New Jersey Horror Con & Film Festival 2017

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Hey, everyone! There’s an independent horror film festival happening in Edison, New Jersey between March 31st through April 2nd! It’ll be held at the Crown Plaza and the address is 2055 Lincoln Hwy, Edison, NJ! Now, what they have at the NJHC is that they show independent Horror movies as well as bring in veteran celebs who’ve been in some well-known Horror movies in the past such as Matthew Lillard (Scream, Thirteen Ghosts) and even guests such as John Waters (Pink Flamingos, Hairspray, Multiple Maniacs) among many other guests that have yet to be announced to attend! One of those guests is none other than Tony Moran, the original Michael Myers! Although purchasing regular tickets won’t guarantee you to every event in the Horror Con. John Waters will be hosting a special panel that you’ll have to buy a VIP John Waters ticket to enter the event.

The event will include over 20 well-known celebrities and attendants such as you can have the opportunity to ask Q&A’s. Not only that but there will be a red carpet, prizes to be won, shops, and even a special rate at the hotel if you mention “New Jersey Horror Con” and did I mention the independent Horror movie screenings? Of course I did! The NJHC was founded by Filmmaker/producer Ryan Scott Weber and Comic Book Men producer/ pop culturist Rob Bruce. It’ll be a true horror fest at the New Jersey Horror Con & Film Festival. General admissions are $25, the 3 day pass is $60, and children under 11 get in for free! For more info, check out the official website here!

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Justice League vs Suicide Squad: A review of DC Rebirth’s first major event

When DC Universe Rebirth #1 first released, it changed everything about the DC Universe. Everything that fans loved about the Pre-New 52 universe with the landscape of the New 52 that was built over 5 years, was combined into something that was loved by everyone. Almost 7 month’s later, Rebirth’s first event “Justice League vs Suicide Squad” drops and ends what is essentially Phase 1 of DC Rebirth.

Now, in the aftermath of the event, things in the DC IUniverse haven’t really changed, more or less. Nothing about the reveal of Dr Manhattan’s interference with the timeline was answered. Instead, the event was a more grounded one and it still has effects that will ripple throughout the comics. Now let’s dive into what made the event work and what made it stall.

POSSIBLE SPOILERS:

To start, the event was hit and miss. On one hand, the artwork was pretty good except for a couple panels where it looked as if the artist was rushing to meet a deadline. The dialogue was lacking in certain scenes, especially during the fight between the two teams. Those were the mediocre aspects of the series; what really makes the event shine is what happens during the event. The villian, Maxwell Lord, assembles a team of prisoners that all have a grudge against Amanda Waller and the reason behind this is beautifully told in a tie-in. It retcons a couple details about the Suicide Squad but it adds more to this lore of the team of super villians made to work for the government.

The tie-ins for this event did a extremely good job at showing what really set this into motion. Maxwell’s origins was told again and solidified his motivation behind his scheme, being very close to his original origin story. Establishing Max’s team was also done well, bringing back classic Lobo and doing him justice. The only weak one was the Justice League tie in, in which we are the chaos of the final battle from the eyes of Steve Trevor. It doesnt need to be read in order to read the main titles without confusion.

Overall, the event was a success (barring a couple issues with the art and dialogue)  and nonetheless bringing Rebirth into its next phase. Hopefully, some actual answers to the time manipulation of the DC Universe are answered, which will begin in the next DC crossover between Batman and The Flash, called “The Button”. I rate this series as a 8.5/10.

‘ARRIVAL’s’ Eric Heisserer Leads Valiant’s SECRET WEAPONS #1 with Visionary Artist Raul Allen

Great news for Valiant Comics fans!

Valiant has announced that Academy Award-nominated screenwriter Eric Heisserer, writer of the internationally acclaimed, smash-hit motion picture ARRIVAL, as well as the upcoming HARBINGER and BLOODSHOT feature films from Sony Pictures, will join Harvey Award-nominated artist Raul Allen (Wrath of the Eternal Warrior) with Patricia Martin (Bloodshot Reborn) for SECRET WEAPONS #1 (of 4) – an all-new, Valiant Prestige format limited series starring the much-demanded, super-charged hero Livewire, in June!

