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Forces of Geek: we like pop culture.

Published: Nov 25, 2014 6:00:00 PM
Forces of Geek features columns and commentary on all aspects of geek culture including pop culture, technology, art, television, comics, music, fashion, film, literature and video games. The premiere Geek Culture community online, forcesofgeek.com wants you to discover and embrace the unknown, the forgotten, and the beloved.
  • Nov 25, 2014 6:00:00 PM

    Black Friday is a few days away, marking the beginning of the holiday shopping season,

    More importantly, the delicious turkey-fueled festival of eating we call Thanksgiving is even closer! Here's                                                                                                                        a non-edible appetizer to get you started on this year's feast:

    13% Off orders of $35+ when you use code TURKEY13 at checkout! Shop Now » 




    Hero Box is Back: This month's mystery box has two themes: Avengers & Justice League! Limited to 1000! Get yours now before they sell out: Act Now »


    And be sure to check back there on Black Friday where there will be almost 1000’s items marked down 20-30% and daily doorbusters 50% off on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

  • Nov 25, 2014 5:00:03 PM
    Bruce and Selina take center stage in this one as an assassin is out for Cat’s blood and the kids are no longer safe in Wayne Manor.

    Meanwhile, Gordon is out of his element trying to track down Selina’s would-be assassin and Alfred has to step up.

    Read more »
  • Nov 25, 2014 4:00:07 PM
    We were sitting in a dimly illuminated Mexican restaurant in Santa Fe, having dinner with the deputy publisher of Bantam Books, some months before the release of DUNE: HOUSE ATREIDES—the first of the new Dune novels, released in 1999, thirteen years after the passing of Frank Herbert. The deputy publisher was there to talk with us about the book, which was to be one of the lead titles of the year, but she didn’t seem to “get” the real significance of the Dune universe.

    Brian stressed that DUNE was more than just a big science fiction novel; it was a real landmark.

    “Everybody’s read DUNE,” Kevin added.

    To this, Brian said, “Well, almost everybody, it seems.”

    Then, as the busboy walked up and set water glasses down in front of us, Kevin looked at him and said, “You’ve read DUNE, haven’t you?”

    Without missing a beat, the busboy exclaimed, “Oh yeah—DUNE, DUNE MESSIAH, CHILDREN OF DUNE, and the other three. I’ve read them all!” After he left, we nodded to the astonished deputy publisher, and asked if she now understood the significance of this novel.

    Several months later, Brian and Kevin were speaking to an audience at a bookstore in San Francisco.

    An elderly gentleman sat on one side, listening to the presentation of the authors. When it came time for questions, the man asked, “I’ve never read DUNE or any of the sequels or prequels. Why should I bother to read any of them?”

    To this, Brian said, “I’m not going to twist your arm to read anything, but I will tell you this: If you don’t at least read DUNE, you’re missing an important part of our culture. It is a huge and very important story, on many levels.”

    Read more »
  • Nov 25, 2014 3:00:02 PM

    It’s time to talk turkey, Mystery Science Theater 3000 style!

    This Thanksgiving, fans of Mystery Science Theater 3000 have two reasons to give thanks: The Turkey Day Collection DVD Box Set and a newly curated Mystery Science Theater 3000 Turkey Day streaming marathon, hosted by show creator Joel Hodgson.

    The MST3K Turkey Day Marathon starts at 9 am PT/ 12 noon ET on Thursday, November 27th, and will feature six timeless episodes hand-picked by creator himself, along with new episode intros and special guest appearances.

    Read more »
  • Nov 25, 2014 2:00:02 PM
    Review by Lily Fierro
    Harvey Kurtzman’s Jungle Book: Essential Kurtzman Volume 1 HC
    Written and Illustrated by Harvey Kurtzman
    Introduction by Gilbert Shelton
    Essay by Denis Kitchen
    Conversation Between R. Crumb and Pete Poplaski
    Published by Dark Horse Comics
    ISBN: 978-1-61655-563-4
    Pub. Date: December 03, 2014 / $24.99

    Satires just aren’t made the same way anymore.

