SadGirlCWOf all the weeks to be running into issues every time Rob and I want to sit down and try to bang out the damn podcast.

So, you may have noticed for the last couple nights we’ve thrown up a quick site business to explain the delay of our typical Sunday night podcast, which tens of you have come to know and rely on. If it wasn’t full on internet drought in the wilds of northern New England (and, frankly, how dare the White Mountains have no fucking Wi-Fi, amiright?), it was traffic and travel related. Tonight? Skynet. No, but seriously, Rob has run into an issue at his job he needs to stay ridiculously late for. I’d do the podcast myself, but I think we all know that while I’m good at saying really awful things at inopportune times, the show really needs Rob’s dick jokes to bring the whole thing into full focus. They say write about what you know and I am, well, dickless. It’s true. I checked.

It’s absolutely the worst time to find life hamstringing us like this; there are a lot of really interesting stories that have come out of New York Comic Con. For example, the attendance numbers at NYCC reportedly exceeded those of the San Diego Comic-Con. This year, 151,000 separate attendees all washed up on the doorstep of the Javitz Center. That is 21,000 more than San Diego. Given the crush of humanity that is the SDCC experience, I can only imagine what it must have been like to try to move around in that. It’s a mixed blessing. As more and more folks come out to see what all the geek fuss is about, the harder it is to actually get around to see all the panels, pros, vendors, and general weirdness that we’re all coming out to celebrate. NYCC has already set a date next year for October 8-11, 2015. The good news for folks who are specifically out to celebrate comics culture though is that there will be a special comics oriented edition in June on the 13th and 14th. This is actually a trend I’d like to see continue for some of the bigger cons. I hope it is a sign of more mindfully planned, better targeted convention experiences for fans going forward.

And then there is some of the news coming out of comics entertainment press in the past couple days.

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LP So, MTV has decided that it needs to up its presence at Comic-Con. This year it will hold something called the mtvU Fandom Awards and a MTV Fan Fest. Here, let them tell you about it:

Grammy-winning rock band Linkin Park will headline the first ever mtvU Fandom Awards and MTV Fan Fest, both of which will be held on Thursday, July 24, at Petco Park during San Diego’s Comic-Con. Then on Sunday, July 27, at 8 p.m., on the final day of Comic-Con, MTV and mtvU will air the 60-minute mtvU Fandom Awards special, showcasing the musical performances from the Linkin Park-headlined show, and honoring all of the fans whose passion have swept across the globe, stemming out of Comic-COn.

“The mtvU Fandom Awards will reinvent the traditional award show format,” says executive producer Ryan Kroft. “In addition to handing out trophies, we will recognize the achievements of fans and their favorite obsessions with special surprises and experiences. It’s the perfect event to reward the fans at Comic-Con, the epicenter of all fandoms.”

Yes, because when I think of nerd fandoms, so often my mind immediately turns to MTV…and Linkin Park. Not.

It seems between this and Zachary Levi’s Nerd HQ, which we talked about here, Petco’s going to be hopping for the duration of the convention.

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I obtained a classical liberal arts education from the late 80s to the early 90s. That education included writing, which led me to a stint in stand-up comedy. It included broadcasting, which led me to a short career as a rock and roll disc jockey. And it included a computer science minor, which has led me to a long and lucrative career in software engineering. It was four years that led me to an eclectic mix of jobs and experiences, and to a long-term gig on the cutting edge of computer security.

I have wasted my fucking life.

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akira_movie_poster_2001I went to my first comic book convention in 1990, when I was 19 years old. It in no way resembled the comic book conventions I currently attend; it was in a small function room on the second floor of a hotel in Boston’s Chinatown, and was packed with nothing but dealers from local comic stores, with big plywood backboards of rare and old comics that my college student ass wouldn’t be able to afford until he hit 40 years old (and by then, inflation would mean that I still wouldn’t be able to afford them).

There was one exception: there was, as there is at every comic convention in the free world, a table covered in bootleg videos. At the time they were all on hand-Sharpied VHS cassettes, but they had some cool shit. Like Die Hard 2, a couple of days before the movie even opened in theaters (the purchase of which got me so much high school girl tail that summer)…

And Akira, which at the time, I’d never heard of. It wasn’t released in my southeastern Massachusetts town, and it wasn’t really available on commercial video cassette at the time. The dude running the bootleg table was showing the movie on a TV in the background, and I’d never seen animation like that before.

