Jacob Scheller: Movie Geek

7 Apr

A friend of mine from work is a movie geek. I talked to him a bit at work about his movie obsession and event got him to answer a few questions during a movie night.

 

Thanks to:

-Jacob Scheller

Showplace Cinemas East for the background.

Advertisements

Obsessive Friends: A Farewell to Roger Ebert by Mike White

5 Apr

I’ve wanted to write a guest feature on my friend’s blog, The Obsessive Viewer, since it launched.

Yesterday, after the passing of a personal hero of mine, Viewer asked me to write a piece about Roger Ebert for his blog. Here’s a link:

Obsessive Friends: A Farewell to Roger Ebert by Mike White.

An Origin Story

4 Apr

In my spare time I teach English to high school sophomores. All of my students have more than a vague familiarity with my love for comic books and geeky things. I’ve even had my Spider-Man bobble head “stolen” once or twice, and both times quickly returned with a laugh. On of my favorite assignments of the year is when we talk about writing fiction and character development. I use these things as an opportunity to talk about comics and superheroes. The assignment is to write a superhero origin story. I tell the students that I don’t want to read a superhero’s random adventure; I want their origin. It’s always a fun and sometimes wacky assignment.

With almost all of my assignments, I like to complete my own version to use as an example. Here, for the first time on the internet, is the first page of my Superhero Origin story for Mr. White’s English 10 class. Enjoy!

——-When I think about the day–the moment–that affected my life forever, I don’t think about the day it happened, rather, I think about the day after. See, it isn’t the change that effects us, it’s how we react to it, and what we do with that change that makes us the person we are to eventually become. I should digress however before I begin to wax poetic about a day for which I haven’t even set a precedent.. Every great story has its origin.

             In comic books and movies they don’t explain flying the way it truly is. Superman always seemed to jump into the air before he flew, as if flying was some physical act his muscles could force his body to do, much like when you throw a punch. His muscled coiled and reacted. In fact, the saying goes; he could “leap tall buildings in a single bound.” That sounds a little more accurate, and if that’s the case, he never really flew, he just jumped really, really far.

            Storm from the X-men. Now that’s a funny one. She flew, but only because she could control winds around her that forced her into the air. What if it was a clear day? And why aren’t houses destroyed by these violent gusts of wind that could lift a 120 pound woman? See that’s the problem; weight.

            The day before it happened I weighed 203 pounds. I’d always been slightly above average in height, so I carried my weight well, but I always felt I could lose a few pounds. Today I weigh approximately 0.47 pounds, and flying is a matter of conscious thought for me. People often confuse weight with mass. They often neglect the fact that weight is a measurement that can’t be made without gravity; the force that pulls us (and when I say us, I mean everyone but me) to the ground. It’s like if you have two marbles that are both a centimeter in diameter, but one is made of lead. If dropped at the same time, the lead marble drops faster. My power isn’t so much the ability to fly. Instead one might think of it as the ability to counter gravity and neglect weight.

            The day I discovered my ability was a frigid one. I believe the cold air, in it’s thinness allowed my ability to manifest istelf more easily. It was a Thursday, and I had just left school. On my way out, I slipped on a patch of ice. I remember being horizontal in just a fraction of a second. Had I hit the ground, it would have been head first without question. I never hit the ground though. I floated for a moment, suspended two feet in the air, head tilted slightly back. I must have been in the air for a good 20 seconds because I brought my chin down to my chest and looked at the rest of my body hanging in very literal thin air. I’ll never forget watching the steam leave my body, like it had no need to remain inside. I haven’t figured out the science of that yet, but I think it has something to do with hot air rising, and my weight dropping rapidly. Anyway, I’ll never figure out what caused my new ability to manifest itself. Most doctors think it’s something that was always in me, and the shock of the slip scared me into weightlessness. Some people say Angels grab me and hold me in the air, but I don’t feel like I’m being held, and I don’t think I’ve done anything to deserve such guardianship. What I do know, is that six years later I can become weightless at will. I fly for fun sometimes, and for travel, but not often (as to remain fit enough to walk.) Sometimes though, I fly with a purpose. I am the man I am today because I made a choice, and I stick with that choice every day.

            That brings me to the day after it happened.

Bargain Bin Comics

27 Mar

IMG_2328

One of my favorite geek locations in Evansville is Traderbakers on Diamond. While they specialize in DVDs, blu-ray, music, and books, they also have a pretty excellent selection of secondhand collectibles including toys and comics.

I found this particular lot of comics yesterday afternoon.

The comic on top is a Savage Dragon #1, which is hard to find. I found a Meteor Man #1, which probably has very little value besides nostalgia, and issue of Irredeemable, which is a book that has caught my interest quite a bit lately, but the majority of the twelve books I bought are early Guardians of the Galaxy books. I have no idea what kind of value these have, and I can’t imagine it’s much right now. I figured, however, that with the new movie opening next summer, these might increase in value. If not, they’re still a neat little piece of comic history.

The best part? The entire lot cost me less than ten bucks. I wish I could say the same for the new releases out today!

New Comic Book Day: March 6th, 2013

6 Mar

Every Wednesday across the country is New Comic Book Day. My capitalization of the name is probably a bit rambunctious considering it isn’t a holiday and it happens every Wednesday, but for Geeks, it certainly feels holy. It’s a new day to acquire a new collectible piece of art or continue a story arc the conclusion of which you’ve been dying to read.

