Monday, October 20, 2014

Halloween @ the Zoo



During the Halloween season we often skip out on many of the trick-or-treat type events hosted for children because of my daughter's severe peanut allergy to avoid the risks and hassles involved with the candy and goodies that go along with them.  One thing that we do do every year to enjoy the Halloween atmosphere with our kids, and it has become somewhat of a family tradition for us, is take a trip to the local zoo to enjoy their Halloween decorations.

The Detroit Zoo does a nice job of creating artistic Halloween displays made out of pumpkins that you can appreciate as you stroll around the zoo grounds.  With the purchase of an annual pass to the zoological park it also doesn't cost us any extra money to take my minions on a special outing just to spend an afternoon enjoying the decorations. The changing fall colors often add a nice pallet of reds and oranges as a backdrop to enhance the decorations on display that really helps boost our Halloween spirit.

 Here are a few of our favorite displays from this year's visit:

Cinderella's Carriage
The Lorax
Christmas in October
Butterflies
Where the Wild Things Are
Witches Brew
Sesame Street
Detroit Sports Teams
In addition to the pumpkin art work, my kids always want to run up and hug the giant inflatable jack-o-lantern on display.  Yes Charlie Brown there is such a thing as the Great Pumpkin!


The DETROIT ZOO is located at 8450 W. 10 Mile Road in Royal Oak, Michigan.  During the month of October it is open 7 days per week (10am - 5pm/Weekdays & 10am - 4pm/Weekends).  For more information, visit: www.detroitzoo.org

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Pay Whatever You Like to Receive A Huge Bundle of DarkHorse Star Wars Comics on Humble



Don't miss out on this great deal! The Humble Star Wars Comics Bundle lets you pay whatever you like to download a huge selection of digital comic books published by Dark Horse that includes Star Wars Omnibus Volume 1 (the first 26 issues of the Star Wars comics printed by Marvel alongside the movie in 1977), the first four issues of the Star Wars: Empire series, and the Star Wars: Jedi, Crimson Empire, Darth Maul - Death Sentence, and Blood Ties: Jango & Boba Fett mini-series.  Pay $1, $5, $10, $25 whatever you are comfortable with and can afford to purchase these great comics that are provided DRM-free and accessible in multiple formats (CBZ, EPUB, PDF).

To encourage people to spend a little more than a dollar or two there are some incentives for spending a little bit extra.  First of all you can designate some of the money that you spend to be donated in support of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF).  The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting the First Amendment rights of comic book artists, consumers, retailers, and publishers. Since 1986, the CBLDF has managed and paid for the legal defense of individuals whose First Amendment rights are threatened for making, selling or even reading comic books.  One of CBLDF's more recent projects was successfully defending Ryan Matheson, an American citizen who was unlawfully arrested at Canadian Customs and wrongfully charged with importing child pornography for having digital comic books on his laptop computer which contained innocuous manga images.  Ryan's case cost the CBLDF $75,000 to defend.

Secondly, if you spend the average people are paying for the Humble Bundle (which is currently around $10) you will be provided an additional five selections which includes Knights of the Old Republic Volume 1 Blood of the Empire (11 issues),  Knights of the Old Republic Volume 1 Commencement (7 issues), the first six issues of the Star Wars Legacy series, the first five issues of the Dark Times series and the Darth Vader and the Lost Command (5 issues).  Plus if you spend more than $15 dollars total the first six issues of Brian Wood's "STAR WARS" series are included in your bundle.  So if you spend at least $15 dollars you will get a bundle of 89 Star Wars comic book issues with a combined value of $190 if you were to purchase them individually on the Dark Horse digital marketplace website.  The Brian Wood's Star Wars issues provided in the Humble Bundle for example would cost you $10.99 and the Star Wars Omnibus Volume 1 is priced $9.99 if you were to buy them directly from Dark Horse's website today.


I can testify that these are some great selections in the Humble Star Wars Bundle because I already own most of the issues included in this package.  So while unfortunately this deal isn't that great for me, I can say it really is an exceptional opportunity for anyone who would enjoy reading Star Wars comics and hasn't already collected these editions.

