, he's got a third arm coming out of his back. Awesome.

5/11/2011

Here's your daily list of click-worthy links.

Does Hugh Jackman love his son enough to train a robot boxer? What does a Jamaican Jedi sound like? Should Watchmen have had more doe-eyed ponies? Will Smallville end up fitting into the comic book chronology? Will Amy Pond trickle out of Doctor Who?
Watch a three minute clip of the movie Star Wars dubbed over with hilariously appropriate quotes from French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre.

Guerres des Étoiles Existentielles (Star Wars Existential) was made by OneMinuteGalactica. George Lucas is going to release a pointless fifty-five disc Special Extended Edition next year.


My favorite quote? The X-Wing fighter pilot dies screaming, "Nothingness, I embrace you!"
    How funny is this Star Wars video? Is it true that “every existing thing is born without reason, prolongs itself out of weakness, and dies by chance?”

    Via Roger Ebert

    5/10/2011

    The final part of our spaceship "dream team" is complete and it is the ship: Star Trek's USS Enterprise (NCC-1701)!

    This is a good choice since it's large, has a good complement of weapons and it's warp drive will allow them to travel anywhere in the universe.
    The results of the poll can be found here.

    Since February we've been asking you, the readers, who you'd draft in your ultimate spaceship crew. A dream team. You've made some spectacular choices. Some controversial. Others familiar. Overall, it's a crew any science-fiction fan would love to be a part of.

    Captain Han Solo from Star Wars

    Here's the biggest news of the day.

    The Spider-Man reboot, The Amazing Spider-Man, doesn't open till July, 2012, but we're getting a flood of behind-the-scenes photos and video. So, far not bad. Mania

    Thor had a huge opening weekend bringing in $66 million dollar.
    Although the opening for "Thor" wasn't as enormous as those of other superhero movies, it still exceeded studio expectations, which were around $55 million. It was the third-highest opening for a Marvel franchise launch, behind "Spider-Man," which made $115 million in 2002, and "Iron Man," which made $98.6 million in 2008.
    Huffington Post

    A new theatrical trailer for Green Lantern has been released giving us a look at the rest of the Green Lantern Corp and more plot details about the movie. Plus, we get to see a sword fight between Ryan Reynolds and Sinestro. Empire

    With X-Men First Class opening this summer we get short video spotlights of teenage Havok, Banshee and Beast. - MTV

    J.J. Abrams says that since work on the sci-fi film Super-8 is winding down he can finally focus on the Star Trek sequel.
    "The truth is that my focus has been so much on finishing 'Super 8' that it's been something I'm looking forward to getting to, but with an incredibly compressed post schedule, there hasn't been a whole lot of time for me to be working with the writers. Now that 'Super 8' is drawing to a close in terms of this post schedule, I'm looking forward to jumping in and hopefully getting that ready as soon as possible."
    MTV

    Rumors are swirling that Keanu Reeves is in talks to star in the live action adaptation of Akira. Whoa. This is a big departure from the film which starred a teenager. - Mania

    5/09/2011

    X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) was an unqualified success and a tragic failure. The film made $373,062,864 worldwide. This alone guaranteed the film would be green-lit for a sequel. On the other hand, it got a 37% from critics on the website "Rotten Tomatoes" and is filled with continuity errors.

    Here are five reasons we'll never get a sequel and why you should rejoice.

    1. Deadpool Spin-off is Ignoring the Original
    Like a red-headed step-child, no one wants to be associated with the original. One of the stand-out characters in Wolverine was Deadpool. Played with wit and charm by Ryan Reynolds he exuded cool and, despite getting a small amount of screen time, cut a katana into popular culture. Except for that horrible ending where he turned into a Frankenstein mutant and had his head cut off.
    Naturally, the studios noticed and decided to make a spin-off. Minus the horrible ending. “It’s a total reboot… We’re either going to pretend that didn’t happen – or mock it, which he could.”

    In fact, this follows the trend of the rest of the upcoming X-Men films. Because of the horrible writing, most X-Men sequels are going to pretend the movie never happened and write it out. What does this mean for a Wolverine sequel? It would have to exist in a world completely removed from the rest of the films making it pointless.


    2. All the Other "Origins" Films have Died a Slow Death
    X-Men Origins: Wolverine was originally supposed to be a tent pole for a whole bunch of prequel films based on the characters. The next one planned X-Men Origins: Magneto was dumped in favor of X-Men: First Class. Other films, like Professor X and Cyclops have been dumped too.

