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So I got the results back on this here blog, and I good a nice solid first! It’s the highest mark I’ve ever got in a university module, so I am rather chuffed. And my lecturer even said my writing is “fabulous”. JRR Tolkein, eat your heart out.

But being serious, I did work hard at this blog and I loved every minute of it. Which is why this has given me even more incentive to carry it on further, as I do like to write things… even if I doubt anyone reads it.

To celebrate this news, here a gorgeous drawing of a Vaporeon I am now the proud owner of. It was drawn by third year Illustration student Delyth Thomas at a recent exhibition, and was drawn right there on the day for me. I chose Vaporeon because I’ve always been a huge fan of Eevee, back before her evolutions reached silly numbers. And as a wee girlie, Vaporeon was my favourite. She’s beautiful, just like this drawing! Next up will be a quick post on the MCM Telford, so hang around!

Vaporeon drawing by Delyth Thomas

Vaporeon drawing by Delyth Thomas

First off, I apologize for going a bit MIA the past month! I handed this blog in for assessment as part of my Uni course (haven’t heard back on marks yet though!) and now I can continue this!

As part of my final degree project as a photojournalist student, I have mashed it with my love of all things geek and concentrated it on cosplay. I’m hoping to attend at least 3 (hopefully 4) UK con dates this semester to photograph the beautiful and inspiring costumes I find! (If anyone’s in the Midlands-ish area of the UK and cosplays, or is going to the cons up to April, drop me a line and I’ll shoot you!)

So through my research of this, I watched this video from the New York Comic Con last year. Although the video’s been around for a while now, and is an hour long, it is most definitely worth a watch. Featuring psychologists Robin Rosenberg and Andrea Letamendi, and cosplayers Jill Pantozzi (The Mary Sue), Holly Conrad (Comic-Con Episode IV) and Bill Doran (Punished Props).

Personally, I would absolutely love to get into the cosplay community. I have an idea for a steampunk Harley Quinn in the pipeline (purely to avoid the full body lycra), so that’s a start! Settling on a character is the hardest part I find…

But I found this video fascinating. More people need to be aware of the wonders and beauty of cosplay, and not criticise it as something “weird” or “freaky”. These people put a hell of a lot of time and money into these projects (the video mentions one person who spent 2880 hours on ONE costume), and that needs to be recognized.

So, everyone should watch this insightful video, and contact me if around for a shoot! (Or attending the MCM Expos in Midlands and Birmingham). Get in touch!

Also, any cosplayers out there help Robin out with her survey into cosplay, by filling it out here.

R2-D2 wishes you a Merry Christmas!

R2-D2 wishes you a Merry Christmas!

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU ALL! This is my first Christmas here as a blogger and it’s all very exciting. Christmas is my favourite time of year and apart from the Carbon Monoxide alarm being set off at 6am it’s been a good day. So, the most important question, what wonderful geekery did everyone get from Santa this year?

I shall share a snippet of my geeky highlights. The main one being a wonderful Bishoujo Harley Quinn statuette, which is gorgeous. There’s also a Hermione string doll, Lego Lord of the Rings console game (which hasn’t arrived yet), an Anne Stokes calendar, 2 fabulous drawings off my brother and a Nintendo 3DS. Which I fully intend to get the latest Pokemon and Kingdom Hearts for.

My Harley Quinn and Hermione

My Harley Quinn and Hermione

And my mum painted me a Doctor Who painting, which she hasn’t finished yet. But here’s a snippet!

Amy Pond and Doctor Who by Michelle Szulc

Amy Pond and Doctor Who by Michelle Szulc

What geeky presents did you get this year? I’d love the hear from you, and probably cry with jealousy.

My presents!

The geeky side of my presents!

 

Batman and Robin pose for a photo

This weekend (24th and 25th November) was another Memorabilia event at the NEC in Birmingham. The event was by itself, without the Expo, but didn’t mean it was any less jam-packed and amazing!

The amount of stalls and goodies on offer selling wonderful things, from collectibles to handmade items, meant there was plenty of on offer to everyone of all ages. I even managed to tick off my mum’s and brother’s christmas presents for reasonable bargains (I can’t tell you what I bought though in case they read this!) I was a tad sad that I couldn’t afford anything for myself this time around, but there was plenty there for me to day-dream over. In particular I loved the Big Chief stall, that included such beautifully life-like Doctor Who figures. There were plenty of other stalls there too ranging from handmade jewellery, artwork, figurines, film posters or a vintage ewok. Expect a Memorabilia inspired fashion of the week post very soon!

