Star Wars ‘Forces of Destiny’ focuses on the women

By: Dominic Jones
Lucasfim has announced a brand series of animated series focusing on the heroines of Star Wars!  The series is titled Star Wars: Forces of Destiny and will debut on the Disney YouTube channel this July.  The series will cover multiple eras of Star Wars and will feature Daisy Ridley, Lupita Nyong’o, and Felicity Jones reprising their roles as Rey, Maz Kanata and Jyn Erso in the series.  Also reprising their roles on the series are Star Wars animation veterans Ashley Eckstein as Ahsoka Tano, Matt Lanter as Anakin Skywalker, Tiya Sircar as Sabine Wren, and Vanessa Marshall as Hera Syndulla.  You can check out a special preview for the series below.

Anime Boston 2017

By: Meghan Nigrelli

Ah, Anime Boston. One of my first and favorite conventions of all time. The first time that I ever went to Anime Boston was all the way back in 2014, which was around the time that I started to become comfortable with my nerd status. My very first convention was Rhode Island Comic Con in 2013, and I had just graduated high school and my parents had to drive me from a state away. I will never forget their faces when they saw people walking around in vibrant cosplay. They were so confused, but I remember looking at those cosplayers and thinking “these are my people.” Conventions always make me feel right at home, and some of my best memories are from convention experiences.

And Anime Boston 2017 was certainly no exception! I had such an amazing time with my friends, and I got to see lots of different cosplays and voice actors. I even got to participate in Anime Boston’s Masquerade, and won first place in the novice’s performance division for my singing. Boston is such a beautiful city, and to be able to experience the city and the convention was such a delight. There are plenty of great restaurants close to the convention, two of my favorites are The Cheesecake Factory and Wagamama, where you can get authentic ramen and courtesy green tea. Anime Boston creates a welcoming environment for thousands of fans from around the country, and is filled with supportive people and kind volunteers. I would definitely recommend Anime Boston to anyone to lives in the area or is willing to make the trip to Boston. Anime Boston 2018 will be here soon enough!

 

Arvell ‘Marvel’ Jones – interview

              

Nerd Nation recently had the opportunity to interview Arvell Jones at Fantasticon Toledo.

Arvell broke into the comics industry as art assistant for Rich Buckler, the first of a Detroit group of artists to enter the field professionally. After helping him on Marvel features starring the superhero the Black Panther and the Buckler-created cyborg antihero Deathlok, Jones received his first published credit, for pencil-art assistance, alongside Pollard, on the Buckler-drawn Thor #228 (cover-dated Oct. 1974). Following an illustration for the text story “The Atomic Monster” in the Marvel black-and-white horror-comics magazine Monsters Unleashed #9 (Dec. 1974), Jones made his full comics-art debut as penciler of an 18-page story starring the martial-artist superhero Iron Fist in Marvel Premiere #20 (Jan. 1975). He went on to do the next two Iron Fist stories in that bimonthly series. At DC Comics, Jones worked with writer Gerry Conway on the Super-Team Family title which starred the Atom teaming with various other DC characters. After the cancellation of Super-Team Family, a Supergirl/Doom Patrol team-up drawn by Jones originally scheduled to appear in that series was published in The Superman Family #191-193.

Jones worked on the DC Comics series All-Star Squadron in the mid-1980s, penciling the majority of the issues released between 1985 and 1987. After leaving the comics field for several years to work in television, he returned in 1994 to provide pencils on DC Comics/Milestone Media’s series Kobalt and Hardware.

One of Arvell’s personally designed characters is Misty Knight in the Luke Cage series.

Nerd Nation: Besides your own characters, who are your favorite characters?
Jones: BATMAN (said in a deep, raspy voice). Also Black Panther, Captain America, street level type characters.

Nerd Nation: As an artist, what are your favorite tools of the trade?
Jones: A #2 pencil and a piece of paper. Also my Mac and Photoshop.

Nerd Nation: Do you have any favorite artists?
Jones: I would definitely include Jack Kirby and Neil Adams but there are a lot of good artists.
Nerd Nation: Any new artists to keep an eye on?
Jones: Wow, there’s so many in the business…I like Ivan Reese, Stewart Edmund….those are a couple I can think of.

Nerd Nation: Do you think it was harder back in the early days to get into the business or harder now?
Jones: I think it was harder then. Now there are more avenues to get into the business through self-publishing, social media, new technology. I think there’s more opportunities now for new writers and artists.

