Interview: Skahfee Studios

For a while now, I've been looking for something to hang above the Tolkien-centric bookcase in my living room, next to my museum-edition Sting (okay, okay, I'll stop preening now). Imagine the excited symphonies that sounded in my head when I happened across Scott Smith of Skahfee Studios' booth at Indiana Comic Con in March and found this perfect illustration of Smaug above The Lonely Mountain, made completely out of quotes from The Hobbit. Pretty sure my money grew wings of its own and flew out of my wallet at mach speeds.

I'm not sure if I even waited to hang it up before I sent Scott a message, asking for an interview. Scott is a pop artist who molds his typography to create stunning visuals from fandoms near and dear to the geeky heart. Currently, he travels to conventions around the country, sharing his art full-time with the world. Read on below the cut to learn how he tackles each piece and why he made the scary jump from "cubicle slave" to full-time artist.

Rest in Peace, Andrew Lesnie

As a Lord of the Rings superfan, I was deeply saddened to hear Andrew Lesnie, Academy Award-winning cinematographer for both the original trilogy and The Hobbit films, passed away on Monday evening. If you've spent as many hours as I have binge-watching The Lord of the Rings extended editions for their behind the scenes content, Mr. Lesnie's was a familiar face.

To say he deserved his award would be an understatement; he brought so much to these films, and to the rich, believable portrayal of a beloved fantasy world. He paid equal attention to both the homey details in a hobbit hole and the beauty of a sweeping vista, and he will be missed, not just be the folks who knew and loved him personally, but by the countless others he made believe that Middle Earth was real.

We'll leave on this note, shared by Peter Jackson early this morning on his Facebook:
Being an only child, I grew up wondering what it would be like to have a brother. It wasn’t until today, in trying to deal with the terrible news of Andrew's passing, that I came to realise how much he had become that person for me - someone I could  intrinsically love and trust - which I know now means someone who is up for all the good and the bad. Andrew was an irreplaceable part of my family and I am in total disbelief that I’ll never again hear his infectious laugh, nor benefit from his quiet wisdom, or enjoy his generous praise.  Andrew created unforgettable, beautiful images on screen, and he did this time and again, because he only ever served what he believed in - he was his own artist, separate from me, but always working generously to make what we were trying to create together better. On set we developed an ability to work together using  a minimum of words - a rare meeting of minds. I will always remember turning up, countless times, at five in the morning -  all those quiet moments I had with him when I could step on to set and know he was there - unfazed, ready, listening, interested, more importantly - ready to catch me if I faltered. He always had my back. The more anxious I became, the more calm he would be. A solid rock in the unpredictable world we both chose to work in. After 17 years and 8 movies together, the loss of Andrew is very hard to bear.
My heart goes out to Jack and Sam, of whom he was enormously proud and to Marce, who gave him so much happiness.
Dearest Andrew, you never sought nor wanted praise - you never needed to hear how good you were, you only ever cared about doing great work and respecting the work of others. But on behalf of all those who were lucky enough to collaborate with you, love you and in turn, respect your mastery of story, of light and of cinema magic - you are one of the great cinematographers of our time.
Rest in Peace, my friend.
Arohanui,
Pete 

Trailer roundup


You can tell movie season is upon us, can't you? We can barely keep up with all the clips - let alone trailers. Below the cut you'll find the last week-and-a-half's worth, for those who might have missed one!

Design of the Week: The Green vs. The Machine

Place your bets! What will happen when the heavyweight champion of the world meets his match? Wear this soft 100% cotton shirt to the match of a lifetime: the Hulk vs. the Hulkbuster! (Presented by The Shawarma King on Friday, May 1st)

This t-shirt was originally designed by our artists at My Geekery.

Six Things Saturday: Marvel edition

Every Saturday, we help supplement your weekend with a quick roundup of geeky things that have recently caught our eye. WARNING: They might not always have a rhyme or reason (Death Star soap? Do we need a reason?). 

The internet is a big, crazy place. Here are just a few of its gems.



