Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Legend Of Korra Unblocked Premiere Wows Fans And Newcomers Alike

On March 14, Nickelodeon launched, a site and multi-social network campaign in hopes of hyping up the much anticipated premiere of The Legend Of Korra, which is set to debut a month later on television. The campaign, coupled with sneak peaks of clips on the official Nickelodeon site, was a ridiculous success and amassed well over 100,000 Tweets, Likes and Faves across each of the respective social networks by the end of March 21. On March 24, as thanks to the commitment of its fans, unlocked the premiere online several weeks before the TV premiere, which is still scheduled for April 14.

The premiere was given a 9/10 by sites like and, after personally watching it myself, I might have to say those impressive scores are even a bit on the low side. As a long-time fan of Avatar The Last Airbender, having been hooked since I saw the series premiere on YTV years ago, I and countless other fans have been aching for more of Aang since the series ended back in 2008. Over the course of a few years, we would be teased at conventions with news of several such continuations.

First, it was announced that there would be a series of minisodes – a series of shorts that would act as an epilogue “Book 4” designed to tie up the unresolved plotlines of the series finale. Then, it was announced that there would be three animated TV specials of an hour each, in short, a six-episode fourth season. Eventually, this was changed to two direct-to-DVD animated movies. The first would serve as a direct sequel to Book 3, which was why it ended with Zuko demanding to know what happened to his mother, but fans never learning the truth. The second film was to show how the Avatar cycle could continue by having Aang find a boy named Tenzin, who was supposed to be the first Airbender in 100 years.

Later still, it was announced that both movies would be scrapped and instead replaced with a single movie that “involves a girl named Korra.” Finally, this too, was scrapped. Months later, it was announced that a 13-episode series called The Legend Of Korra was in the works. Not too long afterward, this changed when Lauren Montgomery, who directed several of the DC animated movies such as Superman/Batman Apocalypse, was brought on to be lead director for the second half of the season and all of season two. That’s right, it’s an ongoing series!

So yeah, there was lots of waiting, is what I’m basically getting at (made even longer by them deciding at the last second to postpone it from November 2011 to April 2012). However, it was definitely well worth the wait. The Legend Of Korra sneak peek premiere is ridiculously amazing! The animation has made some huge advancements since the previous series and none of the tone is missing, either. It’s the perfect mix of comedy, action, character and wonder that you’ve come to know and love.

It’s also completely independent of the first series, despite being a spinoff and also so firmly rooted in the exact same world and mythos. Just read the dialogue for the opening intro:

Earth. Fire. Air. Water. When I was a boy, my father, Avatar Aang, told me the story of how he and his friends heroically ended the Hundred Year War. Avatar Aang and Firelord Zuko transformed the Fire Nation colonies into the United Republic Of Nations, a society where benders and non-benders from all over the world could live and thrive together in peace and harmony. They named the capitol of this great land “Republic City.” Avatar Aang accomplished many remarkable things in his life, but sadly, his time in this world came to an end. And like the cycle of the seasons, the cycle of the Avatar began anew.

That never-made movie about Tenzin I mentioned earlier? It was made redundant by changing things so that he’s Aang and Katara’s son. Their kids and grandkids are the world’s new Airbenders. The opening intro makes it so that you never need to have seen the first series in order to enjoy this one. You’ll love it all the more if you have, especially at moments like when Katara’s granddaughter asks what happened to Zuko’s mother, but Katara gets interrupted before getting the chance to answer. While Nickelodeon is definitely a bunch of teases for this, I give them kudos for making a main character named Mako, as it’s a nod to the deceased voice actor who played the unforgettable Uncle Iroh of the first series.

Also mentioned in the opening is the founding of Republic City and The United Republic of Nations. This is being explored in Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Promise, which is a trilogy of graphic novels set one year after the first series ended. Its story involves the displacement of Fire Nation colonists in the process of returning territories to the Earth Kingdom that were seized during the Hundred Year War. The first part is out (and well worth reading if you’re a fan of the original series and/or want some back-story to the new one), with the next one arriving in June.

