Time for a site update

Back in March I announced that I was putting the articles on hiatus while I worked on my script.

Well I have finished that script, so now it’s time to bring the articles back.

What you can expect is a return to the weekly alternation between articles and the podcast. All new content will still go up on Mondays.

So next week will be a new episode of the Podcast and then after that will be the first new article.

As for the script, I am getting it ready to be sent out to other people involved in the project, with the goal of getting feedback in by early October and then hopefully we can figure out how we are going to produce it. For those of you interested in follow that projects progress I will be sending out periodic updates on my Tumblr https://www.tumblr.com/blog/fanboy-news-network

Thank you.

Fanboy News Network Episode 26

“D3 Expo”

Jeff starts out with an announcement about upcoming updates to the site.

Discussion on the fall out of Fantastic Four flopping.

R.I.P. Yvonne Craig

R.I.P. Rowdy Roddy Piper

Jeff talks about his love of wrestling, the history of wrestler Stardust and the upcoming match with Arrow star Stephen Amell.

The announcements out of D23 expo, including Marvel, Star Wars, Jungle Cruise, Pirate of the Caribbean and more.

Recent events in comics.

The difference between comics that have clear endings, ongoings with status quo and ongoings that evolve.


Fanboy News Network Episode 25

Fanboy News Network Episode 25

“When Conventions implode”

Jeff and Daniel talk about Galacticon IV and how spectacularly it fell apart.

Discussion about The Women in Comics panel at Gen Con and how Bill Willingham turned it into clinic on Mansplaining.

The controversy surrounding the ENnies award.

Daniel finally finishes Daredevil.

The success of the Ant-Man Film

The failure of the Fantastic Four and Pixels

Fanboy News Network Episode 24

Fanboy News Network Episode 24

“San Diego Comic Con 2015”

Jeff and Daniel go over news that came out of this year’s San Diego Comic Con.

Fanboy News Network Episode 23

“This is why we can’t have nice things”

Daniel returns just in time to discuss the following:

Round three of convention staffs behaving badly.

More concerns about San Diego Comic Con

Why Daniel thinks Jurassic World is a comedy

The uproar over the Mad Max prequel comics

The current state of Marvel and DC comics

Why Jeff thinks Daniel should get Marvel Unlimited.

Fight Club II

Fanboy News Network Episode 22

Fanboy News Network Episode 22

“Jillian Venters Returns”

With Daniel out of town Jeff’s sister Jillian Venters of Gothic Charm School returns to the show to act as co-host.

Discussed this episode:

The running theme of convention staffs behaving badly continues with news from Saskatoon Blitz.

Unfortunate news about San Diego Comic Con.

Chris Pratt and the art of being famous in the age of social media.

A review of the movie Grabbers.

Jillian’s excitement over Crimson Peak.

Discussion about the new seasons of Hannibal and Penny Dreadful.

Jillian talks about going back to Disneyland for this year’s Bat’s Day.


Fanboy News Network Episode 21

Fanboy News Network Episode 21

“Fanboy News Network 2.0”

The podcast returns from hiatus with a new format

In this episode

Jeff introduces his new co-host Daniel Christensen.

Wishing Nichelle Nichols a speedy recovery.

Going over the harassment incident that happened at Momocon.

The Hugo Awards and the Sad Puppies

Comic Book inspired TV shows:

  • The Flash
  • Arrow
  • Agents of SHEILD
  • Gotham
  • IZombie
  • Daredevil

Avengers: Age of Ultron


Mad Max: Fury Road

What Jeff and Daniel are looking forward to.

What’s up with Fanboy News Network

Thanks to a recent conversation with Jillian I have decided to make some temporary changes.

I’m currently working on a script for an audio drama that I hope to produce in the future. The problem is just as I start making headway on it I realize I have a deadline for getting an article up here and switch I have to switch gears. This is leading me to not getting much done on the script and as often as not miss deadlines.

So until further notice I am putting the articles on this site on semi hiatus. I will put up content from time to time, mostly post convention reports and the follow up reviews for The Flash and Gotham. Other than that I will focus my writing on the script.

The podcast will be starting up again in April. I am switching up the format by adding co-hosts. I have come to the conclusion that the best episodes are when I have someone else to talk to and I have some folks lined up to help make that happen on a regular basis.

If you are interesting in keeping up on my progress with the script, I will be making updates about it on my Tumblr https://www.tumblr.com/blog/fanboy-news-network

Once the script is done I’ll return to my regular schedule of site updates.

Thank you.

The State of Geek Culture

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photos-geek-culture-image21420053It’s March, and we are now weeks away from the beginning of Convention season.

I know that conventions actually go on year-round, but March is often considered the kick-off of convention season with Emerald City Comicon at the end of March and going through New York Comic Con at the beginning of October.

Already, I hear the laments of cosplayers trying to get their costumes done in time. I hear fans complaining that San Diego Comic Con sold out in under an hour, again. I have friends doing panels at conventions who are stressing about what they are going to say. I had one person explain to me how the Gen Con Hotel lottery system is broken and how he wrote a program to fix it, if they would just respond to him.

All in all, pretty normal stuff.

But this year feels different.

There has been a lot of stress lately in geek culture and, with convention season almost here, people have to deal with what is happening in person instead of just online. The concerns about harassment, and even violence, have a lot of people on edge.

Most of what is going on is not new. I have been covering it here for the last few years. A lot of the old factors are still at play: misogyny, gatekeeping, fear mongering, and privilege. What has changed is the level of focus.