[The government has dispatched Amanda McKee – the technopath codenamed Livewire – to investigate the ruins of a secret facility formerly run by Toyo Harada, the most powerful telepath on Earth and her former mentor. In his quest for world betterment at any cost, Harada sought out and activated many potential psiots like himself. Those who survived, but whose powers he deemed to have no value to his cause, were hidden away at this installation. But Livewire, having studied Harada’s greatest strengths and learned his deepest weaknesses, senses opportunity where he once saw failure. A young girl who can talk to birds… A boy who can make inanimate objects gently glow… To others, these are expensive failures. But, to Livewire, they are secret weapons…in need of a leader. Now, as a mechanized killer called Rexo seeks to draw them out, Livewire and her new team of cadets will be forced to put their powers into action…in ways they never could have imagined…]

“Much like Faith before her, Livewire is a comics icon in the making. She is beloved by fans and adored by creators,” said Valiant CEO & Chief Creative Officer Dinesh Shamdasani. “Finding the right stage for her to shine has been a top priority at Valiant for some time now and, with SECRET WEAPONS, Eric and Raul have crafted something truly special. Not only is this a story quite unlike any Valiant has told to date, but Eric and Raul have created a host of new characters unlike any others in comics. This series is the first step in a long-term plan that will be more than worth the wait, and will have major ramifications for all quarters of the Valiant Universe as we build toward HARBINGER WARS 2 in 2018.

“Without a doubt, Raul is one of the most talented artists in the industry, and every page he sends in leaves jaws on the floor,” he added. “Eric – one of the great storytellers anywhere in entertainment today and one of the sweetest people possible – is able to effortlessly jump between mediums with a passion and intensity that is virtually unrivaled. Together they make an amazing team, and we can’t wait to share their work with the world.”

In addition to his 2017 Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay for ARRIVAL, Heisserer has received a host of high-profile awards and nominations for some of the most prominent institutions in entertainment, including the BAFTA Awards, the Writers Guild Awards, the Humanitas Prize, the Critics’ Choice Awards, the Broadcast Film Critics Association, the Chicago Film Critics Association, the Austin Film Critics Association, and more. His next projects will include a key role in shaping Valiant’s five-film slate of major motion pictures at Sony Pictures as the writer of the upcoming HARBINGER and BLOODSHOT feature films – currently scheduled for release in late 2018.

“My path to Secret Weapons is a bit wonky,” said Heisserer. “I started writing for characters like Pete, Faith, Livewire, and Bloodshot in the film adaptations of their stories. When I am given the opportunity to translate a property to screen, it’s like adopting someone else’s child for a while. I put in my time, try to respect all the hard work of the original authors, and sooner or later I’m on my way.

“The Valiant characters were different, especially Livewire. I kept thinking about her, long after my official writing services were complete. I wanted back into that world. I had crazy ideas for her powers, and the hard choices ahead of her. So, I asked to build a new book for Valiant, with a new group of faces, all led by Amanda. To my relief, Dinesh and Warren said yes.

“Of all the writing I’ve done in the last year, my heart is most in SECRET WEAPONS and its collection of freaks, misfits, and outcasts. And I think a story of a woman who’s shouldered such great burdens, now trying to rescue some lost souls and form a surrogate family, may be one of the most emotional stories I’ve put to paper.

“And where this story goes? Oh man, buckle up.”

On June 28th, 2017 Oscar® nominee Eric Heisserer and visionary artist Raul Allen follow in the footsteps of HARBINGER and FAITH to forge a new vision of 21st century superheroes as Livewire steps to the fore with an all-new team of heroes in the waiting, only in SECRET WEAPONS #1 (of 4) – coming soon to a comic shop near you!

Freaks and Geeks! Please check out some exclusive pages, designs, and cover artwork below. Courtesy of Valiant Entertainment.

For more information, visit Valiant on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, and ValiantUniverse.com.

For Valiant merchandise and more, visit ValiantStore.com

SECRET WEAPONS #1 (of 4)
Written by ERIC HEISSERER
Art & Cover by RAUL ALLEN
$3.99 | 32 pgs. | T+ | VALIANT PRESTIGE | COMING IN JUNE!