There really are only two things wrong with the new series thus far, both of which are quite forgivable. One is that her animal companion, a Polar Beardog, is named “Naga.” The naga in Greek mythology is a horrible creature of evil, so the name just doesn’t match such a lovable and loyal creature as the companion animal that Korra rides on. The other fault, which may be rectified over the course of the series, is an analog of the Merchant of Cabbage. I seriously hope to see some steampunk-inspired cabbage carts accidentally getting trashed over and over in the future.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Insanely Amazing Black Friday Sales All Week On Amazon

The American Thanksgiving is tomorrow which means the day after is Black Friday, which is to Americans as Boxing Day (on steroids) is to Canadians. For the first time in many years, I’ll be taking part in them. No, I won’t be making the horrid trek cross-border like I did with my parents once or twice while was growing up. Thanks to Amazon, I’ll be enjoying the amazing Black Friday sales from the comfort of my own home. I know retailers go all out after Thanksgiving, but these discounts kick Boxing Day’s sales in the nuts. If holidays had testicles, that is.

On Boxing Day, there’s usually one or two great discounts and pretty much everything is no more impressive than any other sale a store might have at any other point during the year. On Black Friday, everything starts as low as those two great discounts. And I mean everything! Take a look at the Mitsubishi WD-82740 82-Inch 1080p Projection TV, for example. Gorgeous, right? It’s got the same technology that major cinemas use in their 3D screenings and 82-inches, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone told me they use the same size of screens, too. Anyway, this bad boy normally goes $3,499. After the Black Friday discount: only $1,999. You are literally saving $1,499!

Oh, and if any of the guys out there are trying to figure out how they can convince their girlfriends or wives to let them make such pricey purchase, you probably won’t have too many problems, provided you remember to get them a little something. Like the 14k Yellow Gold Created Ruby Heart Devil Pendant with Diamond-Accent, for instance. It can be hers for $99.99, marked down from $399.99. Are diamonds more her thing? Well these 14k White Gold Round Diamond Stud Earrings are $1,733 off their normal price. Oh, and did I mention that if you’re thinking of popping the question, you can literally save $3,768 by buying this 14K White Gold Diamond Engagement Ring. I’m not a jewellery lover, myself, but DAMN! I almost want to buy that stuff just to hock it on eBay afterward!

This blog is all about geek-related sales, though, so let me point out that the Sony L Series VPCL232FX/B 24-Inch TouchScreen Desktop (Black) is being marked down by $200 for Black Friday week. I find that’s a super cool trend in desktop computing, but laptops are still more my speed. I’ll most likely be caving in and buying either the HP Pavilion DV6-6116NR 15.6-Inch Entertainment Laptop, which is $80 off, or the Toshiba Satellite R845-S85 14.0-Inch LED Laptop. That last computer has 2GB of additional RAM in comparison, but thanks to being a whopping $250 off, costs the same as the other one. That’s 6GB of RAM in total, 640 GB of hard disk drive and only $599. My only problem is that I prefer larger laptop sizes.

If all you want to take advantage of are the smaller things like box sets and movies, then be sure to keep looking back often. The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy (Extended Editions) is available on Blu-Ray for only $49.99. That’s a 58% discount on what’s likely to be a major gift item for Christmas. There will also be one day sales on sci-fi and more in the next coming days, so I’ll keep you guys posted as I go bankrupt from over-shopping, I mean, as I spot them.


The above links all redirect you to the American Amazon site, but the Canadian one is also offering tons of its own amazing Black Friday sales.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Martin Scorsese’s Hugo Movie Is A 3D Adventure Not To Be Missed

Thanks to the awesome guys at Cosmix over on Decarie, which is where I always get my comics despite Millennium Comics being literally two blocks from my house, I was able to go see the Montreal premiere of Martin Scorsese’s Hugo movie last night. It opens everywhere tomorrow and I highly recommend you check it out in 3D. Normally, I hate wearing those 3D glasses, but this one is well worth it.

The movie is an adaptation of The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick. Its story follows an orphan in the 1930s named Hugo Cabret who lives in the walls of a Paris train station. He keeps the clocks working so that nobody investigates them and thus discovers that he lives there. The reason he doesn’t want to be found revolves around his desire to finish an automaton he and his father were working on before the latter died in a tragic museum fire.

