So I hosted a game night with the usual suspects the other day and like most of our events, we ended up abandoning what we originally planned to do in exchange for talking endlessly and way too seriously about topics concerning fandom.

Sorry, "Settlers of Catan," but we really needed to get into a heated debate about which hairstyle suited Sikozu from "Farscape" best.

Eventually, the conversation turned to our hopeless crushes on fictional characters. This type of discussion is nothing new, mind you, until someone (who will remain nameless) mentioned that they've had a crush on Abe Sapien for years. You can imagine our confused/slightly grossed out reaction to this piece of information. Especially when this person showed us that they were not alone by producing fan-fiction from a slew of different writers all over the Internet.

There are some things... you shouldn't make someone picture.
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Ewww. Just ew.
Then it was confession time. We became our own psychiatrists and went down a deep, dark rabbit hole of misplaced affection that we normally try to repress or ignore altogether. Turns out that we'd all experienced some kind of attraction to characters that most of us would consider less than savory if they actually existed, usually in more ways than one. So without further ado, here are but a few of the crushes we revealed to each other, and don't worry girls, the crushees will remain nameless.

10) Victor Von Doom from: "Fantastic Four" (2005) portrayed by Julian McMahon

PictureI bet you'll blink first.
I tried to be as open minded with everyone's taste in fictional men, but even after accepting Abe Sapien as a possible babe magnet, Doom was hard to swallow. Yes, he's not bad on the eyes, good bone structure and all that. But he's a villain in a pretty hard to watch superhero movie. And not the intriguing or complex kind of villain, but the mustache twirling, cat stroking, pun spewing, "I expect you to die, Mr. Bond" type of villain. The only way a crush on him would make any sense to me is in the over the top way in which McMahon played him. Like everything else in those movies, it was covered in cheese (usually not the good kind) and even I have to admit that Doom's intense glare felt less threatening and more like an eye "you-know-what-ing." The more evil Doom became the more vaguely sexual all of his growled lines seemed to become. To me, this made him unintentionally hilarious, but some women might have felt differently.

9) Sephiroth from: "Final Fantasy VII" & "Advent Children"

PictureMy hair is so 80s. Jel?
This one I can understand a bit. He's got a nearly perfect face with a classic Anime aesthetic to it, simply glorious hair, and a theme song that you can find in the dictionary under 'epic'. Personally, I've always found him a little too creepy and a thing or 'force' rather than a person, which makes sense in the grand scheme of the story (No I won't say this is a spoiler, the game came out almost 20 years ago for Christ's sake!). Even after he gets some development in Crisis Core, I couldn't get on board the Sephiroth Train. I do have to say that I admire the tenacity of anyone who can still say they like a character who is responsible for one of the most heinous murders in video gaming history, though. Oh, and there's the whole taking over the Planet thing too (Over a decade old, people. Get over it).

8) Jack Skellington from: "The Nightmare Before Christmas"

PictureWhat's this?
This is perhaps the most confusing. The normal physical attractions don't really apply here, except for him having good bone structure. See what I did there? If you're into tall, skinny guys than he may do something for you. He's also a good singer, and hey, all men look good in a suit. Personally, I think this one can be attributed to his love interest, Sally. If you're not familiar with the film, Sally has a thing for Jack, but he is oblivious to her feelings for him as he plans his takeover of Christmas. Every girl can relate to this, especially the teenaged Tim Burton lovers. Perhaps they relate so much with Sally that they develop a crush on Jack through association.

7) Sylar from: "Heroes" portrayed by Zachary Quinto

PictureCan you hear me now?
Now here's a psychotic killer who could give you one hell of a smolder. Sylar has a few things going for him: he's conventionally attractive, has an intensity that can absolutely be sexual, and is essentially trying to find his place in the world (something everyone can empathize with). Plus, dem eyebrows, *swooon*... Of course, none of this makes up for the fact that he cuts open peoples heads to absorb their powers. He also has major mommy issues, a red flag for lots of women, this one included. It's a real shame that the series didn't continue, because the creators were shaping up Sylar to be a sort of anti-hero who might possibly try to make up for the mistakes of his past (even though you can't really make up for being a serial killer who cuts people's heads open).

