Tuesday, 25 February 2014

A Beginner's Guide to Magic: The Gathering

by Angela Hartwick


Even if you’ve never personally tapped a land for mana, there’s a good chance you’ve at least heard of the card game “Magic: the Gathering”. First released in 1994, Magic has stood the test of time as both a fun and strategic game that continues to attract players with its high level of customization and widespread network of both casual and competitive gameplay opportunities.

While you’ll certainly want to spend some time practicing at the kitchen table, joining in an organized event can be a lot of fun! My first foray into organized tournament play was four years ago when I attended a “Friday Night Magic” event at the Place d’Orleans mall. There were only about eight other players and they were roughly the age group of Doogie Howser...which did a lot to calm my nerves. Over the years I’ve attended many more local Magic events (usually with a mostly adult crowd) and, sadly, I’ve yet to see more than four women at any event (with the exception of those run by the Ottawa Ladies’ MTG Society).

Magic is certainly a complex game, but like most good games the fundamentals are actually pretty simple. Here is a summary of how the game works:

Each player has a deck of cards and 20 life points. Your mission is to use your cards to bring your opponent to 0 life (or in rare cases, to run them out of cards).

At the beginning of your turn, you draw a card and may play one land card:
The five basic land types
Lands provide “mana” - which is what you need to cast spells - and come in five colours: red, green, black, blue, white.

The most common thing you will use your mana for is to play creatures, which can be used to attack your opponent or to protect you from their creatures by “blocking”. The two numbers in the bottom right hand corner indicate the creature’s power (how much damage it deals) and toughness (how much damage it can take before it dies).

Lovisa Coldeyes is one of the fiercest-looking (and most fully clad) female characters

Other types of spells include artifacts, enchantments, instants, and sorceries, which can do things like directly injure your opponent, kill opposing creatures, and increase the power of your own creatures.

And that’s basically it! You take turns drawing cards, playing lands, and casting spells until one of you deals the final blow and declares victory.

Would you like to learn more? “Duels of the Planeswalkers” is a decent online version of the game with easy-to-use tutorials and is available on Xbox, PlayStation, PC, iPad, or your Android tablet. If you prefer to play face to face, contact the Comic Book Shoppe or check the event schedules of our local comic book stores as many offer several M:tG events per week.

Angela is a 30-something year old mom of three kids - a baby, a school-aged kid and a teenager – and a furbaby, living in Orleans with her geek soul mate husband. She studied English Literature and Social Work but took an unexpected turn somewhere and ended up working as a policy analyst for the feds. Hobbies include reading, playing boardgames and Magic: the Gathering, cooking healthy foods, blogging, and discussing favourite tv shows and movies. She is the proud organizer of the Ottawa Geek Social Club, which strives to provide meetup opportunities that reflect the many facets of geekdom and beyond! www.ogsc.ca.

Monday, 24 February 2014

Farewell, Harold Ramis

by Emily Plunkett


Born in Chicago, IL, on Nov. 21, 1944, Ramis’ began writing while he was attending college in St. Louis, MI.  He landed freelance positions with the Chicago Daily News, which lead to a position with Playboy as a joke editor; all the while, he auditioned for Chicago’s famed Second City, where he would meet John Belushi.  Through Belushi, Ramis would meet the likes of Joe Flarherty, whom he would later star and write alongside with on the legendary Canadian sketch comedy show, SCTV, and Bill Murray, who would become a frequent collaborator within movies such as Caddyshack and Groundhog Day.  His name would also become associated with National Lampoon, when he contributed to The National Lampoon Radio Hour, wrote the 1978 smash National Lampoon’s Animal House and directed 1983’s National Lampoon’s Vacation

Although this resume of comedy classics is enough to make any film buff stop at the news of his passing, it was his co-creation with Dan Aykroyd that plastered Facebook front pages upon the news of his death on Feb. 24 due to complications of autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis.  Ramis co-wrote and stared as the deadpan and seriously nerdy portrayal of Dr. Egon “Don’t cross the streams” Spengler in 1984’s Ghostbusters and its 1991 sequel, Ghostbusters II

In the 30 years since its release, Ghostbusters has become a cornerstone multimedia franchise that has included the films, animated television shows, comic books and video games.  There have been strong rumours and frequent updates from Dad Aykroyd teasing of a third film that would see a new generation of Ghostbusters enter the official canon.  Clubs such as the Ontario Ghostbusters are as dedicated as the Capital City Garrison 501st Legion Stormtroopers in giving back to the greater community through their dedication to Ghostbusters cosplay.  The entire idea of a franchise that celebrates both science fiction and comedy was the doorway this author needed to become a geek in her own right. 

