Geekscape podcasts, news, features Sat, 30 Aug 2014 15:56:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 podcasts, news, features Geekscape no podcasts, news, features Geekscape TV-G First Wave Of Amiibo’s Consists Of 12 Characters, Will Launch This Holiday Season Sat, 30 Aug 2014 15:33:26 +0000 Briefly: I haven’t purchased a toy in years, but I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t going to buy every single one of these.

Back at Nintendo’s Digital Event at E3, the company revealed Amiibo, their new Skylanders-esque NFC figures which are going to make them millions (and millions) of dollars.

The company today revealed the first wave of Amiibo’s that will be available at retail, and the team consists of Mario, Peach, Link, Samus, Yoshi, Donkey Kong, Pikachu, Kirby, Fox, Marth, Villager and Wii Fit Trainer. At E3, the big N also showed off Bowser and Pit figures, so I’d imagine that those are coming down the pipeline aswell.

A release date has not been confirmed, but the figures are available for pre-order for a cool $13.99 at select retailers, and will launch this holiday season.

Learn all about Amiibo (which should work with a multitude of future Nintendo games) below, and let us know how many you’ll be picking up!

Bah. I can’t wait to put these on my shelf!


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Geekscape Interviews: ‘As Above, So Below’ Writers & Director Drew & John Erick Dowdle Sat, 30 Aug 2014 00:14:08 +0000 During Power MorphiCon weekend I interviewed As Above, So Below writer/director John Erick Dowdle and writer Drew Dowdle, the brothers behind the newest horror movie from Legendary and Universal Pictures. Filmed inside the actual catacombs beneath Paris, the Dowdles chatted with me about shooting a satanic horror movie while almost losing their sanity in the dark, macabre tunnels full of human remains. It was extremely difficult to imagine as I sat inside the well-lit lobby of the Westin in sunny, 80-degree Pasadena, on my way to a Power Rangers convention.

Film Title: As Above/So Below


Geekscape: So I was impressed that you shot it in the actual catacombs. Why was it important for you guys to remain so authentic?

John Erick: When you build something, you just feel, like, it never feels as real as the real thing. Anytime you give someone the real thing, it just adds such depth to the texture of the movie. And you feel the performances. The performances, you can tell seeing this movie, you can tell the actors aren’t stepping off set between takes, sipping a latte and texting their friends. They’re in it, you know, spending ten hours six stories under the ground every day. You can see it in their faces. Like, all of us [became] half-crazy as a result of being down there so much. And it shows! You feel the presence of that space. On our first location scout, we went underground and we all felt, “Oh my god, this is terrifying down here.” And to try to build that and recreate that on set, and be all like, “Okay, everyone, act scared!” It wouldn’t have worked the same way. When you go down there, you feel your chest get tight, your breathing gets shallow, the air is still, and the sound is really weird and tweaky. You just couldn’t fake that.

Drew: When we were talking about doing the movie initially too, it was one of those [conversations]. It was like, if we’re not shooting in the real location, then we almost didn’t think it was worth making the movie! [laughs] It is such a specific place in the world. And if you’re not shooting the real thing, we knew that would be obviously the number one question coming home to. “Is this in the real place?” It has to be. [Questions like] “Do you build some of it? Go somewhere that’s maybe easier to shoot in Paris that might look like this?” To us, none of those were options that were interesting alternative.

Well, you guys succeeded because it came out wonderful.

John Erick: Thanks so much! I really appreciate that.

There is a bit of a video game aesthetic in the movie. I don’t know if that was intentional or not. Like, I was watching the film and it kind of came off like a dungeon crawler in a very literal sense. Were video games at all a point of reference in the making of the film?

John Erick: You know, we didn’t shy away from that, but we didn’t consider that like a reference. And yet we knew that early on in that first sequence when she’s going in that cave, we saw that were like, “Okay, it sorta feels like a first-person shooter,” we thought that was pretty cool. We really wanted to have a camera on Scarlet that was just sort of attached to her clothing, but we realized we wanted to see her a little bit too. Even if it’s just the side of her face, even just a little something so [she's] not totally disembodied. So we sorta went with that aesthetic early on and it really felt effective. So it was pretty cool. It was fun to play with.

Found footage is a difficult genre. For this film it felt necessary, but it is a hard genre. Did you have any hesitations about doing it in this style?

John: We talked about it for like two minutes, and were like, “You know what, this fits this movie.” There’s something to it, about shooting in the catacombs. If you tried to shoot traditional, you know, light and everything in one direction of the room, and then shoot that out, and then switch out all the lights [for the other side], like that would be a nightmare down there. We were like, let’s go really guerilla. Let’s shoot it like you were if you were doing this real. Let’s light the whole thing with the actor’s headlamps. There’s a scene near the end of the movie where they’re standing around the hole, that whole scene was lit literally from Scarlet, the camera from Scarlet’s hand.

Oh, wow.

John Erick: There’s no other light. We had the actors lighting, I’d say 90% of the movie. And probably 30% of the movie was shot by the actors! [laughs] We really went for like, “Let’s see what kind of happy accidents happen. Let’s try not to over-produce it.” And it really ended up, I think, adding to the realness of the movie. And frankly, it was a lot of fun to shoot that way.

Drew: I’d say too, the origin of this particular character was always kind of in a found footage world. We always had an idea that, you know, doing a female archaeologist, kind of one-part Indiana Jones character in a found footage world would be a really interesting movie. So when we conceptualized this initially, it was always kind of in a found footage set. So it never really occurred to us, frankly, to not do it that way in this setting.



I picked up on the Indiana Jones similarities, to me she was kind of like Ellen Ripley and Indiana Jones, I thought it was fantastic. But you guys enjoy doing terror in small spaces. You did Devil and Quarantine, and now As Above, So Below. So, are you guys claustrophobic like Benji? (Note: Benji is a character in As Above, So Below and he suffers from claustrophobia.)

[both laugh]

John Erick: It’s actually funny, a little bit. I gotta say, the first time we did a location scout of the real catacombs, we crawled through a hole about the size of like a medicine ball, we crawled through that, and we’re like in a tunnel we had to crawl through on all fours and then there was water and I never really considered [it]. I’m finding all sorts of new fears as a result of this job. [laughs] But like, I never considered myself claustrophobic, but there was a point at which, literally I was having a hard time breathing, like I’m freaking out! Like I’m genuinely terrified! And I had this moment, that if I can’t hack this, they’re gonna have to replace me. And that first location scout they were like, okay, let’s keep going until it feels normal and natural. So we did that first location scout for five hours underground, going deeper and deeper, and one of the people on our team totally lost their mind. They had a total breakdown. So, it was something! It was something down there.

