The great 'Amazing Spider-Man' web-shooter debate
January 19th, 2012
05:57 PM ET

The great 'Amazing Spider-Man' web-shooter debate

With fan anticipation high for another glance at "The Amazing Spider-Man"  (though the stars didn't have much to say at a recent press conference, director Marc Webb hinted that another trailer for this summer's reboot of the "Spider-Man" movie franchise is on its way soon), there's a chance we may get a closer look at Spidey's mechanical web-shooters in action.

In the original comics, Peter Parker's interest in science and mechanics led to him to create his own web-shooters to go along with his spider-powers (climbing up walls, spider agility and the like). In 2002's Sam Raimi-directed "Spider-Man," Parker's web shooting ability was part of the package. This organic web-shooting power was also briefly given to Parker a few years ago in the comics.

Mechanical versus organic web-shooters has been a hot topic of debate for comic book readers for the past decade. When the new movie's co-star Emma Stone first confirmed that there would be mechanical web-shooters in this movie, many fans rejoiced. (At one point, a fan site called existed.)

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Thank you, Mr. Lucas
George Lucas presented Darth Vader with Spike TV's award for ultimate villain at the "Scream 2011" ceremony.
January 19th, 2012
03:53 PM ET

Thank you, Mr. Lucas

Dear Mr. Lucas:

After reading about your decision to retire from making blockbuster films - your last being the new movie, “Red Tails” - I wanted to reach out and say thank you.

Thank you for many things, but most of all, for creating one of the greatest sci-fi/fantasy universes, ever, in “Star Wars.” Your universe allowed an 8-year-old boy to believe that heroes still win, and being the good guy is not only OK, but cool.

The original three "Star Wars" movies are three of the, in my mind, greatest movies ever made. No matter what changes were eventually made to them, the films provided me with years of entertainment. They continue to do so. To this day, “The Empire Strikes Back” is still my go-to movie when I am sick, or just need a good pick-me-up.

It is true that your fans have not always been kind to you for the way you manage the "Star Wars" universe. I, for one, have been very vocal in my thoughts on the changes and tweaks you made to your movies.

You said in this week's New York Times interview, “Why would I make any more (‘Star Wars’ movies) when everybody yells at you all the time and says what a terrible person you are?” I can understand how much it hurts to hear people tell you that you are screwing something up that you put so much time and soul into.

But I ask you to look at it this way: If we, the fans of “Star Wars,” did not love the movies you created so much - the ones that we loved when they came out and still watch today - if we the fanboys did not love what you created, then why would we get mad that it was changed?

I am sure you won’t take it this way, and I wouldn’t either in your shoes, but please take it as a compliment that we do get mad. These movies had such a big impact on our lives. We don’t want to see them ever change, even though we are all smart enough to know that everything in this world must change on some level.

Again, Mr. Lucas, I want to say thank you. You and your vision are truly a gift to fans like me. Without my parents and the likes of you, Tolkien, Gygax and Miller to name a few, I would not have grown up to be the person I am today. And I believe that person is a better person because of what you all created.

Thank you, sir.

Your fan and your critic,

Topher Kohan

P.S. I see you left the door open to come out of retirement and make an "Indiana Jones 5". Thank you for thinking of us that way, but it is OK if you don’t do that. Really, it’s OK.

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New Comic Wednesday: January 18, 2012
“Wonder Woman #5” was written by Brian Azzarello, with art by Tony Akins and cover by Cliff Chiang.
January 18th, 2012
01:47 PM ET

New Comic Wednesday: January 18, 2012

Hello again, fellow comic readers!

The Amazon Princess spins her golden lasso around me in DC Comics "Wonder Woman #5"!

I want so much for there to be a good "Wonder Woman" comic, but her storyline has often left me wanting. This week’s pick, DC Comics "Wonder Woman #5," by Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang, comes the closest so far to changing that perspective.

Talking about "Wonder Woman" with Daniel Dean from Titan Games and Comics in Smyrna, Georgia, led me to the question: Why is this title so hard to pull off?