Don't wait to take advantage of this opportunity though as it ends on Wednesday, October 29th @ 11 am PT.  For more information, visit: www.humblebundle.com/books

Note if you are planning to view these comics via a tablet, e-reader or smart phone there are a few things you need to do to access your downloaded comics.  CLICK HERE for all the details.

Marvel to debut a Star Wars: Rebels comic book in April 2015 based upon the Jedi Cowboy

Following up on the recent success in the debut of the brand new animated television series Star Wars: Rebels, Marvel has announced that it will adding a new series to its upcoming lineup of Star Wars comic books coming out in 2015.  Marvel takes over the publication license for Star Wars comic books from Dark Horse in January 2015.  Star Wars -- Kanan: The Last Padawan will be a monthly comic serial that ties into the Star Wars: Rebels animated series being aired on the Disney XD cable channel. 


Kanan Jarrus, who is often described as a "Jedi Cowboy", is the leader of the rebels in the new Star Wars: Rebels television show.  Prior to the destruction of the Jedi Order in Star Wars Episode III he was training as a padawan.  The new comic book will explore the character's early life, depict his padawan training and relationship with his Jedi master Depa Billaba , and how he went into hiding after Order 66 and prior to the events in the novel Star Wars: A New Dawn and Star Wars: Rebels.  The comic book series will be written by Greg Weisman who is an executive producer for the first season of Star Wars: Rebels and illustrated by Pepe Larraz who is currently providing the artwork for Marvel's The Mighty Thor.

Check out this interview on Marvel.com with Greg Weisman about this upcoming comic book series.

Star Wars -- Kanan: The Last Padawan will be joining Star Wars (featuring Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and cast from the original movies) and Darth Vader themed monthly comic books and a Princess Leia mini-series in 2015.  Keep an eye out for all of these titles in 2015.

Friday, October 17, 2014

WEEKEND GIVEAWAY: Earth to Echo Movie Prize Pack



Did you see EARTH TO ECHO, the family adventure movie of the summer, when it was in theaters?!  When a youthful trio of best friends stumble upon a mysterious creature hiding out in their neighborhood they become entangled in an epic journey that goes beyond their wildest imaginations.  This movie is a cross between the movies Goonies & E.T. from my youth tweeked and angled to connect with today's Millennial generation.  This PG rated motion picture was a perfect fit for those who have elementary school aged children and wanted to enjoy a family outing to the movie theater.


Missed it at the theaters or want to see it again?  Don't worry you can now enjoy it in the comfort of your own home as the DVD and Blu-ray are being released on October 21st, 2014 just in time for a Halloween treat for your family. To highlight the October 21st Blu-ray/DVD release of EARTH TO ECHO, our friends at FOX HOME ENTERTAINMENT are providing one lucky A GEEK DADDY BLOG reader with a digital download/blu-ray/dvd movie prize pack.



To enter to win this prize pack:

ENTRY #1:  E-mail thegeekdaddy [at] yahoo [dot] com your name and mailing address with the subject line EARTH TO ECHO.

ENTRY # 2:  For a second entry follow A GEEK DADDY BLOG on GOOGLE+  and include the account name you using to follow on Google+ in the above noted email.  Your Google+ account info must be included in your ENTRY #1 e-mail  for your second entry to count.

All valid entries will be assigned a number and one random entry will be chosen to receive the Earth to Echo prize pack. You must be a US or Canadian resident to enter over the age of 18.  For a chance to win submit your entries before Sunday, October 19, 2014 @ 11:59pm EST.   A random winner will be selected on Monday, October 20, 2014. A Geek Daddy Blog will be responsible for selecting the winner of this contest, but Fox Home Entertainment is responsible for providing the prize and its delivery to the winner.  By participating in this contest you waive any liability towards A Geek Daddy Blog or its publisher that may arise from your involvement with this promotion.  Only one entrant per mailing address per A GEEK DADDY BLOG giveaway.  If you have won the same prize on another blog, you will not be eligible to win again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.  P.O. Boxes are not allowed as mailing addresses for this contest.

