Monthly Archives: August 2013

Around the Web August 30, 2013

With Marvel announcing that James Spader will be playing Ultron in 2015’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron, we at Therefore I Geek felt it fitting to start off this week’s Around the Web with a short history of Ultron, coming to us from the good folks at Wired.com.  Ultron is one of my favorite Avengers villains.  The whole idea that he is basically Hank Pym gone completely mental appeals to me, especially when Ant Man and Wasp are a part of the Avengers.

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Seriously though, this guy is a homicidal robot?…Okay, maybe they’re on to something here.

Apparently Nintendo has decided it’s time to move backwards in technology. Nintendo is releasing a new 2DS, which is basically their 3DS, only without the 3D functionality.  As well as the 3DS is doing, I have to wonder why they’re doing this.  I have a 3DS and while I rarely use the 3D, it’s still pretty cool to have from time to time, especially for cut scenes.

On the up side, Nintendo did put some thought into the system and reviews say it has a good feel and balance, which is important in a handheld console, though it doesn’t fold like previous systems.

Thanks to Miley Cyrus’ antics at the MTV’s Video Music Awards this week, twerking has now made its way into the Oxford English Dictionary. You might ask yourself why this is worth of your attention, and the following video would be the reason why.

Morgan Freeman could narrate just about any part of my life, and I would love every minute of it.

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New 52 in Review: Week 1

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Welcome to Week 1 of the New 52 in Review.  I’d like to thank DC for making my life a bit easier this week by only releasing one book. I’m amazed at their foresight, to know that I’d be writing this post two years later.  In these past two years Justice League is still going strong.  Initially set five years prior to the current day (that would make it 2006), this incarnation of Justice League started off by focusing on the point when the League was first founded and none of the heroes knew each other.  Aside from the obvious costume changes that accompanied the reboot, DC made a change in the roster as well by adding Cyborg as a founding member of the Justice League.

After focusing on the origin of the League in the first arc and jumping ahead to current day for the second arc, the third storyline saw crossover with Aquaman called Throne of Atlantis.  This story was reasonably well received, although generally considered a remake of an older story line. Currently Justice League is involved with DC’s first event comic since the start of the New 52, Trinity War.

There is way too much going on here.

There is way too much going on here.

Under the skillful guidance of Geoff Johns, Justice League has been a strong and consistent book. With many books suffering from editorial mandates and interference, Justice League has managed to maintain a considerably high level of quality. Art by Jim Lee (#1-12) and Ivan Reis (#13-current) has been solid.  Of all the “old school” artists involved with the New 52, Jim Lee appears to have been the most successful, and his performance on Justice League is definitely a contributing factor to its success.

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Winning Science August 28, 2013

This is my favorite kind of science. I love it when stuff is smashed, broken, blown up or otherwise destroyed. This NASA drop test was performed locally at the NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, VA.  Dropped from a height of 30 ft. the chopper crash was intended to determine the impact on an airframe during a 30 mph crash.

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They even used an Xbox Kinect to help record the crash. Way cool.

I hate to vacuum and dust. I’ve thought about getting a Roomba, but I’ve never thought they were very practical. This however, might be something interesting. This Roomba like device sends out little drones covered in a gel that makes dust stick to it. The drones then return to the base station and get the dirt removed.

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If dirt sticks to the gel, I wonder what else does. Am I going to find one of these things rolling away with my cat attached to it?

The events that lead up to the March 11 nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi plant are pretty well known at this point.  Unlike several previous nuclear accidents, there was no hiding this one. While the events unfolded on international TV, we are only just now beginning to evaluate the long term effects of this unparalleled event. Popular Mechanics has an article out this week that talks about some of the potential effects of radioactive water and some of the possible technologies that can be used to combat the threat.

An aerial shot of the post-accident Fukushima Daiichi plant.

An aerial shot of the post-accident Fukushima Daiichi plant.

I also enjoyed the fact that the article was written by someone who was at one point associated with the US Navy nuclear program. It gives me confidence that he knows the subject matter (plus I understood what he was talking about).

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About the Various Types of Comic Book Stores

Throughout my travels, I have had the chance to visit comic shops in many different places. I have come to realize that while every store has its good and bad qualities, they tend to fall into five categories: the back issue store, the graphic novel store, the hangout store, the mega store, and the scary store.

The Back Issue Store

The back issue store—or traditional store—is the stereotypical comic book store. Typically these stores are filled with long and short boxes of older comics. More recent ones tend to be easily accessible on shelves or racks of some kind.

