Two Reasons I Think We’ve Already Seen Twelve on Doctor Who

The New Doctor is Almost Here!

With Peter Capaldi taking the reigns of The Doctor in just one short (long?) day, it seems charitable to offer showrunner Stephen Moffat a couple of options by which he can explain the prior appearance of Peter Capaldi on the show.   Many a Whovian are aware of Peter Capaldi’s role in “The Fires of Pompeii” as the Caecilius, the sculptor/merchant who purchased the TARDIS from under the Doctor’s nose (his own nose?). It must be explained!

Moffat, ever a man to play both sides, stated earlier this year “…audiences do understand that the same actor can play different parts.” But in another interview he also said “We are aware that Peter Capaldi’s played a part in Doctor Who before and we’re not going to ignore the fact.”

Alas, the possibilities for an explanation (you’re welcome, Steven):

1. The Doctor is using the Chameleon Arch.

Like the Tenth Doctor and the Master, the Twelfth Doctor (13 if you count John Hurt) placed his essence within his Fob Watch for an urgent, presently unknown reason. The TARDIS then created his persona in Pompeii (c’mon TARDIS, do better). There could be a great story line here: why did the Doctor use the Arch, who he is hiding from, who his his companion, where is his companion? If a Chameleon Arch is the reason the Twelfth Doctor is in Pompeii, then surely he has a companion near by, right?. There seems to be one reasonable option: Caecilius’s family, Metella, Evelina and Quintas, played by Tracey Childs, Francesca Fowler and Francois Pandolfo, respectively, are actually The Doctor’s companions. There’s a history of the Doctor having multiple companions, most recently with the Ponds.

It makes reasonable sense that the companions assumed the role of the Doctor’s family in order to protect his true identity and keep a close watch on him. Unfortunately, the TARDIS disappeared until the Tenth Doctor showed up. The story around the companions influencing Donna Noble, who then influences the Tenth Doctor to save Caecilius and his family, is quite intriguing.

Not unlike John Smith’s (the Tenth Doctor’s persona) use of a journal to document what he believed were dreams but were actually memories trying to break through his mind, Caecilius felt a connection to the TARDIS and obtained it for study. Or did he…?

Though it’s probably completely unintended, I’d be remiss to not also point out the the interesting coincidence of season 8’s premiere date and the date of the Doctor’s arrival in Pompeii…

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2. Twelve traveled to Pompeii to see Donna Noble again.

A quick recap: Donna Noble touched the Tenth Doctor’s severed hand and imbued his knowledge, which she used to save the Earth (yay!) but the Doctor had to wipe her mind because the knowledge would overwhelm her and she would burn up (boo!). This also means she cannot see or remember anything related to the Doctor ever again. Donna does not know the Doctor as anyone but David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor, however, so seeing Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth (Thirteenth?) Doctor should have no impact on her. Why the Doctor chose to see Donna in Pompeii near volcano day is a mystery, but the TARDIS often sends the Doctor to places he did not intend (see: every episode ever). The TARDIS herself has even admitted that though she doesn’t always take the Doctor where he intends to go, she does always take him where he needs to go. So maybe seeing Donna was the intent of the Doctor, but it could be possible something far more sinister is happening in Pompeii that requires the Twelfth Doctor’s attention–and the TARDIS knows it.

We’ve seem the Doctor interacting with himself in the 50th anniversary special, “The Day of the Doctor”. The Bad Wolf (Rose) puts the War Doctor, Ten and Eleven in the same place and time while the War Doctor decides if destroying everyone involved in the Time War is the right call. The Eleventh Doctor forgot his role of tossing his fez through the vortex until the exact moment it came time to do so. His memory of the events as Ten and John Hurt are completely absent. In Pompeii, the story could be similar: only after Ten arrives does Twelve recognize his roll of purchasing the TARDIS (which brings Ten to him) so he, and his family of companions, can be saved.

In either scenarios that brings Twelve to Pompeii, it would seem that he manages to lose the TARDIS. The explanation of this could be quite fun. The TARDIS has a history of being stolen, disappearing, running off to safety. Take your pick. Recognizing the dire straights of the Twelfth Doctor, the TARDIS brings Ten to the rescue. You’ll recall Ten did not intend to be in Pompeii near volcano day but that’s where the TARDIS brought him. So, once again, who’s the real hero? Time. And. Relative. Dimension. In. Space.

Or, perhaps Moffat will ignore it altogether…just like Karen Gillan’s appearance in the Fires of Pompeii…

All of this just goes to show what we already know: the BBC has, like, 7 actors and they all just take turns doing the different shows.

Doctor Who returns on Saturday, August 23rd! Will you be watching?