 About Earth to Echo:

EARTH TO ECHO is a tale told through the eyes of Tuck, Munch and Alex, a trio of pals who make an out-of-this world discovery.  The best friends venture out of their neighborhood to find the true meaning of friendship.  After receiving signals on their phones, they meet Echo, a small but amazing energetic alien trying to make his way back to his home planet.  As they race to help their new friend, the boys will discover that little Echo has touched their hearts in unexpected ways and changed their lives forever.

To prepare you for this adventurous, exciting and heart warming film, the FOX HOME ENTERTAINMENT INSIDERS - which A GEEK DADDY BLOG is proud to be a part of - have compiled a list of the best way to spend time with your friends outside and away from your cell phones!

1.  PICK UP GAMES: There is nothing like a sports pickup game with all your neighborhood friends.  Between sitting in class all day and coming home to do homework, a quick game, whether it is hockey, baseball, basketball, or soccer, will let you use up some of that energy you've been storing! This is also an awesome way to make new friends.

2. BIKE RIDES:  With your parents permission of course, take a cruise around the neighborhood with your friends!  Also, make sure you wear a helmet.  You can use your imagination and make fun adventures out of your journey!

3.  HIDE N SEEK:  A neighborhood game of HIDE N SEEK is the ultimate outside activity.  With permission from your parents, and of course, using the buddy system when it comes to hiding, Hide N Seek is sure to be an awesome time.

4.  BACKYARD CAMPOUT:  Ask your mom and dad to set up a backyard camp out for you and your friends! Start by setting up a tent and marking your territory with your sleeping bag! You can spend the night telling scary stories and eating S'mores!

5.  CHALK:  The most underrated outside activity has to be chalk!  It is so much fun to create fun pictures and even games with all your friends.  You can play hoscotch, or tic-tac-toe or use your imagination to draw wonderful pictures.

DISCLAIMER:  A Geek Daddy Blog did not receive any compensation beyond a review DVD for the blog and the prize that is being awarded to one of our readers for this contest as part of being a member of the FOX HOME ENTERTAINMENT INSIDERS blogger program.  A Geek Daddy Blog is hosting this contest as a benefit to our readers. 

 #EchoInsiders

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Star Wars Battle Pod Video Game Flies Into Arcades January 2015


With the proliferation of home video game consoles and the fact that most phones probably have at least one game loaded on them (I happen to have Angry Birds: Star Wars and Star Wars Pinball on my iPhone) you wouldn't consider there to be much of a market for manufacturers to be creating new video arcade games.   Bandai Namco Games Inc. is betting that arcades aren't dead just yet though and has invested in a brand new video game titled Star Wars: Battle Pod.  It allows players to take command of vehicles from the original trilogy of films such as X-wings, the Millennium Falcon, snowspeeders, and speederbikes and race through digitally reproduced scenes from the movies in arcade-exclusive game play beginning in January 2015 within the United States and a global release will follow later in the year.   The Battle Pod features a unique dome screen enveloping a player's entire area of sight that leaving him or her with a sense of actually piloting and taking part in scenes from the film.

"The Star Wars universe is a vast galaxy of memorable experiences and epic storylines and we intend to put that level of fun and control in the hands of fans with Star Wars: Battle Pod," said Satoshi Oshita, president and CEO of Namdai Namco Game Inc., in the announcement release promoting this new video game. "Players can jump right in to true-to-film battles on Endor, Hoth, Death Star II, Yavin, and more."



Today's arcades are different than the ones I went to as a kid.  They are much more focused on providing "experiences" rather than actual game play because it is too easy to play games at home or on the go now.  But you currently can't replicate racing on a mechanical jetski or motorcycle (which seem to be some of the more popular games when my kids and I go to the arcade) in your living room or on a phone.  So in that same light this new Star Wars video game provides a visual experience with its multi-dimensional screen that can't currently be replicated outside of the arcade.  From the video previews it appears this game really lets players become immersed in the Star Wars scenario they select and live out a scene from the movies rather than trying to "win" a game or beat levels.  It appears for a set amount of money you are guaranteed to complete your selected mission in  one take versus having to spends lots of hours and tons of quarters trying to get from one level to the next.