So many comics.

So many comics.

Usually these stores have a selection of “wall books” as well. Wall books are books of higher value that are displayed prominently on a wall somewhere, often (though not always) behind the counter.

These are not behind the counter, as you can see.

These are not behind the counter, as you can see.

I usually can’t afford wall books, but they are always fun to look at. It’s great to see the different books from comic history. Frequently after looking at the wall, I’ve gone home and Googled certain books to find out what makes them special enough to go on the wall. Because there are so many back issues, the issues aren’t usually priced in advance.

Books in these stores are either in price marked boxes (dollar bins, etc) or priced out at the register.

Free space taken up with cool displays.

Free space taken up with cool displays.

Graphic Novel Store

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The graphic novel store is one of the most useful ones for people who are new to comics or are on a budget. These stores typically have book cases filled with graphic novels from various publishers.

Graphic Novels as far as the eye can see...

Graphic Novels as far as the eye can see…

Methods of organization vary from store to store, but generally the stores are pretty good about keeping things in some semblance of order. Stores will usually have the most recent week’s comics and a few months of back issues, but not much more than that. image_1

Normally graphic novel stores have significant selection as well, including non-superhero stuff, which is great for people who are interested in the medium but not in capes.

Hangout Store

A little bit of everything.

A little bit of everything.

On more than one occasion we at Therefore I Geek have talked about how important it is for geeks to socialize with one another. The hangout store is an ideal place to do this socializing. Here it is guaranteed that most, if not all, of the people share your geek interests. Usually these stores have several tables and chairs that people use for gaming and just general socializing.

Tables for gaming and general hanging out.

Tables for gaming and general hanging out.

A select few of these stores consider themselves reading stores in which you can sit down and read the comics before you buy them. This kind of stores allows you to check out books, moments after you find out they exist and then turn right back around and discuss them. Almost nightly there will be some kind of event going on, whether it be Magic: the Gathering, board games, or miniature gaming. For the geek moving to a new area, this is a great place to start making geeky friends.

Those are some comfy chairs. I can personally testify to this.

Those are some comfy chairs. I can personally testify to this.

Mega Store

I was very lucky (spoiled really) to start reading comics while going to college in New York City. Not only does NYC have a plethora of good comic book stores, they also have Midtown Comics. Stores like Midtown are comic mega stores, which encompass most aspects of the three types of stores I’ve already talked about. They have huge selections of back issues, graphic novels, and other comic book paraphernalia. Often times these stores have more than one location. This is useful because if one store doesn’t have what you’re looking for, it’s possible that one of the other locations does. The size of the store also means that they often have better infrastructure and organization so finding things is easier and prices are usually clearly marked. The downside of stores this size is that there is the potential for customers to get lost in a crowd and not get to develop a more personal relationship with the owner, such as at smaller stores.

Scary Store

Lastly there is the scary store. These are the comic book stores from which stereotypes are derived. Often times they have a dungeon-like feel to them, and some smell of mold or cat urine (Why do so many stores have cats?). Poorly lit and generally unpleasant, these stores either have very little regard for the goods that they sell and treat them badly, or value them far too highly and grossly overcharge people who don’t know any better (I’ve fallen victim to this more than once). Not all scary stores are that way because of physical conditions either. Some fall into this category due to the people who run the store. They are rude, not helpful, or downright creepy. The rudeness is almost worse because what could otherwise be a great store is ruined by one or two bad people. The only true redeeming quality these stores have is that people don’t often go in them and so they frequently have stuff that is hard to find or out of print. I know of one particular store that I can go into and find almost anything I’m looking for, if I’m willing to suffer through the experience.

The reality is that not all comic book stores are made equal, and that’s okay. Not all stores fit into these exact molds. Sometimes stores combine one or more of these traits. The key is finding the store or stores that are best for you. Rarely will you find everything you want in one store, but don’t lose hope. New stores are opening all the time, each one a bit different, with their own unique qualities. If you don’t see what you’re looking for, many stores also are willing to special order stuff for you if they don’t have it in stock, so long as it is in print, or at least available from Diamond. Get out there and take a look. You never know what treasures might be hidden in some store you didn’t know existed.

Therefore I Geek would like to extend a special Thank You to the following stores and their owners for allowing us to photograph their store for use in this article

Back Issue Store – Richard Trinkle, Heroes and Villains

Graphic Novel Store – Greg Thompson, Local Heroes

Hangout Store – Pete and Nikki Newcomb, Borderless

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