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So apparently there’s been some Star Wars news? Anyone remind me? Oh right, yeah. THERE WILL BE A NEW TRILOGY. MADE BY DISNEY.

That Mickey Mouse plush toy dressed as a Jedi that I bought from Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida is now a reality…

The geek sphere of the internet went into meltdown last night when the news hit and I know I am still in shock. Let me repeat – Disney have bought Lucasfilm off George Lucas for $4.05bn. Now, this is not a news-y blog but I felt that this was too massive not to comment on.

They have promised Star Wars Episode VII by 2015, the same year Avengers 2 is set to be released, and a further two films to follow that – making a brand new trilogy. I still do not know what to think about this, and I’m one of the Star Wars fans who genuinely liked the recent films (although I have yet to see Phantom Menace. Like I said, a disgrace). However Episodes IV, V and VI will always be the pinnacle of the franchise.

At first, I was greatly dismayed at the idea. For me, you should not touch things that were great as they were. Just look at Terminator Salvation – nothing on the first films of the series. A Star Wars not helmed by George Lucas did not sound like a positive outcome to me, and you could never beat the charm of the original films. Doors that close slowly and properly and not jarring you say? Modern, perfectly polished CGI and 3D you say?!

Although now I have had chance to sleep on it I began thinking. This is not a remake, and Lucasfilm are still involved despite the Disney takeover. And though we may laugh at the Mouse House jokes surrounding this story, I trust Disney. People are arguing that Star Wars was their childhood, but for me it was Disney and I have utter belief in them. Maybe they do not have the back catalogue to show what they could so with a film like Star Wars, but they are still churning out wonderful pieces (look at Brave and Toy Story 3).

There is also what they did with Avengers, as Disney now also own Marvel. A brilliant choice was made in putting Joss Whedon in charge of that and there’s no reason that Star Wars could not be similarly inspired. There is an army of talented filmmakers out there and you know they will treat the Star Wars name with the utmost respect if given the chance to do it – imagine the backlash if they didn’t.

So whilst we are all still reeling, and I will admit I would rather they just left it alone, if they do have to do it lets have faith. Lets not judge until it is here and trust that the people in charge still know what they are doing. What are your opinions? Leave a comment!

Mickey Mouse – Jedi Style!

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This week I have chosen a different path and will concentrate my findings on the Threadless website. I would recommend this site to anyone who wants clothing designs with a difference, as they are created by professional designers and illustrators. They have t-shirts, hoodies, bags and accessories all with a special twist through fun designs or beautiful illustrations. The site does have american dollar pricing, but you can still purchase through the UK and it will convert it for you. Shipping will also be an added cost.

“Impasse” iPhone case (also available as hoodie and t-shirt) from $20

I adore this “Impasse” design by Verso. It is inspired by the Black Knight from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and Gandalf from Lord of the Rings (in case you hadn’t noticed already!) I love the mash-up of this design, playing on the classic quotes “you shall not pass” and “none shall pass”, both amusing in their own rights. The contrast between the serious tone of the actual image and the amusement of its message makes this design really appealing.

“Old, Old Friend” design, available in t-shirt or iPhone from $12.95

Next I have chosen this design created by Rocco Rabar. The vintage twist on this is really effective and adds that comical edge when paired with Wolverine, or “Wolvie”. This simple design would be quite eye-catching and makes a nice play on the tough-guy image of Wolverine – it is a really inspired twist!

“Zombies in Wonderland” available in a t-shirt and hoodie, from $12.95

Now it is time for some kick ass girl action, with this Alice in Wonderland design by Alice X Zhang and Donald Lim. The illustration of this is beautifully done and the colours are gorgeous. It is surprising how well Alice fits into her Wonderland zombie slayer mode and the menacing Cheshire Cat adds that nice touch.

“Doctor – Hoo” available in t-shirt and hoodie, from $20

And finally I could not leave out this adorable Doctor Who themed design by Mallory Dyer. It features all eleven of the Doctor incarnations as little owls, what could be cuter! Owls are a big trend at the moment, and when you mix them with Doctor Who you know this design should be a winner. The simplicity of the concept shines through but the subtle details in each owl are what makes this design successful.