So, alongside the ‘80’s movie buffs and the sci-fi geeks, I remember Harold Ramis and celebrate my love for Ghostbusters.  Because no matter the time of year or the situation, it’s his movies and creations I call when I need a good laugh.

Emily Plunkett is a recent graduate of the journalism diploma program at Algonquin College. As a freelancer, she’s written for the Ottawa Star and the Sarnia Observer. Notorious for being a Beatlemaniac, a record collector and something nobody can really put a finger on, she enjoys a good Sunday afternoon with CBC Radio chatting away, her knitting in hand and her cat, Levon, snoozing at the end of the bed.

Comiccons: April's Short List

by April Laramey

Top 5 North American Cons to Hit, According to Geek Girl April

There are so many great comic conventions (aka ‘comic-cons’) out there that it’s hard to go wrong when planning your convention season. But here’s our pick of top 5 from geek girl April, as well as the Editor’s Choice for top #1.

    Editor’s Pick: Ottawa Comiccon 

     Running for a couple years now, Ottawa's Comiccon is a BIG event for a smallish city like O-town. The great guests bring people in; the wide array of vendors keep people happy; the artist's alley give people brushes with fame; and the workshops give people new info. It's a non-stop geek fest, so be sure to save up your pennies because between photo ops and geek paraphernalia, you'll need 'em.) -Jordan

            San Diego Comic-con 

Almost everyone is familiar with the mother of all conventions, San Diego Comic-Con.  Founded in 1970, this con regularly attracts roughly 130,000 attendees. Aimed at comics, anime, film, games, sci-fi and fantasy authors & more, this #1 con in the world hosts roughly 600 events.   

One of the many events is the San Diego International Children’s Film Festival [link: http://www.sdkidsfilms.org/]. With a partnership of seven years, the festival usually takes place on the Sunday of the Con, and includes panels, screenings and an awards ceremony, making San Diego Comic-con a truly family affair.

NYCC is the East coast’s answer to the San Diego con and boasts itself as being the “only one that takes place in the comic book, publishing, media and licensing capital of the world — Gotham City.”  Stated as being New York City’s second largest event and drawing over 130,000 visitors, it was first held in 2006. 

Despite some growth problems due to inexperience, it has become the second most popular Con and at one time was host to the New York Anime Festival.  That festival has since been absorbed into the Con but NYCC continues to expand its repertoire.

Finally something closer to home!  Fan Expo presumes to appeal to fans of Comics, Sci-Fi, Horror, Anime, Gaming & Sports, 2014 will represent the 20th anniversary of this con.

But the best part is, they host a speed-dating event!  Fan Expo Speed Dating is hosted by 25dates.com [link: http://www.25dates.com/fan_expo/] In fact in 2012 Toronto Fan Expo hosted their first wedding [link: http://torontoist.com/2012/08/love-amongst-the-jawas/]  Go big or go home? This is our closest home in the top five.

 DragonCon (Atlanta, GA)

DragonCon was founded in 1987 by 6 men.  Like all other cons it has grown over the years to greet Ann McCaffrey, Gary Gygax, and has brought in the Atlantic Comics Expo, and has won the bid to host the North American Science Fiction Convention. Not to mention, who can resist the DragonCon parade? Confetti! 

Celebrating 25 years as of 2011, Atlanta welcomed all visitors to DragonCon with welcome banners.  They added puppetry and gaming streams. Maybe not brilliant, but A for effort.

Okay, Geekgirlcon isn’t truly in the top 5 (yet), but for the purposes of this blog it is definitely high on the list.  How can we resist a convention that celebrates the female geek?

“The first inkling of GeekGirlCon took form at San Diego Comic-Con in 2010. Mixed into days of programming focused on superheroes, blockbuster films, and popular television celebrities was a panel called “Geek Girls Exist.” Despite this panel being scheduled at the same time as the popular Scott Pilgrim panel, the room was packed. This panel dedicated to female geeks and nerds motivated a huge audience to come together and celebrate geek girls. Harnessing the momentum, these women and their supporters connected via social media and started tossing ideas around. They began to coalesce into an organization and a purpose.”