Avengers pillows
Starlord pancake
Infinity Gauntlet mug
Uptown Funk superheroes
Thor cosplay
Baymax lamp
1. Geometric Avengers pillows
2. Starlord pancake art
3. Infinity Gauntlet molded mug
4. Uptown funk superhero cover 
5. Spot-on Thor cosplay
6. Baymax LED lamp

Interview: The Geeky Chef

Pumpkin Pasties courtesy of The Geeky Chef
Admit it. Sometimes when you're rereading Harry Potter for the thousandth time, you find yourself really craving a pumpkin pasty. And I know you've wondered if Peeta's cheesy buns from The Hunger Games are as good as they sound - at least, I have.

So I was ecstatic when my internet scouring brought me to The Geeky Chef, where bona-fide geek and fellow food fan Cassandra Reeder creates, collects, and curates recipes from all my favorite fandoms. Legend of Zelda? Check. Lord of the Rings? Check. Game of Thrones? Check. And a ton more.


Bacon Pancakes from Adventure Time, courtesy of The Geeky Chef
Imagine how doubly pumped I was when I then discovered that The Geeky Chef has a cookbook with over 30 new recipes never before featured on her site coming out in a few weeks...just days after my birthday, in fact. Yup, I'm going to need that.

I reached out to Cassandra, hoping she would be available for an interview...and she was! Read all about how Cassandra perfects her geeky recipes (and avoids flavor disasters) below the cut!

'Marvel's Daredevil' is getting a second season!


Just over a week after premiering on Netflix, Marvel's Daredevil has been renewed for a second season. I can't say we're surprised - not after all the great reviews we've read from longtime fans, new converts, and critics alike!

Marvel.com had the following to say about the minds behind season two, which we'll be given sometime in 2016:

With the first season of "Marvel's Daredevil" proving a smash success with both audiences and critics, Netflix and Marvel will continue to create further adventures of the Man Without Fear! Doug Petrie ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "American Horror Story") and Marco Ramirez ("Sons of Anarchy"), who worked closely with Executive Producers Steven S. DeKnight and Drew Goddard during the first season, will serve as showrunners for Season 2. Petrie, Ramirez, Goddard ("Cabin in the Woods"), and Jeph Loeb ("Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.") will serve as Executive Producers of Season 2. 
Are you excited yet??

We're getting ready to start a weekly recap of episodes from season one, so if you haven't taken the plunge and binge-watched it yet, be sure to join us for the ride-along.

Design of the Week: Middle Earth Delivery Service

Do you have an important message or package to send across Middle Earth? A belated birthday present for Bilbo Baggins? A coronation gift for Aragorn?

Don't worry. Shadowfax's Middle Earth Delivery Service has been serving all free peoples of Middle Earth since T.A. 3019. We guarantee to show you the meaning of haste!

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell teaser

And when we say teaser...we mean teaser.

BBC has long since sold us on all its ventures. When we heard a while back that a Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norell miniseries, based on the hefty but delicious book by Susanna Clarke, was in the works, we were cautiously excited. Well, all the sudden (two years later), we have our first hard-and-fast teaser.


For those of you who are understandably lost, here's how Wikipedia sums up the series, which is set to debut this summer:

Set in England during the Industrial Revolution at the beginning of the 19th century, the series presents an alternate history where magic is widely acknowledged, but rarely practiced. Living in the rural north, Mr Norrell (Eddie Marsan) of Hurtfew Abbey is able to make the statues of York Cathedral talk and move. His manservant John Childermass (Enzo Cilenti) persuades him to travel to London to help in the war against France. While there, Mr Norrell encounters a leading member of the government and makes magic respectable in the realm when he conjures a fairy to bring the minister's fiancée (Alice Englert) back to life.
I personally really enjoyed the book and am excited to see how the premise - with some of its slower exposition - translates on TV. What about you guys? Any concerns?

Star Wars: Rogue One concept art and plot details

While we're still smarting that we didn't get out to Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim, all the great tidbits coming out of the Celebration have us more excited than ever for the future of Star Wars.