    Creating in the long standing, early 20th century American tradition of utilizing satire to expose the underbelly of American business and culture, Harvey Kurtzman achieved something special with his Jungle Book in 1959.  Kurtzman inspired a generation of underground and independent cartoonists and comic book writers, but his Jungle Book, a departure from the usual comic books in its stories and in its publication process, was printed with shoddy materials, and, consequently, original copies are not in the best shape today.

    Thankfully, it has been restored by the good folks at Dark Horse Comics for a special series called Essential Kurtzman, and this restoration of Harvey Kurtzman’s Jungle Book will be available for every graphic novel enthusiast in December.

    The Jungle Book contains four individual stories, with each representing some cultural or historical artifact of America. As discussed in the introduction by Denis Kitchen, who loaned his original print for the restoration, the Jungle Book’s stories parody popular television shows at the time, the publishing industry, and the Old West, all relics which may be lost on current generations but no less insightful and clever in their messages.

    Warning: Spoilers ahead!

    Read more »
  • Nov 25, 2014 1:00:03 PM
    A Sensational Ensemble Including Adam Sandler, Jennifer Garner, Ansel Elgort, Kaitlyn Dever,
    Rosemarie DeWitt, Dean Norris, and Judy Greer Star in This Provocative Snapshot of Modern Life

    Academy Award nominated director Jason Reitman (Up In the Air, Juno) delivers the “powerful and provocative” (Scott Mantz, “Access Hollywood”) MEN, WOMEN & CHILDREN, debuting on Digital HD and On Demand December 16, 2014—four weeks before it’s available on disc—from Paramount Home Media Distribution. The film will be available on Blu-ray and DVD January 13, 2015.

    Adam Sandler (Grown Ups), Jennifer Garner (Dallas Buyers Club) and Ansel Elgort (The Fault in Our Stars) lead “an amazing ensemble cast” (Mark S. Allen, CBS/CW TV) in this film about love and human connection in the modern world. MEN, WOMEN & CHILDREN tells the story of high school teenagers and their parents who attempt to navigate their complex relationships in an era defined by social media, online exchanges, and instant gratification. Discover how little you know about the people you know in the film critics are calling “a movie that could change your life! Not to be missed!” (Scott Mantz, “Access Hollywood”).

    Read more »
  • Nov 25, 2014 12:00:05 PM
    Review by Sharon Knolle
    Produced by Kristina Ceyton, Kristian Moliere
    Written and Directed by Jennifer Kent
    Starring Essie Davis,Noah Wiseman, 
    Daniel Henshall, Hayley McElhinney, 
    Barbara West, Ben Winspear

    The Babadook is the very promising debut film by Jennifer Kent, a spookily effective horror movie that is essentially a two-character drama between a grieving widow and her troubled child.

    Amelia (Essie Davis) must raise son Samuel (Noah Wieseman) alone after her husband's tragic death.

    As the film starts, Amelia is overwhelmed by Samuel's insistence on hunting the monsters that might be under his bed or in his closet. He's even fashioned a crossbow that he carries with him to school, which promptly gets him expelled.

    Things only escalate after he chooses a book called “Mister Babadook” one night for his bedtime story.
    Amelia has never seen the book before and has misgivings once she realizes that it's a tale of a boogeyman who's all of Samuel's worst fears.

    From then on, Samuel is obsessed with the Babadook and soon Amelia thinks she is seeing the monster as well.

    Read more »
  • Nov 25, 2014 11:00:01 AM
    'Cause 'Murica

    In a couple of days Americans will do what we do best, eat. But why is it that we tend to eat so fucking much on this particular day without any one making a comment about our gluttony? And what the hell does downing three pounds of mashed potatoes do to our body?

    For a scientific explanation on how our stomach handles food watch the video after the break...then maybe, try to stop eating the cranberry sauce with a ladle.