I also loved the RPF stand, where they had a gorgeous display of prop replicas for people to just come and admire. My particular favourite were the Terminator props, especially the frozen T-1000 – if I could have that in my future house I would be rather happy! (Dammit, I’d go without a sofa just to fit it in…)

I personally prefer going to the shows to see the stalls rather than the signings, but the Hoff himself was there along with a Only Fools and Horses mini reunion and various other TV and sport stars.

As they didn’t have a masquerade, I also really enjoyed the mini parades showing off the best cosplay of the day, and then the Star Wars characters brought in especially for the show.

The cosplay was also wonderful as usual, and I am determined to get myself a costume for one of the next shows! Maybe I’ll manage it for next year… watch this space…

Here are just a few more images from the day,

Parade of Star Wars characters

R2-D2 made an appearance, complete with sound effects!

T-1000 replica at the RPF stand

Pirate-fly* being held by Stormtroopers, who posed with fans throughout the day

Dalek!

Olly Moss’ Star Wars series of posters

Last night (16th November) I took a trip to Leeds to visit the White Cloth Gallery, where they had the opening of the “Mondo So Far” exhibition. This was curated by graphic designer Olly Moss on behalf of Mondo, whose members produce limited edition screen printed posters of classic and contemporary films, and is the first exhibition of its kind in the UK. The only disappointment of the night was not winning one of 10 signed copies of Olly’s “Silhouettes from Popular Culture” book or the golden ticket – where the winner received a print especially designed by Olly on a film of their choice. I suppose winning a Game of Thrones paperweight last year used up my winning luck for the next decade…

The Exhibition featured Olly’s work alongside other featured Mondo artists and will be there, free entry, from now until 2nd December 2012 – or you could also see Olly at the Thought Bubble comic con in Leeds today and tomorrow (17th and 18th November).

A selection of images as part of the exhibition

Although the work was of films of all genres, there a suitable mix of geek thrown in. All the work featured from the various artists was to such an awe-inspiring level and made me really wish I could produce something with even a smidgen of that talent! Another particular favourite artist of mine was Tyler Stout, whose posters of Star Wars and the Avengers I particularly loved. His style is so detailed and intricate, featuring such in-depth and thought out compositions. His illustration is amazing, and the images of the actors are extremely lifelike, whilst still sticking to Tyler’s main style.

Tyler Stout’s series of Star Wars posters

The Avengers poster, by Tyler Stout

There was also live painting from Best Joined Up at the event which was fascinating to watch, which then got auctioned off at the end of the night to raise money for Barnardo’s (half of each ticket price also went to Barnardo’s), plus there was a Q & A with Mondo Creative Director Justin Ishmael, Olly Moss and Jock which was informal but really interesting.

If anyone’s in or around Leeds in the next week or two, I would really recommend popping into the White Cloth Gallery. The exhibition is gorgeous to look at and admire all the talent and different styles to the film posters – it’s a must for fans of film, geek or beautiful design and illustration.

Live Painting from two members of houseofbetty

Batman posters by Olly Moss & Jock

Dracula poster by Vania Zouravliov

More live painting from the event, which featured eight artists altogether

Vintage Doctor Who poster, by Olly Moss – my favourite from the night

Me next to a Return of the Jedi poster by Olly Moss

In case you hadn’t noticed, I am a girl. And a geek. And proud.

Also in case you hadn’t noticed, there’s been some uproar in the media recently over the topic of geek girls – in particular one rant from Tony Harris (an artist behind such comics as Starman and Ex Machina). Here is just one excerpt from that rant, which also features appalling grammar and use of  ‘you’re’.

but dammit, dammit, dammit I am so sick and tired of the whole COSPLAY-Chiks. I know a few who are actually pretty cool-and BIG Shocker, love and read Comics.So as in all things, they are the exception to the rule. Heres the statement I wanna make, based on THE RULE: “Hey! Quasi-Pretty-NOT-Hot-Girl, you are more pathetic than the REAL Nerds, who YOU secretly think are REALLY PATHETIC.”