Nerd Nation: Do you ever see someone else’s artwork and think you could have drawn that scene better?
Jones: I sometimes think how it could have been done differently but not better. It challenges me to always be looking for ways to improve my own work.

 

Thank you to the guests we had the pleasure of speaking with at Fantasticon!

Gregory ‘The Walking Dead’ French – interview

On our recent excursion to Fantasticon, Toledo, Nerd Nation had the opportunity to talk to a couple of celebrities at the event. This first interview is with Gregory French, actor. Gregory​​​​​​​​ is best known for his many appearances on “The Walking Dead”, where he has played around 20 different walkers in seasons 3 through 6 including the Barbed Wire Face Walker, one of the Gas Mask Walkers, and several Prison Walkers, Woodbury walkers, and one of the Saviors. Greg’s other television credits include shows such as “Under the Dome,” “Revolution,” “Vampire Diaries,” “Sleepy Hollow,” and “Banshee,” and he is currently in production on the Cinemax series “Outcast.”

His movie credits include “Spiderman Homecoming”, “Iron Man 3″, “Parental Guidance”, and “We’re the Millers”. He also enjoys the Indie film world where he has earned starring roles in the horror film, “The Legend of 7 Toe Maggie”, and the military comedy “Weekend Warriors”.

We asked French which came first for him – being a zombie expert or getting a role as a zombie and learning as you go? “I was a fan but all my zombie stuff comes from the show.” He said he’s researched and read more about zombies since being on the show “The Walking Dead.”

Nerd Nation: Do you consider yourself a zombie expert and do you have a game plan if there’s a zombie uprising?
French: No, I don’t really consider myself an expert. And I’ll probably die right off the bat (in an uprising). I may not be so bad being a zombie. They might be happy, just walking around being zombies.

Nerd Nation: When you get a role a movie like “Iron Man 3” or “Spiderman: Homecoming”, do you feel like you’re really a part of a big movie or do you think it’s no big deal because it’s just a small part?
French: A lot of ‘Walkers’ get little bit pieces, often because they are used to the long hours in makeup, in the heat. For instance, a lot of ‘Walkers’ were cast in “Guardians of the Galaxy” which was filmed in Atlanta. I can’t speak for all actors but I always think, I was in that, it was amazing! So no, I always feel like I’m a part of the movie, it’s a job no matter the size of the role.

Nerd Nation: Can you tell us what your role is in “Spiderman: Homecoming”?
French: I’m a DODC guard.
Nerd Nation: Can you tell us anything else about the scene itself?
French: Nope, not until it’s (the movie) released.

Gregory French is a New York native now living in South Carolina. In addition to acting, he enjoys costuming and building sci-fi props and considers himself to be an all-around supernerd as a member of the 501st Legion, the R2 Builders Club, and the Doctor Who Costuming Academy.

 

Stay tuned for another interview – this one with Arvell Jones, artist for Marvel and DC Comics.

Nintendo Switch review

By: Meghan Nigrelli 

On March 3rd, the Nintendo Switch was released and it has proven to be a tremendous success. According to New York Times reporter Nick Wingfield and his interview with Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime, the Nintendo Switch is beating out first two-day sales of any other Nintendo console ever. It’s not too surprising when you consider all the times that Nintendo has consistently worked to upgrade their consoles and revolutionize the products they release. The Nintendo Switch is bringing tons of new aspects to the table, which is enough to entice old and new fans alike. This includes the luxury of taking your Switch with you wherever you go, while still getting to play Breath of the Wild on a television in the comfort of your living room.

The system itself is incredibly unique, with its vibrant visuals and uncommon controller options. You can play the Switch as a handheld device that allows you to make a seamless transition between progress made on the smaller device to the big screen. This offers more versatility than the Wii U, which seems to be working in Nintendo’s favor. Deciding to release Breath of the Wild along with the launch of the Switch was enough to grab the attention of many gamers all around the globe. The Legend of Zelda is one of Nintendo’s most successful franchises, making it the perfect series to begin a new era in Nintendo history. Breath of the Wild is a beautiful, immersive game that has taken years of careful crafting to create. All of Nintendo’s hard work has paid off, and they are striving to make the system inclusive for all people. It will be interesting to see what the future holds for the popular console, and what types of games will be released to keep people engaged and wanting more.