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EDITORIAL: The Curse Of Clickbait

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Well, I think it’s high time that this editorial be written  given the current turn of events with films and journalism in general. I want to make it abundantly clear that before I start on this post that this post is an EDITORIAL, meaning it is not necessarily fact but rather an opinion. It is my own opinion and reflects how I feel. It is not a representation of the ideas of every member of the Up Your Geek Team.   Continue reading “EDITORIAL: The Curse Of Clickbait”

Legendary ‘Star Wars’ Actress Carrie Fisher Dies at 60

Carrie Fisher, the actress best known as Star Wars‘ Princess Leia Organa, has died after suffering a heart attack. She was 60.

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Family spokesman Simon Halls released a statement to PEOPLE on behalf of Fisher’s daughter, Billie Lourd:

“It is with a very deep sadness that Billie Lourd confirms that her beloved mother Carrie Fisher passed away at 8:55 this morning,” reads the statement.

“She was loved by the world and she will be missed profoundly. Our entire family thanks you for your thoughts and prayers.”

Fisher was flying from London to Los Angeles on Friday, Dec. 23, when she went into cardiac arrest. Paramedics removed her from the flight and rushed her to a nearby hospital, where she was treated for a heart attack. She later died in the hospital.

The daughter of renowned entertainers Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher, Fisher was brought up in the sometimes tumultuous world of film, theater and television.

Escaping Hollywood in 1973, the star enrolled in the Central School of Speech and Drama in London, where she spent over a year studying acting.

Just two years later, though, the bright lights of Hollywood drew her back, and Fisher made her film debut in the Warren Beatty-lead Shampoo.

Her role in Star Wars would follow in 1977 – the experience she recently detailed in memoir, The Princess Diarist. She was only 19 when the first installment of the beloved sci-fi franchise was filmed.

In addition to the second and third Star Wars films – and last year’s The Force Awakens – Fisher starred in 1980’s The Blues Brothers, The Man with One Red Shoe, Woody Allen’s Hannah and Her Sisters in 1986 and, later, When Harry Met Sally.

Fisher wed musician Paul Simon in 1983. It was an explosive marriage, according to Homeward Bound: The Life of Paul Simon author Peter Ames Carlin, and was cut short by swinging stages of depression, the actresses’ drug use and an array of personal insecurities. The relationship continued, though, on-and-off for several years after the pair divorced in 1984.

Fisher was candid about her substance abuse issues over the decades, starting at only age 13 when she began smoking marijuana. She said she later dabbled in drugs like cocaine and LSD. Fisher explored her own issues with addiction in her 1987 bestselling, semi-autobiographical novel, Postcards from the Edge, which was later turned into a movie starring Meryl Streep.

“I never could take alcohol. I always said I was allergic to alcohol, and that’s actually a definition to alcoholism — an allergy of the body and an obsession of the mind,” Fisher told the Herald-Tribune in 2013. “So I didn’t do other kinds of drugs until I was about 20. Then, by the time I was 21 it was LSD. I didn’t love cocaine, but I wanted to feel any way other than the way I did, so I’d do anything.”

In 1985, Fisher was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and she subsequently became an outspoken advocate for mental health awareness.

Throughout much of the ’90s, Fisher focused on her writing career, publishing Surrender the Pink and Delusions of Grandma. In addition, Fisher helped craft the scripts for numerous Hollywood films, going uncredited, for films like The Wedding Singer, Hook and Sister Act.

Billie Lourd, Fisher’s only child, was born in July 1992. The Scream Queens star’s father, talent agent Bryan Lourd, dated Fisher for three years and is now married to Bruce Bozzi.

In 2005, Fisher was recognized with the Women of Vision Award by the Women in Film & Video – DC. Three years later, Fisher’s Wishful Drinking autobiography was turned into a one-woman stage show and eventually an HBO documentary.

Of returning to the role that launched her career – Leia – for The Force Awakens, Fisher told PEOPLE in 2015, “I knew that something enormous was likely going to impact my life from this film and that there was absolutely no way of understanding what that was or was likely to be.”

The film – which brought Fisher back into the spotlight – earned her a nomination for the 2016 Saturn Award for best supporting actress.