Remember to check back next week! Also, if anyone has any suggestions or requests for the fashion of the week, just leave me a comment! I will do my best.

This synopsis is going to be tricky. Elfen Lied is about a Diclonius named Lucy. She is a mutated being that effectively has two horns on her head and four super strong invisible arms that sprout from her back and kill humans – because that is what she is genetically engineered to do. However, Lucy is taken in by two cousins when she escapes her facility and thus develops a split personality to cope. There is Lucy, who kills people and can talk fluently, and Nyu, who can only say “nyu” and does not seem to understand many human concepts at first (like language, or dressing herself). Nyu does not kill people. There are also other Diclonius introduced later that have different ability levels – but all have horns, invisible hands and pink hair.

This may sound like a hard plot to grasp, but at its basic level Elfen Lied is about concepts of humanity and morality. Through the first few episodes I found myself intrigued enough to continue watching, but the show did not really hook me until half way through and then towards the beautiful ending.

Lucy, from Elfen Lied.

For me, the characters are what hook you in to Elfen Lied. Even with the more cruelly crafted characters, such as Lucy and Mariko, you find yourself sympathising with and crying for them. The way they are written dramatically emphasises the flaws in humanity, but the show somehow draws this together to create something that snaps your heartstrings in two. Especially when Elfen Lied delves into the flashbacks of Lucy’s life do we really begin to see this happening. We see how Lucy became what she is, and how this relates to Kota, and instantly feel like nothing is her fault – even though she is the one killing people. Elfen Lied beautifully entwines the stories and the separate characters thoughts together to create this emotion. Each and every character is written in such a wonderful way, from the way Nana just wants to please her Papa, to how Yuka just wants to be loved back, to how Mayu just wants somebody to be there for her. Underneath all the violence is this continuous gut wrenching emotion that carries the entire series through. The bittersweet infusions, particularly with Nyu’s adjustment to the world, also add a sense of humour which provides yet more devices to add that moral commentary that underlies it all.

The production of the show is also really great. I cannot admit to watching anime, I am purely just getting started on watching some after being an admirer of the art for years (any suggestions of shows are appreciated!) but I could instantly see the values of Elfen Lied. The first scene in particular is memorable. The way the epic gore scale is weaved together with the haunting latin voice of the “Lilium” song (below) makes you sit back and realise this anime is aiming for something poignant. The way it puts this eerie spin on the events of the scene, as at this point the viewer has no idea what is going on, really works as an opener and sets the tone for the rest of the show – especially on that balance between violence and emotion. It is also well drawn in a style I am fond of, particularly in the difference between Lucy and Nyu.

The amount of gore and nudity in this series may put people off, but I would encourage them to stick with it. Some of it is indeed unnecessary, but the nudity is not sexual, it is just… there. Another let down would be the sheer amount of coincidences involved in the storyline. A lot of it becomes a little far-fetched (even for this storyline) which does let the overall plot down, and sometimes we do question what the character’s motives are behind it all. But despite all that I found myself willing to put these points aside to just enjoy Elfen Lied as it is, and I would recommend anyone else to do the same. It is a lovely story of humanity and the emotions and depths of human lives, and the underlying themes of acceptance, family and being an outsider.

Just lately, I have had a bit of a thing over Pokémon again. You might say to me, “but of course! The latest game was out this month!” And I would have to admit to you – I am currently playing my first ever Pokémon game, the Platinum version. I am a disgrace. But hear me out as we divulge down memory lane…

Jolteon graphic. Made by Rhiannon Szulc. I do not own the character

As a child of the 90’s era I am one amongst many victims of the massive Pokémon craze. Saturday mornings would not have been the same without getting up early for the latest episode and Ant and Dec’s Poke-rap on SM:TV. It was a very happy childhood. Memories of regularly trading and comparing Pokémon cards over the fence to the lad next door (the only time in my life I have really spoken to him), or drawing many pictures of various Pokémon things and saving them all in my Pikachu folder. Which I still have. Evidence:

My drawing of Charmander, Vulpix and Squirtle. Aged about 10.

Just a sample of my Pokémon collection from childhood

As you can see, my artistic talents blossomed early. I could have put in a picture involving people (my made up battle scenes a particular highlight) but I truly belive no other human being should have to witness that.