    In fact, Producer Bryan Singer has said that First Class is a type of reboot and will ignore the continuity of the other X-Men films. He has said that Wolverine may appear in future First Class films. This reverses his original statements that the hirsute one would only appear in his own films. Again, Wolverine would be pointless


    3. They Lost the Best Director They're Ever Going to Get
    Bryan Singer's not coming back to direct the X-Men films. Gavin Wood butchered the first film. Darren Aronofsky is a brilliant director who has been nominated for a Oscar, Golden Globe, BAFTA and DGA award. He's worked with Jackman before on the brilliant, if confusing, science-fiction film The Fountain and would have given the film a new life and direction. He left for personal reasons and they're still looking for somebody else.

    They're not going to find anyone. A couple of the names that have been bounced around are all wanna-bes. Wolverine needs a good director and there's no one that wants to do it.


    4. Japan is No Longer An Option as a Shooting Location
    After the tragic tsunami Japan has been shut down as a filming location. This means the film would have to be shot on a studio back-lot or in some other location.

    Neither of these are realistic for what Jackman describes as an epic feudal Japanese story. 

    Does anyone want to see Hugh Jackman swinging a Samurai sword through Central Park?

    5. Hugh Jackman's Not Waiting Anymore
    While Jackman steadfastly stands behind his vow to make this film, his 6000 calorie diet of chicken breasts and broccoli has taken a toll on him. “I can’t be eating too many more chicken breasts,” he said. Recently, he stopped his diet and is being offered a role in other movies like Snow White and the Huntsman and Fantastic Voyage.

    If his agent is any good, he'll tell him to stop holding out for a dead project and take another job. Without Jackman, the film is as good as dead.

    Here's the point, X-Men Origins: Wolverine was a mess that no one wants to follow, direct or starve for. The only reason the first film was a success is people love Hugh Jackman and they love Wolverine. The Origins film coasted on that success, but can't sustain itself.

    On it's own, the film's best hope is a straight-to-DVD movie and nobody wants that. Wolverine may be indestructible, but the film's are dead.

    Long live Wolverine.
    Are you happy there won't be a sequel to Wolverine?

    5/07/2011

    If you're planning to see Thor, here's a summary of everything you need to understand about the movie before you go including explanations of the characters, why you've never heard of him and how he fits into the rest of the Marvel films leading up to the Avengers.

    Many people have told me they're not going to see Thor because they don't know the character and would feel left out. I'll try and answer some of the common questions I've gotten.

    Who is Thor?
    Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is a superhero based on a Norse god named Thor "God of Thunder". He lives in the mythical dimension of Asgard along with others who act like "gods." He is cast down to our world because his father, the king Odin (Anthony Hopkins), thinks he's too egotistical. There he learns humility, falls in love and saves the world. He has a big hammer.
    The movie is based on a cool long-running comic book character.

    There's a "Thor" Comic Book? Never Heard of It.
    There's a reason 98% of people have never heard of Thor.

    5/06/2011

    Jurassic ParkIf you're a voracious sci-fi reader, and your friend or significant other is not, you know the pain. You wish you could share the latest great novel you read, but they just roll their eyes and say, "I don't read science fiction." You've tried introducing them to the greats like Dune or Neuromancer, but they don't get past the first page. This list is for them. Most of these novels are so popular and universal, they put them in the mainstream section of most bookstores. Think of them as appetizers. Once they read these, they may be ready for a deeper novel as the main course.

    1. 1984 by George Orwell - Set in a near-future where a fascist government observes and controls every aspect of life, one man struggles to find love and freedom. This novel is the gold standard for dystopian fiction, and made the term "Big Brother" synonymous with oppressive surveillance. In today's world, 1984's themes of privacy and freedom are more relevant than ever.

    5/05/2011

    Thor, the movie about a superheroic Norseman, opens in the U.S. tommorrow and you can find out all about them and see sexy pictures of Natalie Portman (Jane Foster), Kat Dennings (Darcy), Jamie Alexander (Lady Sif), and Rene Russo (Frigga) right here.
    Natalie Portman

    While we're not a software site, we do love geek history which is why we're passing on this press release about Android, iPad, iPhone app  "Today in Geek History"
    "Today in Geek History" now available for iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch and Android devices! With over 3000 facts, impress your friends with your geeky knowledge! Find out what happened in Space, Technology, People, Books and Movies (just to name a few).


    Whether you're a space geek, nerd, gamer or physicist, “Today in Geek History” has something for everyone. Best of all, it's now available for iOS platforms, iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch! Also available for Android; the app just received a major update in conjunction with this release for iPhone.

    Geek History is a mobile application (currently available for Android) that displays historical facts for any given date, covering topics from Space, Technology, People, Books, Movies and TV shows (just to name a few). The app allows you to share these facts to Twitter, FaceBook, Email or Text Message (on compatible devices).

