Four Letter Nerd

Category - Lifestyle

Terrible Comic Book Friends – Eddie Brock

We all have those “friends.” You know, the ones you don’t really like, but they are in your social circle so you have to put up with them. Maybe they are a friend of one of your friends. Maybe it’s someones boyfriend who is just a crappy guy, or maybe it’s a girlfriend who just sucks the life out of her boyfriend and all of his friends. We ALL know someone like this, and it’s such a struggle to put up with these kinds of people. And, have you ever stopped to noticed that these crummy people always end up being the popular ones? And this leaves you on the sidelines thinking “What…? Why doesn’t anyone else see this?!?! How is this person popular?” Well, no one knows this feeling better than everyone’s favorite neighborhood Spider-Man, Peter Parker.

Peter just seems to have THE WORSE luck. It’s that Parker Luck that everyone knows so well in our little nerd community. When one thing starts going well, there seems to be several things that come crashing down. There is no better example than the delightful, wonderful, and caring character that is Eddie Brock, better known as Venom (that was sarcasm, Eddie is neither delightful, wonderful, nor caring). A little back-story on the delightful character that is Venom… he grew up with just a father, his mom died during his childbirth and this in turn lead to his dad resenting him for his entire life. Brock spent many years trying to impress his father, whether that was through sports or academics, but his father still wont approve of him. The entire origin story is made for us to slightly feel bad for the character, but as he involves into a villain, and later an anti-hero (See 2011’s Spider-Island), we begin to see the character in a better light, but that is fairly debatable on if Eddie is still a good “friend.”

 

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Eddie HATES Spider-Man, with a passion. Our friendly Spider-Man “essentially” ruined Eddie’s life and/or carrier. Eddie was working as a journalist, similar to Peter, and working on a high profile case, Sin-Eater. He’s contacted by who he believes is the killer, but in reality it’s someone who is just a compulsive confessor. Spider-Man catches the real Sin-Eater after Eddie runs an exposé revealing that the villain is the false suspect and this pretty much ruins his career. Eddie heads to a church to ask God for forgiveness and plans to take his life, but at this moment the venom symbiote attaches to Eddie Brock and forever takes over his life (Spider-Man was at the church getting rid of said symbiote). From this moment on, Eddie becomes the epitome of  Gym, Tan, Laundry, and Getting Swole Bruh. Besides being Venom, Eddie also later works with the United States Military (as Venom), and after suffering with Cancer, Eddie becomes Anti-Venom and plans to cure the world of the Venom Symbiote that plagues him for so long.

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But even with the good AND bad that Venom has done, he’s still just a shitty “friend.” Now, he’s not exactly Peter Parker’s friend, but surly this guy has got to have some friends? Maybe he has a roommate he lives with and he’s just a dick too. You know, he would be the type of guy who would have a date with a really attractive person, but blow them off because he has to keep working out. Besides being a gym rat, I can see Eddie also being the type of guy who is WAY to confident, like, in anything he does he thinks he’s the best at it. A jack of all trades, but the master of nothing. Finally Eddie seems like the kinda guy you would find in a bar being the center of attention, he’s the alpha male. Plan and simple, he’s gotta be the biggest threat in a room, the toughest guy around, and he’s not going to listen to you. If there is a conflict while drinking, Eddie is going to solve the problem with his two best friends; left hook and right hook.

With all this being said, Eddie wouldn’t be the guy you want to run into while grabbing a drink with some friends. There will be problems when he’s around, and you’ll end up pissed off or worse. When I think of Eddie Brock, I think of Brock Lesnar. So chances are, and this is a blanket statement, if you have “Brock” in your name (And you aren’t in Pokemon) people won’t be too fond of you. (Apologies to anyone named Brock who may be reading this but, really, you should be mad at your parents.)

Who do you think is a shitty comic book friend? Let us know in the comments, and tell us why you think they are.

Marvel Collector Corps: Is It Worth It?

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Every time I turn on the computer lately I see another advertisement for the latest and greatest subscription box.  Over the last few weeks I have seen everything from gourmet chocolate boxes to tactical/survival gear, but no box has intrigued me more than the recently announced Marvel Collector Corps.  When I first heard about it back in February, I decided to check out the first box to see if it was worth the price of admission, which is roughly $32 after shipping and handling.  Lo and behold, on April 25 I was graced with this beautiful package sitting on my front porch:

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Before we get into the exclusive items contained in the box, let’s see what Marvel Collector Corps has to say about who they are:

Marvel Collector Corps is a subscription box service designed by Marvel and Funko.  Created for the Marvel Collector, each box delivers 100% exclusive premium collectibles, apparel, and accessories direct from the Marvel Universe to your doorstep.  Each box is built around a major Marvel event.  Marvel Collector Corps celebrates the dedicated Marvel fan and intends to create a new Marvel Collector elite!

Unlike LootCrate (which we previously reviewed), this box comes once every other month, which makes it a little easier to stomach the $32 coming out of my bank account. As you can see in the photo above, this particular box focuses on the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron, while the next one will center on the release of Ant-Man.

Below you will find a picture of each item exactly how they arrived, along with estimated pricing for each piece.  Please note: all of these items are exclusives so exact pricing is tough to come by.

Collector Corps Pin

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When you first crack open the box you are greeted by Steve Rogers, aka Captain America, in this nifty little collector pin and the villainous patch below.  The only place you can find this particular pin is either in Collector Corps box OR by searching Ebay by the people who immediately sell the innards of subscription boxes.

Similar pins range anywhere between $1.75 and $5.97, so I will split the difference and say this is probably worth around $3.25.