I wound up buying the flick purely based on what I saw on that 19-inch TV screen, and fell in love with the movie. I am not what you’d call a big anime fan, but I have the original DVD special edition of Akira that came out in the early 2000s, in the aluminum clamshell case. I have the MacFarlane Toys Kaneda action figure and his motorcycle displayed on my living room book shelf. I have all six volumes of the Dark Horse Comics English reprint of the original manga (and a bunch of issues of the Epic Comics color reprint of the same series from the late 80s). And I have a print of the original movie poster framed and hanging in the Crisis On Infinite Midlives Podcast Studio.

These are all reasons why I, like many people, have been ambivalent at best and angry at worst about the repeating reports that studios are working on a live action adaptation of Akira. Particularly when those rumors included the casting of Keanu Reeves. Why? I will allow you to insert your own “Tetsu – whoa!” joke here, because I am a classy man.

When that version of the movie went down, no tears were shed here, and we hoped that no one would take on the task of a live action Akira movie again. However, while the studio project has been in turnaround, some people running something called The Akira Project raised some crowdfunding cash to put together a live action Akira trailer. Which they have completed. And for which I had no hope.

Until I saw it. And. Holy. Shit.

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sdcc_logoWe’ve written more than once about the Herculean, if not Sisyphean, effort it takes to attend San Diego Comic-Con these days. The Hercules metaphor is probably more accurate, since between pre-registration, registration, hotel registration and assorted travel and vacation time booking, the steps you need to complete to make it to the show approach Twelve Labours. However, for many people the Sisyphus analogy is more apropos, because when it comes to Comic-Con, if you make a single misstep, the rock will roll right back down over you.

With that said, there has always been one final chance for all comers to attend Comic-Con: the final badge resale. For the past few years, what has happened is that, once the first cancellation deadline for hotel rooms passed (which happened on April 30th this year) and the convention badge refund date has gone by, the nice folks who run the convention sell the returned badges to desperate people who haven’t been able to navigate the process fully successfully.

So that’s nice, isn’t it? No matter what happens leading up to the final date, everyone gets one last bite at the apple to attend the biggest pop culture convention of the year. So that final badge resale should be happening any day now, right?

Yeah, not this year.

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How does Spider-Man get around when he runs out of his precious bodily web fluid? Why, parkour of course!

In this video, Ronnie Shalvis, who you may remember from the Assassin’s Creed themed parkour training videos, suits up in an actual, official, Sony Studios Spidey costume and demonstrates for the world what might have happened if Peter Parker got his nose out of his books, blew off the Oscorp field trip, and went outside and got some fresh air…but was still obsessed with dressing up in red and blue jammies.

Check out the “Making Of” video, after the jump.

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american_classic_arcade_museum_marqueeSo have you heard the urban legend about when Atari buried about a million copies of the E. T.: The Extra Terrestrial in a hole in the desert? The rumor is that Atari whipped out the E. T. video game in about six weeks to make the almighty Christmas dollar, and when the game turned out to be a giant, buggy, stinking pile of shit (that part’s not a rumor; I borrowed the game from a buddy back in sixth grade for a weekend, and have never been so happy that I didn’t spend my own allowance on something) that no one wanted to buy, Atari’s management sent truckloads of of the game to the middle of the desert, under cover of darkness, to drop in a dark hole to take as some kind of filthy tax write-off.

It’s an event that, while a lot of people thought it was apocryphal, is widely considered to be the beginning of the end of the original era of classic video games. Within a couple of years, the Atari 2600 and 5200 had gone down (along with ColecoVision, which was the biggest and most advanced competitor for the home video game throne until people just stopped giving a shit) and video arcades began a long, slow decline to take a place in Americana with the drive-in movie theater: an institution that once was everywhere, but that now you need to really hunt for.

And it all started with an alleged hole in the desert, dug by a company that did something that the full weight and power of the United States Government was unable to do: kill E. T.