And here we are in Ottawa trying to continue harnessing that momentum with Capital Geek Girls. We hope that with time, we’ll get to know which cons are the most girl-friendly, too. (Over time, we hope they all will be equally so.)

Share your favourite cons below!

Despite her day job as a bureaucrat, April Laramey is a writer, dabbles in photography, spends too much time on the internet, and occasionally gets some exercise. Her favourite colour is green, she wants to work in a bookstore when she grows up, and when she dies she wants her tombstone to read "To Be Continued..." You can find out more about her and her writing at her webpagefacebook or twitter.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

The Dreaded Mary Sue Label: the Hobbit & Tauriel

by Marie Robertson

The term Mary Sue comes from fanfiction. It refers to flawless, idealized original (usually) female characters created by inexperienced writers. The Mary Sue character is beautiful, strong, smart, loved by all, and saves the day. She’s also boring as hell. I’m sort of an expert on Sues, in the sense that I wrote fanfiction at age 13 and inadvertently wrote tons of idealized self-inserts (because at age 13, I not only wanted to be a Transformer, but the coolest Transformer. Who didn’t?)

More and more, I’ve noticed the term has crossed over to movies, TV shows and books. “It’s a good movie, even though Character X is such a Sue”, I hear. I can’t agree that being female in a movie automatically makes you a Sue, but I can see the argument when it comes to certain characters.

Characters such as Tauriel from The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug. Before the movie even came out, accusations of Mary Sueism rang out from the fandom. After the movie’s release, the cries abated, but didn’t stop.

The problem is that there’s a huge imbalance in The Hobbit movies. We have one (sometimes two, if Galadriel shows up) female character for… what, about twenty-plus male characters? And Tauriel wasn’t even in the original book (seriously, Tolkien? Not one chick in The Hobbit?), which doesn’t help her supposed Sueism. Fans see her as too strong, too beautiful, too capable, too noble. 

These movies are full of dwarves and hobbits and elves and dragons and all sorts of characters with penises (I’m assuming for the dragon here, though wouldn’t it be cool if Smaug were actually a lady dragon? Actually, wouldn’t it be cool if we could find a way to film a complete genderswap version of The Hobbit? Lady Thorin Oakenshield, anyone? Gandalf the Wizardess? Miss Beorn?), which means you can afford to have them run the spectrum of characterization from heroic to lazy to brainy to caring to cowardly to handsome to fat. No one will assume you’re trying to make a statement about men. But with our single female character, can we afford to make her anything less than strong and noble and utterly capable? Like it or not, she’s now a representative for her whole gender.

It’s hard to win when you’re a chick in a movie. Too flawed, and people accuse the filmmakers of sexism. Too perfect, and she’s a Mary Sue.

Tauriel is strong and brave and beautiful and frankly, a textbook case of a Sue. But it’s not her fault. It’s not really any female character’s fault if Hollywood thinks one or two women in an otherwise male cast ‘balances things out’. In a perfect world, female characters would always run the spectrum of broken to perfect, because there would be enough of them to do it. After all, flawed characters are fun. I’ve always preferred Veronica because perfect Betty is boring. 

For now, though, I’ll stand by Tauriel, Mary Sue label and all, because it’s better than the alternative—no women at all.

(…. Seriously though, can someone genderswap The Hobbit movies for me? Peter Jackson? Anybody?)

Marie Victoria Robertson is a speculative fiction writer and playwright, as well as the board president of Jer’s Vision: Canada’s Youth Diversity Initiative (www.jersvision.org). When all the other girls wanted to marry Johnny Depp, she wanted to run away with Worf on the Enterprise. She enjoys giant robots, time-travel paradoxes, and forcing her son to watch Futurama.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Film Review: Rise of the eSports Hero: a documentary

by Marla Desat 
credit: Erica Landrock

I started watching professional StarCraft in university. My friends and I would stay up late to watch matches being broadcast online from South Korea, where StarCraft has a huge professional scene. Explaining the allure of watching someone play a video game is tricky, and even my gamer friends sometimes struggled to understand the appeal. When I watch professionals play, I am seeing the highest level of skill and strategy in a game I love to play. It isn't always easy to explain, and that's why I am so excited about Rise of the eSports Hero, a Canadian documentary by filmmaker Erica Landrock that explores the subculture of professional gamers from an outsider's perspective. Rise of the eSports Hero premiered on Global TV on October 26, 2013. The full documentary is available online from Global. 