Drew: Yeah, our first scout was actually through that hole on the train tracks that they go through in the movie, was where we entered. On the other side of the hole in reality was about fifty yards of tunnel that’s like, elbows and knees, army style crawling before you can get into a space where you can actually stand up. So for me I’m not very claustrophobic, what I found terrifying personally was the idea that, I’m more of a map person, like I really need to know where I am on the grid, and once you make about three turns in there your sense of direction is gone. And you have no idea which way is out. So not knowing where the exit is and if our guide dropped dead of a heart attack or something, you know, that fear was much more palpable for me than the claustrophobia.

Well, I’m very happy you guys survived. 

[both laugh]

The title, “As Above, So Below“, it refers to confronting your inner demons. As storytellers, why is that attractive?

John Erick: Well, you know, I think going back a little bit to the confined spaces, we always find something terrible happens, it triggers that flight or fight response. If you take flight out of it, the confined spaces take flight out of the equation. It forces characters to face something that terrifies them. You know, frankly, I feel personally in my twenties, like there were so many things that scared me I backed away from, there were plenty of them, and in my late twenties, I’m like, I gotta start hitting these things more head-on. And in doing so, literally every aspect of my life changed. For me that’s been something personally that’s really, I don’t know, made a big difference. I remember a friend of mine, had a kind of metaphor: gotta face life like a boxer, apparently a boxer, like if you lean away, that’s when you get clobbered as a boxer. But if you lean in to the fear, put your face like right into the fear, that is how you box. That’s how you have to fight. In our movies, going through that journey with our characters seeing, you know, if you can’t run away from your fears, you have to face it, and you do, are you better with yourself? How did that change you?

One last thing. Scarlet was a fascinating character. Do you think we’ve seen the last of her?

John Erick: We hope not! We’ll tell you August 31st!

[everyone, including me, laughs]

Drew: Yeah, we’d love to continue these stories. She’s not only a fun character, but such a terrific actress and really fun to work with. Get the band back together, if the audiences want it.

As Above, So Below is in theaters now. Be sure to head here for our review.


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Geekscape Movie Reviews: ‘As Above, So Below’ Fri, 29 Aug 2014 12:00:38 +0000 I grew up in New Jersey. Being one of the first colonies of the United States, the simple passage of time over generations has given life to urban legends and myths that knowledge of it become as normal as a day in the park. There’s Clinton Road, the Devil’s Tower, the Gates of Hell, the abandoned Lambertville High, Midgetville, and a slew of others I grew up hearing about.  In middle school my friends and I debated what superheroes we would want to be if we fought the Jersey Devil as if he were an anime villain. In high school I went with my buddies on a day trip a few weeks before graduation to the fabled Devil’s Tree, where the Ku Klux Klan used to lynch people. I didn’t see it, but a few years later my friend told me we were tailgated by a pick-up truck on our way out.

It was these stories and places that fueled my fascination for As Above, So Below, the new found-footage horror film from John Erick Dowdle. Set in beautiful Paris and not grungy New Jersey, the film follows a small team of urban explorers as they traverse the catacombs of Paris — you know, the tunnels with REAL SKELETONS everywhere — in search of the fabled Philosopher’s Stone. Leading the group is the brave, smart, but haunted Scarlet Marlowe (The Tudors‘ Perdita Weeks), who is determined to redeem her father’s disgraced legacy and prove the existence of the renamed thing from Harry Potter. With her, an amateur documentary filmmaker Benji (Edwin Hodge) — hence the presence of cameras — and an expert explorer who shares a past with Scarlet, George (Ben Feldman, Mad Men‘s Michael Ginsberg). Coupled with some lively locals, they make up the people we’ll be stuck with miles below Paris.



It’s a found footage film. You kind of know what you’re getting into with this journey. There will be scares around the corner, weird shit chasing after the camera, and a buffet of other horror movie cliches like rocking chairs and singing children. Only now we’re in a tunnel that could have been creepy enough on its own, which I think is the biggest problem with the film: It resorts to tried and true devices when something new really could have been explored.

It is in the characters we must rely on for investment, which makes the film’s journey easy. The central characters range from compelling… to horror movie basic. I’m a big fan of Scarlet Marlowe (but I hate freaking hate her name. She has red hair!). She’s supremely intelligent, brave, but dangerously impulsive. She’s like Indiana Jones and Ellen Ripley, but with a millennial “screw you all, I’m going in” attitude. Her father was disgraced for basically believing in magic, and Scarlet seeks to redeem his name and she does so to the danger of the rest of her peers. She’ll jump right into a tunnel or something at the cost of a co-explorer’s sanity or safety. You have to reason her with yourself: Either she’s horrible for putting lives in danger for the greater good, or everyone knew what they were getting involved in. Because, this is a horror movie of course, and people need to die. There is a moment when I thought everyone would be fine — how weird and kind of cool would it be to see a horror movie where everyone survives? — and then immediately it’s like Game of Thrones. But there is less investment to be had in the secondary and tertiary characters, so you won’t have any Red Wedding moments, unless for some reason you really love them. It’s a bit of a let down too, because there was potential in them. They’re colorful and fun. Sitting in the van just before they explore darkness, they are freestyle rapping and doing De Niro impersonations. But there’s no time for them, only for Scarlett and George, but that’s okay, because Scarlet is a powerful presence on her own.



The environment and location is the film’s true co-star. Ever since I read about the catacombs in a Cracked article, I thought how cool it would be to film a movie down there. But I imagined a fantasy film, the catacombs as the lair of a dark villain. I should have expected the first film to get down there to be a horror movie. But the filmmakers filmed in the actual, prohibited areas of the catacombs, and it’s pretty damn terrifying (A horror movie setting an eerie mood, who could have guessed?). Tight spaces and dark tunnels, make up the film’s physical location for its scares and it fucking WORKS. Echoes! Satanic chants! Screams! It chills to the bone. Dowdles’ previous work include Quarantine and Devil, so I shouldn’t be surprised that terror in tight spaces be his kung-fu style. But major props to the sound engineers, because crumbling rocks have never sounded more terrifying. It is truly the film’s achievement: Something mundane as dust can be used for thrills.

The tunnels being the gates of hell is something out of a fantasy film, but in a found footage flick it becomes something way more personal. Almost all the characters (the important ones, anyway) have some kind of baggage. Scarlet has her father, while the others have their own demons. From families they couldn’t save after accidents to claustrophobia (admittedly too easy of a character trait given the premise), they’re haunted by their own demons and the devil is laughing in their face. It makes for a nice metaphor for confronting fears and overcoming guilt. But it’s also kind of cheap, and although fascinating during the film’s running time, it doesn’t leave much when the credits roll. ”Cheap” isn’t what I’d describe the film in the literal sense — for a found footage film it has remarkable production value, which is an achievement given the skeleton crew (I’m so, so sorry) — but cheap is what I’d have to describe its storytelling. Cliches galore in the film, but it didn’t have to. These people are surrounded by dead people. I don’t get the value of empty chairs.