Women in Geek: Vicky Connolly

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In today’s Women in Geek interview, I’m talking with Vicky Connolly! Vicky works at Escape Velocity Comics, and she’s actually one of the women on the Denver Comic Con panel that inspired this series. I’ve been interviewing women in a ton of different geeky lines of work, so if you’ve missed out on my interviews with Sarah Rodriguez, Lindsay Cummings, Megan Gotch, Christina Janke, or Marissa Reynolds go here to check them all out. Now here’s Vicky!


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What do you do in geek culture?

I work at a comic book store, Escape Velocity Comics, and I’m also working on starting up a website called

Do you have a day job, or does this pay your bills?

Working at Escape Velocity is my day job; the website is just something I’m doing for fun.

How did you get started in this?

I worked at a video game store first. The store had a comic book section, and I managed that. Working there didn’t really work out for me, so I quit. I ended up applying to Escape Velocity, and several  months after applying I got a call asking if I wanted to work for them.

What got you interested in this field?

I love sci-fi, so that’s always been something I’m drawn to. I also played lots of video games as a kid.

What is your ultimate goal with this? Go with the flow. start the blog, dream to work with Image Comics.

Who are some of your female geek role models, and why?  Bonnie Burton and Felicia Day, definitely. I also really love Gail Simone and how she’s always so in touch with people and issues.

Do you encounter any negativity based on your gender or your appearance?

A lot of times customers will ask me stuff like, “Do you actually read comics or do you just work here?” Sometimes customers will flat-out ignore me and go to my co-workers, even the guys who just started, simply because he’s a guy. Most people just genuinely don’t understand how sexist they’re being. I really have a ton of supportive customers that just like to hang. I’ve also found that the energy you put off can also be helpful. I try to not make people feel dumb, and put out positive energy. People usually respond pretty well to that. Ultimately, people will be people, but you have to find the good parts.

What is the best thing about your line of work?

The people and conversations I have. If I was working in any other retail job, I’d just be another peon, but here I really feel like I matter. If you’re not there, it’s noticed. Escape Velocity is really a welcome and loving community.

What’s a big misconception about comic book stores? One of the biggest misconception I encounter is that people assuming comics are only for kids, and while we love kids, 90% of stuff in my store is not meant for kids. It’s a lot of collectibles and valuables.

There are lots of women out there who want to break into the geek industry, be it comics, gaming, writing, or fashion. What kind of advice do you have for them?

People skills! You need to be able to not always fire back when people says something you disagree with, and learn to get along with people. It’s a close knit crowd, so it’s all about people getting to know you. At the end of the day, people to like you. Networking is important, so stuff like attending cons is a huge thing. You also can’t care what other people think about you. Some people just aren’t going to like you, no matter what you do, and you just have to move on.

Since entering in this line of geeky work, have you met friends or found any new communities to be a part of?

Absolutely. I’ve gotten to know 50+ local artists and I had the opportunity to do that Women in the Geek Industry panel at Denver Comic Con. Really, my  whole community is made up of nerds!

What do you wish people knew about what you do? Are there common misconceptions about what it means to do what you do?

I have interests outside of nerdy things. I love comics, ironic tees, and all that but I also love stuff like learning about history and western civilizations, gangster novels, and trail running. I’ve got a lot of interests outside of nerdy stuff.

Any parting thoughts?

Nerds need to stick together! There are a lot of changes out there with the cosplay community and stuff, but there’s a reason we go to cons. We love the same stuff. Let’s stick up for each other and not get caught in the drama.

Marvel’s New Spider-Woman Cover Is Pretty Frustrating

You’ve probably seen it all over by now. Marvel released the image of one of the Spider-Woman #1 covers by Milo Manara. After Marvel shook up the comic book world by announcing Thor would become a woman, and that Captain America would now be a black man, seeing this new Spider-Woman cover has been pretty frustrating.  In case you haven’t seen it yet, here’s the cover:


Let’s just compare this to how we usually see Spider-Man portrayed:

After Marvel made so many awesome strides this summer, it’s really frustrating to see the comic giant publish a cover like this. Instead of portraying her as strong and super-human, like the Spider-Man drawing I’ve posted here, Spider-Woman’s highly sexualized and the most remarkable thing about her appears to be her perfectly sculpted ass…

Read the rest at Outright Geekery! 

New Destiny Trailer Released!

We’re getting closer and closer to the release of Bungie’s new game, Destiny, and they are trying to keep us all pumped by releasing a new trailer for the game. While the trailer looks amazing, I don’t think Bungie needs to worry about keeping people pumped up for this game. Most of us–even people like me who don’t yet have an Xbox One–got a taste  when they launched the Destiny Beta several weeks ago. I think everyone is pretty stoked about the game’s release on September 9th. Destiny certainly has the feel of the usual space-themed FPS, but it also has some innovative RPG elements to make it different from other space-themed video games like Halo (which is what I’m sure people will be comparing it to for some time)This game is certainly bringing something new and different to the world of FPS games.