6) Ayoto from: "Diabolik Lovers"

PictureStay thirsty my friends.
Let me start off by saying that many different anime or manga characters could have ended up on this list. A good quarter of our conversation was spent discussing all of the horrible characters we've fallen for in that medium, but Ayoto was not only a crush we all shared, he was one we all seemed to want to admit the least. He's certainly good looking and he's a vampire, which has somehow become a Kryptonite for women these days. He's sure of himself and really seems to care for the protagonist, Yui, but these things come with some big “buts." He cares about Yui, but is extremely possessive of her and jealous of most interactions she has with others. He is sure himself to such an extreme that he calls himself the Japanese equivalent of "Yours Truly." He can also be flat out mean calling Yui 'Pancake' (in Japanese, it means: breastless) throughout the series. And did I mention the first thing he did when meeting her was sexually assault her? Yes, he has some backstory that makes his behavior more tragic than anything, but that's no excuse for loads of women to daydream of being a toy for him to play around with.

5) Draco Malfoy from: "Harry Potter" portrayed by Tom Felton

PictureBoo.
This is a crush that I'm against mostly out of principle rather than anything else. I can see that he's attractive, he's rich, and as the series progressed he became a character women probably thought they could 'fix.' This is all fine except for the fact that he's a giant d-bag. He's a spoiled brat who whines and complains when things don't go his way. He brags about how rich he is and how many people his father knows. Let's not forget that he makes fun of people for being poor, their bloodline status, and for having dead parents. Who does that? He does finally show some empathy by feeling bad about killing Dumbledore (Oh yeah, spoilers and stuff) but slinks away afterwards, deciding to not take action against Voldemort even though it's clear that he wants to. How I can still find OC fan-fiction of him after all these years is beyond my understanding.

4) Jamie Lannister from: "Game of Thrones" portrayed by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau

PictureHold my sword?
I can't fault most of Jaime's fans for this one. He's introduced in the show as being witty, charming, and having a slight bad boy streak. He's a freaking knight in shining armor, for pete's sake! He may have killed the last king, but he sounded like an a-hole so who cares. Then BOOM! Incest. And shortly afterwards, BOOM! Attempted Child Murder. But we had already accepted him as our newest obsession! You can't just do that, "Game of Thrones!" He has sort of redeemed himself as the series has progressed, but then he keeps backsliding by sleeping with his sister, Cersei. This is especially frustrating as she becomes more and more psychotic and evil with each episode. Why do guys always go for the crazy ones? Especially when it's your crazy sister.

3) Khan from: "Star Trek: Into Darkness" portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch

PicturePopin' my collar.
Here's a simple truth: If you are a heterosexual female geek/nerd then you are obligated to crush on EVERY character Benedict portrays without question. Sorry, I don't make the rules. Besides the strangely inherent likeability that BC seems to bring to most of his roles, Khan has a lot going for him on his own. He's extremely intelligent, a natural leader, and if you're in his crew he will do everything in his power to keep you safe. But all of this means wreaking vengeance on Starfleet, most of whom are innocent people trying to make the universe a better place. Don't forget that getting what he wants for his crew apparently means, breaking helpless women's legs and crushing a man's skull with his bare hands. We also can't forget that he's responsible for the death of Spo-- I mean Kirk, albeit only for a short time.

2) Loki from: Marvel's "The Avengers" & "Thor" portrayed by Tom Hiddleston

PictureI'm reading fan-fiction about YOU!
Where should I start with this one? If you're privy to the events that occurred at San Diego Comic Con 2013, then you have an inkling of just how popular this guy is with the ladies. Personally, I do see the physical attractiveness here and having an affinity for leather outfits can subconsciously say a lot. He's a character that you can see becoming good again, but he never makes the decision to be. He'll ride the line forever and string you along for each and every moment of it. Despite all of the times that we've seen his sensitive side, we can't forget that he's done some messed up stuff. He almost got Thor killed many times and nearly destroyed New York City, probably killing hundreds, if not thousands, of people in the process. He's the God Of Mischief, if that's any indication that he's not trustworthy then I don't know what is.