Just… what? Now, I don’t cosplay but I would love to. I do, however, fully appreciate the effort that cosplayers go to for their outfits and think they look wonderful – and even if the cosplay goes a bit wrong the confidence to stand out in the first place is awe-inspiring. Especially when you could get targeted like this. It is disgusting.

The general tone of Harris’ full rant is horrible. Even when referring to other, ‘cosplay-chicks’ he looks down on us, who are actually interested in comic books. Well rain fire and cheese on me, who would have thought girls could like comics?! You know, how do we have the time to read comics when busy making slutty costumes to attract all the virgin, socially awkward guys?

I am not really a feminist. I have seen plenty of girls in the geek domain, and even more guys who are accepting of that and don’t even bat an eyelid. IT IS NORMAL.

It reminds me of one week when I picked up the latest Before Watchmen (that time a Comedian issue) and took it to the counter of my local comic store. The guy at the checkout inquired as to which story I was enjoying most, to which I replied that I liked most of them but I was quite enjoying the Silk Spectre at that time. He nodded wisely and then said, “that’s interesting because we get a lot of guys in here and they all like Minutemen. They can’t stand Silk Spectre.”

Why should that be interesting? Why do we make a point of determining the differences of opinion between the genders? I liked Silk Spectre because of the simplistic but effective artwork, the spunky character of Laurie and the sense of impending doom surrounding her new-found freedom. I also greatly enjoy the other Before Watchmen stories and the Minutemen I really love too. Does that make my answer any less of a commentary on the girl’s perspective?

Why are we still getting reactions like this? I know girls who aren’t interested in ‘geek’ things, but not a single one of them would want to dress up as a scantily clad character they have never heard of just to get the attention of geek guys. And the ones that do dress up as a scantily clad character I admire for their courage, because they look better than I would and they do have knowledge of that character. Why would you waste money and time going to cons in cosplay if you had no interest in it?

But if a guy bulks himself up and wants to dress up as Batman (complete with accurate chest size and six-pack) is THAT acceptable? Especially if, hypothetically, the only knowledge of Batman he has is maybe watching one scene of Batman, Dark Knight. Surely that is just sexualisation to attract women and therefore the same as ‘cosplay chicks’?

For me, I am just happy wearing a Doctor Who T-shirt, always having my DS in my bag in case of Pokemon emergencies, and going to cons (with my boyfriend – i.e not looking for ANY attention) with my purple Harley Quinn converse as my most daring clothing item. Why can’t that just be acceptable? AND I DO NOT HAVE BIG BLACK GLASSES OR PLAY VIDEO GAMES IN MY UNDERWEAR.

I do not wear/ own glasses like this. Or pout/ have a socially awkward general expression. But type “geek girl” into google images and this is what you get in various degrees.

Maybe I can’t recite every type of spaceship from Star Wars, or claim to like Star Trek (sorry guys) but I know what I enjoy, and I know what hobbies I have. And to me, it is classed as geeky. What is the problem with that?

What are your opinions on this? Geek girl or guy, get in touch! I’d love to debate this topic…

I’m feeling a bit Christmassy today. For no particular reason really, but I just love this time of year and will be using it to it’s full blogging potential.

The christmas decorations, the repeats of all Christmas films including the typical runs of all Harry Potters and Star Wars, the christmas adverts, the music… and of course presents!

So I want to know, anything geeky on your letters to Santa this year? Leave me a comment, let’s share in Christmas wonder together! I shall share you a snippet of mine…

Harley Quinn Bishoujo statue

– Brave soundtrack & DVD

– Pokemon Black Version

“Geek Wisdom – The Secret Teachings of Nerd Culture”

– Assassin’s Creed 3. (As an incentive to stop me buying it now when I have limited student funds)

– Game of Thrones book collection & DVDs

– Marvel Monopoly

“Spectrum 19 (The Best in Fantastical Art)

– And a whole load of Lego. Highlights being the Hogwarts Castle and the Battle of Helm’s Deep.

What geeky wonders are on your wishlist? Leave a comment! And I don’t care if it is early – embrace christmas!!

This was a very quick wee post, but this friday I shall be visiting an exhibition opening curated by Olly Moss. He is a designer who creates fantastic film, gaming and general geeky posters and wonderful things (his Star Wars set being a favourite of mine) and has recently released a book on Silhouettes in Popular Culture. I will most definitely leave a post about that, so keep your eyes peeled!

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.

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.

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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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