The nice thing about the FPS/RPG blend, is that you can customize your character (race, features, gender, etc). While there are several FPS games out there, Halo being one of them, where you can play multiplayer as a female, there are far fewer that offer a female option for the campaign. So while games like Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare are making waves for adding it’s first female into the game’s story, it’s cool that Destiny is allowing players to go through the entire game with whatever character they best identify. Of course, if you don’t want to go male or female, there are also some alien races you can choose to use–tons of options.

Besides the unique blend of FPS/RPG gameplay, the game is also stunning. In the trailer (which you can see below), we get a closer look at the planet Venus. The planet is colorful and gorgeous, and from the looks of the trailer and what we experienced in the beta, gamers will have a pretty expansive and intricate universe to explore. If you missed out on the beta, you can go to the Destiny Youtube page to see some of their earlier trailers to get a picture of what waits for us in Destiny.

So…are you guys ready for September 9?!

J.K. Rowling Needs to Write More Harry Potter-Related Stories

In early July, J.K. Rowling published a short story to Pottermore. It was written from the perspective of journalist Rita Skeeter, chronicling Harry Potter and friends at the Quidditch World Cup. It was brief, it raised more questions than it answered, but ultimately, the reaction of the Harry Potter fandom was unanimous:

Today on Pottermore, Rowling released more original content on Celestina Warbeck, aka The Singing Sorceress. Warbeck’s known for her hit song, “You Stole My Cauldron, But You Can’t Have My Heart”, which you can listen to on Pottermore. The excerpt on Celestina is fantastic and great, but really all it’s doing is making me wish there were more novels about the wizarding world of Harry Potter waiting for me to read for the first time. Even though Deathly Hallows ended beautifully, I just wish that it wasn’t truly the end… I just…

I’ve heard lots of different things from the Rowling camp. I’ve heard that she doesn’t want to write any more novels about Harry Potter. I’ve heard that she totally would should the right idea strike her. I’ve heard she’s actively writing a new Harry Potter book (okay, so maybe it’s usually only around the blogosphere and only around April Fools…). While I’m thrilled to see what adventures await us with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them movie, I have a few other ways that I’d love to see Rowling continue to create in our favorite wizarding world…

Read the rest on Nerdophiles!

Women in Geek: Megan Gotch

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I’m a part of a great Google+ group called Female Geek Bloggers, and through that group I was able to meet the amazing Megan Gotch, aka The Nerdy Girlie. Megan’s a great geek blogger, and her top-notch SDCC coverage can almost make it better for those who couldn’t be there…almost.  Check out Megan’s interview, and if you’ve missed my interviews with Sarah Rodriguez, Lindsay Cummings, Christina Janke, and Marissa Reynolds, go here!

What do you do in geek culture?

I am a geek girl blogger. In 2012 I created The Nerdy Girlie blog!

Do you have a day job, or does this pay your bills?

I do have a day job. I would love for my blog to pay the bills, as of yet it does not. I guess that could be a good thing, because I do it out of LOVE not necessity!

How did you get started in this?

I began my blog The Nerdy Girlie after my 4th San Diego Comic Con in 2012. I started off as wanting to help fellow con-­goers and now have made some lasting relationships that I am so happy to have.

What got you interested in this field?

I have always loved writing, from an early age. It was SDCC that helped me figure out WHAT I wanted and loved to write about!

Do you have a big goal for The Nerdy Girlie?

I really don’t have any BIG goals for my site, other than to continue to help and bring people together. As long as I am happy doing it, I will keep doing it!

Who are some of your female geek role models, and why?

When I first started my blog some of my influences were Being Geek Chic and Girl Gone Geek. As I began to grow and develop my own site, I began to find MANY awesome geek girls out there and that is why I began the Female Geek Bloggers G+ Community. I wanted to bring all the lovely nerdy sites together in one place where we could grow and learn from each other!

Do you find that your readers are more critical of your opinions because you’re a woman? How do you handle, if you’ve encountered it at all, the negativity against women in geek?

I’ve been super lucky to have only support from the readers of my blog. I love what I’m doing and I am so happy that just one person would want to read it.

What is the best thing about working in your area of geekery?

The best thing of working in the world of geek is the relationships you make with other nerds. This past San Diego Comic Con I spent the majority of my time talking with friends and building our relationships. It is so fun to nerd out with people who understand!

What do you find that is meaningful, special, and/or valuable about what you do?

What I find meaningful about what I do is that people comment on my blog, come up to me at cons and tell me that some thing I wrote helped them. I love what I’m doing and am so happy to be of help to anyone!

There are lots of women out there who want to break into the geek industry, be it comics, gaming, writing, or fashion. What kind of advice do you have for them?