There is something of a video game structure to the film as well, which is novel given the genre. In the film’s surprisingly gripping climax, the film turns into something like a mix of Mirror’s Edge, Tomb Raider, and Resident Evil. One would think found footage would take far more advantage of its video game-ness, but rarely do films actually do. Doom did it, and it was the only fun scene in that whole movie. It’s one more cool thing As Above, So Below does pretty well, even if it probably doesn’t do it with much substance or style.

Film Title: As Above/So Below

As Above, So Below is easily dismissible as another found footage film, but you shouldn’t! Found footage is an extremely difficult genre that has the potential for true, expert cinematic storytelling but has been plagued by amateurs and cheap filmmaking. As Above, So Below rises above (again, I’m so sorry) basic genre rules but is hindered by its own hesitation to venture into truly new territory. It does so many things right — its compelling central character, probably the coolest location to ever film a movie, expert sound design, an interesting take on Christian mythology, remarkable production value, and appropriate horror movie thrills — but it does several big things wrong that might leave the film as just a footnote. The ending doesn’t quite stick or make much sense, and it is unclear what exactly the Philosopher’s Stone purpose or fate was (It can heal people! And then it doesn’t). The film is plagued by horror movie cliches and is wasted in the novel setting. The rest of the characters show flashes of potential that never meet up to what is promised.

As Above, So Below almost takes the troubled genre to a new level, but its scared to do so and is bogged down by its own reservations. The film is kind of like its own characters: Haunted by the genre’s past, it fails to fight back and truly do something daring. What that could have been, I can’t tell you. But the film has enough terror to keep you for ninety minutes, and if you truly let it, the film can be as terrifying as confronting your own personal demons.

As Above, So Below scores a devilish 3/5.

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New ‘Destiny’ Video Shows Off Playstation Exclusive Content! Thu, 28 Aug 2014 05:13:53 +0000 Briefly: Following the release of the official launch trailer last week, Bungie and Playstation have debuted a new video that shows off all of Destiny‘s Playstation exclusive (at least for the time being) content.

I’ve been enamoured with Destiny for as long as I can remember, and that feeling was exacerbated by the short time that I’ve been able to spend with it. September 9th really, really can’t come soon enough. I played the Alpha and Beta as much as I possibly could, and in that time Destiny became one of my favourite games of the year. I cannot wait to play the full game, and I cannot wait to learn the full story through its bad-ass companion app (seriously, it’s so well done).

The PS3 and PS4 editions of the game include an exclusive map, strike, and plenty of equipment. Wouldn’t it be nice if it had cross-platform play to go with it?

Take a look at the video below, and let us know what you think. Destiny hits shelves on September 9th.

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Here Are Two Creepy New Teasers For ‘American Horror Story: Freak Show’ Thu, 28 Aug 2014 04:56:17 +0000 Briefly: Following the reveal of the season premiere date last week, and a new teaser a few days ago, FX has debuted two more creepy teasers for October’s American Horror Story: Freak Show.

Titled ‘Lick’ and ‘Spotlight’, both short videos are pretty equally disturbing… and exciting.

Take a look at the teasers below, and let us know if you’ll be tuning in when Freak Show premieres on October 8th.

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Watch A New Trailer For CW’s ‘The Flash’! Thu, 28 Aug 2014 04:47:39 +0000 Briefly: We’re just over a month away from the highly anticipated premiere of CW’s The Flash (though you’ve probably already seen the pilot), and following yesterday’s new poster, the network has debuted a cool new trailer for the intriguing show.

The trailer looks to consist of mostly pilot footage (making it far less exciting if you’ve already seen it), but it definitely does a pretty great job at garnering excitement for the show.

Take a look at the video below, and let us know if you’re looking forward to the series! The Flash premieres on October 7th!

Based upon characters published by DC Comics. Through a freak accident, scientist Barry Allen is given the power of super speed that transforms him into the Fastest Man Alive.

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Third ‘The Walking Dead’ Teaser Shows Tyreese In A Tough Situation Thu, 28 Aug 2014 04:36:23 +0000 Briefly: Following the full trailer that premiered all the way back at SDCC (it seems like so long ago), AMC has debuted a short new teaser for The Walking Dead‘s fifth season.

Clocking in at an extremely brief 15 seconds long (AMC is loving their short teasers lately) the video shows Tyreese in the midst of a  walker attack, and someone very quick (and probably not friendly) looks to be hiding in the same location.

We’ve got less than two months of waiting left until The Walking Dead returns on October 12th, so for now take a look at the teaser below, and let us know what you think!

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Awesome ‘Dumb And Dumber To’ Posters Parody ‘Lucy’ Wed, 27 Aug 2014 17:19:17 +0000 Briefly: It’s hard to say how Dumb and Dumber To will turn out (though I did laugh a lot at that first trailer), but the film’s two new posters are downright hilarious.

One of this Summer’s most polarizing films was Luc Besson’s Lucyan action-thriller about a woman who gains the ability to use her brain’s entire capacity, along with a bunch of bad-ass powers in the process. Here’s the film’s poster:


Now, here are the latest posters for Dumb and Dumber To:



That’s some damn good cross marketing, isn’t it? Dumb and Dumber To hits theatres on November 14th.

Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels reprise their signature roles as Lloyd and Harry in the sequel to the smash hit that took the physical comedy and kicked it in the nuts: Dumb and Dumber To.  The original film’s directors, Peter and Bobby Farrelly, take Lloyd and Harry on a road trip to find a child Harry never knew he had and the responsibility neither should ever, ever be given.

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DLC Packs Coming to ‘Mario Kart 8′ Wed, 27 Aug 2014 04:05:36 +0000 It looks like the inhabitants of the Mushroom Kingdom will be racing against the Hero of Time and everyone’s favorite secretary.

Doing more than offering free downloadable content in the form of three Mercedes-Benz karts arriving on the eShop tomorrow, Nintendo has announced two new Mario Kart 8 DLC packs. The first pack will not only include four new tracks, but three new characters as well–Tanooki Mario, Cat Peach, and Link(!). This will mark the first time anyone outside the Super Mario Universe (outside the Namco-Bandai characters in the arcade versions of Mario Kart) will be available as a playable racer in any of the console or handheld versions of Nintendo’s karting franchise. If that wasn’t enough, Isabelle and the Villager will be join the cast, as well as Dry Bowser.

Each DLC pack will contain three characters, four karts, and two new cups–each with four courses. One of the confirmed tracks will be Wario’s Gold Mine from Mario Kart Wii, as well as courses based from the Legend of Zelda and Animal Crossing franchises.

Additionally, Nintendo confirmed that one of the new carts will be modeled after the Blue Falcon from F-Zero.


Here’s a breakdown of the DLC Packages:

Pack 1: The Legend of Zelda X Mario Kart 8 (Release Date: November 2014) – $7.99

- 3 Charcters: Tanooki Mario, Cat Peach, Link

- 4 Vehicles

- 8 Courses



Pack 2: Animal Crossing X Mario Kart 8 (Release Date: May 2015) – $7.99

- 3 Characters: Villager, Isabelle, Dry Bowser

- 4 Vehicles

- 8 Courses

Pack 1 + Pack 2 Bundle – $11.99

- 6 Characters: Tanooki Mario, Cat Peach, Link, Villager, Isabelle, and Dry Bowser

- 8 Vehicles

- 16 Courses

- As a bonus for purchasing both bundles (as a pack or separately), buyers will immediately receive eight new colors for Yoshi and Shy Guy for Mario Kart 8.