In an interview about Star Wars Battle Pods with John McKenzie, president of Bandai Namco Amusement America and Europe by Polygon.com it was noted by the gaming company executive that there would be five levels to the game that each are designed to be accomplished in one sitting so players can enjoy it within a set amount of time for a set amount of money.  "When you go into an arcade you need something that delivers an experience you can't get at home," McKenzie said. "That typically means these much bigger, experiential titles. Games that feel almost like a theater experience or augmented reality, rather than simply something you play for fun. The added benefit of a game like Battle Pod is that it delivers a set experience, typically three to four minutes long, for a set price."



The Battle Pod game will feature five separate scenes to select from key moments in the original trilogy of Star Wars movies and each featuring a different memorable vehicle relevant to that scenario.  In Endor, players race through the forest moon on speeder bikes.  There is a Death Star II scene where you race around and through the space station in the Millennium Falcon.  You try to repel the Imperial attack of the Rebel base on Hoth in a snow speeder.  You can also pick from either Darth Vader's TIE fighter or Luke Skywalker's X-wing to reenact the famous Deathstar space battle from the original Star Wars movie.

So keep an eye out at places like Dave & Busters or Chuck E Cheese for this new video game. It looks pretty darn cool!  I know for sure my kids and I will be on the look out for it.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

5 Ways Comic Books Can Make Your Halloween More Fun

Halloween has always been one of my favorite times of the year ever since I was a little kid ... haunted houses, trick-or-treating, scary movies are fun thrills to enjoy throughout the month of October. Enjoying comic books can be another great way to enhance the spooky vibe of the Halloween season.  Here are 5 ways comic books can impact your Halloween spirit:

5.  WATCH CONSTANTINE ON NBC


Constantine is a new television series on NBC premiering on Friday, October 24, 2014 at 10pm ET/PT.  The series will focus on John Constantine a dark exorcist, occult detective and con man who is struggling with his past sins as he attempts to protect humanity from a gathering supernatural threat.  Constantine is based on the Hellblazer comic book originally published by DC Comics and more recently by its Vertigo imprint.


4. MONSTER THEMED DC COMIC BOOK COVERS

During the month of October, DC Comics will be publishing variant covers with a MONSTER theme for a variety of their comic book titles.  Keep an eye out for these spooky covers on the store shelves of your local comic book shop.

Action Comics #35
Batgirl #35

Batman #35
Batman & Robin #35


3.  DRESS UP AS YOUR FAVORITE SUPERHERO 

Show off your Super Hero Spirit by dressing your family up together with an Avengers or Justice League theme for Halloween.





Avengers: Captain America, Black Widow, The Hulk & Thor



 Justice League: Batman, Green Lantern, the Flash & Wonder Woman

2. WATCH THE WALKING DEAD ON AMC


If you enjoy being spooked out  than the AMC cable network's hit series The Walking Dead is a must watch show.  The premise of the television series now in its fifth season is that an epidemic of apocalyptic proportions has swept the globe. Now the dead  are walking the world with a hunger to feed on the dwindling number of survivors who manage to stay alive. 


The television show is based on The Walking Dead comic book series published by Image Comics starting in 2003 and is a still ongoing monthly serial.  In 2010 it received the Eisner Award for Best Ongoing Series.  Eisner Awards are like Emmy Awards for comic books recognizing the best in the industry each year.  The Walking Dead comic books are also a great read, especially during this time of year.  They are printed in black & white which enhances the horrific nature of the stories.

1. TRICK OR TREAT AT YOUR LOCAL COMIC BOOK STORE


On Saturday, October 25th participating comic book stores across the country will be giving out FREE Halloween themed comics to people, with or without a costume, who stop by that day.  There are 12 full size comic books being given out ranging from AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE to SCOOBY DOO TEAM UP WITH BATMAN.   There will also be 7 mini comics given out ranging from ANGRY BIRDS to VAMPLETS: THE UNDEAD PET SOCIETY.  Make sure to swing by and pick up these treats being given out for absolutely FREE!!!!