My advice would be just make sure that you love what you do. If you have a passion for it, it won’t feel like a job!

What is the coolest thing you’ve experienced since starting The Nerdy Girlie?

I’ve gotten to do a lot of neat things before and after the blog began. All involve discovering nerds who love the same things that I do. I have made a lot of lasting relationships that mean so much to me.

What do you wish people knew about what you do? Are there common misconceptions about what it means to do what you do?

Blogging is a lot of alone time! So when I go to conventions it is so nice to be able to TALK to people. I love it and if you ever see me at a con I am always happy to talk nerd with anyone!

Be sure to check out The Nerdy Girlie, as well as my other Women in Geek posts–and stay tuned here to see what woman in geek I feature next! 

Women in Geek: Marissa Reynolds

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In my latest Women in Geek interview, I’m going to be talking to Marissa Reynolds from Hogwart’s Radio, MuggleNet’s Entertainment Harry Potter Podcast. I’ve had the privilege of working with Marissa through the transcription team at Hogwart’s Radio, and I’m thrilled to have her here on the blog! If you haven’t seen my first three Women in Geek interviews with Sarah Rodriguez, Lindsay Cummings, and Christina Janke, you can find them all right here.

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What do you do with Hogwart’s Radio, and what does that mean?
I am a host (which means I get to be part of the recorded discussion) and I run the transcribing team. Transcribers type out the shows into a readable format so that people who cannot listen to the show for one reason or the other have the option of reading it. I also do other odds and ends on the website like keep the shows page up to date, run The Chosen One page (our version of Fan of the Month), and help out with whatever else is needed. At one point Terrance (the webmaster) and I basically rebuilt the entire site and my job was uploading all of our content including over 120 episodes and a few transcripts.

Do you have a day job, or does this pay your bills?
I wish I was getting paid for this!! Only because I truly love working with something Harry Potter and would gladly go it as a career. However, I do not get paid anything except experience and happiness. I actually work at the University of Arkansas as a Teaching Assistant while I am working on my Ph.D. in chemistry.

How did you get started in this?
Social media to the rescue!! Jennifer Porsche is a host on the show and she used to run the transcript team. She tweeted about needing some transcribers for the team. I simply replied to the tweet with an email about wanting to help out. That was in 2011.

What got you interested in this?
I have been a fan of HP since 2000, however it took me a long time to realize there was an entire online fandom to connect with. I didn’t know may people who liked Harry Potter and actually didn’t know much about fandom websites or anything. I honestly didn’t spend a whole lot of time on the computer when I was younger (having dial-up was mostly to blame). When I was in high school (around 2007-2008) is when I really discovered MuggleNet. Shocking, I know. I was very late to the game, but I was there. I began listening to MuggleCast and that eventually led to listening to Hogwarts Radio and now here I am.

Who are some of your female geek role models, and why?
Would you call Evanna Lynch a geek? I love her for sure. She’s so free and open with herself and is so passionate about what she loves. I also look up to people like Melissa Anelli and Kat Miller. They have found a way to make what they love (Harry Potter interestingly enough) into a career. Turning your passion into a career instead of simply being passionate about your career are two different levels of incredible.

What is the best thing about working with Hogwart’s Radio?
The word opportunity sums up all the “best” things about HR. The opportunity to meet all the people I have met, to learn about how to run a website and how social media can be used, and to discuss something I love with others who are as passionate about it as I am. Before, I could count on one hand people who I could truly and deeply discuss HP with. My theories, my questions, my pet peeves. Now I have the forum to discuss these things with people from all over the world, except I actually get to be part of the live discussion.

What do you find that is meaningful, special, and/or valuable about what you do?
The People. I consider the other hosts to be my friends. Of course I talk to them during our recordings, but we have also been known to stay on Skype for a few hours just talking about random things. I talk to some of the other hosts on a daily basis about HP, other fandoms, work, and just life in general. I almost always have a text conversation open with Jeanna or Terrance. I’ve had great talks with Kat, Jennifer, Andy, Kristen, and other hosts though social media platforms and some through texts. And there is also the transcript team. I have met some truly fascinating people from all over the world that I would have never had the pleasure of meeting without the podcast. When I first started as a transcriber I got to be very good friends with four other girls who are literally from completely different places. We have helped each other through some tough times and have also been there for joyous moments in each others lives. We’ve celebrated graduations, birthdays, holidays, and I even got their warm wishes through text message on my wedding day. I would have never met any of these people without Hogwarts Radio and my life would be drastically different.