    Read more »
  • Nov 25, 2014 10:33:16 AM

    If you were to Google Batman vs. Darth Vader you would be rewarded with thousands of images created by fans who have dreamed of this interaction for years, and thanks to Machinima's web-series, Super Beat Down, those fans can now relish in the realization that their dreams have come true in a stylish, well-made short (directed by Aaron Shoenke and starring Kevin Porter Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, The Chronicles of Curtis Tucker) as Batman.

    I guess all that's now left for people to do is to begin obsessing about a Pennywise/Captain Spaulding showdown...which would be awesome.

    Video after the break.

    Read more »
  • Nov 25, 2014 9:00:07 AM

    In this episode of AOL's (wait, AOL is still around?) web-series, Laugh Lessons With Kevin Nealon, Sarah Silverman sits down with some kids and instructs them on the fine art of Truth, Pain and Courtesy Laughs.

    It doesn't go exceptionally well...I guess kids don't develop sarcastic darkness until puberty.

    Video after the break.

    Read more »
  • Nov 25, 2014 7:00:01 AM

    Well, here's a short animation that will definitely ruin your childhood memories: Teddy bears hunt unicorns in order to live off their blood (which helps them stay cute and cuddly), even though inside they are a bunch of assholes. But, like most things, there's a bit of a catch...I won't ruin it for you but needless to say, you will be properly horrified by it.

    Video after the break.

    (note: if you don't understand Spanish, turn on the CC) 

    Read more »
  • Nov 24, 2014 7:00:01 PM

    Comic Book Creator #6 presents SWAMPMEN: MUCK-MONSTERS AND THEIR MAKERS, the second double-size CBC Annual, examining those creepy man-critters that crawled out of the bayou back in the 1970s, through the memories of the artists and writers who created them! '


    Behind the chilling FRANK CHO cover, there's also these astounding stories: "It Started with 'It': The THEODORE STURGEON Connection"; "The Romance of 'Swamp Thing': Heartbreak Inside the House of Secrets"; "With the Helping of the Heap: Alan Moore's Anatomy Lesson"; "Jesus is Not Alright with DC: Rick Veitch and Cancelled Comics of Calvary"; and "The Lost Bernie Wrightson Swamp Thing Graphic Novel."

    Over ten years in the making, this is the definitive look at that ground-breaking horror comics sub-genre, so jump into the muck 'n' mire for CBC’s scintillatingly sinister sixth ish! Edited by JON B. COOKE.

    After the jump check out a preview of this fantastic new book!

    Read more »
  • Nov 24, 2014 5:00:03 PM
    Check out what I checked out this week.

    Whether the comics are inspiring or disappointing, I read them all.

    Welcome to The Pull List.

    And, as always...Spoilers ahead!

    X-O Manowar #30
    Writer: Robert Venditti
    Artists: Diego Bernardo, Alisson Rodrigues
    Colorist: Wil Quintana
    Publisher: Valiant Entertainment
    Price: $3.99

    In 1996, I was introduced to X-O Manowar via his crossover video game with Iron Man titled Heavy Metal.

    Years later, Valiant has done a marvelous job of fleshing out the character in this vast comic universe that has been created. I would say this book is new-reader friendly, but any of Valiant’s books can have that designation since the back story and details on the current arc are written on the inside cover.

    However, if you hate words upon words and prefer your storytelling with colorful illustrations, Robert Venditti gives a solid introduction within a new storyline that slowly burns into several intriguing avenues.

    The invasion is over and the United Nations wants to police all extraterrestrial weapons and activity on the planet which means inspecting Aric’s Manowar suit.

    Vendtti seamlessly produces layers of tension within the story as Aric is completely opposed to letting anyone near the armor while a private corporation hired by the U.N. might not give our hero an option. Mr. Zahan, the new emerging baddie is driven by money and fascinated even more by alien tech. The roadblocks in his way are not lost on him, but his sinister sway heavily advocates his ability to make things happen.