StarCraft is a science fiction real time strategy game from Blizzard Entertainment, released in 1998. Players must collect resources and construct an army, and then battle each other to claim victory. The game was hugely popular, and in 2010 Blizzard released its sequel, StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty.

credit: Erica Landrock

I contacted producer Erica Landrock about the film, and she told me the idea came from her co-director, Stephen Gillis. "Stephen is an avid NHL video game player and I would enjoy a round of Super Mario Kart or Guitar Hero now and again, but never have been one to really get into gaming," says Landrock. "This in part is what attracted me to the documentary idea so much. It is a world I really knew nothing about and every piece of information I learned about it blew my mind."
The documentary follows Chris "HuK" Loranger, Greg "IdrA" Fields, and Geoff "iNcontroL" Robinson from April to December 2012. Loranger is Canadian, and that was a big selling point for Landrock. The documentary follows the gamers to five tournaments, and to Seoul, South Korea. Living out of suitcases and struggling to acclimatize to different time zones before a big tournament, Landrock told me that she was impressed with their dedication and passion for the game.
Behind the scenes. Credit: Erica Landrock
Some protest that professional gaming is not a sport, but Landrock disagrees. "Is poker a sport? Is Nascar a sport? Is chess a sport? What defines a sport? The players that we followed definitely are professionals and masters at their game," says Landrock. "Many would argue they aren’t athletes because of the lack of physicality of gaming, but I’d challenge anyone to go to a tournament or follow these players for a few days and you may just change your mind. The high level of skills, technique, strategy and mental agility would rival other “traditional” sports any day."
The documentary is available for Canadian viewers online from GlobalTV, and the filmmakers are working on making it available internationally.  I highly recommend giving it a watch, even if you are unfamiliar with StarCraft. Landrock and her team have made an accessible and entertaining introduction to the world of esports.

Learn more about the documentary on Facebook.

Marla Desat is a recent University of Waterloo grad living and working in Ottawa. When she isn't playing the latest video games, she's geeking out over comic books, board games, tabletop roleplaying games and science. Marla also writes for The Escapist as a freelance news writer. You can follow her on Twitter @mrdesat.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014


by Emily Plunket

For a few special hours this February long weekend, board game enthusiasts took in some free play at the Comic Book Shoppe on Bank St.

The Table Top Gaming Super 2-Day Funstravaganza, held at the Capital Geek Girls Headquarters, attracted folks of all stripes for two days of open board and card game.  Games featured included King of Tokyo, Elder Sign and Munchkin.  New games were presented to new and interested players by store employees and a team of volunteers. 

Volunteer Derick Bragg showed willing participants how to play Pathfinder Adventure Card Game. Based on the popular roleplaying game of the same name, Pathfinder takes players through adventures using cards.

“I really enjoy the volunteering probably because I enjoy games and board games – games of all kinds, whether it’s computer games or board games.  I love games,” said Bragg.  Bragg, an IT consultant, says he frequents several board game events held across the city, including the weekly Monday night meet up at the Royal Oak on the corner of Bank St. and Gloucester St.

Store manager, Ange Kuehl, explains that says the event over the February long weekend was aimed at all ages as a fun activity for the long weekend, but says similar events are held roughly every six weeks.  She says the events promote new games and into games the store offers.

Kuehl says the popularity of board games is tied to Wil Wheaton-hosted TableTop series, where various celebrities demonstrate new and hot games, but says events such as the Funstravaganza and the Royal Oak meet-ups have made more people aware of the activity.

When asked where the appeal of board games lies, Kuehl says “I just think it brings people together.  It’s like more of an interaction with each other.”

“Some [games] could be really crass and funny; and then other ones can just be more team building.  Other ones can pit you against one another. There’s just such an array of different choices out there that you can pretty much fine something for everybody.”

Emily Plunkett is a recent graduate of the journalism diploma program at Algonquin College. As a freelancer, she’s written for the Ottawa Star and the Sarnia Observer. Notorious for being a Beatlemaniac, a record collector and something nobody can really put a finger on, she enjoys a good Sunday afternoon with CBC Radio chatting away, her knitting in hand and her cat, Levon, snoozing at the end of the bed.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Jumping Ship: Rooting for Romance on "Arrow"

by Courtney Lockhart


The term Shipping refers to seeing two characters on a show and wanting them to get involved romantically. ‘Ship’ is used as a short form of relationship. If you support a character pairing you Ship It or are a Shipper. There also tend to be cute name mash ups to rival any celebrity couple.