 

Fantasticon Toledo – review

 

If you’re looking for a mid-sized comic convention in the Toledo area, you may want to check out Fantasticon! In its third year, Fantasticon is created for comic book and pop culture fans and collectors. Held at the Seagate Center in downtown Toledo, the convention has gained a larger space than its original venue and this is certainly an improvement for the many people walking through the aisles of vendors, artists and celebrities. But while the larger space is welcome, the layout is a little cumbersome, with artists mixed among vendors and space somewhat narrow along the wall of celebrities. Another notable concern is the location of the panels being presented during the day. These are held in a curtained-off section of the hall – great in theory, but not in practicality. Nerd Nation attended the Comic Book Creators panel today and found it very difficult to hear the presenters, which included Arvell Jones, Bill Reinhold and Linda Lessman Reinhold. The noise from the rest of the hall combined with music being played overhead could be heard over the speakers, which was disappointing. Additionally, the host of the panel spent too much time speaking himself. The fans want to hear from the artists not the host so this is definitely a change that needs to be made for future events.

 

Overall, Fantasticon is a nice show that has room to grow and improve. But it’s definitely worth checking out – and there’s still time to do just that! The con runs through tomorrow, 3/12 from 10 am to 5 pm.

 

And stay tuned to Nerd Nation for more coverage from Fantasticon including an interview with Arvell Jones (Marvel) and Gregory French (The Walking Dead).

Welcome a new Nerd Nation team member!

Please help me welcome a contributing writer to the Nerd Nation team, Meghan!

Meghan Nigrelli is a writer, voice actress, and singer who is currently studying Film, Video, and Media Studies and Public Relations at Bridgewater State University. She also writes for Zelda Universe, one of the world’s largest websites dedicated to Legend of Zelda news. Her research paper on video game communities has been accepted by multiple national conferences, including the 38th Annual Southwest Popular/American Culture Association Conference.

Meghan will be contributing in areas such as video gaming and will be posting her first article tomorrow on the new Nintendo Switch.

 

Rogue One sequel novel ‘Inferno Squad’

The Rebellion may have heroes like Jyn Erso and Luke Skywalker. But the Empire has Inferno Squad.  
After the humiliating theft of the Death Star plans and the resulting destruction of the battle station, the Empire is on the defensive. In response to this stunning defeat, the Imperial Navy has authorized the formation of an elite team of soldiers, known as Inferno Squad. Their mission: infiltrate and eliminate the remnants of Saw Gerrera’s Partisans. Following the death of their leader, the Partisans have carried on his extremist legacy, determined to thwart the Empire — no matter what the cost. Now, Inferno Squad must prove their status as the best of the best and take down the Partisans from within. But as the danger intensifies and the threat of discovery grows, how far will Inferno Squad go to ensure the safety of the Empire?”

Coming July 25, 2017.

Source: ComicBook.Com

E3 will be open to the public for the first time ever this year

The Entertainment Software Association is making a big change to E3 this year. For the first time ever, the expo will be open to the public.

15,000 tickets will be available to all when tickets go on sale next Monday. Tickets will be priced at $250, though an early bird discount will bring it down to $150. Attendees will have access to the show floor, panel discussions, and other events from Tuesday through Thursday of E3 week. Geoff Keighley will be involved, and will offer access to special benefits associated with Keighley’s own E3 programming, such as developer interviews among other things.

E3 2017 will take place between June 13 and June 15.

Source: Nintendo Everything

Namco founder Masaya Nakamura passes away

Namco founder Masaya Nakamura passed away on January 22. He was 91.

Nakamura has been known as the “Father of Pac-Man” ever since Namco developed and released the arcade game in 1980. The Guinness Book of World Records has recognized the game as the world’s “most successful coin-operated arcade game.”

Nakamura founded Namco under the name “Nakamura Manufacturing” in 1955, and served as its president from 1955 to 1990 and again from 1992 to 2002. Following the merger of Namco and Bandai in 2005, he began serving as a senior adviser to Bandai Namco Holdings.

Nakamura received a Blue Ribbon Medal of Honor from the Japanese government in 1986 for his contributions to advancements in industry, and he was recognized in 1997 by the Japanese Minister of International Trade and Industry for contributing to the advancement of computer technology.

Source: Anime News Network

Sailor Moon R: The Movie English dub trailer

sailormoonr-themovie-keyimage

Long before Mamoru found his destiny with Usagi, he gave a single rose in thanks to a lonely boy who helped him recover from the crash that claimed his parents. This long-forgotten friend, Fiore, has been searching the galaxy for a flower worthy of that sweet gesture long ago. The mysterious flower he finds is beautiful, but has a dark side- it has the power to take over planets. To make matters worse, the strange plant is tied to an ominous new asteroid near Earth! Faced with an enemy blooming out of control, It’s up to Sailor Moon and the Sailor Guardians to band together, stop the impending destruction and save Mamoru!