I still own all of my childhood memorabilia, it’s just buried in the depths of my cupboard. A fully functioning alarm clock, board game (both pictured above), a Pokémon index book, Pokémon Yahtzee, enough stationary to set up my own shop and Ponyta, Eeevee and Flareon wooden pictures my mum made are particular highlights. I think it will never be possible to realise how important this actually was to me when growing up. Alongside Digimon, Cardcaptors and Sailor Moon of course.

Then the games were released and initially I did all I could to boycott them. For me, Pokémon will always be the original 150 and nothing will change that and that time was when it was beginning to shift further into more than the 150. Maybe it was just bad timing, but I refuse to fully accept the new Pokémon – I will always hold firm on this. I think part of the fun was to be able to name them all, and when it gets to 600 odd you’d have to be a genius to do that.

However, about a week or so ago I decided to give the games a go, and I have to admit I am really enjoying it. I have started on the Platinum version and currently own one gym badge and four Pokémon – including a Starly named Peebles and a Zubat named Billy. I have no regrets.

Now I am in no way going back on my initial thoughts – I would still much rather play a game with the Pokémon I grew up with (and thus ones I could recite from heart) and it still stabs my heart a little when there is a Pokémon I do not recognise. It makes me feel old and neglectful. But the games are highly entertaining – I love building my little army and unleashing it on unsuspecting trainers who dare to challenge me. The game is a pure delight to play, the concept is simple but still effective, the gameplay is easy to use but still offers plenty of opportunities, and the characters make you feel happy and fuzzy when they chat all jolly to you. With so many “serious” and “epic” games out there, it’s ones like these that are the gems. These games put a smile on your face after a hard day, when you just can’t be bothered with proper video gaming. Taking a trip down memory lane, and getting away with it as a 20-year-old, is very refreshing and these games are a wonderful place to do it.

I think we should all revisit what made our childhood selves happy and recapture that. So does anyone out there have some Pokemon memories? Share them!

Vulpix – my favourite as a child. Graphic made by Rhiannon Szulc. I do not own the character.

As we build up to Halloween, us geeks feels it is a perfect excuse to dress up as our favourite characters and completely get away with it. So that is why this week I shall be concentrating on a Halloween theme, with a wee bit of good ol’ dressing up thrown in! I have looked especially to the Forbidden Planet “Halloween Shop of Horrors” for inspiration.

I shall begin this with some clear-cut zombie action. If your plan of action against a zombie invasion is to take inspiration from Shaun of the Dead and try to blend in with the infected, then these gems from Forbidden Planet are for you.

Hospital Zombie! £24.99 from Forbidden Planet

This hospital zombie gelatine is my favourite out of all of them, and even comes with a free oxygen tube! Unfortunately, it does come unpainted as the shop recommends you complete it yourself with their application kits – meaning you get the perfect skin tone for you. This does push the price up, but if you really want to make a proper zombie statement (without just ripping some clothes and splattering red dye on them), then this is for you. It would also make the perfect disguise for that upcoming zombie invasion – just in case there’s no castle, prison or supermarket nearby.

Yellow Cat Style Contact Lenses. £13.99 from Forbidden Planet

Next I have discovered these gorgeous contact lenses, again from Forbidden Planet, that come in a variety of styles and colours. They all come with sterile solution and last up to 90 days. Contact lenses have always scared me slightly, but with these creepy styles I might be persuaded to give them a go! Ideal for looking deep into the eyes of your soulmate… if they can hold your gaze.

Now we head to Etsy again to finish this search, starting with these adorable baby costumes by The Wishing Elephant.

R2D2 Baby Costume, £37.13 from Etsy

This adorable R2D2 costume would be the perfect way to start your baby’s geek life, and qualify them for the perfect dressing up Halloween and birthday parties! They would be the coolest baby around. I am so tempted to get one myself and just store it for a few years until I have kids… but that would be crazy, right?

Poison Ivy style corset, approx £99.24 from Etsy

Finally, for that ultimate sexy statement (and splurge) we have this Poison Ivy inspired handmade corset, set with Swarovski crystals. Made by Dirty Little Laundry on Etsy. If there was any comic book character that could inspire you to be sexy and confident, it would be Poison Ivy. And this corset is beautiful without being too revealing (like some Poison Ivy costumes!), and is boned to maintain the shape.