The DLC packages will be available for purchase Wednesday, August 27.


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Did He Or Didn’t He? Watch A New TV Spot For David Fincher’s ‘Gone Girl’ Wed, 27 Aug 2014 02:42:13 +0000 Briefly: A new TV spot for David Fincher’s upcoming drama, Gone Girl has just hit the internet. It’s gorgeous, gripping, and looks like it’ll make for an absolutely heartwrenching feature. The film is based on the 2012 bestseller by Gillian Flynn. Here’s the synopsis:

On the occasion of his fifth wedding anniversary, Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) reports that his beautiful wife, Amy (Rosamund Pike), has gone missing. Under pressure from the police and a growing media frenzy, Nick’s portrait of a blissful union begins to crumble. Soon his lies, deceits and strange behavior have everyone asking the same dark question: Did Nick Dunne kill his wife?

Being a Fincher flick, I’m sure we’ll be frequently questioning the innocence/guilt of Nick Dunne (though book readers will already know the outcome, of course). I feel like avoiding the novel until I can see the feature just so everything can remain a surprise!

In any case, take a look at the new spot below, and let us know what you think! Gone Girl hits theatres on October 3rd!

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Watch 10 Minutes Of New ‘Dead Island 2′ Footage! Wed, 27 Aug 2014 02:30:37 +0000 Briefly: Dead Island 2 surprised all of us when it was revealed at this year’s E3, and following the gameplay trailer from a few weeks back, Eurogamer has just published a fantastic interview/walkthrough with the game’s developer.

Here’s the story: Several months after the events on Banoi, the United States military has put the Golden State under full quarantine. Now a restricted zone, California has become a bloody paradise for those who refuse to leave their homes and an action-packed playground for renegades who seek adventure, glory and a fresh start. Combining the classic Dead Island elements of immersive close combat, action and role-playing, Dead Island 2 features crazy, never-before-seen handcrafted weapons and over-the-top characters in taking players from the iconic Golden Gate to the celebrated beachfront boardwalk of southern California’’s Venice Beach.

I’m really looking forward to playing this one, as I largely missed out on the first games in the series. In any case, Dead Island 2 looks exponentially more polished and should play much more smoothly than Dead Island or Riptide did.

Take a look at the interview below, and let us know what you think.

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CW’s ‘The Flash’ Gets A Stylish New Poster Wed, 27 Aug 2014 02:20:19 +0000 Briefly: We’re just over a month away from the highly anticipated premiere of CW’s The Flash (though you’ve probably already seen the pilot), and today the network debuted a stylish new poster for the intriguing show.

The image features Flash running down a street, and of course his path draws out the classic Flash lightning symbol. It’s simple, it’s cool, and I really can’t wait to see more.

Take a look at the poster below, and let us know if you’re looking forward to the show! The Flash premieres on October 7th!


Based upon characters published by DC Comics. Through a freak accident, scientist Barry Allen is given the power of super speed that transforms him into the Fastest Man Alive.

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Geekscape Games Reviews: ‘Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1′ Tue, 26 Aug 2014 06:30:57 +0000 Platform: Playstation Vita

Release Date: August 26th, 2014

Genre: Japanese Role Playing

Developer: Idea Factory, Compile Heart, Felistella

Thinking back to the days when I first heard whispers of a new Playstation 3 RPG that would tackle the console wars with the magical girl genre, it would have been hard to imagine how far the concept would go. Yet, years after the debut of the original Hyperdimension Neptunia, the series has spawned sequels, its own anime and a very bad spinoff, to continuously feed its respectable following, making it a legitimate success. With each sequel improving on the last, the developers at Idea Factory decided to take the lessons they’ve learned to the Playstation Vita, creating a full remake of the original with Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1. By taking the best ideas from the second and third games and inserting them into Neptune’s first adventure, it’s safe to say that this release is on track to be the definitive version of the game that started it all. But are these enhancements enough of a reason to take a trip back to Gamindustri?

Nep_Re1_battle(32)Purple Heart soars into battle!

ReBirth puts players in the over-sized hoodie of Neptune, the goddess, (or CPU), of Planeptune. After being locked in an everlasting conflict known as the Console Wars, Neptune’s true form as Purple Heart is defeated, thanks to the combined efforts of Black Heart of Laststation, (or Playstation), Green Heart of Leanbox, (or Xbox), and White Heart of Lowee, (take a guess). After crash landing in the middle of her city with no memory of her true identity, she’s discovered by Compa, a ditzy nurse who somehow comes off as the more responsible of the two compared to Nep’s aloofness. In pursuit of her past, Neptune and her friends get wrapped up in a quest to save Gamindustri from a mysterious threat; one that puts all four realms at risk. But can the warring CPUs put aside their differences for the sake of saving the world?

The majority of the play time is spent in one of the game’s numerous dungeons, all of which are brimming with monsters and treasure, which is all presented in a bright, colorful world. Avoiding the tedium of random battles, all fights are triggered by making contact with enemies on the field, with the ability to strike enemies before battle to start with the upper hand. As expected, the enemies can do the same, so careless attacks can be punished in a big way.

Nep_Re1_battle(12)Gaining an early advantage and utilizing your attacks is the key to victory.

But first thing’s first. What kind of savior can protect people without fighting? If you typically associate JRPGs with slow, tedious battles, then ReBirth could be the game that changes your mind. Once these fights trigger, the turn based system is the only aspect you would be able to associate with the typical role playing game of old. When each party member’s turn comes up, they’ll have full range of motion within a certain radius, allowing players to position them in a spot that’s both offensively and defensively advantageous.

Nep_Re1_battle(29)Fewer foes are more menacing than the Super Otaku!

After a battle commences, each party member has three standard attack types, called Rush, Power and Break attacks, all of which have various advantages in a fight. Rush uses multi hit attacks that deal more damage than Break moves, and are primarily used to build up the EXE meter, (a bar that allows strong special attacks once filled). Power on the other hand, are typically single hit moves that deal more damage than the other two attack types. Yet, the most important function is easily the Break attack, which focuses on draining the opponent’s guard meter, triggering a huge damage boost once the enemy is weakened. As the party gets stronger, new special abilities become available, making it even more important to properly manage these three basic functions to deal maximum damage. And trust me, you’ll need to when going toe to toe with the game’s tough bosses.