Following on the heels of the new The Force Awakens trailer, on Sunday, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and director Gareth Edwards confirmed on stage that the upcoming film Rogue One will be the first standalone in a series titled Star Wars Anthology, which will explore and expound on the rich world of the Star Wars universe, filling in gaps between episodes. For Rogue One, that looks like covering the events between Episodes III and IV...and following "a band of resistance fighters uniting for a daring mission to steal the Death Star plans".


Thankfully, Entertainment Weekly has a great summary of the first glimpses of Rogue One footage for those of us who were stuck halfway across the country:

The footage rolls, and we hear Alec Guinness as Obi-Wan Kenobi: “For more than a thousand generations, the Jedi knights were the guardians of peace and justice in the Old Republic. Before the dark times, before the Empire.”

The visual is a lush, rocky planet, with bird-like creatures flying over a valley, as the point of view lifts to see a TIE Fighter scream overhead. There’s the crescent of a dim moon in the blue sky above. Except …

That’s no moon.

As the camera rises above the treeline we see the laser disc of the original Death Star looming over the planet.

The footage cuts to black over the sound of panicking pilot voices, screaming at each other over their intercoms.

The official Star Wars blog was also kind enough to share the concept art that was revealed at the panel.


What do you guys think? And what other "gaps" do you think it'd be cool to see filled in the Star Wars Anthology series? 

Interview: Lopti of Some Like It Blue

Giant wings. Draenei horns. A motley assortment of weapons, laid out cheek to cheek with a pile of makeup. These are just a few of the things you'd find if you were to peek into cosplayer Lopti's closet. That is, if you weren't swept away by the avalanche of wigs; she's got enough to outfit a small albeit colorful army.

Photography by The Sisters Mischief
Lopti is one of those blessed individuals who can pull off just about any look, but I love that she cosplays what she loves. Her first priority is caring about the character she then sets out to become, be it for an hour, a long day of con-going and photoshooting...or just plain old having fun. 

Check out my recent interview with her below the cut.

Review: Fey Winds webcomic

"Fey Winds is a stark, brutal portrayal of the heartbreak caused by pet dander-- no wait--
Fey Winds is a silly fantasy webcomic that's halfway between spoof and epic adventure."

That pretty much sums up why I love this webcomic by Nicole Chartrand, also known as Lelenia.

Let me give you a little background on my experience reading webcomics so you can fully appreciate my review of this one in particular. Two years ago, I was unemployed for three or so months. While I was looking for work...ish...I happened upon the world of webcomics and fell into a time-gobbling vortex of ravenous reading. I'd known about webcomics, of course. I just hadn't realized how much they would appeal to me as an author. These weren't your weekly cringe-at-the-bad-pun or aw-and-stick-it-on-your-fridge type comics; these were thought out, illustrated stories with rich worlds and believable characters I could both love and hate. They were graphic novels, handed over one tantalizing page at a time.

Somehow, I happened across one of Lelenia's drawings of Kit, her foxy (no, literally) character from Fey Winds. I clicked through a couple pages of her comic, curious. Went back to the beginning. And read it all.

The Doctor comes to Disney

Next month, kids and fans of Disney XD will have the chance to rewatch David Tennant's much-loved stint as the 10th Doctor as series 2-4 air on the family-friendly channel. According to deadline.com, Pay TV subscribers and users of the Disney XD app will even have the option of streaming the episodes on their mobile devices.

Matt Forde, BBC Worldwide North America EVP, says that in partnering with Disney XD, BBC is hoping to introduce Doctor Who to a new generation of viewers. Considering we're starting to see Doctor Who merchandise pervading even retailers like Wal-Mart and Target, it's had to imagine anyone not knowing about Doctor Who anymore...but for the few that are new to the fandom, we agree series 2 is a great place to start.

I kind of want to rewatch it now.

Joss Whedon is looking at $10 million dollar lawsuit...

But....but...