Collector Corps Patch

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The other item sitting on the top of everything else was this nifty Collector Corps embroidered patch.  Like everything else in this box it was a little difficult to find an exact price on this guy.  According to Amazon a majority of these patches range anywhere from $4.50 to $7.99.  Since this patch is on the nicer side I would guess its worth at around $6.99.

Funko Pop! Hulkbuster

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This. Thing. Is. Huge.  The kid in me wants to rip open the box and play with it while the Lord Business side of me wants to cherish it, but keep it sealed so it retains it’s value… not sure which side I will end up on as of this writing.

Most Funkos are around 3 3/4 inches tall, but not the Hulkbuster.  This thing is 6 inches tall, and it’s a real 6 inches, not whatever Subway is pushing these days (they could very well be 6″ please don’t sue, Subway).

Price wise, these are currently going for over $40 on ebay right now, so there’s that.

Funko Dorbz

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This little Ultron is pretty neat and will eventually make its way to my nerd-shrine at work.  I am not sure if everyone gets Ultron or if it’s a random figure in each box, but I saw them at Target yesterday for $5.99.

Guardians Team-Up Avengers Variant

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Like the Guardians and want to see them team up with the Avengers? Well good news, this is your chance (sort of).  If you have been following the Marvel Comic Universe you know that the guy we know as Thor no longer wields Mjolnir, and a lady who has yet to be named at the time of this writing is the new Thor.  Also Falcon is Captain America, and Iron Man is a jerk, which I know is par for the course… MORE of a jerk.  That being said here is a variant cover for the Guardians/Avengers Team Up comic.

The pricing of this variant issue seems to be hovering right around cover price at this time so $3.99.

Avengers T-Shirt (1 of 4)

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This is by far my favorite item included in the box.  It has a great design and feels tremendous.  I made sure to wear it when I went to see Avengers: Age of Ultron. Overall there are four separate styles for this shirt.  Personally, I was pretty excited that I got Cap on mine. Other shirt styles have Iron Man, Hulk, or Thor on them.

Conservatively, these seem to be going for about $15.99 on ebay right now, which is about what you’d pay for a shirt like this in most stores.

 

So is being a member of the Collector Corps worth it?  If you total up everything this box came with using pricing from comparable items OR by seeing what these items are currently going for on the market you end up right over $70.  If you remember I paid just over $30 after tax, so it is definitely worth it financially speaking. Outside of that the items are all pretty neat.  The Hulkbuster and t-shirt alone are worth the price of the box.  That being said, they did kind of tip their hand too early.  Next time it would be nice to have them not show a majority of the merch that you’re paying for before you buy.  That works at Wal-Mart, but that’s not why most people buy subscription boxes.  Not knowing is a most of the fun.

Final thought: if you are a big Marvel fan and like the whole subscription box concept then this is the box for you.

 

What Star Wars Means to 4LN

 

My childhood was forever changed the first time I saw Star Wars. I actually can’t even remember life before Star Wars since I have an older brother, seven years older, he was a HUGE Star Wars fan. My brother Danny had all the action figures and knew the lines to all the movies. Slowly though, his fandom started to disintegrate and he began to lose interest in the greatest science fiction epic ever told. Though, for me, that passion never died. Actually, in recent months my fandom has actually been relit with the recent release of the Marvel Comics Star Wars titles. At the moment I am reading Darth Vader and Star Wars. I’m waiting to pick up all of Princess Leia once it’s finished and I’m still on the fence about Kanan: The Last Padawan,  but Cameron really loves it so I may be picking that up in the coming day, or bumming them off him.

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My Darth Vader tattoo.

 

When I think about Star Wars, I think about Darth Vader. For some reason, he has always been my favorite character.  After all, if there were no Darth Vader, there would be no Star Wars. Since 1977, Star Wars has forever changed pop culture from film to comic books. It’s easy to say that everyone has been impacted by Star Wars in one way or another. I’m such a fan of the movies, my girlfriend hates watching them with me because I can quote the original trilogy line for line. As much as I love Revenge of The Sith (My favorite of the prequels) I only let myself watch it once a year, since I always end up crying when Obi Wan says “You were the chosen one! I loved you like a brother!” Tears, tears everywhere. With all that being said, in light of today, check out what Star Wars means to all of us here at Four Letter Nerd along with some of our friends who have written for us over the last year, and May the 4th be with you.

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Cameron Clark: Star Wars has had a huge impact on who I am as a nerd.  I have seen the movies more times than I can count, played the video games, gotten a tattoo of an X-wing, and even wrote my fifty page college thesis on Philosophical, Theological, and Mythological Themes in Star Wars.  The original trilogy  changed so many facets of pop culture that it’s hard to quantify, while the prequel trilogy made way for a whole new generation of Star Wars fans.  I remember my dad taking me to see the re-release when I was about 11 years old and my fandom exploded.  Now I get to share that fandom with my sons (one of them is still a baby so he doesn’t care all that much).  My toddler usually gets frustrated when I first turn on Star Wars Rebels because it’s not one of “his shows,” but as soon as the opening music plays and the action starts, he is all in.  I think that’s what it has become for me – not only something I enjoy, but something I can enjoy with my wife Paige, and our kids.

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Cameron today in his cubicle.

 

Stephen Andrew: “F**k Star Wars, I’m not into the stupid nerd shit. Losers. Kirk > Skywalker.”