Just last month, Fisher also revealed her surprising on-set affair with Star Wars costar Harrison Ford in The Princess Diarist, telling PEOPLE of the three-month fling, “It was so intense.” The memoir, which drew from Fisher’s old diaries and notebooks, brought up mixed feelings for the actress.

“I had forgotten that I’d written them, and I’ve never written diaries sort of like that,” she said. “I write when I’m upset … it was about two or three months of upset.”

Fisher added, “It was sad because I was so insecure, and it’s very raw and obviously I didn’t expect anyone — including myself, I suppose later on — to read it.”

She is survived by her mom Reynolds, daughter Lourd and beloved French bulldog, Gary.

via MSN News, People

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YumaCon 2016

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Photo from the YumaCon Facebook page

On November 12, 2016, Yuma, AZ had its second YumaCon. Once again, I had the honor of being press and covering the event like last year. The event was held in a different place than last year due to the first one having 1,600 attendants so this year’s Con was help in a bigger area. Unlike last year where I uploaded two videos of the event, this time I decided to just post one. It’s almost three hours long and has everything from the last two videos I posted on YouTube. You can view the video here. There were tons of people this time around, new guests, cosplay contest, etc.

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Photo from the YumaCon Facebook page. Pictured is ‘Moonlight Sprites’

There were plenty of new events and guests this year. Gaming tournaments, Love Live Cosplay Cafe, How to survive your first big Con, Becoming an indie filmmaker, and a Geek Rave by the end of the Con. Guests such as the Four Lords, writers of The Curseborn Saga, artist Kip Mussatt of Kipsworld, and many others. Unfortunately, I only took videos of the event and not pictures. There is another article by The Yuma Sun which you can view here. The Geek Lyfe also did an article which you can view here. Let’s talk about some of the events.

The Curseborn Saga

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Image from the YumaCon Facebook page

The Curseborn Saga by Four Lords is a series of books and is now going into manga form. There are currently five parts to the main novella and one of the newest releases is ‘The Curseborn Saga: Fade to Black (Shard I)‘ which was released June 2016. What Curseborn saga is about is trying to bring the best fantasy stories into reality. The work of two brothers and two best friends creating a fantasy epic about Gods, legends, adventure, etc.

“What happens when the gods themselves lose hope? Fear. Greed. Envy. Lust. Hatred. These are his gifts. And his desire will bring the end of all things. There is a place older than Night and Day. From it came understanding, emotion, and the first of words. Upon this world the gods once stood tall. But no more. This is the legend of two brothers who unknowingly stood for those gods, and how they changed their world. Some say they saved everything. Others condemn them for the destruction of all. It is for you to decide.”
-Four Lords

Kipsworld

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Image from the YumaCon Facebook page

Kip Mussatt is a self-taught artist based in Arizona. He sold artwork in the Con which he hand drew himself. He’s done art for some famous people as well. You tell him what to do and he’ll make it come to life. You can check out some of his artwork on his website which you can view here.

Devil’s Due-1First Comics

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Image from the YumaCon Facebook page

Devil’s Due Entertainment/1First Comics panel! Brothers John & Matt Yuan are both comic book writers and artists! They both do ‘Inspector Oh‘ and ‘Serving Supes‘ and help with other comics. They discussed their process of doing their comics and I also spoke with Orlando Harding, an independent comic book publisher and writer of Night Stalker and released R.R.H. You can check out Devil’s Due-1First Comics’ website here.

United Zombies of America

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Image from the YumaCon facebook page

A professional family friendly group that performs in haunted houses, festivals, conventions, and many other events. They act, teach, do make up, and create games like “Zombie Attack”! They specialize in having fun, training young zombies-to-be, costuming, video, and photography. This year, they hosted a panel on Zombie make-up. Check out their website here.

Fan-Quest

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Image from the YumaCnon Facebook page

Yuma’s only comic book and game store. They have served our community for over 25 years. They feature an in store gaming section where players can learn, teach, and play different games. For comic lovers, they feature a pull and hold system so that comic lovers don’t miss their favorite books. They were selling various merchandise and comics in their booth. Check out their Facebook page here.

