My Year [so far] in G33K

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written by Justin Prince (@prince_justin)

Hello fellow Nerdkind and welcome to Lifted Geek (dot) com! As an inaugural post, I figured I’d write a piece about “the road so far”… my year in geek (so far).

This year has been quite a year for geeky kids like me. I saw the epic end of a film series and the start of two widely anticipated new franchises. I experienced the closing chapter of a Spectre named Shepard, began the final arc of a manga series I’ve been religiously following for the last decade,  and attended two major conventions Of course we can’t forget the prequels, the sequels, and the remakes.

Oh what a year to be a geek! The Nolan-verse Batman story comes full circle, the Avengers assemble, and someone new steps into the red and blue boots of our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. If ever we needed evidence that geek culture has firmly ingrained itself into popular culture, we only need to see how many top box-office grossing films hold ties near and dear to comic books.

On Comic Book Movies... Christopher Nolan brought Batman’s story full circle and nicely closes up the adventures of his Caped Crusader. Growing up, I’ve always been a Marvel Comics kind of guy, except for all things Batman. From the campy days of Adam West’s Batman to the darker tone of the Dark Knight’s adventures in the later half of the 20th Century. Despite a few gripes with the trilogy as a whole, this ending was a neatly tied up end to the Nolan-verse Batman. A common theme about the Bat is that he lives a life full of death and sadness, I was just glad to see something good happen for ol Bruce Wayne.

Avengers Assemble! (L-R) Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Captain America (Chris Evans), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), and Hulk (Mark Ruffalo).

Avengers Assemble! (L-R) Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Captain America (Chris Evans), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), and Hulk (Mark Ruffalo).

Marvel seems to be the top dogs when it comes to superhero films this past summer, both The Avengers and The Amazing Spider-Man launched to packed houses and critical acclaim. Everything I can say about Joss Whedon’s entry in the Avenger universe has most likely already been said. It was, to many fellow geeks, the highlight of our summer. This is what a Superhero film should be, and by Odin it was an absolute delight from start to finish. Marc Webb’s first entry in the rebooted

Spidey in action! (inset) Andrew Garfield plays the titular character.

Spidey in action! (inset) Andrew Garfield plays the titular character.

Spider-Man universe has been a hotly anticipated film. Andrew Garfield (The Social Network) plays the titular hero, and while a few of my friends reacted more negatively to his portrayal, I honestly dug it. Some complained that he didn’t look “nerdy” enough to be Peter, but can you even really describe what a “nerd” looks like anymore? Andrew Garfield had this wirily awkwardness to him that modernized the role while still staying true to Peter Parker’s nature. I agree with some folk who found the pacing to be quite slow, but that didn’t really detract from my enjoyment of it.

(L-R) LFTDG33k's Lillian dressed up as Shiemi Moriyama, myself dressed as Starkiller from the Force Unleashed (yes I guess I did dress up one day), YOU SHALL NOT PASS!!

(L-R) LFTDG33k's Lillian dressed up as Shiemi Moriyama, myself dressed as Starkiller from the Force Unleashed (yes I guess I did dress up one day), YOU SHALL NOT PASS!!

G33k Conventions! My run of the conventions was fun. I attended two major cons in 2012; Sakura Con here in Seattle and the mecca of all cons, San Diego Comic Con. I’ve been going to the local Sakura Con for about a decade now, for those who don’t know, Sakura Con is the biggest anime convention in the Pacific Northwest, with about 20,000 fellow geeks this past year in attendance (still growing each year I attend). What always entertains me are the cosplayers. I love good cosplayer and Seattle’s Sakura Con gets its fair share of great dress up artists. I spent most of my time in the Exhibitor’s Hall and the Artist’s Alley. I didn’t really dress up this year but wish I had. It was the first year in a long time I didn’t cosplay for Sakura Con and I felt… naked. I don’t plan to make the same mistake for 2013, and I will keep you updated when I decide on a costume.

When it comes to conventions, I can’t mention any fantastic nerd gathering without mentioning the Big Poppa of them all, San Diego Comic Con. This past year was my second year going, and being a bit wiser I felt like I was ready to tackle some of the hotly anticipated panels and pick up some exclusive merchandise. The biggest item on my list to get was at the Hasbro booth. The 4 foot long S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier (yes I got it).