On Monday, a one Mr. Peter Gallagher filed a complaint in California's Federal Court claiming Joss Whedon, who hardly needs an introduction, and Drew Goddard, whose writing credits include Buffy and Daredevil and someday maybe even Sinister Six, copied ideas from his novel for their cult-favorite film Cabin in the Woods. Lionsgate and Mutant Enemy Productions - Whedon's production company for the last 19 years - have also been called out.

So what's the deal? We've all seen these lawsuits before. Sometimes they pan out for the author or creator; sometimes it turns out said author or creator was full trying to get a slice of the big money cake, so to speak. What gets us about this particular suit is that it's gone viral just weeks before Whedon's Age of Ultron hits the big screen...three years after Cabin in the Woods debuted. Has Gallagher been biding his time? Did it take that long to file the complaint? Did he not see the movie and make the connection until recently?

Bearing in mind that we're big fans of Joss's original creations and his more recent work with Marvel, we hope this doesn't damage his career. At the same time, if someone's creative property was genuinely stolen...well, we can't make excuses for that.

Can we just hope everything works out alright in the end?

You can read Mr. Gallagher's full complaint on The Hollywood Reporter.

Beauty and the Beast casting update

Casting announcements have been coming hard and fast for Disney's upcoming live-action Beauty and the Beast, so we thought it was time for a quick catch-up. Even though there's sure to be more exciting announcements (Can we cross our fingers for Patrick Stewart as Lumiere? I just want to see him and McKellen bickering in hoity-toity accents), here's what we've got to look forward to so far:

Emma Watson as Belle

Dan Stevens as the Beast

Luke Evans as Gaston

Ian McKellen as Cogsworth

 Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts

Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Plumette

Josh Gad as Le Fou

Kevin Kline as Maurice

Audra McDonald as Madame de la Grande Bouche


What do you think? Dream cast? And what classic Disney tale do you think they should tackle next?

Design of the Week: Here Be Dragons and Where Do You Want to Start?

This week we're featuring two new designs that celebrate two of our favorite BBC shows: Doctor Who and Sherlock!

"So... all of time and space, everything that ever happened or ever will - where do you want to start?"

The Girl Who Waited has a special place in our heart. We might never recover from her adventures with her Raggedy Man. So here's our tribute to one of our favorite companions, Amy Pond, on her first of many journeys with the Doctor. Find it here!




"A dragon slayer. Is that what you think of me?"

For fans and grudging admirers of the indefatigable "dragon slayer" Sherlock Holmes - or even just 221b Baker Street - this super soft 100% cotton shirt is for you. (As to whether or not this is at all in reference to a certain dragon named Smaug voiced by a certain British actor...we'll leave up to you.)



New movie trailer roundup

We don't have a ton this week, but what we do have by way of new to nearly-new trailers (and clips) are all whoppers we've been waiting for for a while.



Our team has mixed reactions to Ant-Man and its new trailer. We're excited, but tentatively. Marvel doesn't mess much up, but we're still really going to need to be sold on the "coolness" factor of shrinking down and fighting on a toy train. We have faith, though.


From scanning the YouTube comments - which is always a treat of culture - it seems like folks are pretty miffed/bummed or just WHY-ing over the plot twist reveal. But I fall more into the category of being pleased. The first trailer just didn't hook me; this one did.



And lastly...you're going to be seeing more and more on the Avengers front these next two weeks. That's not a bad thing, right? What did you guys think of the Hulkbuster clip from last night's MTV awards?

Six Things Saturday

Every Saturday, we help supplement your weekend with a quick roundup of geeky things that have recently caught our eye. WARNING: They might not always have a rhyme or reason (Death Star soap? Do we need a reason?). 

The internet is a big, crazy place. Here are just a few of its gems.



Dragon RPG
Westeros houses
Wooden Zelda map
Young Justice cosplay
Dark Lord Funk
Armor made from linoleum
1. Dragon RPG we want to play
2. Westeros houses print
3. Super detailed wooden Hyrule map
4. Nightwing cosplay
5. Dark Lord Funk (you've probably already seen it, but you need to see it again.)
6. Elven armor...made out of linoleum!