1) Hannibal Lecter from: "Silence of the Lambs," "Hannibal Rising" & "Hannibal" portrayed by Anthony Hopkins, Gaspard Ulliel, & Mads Mikkelsen

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Bad at every age.
You'll want a thorough explanation, I'm sure. Hannibal is one of the most intriguing and disturbing characters of popular culture. He's a cannibalistic serial killer that shows absolutely no remorse for his actions. He plays and toys with people well beyond the point of too far for his own gain and sometimes amusement. Even the most recent actor to play him (Mikkelsen) , said that he plays him as a 'satanic figure.' Yet, despite all of this, we can't help but like him. He's sophisticated, refined in his interests, and he's stuck it to many people we definitely think deserved it (the original Dexter). If we were to meet him in person we would want him to like us, want him to think we're worthy of his time and attention. He's somehow both repulsive and alluring at the same time, definitely reminiscent of the Devil. Yeah, saying you have a thing for a character that is basically Satan makes him Number One on this list.
Well, can you guys top Hannibal freaking Lecter? What are some of the crushes you know you shouldn't have? Leave your comments below.
 
 
This past weekend, my friend Lisa was super excited to tell me about a sci-fi book she just read.  It was about a group of astronauts sent on a spaceship to destroy an asteroid on course to destroy earth.  In typical fandom-snob fashion, I scoffed as I usually do at little Lisa's 'discoveries.'

Because she's new to fandom, she never tells me about anything I haven't heard of before.  So as I began to tell her that the book was probably a rip off of the 1998 Michael Bay film "Armageddon," she smiled with glee, as she knew she finally one up'd me.
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In 1998, they left the woman on earth.
She told me the book was called "The Moon-Maker" and was written in 1916. Curious, I promptly downloaded it to my Kindle and began a voracious reading session.
PictureProfessor Gibbs
As I read, I was surprised to find an engaging sci-fi tale with a strong female lead named Professor Rhoda Gibbs. After much research, I realized that Professor Gibbs was probably the first sci-fi heroine.  So for that, I offer kudos to the co-authors Arthur Train and Robert Williams Wood. They were way ahead of their time.

For as good as this book was and so obviously trailblazing for it's time, I'm surprised that the book is not better known.  I think it's time to fix this. I highly recommend "The Moon-Maker" to everyone and if you like it, please tell others.  It offers a smart and strong female lead that pulls her own weight and contributes heavily to the mission. I think Professor Gibbs is a strong role model for any young woman that has any interest in science or math and is a more realistic role model than say, gun-toting Ripley from the "Alien" franchise.

One of my favorite bits in the book is when Professor Gibbs is introduced to the 'hero' of the book, Professor Benjamin Hooker. While they are sitting on a bench, Professor Gibbs, in a sneaky manner, solves a complicated math problem for Professor Hooker with ease and grace.

Now, "The Moon-Maker" is a sequel to another book called " The Man Who Rocked the Earth" that stars Professor Hooker, but it can be enjoyed without reading the first part.  If you'd like to "The Man Who Rocked the Earth," Amazon offers the annotated edition of "The Moon Maker" on Kindle, which includes both books. You can find a link below.   

You can find out more about the book on Amazon. Use either link.
 
 
Last week ABC premiered, "Agent Carter," yet another Marvel project on the not-so-big screen. Presumably, because the executives think that we'll start riots in the streets if our Marvel quota isn't constantly being met. "Agent Carter" is a six-episode long mini-series that follows, Margaret 'Peggy' Carter of "Captain America" fame.  It's set during the mid-1940s, not long after Cap's crash in the Atlantic sea. When the series starts, the SSR has relegated her to secretarial duties because either: one, they had forgotten (or perhaps aren't aware?) about all the times that Peggy has proven herself to be more than capable of kicking ass, or two, in the 40s men were sexist and amnesiacs.

