Over the last few years, Nerd HQ, the four-day event created by actor Zachary Levi (Chuck, Thor: The Dark World) and held the same weekend as the annual pop culture convention San Diego Comic-Con, has become a staple of the Comic-Con experience. Offering exclusive gaming and tech activations, nightly events, and intimate celebrity panels (all benefiting the charity Operation Smile), Nerd HQ has even become the perfect “alternate Con” for some geeks who are less than thrilled with the exhausting and over-crowded experience that can be SDCC.
Fanboy Comics was very excited to be invited to the Con Man panel at Nerd HQ. If you don’t know, Con Man is the thoroughly funded (breaking several Indiegogo records) new web series from Alan Tudyk and Nathan Fillion. It stars Tudyk as an actor who played the pilot in a canceled, but beloved, sci-fi/western TV series (Sound familiar?) as he trudges through the convention circuit while trying to jumpstart his career. The show has a space-boat load of genre actors attached, including Amy Acker, Felicia Day, Seth Green, Tricia Helfer . . . too many to name them all here, and the panel, likewise, was chock full.
Over the last few years, Nerd HQ, the four-day event created by actor Zachary Levi (Chuck, Thor: The Dark World) and held the same weekend as the annual pop culture convention, San Diego Comic-Con, has become a staple of the Comic-Con experience. Offering exclusive gaming and tech activations, nightly events, and intimate celebrity panels (all benefiting the charity Operation Smile), Nerd HQ has even become the perfect “alternate Con” for some geeks who are less than thrilled with the exhausting and over-crowded experience that can be SDCC.
Fanboy Comics was honored to be invited to the Sherlock Nerd HQ panel with Executive Producers Stephen Moffat and Sue Vertue and actor Rupert Graves. Walking into the panel, I confess, I was somewhat skeptical. A Sherlock panel without either Martin Freeman or Benedict Cumberbatch? What is the point? And, who is Rupert Graves again? Never mind Sue Vertue.
Issue #5 of Reyn has really picked up the pace; this issue is fantastic! It opens with Reyn and the techno-wizards facing off against a hoard of Venn. (Those are the lizard-like creatures. Picture evil Ninja Turtles.) The fight is intense and the action persists throughout nearly the entire issue. No real spoilers here, but I’ll say that the battle is, at once, thrilling and devastating, and the cliffhanger at the end is insane.
Issue #4 of Kel Symons and Nathan Stockman’s Reyn is, largely, simply a continuation of the last issue. Reyn and his ragtag band of techno-sorcerers press deeper into enemy territory, making more strange discoveries. The fantasy world set up in the first few issues feels like it’s splitting and morphing into something new as our protagonist discovers that the barbaric Venn have their lizard-like claws in more than just mining and slave-trade. Much like our heroes, we are left with more questions than answers in this issue, but the cliffhanger ending promises some serious action in Issue #5.
The third issue of Reyn from Kel Symons and Nate Stockman is your typical road trip scenario, if instead of “road” you said “insanely high, vertical rock cliff followed by dark, foreboding chasm” and instead of “trip” you said “multiple desperate sword fights with a variety of fantastical and dangerous beasts.” This book doesn’t lack for excitement, playing up the fantasy elements in this installment. And, the main character Reyn stays true to form as a begrudging hero, not unlike The Man with No Name in Sergio Leone’s Dollars trilogy. Han Solo fans may also connect with the roguish nature of the lead.
Reyn #2 is upon us, releasing this Wednesday, February 18, from Image Comics, and the ass kicking continues. For those unfamiliar with the series, Reyn, written by Kel Symons and drawn by Nate Stockman, follows the title character, a warrior, tasked with protecting the land of Fate from the relentless forces of darkness. It’s a clever fantasy story with a spaghetti western sensibility, and, true to form, this issue starts off with a massive, 9-page bar brawl.
Reyn, a brand new sword-and-sorcery series by Kel Symons (w) Nate Stockman (a), and with colors by Paul Little, starts off with a full-page panel of a lone horseman in the distance, marching through a scorched, wind-swept landscape, accompanied by some concise narration. The speaker tells us about an order of great warriors, servants of light and protectors of the land, Fate. The Wardens, as they are known, have faded into the stuff of legend since an event called The Great Cataclysm, which ushered Fate into a millennium of darkness. But now, in the form of this solitary warrior, Reyn, the forces of light are back.
Red City #4 written by Daniel Corey and with art by Anthony Diecidue is coming out tomorrow and wraps up the first arc of this exciting, new comic with a big, bright bow on top. It’s the last act of the story, and there’s a lot of ground to cover, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t time for a firefight and some fisticuffs. This issue feels a little rushed compared to the three previous, but it gives us a satisfying conclusion and will leave you hankering for the next arc.
I found a recipe for Hot Buttered Rum a while back. Basically, you simmer apple cider with cinnamon sticks, cloves, and fresh grated nutmeg for about 20 minutes, then you melt in some butter for richness, a splash of fresh lemon juice for a hint of tartness, and a healthy measure of rum for a kick. It warmed my insides, like being under a comfy blanket in front of a fire, with a significant other knowing there’s going to be some hanky panky later. Well, David Quantic and Tamra Bonvillain’s new comic, Bakersfield, Earth, is like that but in a comic. They’ve crafted a story with such warmth, heart, and raw sensuality that after you read it you’ll just want to go and find someone and give them the biggest, warmest hug you can, before you both retreat to a quiet corner to see where the night takes you.
Okay, here’s the set up: It’s present-day America, but not the America that you know (though there are some very potent parallels). See, it’s an alternate reality, it’s the present, IF back in the 1980s children started being born brilliant, idiot savants but without the idiot part. 1% of the population has been born with these gifts, gifts that let them read vectors so well they can avoid sight lines of those around them and become nearly invisible or see patterns enabling them to gobble up wealth through investments so efficiently that the stock market is forced to close. There are many different kinds of gifts, and many different levels, or tiers, of ability, and while only one in every hundred people is actually born “Brilliant,” it has changed everything. Despite relentless research, no one yet knows exactly why Brilliants are being born, but the tension that exists between the exceptional minority and the insecure majority is threatening to tear the country apart. There are radicals on both sides, extremist Brilliants who are convinced that they represent a new and superior form of humanity, as well as a new, covert government agency with a limitless budget called the Department of Analysis and Response (DAR) tasked with investigating and eliminating hostile Brilliants on American soil. The story follows a conflicted DAR agent and Brilliant, Nick Cooper, as he tries to prevent another American Civil War.