    Diego Bernardo produces great visuals and brings a lot of life to the characters in the way he draws body language when someone leans back with their legs on the table or a face displays a stoic yet defining look that illustrates the sentiment of the situation. Also, for my money, no one draws a destruction scene better than Bernardo. The carnage he unleashes on the page is rife with detail that is hard not to examine. I’d be remiss if I didn't mention the sleek and bold coloring of Wil Quintana which augments every page, being what it needs to me in every moment.

    This is a tremendous jumping on point that will surely develop into an action packed series coupled with a pronounced story in the months ahead.

    Score: 4 out of 5

    Read more »
  • Nov 24, 2014 3:00:02 PM

    The Stand Adaptation 
    Director Josh Boone will be adapting a four-movie series to cover Stephen King's most epic and one of his bestselling books, The Stand.

    The Talisman 3
    In other King news, it's been announced that Stephen King and Peter Straub will be collaborating on a book once again, a third book after their bestselling The Talisman and Black House.

    National Book Award Winners Celebrated 
    A full breakdown of the National Book Awards and the winners.

    Read more »
  • Nov 24, 2014 1:00:02 PM
    By Erin Maxwell

    Good old SpongeBob.

    Nothing says “wholesome family friendly” entertainment than the adventures of a sea sponge that lives at the bottom of the ocean. With buddies consisting of a starfish, an ex-pat Southern squirrel and a sea snail, kids turned this borderline surrealist cartoon into a hit that Nickelodeon can merchandise until the end of time.

    However, as we learned from his pal Mickey and the legend of The Suicide Mouse, nothing this successful can stay without a dark side for too long.

    Thus, the legend of Squidward’s Suicide/The Red Mist was born, a re-edited clip of the toon so horrifying that it caused death and insanity to those who watched it.

    According to legend (and by legend, I mean a scattered of tales found through Google search), a disgruntled animator made the film for a chance at fame and glory. He sent it off to Paramount execs who handed if off to the production team who, upon viewing, found themselves needing immediate medical attention and hospitalization.

    Read more »
  • Nov 24, 2014 11:00:00 AM

    This Black Friday I will be asleep...in bed...farting off several pounds of consumed turkey parts. However, if you are planning on trying to get the best deals you can on things you already own, then go for it. Just know that all those retail employees forced to be at work at some nightmare hour to satisfy your psychotic need for Frozen merchandise will not only be hoping that you are trampled to death in the parking lot, they will be placing bets on how many of you will actually perish in the pursuit of all things Elsa.

    And after the break, here's what that death will look like.

    Read more »
  • Nov 24, 2014 9:00:01 AM

    In this episode of Blank on Blank, The Flaming Lips' lead singer Wayne Coyne recounts a pretty powerful story about the time he was 17 years-old, working at a Long John Silvers, and facing the very scary prospect of death via a robbery.

    An experience that changed his entire outlook on life.

    While I don't normally praise the act of violence, it should be noted that had it not occurred there's a very good chance I wouldn't have been able to groove on hard on their 1995 album Clouds Taste Metallic or the song They Punctured My Yolk (which was my soundtrack to a particularly harsh break up).

    So yeah, thanks for getting robbed and threatened with bodily harm Wayne.

    Video after the break.

    Read more »
  • Nov 24, 2014 7:00:00 AM

    There is something surprisingly primal about starting your week out with a little cowpunk/rockabilly number that gets your blood pumping...especially when that week is short and filled with the prospect of holiday family drama. And, for my money, nothing is better at getting you to pogo around your boss and/or parents better than The Gun Club's Sex Beat, which, if you are willing to not look too deeply into it, can sort of double as an alt Xmas song as well:  

    And every day I agree 
    You throw me down by the Christmas tree 
    I watched your lights blink on and off 
    While you start your fun with me

    So turn up the volume and count down the few remaining days left before we all celebrate that long ago time when white people helped to massacre an indigenous people who were far too nice for their own good.