The automaton is everything embodied by the Clockpunk (a subgenre of Steampunk) mentality. Like Lego blocks on crystal meth, it is a dazzling collection of cogs, gears, both pristine and rusted metals, and the mysteriously and unbelievably fascinating. A central motif in the movie and in the genre itself is that every piece of equipment and every living person plays an integral part within a larger machine, analogous of God’s grand design. The story does a great job of tying Hugo to the automaton in this fashion, which in turn acts as the driving force to tying Hugo to the supporting cast, all of whom are simply wonderful to watch onscreen and to learn about.

Tack on a stellar soundtrack that fits the mood of every scene it accompanies and immediately it becomes very easy to immerse yourself in the story. Further helping to immerse you into the world itself is a beautiful architectural landscape that feels more industrial revolution-era instead of 1930-something, but still fits the Clockpunk world that the Hugo movie encompasses. Seeing this world and the inner mechanisms of the train station clocks in 3D is an absolute must. It’s never invasive 3D like how some movies throw stuff out at the screen. Ironically, it instead pulls the audience in.

Without giving you any spoilers, the movie is far from being a “kid’s movie” as advertised. In fact, I worry it won’t do as well as it should because it may be a bit too complex of a story for the children that it’s being marketed to. The more Hugo learns about the automaton’s secrets, the more the audience learns about the supporting cast and even a bit of cinematographic history. It’s a fairly adult story told through the eyes of two children sharing a hope-filled adventure in a beautiful Clockpunk world. It’s also the first movie since 2002 that Scorsese directed without starring Leonardo DiCaprio in the lead, which probably made me gigglesnort more than it should have.


Hugo opens in theatres everywhere on Wednesday, November 23, while Cosmix has been open to Montreal’s comics, toys and gaming fans for over 25 years. All of the links mentioned in the above article direct you to the American Amazon site, so my fellow Canadians can click on the following to check out the soundtrack, the original novel and the Hugo movie companion.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Animaze 2011: Montreal’s Animation Film Festival Is Heavy Metal

If you live in Montreal and haven’t already heard, Concordia University is hosting Animaze this year and the line-up for the film festival is pretty sweet. Montreal’s Animation Film Festival started off last night at the Cinema Du Parc with Poland’s Jez Jerzy and the Japanese anime No Longer Human. The rest of the festival, which lasts all today and tomorrow at the Hall Building, will feature some classic cartoons from the 1980s, major animated features from around the world, some kickass anime, a student animated shorts contest and a Master’s class led by director Greg Ford.

If you ask me, the highlights of the event include the Saturday Morning Cartoon Charity Show, tonight’s main attraction and the final screening prior to tomorrow’s contest. While personally, I was a bit too young to appreciate Pee-Wee's Playhouse, I do remember watching it and certainly recognize it’s place among the ‘80s. That’s why this geeky gentleman thinks it’s really cool that Animaze is airing the 1986 CBS Saturday morning line-up as one of the “movies.” The reason for which is to celebrate the unofficial 25th anniversary of when Pee-Wee first aired on television.

In other anniversary news, Animaze is showing a 30th Anniversary Screening of Heavy Metal, which even has guest director Gerald Potterson sitting in on the event. VIP ticket holders got a kickass poster, which they could have autographed by the visionary animation director, as well as chat with him in a meet and greet. This movie is proof that cartoons have a place in big-budget movie theatres and not just for cashing in on parents trying to desperately keep their kids entertained and sitting still for 75 to 90 minutes. The animation is spectacular and the story weaving in each short is nothing short of amazing. It’s an incredible flight of fantasy and sci-fi, with plenty of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll thrown in. It gets its name from the famous magazine, but I bet Potterson knows his masterpiece is Heavy Metal in its own right, too. If you haven’t already seen it, you should rent or buy it immediately.

For me, the highlight of the festival is going to be tomorrow night’s screening of Redline. I missed my chance to see it at the Fantasia Film Festival this summer, where it and First Squad made their North American premieres (First Squad also played earlier today at Animaze). Both were a major hit back then and Redline became an even bigger hit at Toronto’s After Dark festival last month.