Making this aspect even more important is its effect on your (and the enemy’s), ability to deal damage. The party’s attack range is illustrated by an icon that’s either in front or around them, with its reach depending on the character, ability and weapon they’re using. Mastering this feature is crucial to success when it comes to standard battles, since the right position can allow one attack to hit multiple opponents, especially when attempting to Guard Break huge groups at once. On the flip side, enemies have the same attack system, so keeping your party right next to each other is a one way ticket to an embarrassing Game Over. But when certain beneficial abilities work best when the team is within the vicinity of each other, sometimes, taking the risk can be beneficial. It’s moments like these where strategy adds a decent amount of depth to a relatively simple battle system, that adds layer upon layer as it progresses.

Outside of battles, Neptune and company can explore the terrain of each dungeon, seeking out valuable treasure with her radar, (used to uncover one hidden item per area), or through, plain, old fashion map scouring. While some can be used right out of the box, most treasures contain materials to synthesize other items. If this sounds familiar, that’s where the cliche ends, thanks to the game’s Remake System.

Nep_Re1_Field(4)Treasure hunting has never been so adorable.

In addition to creating items, the Remake System allows materials to be used to alter the game itself, allowing players to create an environment that suits their needs. Is that latest boss too tough for you to take down? Go ahead and remake the difficulty. Have you seen everything there is in a dungeon and want to explore it again? Then why not add harder enemies and new treasure? Or how about a new dungeon altogether? Yep, you can even add bonus dungeons to explore once the standard ones get dull.

Options like these really make ReBirth stand out, so even when the standard difficulty tends to be erratic, players can choose to change the game rather than put up with hours of level grinding. Although, if you’re too proud to take the helping hand, then those spikes may be more of an issue, especially when the game likes to put you up against multiple dungeons, enemies and bosses without save points or chances to heal. Do you like having to play chunks of a game over and over again? I don’t.

But there’s more to the world of Hyperdimension Neptunia then just the dungeons. Exploring Gamindustri is handled through a large overworld map, allowing players to select different areas to examine. Planeptune and its neighboring lands each have a Basilicom, or hub area. Here, the party can purchase items, weapons and gear, accept quests, (which range from boss fights, to hunting or gathering missions), seek information from each town’s strange inhabitants, and burn discs, which are customizable gear that can hold almost any stat boost or resistance you can think of, assuming you own the right items to do so. All of this mind you, is presented with a script that is laugh out loud funny on so many occasions, feeling like a true love letter to gamers who catch the many references to the medium. Even Neptune herself, gives us hope that all lazy, unreliable gamers out there can one day rise up and save the world. But not until filling up on junk food and finishing that one last stage, of course.

Nep_Re1_event(1)You would think the physical manifestation of a game console would know the drill by now.

But with such an endearing cast and interesting world the characters inhabit, it’s too bad that this doesn’t translate into the actual exploration of Gamindustri. With dungeons being the only areas to actually move around in, selecting icons and watching the story play out with text adventure style word bubbles set to backdrops, I felt eager to actually be able to walk around and communicate with these crazy characters, especially with the superb voice acting in both English and Japanese. It doesn’t help that the dungeons themselves come off as looking relatively bland, especially compared to the bright characters and monsters that often ooze personality without ever having to say a word. And at points, no words might have been the better option, since certain scenes featuring gratuitous fan service might make you feel embarrassed to read through those sections.

Nep_Re1_others(7)Sadly, this is the extent of which we get to explore Gamindustri.

Still, these complaints are a drop in the bucket compared to the ridiculous amount of fun I had playing through ReBirth. The fast paced game play combined with the endearing characters, hilarious writing, colorful presentation and the insane amount of customization makes this remake stand out as not only an improvement on the original, but one of the best Japanese RPGs I’ve played in years. Lack of true exploration aside, anyone with a passing interest in role playing games, anime, or nerdy video game references absolutely should pick up Hyper Dimension Neptunia Re;Birth1, serving as a true bright spot in the Vita’s bleak 2014.


+ A simple, fast paced battle system that adds layers over time.

+ The ability to customize everything from enemy layout to difficulty.

+ Multiple items to find, tough enemies to defeat, dozens of dungeons to explore and hundreds of quests give the game a ton of mileage.

+ A quirky cast of characters who inhabit a story that never takes itself seriously, brought to life by excellent voice actors.

- The lack of true exploration leaves us wondering what a fully realized Gamindustri could have been, with bland environments compared to the party and enemies.

- While optional difficulty adjustments alleviate the problem, sudden difficulty spikes and marathon dungeons can hinder progress.

-Occasional “fan service” moments may turn off some.

- While more of a minor thing, can party members who leave the team give my equipment back? Thieves…

Final Score: 4.5/5

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Geekscape Comics: Chris Sheridan’s ‘Motorcycle Samurai’ Is Now On Thrillbent! Tue, 26 Aug 2014 04:00:45 +0000 Briefly: Thrillbent just keeps getting better and better.

The service has already seen huge success with its launch of Vol 2. of Mark Waid’s Empire and James Tynion’s The House in the Wall, and today marks their first partnership with another publisher with the release of Chris Sheridan’s Motorcycle Samurai.

Not familiar with the book? It was originally released in 2013, and is about:

 A grueling desert wasteland, a mysterious stranger bound and hooded on the back of a motorcycle, and a tough-as-nails warrior out to deliver her cargo by any means necessary. The book blends elements of Mad Max and Kill Bill with loose-limbed energetic artwork and a jaw-dropping use of digital panel transitions. Strap in and let’s ride!

Thrillbent founder Mark Waid says that “We have one singular goal at Thrillbent -  to be the home of diverse, quality content that truly maximizes the benefits of the digital platform. Chris Sheridan’s masterpiece certainly fits the bill. We will continue to look to supplement our subscription with books from other publishers that meet our standards.”

So the service has a ton of content for the price of one big two book. That sounds pretty awesome to me. Check out the cover art for Motorcycle Samurai below, and let us know if you’re subscribing!


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Are Glenn And Daryl In Trouble? Here’s A New Teaser From ‘The Walking Dead’s Fifth Season! Tue, 26 Aug 2014 02:50:22 +0000 Briefly: Following the full trailer that premiered all the way back at SDCC (it seems like so long ago), AMC has debuted a short new teaser for The Walking Dead‘s fifth season.

Clocking in at an extremely brief 10 seconds long (AMC is loving their short teasers lately) the teaser focusses on Rick talking about his family (and what he’ll do if it’s hurt), while Glenn and Daryl look as though they’re in a very tough situation.

We’ve got less than two months of waiting left until The Walking Dead returns on October 12th, so for now take a look at the teaser below, and let us know what you think!

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Watch A Short New Teaser For ‘Better Call Saul’ Tue, 26 Aug 2014 02:08:51 +0000 Briefly: Following the tiny, tiny teaser released a few weeks back, AMC has released a slightly longer look at the upcoming series.