    Video after the break.

    Read more »
  • Nov 21, 2014 5:00:01 PM
    A world of four color magic arrives every Wednesday.

    Stories and adventures of heroes and villains, good versus evil.

    Tales that entertain and excite by talented writers and artists.

    Here are my thoughts Among The Panels.

    Punk Mambo #0

    Writer: Peter Milligan 

    Artist: Robert Gill

    Publisher: Valiant 
    Price: $3.99

    Punk Mambo #0 is the newest addition in a long line of titles from veteran comic book writer; Peter Milligan, and frankly it rocks! Pun intended.

    Punk Mambo is a thrilling ride through a punk rock imagined world full of voodoo.

    The story is about how Victoria, our main character, became the mythical Punk Mambo that lives in the swamps of Louisiana. After she tricks a couple of reporters into venturing deep within her swamp and driving them crazy, she sends herself into a magic inspired high.

    While tripping, she sees a vision of punk rock icon Sid Vicious who inspires her to go back home to London.

    While she is in London she returns to her roots while telling us the story of how she became a voodoo priestess. After running away from home she ended up on the harsh streets of London. She soon fell in with a bad crowd that ultimately ends up sacrificing her to a voodoo priest named Joe Mayhem. It’s kind of unexplained how his powers were transferred into Victoria but soon enough she knew how to do voodoo as well and ran away to America. One of her new powers is the gift of agelessness, which also kind of unexplained.

    While on her pilgrimage she finds the two old “friends” that served her to Joe in the first place. She terrorized them and made sure they never forgot her. The she starts tracking down Joe himself. When she finally finds him their interaction is brief but supremely fulfilling. The comic ends with her back in Louisiana wreaking havoc on the locals.

    Peter Milligan has spun a really awesome punk rock tale in this book and the art of Robert Gill was perfect. His art style felt matched evenly with the high talent of Milligan. Gill’s vision of punk rock is spot on.

    The way he created the look and feel of Victoria and Joe is reminiscent of the great of Punk rock stars from the 80’s. I really wish Milligan had included a punk rock playlist that I could have listened to while tearing through page after page. This book felt like they put a ton of time into it. Each page of this one shot story begs you to continue and when it’s over you’re kind of left feeling let down that there won’t be a follow up soon enough.

    I have to admit that Valiant Entertainment isn’t really one of my favorite comic book publishers but if they continue to put out books like this, they might just find a loyal fan in me. I hope to see more of this book and character as soon as possible.

    Score: 4.5 out of 5

    Read more »
  • Nov 21, 2014 3:00:00 PM
    When people think about the moment they became fans of Stone Cold Steve Austin, about the magic moment that locked them in for the ride that would come with his rise to the top of professional wrestling they typically point o Wrestlemania 13.

    It was Wrestlemania 13 that saw Austin enter the ring with Bret “The Hitman” Hart in a submission match.

    Anyone who knows even a little about Hart knows that when it comes to submissions, there are precious few who are (or were) his equal. So of course it was a given that he was going to walk away the victor.

    And he did, but Austin still came out the unofficial winner of that match. It was that match that gave us one of the very first iconic images of Stone Cold Steve Austin.

    While Hart did manage to lock the Sharpshooter, bloodied Austin refused to tap out. Actually, that’s not really an adequate enough description. An Austin who’d been busted wide open, face relaying excruciating pain to the audience, a seemingly endless supply of blood running down his face and pooling on the canvas below.

    Read more »
  • Nov 21, 2014 1:00:00 PM

    What I love about documentaries is their ability to highlight the beauty that can be found in the minutia of the world. Take this particular doc, it's about the waa-waa pedal, you know, the creator of the waaaaaaaa-waaaaaa sound that you hear in virtually all your favorite rock/blues songs from the past (nearly) 50 years.

    Yeah, there's a documentary about it...and it is fucking fantastic.

