“Opening the Mother Box: Exploring my relationship with comic books, religion and George Lucas”

marrowAbout a month ago, I was invited to speak at “The Marrow“, an event that takes place at The Whistler in Chicago each month. At this event, storytellers are asked to read an essay that gets to “the marrow” of who they are.

As it was the first time I’d ever done something like this, I was rather nervous and wrote a piece that was to be a deep, personal exploration of my self.

It was well-received, but after hearing some of the other storytellers that evening – one spoke about trying to find a rehab facility for his ex-wife on a holiday, another about her estranged relationship with her mother and how it all started the day her mom kicked her father out of the house – I knew that I had just skimmed the surface.

Next time, if there is a next time, I’ll go much deeper. But for now, I’ll share with you the essay that I announced that I’d never read in public again. :::laughs::: I’m so full of it:

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The challenge to writing an essay about oneself, especially one that is supposed to get to the heart of who you are, is that you tend to get all caught up in your own bullshit.

You know, you get sidetracked by trying to turn a clever phrase, or using florid language that makes you sound smarter than you think you are.

You find yourself unconsciously using a verbal sleight of hand, one that distracts your reader from the truth that you don’t want them to see you tucking away in your pocket.

So there won’t be any of that from here on out…

Or will there?

(Continues after the jump!)

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Geek/Countergeek Episode #41: The Star Wars Spoiler Spectacular

In the latest episode of Geek/Countergeek, Keith Conrad and I look at “The Force Awakens” and review what predictions we made that came true, and which didn’t.  Be warned, we discuss spoilers.

SPOILER: Keith had a lot of his predictions be correct. The jerk.

What did YOU think of “The Force Awakens”?

Soldier for The Empire: Peeking Inside “The Imperial Handbook” with Dan Wallace

If you ask me, Dan Wallace is living the dream! As the author of such geek-tastic tomes like The Jedi Path and The Iron Man Manual,” he has gotten to play with some of the most iconic characters in pop culture.

Now, after giving readers a look at what it’s like to become a Jedi Knight (or follow the path to the Dark Side in Book of Sith) he delves into the life of an Imperial recruit in “Star Wars: Imperial Handbook.”

Corresponding via e-mail, Wallace and I discussed what it’s like working in the Star Wars Universe; how Stormtroopers really aren’t clones; and who would win in a face-off between Darth Vader and Iron Man:

Geek To Me: Let’s get some of the basic fanboy stuff out of the way, shall we? How long have you been a Star Wars fan?

NewessentialguidetodroidsDan Wallace: Since forever! I had the toys, memorized lines, the whole deal. I’ve soaked in Star Wars pretty much my whole life, so to have a chance to contribute a tiny piece to it in my own way is just the best.

Geek To Me: Of all the characters in the saga, which one really resonated with you the most?

Dan Wallace: Personality-wise, I’m most like C-3PO. Not particularly heroic, obsessed with minutiae and procedure. But from a favorite character standpoint I’ve always liked Lando Calrissian. He’s like Han Solo but with a lot more suaveness and gambling skills. Lando is 20% James Bond.

Read more after the jump!

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The Force Awakens Teaser Trailer: 88 seconds of Star Wars glory!

Don’t mind me, I’m just gonna watch this on continuous loops for the rest of the holiday weekend. Somebody bring me food?

So much to digest here, but what I appreciated the most was the focus on the future of Star Wars – in John Boyega and Daisy Ridley – with a nod to the past in the Millennium Falcon.

I get goosebumps every time that score hits!

Machinima Prime presents: BATMAN vs DARTH VADER!

“Only a fully trained Jedi Knight with the Force as his ally will conquer Vader and his Emperor.” – Yoda, the Empire Strikes Back

“I want you to remember the one man who beat you.” – Bruce Wayne, The Dark Knight Returns

Fan-films sure have come a long way! Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I clicked on this video from the Machinima Prime YouTube Channel’s  “Super Power Beat Down” series, where they pit The Dark Knight versus the Dark Lord of the Sith.

“Darth Vader taking on Batman!?” you say? “Oh you know this has gotta be good!” And I agree:

(Check out some bonus videos after the jump!)