When an old friend, Howard Stark, asks her to prove his innocence after being accused of selling his own weapons on the black market, Carter's dull office life gets far more interesting. Since the SSR see Stark as a traitor to be apprehended, she effectively becomes a double agent, and uses her skills and resources to find out who's really responsible for Starks' weapons falling into the wrong hands.

In all honesty, "Captain America: The First Avenger'" is one of my least favorite Marvel films. The characters in it were either not likeable, or had little depth. I also found the pacing strange and the plot was all too familiar.
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Nazis using mystical MacGuffins in order to gain power and world domination?! What'll they think of next?

WARNING: SOME SPOILERS AHEAD!

At first, the pilot episode was slow, and right out of the gate, they hit you with a continuing barrage of sexism until we get to Carter's first 'mission' for Stark. I found this set up to be reminiscent of a vintage, more boring version of "Alias."  Early on, my hopes were starting to drop, until she brings one of Starks' dangerous inventions home. After one intense deactivation scene, sudden roommate death, and engaging fight later, the show managed to give Carter some much-needed dimension and (more importantly) got me hooked. Yes, the whole "everyone around me gets hurt" is a bit tired and usually comes off as whiny, but Carter has literally just lost Captain America and now her friend is dead because of her, albeit unintentionally. You start to realize the pressure and frustration Carter must feel in striving to be an exceptional agent, while also dealing with the emotional strain of constantly being unappreciated and losing all the people she cares about.

END OF SPOILERS!

While the first episode wasn't exactly mind-blowing, it did manage to give Peggy Carter's character a little more life and will provide you with an engaging 40s era spy story if nothing else. And if you're a Marvel fan you'll definitely appreciate how much the story is steeped in Marvel lore.
PictureJennifer Walters, She-Hulk & Lawyer
For example: The cab service, "Lucky Star Cab Company" that was prominently featured in "Captain America: The First Avenger's" chase sequence, is frequently used by characters in the series. Also, Roxxon Motor Oil is once again part of shady goings on, as it has been in both "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." and in the comics.  In addition, I caught an offhand remark about a neighbor who is a secretary at Goodman, Kurtzman, and Holliway for all of you fellow She-Hulk fans you'll know that's where Jennifer Walters works. Finally, there's a certain butler for the Starks that becomes a main character, named Edwin Jarvis.


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Pictured: Marvel's version of Alfred Pennyworth.
PictureNetflix's Daredevil
I'm really hoping that this series doesn't peter out by the end of its run but am not too worried as it is only slated for seven episodes. I hope they keep adding dimension to Carter's character and I'm excided to see how much modern-era Marvel can be set up in the 1940s. So if the creators and writers are as good as they've proven to be so far, then I'll be riding this one out until Daredevil begins on Netflix in April.

You can stay caught up on Agent Carter by visiting Amazon Instant Video and if you get a TV Season Pass you save 7% off the price of each episode aired!

You can find out more about the show on Amazon. Use either link.
 
 
During the recent New Years Eve, I did what I always do: indulge in a massive movie marathon into the midnight hour with my girls. This year, core member, Margaret, decided to attend a swanky party with her new beau, Dustin, at some downtown hipster joint. LAME! So, Tiffany and I invited our new friend, Lisa, to join us for the "reel good time."

This go round of our yearly tradition, it was Margaret's turn to pick the movie series. But since she wasn't there to attend, we gave the honors to little Lisa. She's the youngest in our group at 20-years-old.  Due to her excitement surrounding the new Star Wars movie, "The Force Awakens," she decided to select the Star Wars Saga. Tiffany and I rolled our collective eyes, and were immediately regretting our act of good will to our full-of-fandom friend. As a way to alleviate our annoyance, we demanded that we at least watch the unaltered editions of Episodes IV-VI, to which Lisa agreed, under protest.  Kids these days...