That’s how Bill thinks I feel about Star Wars. In reality… That’s entirely accurate. I’M KIDDING. I will admit to being the 4LNer with the least amount of personal interest in Star Wars, but that doesn’t change the fact that my life, like most people’s, has been greatly impacted by Star Wars. I remember seeing the movies for the first time when the re-released them in theaters in the mid-90’s. Return of the Jedi has been my favorite ever since. There was just something about that cocky-ass attitude of Luke’s that resonated with me. He has this swagger about him in that movie that is just so… f**king cool. Then there was Han. How could you not like Han? He was such a badass. Around the time of the theatrical re-releases, Kellog’s had this promo on their cereals where you could get a free Stormtrooper Han action figure with so many proofs of purchase. I made my mom buy as many boxes of cereal as it took so that I could send in for that immediately. It took so long for it to get there that by the time it arrived I had forgotten about it and when I opened the small white box that it came addressed to me in I got crazy excited.

I even saw every one of the second trilogy films on opening night at midnight. All of them. I liked them. I didn’t LOVE them, but I liked them. Star Wars may not excite me like it does many other people, but it’s been a big part of my life that I can’t deny. I’m eager to see what J.J. Abrams does with Episode 7, and I trust Disney has mapped out a plan that will bring us thrilling new Star Wars movies that will please both new and old fans alike.

Cody Russell: I’ll never forget being 12 years old and going to see the 20th anniversary editions of the original trilogy in theaters. We had watched the Star Wars movies so many times at home with our dad, between this and Indiana Jones, our VCR (remember those?????) had to be hurting. The excitement of standing in line knowing I was about to see Darth Vader air choke some crew members on the big screen was overwhelming. People were in full costume, whipping around those (then new to market) light sabers, and the place was just teeming with fandom. Star Wars is not only iconic to popular culture, but is a part of almost every American’s childhood in some way or fashion. I can’t count how many times my brothers and I would reenact the powerful plot twisting scene of “Luke, I am your father!” If my brain was a hamster, it had definitely been in the microwave too long when I first saw that scene. Ultimately, Star Wars has a deeper meaning for me as well. It portrays the concept of life that everyone seems to chase, that we are all on a journey of a greater purpose. That we all have something deep within us that is meant for greater things, and how we choose to live our life can affect the way our world exists. Why do you think Ancestory.Com is a big thing now? because everyone’s trying to figure out if they have a Darth Vader as a father, or a great great great grand father or something down the line, duh! Seriously though, it portrays the message that past mistakes don’t have to control your future. I just love Star Wars, and I’m so glad that we get to see the next chapter this year! May the 4th be with you!

Jeff Merrick: We live in a time today when nerdy obsessions (comic book characters, fantasy, science fiction) are considered mainstream. This was not the case for me when I was growing up. I cared nothing for fantasy, comic books and most sci-fi (other than Batman: The Animated Series, because what preteen boy didn’t love Batman: The Animated Series), but I loved Start Wars. Star Wars was the first nerdy thing I cared about and was, in my opinion, the first mainstream nerd brand. All of my friends and I (much to the annoyance of those around us) could quote pages and pages of dialogue from the trendsetting trilogy set a long time ago in a galaxy far away. So for me, Star Wars was like a gateway drug (interesting comparison I came up with now that I read it again) that opened the way for my appreciation of other future elements of nerd culture that I would welcome into my life years later.

Jason Hill: I remember watching Episode IV: A New Hope on VHS with my dad. He would tell me about the time he waited two hours around the block to see this in theaters before putting the tape in the player. He had this mysticism in his eyes when he talked about it. I soon understood why. This was my first foray into space. I think I was six when I first watched Star Wars. This was before science taught me about what planets and asteroids were. I just remember seeing the huge ships and colorful landscapes and thinking “Wow, could this even be real?” The special effects mesmerized my brain before the cynicism set in. Now, there are CG effects that far surpass the ones Star Wars had, and I try to find the imperfections and tell people how it “doesn’t look real”. But Star Wars took me on a magical journey that I believed, and that is why it’s one of my favorites.

Austin Carter: Star Wars is like a door for me. It was the door that opened my eyes to different worlds, and a door that introduced me to the idea that there can be more to life than what we can see. Star Wars was my entrance into the world of fantasy and all the rewarding things it has to offer. Without Star Wars, I wouldn’t have developed the love for Music that I have, or the moral ideas and values that are present in our world. Star Wars has taught me a lot about myself, and many values I have to this day. Star Wars holds a special place in my heart, and is my favorite universe to reside in. I still look up to Obi-Wan Kenobi to this day, and can only hope to be as incredible as he is. I couldn’t even put it to words what it means to me.

Steven Boyd- ComicCollectorLive.comSTAR WARS is one of the most influential movie franchises of all time. I was only 4 when the first film came out, so STAR WARS reminds me of some of the best parts of my childhood (and as I read back over my list, kudos to STAR WARS for reinventing marketing): Christmas, Saturday morning cartoons and cereal, random trips to BURGER KING, read along books, those plastic BEN COOPER costumes you wear at Halloween, playing outside in the snow pretending I’m on Hoth, and most of all, a common bond with other people. To this day, you can walk up to someone you don’t know, talk about STAR WARS and the walls of unfamiliarity instantly come down. So for a mythology that spans universes and galaxies far, far away, STAR WARS has made our world a much smaller (and better) place to live in by bringing us closer…and that’s something politicians and world leaders can’t always do.

Be sure to get hyped for Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens coming out this December!

Mighty Mitchell & “Legends of the Knight”

(This article is written by our nerdy friend, Tyler Haines. Cousin of Mighty Mitchell)

 

For those of you who don’t know who Mighty Mitchell is, he is a young hero with the courage that can best Star-Lord and can overcome great fear that would put Green Lantern to shame. Mitchell is a 4 year old kid that was diagnosed with B Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia on August 20th 2014. Since then he has had many treatments to overcome this disease and has battled it like many of the other hero’s before him. He is most passionate about superheroes and thus has been given the name Mighty Mitchell by his fans and followers. Mitchell is currently finishing up what they call the Interim Maintenance 2 phase which ends on 4/23/2015 and starts his next phase which is called the Maintenance phase at the beginning of May. The phase includes two and a half years of chemo treatments at home as well as spinal taps with chemo flushes every 12 weeks.