Steampunk Sewing Pattern from Simplicity. £5.65

Or if you want something a bit more covered up, Simplicity has gorgeous sewing patterns, like this Steampunk style dress. Although you do have to make it yourself, it would produce something that both looks beautiful and you could be proud of. As Steampunk has been through a massive increase in popularity lately, this would be a great Halloween option.

All images belong to their respective stores. Remember to tune in again next week!

Final Fantasy VII came out in 1997, when I was just a wee 5 years old. I could not play it, but my mum could. Whilst I spent my childhood years playing Crash Bandicoot and Mary-Kate and Ashley games, I also spent them watching my mum play the “grown up” games – including Final Fantasy VII and VIII.

Cloud from FFVII, graphic created by Rhiannon Szulc. I do not own the character.

Which means my view of these classic (and arguably the best) FF games are… peculiar. I love the games, especially VII, and agree with the majority of the gaming world in the fact that VII defined the RPG genre. The FF series exploded onto the scene with that game and brought something the Playstation may not have really seen before. I agree with all these opinions – and I haven’t even played it.

Don’t get me wrong, I did try. At the age of about 11 I attempted it myself but only got a few measly levels in before getting horribly stuck. I put it down to inexperience. Although I do indeed love FFX and X-2, where I can safely say I have played both… despite getting stuck near the endings. But that’s besides the point. I have dabbled in other, less memorable, FF games and have now started XIII since I have my PS3. I have also played the Kingdom Hearts games (these being my favourite video games) where classic FF characters were once again introduced back to me.

But I always feel like a fraud. People discuss FFVII and I join in emphatically – “yes! The best FF game! FF was all downhill from there! You can’t beat the classics!” Maybe the warm gushy feelings are just because the game was a key part of my childhood – I do not know. And since my mother eventually traded the game back at the game store (something me and my brother consider a great sin nowadays), I never got to play it later in life and find out.  It honestly hurts not to be able to say “I love Final Fantasy” with more gravitas than just childhood memories of drawing the characters.

Aerith, from FFVII. Graphic created by Rhiannon Szulc, I do not own the character.

Until now. Having just downloaded it for my PC, I can re-enter the world of Cloud and discover the game for myself. I am not very far in at all yet, but instantly you can see the achievements of the game for its time. The world that is created to play in is vast (considering the era) and thoroughly considered, and the graphics are way ahead of its time. But what stands out for me is the characters. If there’s anything that Final Fantasy does best it is its characters, and you find yourself yearning for a modern-day version with voice-overs and 3D graphics to truly bring these original people to life. You can fully see this standing its own against the likes of Skyrim if it was first released tomorrow. It is such a shame that the newer Final Fantasy games do not seem to capture the wit, ambition and overall charm of the older classics.

When I get further with the game do expect a tearful post on the terrible fate of Aerith. That haunted my young mind for years after.

Let me tell you secret. The one thing I dream of one day doing in my life is attending San Diego Comic Con. The mecca of geek, the ultimate pilgrimage for all the fans out there.

At the moment I am restricted to the UK versions, which unfortunately are also limited by my spending and travel abilities. Which, as a student, are not exactly impressive. Although I have managed Telford and Birmingham MCM Expos and Wales Comic Con. My next step is the London Expo which is just a step away from San Diego!

But I thoroughly love these cons. Where else can you mingle with like-minded fans, buy plenty of mementos that you probably don’t need but HAVE to own, admire such talented cosplay, wear your Kingdom Hearts t-shirt with pride (knowing people will actually recognise it) and see Warwick Davis – all in one fun-filled outing?

Where else can you stand in the queue and have three seemingly sporty guys behind you discuss the merits of both the Star Wars franchise, Assassins Creed and Wonder Woman lingerie? Exactly.