You are now a full-grown adult working on creating original content within a community based on a series of children’s books. Why? What made Harry Potter have such an impact on you that you’ve continued to be so incredibly active in the fandom?
They stories may be written for children, but the lessons and morals the stories teach are used every day of our entire lives. For me personally, I was the same age as Harry and everyone while I was reading them and seeing the movies. I was the same age as this scarred, messy-haired, bespectacled orphan who was fighting his entire life for the things he believed in. He was passionate about seeing good overcome evil, about making sure the people he loved were happy and safe, about doing the right thing. All this while trying to pass his potions class and win the Quidditch Cup. If Harry can get through school with all the worries and problems he faced, then why can’t I? His story was an inspiration then and still is now.

Another reason I think we all still find things to talk about is because J.K. Rowling is an inspiration herself. She struggled so much in her life before her success and happiness came with Harry. She was passionate about writing and that is obviously evident in her stories. She makes us think deeply about the world around us. She makes us question everything until we find either the answer or another question. We exercise our imaginations and our creativity by analyzing her work. There’s a lot to it, so it will take us years to sift through it all. Our different opinions will keep up going after that. Especially when there is no right answer which is normally the case.

Do you encounter any negativity in your fandom based on your gender?
With this fandom, no I don’t thing so. The Harry Potter fandom is so open and welcoming. They are sort of like the Backstreet Boys. We don’t care who you are, where you’re from, what you did, as long as you love Harry Potter. Now, from outsiders there is a little discrimination. When people hear that I podcast and work on a website, I get some condescending reactions. However, my gender still isn’t the man focus with loving Harry Potter. The place where I truly encounter sexism is in my job. When I was in college I always got the question (as everyone does) about what my major was. People expected me to say teacher or nurse or English or something along those lines. When they learned that I was a Chemistry major I got one of two general answers: 1) Oh! You must be a genius! (Not true. I just truly enjoy chemistry and I understand it because I am passionate about learning it and I really like math. If you made me be a history major, a political science major, or even a biology major, I wouldn’t have made it.) and 2) Oh! You don’t meet a lot of women in science. (That is ridiculous. Just look here for 10 major scientific achievements by women. People just expect women to gravitate to the more nurturing or house-wife type of career. Not that these aren’t great careers to follow as a woman, man, or monkey for that matter. It just wasn’t for me.)

There are lots of women out there who want to break into the geek industry, be it comics, gaming, podcasting, writing, or fashion. What kind of advice do you have for them?
Find your foothold. You don’t have to make it big your first time out like JKR did. Take whatever opportunity you can to get your foot into the door with something you love and keep looking for the next opportunity. HR doesn’t pay me any kind of money, but through it I have made connections I never would have without it. Experience is sometimes just as good (if not better) than a monetary compensation. A lot of life is who you know, not what you know. Try to meet as many people as possible and learn from them. Grow your network of people and your skill set to something you can compete with in the bigger world.

Have you gained friends since working with Hogwart’s Radio, or did you go into this already knowing the individuals you work with?

I knew NO ONE at first. I jumped into this completely blind and just went with it. It’s been 3 years now and I would have to take off my shoes and use my toes to count the number of friends I have gained. I may also need to borrow someone else’s fingers.

What do you wish people knew about what you do? Are there common misconceptions about what it means to do what you do?
Well first, it might be nice for people to actually know what a podcast is so I could stop explaining it! Haha! But, on a serious note, I wish people knew that I am just a lucky fan. Not quite lucky enough to have met any big name actors yet, but lucky enough to have the connection I do to the biggest Harry Potter fansite in the world. I used to have the misconception that you have to wait to be asked, wait to be noticed, to get involved with something like this. That is completely wrong. You have to ask. You may get a no at first (or maybe even a couple of no’s) but someone somewhere will give you a yes and you have to take it and run. I jumped at an open invitation for the transcriber team. Sometime Terrance would ask us to help with different things on the site. I took every opportunity I could. Eventually I became friends with Terrance. Because of that and because of my loyalty to the site I was there when he needed someone to help rebuild the site. After that I was asked to guest host and then eventually became a regular host. After that I was asking for the new assignments such as the transcript team, access to change things on the site, run The Chosen One. But, it all started with that foothold in the transcript team. Something simple, something humble, got me to where I am now.

Harlem Hellfighters Review

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Back in June after I attended Denver Comic Con, I blogged about attending a Max Brooks panel–which was amazing. While he did spend a great deal of time in his panel talking about World War Z, he also spent a great deal of time talking about was his new graphic novel, Harlem Hellfighters. He spoke about it with such an intense passion, clearly an artist in love with his latest project, that I knew I would have to read it ASAP. So when I signed up for the Blogging for Books program and I saw it on the list, I requested it immediately.

Here’s a quick synopsis of the book from the Random House website:

In 1919, the 369th infantry regiment marched home triumphantly from World War I. They had spent more time in combat than any other American unit, never losing a foot of ground to the enemy, or a man to capture, and winning countless decorations. Though they returned as heroes, this African American unit faced tremendous discrimination, even from their own government. The Harlem Hellfighters, as the Germans called them, fought courageously on—and off—the battlefield to make Europe, and America, safe for democracy.  