Better Call Saul is the prequel to the award-winning series Breaking Bad.  Gilligan and Breaking Bad writer and producer Peter Gould created the show together and serve as co-showrunners of the premiere season.  The series is set six years before Saul Goodman (Odenkirk) meets Walter White.  When we meet him, the man who will become Saul Goodman is known as Jimmy McGill, a small-time lawyer searching for his destiny, and, more immediately, hustling to make ends meet.  Working alongside, and, often, against Jimmy, is “fixer” Mike Erhmantraut (Banks), a beloved character introduced in Breaking Bad.  The series will track Jimmy’s transformation into Saul Goodman, the man who puts “criminal” in “criminal lawyer.”  The series’ tone is dramatic, woven through with dark humor.

The series has also received a solid premiere date, and will air its first episode on February 15th.

You can take a look at the new teaser, which features series creators Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould saying a few choice words about the series, below, and let us know what you think!

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The Red-Band Trailer For ‘As Above, So Below’ Is Freaky As Hell! Tue, 26 Aug 2014 01:57:47 +0000 Briefly: A new (and very red band) trailer for Legendary/Universal’s As Above, So Below just hit the web, and it is damn freaky.

Seriously, as tired as the found footage genre is these days, I was a huge fan of the Dowdle’s The Poughkeepsie Tapesand I cannot wait to see what they do with the Paris catacombs.

In the horror, miles of twisting catacombs lie beneath the streets of Paris, the eternal home to countless souls. When a team of explorers ventures into the uncharted maze of bones, they uncover the dark secret that lies within this city of the dead. A journey into madness and terror, “As Above, So Below” reaches deep into the human psyche to reveal the personal demons that come back to haunt us all.

Eric had the awesome opportunity to interview the Dowdles and star Perdita Weeks, so be on the lookout for those later this week, and check out the new trailer below! The film hits theatres on August 29th!

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Geekscape 333: Appreciating The Power Rangers! Mon, 25 Aug 2014 17:54:08 +0000 Power Morphicon was this past weekend and everyone was there celebrating all things Mighty Morphin Power Rangers! Oh, except me. I don’t know up from down when it comes to Power Rangers so I recruited our resident expert Eric Francicso, who has been going to Morphicon since 2007, to break things down for me. How was Morphicon? What were the big announcements? And for a newbie like me, what’s the best way to start watching the series? He spells things out pretty clear on this new episode so I guess it’s Morphin Time!

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]]> 0 Geekscape,Jonathan London,Mighty Morphin Power Rangers,Morphicon,NYCC,Power Morphicon,Power Rangers,Saban Entertainment,TV It's Morphin Time! It's Morphin Time! Geekscape no 57:37
The 5 Best And 5 Worst Bits Of The ‘Doctor Who’ Premiere Mon, 25 Aug 2014 05:36:23 +0000 As let down as I was by the Tranzalore episode last December, I was still in a stew of anticipation for the new Doctor and the new series. As the premiere date got closer, I’ll even admit that the anticipation wound up to a fevered pitch. I was very, very, very excited!

So, I wanted to wait a day before I wrote up my thoughts about the premiere episode of Doctor Who‘s eighth season, “Deep Breath,” in order to separate coherent opinion from a sort of post-Christmas morning let down. So, a day (and one more viewing) later, and I’ve found (disappointingly) that the issues remain.

Not to say there weren’t flashes of pure, Doctor-y brilliance in the episode. And if Peter Capaldi, our new Doctor, can be that good amidst that much rubbish, imagine how good he’ll be when he actually gets a better story!

Needless to say, if you haven’t seen the newest episode, and don’t like spoilers, don’t read any further!

Peter Capaldi as Doctor Who and Jenna Coleman as Clara. Courtesy of the BBC

Peter Capaldi as Doctor Who and Jenna Coleman as Clara.
Courtesy of the BBC

So, first, what worked:

1. Peter Capaldi: From ‘furious eyebrows’ to dinosaur-translating to that delightful Scottish brogue, Capaldi’s Doctor is angry, wry, sad, puzzled, conceited, arrogant, lost, humble and very, very lonely (as all of Moffat’s Doctors are). From the ungainly fingers sticking out in all directions to the sauve pose and reveal of the red silk lining of his new suit; from the desperate wretchedness of “Who frowned this face for me?” to the rapier-wit comedy of “You said that all by yourself”; from the frantic flirting with a larger-than-it-should-be dinosaur to the calm humor when he tells Clara (Jenna Coleman) that he is not her boyfriend, Capaldi reveled in his Doctor, and invited us along for (what I hope will be an amazing) ride.

2. Vastra and Jenny Flint (mostly): Vastra (Neve McIntosh) has always been one of my favorite reoccurring characters, and her and Jenny Flint’s (Catrin Stewart) relationship is given more time in this episode than any other; Jenny almost becomes a fully fleshed character. The quick allusions to Vastra’s other cases make me want a spin-off (though the Sherlock Homes references got to be a little much) and their lizard-lady kiss was certainly the first of its kind on television. Vastra provided such much needed snark and sarcasm (until she also become a monologue mouthpiece bent on lecturing fan-girls, but more on that later).

3. The Alley Scene: Capaldi and a homeless man in an alley, where Capaldi ruminates on ‘why this face.’ Moffat writing at its best: evocative, funny, illuminating without feeling like an info-dump, and creating a connection with the audience. By the end of that scene, I was sold on Capaldi’s Doctor.

4. Jenna/Doctor in the Restaurant Scene: It was funny. Both Coleman and Capaldi were obviously enjoying themselves, and the banter fairly sparkled. For that brief scene, I could see Clara and the Doctor as a team (versus other scenes, where I keep being told they were but didn’t actually see it).

5. Heaven/The Last Scene: Did I miss something? Do we know that woman named Missy (Michelle Gomez)?? Who was she? Where was she? How does she know the Doctor? What is she on about? In 30-seconds I went from ‘meh’ to ‘oh, ok, well I guess I have to watch this season.’ She’s clearly going to be a presence over the next few months. If anyone knows who she is, please say in the comments! Or even if all you have is a vague idea or an loud opinion. It is the Internet, after all. Don’t be shy!

Doctor Who

Michelle Gomez as Missy the Mystery Woman in Doctor Who: Season Eight.
Courtesy of the BBC

Alright, now on to what didn’t work.

And so much didn’t, right? Huge plot holes; convenient, highly-coincidental happenings; every single character getting a two minute monologue about how the new Doctor is the Doctor and how we should all just get over it and move on; a bad-guy that was oh-so-not-subtly a mirror to our own Doctor’s emotional state–the list, quite literally, goes on.

1. The Dinosaur: I have nothing against the odd dinosaur (I went through the dinosaurs are awesome phase just like everyone else) but why? And how? The TARDIS has been stuck inside any number of things (organic and inorganic) and time-traveled out of them, and none of those things got pulled along for the ride (and this dino is HUGE. Sorry, Vastra, you’re ‘I was there.’ didn’t explain away that one). And aside from the ‘huh…how?’ issue, there’s the fact that now we have an episode about a dinosaur, an ancient being, lost out of its time, alone and stranded, worlds away from its family and home (gee, are you getting some subtext here? You should be, because, like a lot of this episode, it’s not so much sub- as just right out there, completely textual). And if for some reason we didn’t grasp the allegory, Moffat made sure we did by having the finally-asleep-Doctor translate the lost, lonely and cold dinosaur’s thoughts for us.