    If you have an hour, love music and want to get an in-depth look at a device that helped to shape the world of rock-n-roll, then you need to STOP what you're doing and watch Cry Baby- The Pedal That Rocked the World right now.

    And afterward you can brag to your friends about your new-found knowledge.

    Video after the break.

    Read more »
  • Nov 21, 2014 11:00:06 AM

    If you are looking for a seasonal booze-filled dessert that you can easily hide somewhere in the house (which will provide you with the much needed gelatin-strength it takes to deal with your family) might I suggest the Pumpkin Pie Jello Shot.

    Filled with spiced rum, actual pumpkin pie and a crushed graham cracker topping, this shot glass full of Thanksgiving spirit will help you through the most difficult, judgmental questions your mother/aunt/sister-in-law/whomever can dish out.

    The recipe (which can be found HERE) can serve 10 (so yes, you can include your non-asshole siblings/family members if you desire) but I suggest making a couple of batches just in case of emergencies...like getting dragged to Thanksgiving Day/Black Friday shopping against your will no matter how hard you try and convince your family that the "Door-buster Deals" aren't worth the pain that the low-paid retail workers have to deal with.

    Better yet, if you are at Target at some ungodly hour, pass out a few of these shots to the employees as a way of saying you're sorry that they can't be home in bed asleep.

    It might make you and them feel better.

    Source: Craft

  • Nov 21, 2014 9:00:00 AM

    Well, it's the final Friday before the storm known as "The Holiday Season" begins so let us all take a deep breath, brew up a coffee pot filled with a nice dark roast (spiked with your choice of booze) and get into a calming/fun state of mind before the eventual screams of "I'M LOSING MY SHIT HERE PEOPLE!!!" bursts forth from between our lips in regards to family, holiday shopping and the craziness of the season.

    To help put you in a good mood, here's Frederik Storm's Milkshakes, a fun, nonsensical animation set to the music of Simon Jonas Larsen (which is reminiscent of Herbie Hancock's Rock It).

    I promise you, it doesn't sound anything like Xmas music.

    Video after the break.

    Read more »
  • Nov 21, 2014 7:00:06 AM
    Review by Caitlyn Thompson
    Produced by Nina Jacobson, Jon Kilik
    Screenplay by Danny Strong, Peter Craig
    Based on Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
    Directed by Francis Lawrence
    Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, 
    Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, 
    Elizabeth Banks, Julianne Moore, 
    Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jeffrey Wright, 
    Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland

    As Mockingjay Part 1 begins we're back in District 13.

    That's right.  The place we thought was decimated by the Capital is in fact, a militarized state that has been preparing for an uprising since the rebellion which resulted in the creation of the Hunger Games seventy-five years ago.

    Third installments should ascend in some way, and Mockingjay Part 1 is, overall, rather stagnant.

    The film feels like it might reveal something exciting, something new, something, or at least you hope it might.

    I’m sorry to say that it doesn’t and should have been condensed into forty minutes. It’s poor form to have an audience wait two hours for a taste of the intensity to come in Part 2.

    Now we have to wait another year for the real action.

    Read more »
  • Nov 20, 2014 5:00:00 PM
    For this week’s post, I’ll be covering the ten cartoons of 1936 that I think are the best and/or most notable.

    This was a significant year in animation, largely due to the debuts of Tex Avery, Frank Tashlin and Carl Stalling at Warner Bros., with Avery in particular pushing towards a new kind of comedy that hadn't been seen in animation up to this point.

    But Disney was still king of the animation world, and his studio was heavy at work on its first animated feature, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which would be released towards the end of 1937. As for other studios, Van Beuren and Ub Iwerks both closed their doors in 1936, and there weren’t many significant new characters born (Terrytoons birthed Kiko the Kangaroo and Walter Lantz gave us Meany, Miny and Moe, if you’re interested), but there were still plenty of wonderful films from studios like Disney, Warner Bros., Fleischer and MGM.

    Take a look:

    Read more »