Mandalorian Mercs

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Image from the YumaCon Facebook page

One of the largest Mandalorian Mercs costume clubs in the United States. The name means “Dune Sea”, named for the Imperial Sand Dunes where Return of the Jedi was filmed. They promote the Star Wars experience and teach people about the Mandalorians. Check out their website here.

Local Artists

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Image taken by Maria B.

Local artists Gisela C. and W. Ryan displayed their art in their very own booth. Both artists are from Yuma and are also good friends. Gisela and W. Ryan are a team and call themselves ‘Artist Level: Over 9,000!‘ You can check out Gisela’s Facebook page here and W. Ryan’s Facebook page here. Among other local artists were Leslie L. and music artist Caine L. You can check out Leslie’s Facebook page here and check out Caine’s Soundcloud here. Also, make sure to check out his first music video here.

Vendors and merch, etc.

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Image taken from the YumaCon Facebook page

Pictured above is AlienKitty Designs, a creative… creator! She specializes in digital art, fabric creations, plush, stickers, and more! The art and merchandise sold there was made by her. You can check out her Facebook page here. Among other vendors, there was also Monlight Sprites. What they do is create a figure and make it have an 8-bit look. You can check out their Facebook page here.

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Image taken from Moonlight Sprite’s Facebook page
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Image from the YumaCon Facebook page
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Kiba the Cosplay Corgi in his Halo cosplay. Image taken from YumaCon’s Facebook page.
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Cosplay & dance ‘Love Live!’ group MU☆SE. Image taken from YumaCon’s Facebook page.

Is it time to show some cosplay? Yep. Check out some of the cosplays by the people! Images from YumaCon’s Facebook page unless otherwise stated.

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Garrett E. won Best Youth category.
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On the left is Cody B. who was an honorable mention in the contest. Image by Maria B.
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Best Craftsman went to Alex J.
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Best Costume in the Skit category went to Jerry A. Image from Rachel Twoguns from the Yuma Sun.
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Best performance in the Skit category went to the Rise of the Guardians group. Image from Rachel Twoguns from the Yuma Sun.
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Best in Master’s went to Adriana who is on the right side of the picture
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An image of the winners of the contest! Image by Deegan Marie from The Geek Lyfe
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The cosplay judges! Image from Rachel Twoguns of the Yuma Sun

Judges from left to right

Nasho: A cosplayer with four years of cosplaying experience! A cosplayer from Baja California, he specializes in doing masks, accessories, and more crazy cosplay stuff from scratch! Check him out on his Facebook page here

Namitsuki: Another international cosplayer from Baja California! She’s been cosplaying since 2007 at the age of 13! She believes in “practice makes the master” as she only made around 10% of her suits when she started to making them 100% on her own as time passed by. Check out her Facebook page here.

Q-ki: Beginning her cosplay adventure in 2009. She’s a self-taught crafter and has won numerous awards, and being noted for attention to detail. Besides making costumes for herself, she’s made several for groups and performing artists. Check out her Facebook page here.

Khainsaw: A cosplayer based in Tucson who has been in the game for nearly three years. She cosplays from a variety of media but is most known for her Kill La Kill cosplay, wig styling, and vinyl bodysuit work. Check out her Facebook page here.

KayPickle: KayPickle has been cosplaying since 2013. Her main focus is prop making and recently started fabricating costumes. Born and raised in Arizona, she’s an avid gamer and frequently streams on Twitch. Check out her Facebook page here.

Have some extra cosplays from YumaCon!

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Image from the YumaCon Facebook page
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Image from the YumaCon Facebook page
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Image from the YumaCon Facebook page
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Image from the YumaCon Facebook page
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Image from the YumaCon Facebook page
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Image from the YumaCon Facebook page
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Image from the YumaCon Facebook page

Well, that’s it for now. YumaCon 2016 was a grandiose experience and the sequel was better than the original. There was plenty of new things this time around to see. I tried to film everything I could and talked to people as well as film the entire cosplay and skit contest. I’ll leave the video down below for you to see. It’s nearly three hours long and the contest starts at the hour and 23 minute mark. One thing I was interested to see was the Geek Rave but due to unfortunate circumstances, I couldn’t attend. There was food for sale and drinks too. Overall, this makes me anxious to attend YumaCon 2017.