In THE HARLEM HELLFIGHTERS, bestselling author Max Brooks and acclaimed illustrator Caanan White bring this history to life. From the enlistment lines in Harlem to the training camp at Spartanburg, South Carolina, to the trenches in France, they tell the heroic story of the 369th in an action-packed and powerful tale of honor and heart.

This book was amazing. Before reading this book, I had never heard of the Harlem Hellfighters, though I had a very basic knowledge of African Americans fighting for a country that was still actively and openly oppressing and discriminating against them. Still, I was going into this story fairly ignorant. Graphic novels based on historical events are one of my favorite things to read because they can shine a light on history in a way a traditional book cannot. Stories like Maus and Persepolis are some of my favorites, and I was certain that Max Brooks’ book would fit in well with my list of favorite historical graphic novels–I was definitely right. Max Brooks does a great job of making the story come to life and making his readers invest in the characters of the story. He brings you right into this portion of history and brings it to life in a way few authors can.

While at Denver Comic Con, he spoke a lot about citing his source material in the back of World War Z, Zombie Survival Guide, and Harlem Hellfighters. He talked about not only doing this as a way to credit his source material, but to also encourage his readers to continue learning about the topic of his books. For Hellfighters, I think this is incredibly important, because while Brooks does create dynamic and engaging characters, the graphic novel format doesn’t leave a lot of time for deep exposition and intricate backstory. The story moves quickly, and you go from the recruitment office, to training, to the battlefield in what feels like a few short breaths. In order to fully understand and grasp the story–if you’re coming into the story with no background as I was–you’ll need to do some additional research to help round out the story in your mind. However, I think Brooks did that intentionally. At least, that’s what he made it sound like at Denver Comic Con. He made it sound like he wanted to only present you with a portion of the story, to pique your interest, and then point you to other places where you could continue to learn about these men. I appreciated that about this book. The story of the Harlem Hellfighters is an extraordinary one. The men were brave and they fought under unimaginable circumstances, in a time when our country was severely racially divided.

My only complaint (if you could even call it a complaint) was that the illustrations were not in color. There were several illustrations that I thought could have been a lot more visually dynamic if they had color.

If you’re curious to hear Max Brooks talk more about the book, go here to read a conversation with the author. Definitely also check out Harlem Hellfighters if you haven’t already. It’s worth the read.

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.



Norman Reedus Will Star In The New Silent Hill Game

Everybody can use a bit more Norman Reedus in their lives, right? Well, it looks like gamers can get a bit of Norman right on their consoles. The latest installment in the Silent Hill series, named Silent Hills, is the product of a partnership between Guillermo del Toro and Hideo Kojima, starring Norman Reedus. No word yet if he’s just rendering his voice and likeness to the game, or if he will actually be playing himself. Either way, I’m all for it!

The announcement of the game has been a bizarre one. Kojima has been teasing this game for some time now, calling the game P.T. (even announcing P.T. at the Sony Gamescom press conference) and crediting it to the fictional developers, 7780s Studio…

Read the rest and see the trailer for Silent Hills over at Nerdophiles!

Women in Geek: Christina Janke

Women in Geek Christina Janke

It’s my third post in the Women in Geek series. If you’ve missed my first two posts with Sarah Rodriguez and Lindsay Cummings, go here to check out their Women in Geek posts! Today I’m talking with the amazing Christina Janke; you might know her from places like Agents of Geek and Intro to Geek.

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What do you do in geek culture?

Currently I act as Editor in Chief and writer at Agents of Geek, an entertainment website (we branched out from Screen Invasion almost one year ago now) that highlights pretty much anything under the geek umbrella such as movies, tv shows, video games, books, cosplay, etc.

However, I first started creating my “geeky” presence 4 years ago as a regular member of a podcast my friends and I started called Shauncastic. It’s pretty much a bunch of friends getting together and talking about the things we love. A lot of the time it’s a love fest, but other times it a brutal barrage of disagreements…in a friendly way, of course. LOL.

From there, the founder of Shauncastic, Shaun Rosado, gave me my own segment titled Intro to Geek. Being the youngest and resident “new geek” in the cast, I was tasked with reviewing essential media in geek culture. This can be anywhere from movies like The Last Starfighter to 80’s arcade games like Tron. The goal of Intro to Geek is to “get myself learned” as well as convey to other new geeks whether or not it’s worth their time. Yes, there are stinkers that were once considered totally awesome and rad, but do not hold up at all.

Do you have a day job, or does this pay your bills?