MCM Telford 2012. Image copyright of Rhiannon Szulc

Alas, San Diego is a far off dream for me at the moment. I doubt they do discounted tickets and flights for currently unemployed students. One of the bigger cons would be completely amazing, just to be with that amount of fellow fans. The geek world is meant to be shared, and that’s what the cons are all about – bringing the fans together. When we can share our opinions on the latest Doctor, or rant about Jar Jar Binks, is when fans are at their best and happiest. If there is any aspect of culture that is meant to be shared then it is indeed the geek world. Meeting someone else who can discuss the pitfalls and twists of Harley Quinn and the Joker’s bizarre relationship is a rare but strangely beautiful thing.

So I leave you with this last thing. It was the New York Comic Con recently, and this video of a dancing Deadpool showcases exactly what the geek world is about. Dressing up, getting together and being silly. This guy (critiques4geeks on Youtube and @_dpiddy on Twitter) basically goes around various cons getting cosplayed people to dance with him as Deadpool. Absolute legend. Watch from 43 seconds for the dancing!

Also, if anyone has any cosplay ideas for me I would love to hear them. I am blonde and not up to dressing scantily (basically Emma Frost is out). Maybe I’ll get time to make a costume one day in the future and get to share it with you here.

I finally got round to watching Prometheus, and I am finding  it a struggle to compose what I want to say in this blog. I really wanted to be involved in it. The film, for all intent and purposes, was glorious on all scales – except the one that counted. Viewer connection. (Warning – spoilers ahead).

Shaw, from Prometheus. Graphic created by Rhiannon Szulc. I do not own the character.

As it is directed by Ridley Scott (Alien, Blade Runner) you sit down with Prometheus feeling like it will be something special. In Prometheus, a group of explorers and scientists board their spaceship to visit an alien planet in search of the truth behind the origins of mankind. There, they come across dangerous species and a fight for their lives.

Scott is a forerunner in directing Science Fiction epics, so why would this be any different? The cast, also, feels like a winner. All the characters have been carefully chosen to respect the various attitudes of the crew members and this really shines through in the acting. Highlights are Charlize Theron as the cool Vickers, Noomi Rapace as the fairly naive Shaw, and especially the cold and enigmatic delivery of cyborg David, played by Michael Fassbender.

However, the way these characters are represented leaves the viewer wanting more. Although the cast is excellent, they do not really have much to play with. The pregnancy and subsequent “caesarean” scene with Shaw sets you on the edge of your seat and does leave you feeling uncomfortable – but as she loses her boyfriend, discovers she’s pregnant, performs a crude foreign object removal of the foetus, then seems to get over all this by running and jumping around (all in the space of roughly ten minutes) you find yourself losing momentum with the film. The plot events are mainly kicked off by the errors of the crew – despite it being their job. Why send electricity through an unknown head, just to see how it will react with no intital testing? Why go back to discuss the meaning of life with an alien after finding the corpses that said alien had been responsible for? Why constantly prod alien goo and strange lifeforms, whilst also having no regard whatsoever for alien planet contamination protocol? It leaves you wishing the fantastic cast had characters with a little more depth and sense behind them.

A saving grace of Prometheus is undoubtedly the visuals. The opening sequence with the Engineer is beautifully done and sets the tone for the gorgeous cinematography and scenery throughout. The way the inside of the alien spaceship is shot is genuinely creepy and really does create the atmosphere and tone that is carried through the entire film – there is always a sense that something is not quite right. This is science fiction cinematography created at its best, there is no denying that. The storm clouds were breathtaking, the desolate landscape of the planet was suitably eerie and the overall atmosphere was spot on.

But that is not enough for me to care. And I really, really wanted to. The characters are not given enough meat for us to make any connections with them, the storyline overall feels a bit weak and wanting in places and you really do struggle to care for any of it. It just needs that sprinkle of viewer connection and it would be there. But it just does not quite reach it. Which is such a massive shame for what we expected Prometheus to achieve. 3 out of 5 stars.

As promised, this week is accessories! If you do not feel confident to go all out statement with your geek-wear, a subtle accessory is all you need to declare your love of dork (and most accessories you can wear every day!) All images copyrighted to their respective stores.

Pacman Oven Gloves, from Forbidden Planet. £8.99.

First of all, we have these Pacman oven gloves from Forbidden Planet. Who says the kitchen can’t be fun! Owning these certainly might make me a bit more willing to start cooking – although the amount of times I would take things out of the oven, just so I can use them, might have an effect on the actual heating of food.