To give you a better idea of how this plays out, let’s take a look at the two major Ships of The CW’s Arrow. This reimagining of the Green Arrow not only had Oliver Queen facing off against baddies far and wide, but also delivers a healthy dose of personal drama. Some people find this a weak point on the show, however, star Stephen Amell defended it on his facebook page . “My favourite characters on television are flawed; because - non Arrow spoiler alert - real people are flawed. Real people have messy lives. Characters with cracks are more interesting.” One of Oliver’s cracks is definitely his complicated feelings for two of his closest friends: Laurel Lance and Felicity Smoak. I consulted a few devoted fans of both Lauliver (Laurel/Oliver) and Olicity (Oliver/ Felicity) to find out what makes a person ship one way or the other.


Laurel and Oliver shippers get a head start on proving why their couple should reign supreme thanks to the comics. In DC comics, Laurel is the Black Canary, one of Green Arrow’s crime-fighting partners and at one point his wife. Laurel as a character and Katie Cassidy as the actor portraying her were referred to as his leading lady and love interest throughout initial press offerings. Before you saw even one scene of the show you were told that you should be rooting for this couple.

“They’re two great actors with a special chemistry.” @fedinsss told me as a firm Lauliver supporter. “Oliver’s love for Laurel has never disappeared. <It’s the> same for Laurel.” @Anisah945 agreed. “I like the relationship they have together… I ship people that I think make a good pair and Laurel and Oliver are really cute together.”

Chemistry, or the perceived lack thereof, is one of the major points of contention between shipping factions.  “I don’t like being told characters are in love when I see absolutely no sign of it on the screen.” @SmoaknArrow, a well-known Olicity supporter, countered when asked about Laurel and Oliver's chemistry.  @juliealindsay added that “<They> have nothing in common aside from their sketchy past...that's just a big 'no' for him and Laurel in my mind.”  I won't get into details in order to avoid spoilers, but the number one reason Olicity supporters gave me for not supporting Oliver and Laurel was the fact that given their history, if they were in Ms Lance's shoes, Oliver would not  be let off the hook so easily.

Sometimes the rapport and electricity between two characters can overpower the writer's original intentions. No amount of protestation that it can’t happen because of the characters’ marital status or sexual preference will silence it. Fans will read into the smallest look or camera angle to prove their point that someday, somehow they will get together. It will be discussed for hours on twitter. Fan fiction and music videos will be created setting the scene for this eventual coupling.  In Arrow, this magically land of what-if mixed with when-will belongs to Oliver and Felicity.


The character of Felicity Smoak, played by Emily Bett Rickards, was supposed to be around for one episode. She was supposed to be just another wink at the comic readers in the audience. However, just like Oliver himself,  the writers found the spunky I.T girl to be more useful and special than first glance. “From Felicity's first appearance I was captivated by her.” @juliealindsay explained “ I wanted to see more of her because she made me smile. Then I noticed how she made Oliver smile and that intrigued me.” 

Felicity's ability to crack the billionaire vigilante’s gruff facade  is a key piece of  the Olicity case.  “You see her draw out this better man and you see him draw out her adventurous, bold spirit.” @smoaknarrow commented.

So they work well together and make each other feel better. Does that make a romance? “I don't think Oliver has feelings for Felicity in that way.” @anisah945 argued. “Even if he does he wouldn't want to risk their friendship.”   No one is doubting that the computer guru is a great character, in fact that's part of the reason some Lauliver fans don't want her to end up with Ollie. “I love Felicity...I think she deserves a man just for her! She would always be a rebound for Oliver.” @fedinsss said supportingly.

If you ask Arrow fans, myself included, they know a show like this is something special.  With an open and easily accessible cast who often tweet and instagram from set, writers who tease the viewers on a regular basis and executive producers who will actively distribute fan art they enjoy, the last thing they want to do is ruin a good thing.  When someone steps out of line and starts personally insulting the actors you’ll find others quick to correct the behaviour even if  it's not their favourite character. No one wants to give the cast and crew reason to shut down and not share.