2. The Attempts at Humor: This is mostly about Strax. I usually really like Strax and his obtuse, violence-first approach is good for a gallows humor. This episode, his humor is too broad, too easy. And the bit where he hits Clara in the head with the newspaper? What was that? It wasn’t funny, and it cuts from Clara flying backward, directly to Clara coming into the kitchen with neither a bruise, nor any discussion about the concussion-causing projectile. And the medical examination that follows (though explained by Strax) seems gratuitous (oh, hey, your subconscious shows men playing sport and sex! You naughty girl! How dare you have a perfectly healthy libido!). Other ‘funny’ moments that weren’t: the Doctor falling through the trees; the Doctor flipping onto the horse (only because it looked so odd); Vastra having Jenny strike a pose but not really painting her, and then asking Clara to take her clothes off when she comes into the room; Clara kicking the sonic screwdriver into (we’re led to believe) the Doctor’s crotch (hey, dick humor! Everyone likes that, right?)

The jokes feel forced and fall flat–while individually funny, perhaps, they don’t feel coherent with the whole. It’s like halfway through someone said, ‘oh, this Doctor is too dark. Too edgy. Let’s force in some humor–hey, those Three Stooges were funny, right? Why not try some stuff like that?’

Vastra and Strax in Season Eight, Episode One "Deep Breath.: Courtesy of the BBC

Vastra and Strax in Season Eight, Episode One “Deep Breath.:
Courtesy of the BBC

 3. The Lectures: By my count, we were told on four separate occasions that the Doctor was still the Doctor, he just looked different. Older, grayer, but still the Doctor, and we just needed to get over it and accept it. And if we couldn’t, well, then, we weren’t worthy to be in his presence (or hang out with Vastra’s unveiled self, either). Much like the end of the Christmas Special, the characters take time out from the episode to essentially to give the audience (really, the super-fans) a little scolding. Now, I was sad to see Matt Smith’s Doctor go, but was looking forward to a new Doctor (that is, after all, part of the charm of the show). Being constantly reprimanded about how missing the old Doctor was somehow selfish, childish and judgmental soured a great deal of the episode for me. Which leads me to…

4. Clara: Jenna Coleman seems like a perfectly nice, gracious and talented young woman. But to be honest, I have never been a huge fan of the Clara companion. And in this episode she surpassed her worst moments from all of last season combined–through no fault of her own, or even her character’s. Rather, it felt like Moffat had decided to use her as a stand-in for every Super Fan who went into hysterics when Matt Smith left, and then twisted and forced the episode to show how shallow, unsubstantial, egomaniacal and self-centered those Super Fans are–and, as mentioned in point #3, every character there, up to and including Matt Smith’s Doctor, decided to give her a lecture.

On top of that, she was singularly useless. Why was she even there? We kept getting told how important she was to the Doctor, but other than vacillating between dull disdain of his new form (how many gray hair insults can you cram into an hour-and–half show?), near-hysteria over the new Doctor’s behavior, and perky-wide-eyed naivete, she didn’t seem important. Yes, she told us a number of times (as did Vastra, and Strax and even the Matt Smith Doctor himself) how important she was to him, but why?

And how many times was she going to have to get saved by the Doctor? I counted three times in one episode. When the Doctor leaves her behind in the Larder, there’s a GIANT LEVER right next to the door, and instead of pulling it and, I don’t know, escaping, she decides to hold her breath and cry. Why? Supposedly Jenna Coleman is leaving after the Christmas Special, and if this episode is any indication of what they are doing with her character, I can’t blame her.

Peter Calpaldi as the 12th Doctor. Courtesy of the BBC

Peter Calpaldi as the 12th Doctor.
Courtesy of the BBC

5. Gaping Plot Holes. Gaping Plot Holes Every Where: The aforementioned dinosaur. The killing of said dinosaur for its optic nerve (what?? really??). The clockwork re-building robots (yet another metaphor of regeneration and renewal, in case we weren’t getting the inner turmoil) living under Victorian London.

Note: For those of you wondering, the clockwork fix-it robots first showed up during David Tennant’s Doctor in an episode titled The Girl in the Fireplace. It’s the only 2006 episode written by Moffat. If you haven’t seen it, you should. It is very, very good, and also one of the first episodes that unequivocally makes the Doctor a romantic figure. Which makes this episode’s clear statement that the Doctor is not a romantic figure very much the bookend at the end of that particular era.)

The Doctor and Clara getting stuck in the restaurant (what happened to the Doctor running away?). Once in the Larder and running away, Clara has to go back for the Doctor, pushing him in front of her, and then stops, for NO REASON, and that’s why he leaves her behind (‘Too slow.’ the Doctor says. But she wasn’t).

I don’t mind the idea of this Doctor being one to sacrifice others for a greater good–the Doctor has done that in the past–but I do have a problem with it being so blatantly stupid.  The fact that Clara pounds on the door and wails against its not opening when there’s a GIANT RED LEVER right next to it. The fact that she stays in the Larder for an improbable amount of time when the door is open, panicking. The fact that the clockwork robots can tell if you’re breathing, but crying apparently does not clue them into one’s humanity. The fact that Vastra and Jenny swirl down to the larder on giant swathes of cloth but don’t think to, I don’t know, drop a rope or ladder so they can get out. No, they literally jump in and pull their only method of escape down with them. Or that Strax, the military-trained, death-before-dishonor, we-are-Sparta-warrior-dude was the first to need to breathe and didn’t even react to that.

Or the fact that the entire episode is spent telling Clara that this Doctor is different. He’s not her Doctor anymore. He’s still the Doctor, but changed, and she’ll need to accept his changes and then at the very end, the Doctor comes out and says he hasn’t changed, he’s exactly the same, and can’t she see him for him?

So which is it? It’s enough to make a girl’s head explode.

Dinosaur!?! Courtesy of BBC

Courtesy of BBC

I have high hopes about Capaldi’s Doctor and the rest of the season. This particular episode was not a great one–certainly not for such a long-awaited premiere–but there were hints of a excellence in it. I hope the rest of the season gets better. Considering the episode didn’t even touch on Gallifrey and the other Time Lords who clearly exist since, you know, they saved the Doctor, hopefully we’ll find out more about that soon.

Also, what kind of Doctor do we think this 12th Doctor will be? If the 10th Doctor was ‘the one who regrets’ and the 11th Doctor was the ‘one who forgets’ does that make the 12th Doctor the one who’s redeemed? It certainly seems so, with the Doctor’s ‘I’ve made mistakes’ speech.

What did you think? Love Capaldi? Hate Capaldi? Don’t care? Let us know in the comments!