It would be easy to say that this is all Gamergate’s fault, but that would be over simplifying the situation. Gamergate is not the cause of what is happening, it has simply provided a rally point for the problematic aspects of geek culture. The old triggers are still at the heart of what is going on, but what has caused things to go ballistic is actually the fact that things have been improving.

Last year we saw several conventions adopt harassment policies that were well worded and comprehensive enough to actually be effective. You have also seen women, minorities, and LGBT come forth and demand representation and a safe place to be geeks with the rest of us. You’ve seen the industries that fuel geek culture start to respond positively to these segments of their audience.

Sadly, for many people, strides made by others are seen not as an expansion of geek culture but as a threat to them. It’s as if even though 95% of everything is still being about them, they begrudge the other 5%.

Thus, we have the atmosphere of fear that now pervades geek culture. The old guard fear that they are losing something, and they use fear to try to drive off those they see as interlopers. And with the escalation of threats, there is a legitimate fear of violence.

But as awful as Gamergate is, it also has a silver lining.

Yes, there are people being driven off, or deciding never to join in geek culture due to this, but others are being galvanized. People who might have just been going along have become activists to show that the harassers are a vocal minority and not representative of our culture.

The escalation of harassment is terrible, but it has caused wider exposure to it, resulting in more discussion on how to deal with it. It has also led to more mainstream media attention, which helps.

I am not saying it is all rainbows and kittens. I know several people who have been targeted. One had to find a new bank, due to repeated hacking attempts at her account. Another deleted her twitter history after receiving a Gamergate education post, so that she could remove any potential information about her daughter.

As a white heterosexual cis male, I doubt I can even begin to imagine what it is like to be a woman, minority, or LGBT on the internet.

I also do not expect any of this to just go away. I have been writing about it since 2012 and I expect I will still be writing about it, on some level, in 2020.

But as long as we still talk about it, and make sure we as a culture strive to be better, I can have hope for the future.

Until then I am still going to several conventions this year, and plan to do my part to make sure they are safe and inviting events for everyone there.

Review: Kingsmen: The Secret Service


I saw Kingsmen: The Secret Service at a preview screening a month ago. There is a pattern to preview screenings, the further in advance they are the more the studio believes in the movie. Kingsmen’s preview was nearly a month before the movie’s release. Anything beyond two weeks is usually a good sign. For comparison, the night I saw Kingsmen the same theater was having a preview of Mortdeci, a film that opened the very next night and promptly bombed. Clearly, 20th Century Fox believed in the film, but was Kingsmen: The Secret Service any good?

Kingsmen: The Secret Service is a loose adaptation of a little known comic book The Secret Service by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons. It seems, these days, that Millar mostly makes comic books in order to have them adapted into movies. Fortunately this was one of Millar’s less troubling books.

The plot is a familiar one. Our main character is Eggsy (Taron Egerton) a lower class thug who had shown early promise but threw it away to take care of his mother. However, it turns out that Eggsy’s dad was a member of the Kingsmen, a secret organization tasked with keeping the world safe in total secrecy. Eggsy’s dad died saving the lives of several teammates, including Harry Hart (Colin Firth) aka Galahad who takes it upon himself to see that Eggsy becomes a Kingsman and lives up to his potential.

While Eggsy is training to be a Kingsman with several other potentials under Merlin (Mark Strong), Harry is investigating tech Billionaire Richmond Valentine (Samuel L Jackson) who seems to be involved in a plot that involves kidnapping, subverting leaders of most nations, and an extreme plan to deal with global warming.

Most of the plot points in Kingsmen are predicable, as it follows a very standard hero’s journey plotline. What makes it work is how the characters are presented and the humor involved. At its heart, Kingsmen is a love letter to the Roger Moore era bond films and the old British TV series The Avengers.

As the main character, Taron Egerton does a fine job making Eggsy work, as both the rough and tumble lad and his evolution into the Gentleman spy.

Colin Firth holds the film together as Harry Hart. He plays the part as more John Steed than James Bond.

Samuel L Jackson is the odd one here. His portrayal of Valentine requires him to forgo his usual bad ass attitude in favor of a man who abhors violence, but is ruthless none the less. He does so, in part, by giving Valentine a severe lisp (which is apparently an exaggeration of one Jackson use to have).

Director Matthew Vaughn does a great job with how the fight scenes are staged and filmed. The overall look of the film is reminiscent of the Spy Kids films but with the violence of a Quentin Tarantino film (minus the blood).

An interesting point in the movie is the use of fashion. The cover of most of the Kingsmen is that they are gentlemen’s tailors. The suits and accessories are part of their spy gear, and code phrases involve fashion. Luxury retailer Mr. Porter has made a line of clothes for the movie and has them for sale.

There is also an in joke for the fans of the comic. The comic opens with an attempted rescue of Mark Hamill who is being kidnapped by the bad guys; in the movie, they have an attempted rescue of a scientist, played by Mark Hamill.

There is one issue that takes away from the film, and it is the question of diversity. On one hand the Kingsmen show that they are just as willing to have women in the organization, and the main female character Roxy (Sophie Cookson) never becomes a love interest, and her arc is not dependent on Eggsy, which is good. The problem is that the good guys in the film are all very white. Any character of any other ethnicity is part of Valentine’s team.

In the end I give Kingsmen: The Secret Service a grade of B-. Fans will love the homage to an earlier generation of spy films and non-fans will still have plenty to keep their attention.