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“A New Hope”: Retold and reFERBished? PHINEAS and FERB take on STAR WARS!

I have to admit, when I heard that the Disney cartoon show “Phineas and Ferb” was going to give its own take on “Star Wars: A New Hope”, the first thing that crossed my mind was “didn’t Family Guy already cover that?”

(Geek confession: I often annoy friends when I declare that I don’t find “Spaceballs” all that funny since I read essentially the same jokes in “MAD” and “Cracked” magazines.)

So, you could imagine my delight when the episode finally aired and made me laugh in ways I didn’t expect.

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What I didn’t take into account was that the humor of the “Family Guy” specials skewed towards adults, while the fun that Phineas and Ferb have with the Star Wars mythos is more family friendly. (Which is not to say that there wasn’t any black humor in the episode. I mean the line “And you thought we would die in space” straight up made me laugh out loud. For realz.)

Anyway, I really enjoyed it, and since a special edition DVD of the episode just hit shelves this week I’ve got a “Phineas and Ferb/Star Wars” prize pack to give away!

How can you win this ginchy gift? I’ll tell you how after the jump!

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“Star Wars: The Clone Wars – The Lost Missions” are released on Blu-Ray

As I mentioned in a  previous post, with the release of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” drawing closer, it’s getting more and more difficult to wait. For me, it’s very much like waiting for Christmas when you were a kid!

Luckily, there are plenty of goodies out there to keep me – and fellow Star Wars fans – occupied. For instance, I’ll be sitting down and portioning out episodes from the latest Blu-Ray edition of The Clone Wars animated series, which hits store shelves TODAY! Here are the details:

STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS: THE LOST MISSIONS

Blasts onto Blu-ray™ and DVD November 11th, 2014

Synopsis: Against a backdrop of ever-shifting loyalties, uneasy alliances and ancient hostilities, the conflict between the Republic and the Separatists ramps up, setting the stage for Darth Sidious’ ultimate act of treachery against the Jedi. In these uncertain times, some of the deepest mysteries of the light and dark sides of the Force are revealed as an intrepid clone trooper uncovers a shocking conspiracy, Anakin Skywalker’s closest relationship is tested to its limits, and Master Yoda makes a discovery that could forever change the balance of power in the galaxy.

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Voice Cast: Tom Kane as Narrator, Dee Bradley Baker (TV’s “Phineas & Ferb,” “American Dad,” “Ultimate Spiderman”) as Clone Troopers, Matt Lanter (TV’s “90210,” “Ultimate Spiderman”) as Anakin Skywalker, James Arnold Taylor (TV’s “Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H.,” “Jonny Test”) as Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Ashley Eckstein (TV’s “Sofia The First,” “That’s So Raven”) as Ahsoka Tano

Read more after the jump!

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Lucasfilm Ltd. brings animated “Strange Magic” to theaters January 23. 2015

With Star Wars fans anxiously awaiting the release of “The Force Awakens” in December of 2015, it’s nice to know that there are going to be a few geeky films to whet our appetites in the meantime. May of 2015 will see the release of “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” which still seems like an eternity away for me.

Now it looks like I’ll be able to score a fantasy fix even sooner, with word of a new animated fantasy feature from Lucasfilm Ltd.!

The film is called “Strange Magic” and is based on a story by George Lucas, who appears to be returning to the territory that he last staked out in “Willow.”

Oh yeah, and it’s coming out in January!

Read the details after the jump…

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Where were you when the Star Wars Episode VII title was announced?

So yeah, today while many of us were still trying to recover from election returns, the folks at Disney/Lucasfilm decided to drop this on the interwebz:

Now, I’m going to be honest and say that with the exception of “Return of the Jedi”, I’ve never really been thrilled – at least initially – with how the Star Wars films have been titled. And even when it came to “Return”, it was first called “Revenge of the Jedi” (a pretty cool title IMO) only to be changed later. (Because Jedi don’t take revenge. Duh.)

But that’s not to say that the titles didn’t eventually grow on me. Heck, when a buddy of mine told me that the very first Star Wars sequel was going to be named “The Empire Strikes Back”, I thought that was downright silly. Of course I feel differently about it now.

What do you think?