While there are many places in town to buy comics, Evansville has a two specific local comic shops that I’ll feature in future blog posts. Both have their strengths and weaknesses, but my personal favorite is Comic Quest on Morgan Avenue. It’s a much larger store and thus has a significantly larger selection of new books every week. So making sure a new book is in your personal pull folder is rarely an issue. Additionally, I’ve also had the opportunity to get to know some of the employees, so every Wednesday is a chance for me to get together with some like-minded individuals and discuss comics.

On this blog, every Wednesday should also be New Comic Day, in which I will highlight two or three of the books I’m excited about reading. All of which are available at Comic Quest in Evansville.

Here are my comic picks for Wednesday, March 06, 2013:

All New X-Men #8

Written by BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS
Art by DAVID MARQUEZ
Cover by STUART IMMONEN

portrait_incredible

In the aftermath of Avengers vs. X-Men last year, the X-books splintered into seemingly a billion different books. This one is without a doubt my favorite. Initially, it was the supplement book for the defunct Uncanny X-Men. (Recently Uncanny has returned, it’s also good.) The story so far is that the young X-Men from the past have been transported to our current timeline to help stop current timeline Cyclops from doing any further destruction than he’s already done, (like killing the X-Men’s beloved Charles Xavier.) I love time-travel stuff, and the concept of this comic is one of my favorites in any X-title I can remember.

 

Although Bendis is a comic-god in most circles, I don’t know that I’d ever put him at the top of my favorites list. He has a tendency for slow burning stories in a medium that needs quick action often. This book is no different. I’m waiting to see what the young X-Men are actually going to do. Issue #8 seems like the perfect place to start. It’s why I’m so excited about this one.

 

Superior Spider-Man #5

Written by DAN SLOTT

Art and cover by GUISEPPE CAMUNCOLI

Superior_Spider-Man_Vol_1_5

I won’t spend much time rehashing the details of how Dr. Octavius became Spider-Man, but I will say I was very resistant to the idea. So far Superior Spider-Man (in the wake of the end of Amazing Spider-man) has been excellent. While it did reveal the Peter Parker ghost a little too quickly, the stories are now very interesting.

This issue should be a doosie of a follow-up to last month’s issue. The very last page revealed Spidey’s “other” arch-nemesis, The Green Goblin, has returned. This issue, if it maintains the level of quality already established, should be stellar.

A word about the art: I love it. Superior Spider-Man employs a trio of artists, Camanculi, Ryan Stegman, and Umberto Ramos, who rotate art duties monthly. While Stegman is my favorite, all three give Spider-Man the best look he’s had in years. The current incarnation of Web-head really conveys the limber nature of a man with spider powers. He’s lean and fast, and the art shows it. The supporting cast is also well drawn. Even the women lack the certain bodaciousness with which other artists tend to draw them – it’s appreciated.

AGE OF ULTRON #1
Written by BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS
Art and Cover by BRYAN HITCH

AgeOfUltron_01_Cover

Again, I don’t claim to be a Bendis fanboy, but he is certainly everywhere. Anyway, I think the less I say about Age of Ultron the better. That’s mostly because I knew very little about it. I actually come into this title with very little excitement. It feels like an in-between Marvel event similar to Fear Itself in early 2011. Bendis has teased that no one will see the ending coming, and that interests me enough to at least pick up this issue. More than anything, I love Hitch’s covers.

The Obsessive Viewer

18 Feb

A good friend of mine, and fellow geek, has started a blog at The Obsessive Viewer.

While his blog’s focus isn’t geek per se, it is certainly geek related.

As of this post, the most current entry on his blog is about 2001: A Space Odyssey.

On the history of geek

11 Feb

I don’t mean to say that geek culture has completely taken over pop culture; geeks have a long way to go, especially in the music industry and the business of being a celebrity. What “geek is the new pop” means is that geek culture has, without a doubt, become something it wasn’t in the past.

Individuals more interested in science fiction and fantasy rather than sports and rock and roll have existed as long as there has been such a thing as popular culture. Several literature enthusiast claim that Frankenstein is the first bit of science fiction the genre has to offer, gut the real boom in sci-fi for the masses most likely started with Star Wars. Let’s call May 25th, 1977, the day Star Wars was released, year 0, and everything before that will be BSW (Before Star Wars) and everything after, ASW (After Star Wars.)

In the years from the release of Frankenstein to the year  1BSW, the terms geek and nerd were synonymous and referred to kids more interested in math and science than superheroes and role-playing games. Most kids from 40BSW to 10BSW read comics, so there wasn’t much separation between the masses and people interested in these things.

But then Star Wars was released.

After May 25th, 1977, a nerd became the bookish social inept math fan, and a geek become something else, and in the years after, “geek “ became a pejorative for someone interested in things that weren’t popular culture. Geeks became the only people reading comics, collecting action figures and attending Star Wars conventions in hotel party rooms. Popular culture went elsewhere.

Pop culture is the entertainment and interests of the masses. There are several eras in popular culture; most of which during the ASW years can be traced back to MTV and don’t include geeks.  Today, The Big Bang Theory is the number one show on television with more than 14 million viewers a week, and the highest grossing film of 2012, The Avengers, knocked on the door of a billion dollars. It’s safe to say that we’ve entered a new era in pop culture. Today, in the year 36ASW, geek is the new pop.

World domination, however, is far from imminent. That’s what this blog intends to point out. There are still too many geeky stones left unturned. Comic book movies might be huge, and the king of all geeks J.J Abrams might be directing a new Star Wars, but there is still a level of exclusivity that must be destroyed. Geekdom is for everybody, and Evansville is rife with opportunities to let a geek flag fly. This blog will show how.