Or at least it was an alleged hole. This weekend, a group of documentary filmmakers successfully found that hole in an Alamogordo, NM landfill and unearthed a bunch of copies of the E. T. cartridge, thereby bringing to light the end of the first golden age of video games.

And it is purely by coincidence that the bulk of the Crisis On Infinite Midlives staff made our semi-annual visit to the American Classic Arcade Museum at the Funspot Arcade in Laconia, NH, to get back a taste of the meaty days of that first golden age.

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Need a quick fix of J.H. Williams III’s art before the next installment of Sandman: Overture hits the shelves, which, frankly could be weeks or months. Great! Then check out his work in the most unlikely of places – a Blondie video.

Actually, his style does seem to work nicely with Debbie Harry’s vocals. As, someone who grew up listening to Blondie, I’m not sure I’m down on giving her work the Autotune treatment, but this is probably why I’m not pop music’s demographic anymore.

Check out the album art after the jump.

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So, in honor of the Batman 75th anniversary, this Batman Beyond short by Darwyn Cooke was just screened out at WonderCon in Anaheim today:

Clever homage to all the various Batmen from the past 75 years. I particularly like the robot Adam West Batman at 1:06.

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Today being Easter, the Crisis On Infinite Midlives Home Office has been traveling to see family and encountering some…automotive issues. Pop quiz – a car don’t really need a roof, right? We’re hoping to keep the podcast streak alive, though. Tune in tomorrow to see if we make the cast a three-fer. Meanwhile, happy Zombie Jesus and Related Chocolate Bunny Needs Day!

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spider-man_web_shooter_toy_70sWhen I was a kid, every time my grandmother would visit, she would bring me Spider-Man web shooter toys like the one pictured at the left. They were basically the spring-loaded suction cup dart guns that you could buy at the drug store for three bucks, only modified with the handle yanked off, a wristband attached, and a button instead of a trigger. You strapped the thing to your wrist, tied a string to the suction cup dart, socketed the dart in the “web shooter,” and blasted it at stuff.

The problem with the toy was that the suction cup would only reliably stick to one thing: the refrigerator. So Grandma would roll in, hand me the toy and catch up with my mom, while I spent hours shouting at an imaginary Green Goblin, licking the suction cup and shooting the fridge with a loud “thwack!” This was excellent fun for me. For my mom, who had to clean about 700 kid-spittled suction cup marks off the front of the refrigerator, it was less so.

I always seemed to lose the toy within a day after Grandma packed up and went home… by which I mean that, when I was about 25, my mom finally copped to throwing the damned things away the minute Grandma’s taillights went around the corner and my back was turned. She must have chucked about 10 of the things… and considering that the last auction for one of them that I could find showed it selling around $425, I will make sure that, when the day comes, she knows that that is the reason she was put in the cheapest nursing home available. And I will pay the rotten orderlies extra to put drooly suction cup marks on her refrigerator.

The sting of those lost toys was alleviated somewhat for me today when I came across this video made by an German gentleman named Patrick Priebe, who makes, as you might guess from his Web site, laser gadgets. But he also does other more practical (and by “practical,” I merely mean “they don’t exclusively use lasers”) gizmos, like this wrist crossbow, or this other crossbow that shoots buzzsaw blades.

Well, his latest invention is a web shooter. And not a web shooter that works like Spider-Man; Priebe seems like a clever fella, but inventing an industrial solvent that can support hundreds of pounds and then completely disappear in an hour is above almost anyone’s pay grade. No, this is closer to the long-lost toys of my childhood: it fires a dart on a string. Of course, that dart is a sharp, barbed monstrosity fired via a powerful capacitor-driven electromagnet, but it’s in the same ballpark.

It is somewhat unfortunate that I am aware this device exists, because now I may need to contact this guy and see if it’s for sale. And once that happens, it is only a matter of time before the line, “A Massachusetts man was arrested on Christmas Day for repeatedly firing a harpoon into his mother’s refrigerator while shrieking, ‘We’ll be even when I do $5,000 worth of damage!'” appears in a Florida newspaper.

Ah well. You can check this nifty little modern throwback out, in action, after the jump.

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