Carrie Fisher dies at 60

leia

Carrie Fisher, the most outspoken of the Star Wars cast, has died from a heart attack. She, of course, played Leia Organa in Star Wars IV through -VII. While her role is still unknown in Episode VIII, it was well known that the original actors were too old for huge scenes. Her openness with her fans will be greatly missed.

Pokemon GO player hits Level 40 in Toledo

level-40    shane

Being a Toledo area business, and avid Pokemon GO players ourselves, Nerd Nation has been following one local player in his quest to reach Level 40 in the game. Shane Hutchinson has played for 5 months and racked up 20 million XP in Pokemon GO, a mobile game developed by Naintic, Inc. Shane is a local celebrity among players in Toledo, and one of the nicest people playing the game. He’s always willing to help other players, set lures by the dozens and share what he has learned along the way. Reaching Level 40 is a huge accomplishment and Shane is just the third person in Ohio to achieve that status, having missed being the first in the state by just a day. We asked Shane to share a little about himself and his game play.

When did you start playing Pokemon GO?
“I started playing on July 7.”

What was the device you used to play Pokemon GO?
“I used a Samsung Galaxy S4 to play.”

What Pokemon was your starter? Which Team are you a member of?
“I picked Charmander as my starter and I picked Team Valor because I like the red team and Fire Pokemon are my favorite. Also Shiny Moltres is the coolest looking Pokemon.”

Over the course of 40 levels, do you know how many gyms you have controlled at one time or other? What’s the longest you held a gym?
“Since I mainly focused on XP I rarely ever did gyms, but the most I have held at one point was 18. The longest time I held a gym was for about 2 months.”

Before Pokemon GO, had you played any of the handheld versions of Pokemon before? Which was your favorite?
“Yes I have played Red, Blue, Yellow, Gold, Silver, Crystal, Sapphire, Ruby, Emerald, Firered, and Diamond. My favorite was either Emerald or Crystal but I put the most time into Ruby. I had over 500 hours and actually managed to get all 386 Pokemon. The last one I needed was a Kingdra.”

On what date did you reach level 40? Do you remember the last Pokemon you caught right before 40?
“I reached level 40 on December 2 at 2:58 AM. The last Pokemon I caught before 40 was most likely a Pidgey but I am not that sure about that. I just remember I evolved a Squirtle into a Wartortle to level up at the very end.”

On average, how many hours did you play each day? Each week?
“I averaged at least 7 1/2 – 9 hours a day for a while when I worked at Target and then I left for a new job and during unemployment I would average 10-12 a day. I did over 14 hours about 6 times and 24 hours twice.”

Have you met other level 40’s online or off? Do you know how many others have reached this level?
“I have never met any other level 40s, one person, however, posted they hit level 40 also on my level 40 screenshot post in the Toledo Facebook group page for Pokemon Go (Pokemon Go Toledo Nests). I had never even seen any people that were level 40 and cheating in any gyms before I hit 40 also. 105 people reached level 40 before me, 23 in the US and 2 in Ohio. If I had never taken a break I could of been in the top 20 overall.”

What Pokemon do you think you’d like as your buddy in real life?
“In real life I think the coolest Pokemon to have as my buddy would probably be either Jirachi, Tyranitar, Charizard, or Arceus. Jirachi can grant Wishes, Tyranitar is my favorite Pokemon, Charizard would be cool to fly on, and Arceus is just the God of all Pokemon.”

What is the best advice you can give to a new GO player?
“The best advice I can give a new Pokemon Go player is to catch every single thing you can. Especially Pidgeys, Weedles, Rattatas, and Caterpies. They are easy XP for leveling up and you have to level up in order to get stronger Pokemon. You should also save all your stardust until you reach at least level 32 and use it only on Pokemon with an IV over 95%. Making friends in the community is also very important, especially with those of your own team color. You have to socialize to make it far into the game and be successful.”