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“Legends of the Knight” is a film made by Brett Culp, and it’s about a various amount of people that are heroes like our Mighty Mitchell. The film brings stories of people who have truly heroic tales and have overcome great challenges and obstacles like their favorite superhero Batman. The film has played at over a 100 cities and has raised over $70,000 for charity!

The movie will be playing in Madison, TN on Wednesday May 20th at 4:30 PM to 5:51 PM at Carmike Wynnsong 10 – Madison 721 Myatt Dr, Madison, TN, US, 37115. This movie will be in honor of Mitchell and every single proceed will go to Vanderbilt Children’s hematology oncology clinic and to the bank account that has been set up for the small food and drinks for the kid’s on the floor that helps take care of Mitchell. You can already buy tickets at this time for this event at https://www.tugg.com/events/15211#.VTA6wCS6uvJ.mailto

We would love to have you all come out and support Mitchell and the other heroes that are out there in this world. Come out and enjoy a good movie, popcorn, & good company. If you are coming or need an invite to the Facebook page please contact myself or any of the other Four Letter Nerd crew and we will send you an invite to the page. He is courageous, brave, and without fear he is the……… Mighty Mitchell!!!

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Breaking News: The Coming Out of Bobby Drake

Spoilers Below!!

Hitting the shelves tomorrow is Brian Michael Bendis final issue on All New X-Men (Which has been one of my favorite Marvel Now titles), and with the impending end to the series, one of the original X-Men, and my favorite character, Bobby Drake also known as Ice Man, has come out of the closet and is now a member of the LGBT community of Marvel Comics.

According to a page of the comic that leaked last night online, Bobby outs himself as a homosexual while having a conversation with Jean Grey. He talks about how is older self (present day Ice-Man) doesn’t seem to be gay, and that maybe 1960’s Bobby is just bisexual, in which Jean responds with “More… full gay.” And this leads 60’s Bobby to think that maybe present day Bobby can’t handle being both gay AND mutant. I think this will definitely leave fans and the comic book community talking.

Source: Comicbook.com
Leaked Image: Reddit.com/r/comicbooks

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I 1,000% support this. I am a “equalist”, a feminist, and a supporter of the LGBT community. I am ecstatic that there is a new relatable character in the comic community for any youngster struggling to find an identity in comics. I think this is a great move for Marvel, now one of my closest friends, Clay, has another character he can relate to, and hopefully this will help him get more into comics. He has never been much of an X-Men fan, but maybe this will be a stepping stone into a series that I love and am invested so much into.

Since I was a little kid, The X-Men have always been my favorite superheroes, and of all the X-Men, Bobby Drake has always been my favorite. He’s the one I relate to the most. I’m a white, straight, young adult male in America, who has a sense of humor and most of the time I have no clue what’s going on. So for the longest time I’ve related to Bobby (Though I have never done terrible terrible things that caused me to loose my sense of humor and humanity, X-Men New Apocalypse was a dark time…). When I heard the news that Bobby was coming out, I was both happy and shocked. I think what shocked me the most is, Iceman and his relationship with Kitty Pryd has always been a very important aspect to both characters.

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Bobby and Kitty from the cartoon X-Men: Evolution

 

 

You might be wondering, “If you 1000% support this, why are you shocked?” Well, because the Ice Man I know isn’t gay. I still love Ice Man, I will support Ice Man as an LGBT character, and he will always remain my favorite X-Men. This for me, feels like a family member has come out of the closet, and I have never had a family member, or a friend, come out. My friend Clay was already out by the time we became friends, so I didn’t have to “process” any news or anything like that. I can’t stress enough, this DOES NOT bother me. I SUPPORT THIS. It’s just a very interesting thing to process, and yes, Marvel characters have come out of the closet such as Jean-Paul Beaubier (AKA Northstar) and Benjamin Deeds (AKA Morph), and both happen to be X-Men.

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I think it’s extremely important for X-Men to include LGBT characters, specially since the characters were created to help address racism and social issues. Racism isn’t as widely spread as it once was, but todays major social issue is the LGBT community and Marvel is making great strides in the right direction with this topic. With all that being said, the coming out of Northstar and Morph didn’t affect me at all. They were sideline characters and it was a wonderful wedding for Northstar (see Astonishing X-Men #51). But this feels different, because it’s a character I love dearly. My view of Ice Man has not changed. I don’t dislike him now, and I don’t like him any more then I did before. He’s the same Ice Man he’s always been, and he’ll always be the same Ice Man.

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Nerds in Bands: Unifier

Welcome to the second installment of “Nerds in Bands.” If you missed our debut interview, then I suggest you click here and check it out while then rest of us wait for you to catch up… go on.

Great! Now we’re all caught up!

This week I had a chance to pick the brain of Aslan Freeman, vocalist/guitarist for the band Unifier. Check it out below!

4LN – Aslan, as I understand it, you have several nerdy interests. What would you say is your biggest nerd interest?
Aslan – I’m going to answer this in two ways: I’d say the nerdiest thing I’m interested in is playing Dungeons & Dragons, but the nerdy thing that I am the most interested in is following E-sports, especially Starcraft 2. I watch tournament streams (and have attended tournaments), follow popular announcers and players, and even watch strategy and analysis videos. It actually paid off pretty well when our first EP Oh, Great City originally came out. I e-mailed our music video for “Spotless” to my favorite caster and he tweeted it as his song of the day, which got us around 18,000 views in the first 24 hours.