Dean said, “Wonder Woman is a tough nut to crack for both writers and readers despite her iconic nature and fond memories of her title in years past. Actually, scratch that: She's difficult because of those reasons.”

Wonder Woman has become a bit of a mishmash: Anybody who truly cares about her seems to want a very specific vision of the Amazon Princess, and I've never met two people whose visions completely overlap.

“I certainly have an ideal Wonder Woman in mind, but nobody has ever quite nailed it for me,” Dean said.

Perhaps it's an obsession with fixing "Wonder Woman" - rather than writing and art teams focused on producing awesome comics - that caused her story to remain persistently unreadable. Azzarello and Chiang succeed here because they are doing something different with Wonder Woman - read: not better - and it's rare that a gamble works for this title. FULL POST

He said/she said: 'Alcatraz'
January 17th, 2012
06:27 PM ET

He said/she said: 'Alcatraz'

Editor's note: The following is an e-mail conversation between CNN Geek Out's Elizabeth Landau and Henry Hanks. If you didn't watch Monday night's season premiere of "Alcatraz," another supernatural mystery show by nerd icon J.J. Abrams ("Star Trek," "Lost," "Fringe") don't read any further. Due to the involvement of Abrams, the cast, and the concept – which deals in both science and historical fiction – this has been a much-anticipated show by fans of both genres. Landau began by responding to Hanks' recap on CNN's Marquee Blog, which you can read here.

Landau: I had high hopes for “Alcatraz,” expecting the genius of a J.J. Abrams production and Jorge Garcia’s acting to be injected into this show. And it does have a lot of potential. I like the idea that the prisoners have suddenly shown up in San Francisco and we don’t know why. I think the most interesting character so far is actually Emerson Hauser, played by Sam Neill of “Jurassic Park” and "Merlin" fame, and I agree that he doesn’t get enough screen time. I want to know more of his back story. He obviously has knowledge that he’s not sharing, and so holds the key to uncovering why these prisoners are suddenly turning up.

But when I realized that this is going to turn into an “inmate of the week” drama, I became less interested. On “Lost,” since it dealt with a bunch of travelers trapped on an island, it felt like there was a lot more at stake for everyone involved, and it was more interesting to delve into their pasts. We get a little of that here but not enough. Detective Madsen has a personal interest in this investigation because her grandfather was one of the prisoners, but I just don’t feel enough genuine passion from her to care that much. And Garcia’s character Dr. Soto – what’s really in it for him? I feel like he needs more of a reason to care, too. Since we know him from "Lost," we want him to be comic relief but it doesn’t seem like his lines were written in quite the right way to let him shine.

Honestly I was getting pretty bored with the second episode – it dragged along as the detectives chase Ernest Cobb and he goes around killing people. But at the end of the second episode we get that big reveal that Lucy was Cobb’s doctor decades earlier, which makes it more interesting that he shot her specifically. I thought to myself “oh, wait, so this episode was important in the grand scheme of the show.” But I felt like I had to go through nearly an hour of “meh” to get to the “oh, cool” moment.

I am curious to see where this show goes but it was definitely not as stellar as the first two episodes of “Lost.” And unlike the pilot of “Once Upon a Time,” which got me feeling like I just had to know what’s driving this alternative world in which fairy-tale characters are stuck, I’m not itching to know what’s going on with these time-inconsistent inmates. But perhaps, as with “Lost,” Abrams has some major tricks up his sleeve that will wow us later.

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Life-sized Stormtrooper cake takes eaters to the delicious side
Warning: This particular stormtrooper is not edible (click the link below for a look at the cake).
January 17th, 2012
05:08 PM ET

Life-sized Stormtrooper cake takes eaters to the delicious side

A very short time ago, in Boston, Massachusetts, hungry Arisia Sci-Fi Convention attendees chowed down on what its creators described as "the world’s most epic cake."

According to Tyler Oakleaf, co-owner of Amanda Oakleaf Cakes, it took a staff of ten to assemble the 6 foot 4 inch edible Stormtrooper using 208 eggs, 20 pounds of butter, 140 pounds of sugar, 35 pounds of flour, 55 pounds of marshmallows and 30 pounds of Rice Krispies Treats.


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