The FIREFLY panel was a packed house! And the beautiful Summer Glau couldn't stop crying. It was my highlight.

The FIREFLY panel was a packed house! And the beautiful Summer Glau couldn't stop crying. It was my highlight.

SDCC Highlight: It was hard to really pick a favorite panel and I won’t draw this out too long by mentioning each panel I went to… but, I will talk about the one panel I knew I absolutely had to get into. FireflySerenity… the show that makes me forever criticize FOX for their shortsightedness, those evil network bastards… you renew crap shows but let a show like Firefly fizzle? Shame on you FOX. Okay, nerd rage aside, for those who don’t know: Firefly was a Joss Whedon project. It melded Sci-Fi and Spaghetti Western so well it was masterfully delicious. After one season, no… less than one season (the “finale” was far from “final”), FOX pulls the plug. Of course they could blame low viewership, but when you take such a niche series like Firefly and don’t even give it a chance to fly, FOX would change the times and days it was on, how can you even expect it to gain any sort of viewership? Thankfully, the few episodes that were released spawned expanded media. Comics (published by Dark Horse) filled in the gaps and a feature length studio movie (from Universal) gave this epic space opera a true finale. The panel was a reunion panel to mark the 10th anniversary for the series (which started in 2002).

While the entire cast wasn’t there, notables like Summer Glau and Sean Maher who played the fugitive siblings River and Simon Tam respectively, Alan Tudyk who played the part of Serenity’s pilot Hoban “Wash” Washburne, Comic Con darling Adam Baldwin who immortalized the role of a man named Jayne (Cobb), and of course the incomparable Nathan Fillion… oh captain my captain… who made the role of Malcolm Reynolds one I won’t ever forget. Of course Joss Whedon was present as well. This was an all out lovefest for the cast and the fans of this series.

 We as fans were there to thank everyone on stage for bringing to life some of the most memorable characters in the pantheon of Sci-Fi heroes. A few moments made Joss choke up and the beautiful Summer Glau barely spoke and spent most of her time on stage crying and trying not to ruin her makeup. It was one of the best panels I have ever been to and one I won’t ever forget. This made my Comic Con.

(L-R, U-D) Max Payne took his "BAD" and totes "BROKE" it, BEWBZ!, I'm Commander Sheperd and LFTDG33K is my favorite site on the Extranet

(L-R, U-D) Max Payne took his "BAD" and totes "BROKE" it, BEWBZ!, I'm Commander Sheperd and LFTDG33K is my favorite site on the Extranet

Gaming! A major part of my life and one that I won’t soon give up. This year has been a good year for gamers as well. While notable entries like Max Payne 3 brought a hero from a long departed franchise back to light, and the absolute ridiculousness of Suda51’s crazed mind brought us Lollipop Chainsaw, one game was my swan song… in a year of epic ends, it was appropriate to mention Mass Effect 3. While not much different than the previous entry in the series, ME3 was a masterful delight to play. The swirling controversy regarding the “ending” was not enough to spoil my enjoyment. While I do agree with many points made about the fan nerdrage about the ending, I had a very tough time letting go and I know I will continue to purchase the DLC missions that come down the pike. Now, mind you, Bioware has “patched” the ending and, while maintaining the original vision of the ending, they crafted a satisfying ending that expanded on what was already there. Well played Bioware, and thank you… honestly, thank you for this franchise.

BANKAI!

BANKAI!

Switching gears a bit, while the anime series for Bleach seemed to come to an end, the manga still continues. With this arc, Tite Kubo announced that this will be the final arc in his Shinigami Ballad. Honestly, I don’t know what to think about it. I’m reading it partly because I’ve spent the last decade reading Bleach, and while still good, this “War with the Quincy” arc hasn’t grabbed me as strongly as the “Arrancarr Arc” or “Espada Arc”. I’ll most likely write a piece when it comes to an end, but that’s an entry for another time. On the UP side... Genryuusai-dono finally released his Bankai!

Thank you for reading and that has been my year (so far). I won’t keep you much longer, but again, I’d like to welcome you to Lifted Geek.