 
How did you initially get into that?
I’ve always been an avid gamer, and used to take turns playing the Warcraft 2 campaign with my neighbor almost every day growing up. When Starcraft 2 finally came out (like 10 years or so after the original Starcraft) some buddies of mine got into the beta and had an extra key they gave me, so I tried it out with them and got thoroughly addicted. We still get online and play together every now and then, but unfortunately I’m too busy to play much so instead I just watch tournaments while I work. As far as Dungeons & Dragons goes, some of my college roommates were part of a long running game that one of the English professors at the college (who has become one of our best friends) was DMing. He was starting a new game and looking for some other players so I decided to give it a shot. It ended up basically being a weekly ongoing guy night where we’d get together to relax, eat terrible food, and play for a few hours.
 
What movie do you wish everyone would see?
Obviously it’s always tough to pick a favorite anything, but one of the best movies I’ve ever seen that I’ve always thought was generally overlooked is The Prestige. The premise is genuinely original, the acting and writing are great, and the twist at the end is exactly what it should be.
 
In your opinion, what is the best show on television right now?
I love Game of Thrones just because I’m such a fan of the books, but for me it’s really a toss up between House of Cards and True DetectiveHouse of Cards is a much more fun and intriguing watch for me, and has proven its greatness over multiple seasons, but the first season of True Detective is about as perfectly done as a show can get, so I can’t wait to see how the next season turns out. If it continues to be as quality as the first I can absolutely see it becoming one of the best shows of all time.
 
I’d like to talk about your band, Unifier, for a minute. Can you tell us how Unifier came to be?
Our first guitarist Chris and I actually met through the group we played D&D with and ended up playing together in another band for a while with some of the other guys. A friend of ours had shot a B-movie style zombie short film that he needed a little music for, and asked Chris if he could get something together. I’ve got a little studio set up so he asked me if I could help him with it, and we got together one day to record a couple of songs. We had such a great time and things came together so easily we decided to start a new band together and keep doing it. I ran into our drummer Mike at a show shortly afterward, and knew him from watching his bands play in our hometown when I was coming up in high school. As the three of us rotated through some other members and lineups we happened to play a few shows with our bassist Luke’s old band and became friends. When we finally got a long tour offer that our bassist at the time wasn’t able to commit to, we asked Luke if he wanted to give bass a shot and come out with us. Since then Chris left to go back to school and we’ve been through a couple other guitarists, but we always have fun and find a way to keep things moving forward with whoever’s along for the ride.
 
After listening to your EP, “Oh, Great City”, I feel like there’s no way to classify your sound, which is a real achievement in the current landscape of modern music. I kept trying to think of other bands that it reminded me of but all I could do was think of different bands that I could hear minor elements of (As Cities Burn, Foo Fighters, Death Cab…? Am I way off here?) Who would you say are the biggest influences for Unifier?
That’s awesome to hear! Thanks so much, you’re absolutely on point there. Our big three have always been Brand New, Jimmy Eat World and Foo Fighters, though of course we shift others in and out of focus for different releases to try and keep some fresh development in our sound. Right now we’re looking a lot at Deftones, Coldplay, and Balance & Composure for some new elements.
 
You’ve just recently signed with Spartan records, tell us what’s up next for the band in 2015?
The first order of business is putting out a new music video for one of the tracks on our new EP Gutted, which Spartan will be releasing onMarch 24th. After that we’ve got plans to put out a couple singles that we recorded around the same time we were working on Gutted last year, and we’ve been gradually writing and demoing songs for our next full length.
 

 

My thanks to Aslan for chatting with us here at 4LN. If you’re interested in checking out more from Unifier you can follow these links to their various websites:

Additionally, they’ve just released a brand new song called “Break” (That I can NOT stop listening to!) which is off their upcoming EP, titled Gutted. Listen to it and make sure to pick up the album when it drops on March 24th!

4LN Local Spotlight: Imaginary Theatre Company

 

Inebriated Shakespeare: a Theatre on Fire(ball)

Ever gone to a play, and thought to yourself, “this would be so much better if I were drunk”? As an (ex) theatre person, I often find myself thinking, “this would be so much better if the actors were drunk.” Apparently, Nashville’s own Imaginary Theatre Company has had the same thought. Their most recent production of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) offered a special, two night only treat…INEBRIATED Shakespeare. (Drunk, y’all. That means, drunk.)

How does that work? Shakespeare can’t be drunk, he’s dead.I can hear you saying, because for the purposes of this article, we’re pretending you all care about Shakespeare as much as I do…just go with it. Well, dear reader, what it means is that I got to witness the realization of every actor’s secret dream/nightmare! Drunk actors, drunk-acting the multiverse of Shakespeare. About fifteen minutes before curtain, the three amazing, and brave performers, Asa Ambrister, Robert Coles, and Angela Gimlin, gathered on stage to draw lots. The night I attended, the stalwart Angela got the short straw, and was forced to take five shots of Fireball Whiskey before the show even began. Weeeeeaaaaak,” I hear you saying, “That’s 3pm on a Tuesday in my world.” Well, friend, it didn’t end there. During the course of the 90 minute production, audience members could purchase shots for any of the performers, upon which the lovely stage manager would stop the show and administer shots, like punches to the proverbial groin.

So, full disclosure; I have seen …Complete Works… before, and I hated it. It could have been me being all stuffy and un-funny, like I do, or maybe it was immature actors trying too hard. Perhaps it was a bit of both, but I really didn’t like it. I was sort of excited to see it done again, and soused. I was pretty sure that nothing could save it but some special sauce. I was wrong. All it needed was three seasoned comedic (and improvisational) actors who know each other well enough to wing it when they must. It needed Robby, Angela, and Asa.