As we were watching, "The Empire Strikes Back," there was as scene that caught my attention for the first time ever. Maybe this was due to the fact that I have never taken in the Star Wars Saga in secession before.  It's the last scene on Dagobah. Luke is in his X-Wing preparing to take off for Bespin in the hopes of saving Han and Leia. The spirit of Obi-Wan appears, and tries to talk Luke into completing his Jedi training, but in Obi-Wan fashion, fails miserably at trying to convince a Skywalker do something. As Luke takes off into the atmosphere, Obi-Wan states to Yoda: "That boy was last hope" [Jedi kind]. To which Yoda retorts, "No, there is another..." Nowadays, due to "Return of the Jedi" we know that since Leia is Luke's sister, Yoda was referring to her, but at the time [1983], people must have been confused as all heck.

What struck me as this scene played out? Well, keep on reading as I present to you a shocking theory about your beloved Jedi, Yoda and Obi-Wan.

Now that we have the benefit of Episode III and know that Yoda and Obi-Wan knew about both Luke and Leia (as they were present during their respective births); the scene I just recapped, made me wonder, 'Why was Leia plan B, Yoda?' This then made me ponder: 'Wouldn't it have been a better plan to have Leia be trained as a Jedi, as she was the adopted daughter of royalty?' After thinking about these questions for quite some time, I yelled out at some point during, "Return of the Jedi:" "Hey, Leia was way better equipped to be trained as a Jedi instead of Luke!" This garnered some strange looks from Tiffany and Lisa, as they weren't privy to my internal monologue (sometimes I forget).  After crashing back into reality, I explained to the gals what I was thinking about since about the Lando punch. My diatribe to them went on until about 3am.

The first thing I did, was lay out to them my evidence as to why Leia was more qualified for Jedi training, and I will present it to you here:

Based on skills that were important to the way of the Jedi as portrayed in Episodes I-III, let's see how Leia does at the start of Episode IV:
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Pretty solid. There's a lot to work with there. Put a lightsaber in her hand, have her jump around a swamp, and you got yourself a Jedi that's ready to rebuild the Order.  

Now let's look at how farmboy, Luke 'Whineypants' Skywalker stacks up in comparison:
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Hmmm. Not a whole lot to work with there.  I'd say I'd be like training a semi-truck driver to be an MI-6 agent. It'd be a lot easier to train James Bond how to drive a semi-truck, which is essentially, all you have to do if you go with Leia.  

Now, like my girlfriends, you may say: "But Luke was more 'Force sensitive' than Leia." To which I reply, "Quiet you!" Since Luke and Leia are twins, it's fair to assume that each of their collection of midi-chlorians were the exact same, and thus, would both be equally qualified to be trained into successful Jedi.

After I presented my infallible evidence, I next unfolded my theory to the ladies and now to you:

Seeing as Leia was far more qualified than Luke to be trained to be a Jedi, the only logical conclusion as to why Obi-Wan and Yoda picked Luke was because he's a man. Take notice of the line by Obi-Wan: "That BOY was our last hope.." Then Yoda says: "No there is another..." Oh, you mean Leia, Yoda? The one you were okay with letting die not 10 seconds prior, if Luke 'honored what she was fought for?' Jerk.
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They probably thought that only a big strong man like Luke, could take down the likes of Darth Vader.  Search your feelings, fans; you know it to be true. I did offer my friends the opportunity to present a counter argument, but they couldn't. They ended up giving up and fell asleep sometime around 4am. Maybe you all have some thoughts to counter this theory?

Now I realize it's just a movie and that a lot of things don't make sense with the existence of the Prequels, but I just thought the theory was something interesting to explore.  Let's hope that future storytellers will consider that sometimes you just gotta send a woman in to do a man's job.

Interestingly enough, there is a comic book series, published by Dark Horse, titled "Star Wars: Infinities," that explores different story possibilities in the Star Wars universe.  It's the equivalent to Marvel's popular "What If?" title.

In one of the "Infinities" runs, "A New Hope," the creative team explores what would happen if Leia was trained as a Sith by Darth Vader. Leave it to the bad guys to recognize talent. Geez...

I've read the "A New Hope" run and the other two in the series: "The Empire Strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi" as they have been collected in an Omnibus edition and highly recommend it. All the runs are fun reads that explore everything from a Jedi Han Solo, to a good Darth Vader.  You can find it here:

You can find out more about the book on Amazon. Use either link.