The movie can’t really be explained without watching the trailer, because I don’t have the words to describe how amazing the animation is. The soundtrack is perfectly in synch with the tone of the movie and the character development is just enough to keep you strongly engaged without being too melodramatic for what the movie is. What exactly is this movie? Basically, it’s what Speed Racer would be if Iron Maiden had made it using today’s animation technology. Well, not technically, but it is a racing movie that’s friggin’ metal. I highly recommend that you check it out tomorrow if you’re in town. If not, you can wait for the Region 1 (US and Canada) release of Redline to hit shelves on January 17th.


The above links direct you to the American Amazon site, so Canadians should click the following to take a look at First Squad, Pee-Wee's Playhouse, Heavy Metal and Redline.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Quest For Kindle Fire Part 1: DC Entertainment’s Exclusive Digital Comics Deal Angers Barnes And Noble

At first I was a little loathed to discuss the whole Kindle Fire fiasco between DC Comics and Barnes And Noble. One reason is because I think both parties are being stupid, while another is that I couldn’t make linking codes to the Kindle Fire without getting an affiliate commission in Canadian currency. That last issue seems petty, but it’s actually a matter of me wanting to not overload my readers with advertising. I find them invasive enough as it is, so I don’t want to complicate things by having two sets of outgoing links.

This would be a lot easier if Amazon used one referral code for all of its stores instead of treating each country as a separate business. Eventually, I caved on both counts, because .com has a wider selection of products than .ca, because 1/3 of my readers is already American (which will likely become the majority once this blog gets bigger) and because everybody involved in the online comic industry is acting like they’re five cans short of six-pack.

The major goof that is pissing off comic fans, e-book readers, tablet users, book stores and puppy dogs around the world started back in September. DC Entertainment made a cool announcement pertaining to the digital publishing aspect of their business. They claimed that they made a major deal with Amazon, which would publish their graphic novels as e-books. Pretty sweet, right? I know I’d love a tablet for reading my comics since, as all collectors know, finding somewhere to put them all becomes quite a difficult chore. So hearing that they’d be starting off with 100 popular graphic novels like Watchmen got people excited. The problem, however, is that they claimed they would be making these digital graphic novels exclusive to the Kindle Fire.

Naturally, fans everywhere got more than a little ticked off, especially when that same press release quoted Jim Lee’s excitement over how these e-graphic novels make the comics more accessible to people. After all, how can it be accessible to people who own non-Kindle e-readers and tablets if they’re exclusive to only the Kindle Fire? Well, here’s the thing: they’re not exclusive to the Kindle Fire at all.

Whoever made this press release for DC Entertainment did not do their homework. The e-books are not permanently exclusive to a single tablet, they are temporarily exclusive to Amazon. If you want to purchase something like the Superman Earth One e-book, then for the first four months of its release, you have to go through the Kindle Store (which is where Amazon sells all of its e-books). After those initial four months, the graphic novel will become available digitally wherever e-books are sold.

In other words, they work on all electronic devices (computers, e-readers, tablets; you name it) that can play an e-book. However, as digital buyers already know, DC Entertainment releases their comics through the Comixology app. That app comes pre-loaded on the Kindle Fire, so if you were to read any of DC’s digital graphic novels on the Fire, it would be best to do so through the app instead of its e-reader function. Thus, the Kindle Fire is the best choice among Amazon’s products for reading the digital graphic novels.

As you can see, whoever made the press release deserves a good smack upside the head. They’re not the only ones, though. Barnes And Noble has officially announced that is dropping all DC graphic novels and digital graphic novels from its inventory. The logic is that if the e-books can’t be played on their own tablet, the NOOK, then their policy is that they will not sell it. Another policy is that if they don’t sell the e-book, they will not sell its physical copy in their stores, either.

This deals a huge blow to both DC Comics and Barnes And Noble, but it’s a blow that neither of them have to take. As mentioned, the e-books will work on any tablet. Where this is most likely coming from is a fear that the temporary-exclusivity deal DC Entertainment has with Amazon will lead to NOOK users purchasing through a Kindle app rather than through the online Barnes And Noble store.