The show began without a slur, but also without missing a beat. This trio made Shakespeare understandable, side-splitting, and clever before the whiskey even took hold. Asa Ambrister’s frantic and flouncy “pre-imminent Shakespeare scholar,” opened the show with gusto. The audience was on board from jump, and most of us (most of us) hadn’t even started drinking yet. It was a BYOB event, complete with an audience drinking game handily printed in the program. Actors never like to suffer alone. We quickly ran through Romeo and Juliet, and the first of several repeat gags; drag, more drag, some violent fake vomiting, and some truly inspired “feminine” giggles and screams, (way to really punch that B, Robby. “BAAAHHHHHHHHH.”) all of which should have gotten old, but never did. All three performers were forced to take their medicine numerous times during the first act, but Angela Poooooooor Angela. They said they cut her off at 12, but I still swear that I counted 15. It was somewhere during Titus Andronicus as a cooking show (which, in and of itself was hilarity with a side of noggin pie and nubbins) that we started to lose her. While kneeling in front of Asa, waiting for her line, she started to aimlessly draw on his shirt with flour. That’s how it began, but it quickly devolved into much giggling, so many goosings of Asa, and threatenings of the audience with violence (in an adorable way), falling during costume changes, and spontaneous bouts of cussing. I believe Robby broke his finger. I was pretty sure Asa was going to chunk his cookies at one point (Asa doesn’t drink). And I think, although I cannot corroborate, that one, or all three of the cast members may have ended up going home with “Lillian,” an audience member with whom they all became enamored. In short: It. Was. Freaking. Fantastic. Hands down, this was this most fun I have had at the theatre in years. Oh, I have missed theatre being fun. It all left me with little doubt that, even sadly sober, their version would have taken me to church and made me a convert. Incredibly well done, you three.

That leads me to the sad part of this humble review. “Where can I see this masterpiece of befuddled tomfoolery?” I hear you imploring. Alas, poor reader, I have no happy answer for you. The show, ah…the show does not go on. Inebriated Shakespeare closed the very night that I discovered it. Never again shall I hear Angela yell, “come at me!” while grabbing her boobs. Never again shall Asa’s Hamlet dissolve into fits of giggles. (I mean, unless he does some new, and very bizarre interpretation of Hamlet, which I would totally be okay with.) Never again shall Robert’s dulcet tones ring through the halls just before he pretends to puke in my lap. (See above, re: bizarre interpretation of Hamlet.) It’s a sad day, my friends. A sad day. And yet, there might be hope

Dear Imaginary Theatre Company,

I don’t know if you caught my review of Inebriated Shakespeare for 4LN? Let’s just say that I loved it. I am a fan. I want to bring all of my friends. But, as you know, it’s over. Curtain’s down. No more Fireball to be had. I’m bummed. My friends are bummed. Then I looked at your season. It’s a good season. So, I just thought that I would write you a polite letter to say; “OH MY GODS, YOU HAVE TO DO DRUNK STEEL MAGNOLIAS!! Seriously, you guys. Do it for the money. Do it for charity. Do it cause no one else has the lady balls to do something so crazy. Do it because, it would be effing hysterical. Look, I get it. Drama, and integrity. And, like, the height of very dramatic drama. People die, there’s lots of crying, it’s all very intense. But that’s the POINT! You should marinate that sadness in a handle of Wild Turkey, sell t-shirts that say “I got tanked with Ouiser Boudreaux,” and slices of armadillo cake at intermission, then give half of what you make to a charity for diabetes. Sure, I sound like an awesome philanthropist. Don’t get me wrong. I super love to give. But mostly I just want to see Drunk Magnolias. Drunk. Magnolias. BOOM!

Yours Truly,

Melody Dobbins

(Ps… I will be needing Robby to play Annelle, and Asa to play Clairee. I am assuming Angela will be playing everyone else, because she’s fabulous.)

(Editor’s Note: This article was written by Melody Dobbins. In addition to being a supermom, and theater nerd, and, like, a REALLY good writer, Melody also runs her own business, Milk & Magpie Naturals.)

In Defense of George Lucas

George Lucas.  He was once hailed as a visionary stalwart that was placed on a pedestal for his creation of the Star Wars, but has since become a walking punchline.  The very creation that propelled him to stardom eventually lead to his downfall (if you can call being a billionaire a downfall).  But does he really deserve all the hate?

This isn’t the first time I’ve waded in to Lucas controversy.  One of my earlier defense articles defended Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.  I’ve been wanting to write this particular defense article for over a year now, but it just seemed like so much work.  There are just so many detractors that voicing an opinion as extreme as “I don’t really mind the prequels,” or “the special editions really aren’t all that bad” is met with an absurd amount of vitriol.  The people at Fox News have had calmer conversations discussing the pros and cons of President Obama than the anti-Lucas League have had discussing Jar Jar Binks (assuming yelling over each other is considered a conversation).

I get it, everybody loves to hate ol’ George.  It’s easy isn’t it?  It’s become commonplace to bash him whilst talking about things he’s not even a part of!  I was reading a review for the Hobbit: the Battle of the Five Armies, and there was a quip about Peter Jackson giving his trilogy the George Lucas treatment.  Listen guy, despite your apparent love of the thesaurus, you are not original.  You are using an inaccurate cliche in your attempt to sound aloof and hip.  Please go back to your studio apartment on your street bike (make sure to get mad at a couple of cars on your way) and ponder which craft beer is the most politically correct.  Sorry, got a little carried away.  My point is this – don’t bring him up just to throw him under the bus while talking about something unrelated.

Visual Approximation

Visual Approximation

“But he ruined my childhood.”