Elder Scrolls: Oblivion Pendant, from Etsy. Approx £9.13

Next we have this gorgeous pendant from Etsy. It is handmade and is priced really affordably. You could also get away with wearing this as simply as a pretty necklace, with the gaming fans on your journeys giving you a secret nod to recognise how awesome you are.

Marvel Comics Umbrella, from Amazon. £13.50

This umbrella is from Amazon and has various retro comic book covers printed all over it. I actually have a messenger bag with this design, so I know it looks good! Various items in this style have already made an impact in High Street shops, so you can guarantee this will shine your geek lantern AND still be considered “trendy”. Although having never seen an actual umbrella around before, you can also guarantee that unique edge.

Hermione’s Bag from Harry Potter, sold by Forbidden Planet. £67.49

If you fancy a splurge we have this authentic prop replica of Hermione’s bag from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, currently on Forbidden Planet. Unfortunately it is currently sold out, but there is an option to put your e-mail address down for updates on the product – and it was too lovely not to include here! Yes, it is an expensive item but for those who can afford it it would really be something special. It looks so intricately made and would be a gorgeous accessory for all fans, adding that touch of class to the geek fashion style.

And our final accessory, a must have for all geek fans (although also a big splurge) is the One Ring, from Forbidden Planet.

The One Ring (Silver Edition), from Forbidden Planet. £99.99

This pendant is made of sterling silver, and plated in pure gold with the elvish inscription etched inside and outside of the ring. It comes with a collector’s box and a certificate of authenticity. Yes, it is beautiful in every way and yes, again it is very expensive (I think this would be a definite candidate for any Christmas list!) But as the age-old saying goes, “One ring to rule them all, one ring to find them, one ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them”. A good enough argument for anyone, surely?

Next week I shall look into costume wear and accessories in preparation for Halloween! The perfect excuse for the secret cosplayer inside us all.

I love Television.  I have an unashamed, unhealthy attachment to fictional characters (TV, books, films, comics – even video games) and I have come to terms with this. I can even admit it openly now. However, I am an awful TV watcher. Unless it is Doctor Who, I often tape so many series which then sit there awaiting my critical but accepting eye – and thus never get seen. People discuss the latest shows and my contribution always seems to be “I so want to watch that! I’ve got it taped ready just not got round to it!” Story of my life. It took me four years to watch Supernatural on DVD, become thoroughly obsessed by it, only to have missed season 7 because (you guessed it) it is currently sitting in my Sky+ list. True Blood is one of these missed shows. Nikita, Lost Girl, The Walking Dead and Once Upon a Time just a few others. Maybe now is the time to watch these so I can blog about it!

And until last week another on this seemingly endless list – Game of Thrones. But I can finally shout out to the world – I HAVE SEEN GAME OF THRONES (well, up til the penultimate episode of season 1 anyway. Season 2 is next week).

Season 1 Boxset

I have no idea why it has taken me so long. It is a truly epic series of which would never have been possible through TV until now. No fantasy based show has come close to the standards and reach of Game of Thrones. It’s ambition is paramount. First off, the cinematography and scenery holds just enough scale and gloom to make this world believable. The characters are all richly padded out and the dialogue is considered and correctly echoes the overall tone of the show.

Admittedly, some of this ambition does get misplaced. There are a whole army of characters and more to remember the names of, sometimes those names are very similar – and there are only so many middle-aged, brown-haired, armoured men you can remember. The first few episodes it also takes a while to grasp the houses and who belongs to whom.

But once you get your head around the sheer depth of the series its many merits shine through. There are some true gems amongst the cast. The rebellion and spirit of Arya, the determination of Bran, the wit of Tyrion, the inner strength of Deanerys. Even the more twisted characters have enough depth behind them to emphasise their interest. Each and every character you become intrigued by and want to know all the back stories and history, and with so many characters this alone would take up a show by itself. If you even dared to become bored by a character, another will swoop in and grab your interest again. Add to that the underlying plot of war, treachery and danger and you have a full web of interest and intrigue to fully hook you in – and keep you there.

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*NOTE: All graphics that are in posts & header are created by Rhiannon Szulc (i.e me!) unless stated otherwise*

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