It’s understandable that they should have this fear, but how does forcing their customer’s to do exactly that possibly going to remedy things? If I can’t buy my e-book through their online store or a hardcopy through their physical stores, I’m not going to purchase something else, instead. Rather, I’m going to go to Amazon for the e-book and to Chapters for the hardcopy.

In fact, that’s literally what I’m going to do. The Apple iPad still looks like the best tablet out there, but they start at $499. This made me cave and decide to go with either the NOOK or a Kindle Fire. As Barnes And Noble is forcing me to deal with Amazon for my e-books, and as the Kindle Fire costs less than half the price of the cheapest iPad, I will not be going with the NOOK. Congratulations Barnes And Noble: DC made an ass out of themselves with their idiotic mistake, but you managed to out-stupid them with your own.


The above links all direct you to the American Amazon site. Canadians can get an get an iPad 2 by clicking here. All Kindle products can only be purchased through their American site, but they ship to Canada.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

DC New 52 Hardcovers, Green Lantern The Animated Series And Superman Continuity

Last night saw the world premiere of Green Lantern: The Animated Series on both Cartoon Network and Teletoon. Both treated it as a special televised event, with the former referring to the two-part pilot as a one-hour TV movie called “Green Lantern: Beware My Power” (which is actually the name of the first episode). Teletoon, on the other hand, simply treated the special as it is: a preview of the upcoming series that will air early 2012. Prior to the special, Teletoon aired a re-broadcast of the DC Universe direct-to-DVD feature Green Lantern: First Flight.

Fans were very sceptical of Green Lantern: The Animated Series on account of how, well, terrible the initial teaser trailer looked. However, take a look at the above video and you can see for yourself just how good of a job Bruce Timm and co. have done. The animation style is a beautiful mesh of Bruce Timm’s DCAU (home to several TV series such as Justice League Unlimited) and Disney’s The Incredibles. On top of this, the show didn’t suck. It’s not as gritty as the Geoff Johns run of the comic, but that’s to be expected considering this is aimed at kids. However, the show doesn’t come off as childish at all. Instead, it’s just more of an adventure story instead of a character-driven drama. Think Green Lantern Corps instead of Green Lantern, starring Hal and Kilowog over Kyle and Guy.

In some other DC news, last week the publisher announced through their blog what the release schedule will be for the first wave of DC New 52 hardcovers and TPs will be like. It’s a mixed bag, depending when you want what. Justice League is slated to be the first, arriving in May (most likely the first week of) and consisting of the first six issues. All collections will follow this trend of comprising either the first six or seven issues, depending on the individual title.

Each month will see either seven or eight titles, with the tentative suggested retail prices for the hardcovers being $24.99 and the trade paperbacks listed at $14.99. Such a release schedule means that the first wave of trades will run up until November of 2012 (hope you’re not waiting for the first Flash HC to see if it’s worth picking up). DC Comics: The New 52 is a special collection that will contain all 52 first issues and drops next month on the 13th in time for Christmas.

In related news, Action Comics #3 contained some more info pertaining to the Superman continuity and its related titles. Surprisingly, it seems that neither of the titular comics actually takes place in the present. Fans have been aware from the get-go that Action is set in 2005, as it takes place one year prior to Justice League, which in turn is set “5 Years Ago” (plus, Morrison himself confirmed that it’s set in 2005 during several interviews). However, Superman isn’t a comic set in today’s time as initially believed. It’s actually set five years after Action Comics, meaning it takes place a year ago. No reason has been given as to why it is scheduled the way that it is.

Superboy is set in present-day DC times, as it takes place at the same time as Teen Titans which definitely is. There’s no information as to when Supergirl takes place, but it is generally assumed that it is set in the present, as well. All we know for a fact is that it takes place after Superman got his armoured costume, meaning at some unknown point in Action Comics’ future.

On a final note, it has been announced that Action Comics will be receiving back-up stories, just as Justice League will be having a back-up Shazam story. The back-ups focus on secondary characters, such as the Kents and to give additional information pertaining to the story arc. This will begin with issue four, which will feature the debut of The New 52’s Metallo and Steel.