I would totally love it if being a geek on the internet gave me some money to make a living! But for now, I work as an office manager at residential care facility for the mentally ill. My family owns it… Actually, they are the only people who would hire me after quitting the local movie theater. The job market isn’t fun, kiddies.

How did you get started in this?

I was always a little connected to the geek world growing up. I watched Star Trek: TNG every week with my dad, played video games whenever my head wasn’t stuck in a Harry Potter book or obsessing over Sailor Moon and Fushigi Yuugi, I read comic books off and on in college…but all of that was more or less a passing fancy. Excluding Sailor Moon, I never went any deeper than what I watched on TV or read in a book. My real plunge into “geekdom” didn’t start until 2010 while I was interning at a local newspaper.

I caught wind of a small comic book expo in my town. The paper wasn’t too interested in covering it, but I was curious enough to check it out anyway. There, I met people who would later become some of my closest friends — one of them being Shaun Rosado and his wife.

After that, I started hanging out at the local comic book shop on a weekly basis, and Shaun introduced me to Dungeons and Dragons, a level of nerdy I had once made fun of while I was in high school upon discovering that a friend of mine at the time played it. You can say Shaun was a gateway drug for pretty much everything I’m involved with now. I just love the community, freckles and all, that geekdom creates. Sure, we have our fair share of the occasional troll and butt-hurt fanatic, but that comes with any territory.

In college I studied English as a major with some emphasis in business writing and a bit of journalism. The two programs merged together after losing a couple key teachers and not enough interest from students, so I had to make due with what I had. I knew I love writing; I had a strong appreciation for the written word and the level of understanding one has to put herself through just to be able to convey a thought or emotion. However, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be a writer even when I was already an English major, and an editor in school publications. It took a series of unfortunate events to make me realize that I, indeed, want to write for a living — I was homeless during my last semester in college, I could not find a job for a whole year after graduating, and one of my biggest mentors growing up, who supported my wanting to become a writer, died.

In 2012, Shaun had this bright idea to do a high quality calendar featuring geek women in cosplay. That whole story escalated pretty quickly as you’ll see in this documentary:

Soon I found myself hanging out with the likes of Satine Phoenix, Misti Dawn, Brooke “Dodger” Leigh, Jenna Busch, Sandy Bergeron, and Chloe Dykstra. Jenna in particular was/is a bit of an inspiration to me. She’s the kind of geek entertainment writer I aspire to be. She gets to interview celebrities face to face. Hell, she co-starred with Stan Lee on a YouTube channel at some point!

My getting started with Agents of Geek just sort of happened. My Intro to Geek blog caught the Jim Napier’s attention — he’s the founder and managing editor of AoG — and he offered me a writing position on Screen Invasion where AoG was housed at the time. I became Geek Editor the following month. After Jim and I broke off from Screen Invasion to start our own website, I took on the role as Editor in Chief. It all fell into my lap, in a way.

Do you have a goal you would like to achieve with Agents of Geek?

AoG kinda feels its like my baby now even though Jim is the one who started it all, who continues to handle the business side of things. Of course I want it to do well. We’ll never be on the same level as Polygon or IGN or The Mary Sue, because we’re barely a year old and we’re an independent company. My goal (right now) is to just have fun content people will want to read or watch, and to be one of those sites that people go to after they search through those other big sites. I’m working with some fantastic people, and I want as many people as we can get to notice the great work they do.

Who are some of your female geek role models, and why?

I already talked about Jenna Busch, she’s so fun and enthusiastic about what she does. She genuinely loves her job and it shows. I also like to think I channel Tina Fey as another great female writer who has made it in an industry of dominated by men. Most of the time, though, I think I’m emulating Liz Lemon more than anything else.

Do you encounter any negativity based on your gender or your appearance, or find that your readers are more critical of your opinions because you’re a woman? How do you handle, if you’ve encountered it at all, the negativity against women in geek?

So far I consider myself lucky that I don’t get as much vitriol as my other friends and peers. I attribute that mostly to the fact that I’m just not as known yet. That said, I’m not entirely without “criticism” from faceless trolls. A favorite story I like to tell people is when I played on the Mass Effect 3 multiplayer.

I don’t normally interact with other players in multiplayer; I already know what might be in store for me if the guys with microphones knew I was woman. One such gamer, however, found out I wasn’t born with a penis because he correctly translated my quirky yet feminine GamerTag. “Congrats, bro, you know a little German.” After that, he as his buddies ganged up against me, calling me names and making me feel like the most worthless female gamer ever. Never mind the fact I was sniping head shots left and right, making sure they didn’t get fragged. This went on non-stop for three waves. After that I had enough. I managed to attract a small horde of enemies over to where the douche bags holed themselves up. I stepped back and watched the carnage for a few seconds and then logged off. That how I handle things, LOL!