With this month's announcement of a season three pick up, the discussion is far from over. 

Courtney Lockhart lives in the west end of Ottawa with her husband and step-cat.  She is polishing her skills to pursue one of her dream careers as either a costume drama character, Torchwood operative or executive assistant to a billionaire vigilante. You can follow her daily mission to DFTBA on Twitter @corastacy.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Comic Book Review: Ms Marvel #1

By Thea Nikolic

MS. MARVEL #1 by G. Willow Wilson & Adrian Alphona - art, Ian Herring - Colour Art

In November of 2013 it was revealed that the new Ms. Marvel, replacing Carol Danvers who became Captain Marvel, would be Kamala Khan, a young Muslim teenager from Jersey city. I remember seeing articles pop up on my news feed on Facebook and after reading about the upcoming title, I was excited. Her look and costume were also revealed showing a conservative superheroine costume befitting a young girl who also happens to be Muslim.  Who is this Kamala and what will she be like? It was this title that made me seek out a Marvel title as I am normally a DC girl. And I was not disappointed.

I thoroughly enjoyed this first installment. Kamala is a teenager who writes SuperHero fan fic, wants to attend parties with boys and has a HUGE obsession with the Avengers. She has disagreements with her parents (who won't let her go to said parties), she has a super devout brother and she doesn't drink alcohol.  The art is great and tells the story effectively with little jokes inserted into the panels. I am really looking forward to the next issue to see where it goes.

SPOILERS AHEAD************************************************

Kamala sneaks out against her parents' wishes to go to the party at the waterfront. What she finds there are the people that she thought would accept her being there, but instead take her disobeying her parents as a free pass to ridicule her family and faith. Leaving the party a strange fog comes over the city that everyone, including Kamala sees. But Kamala has a different experience. She passes out and when she wakes up, she is convinced that she is drunk as she has Captain America, Iron Man and Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers) floating in front of her stating that they are "Faith". They bestow upon her a gift that may not turn out exactly as she's hoped.  The final panel has her in the traditional Ms. Marvel costume, with blond hair. It feels like she is still in the dream sequence so where it goes from here, is anyone's guess.

Thea Nikolic aka Critical Miss has been cosplaying for several years and has just recently started hosting panels at various conventions about cosplay. She is also an actor, so she loves to play and act like her various characters that she loves. You can follow her cosplay shenanigans with her costuming husband at their Facebook page . You can also follow her on Twitter @HarleyQuinnBabe as well as on Instagram harleyquinnbabe. 

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Consent in Costume: A Geek Girl's Perspective

by Emily Towsley

My first experience cosplaying I didn’t even know that was what it was called. I wore a Joan of Arc costume that I had made myself from thrift store finds, and a handmade sword – I was a freshman in high school, and had to present on my own personal hero.

Though my costume was not revealing, apparently the leggings and hand stitched imitation jerkin were so different from my school’s normal uniform that the boys in the class thought it was their role to make comments about my legs from the back of the classroom as I was presenting. Sadly, after that day, I avoided wearing my own costumes.

My experience was only a sliver of the harassment female cosplayers endure at cons around the globe. From San Francisco to Australia, women have suffered harassment from their fellow geeks. Whether unwanted touching, comments, or both, none of these women were “asking for it”.

Cosplay is the practice of dressing up as a character from a movie, book or video game. As I discussed in my Hawkeye article previously, many of these female figures are dressed in quite sexy clothing. Some girls wish to dress like their superheroes, and there should be nothing to stop them from doing so.

The idea that cosplay does not equal consent came from the women, and their supportive men folk, who were sick of feeling unsafe at places where they had gathered to celebrate their love of all things geek. And so, at various cons and events, many cosplayers began to pose in their costume, with signs reminding the viewer: “cosplay=/=consent.”

No matter how revealing, or how sexy a female cosplayer may be, it does NOT give permission for someone to touch you, speak to you demeaningly, or act in any other way that degrades you as a human being.

Cons are places where people gather to meet others with their same interests, collect merch, attend celebrity panels…and the list goes on. But never does one put on the costume of their favourite character, in the hopes that they will be harassed.
Thankfully, some cons are taking steps in the right direction.

Anime LA and Equestria LA are two of many conventions recently commended for their inclusion of anti-harassment policies in their programmes.