No he didn’t.  Despite what you might believe, Lucas is not a time-traveling wizard who went back in time to your childhood and took away the enjoyment you experienced with some new-fangled enjoyment sucking device (which, if you think about it, would be the lamest way to use time-travel).  The whole concept of one thing retroactively making another thing worse is ludicrous when discussing most things.  It’s not like when an iPhone 6 comes out and all of a sudden your 4s sucks, then when you upgrade they take away your unlimited data package that you’ve had for years and make you pay extra for more data (it still hurts, Verizon), the 4s was still a great phone for its time.

We are talking about the enjoyment of entertainment.  If you enjoyed it for x amount of years, then the prequels came out and you were disappointed, you still enjoyed it for x amount of years, and can still continue to enjoy it.  Let me let you in on a little secret using the trusty parenthesis (you can still like the originals despite the existence of the prequels).  If you hate the prequels that much, then just pretend they don’t exist and move on with your life.  Ignorance is bliss.

“Have you SEEN the prequels? They are terrible!”

While this is a pretty subjective argument, I will admit that they aren’t as good as the original trilogy, but keep in mind that the originals literally changed American culture.  There is no way the prequels could live up to the benchmark set by the original trilogy.  That being said, I did like several aspects of the prequels and how they changed the overall tone of the series.  Sure, Episode II is pretty hard to watch, and both Anakins are pretty annoying, and Jar Jar is probably the bane of your existence, but they aren’t a cinematic holocaust that should be tried under the Geneva Convention either.  A friend of mine watched the movie in episodic order with his son who had no idea that Anakin became Darth Vader, as he watched the third film when Anakin finally succumbs to the Dark Side, he wept.  That’s pretty powerful.  Maybe we are just jaded.

"What do yousa mean yousa hate mesa?

“What do yousa mean yousa hate mesa?

While certain additions are frustrating (midichlorians, Watto, Jar Jar, Boss Nass, Gungans in general, Sebulba, etc.), the prequels actually add some interesting dynamics to the overall story, especially between Anakin and Luke.  The lives of the two are almost mirror images of each other. In Episode I, Anakin destroys the Trade Federation’s droid control ship, though somewhat unintentionally, while Luke destroys the Death Star in Episode IV. Both are master mechanics as well as pilots. Both are padawans of Obi-Wan Kenobi. Both are drawn to adventure (and both are incredibly whiny).   Both lose their right hand in a lightsaber duel with a Sith lord. Palpatine tempts Anakin to kill Dooku and join him, and also tempts Luke to kill Vader and join him. These events usually happen in the same order in their respective trilogy as well.

Although their lives are full of similar events, they are also inverted in their outcomes. Instead of Anakin being the saving figure that brings balance to the Force, it is Luke that becomes the New Hope for the galaxy. While Anakin’s victory at Naboo ultimately started a turn of events ending with the organization of the evil Galactic Empire and end of the Jedi Order, Luke’s victory at the Battle of Yavin ultimately leads to the defeat of the Empire and the beginnings of a new Republic and new Jedi Order.  With the inclusion of the prequel trilogy, the story shifts from Luke’s heroic journey to the rise, fall, and redemption of Anakin Skywalker.  Sure, he could have done some things better, but that is one hell of a story.  Also, since the fans hated Jar Jar so much, Lucas had him be the catalyst for Palpatine’s final ascension to tyrannical emperor.  He literally gave you a reason to hate him.

"Redemption is a bitch" *heavy breathing* - Darth Vader

“Redemption is a bitch” *heavy breathing* – Darth Vader

Prior to the Disney sale, these movies were wholly his.  As much as I hate cheesy metaphors, he was the artist and these movies were his canvas.  If he felt like he wanted to retouch his work, that’s his prerogative.  I even liked most of the changes in the special editions, despite the obvious CGI.  Was it necessary to make these changes?  Not at all, but as a life long fan I can’t hold it against him for wanting to continue to work on his creation.  Who knows, maybe in another 10 or 15 years they will release another special edition collection where they re-CGI everything from this special edition and the prequels.

I am not saying you have to like the prequels or the special editions, but he doesn’t really owe us anything.  He made several of my all time favorite movies and some of my favorite characters, so if anything I’ve only paid my debt by buying countless toys (for my sons?), movies, cartoons, and comics.  It’s about time we stop burning effigies of Lucas in the streets, appreciate the worlds he created, and look forward to what J. J. Abrams is doing with the property.

Nerds In Bands: The Foxery

Welcome to a new ongoing series! We’re always on the lookout for ways to create unique and original content here at 4LN. One way we’ve tried to do that is by incorporating music as much as possible into our articles and posts, while keeping it closely relevant to nerd-culture. About a year and a half ago, 4LN writer (and my comic bae) Bill Clark did a Local Spotlight article on the band Daisyhead and I have to get that article credit for inspiring me to start this series. I love music. It’s always been a huge part of my life; just as big as my nerd-interests. I would even call myself a “music-nerd”, but *some people* think that you can’t be nerdy about something as general as music, but those people are sad and lonely and pity them…

ANYWAY! I really wanted to do this article so I reached out to John at Spartan Records (a killer indie label that you NEED to check out) and explained what I wanted to do. I asked him if he could connect me with any nerdy dudes or ladies in any of the bands that he works with. He was kind enough to take time to collaborate with me on this and now thanks to his generosity I present to you the first ever Nerds in Bands.

For our inaugural piece, we got Mike and Kyle from Louvisville, Ky’s The Foxery to talk to us about their love of comic books and what they’re into right now. Enjoy!