Where is your favorite location to play and why?
“My favorite location to play is in my nearest home city in Downtown Toledo, mainly because I have spent hundreds upon hundreds of hours there and I know literally every single spawn point, where specific Pokemon spawn at most frequently, and where the Downtown nest/rare spawn points are. I also know how to navigate the city very quickly as I have spent so much time down there that I know exactly what routes to take based off of the time on lights to get from Point A to Point B if someone says something spawned across the city. Maumee is also a good place since it has a higher spawn rate of rare Pokemon such as wild Dragonites, Snorlaxes, and Lapras. Detroit has had the biggest variety of Pokemon out of anywhere I have been though.”

Do you have any take away from your journey?
“Honestly from playing Pokemon I have just made tons of friends and I have always spent all my time socially deprived of friendships with other people. I have always been more of a loner and just a huge gamer in general, in fact I actually run a YouTube channel. Being confined in my house glued to my computer monitor I never got out much until this game released. Since then I have made tons and tons of friends and being the highest level in my city I am very well known which is just surreal and very awesome of a feeling.”

What do you plan on doing until Generation 2 is released?
“Until Generation 2 is released I will continue to show my team’s dominance across my city by attacking gyms and gaining more XP as I go since you can go past the 20 million XP required to hit level 40. I figure it might be about 6 million XP to get from 40-41 when they add more levels so I want to get to 26 million so I can level up instantly at that time. I will also finish catching Pikachus and fighting Pokemon for my other medals and I will help anyone in my local community with whatever they need help with. There are a bunch of lures around the city’s baseball field and every now and then for a fun time I might light every one of them up so people can have an awesome experience playing. I also need to save up on candies for every Pokemon to start powering them up.”

Can you tell us a little about yourself? Age? Work? Hobbies?
“I am 22 years old, right now I work at Meijer in retail, and in my spare time I either play my Xbox, Pokemon Go, or hang out with friends. As I stated before I am also maintaining a YouTube channel which I am trying to get more subscribers to, the link is Youtube.com/silentizloud. I based my username off of it so more people could check it out. My name in Pokemon I picked was YTsilentizloud the YT stands for YouTube.”

“Oh and the last Pokemon I caught was actually a Paras.”

 

Some statistics from Shane:
“I am the 106th level 40 in the world. 24th in the USA, 3rd in Ohio. 1071.1km walked, 31473 total Pokemon caught, 6079 evolutions, 1652 egg hatches, and 40878 Pokestop spins.”

And that all adds up to one great game for Shane! Congratulations!

Homework and where to find it – by J.K. Rowling

fantastic-beasts-and-where-to-find-them-newt-scamander

I just saw Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them  – good movie but it takes a bit of light reading to fully enjoy the movie’s plot. To start, read and understand all 7 books (found here) . Once done, the reading is not over because this is the U.S. in the 1920’s so a understanding of Rappaport’s Law is required and of course a history of the Seventeenth Century and Beyond. This will all be on the test – Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will not hold your hand ever. Oh, and for those reading the book by Mr. Scamander, none of the beasts will be needed for the test, they are just fun CGI. Great movie for Potter super fans but others will need a tutor.

‘Miss Hokusai’ English trailer

miss-hokusai

The time: 1814.

The place: Edo, now known as Tokyo. One of the highest populated cities in the world, teeming with peasants, samurai, townsmen, merchants, nobles, artists, courtesans, and perhaps even supernatural things.

A much accomplished artist of his time and now in his mid-fifties, Tetsuzo can boast clients from all over Japan, and tirelessly works in the garbage-loaded chaos of his house-atelier. He spends his days creating astounding pieces of art, from a giant-size Bodhidharma portrayed on a 180 square meter-wide sheet of paper, to a pair of sparrows painted on a tiny rice grain. Short-tempered, utterly sarcastic, with no passion for sake or money, he would charge a fortune for any job he is not really interested in.

Third of Tetsuzo’s four daughters and born out of his second marriage, outspoken 23-year-old O-Ei has inherited her father’s talent and stubbornness, and very often she would paint instead of him, though uncredited. Her art is so powerful that sometimes leads to trouble. “We’re father and daughter; with two brushes and four chopsticks, I guess we can always manage, in a way or another.”

Decades later, Europe was going to discover the immense talent of Tetsuzo. He was to become best known by one of his many names: Katsushika Hokusai. He would mesmerize Renoir and van Gogh, Monet and Klimt.

However, very few today are even aware of the woman who assisted him all his life, and greatly contributed to his art while remaining uncredited. This is the untold story of O-Ei, Master Hokusai’s daughter: a lively portrayal of a free-spirited woman overshadowed by her larger-than-life father, unfolding through the changing seasons.

Source: Anime News Network