It is a shame that such policies have to be outlined in the first place. The schoolyard rule of  "keep your hands to yourself "apparently has to be reinforced in the new micro-societies that conventions have become.

But at least it’s a step in the right direction. Many authors and artists, sci-fi author Jon Scalzi included, are also enacting their own anti-harassment policies. He will not attend, either as a guest or an attendee, any con that does not have an enforced anti-harassment policy. No policy, no attendance. And over 1117 people have cosigned hispledge. Will you?

Emily Towsley, can be found either teasing her cat, or philosophizing with a customer over coffee in her second-life as a barista. Messages of support regarding her addiction to Netflix, and news of vintage teacup sales can be left on her twitter.(https://twitter.com/emtowsley) Her spare time is spent reading copious amounts of books, (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/7246432-milie) or working on her latest blog. (http://spineonline.ca/emily-towsley/)

Saturday, 15 February 2014

The Massive by Brian Wood: A Geek Girl Review

by Lee A. Farruga


Storyline without Superheroes. This was the first thing that struck me about The Massive - the first volume of comic books collected together in graphic novel style by Dark Horse about a conservationist ship and its crew after the “Crash”turns the world into a very different place.

The new world is post-apocalyptic, but it's real. It's possible. All the natural catastrophes that happen in a one year period in The Massive are really happening right now, but at a much slower pace. The characters are also possible. Mag - a grown up child soldier, Callum - an ex-military ex-corporate mercenary turned pacifist, and a number of average joes and students wanting to help the environment. They all joined the crew of the Kapital before the Crash and now most don't have a home to return to. Remember, there are no superheroes. Ok, there is one mysterious crew member, Mary, but she still doesn't do anything too out of the ordinary.

Social, economic, and environmental collapse creates chaos. This is where their story begins. It tells three stories really. The first is Kapital's search for its sister ship The Massive. The second includes all the flashback stories of the main characters explaining how they came to be on the Kapital. The last and most important is incredibly simple and honest. How does a conservationist action group continue its mandate in such extreme circumstances. How do they remain pacifists in a new world of chaos, fear and violence? It's fantastic storytelling.

I'd be off my nut if I didn't also mention the artwork. Great mix of comic book and realism. All the natural disasters are beautifully terrifying. The colouring, in particular, really stands out. It is subdued and makes me think of different sunset colours during different seasons and weather. Not sure if the artist was thinking this while they were working on it, but it's perfect.

It's not in your face horror, supernatural, or scifi, but The Massive is a wonderful story of “what if”. This would be an ideal “text” book for a class on environmental issues, activism, or human nature. It would really get students interested in the subject matter. But, on it's own, it's also just a super read.

Interested? You can find it at The Comic Book Shoppe.

Lee A. Farruga is known as everyone's Geeky Godmother. She has many talents, lots of energy and loves to help people achieve their goals, whether it's organizing a home or business, editing a book for publication, promoting a pet project, planning an event, or reviewing books, games, movies and more. She is also known internationally as the Canadian Queen of Steampunk. She created and manages Steampunk Canada. In her spare time she does background acting for television and movies, and finds time to spend with family and friends enjoying geeky activities.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

The CapitalGeekGirls.com Launch: Photos!

We officially launched the CapitalGeekGirls.com blogazine this month, and had an after-hours videogame party at FutureShop to celebrate. It was a stellar event, with a huge turnout and more candy than anyone could ever possibly eat. If you weren't there, we missed you. If you were, we hope you loved it. Here are some pics from the big night.

CiCi & Co blew us away with these awesome TASTY cupcakes.

Jenn Kelly (writer) on the left, hugging the mastermind
behind CiCi & Co's cupcakes!

Gaming on giant TV's? Yeahhhhh.

Girls vs Guys, Elves vs Wizards...

Impromptu card gaming broke out in the aisles.

We had everything from PS4's to N-64's. 

Card games and board games were on hand, thanks to The Comic Book Shoppe on Bank Street.

Ballonicorn made a lot of friends.

Artist Curtis Tiegs (middle) came out to celebrate geek girls.

CGG Editor, Jordan Danger, gave a stirring speech
via repeated phonecalls through the PA system.

Cosplayers came out to play.

One of the happy winners of the Ottawa Comiccon tickets!
Thank you all for making CapitalGeekGirls.com's launch a huge hit. Stay in touch by following on Facebook and Twitter, and keep checking right here on the blogazine!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...