Another time, I had just got done talking about giving my five and six year old nieces their first comic books. Some troll on Twitter made it his mission to send death and rape threats directed at my nieces. That was probably the only time I lost it my mind on a troll. If words could be manifested into fists and then transported through the internet, I’d imagine that guy beaten to an unrecognizable pile of mush.

When I do see my friends come under fire for no particular reason other than the fact that she’s a woman with an opinion, I do get upset. Sometimes I take to Twitter and air out my frustrations, other times I get invited to join a podcast to talk about it.

What is the best thing about your line of geeky work?

My absolute favorite part is when I get to interview actors. I don’t get to do it often because a lot of the opportunities AoG gets are scheduled for the afternoon and I work during the day. But the ones I do get interview are so much fun. The highest profile celeb I interviewed is probably Jessica Chobot. Without meaning to, we talked for an hour. She’s so chatty, it was wonderful. My second favorite interview is with Steve Lund. He plays Nick Sorrentino on SyFy’s Bitten. We bonded over our love for Indiana Jones.

What would you say to someone who would look down on being a geek blogger/podcaster/vlogger? What do you find that is meaningful, special, and/or valuable about what you do?

This is where I become a hopeless romantic. Being a geek blogger/podcaster/vlogger is something I love doing. The community is so huge now, and a huge part of that is thanks to everyone’s willingness to share their passions with other people. Being a blogger, or whatever, gives us the opportunity to share our love of certain things with a lot of people all at once while trying to be as informative as we can. If I can make what I’m doing now into a paying career one day, then it’s definitely something worth fighting for. We geeks aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

There are lots of women out there who want to break into the geek industry, be it comics, gaming, writing, or fashion. What kind of advice do you have for them?

I’ll tell you what Jessica Chobot told me. It’s already so incredibly hard to get into any of these industries. You have to keep working, working, and working, improving yourself on where you think you’re lacking. Also network. you’ll have less of a chance making it anywhere if you don’t make yourself known to peers or higher. Putting yourself out there is a vulnerable feeling, but it’s necessary to get yourself out there and talk to people. Plus it doesn’t hurt to expand your horizons with other people in the same boat as you, trade little tips and the like.

There will be people trying to bring you down. You’ll just have to get thick skin and remember you’re doing what you love. And what do you do with things you love? Let it grow and expand.

What inspired you to start with Agents of Geek, and what is the coolest thing that you’ve experienced since you’ve started it?

AoG kind of fell on my lap thanks to Jim Napier noticing my enthusiasm online. It’s become a home to be myself and share all the cool things with the people I like and then some.

We’re only a year old now, so I think the coolest things are yet to come. So far, it’s getting to meet other bloggers and getting the confidence to converse with other writers and artists in the gaming and comic book industries.

Have you always felt at home being a part of and creating in the “geek culture” or “nerd culture”, or was it something you grew into?

I think because of Intro to Geek, I was kind of thrown into a part of nerd culture I never experienced before. I seemed to have taken a shine to it, obviously, and I suddenly find myself being invited to different podcasts, panels at conventions, etc. I don’t know when people started considering me a video game expert, but I like the sound of it. I’m going to hold on to that title for as long as I can. LOL.

What do you wish people knew about what you do? Are there common misconceptions about what it means to do what you do?

I face these types of questions all the time with just my uncle. He knows absolutely nothing about geek culture, science fiction, or fandoms in general. Come to think of it, my mom constantly wonders what I do even when she sees me doing it. I try to attribute my work as something they watch everyday. I’m equal parts the news, The Talk, Entertainment Tonight, and the E! Channel, but without all that boring celebrity gossip. I think they get it… LOL!

As for serious business types, well, I’m still learning. I’ve applied to a lot of firms, advertisers, papers, and publishers where I live. I even tried out for police academy at some point. They start turning up their noses once they find out I write about “kiddy stuff.” No joke, that’s a response I got from someone who rejected my application. It’s like no one in the “professional” world likes fun. Or imagination. I wouldn’t be surprised if all they read were inflated memoirs of a CEO or a former president.

Never mind that as JUST an editor and writer I organize and plan assignments and interviews, edit other people’s writing, make sure the website’s layout looks good and is in working order, cover major events, review movies/tv shows/books, network with people online, over the phone, face to face, learn some coding, consult, and work with advertisers. I know there’s more, but that’s all I can think of off the top of my head at the moment. The subject matter just happens to be something we’re passionate about, just like other writers and magazines like cooking, politics, and pretentious foreign art films.

Be sure to check out Agents of Geek and Intro to Geek if you haven’t done that yet. Stay tuned here for more amazing women in geek, and click on the pictures below to check out my interview with Sarah Rodriguez and Lindsay Cummings.

Women in Geek Lindsay Cummings Women in Geek  Sarah Rodriguez