4LN: When did you first get into comics, and was there any specific issue or series that got you interested?
Mike: I first got into comics when I was a young one. I would buy whatever the local big box grocery store carried which rarely carried the same series two months in a row so I would just read parts of stories until I was old enough to learn the layout of our city and walk miles to our nearest comic book store which Kyle now works at 20 years later. Ha. The first comic I ever read was a Superman comic that had Doomsday in it which was a bigger deal than I realized at the time. I haven’t read a Superman comic since. 🙂

Kyle: Comics are one of the first things I ever read. My dad would take me into the comic book store all the time when I was little. The first comics I read that made me fall in love with them were Bone by Jeff Smith and Todd Mcfarlane’s Spider-Man.

4LN: Do you have an all-time favorite issue?
Mike: First series X-Factor #87. There’s a scene where Pietro is talking to a therapist who I believe is Doc Samson and he explains how in his world, he doesn’t have super speed, the world is just moving insanely slow around him which explains why he’s always so grouchy. That has always stuck with me as a really creative way of looking at super heroes with super speed because before that I was always bored by that super power.

Kyle: The two that come to mind are both by Matt Fraction. There is an issue during his Fantastic Four run where they’re all in space headed to Earth to defend the world from some threat and they leave their kids behind so they’re safe. The whole issue is the kids listening to the last messages their family has left them before they maybe die and Reed Richards says something like “I’m a scientist, I believe there’s no god. Therefore nothing matters. Therefore everything we do is literally all that matters. Remember that.” It’s so so powerful. The other is an issue of Hawkeye that is told through the perspective of a dog. The colors are only colors dogs can see and the words are only words dogs can understand. It’s just incredible.

4LN: Typically, comic readers will gravitate to certain writers and /or artists whose work they really enjoy. Which writers and artists do you feel most drawn to?
Mike: I like Robert Kirkman a lot. I also really love Jeffrey Brown. He makes comics that make me feel some type of way. He makes comics that hit you right in the feels and he also does Star Wars and giant robot comics so he’s rad all around!

Kyle: Obviously Matt Fraction haha. I also love Neil Gaiman, Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie. I’m drawn towards artists that are bigger than life and think they’re some sort of huge entity, like Kanye West, so I also love Alan Moore and Grant Morrison.

4LN: What is your favorite ongoing series right now?
Mike: I’m really digging Outcast by Robert Kirkman. That’s a fairly new one and a really dark and scary book. If our record, “Unless” we’re an instrumental record, it’d be the soundtrack to Outcast. I also get every Simpsons and Simpsons-related comic that ever comes out and I’ve never been disappointed by one yet.

Kyle: As far as superhero stuff it’s Batman by Snyder and Capullo, and for other stuff it’s by far The Wicked and The Divine by Gillen and McKelvie.

4LN: Switching gears, let’s talk about your band, The Foxery. How did you guys get started?
Mike: We are The Foxery from Louisville, KY. We’ve been playing in different incarnations for 8 years now but the current line-up which is solid and sticking around has been friends for years now. We started as a three piece and wanted to be heavier so we got a second guitar player; then we wanted to be prettier so we got a Fender Rhodes, and then we needed to be heavier again so we got a third guitar player and to balance all those guitars out, we started having Trav, our Rhodes player, play auxiliary drums as well.

4LN: You just released a new album “Unless.” Can you tell us a little bit about that project?
Mike: We started writing it a long time ago as a four piece and by the end of writing the record we were our current six piece line-up, so the record follows a story of growing and changing. It gets really dark and hopeless feeling which I think we felt at different times throughout the writing of it but ends on a hopeful note once we found this line-up and started putting more time into the band. We’re all really dedicated to exploring what we can do further and I know we’ll still write dark and heavy songs but we’ll be super stoked to be getting dark and heavy together! 🙂

4LN: Finally, do you have any touring plans on then horizon?
Mike: Our plan is to tour every chance we get. We are currently on tour as I type this but this tour ends in two days so we’re gonna start booking our next tour south. We’re shooting for late May/early June. We’re gonna be doing more touring with our Spartan labelmates, Shy, Low. We also want to tour to wherever the Stephen Colbert’s Late Show will be filmed and hopefully make a stop at the studio to play the show! 🙂

 

I want to thank Mike and Kyle for chatting with us about comics and their band. I took a listen to their brand new album “Unless” and I gotta say, I really loved it. It reminded me of early MewithoutYou (with some light Brand New vibes) and, having been a fan of MwY from the very beginning, I feel confident saying that if you like them then you’ll definitely like The Foxery. I highly recommend the tracks “Broken Vessel” and “The Filth II”. If you are interested in checking out more by The Foxery you can buy their album by clicking this link: The Foxery – Unless, and you can catch up with them at all of their various social media sites by using the links below.

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In Memoriam: Leonard Nimoy

I don’t typically get all broken up about celebrities dying. Though they may touch our lives with their work, we don’t know them and having an emotional attachment to them has always struck me as a little silly. Thus celebrity deaths are more or less a way to mark the time.

How very logical of me.

But, here I am holding back tears as I write this, because Leonard Nimoy died today, at 83. He was many things: an actor, a director and photographer, an author, a philosopher. But to me, and to so many around the world and across the decades, he was Spock. Spock, who in so many ways defines the best of what Star Trek is and what it aspires to be.

Half Vulcan and half Human, Spock’s journey mirrors our own. What does it mean to be Human? How do we reconcile the intensity of our emotions with the need to deal with our world and those around us rationally? When should we listen to our heart and when should our head take the lead? What does it mean to be a friend? The very best of Star Trek investigates these basically human, existential questions. A journey into the unknown of space is simply the occasion to ask the questions.

Outside of his life as Spock, Leonard Nimoy took these questions to heart and lived them out in his life and work. These adventures will be well detailed across the Internet today, so I won’t go into them here.

I only want to say this: as Leonard Nimoy now travels the final frontier, may we all live long and prosper.

(Editor’s note: this article was written by Logan Robertson at the Disembodied Beard)