Visit www.halloweencomicfest.com to find participating comic book stores or for more information.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Dynamite Entertainment to Explore Early Years in the Career of 007 in Comic Books, Graphic Novels & Digital Comics Beginning in 2015



Bond, James Bond, the British Secret Services' agent 007, will begin to have his adventures chronicled in comic books beginning in 2015 with the announcement of Dynamite Entertainment acquiring the license rights to publish comic books, graphic novels and digital comics starring the character from Ian Fleming Publications Ltd. The fictional secret agent was created by author Ian Fleming in 1953 who featured James Bond in 12 novels and 2 short-story collections.  007 has also been the inspiration for 23 movies ranging from DR NO in 1962 to SKYFALL which was released in 2012. A 24th James Bond film is currently in production slated to open in US theaters on November 6, 2015.  According to the licensing agreement the upcoming comic books by Dynamite Entertainment featuring Fleming's iconic 007 secret agent will re-live the exploits that have thrilled and captivated fans for over half a century in fresh visual adaptations of the classic Bond stories.

Dynamite Entertainment is planning on creating a series of brand new adventures with a focus on the defining, yet largely undocumented, early years of James Bond's career.  These comic books will draw inspiration from the James Bond canon to explore 007's origins, those raw early years before he gambled with his life in the franchise's first novel by Ian Fleming, Casino Royale.  Dynamite is also promising to include familiar faces from the 007 mythos in their series including criminal masterminds, hired henchmen, those glamorous Bond Girls, and secret service allies.

"James Bond is one of the greatest cultural icons in the world.  His author and creator, Ian Fleming, was not only in touch with popular culture in his time, but also saw ahead of his time, and his written work will outlive us all<" said Nick Barrucci, CEO and Publisher of Dynamite Entertainment in the announcement of the publisher gaining the 007 license.  "The character, the structure and the source material is so incredibly strong.  The original prose storytelling serves the basis for one of the most successful film franchises ever, a franchise that reinvents itself to be in tune with each generation.  By doing so, it allows the character to be an ever-progressive pop culture phenomenon, one that energizes existing fans and engages new fans, thus helping to ensure that Bond's relevance and importance will live forever.  The high-octane action, the charm, the unquestionable allure of this man of action - it all stems from Ian Fleming.  We are excited to build upon Fleming's source material with new canonical stories, and are honored at Dynamite to be a small part of his legacy, to be able to bring new stories to fans around the world."

Corinne Turner, Managing Director of Ian Fleming Publications, added during the announcement of this new partnership, "It's over sixty years since the publication of Casino Royale and now more than ever it's an exciting time to be a Bond fan. We're thrilled that 007 will be revisiting the world of comics, as Fleming's novels have a long and successful history in this medium, ever since  they began to be published as newspaper comic strips in the late fifties.  Dynamite are the perfect partners to take on the challenge of continuing this legacy, and we are very much looking forward to working with them."

Dynamite Entertainment is actually one of A GEEK DADDY blog's favorite comic book publishers because it has created itself a retro niche in restoring the glamor to fictional and fantasy heroes of past generations for the enjoyment of today's audience.  Their titles include Battlestar Galactica, The Bionic Woman, Buck Rogers, Dresden Files, Flash Gordon, The Shadow, Green Hornet, The Lone Ranger, Lord of the Jungle (Tarzan), The Six Million Dollar Man, The Twilight Zone, and John Carter Warlord of Mars.  Dynamite does a nice job of presenting these titles with an artistic nod to their original portrayals ( a 1940's vibe for Flash Gordon, 50's for the Lone Ranger, 60's for the Green Hornet and 70's for Battlestar Galactica and The Six Million Dollar Man for example) and through writing intriguing and interesting stories that mix in classic characters and themes from these franchise's canon while also expanding on the adventures and journeys by adding new elements and figures to the mix. 

Now James Bond is joining the lineup and A GEEK DADDY is excited to see what Dynamite does to bring 007 to life in a comic book format.  Keep an eye out on book store shelves (brick & mortar and digital) in 2015 for this new comic book series.