    5/04/2011

    Every week for the next few months, we'll be creating the ultimate starship crew from the greatest sci-fi characters of movie and TV. When the Dream Team is ready to fly, we'll be bringing you an original adventure story to bring the Starship "Dream Team" to life. You can help create the Dream Team by voting in the sidebar.

    Sorry about the delay in the update, but we were really busy with the A-Z Challenge for April. Now that it's complete, we can finish the Dream Team.

    For those following at home, here's the crew so far:
    It's time to add the final piece to the Starship Dream Team: the starship. What famous starship will be the vessel that carries the Dream Team through the stars? For the next week, you can vote in the sidebar.

    In honor of the 2011 Star Wars day we now present the top ten ways you know you're a Star Wars fan if...

    9.  You had a crush on Princess Leia or Han Solo.

    8. You can name four planets from the Star Wars films, but don't know the capital of Assyria.

    7. You've seen all six movies, but call Star Wars: A New Hope (1977) the "first one."

    6. You know the names of the actors that played Chewbacca, R2-D2 and C-3PO even though we never see their faces in the movies.
    5. Han Solo shot Greedo first!
    4. A variation of the phrase "These are not the droids you're looking for" works itself into everyday conversation.
    3. The idea of building a life-size version of the AT-AT seems like a worthwhile goal.
    2. Max Rebo doesn't sound like a diet cola.

    1. You hear "May the Fourth" and immediately get the pun.

    Are you a Star Wars Fan? How do you know?
    [Image Source: weirdthings.org.uk]

    5/03/2011


    In case you missed them, here are the most popular posts of last month revealed.

    1. 10 Best Sci-fi Shows Canceled After One Season
    Counting down the best shows that were cut down before their prime.
    2. Profile of Adrianne Palicki TV's Sexy New Wonder Woman [Profile]
    There's a new Wonder Woman in town and her name is Palicki.

    3. EXCLUSIVE: Jar Jar Binks Explains Why He Sucked
    Meesah thinks he gonna suck.

    4. 10 Crazy But True Facts About "The Wizard of Oz"
    Can you believe a movie about green witches and flying monkeys has surprises?

    5. 10 Best Life-Size Star Wars Replicas
    We may never get the life-size AT-AT, but we do have the life-size Jabba the Hutt.

    6. Green Hornet's Black Beauty and the Top 17 Superhero Cars
    When superheros drive in style, they drive these hot rides.

    7. Why Princess Leia Went Commando in "Star Wars"
    Everyone wants to know what was under that stylish tunic.

    8. Darth Vader Actor Banned From STAR WARS Convention
    David Prowse banned. Shame on you Lucas.

    9. Do These Pics of Oliva Munn Prove She's Hot?
    Maybe. Ok. Yes.

    10. 40 Amazing New 'X-Men: First Class' Trailer Screencaps and Breakdown
    The New X-Men movie is coming. Find out what you're in for.

    Which is your favorite post?

    5/01/2011

    Z is for Zod
    Here are a few quick facts about Michael Shannon, the man that will play the villainous General Zod in Zack Snyder's Superman reboot Man of Steel.

    He's got some big shoes to fill.

    IGN named Terrance Stamp's portrayal of the super-powered megalomaniac General Zod in Superman I and II as #30 on their list of the 'Top 50 Comic Book Villains.' They said "Stamp is Zod."
    • Michael Corbet Shannon is 6' 4" and was born August 15, 1974 in Lexington, KY, USA.
    • He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Revolutionary Road.
    • Won and nominated for three Joseph Jefferson theater acting awards.
    • Director Zack Snyder said "Zod is not only one of Superman's most formidable enemies, but one of the most significant because he has insights into Superman that others don't. Michael is a powerful actor who can project both the intelligence and the malice of the character, making him perfect for the role," Huffington Post
    • When he saw a therapist as a teenager he just sat and stared at him, before throwng all the books off the shelves, knocking over a lamp and walking out of the room. He says they are now best friends adding, "If you give me enough time, enough leash, I can become pretty reasonable." New York Magazine
    •  He is a series regular as a Federal agent on the critically acclaimed cable HBO 1920s period crime show Boardwalk Empire.

    What do you think of Michael Shannon as the evil General Zod?

    This post is "Z is for Zod," part of the "A-Z Blogging Challenge." We'll be posting something on our blog every day in April except for Sundays. The challenge is hosted by Arlee Bird , Jeffrey Beesler, Alex J. Cavanaugh, Jen Daiker, Candace Ganger, Karen J Gowen, Talli Roland and Stephen Tremp. Visit them today!

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