Interview: Katelin Kinney Photography

I love pictures that tell a story. That make me wonder about the person in them, what they're thinking, the kind of world they live in, and what might have just happened out of sight.


Photography by Katelin Kinney

So it goes without saying that I'm a huge fan of photographer Katelin Kinney's soft yet vivid creations. Katelin has a talent for grounding a fantastical concept in a familiar setting; she takes something we know, and uses her pictures to ask the question, "But what if...?"

I was recently able to touch base with Katelin and ask a few questions about her inspirations and style. Read on!

Design of the Week: Welcome to Hyrule

What was your first Legend of Zelda game? Have you been exploring Hyrule since 1986?

Even if you haven't, you can boast your love for our Hero of Time and all things Zelda with our new Welcome to Hyrule design. Just remember...it's dangerous to go alone.

How to Wrangle Raptors, by Chris Pratt.

The first clip from Jurassic World with Bryce Dallas Howard and Chris Pratt has us counting down the days to June 12 (63 days, 12 hours, 45 minutes).

I remember the first time I was allowed to watch Jurassic Park. Not when it was in theaters - I was only four years old - but later, with my older sister, our friend David, and a bag of potato chips that we pretended would give us the power to overcome all our jitters and nerves. Needless to say, we gorged ourselves on those Lays whenever the raptors were on screen.

I'm sincerely hoping Jurassic World requires just as many if not more greasy fried delicacies. From the looks of it, with Chris Pratt playing the snarky Owen Brady, there'll be a few laughs and just plain cool moments as well. Is it summer yet? I'm so ready for some good movies to land!

Which summer hit are you guys most looking forward to?

Relentlessly Cheerful Art

Who doesn't love a good mash-up?

The internet is teeming with them, but it always feels like there are new ones to be had. For all we think we've seen every variation of Star Wars and Doctor Who and Firefly crossing paths, variations keep cropping up and surprising us...and we're always glad when they do.
Art by James Hance

Art by James Hance
James Hance's art has been dubbed "relentlessly cheerful"; it's an apt description, trust us. One look through his gallery and you'll have more warm fuzzies than Kirk with a bridge full of tribbles.

He alternates between soft palettes and sketchy strokes and finds the perfect balance between cute and almost too cute. Our favorites (if we absolutely had to pick) are his storybook-like Doctor Who illustrations and of course, his Wookie the Chew collection.

Nevermind - I just saw his Where the Wild Things Are/Star Wars piece.

Check out Art by James Hance and as always, please be supportive of independent artists!

Six Things Saturday: Easter weekend edition

Every Saturday, we help supplement your weekend with a quick roundup of geeky things that have recently caught our eye. WARNING: They might not always have a rhyme or reason (Death Star soap? Do we need a reason?). 

The internet is a big, crazy place. Here are just a few of its gems.



Anime eyes
Metroid papercraft
Tenzin cosplay
Rupee engagement box
Fine art sticky notes
Never Gonna Give You Up vs. Colors of the Wind
1. Massive collection of anime eye tutorials (for cosplay)
2. Metroid papercraft pattern
3. Tenzin (Legend of Korra) cosplay
4. Zelda engagement box...or treasure chest.
5. Fine Art sticky notes
6. Never Gonna Give You Up vs. Colors of the Wind

Interview: Costumer's Guide

The year was 2003, and The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King had just come out. I was in love. Ngila Dickson had designed the shieldmaiden Éowyn a gorgeous wardrobe, and I wanted it all. I begged my mom to teach me how to sew...but of course, couldn't sit still for five minutes so she could show me the first thing about threading a needle. Nonetheless, in the years following, I dialed-up our internet probably hundreds of times just to ogle the costumes and try and figure out how I could someday (when I was grown up) make them.

Ten (TEN!) years later, I interviewed Maggie from Costumer's Guide - one of the very sites I used to haunt. Maggie herself is a costumer, but on her Facebook page, she's also a curator of film and historical costumes in general. She shares news about new and old costumes, helpful tutorials, others' work, and a host of costume-related tidbits.


Read all about the evolution of Costumer's Guide in my interview with Maggie below!