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Geekscape Interviews GirlsDrawinGirls! Sat, 23 Aug 2014 08:02:01 +0000 While at San Diego Comic-Con, I was able to attend a cool event at the Chuck Jones Gallery co-hosted by GirlsDrawinGirls and 6-Point Harness (6PH). Their art was featured during a special “What’s Up Doc?”, a Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibit Service museum exhibit. After the event, I was able to interview Melody Severns, one of the co-creators of GirlsDrawinGirls.

Print used at the Chuck Jones event with Pepe Le Pew and Gigi “Aroma Therapy” by Jennifer Llewellyn

So what exactly is GirlsDrawinGirls?

GirlsDrawinGirls is an international group of around 200 women artists who draw pin up art to showcase the vast amount of female talent working professionally in the animation, film, comics, and illustration industry.  We draw pin up art as a way to give our take on femininity and sexuality from a woman’s point of view.  Together we have inspired each other, given each other positive and constructive feedback, and promoted a strong support system of women working in the same field.  Since the birth of the group, we have been featured in Italian Vogue, did an art show at Galerie Arludik in Paris, France, and worked with the Chuck Jones Gallery for a show during the 2014 San Diego Comic Con.

How did it get started?

GirlsDrawinGirls started as the brainchild of me and my friend, Anne Walker Farrell as a way to get all the talented women we knew in animation together on a fun project.  Both of us were college friends and went to art school together at The Laguna College of Art and Design.  When we got out into the industry, we realized that there were very few women directors, and also a fewer presence of women who draw pin up art of women at conventions, like Comic-Con.  We got about 18 of our collaborative friends together to create our very first book, “GirlsDrawinGirls, vol. 1: A Girl in Time”, and since then, this group has gained momentum and has snowballed into an international movement.

Was there a particular moment that sparked your need to create GirlsDrawinGirls?

I don’t know if there was a particular moment, I think it was more like “moments”, but I can give you an early example of who I’ve become today.  Growing up, I was always a kid that liked to do things my own way.  I would play “Batman” with the neighborhood kids, insist on being Catwoman, and I would also insist that Catwoman was more powerful than Batman, and I had all the reasons why.  I just never thought that women should be considered less qualified than a man, if they were indeed intelligent, strong, and confident.  As I got into my career, I noticed that there were so many tremendously talented women I knew that could draw circles around the best of them.  I figured I could take characteristics from the part of me that was the child that wouldn’t take no for an answer about Catwomen being cooler than Batman and use it to show that women can be just as good, if not better than anyone else in the industry.

Why pin-up?

I think pin-up is a great way to give women a voice in how they want to represent their own sexuality.  There is nothing wrong with women being sexual, and there is nothing wrong with embracing that side of oneself.  It is empowering.

“Bonus” by Melody Severns


How would you describe your personal style?

I have a very cartoony style.  I come from an animation background, so I tend to draw women realistically, with some cartoon/comic tones.  I also have grown to love watercolors and I try to use them for personal art as much as I can.

How long have you been an artist?

I have been an artist for as long as I can remember.  My grandfather was an animator for Disney back in the days of Bambi and Cinderella.  He was always a huge inspiration for me.  My family never discouraged me from pursuing my artistic endeavors, so I am tremendously grateful for that.  My grandfather has since passed away, so there’s always a part of me that continues to push myself in the hopes that I would have made him proud.

As a female artist, do you feel you are judged differently than your male counterparts?

This is a tough question, because in no way do I feel negatively or disrespect from the great men that I have in my life, or have met in my career.  That being said, I do think there is a general stigma that women should feel bad about drawing anything that depicts sexuality, especially female sexuality, which is absurd.  There is also sometimes a stigma in the industry that women in a position of authority can be taken as a “bitch”, and a man in a position of authority is just a strong go getter.  I think it’s time to change all of this.  These are archaic beliefs that need to be changed.  GirlsDrawinGirls seeks to be the positive counterpart to outdated beliefs.

There is a wonderful variety in style amongst the GirlsDrawinGirls artists. What do you look for when women want to join?

I basically just look to see if there is a general strong idea of form, anatomy, style, and structure.  I love that we have a variety of styles, and I hope that we continue on that trend.  Having many voices makes us better and more interesting.

  GirlsDrawinGirls logo girl, Gigi, with an owl by Jennifer Gheduzzi

Any advice to women artists out there?

My advice is to learn as much as you can and to always improve.  Never take criticism personally.  Always grow, and always be up for adapting.  Never take failure personally.  Failure is actually a part of success.  Some of the best people in the world have had to experience rejection.  What makes them stand out from the crowd is the ability to endure.  Always endure, you are stronger than you could ever imagine.

GirlsDrawinGirls had a fun event at the Chuck Jones Gallery at Comic-Con. Can you please tell me how that event came about?

A good friend of mine introduced me to the fine folks at the Chuck Jones Gallery.  I was so honored and thrilled that they were interested in working with me and my group.  Chuck Jones has always been a strong inspiration of mine and his daughter, Linda Jones Clough wrote the foreword for GDG’s fourth book.  It was a privilege to work with such animation royalty who are also genuinely wonderful people.  I look forward to working with them more in the future!

How do you think the event went?

I could not be more pleased with the evening.  People were excited not only about the art of GirlsDrawinGirls, but also with the art of Chuck Jones.  It was so fun talking to fans and supporters of both GirlsDrawinGirls and The Chuck Jones Gallery.  It definitely made this year’s Comic-Con my favorite that I have ever been a part of (and I have been a part of a few!)


What was your favorite part of that evening?

One of my favorite parts was being able to talk to the crowd about how I met Chuck Jones during his last public speaking event when I was in college.  I shook his hand and was able to hear a legend talk.  I found out earlier that day, as I spoke to this daughter, Linda at a signing at the GirlsDrawinGirls booth that he was sick during that time, but the excitement that he got from inspiring young people made him happy, eager, and full of energy.  I never knew that not only was that a big moment for me in my life, but it was also a big moment for him and his family.  That experience was none other than a blessing that I was fortunate to have.

What is next for GirlsDrawinGirls?

Coming up in October, we have a solo art show of one of our featured artists, Ashley Brooke Cooper at the historic Egyptian Theater in Hollywood, California.  It will be during the 80th anniversary premiere of Cecil B. DeMille’s film, “Cleopatra” and all of Ashley’s art will be celebrating ancient Egyptian women.  In the grander scheme of things, GirlsDrawinGirls is looking to branch out more internationally.  We have created a Canada chapter and are looking at doing more international shows in the future.  We want to take on the world!

What is next for you?

I am currently working as an animation producer, so I am excited to see where that path takes me.  I also want to continue with my path of leading GirlsDrawinGirls.  The group’s name is bigger and more recognized than my own, and I consider that a success.  This movement is bigger than me, and is about empowering women as a whole.  I am honored to be the spokeswoman for it.

Besides the GirlsDrawinGirls site, where else can people find more information?

You can follow us on Facebook:

On Twitter: @grlsdrawingrls

On Instagram: @girlsdrawingirls

and on our blog:

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