African-American women take on the comic book industry
Jackie Ormes, a pioneering comic creator in the 1930s, 40s and 50s, continues to inspire comic book readers today.
November 28th, 2011
03:52 PM ET

African-American women take on the comic book industry

Editor's note: Erika D. Peterman is a Florida-based writer and editor, and the co-creator of the comics blog

Cheryl Lynn Eaton is a comics and graphic novel fan who fell in love with the medium in childhood, courtesy of Archie and the X-Men. She knows plenty about comic books and their history, writes commentary about them and even produced her own webcomic, “Simulated Life.” You might say geekery is in her genes, as Eaton credits her dad for her love of science fiction.

Eaton, an African-American comic book creator from Edison, New Jersey, became fed up with the lack of diversity within the comic book publishing industry and the creative communities she encountered. In 2007, that frustration led her to found the Ormes Society, an organization dedicated to supporting African-American women who create comics, and promoting diversity within the industry and among fans. FULL POST

When buying gifts for a comic book fan ...
November 25th, 2011
11:00 AM ET

When buying gifts for a comic book fan ...

With literally hundreds of titles at your average comic book store, it can be a daunting task to search for holiday gifts for the comic book fan in your life. Lucky for you, CNN's Geek Out team is here to help!

While it's no surprise that a great gift for a comic book fan is a comic book, graphic novels are a gift worth the higher price tag. They consist of longer stories than the average comic book, are often (but not always) in hardcover and are sometimes a collection of  multiple issues of previously-released comics.

This year, one particularly holiday-oriented graphic novel is "Batman: Noel," a brand-new story inspired by Charles Dickens' immortal classic "A Christmas Carol." "Batman: Noel" features a different interpretation of the Dark Knight from writer/artist Lee Bermejo.

This Batman-exploring-what-it-means-to-be-a-hero story is Bermejo's first go as the writer and artist, so it's a much-anticipated book for fans of Batman and DC Comics. [Note: DC Comics is a Time Warner company, as is CNN.]

So, if you purchase it for the Batman fan in your life, make sure to tell them that you heard it was from the same artist who worked on "Joker" in 2008. That is certain to give you a few bonus points. FULL POST

Geeky gift ideas for the superfan in your life (or, who are we kidding, yourself)
November 21st, 2011
12:45 PM ET

Geeky gift ideas for the superfan in your life (or, who are we kidding, yourself)

Shopping for holiday gifts for sci-fi and fantasy fans isn't always easy, especially if you're not one yourself. Let CNN's Geek Out team guide you with some very inventive gift ideas that the geek in your life will love.

Want proof that scoundrel extraordinaire Han Solo is the coolest character in "Star Wars" canon? Just check your freezer. If you have to ask why anyone needs a Han Solo in Carbonite ice cube tray, you’ve obviously never seen “The Empire Strikes Back.”

This nifty ice tray commemorates the famous moment when the Empire flips a switch and turns everyone’s favorite smuggler-gone-legit into a Carbonite popsicle. It’s a great conversation piece for the "Star Wars" fan, and having Han in a glass makes a cold drink even cooler.

While sipping on that drink, the "Star Wars" fan in your life can enjoy the fact that their entire room is covered in Imperial forces wallpaper, thanks to you.

You'll want to get this Dalek ornament for that "Doctor Who" fan early enough so they can hang it on their tree. They probably already have a sonic screwdriver or a TARDIS usb hub, so this ornament will surely excite them. Don't forget to complete the set with a TARDIS ornament.

If the fanboy or fangirl in your life keeps hitting refresh on "The Hunger Games" trailer, they may want one of these beautiful fan-made "Hunger Games" ornaments. FULL POST

Are women comic book fans as rare as unicorns?
Patrons at the Unicorn Party.
November 1st, 2011
04:00 PM ET

Are women comic book fans as rare as unicorns?

Editor's note: Erika D. Peterman is a Florida-based writer and editor, and the co-creator of the comics blog

By now, anyone who has anything to do with comics ought to know that women are a big part of that world.

It’s certainly no surprise to Brian Jacoby, who owns Secret Headquarters and Games in Tallahassee, Florida. Since opening his shop almost five years ago, he’s seen plenty of female customers walk through the door on a regular basis.

Several months ago, however, Jacoby began pondering the outdated perception that women who read comics are scarce. When DC announced in May that it would re-launch all of its titles, there was much online discussion about how female characters would fare and whether major publishers gave much thought to their female customers.

At the time, Jacoby began seeing a flurry of Tweets from female comics fans who jokingly referred to themselves as “unicorns” — a direct challenge to the notion that women don’t know Barda from Banshee.

That gave Jacoby an idea. In September, he threw a “Unicorn Party” at his shop to bring female geeks together and show the world that they are not mythological creatures. The place was packed with largely female customers, including some parents who brought their little girls.

We talked to Brian about the party, controversial portrayals of female characters in the capes genre, the DC re-launch effect and the brick-and-mortar advantage in a digital age. FULL POST

The 'Star Wars' divide: A tale of two costumes
Which "Star Wars" costume would you rather your child wear for Halloween?
October 25th, 2011
10:47 AM ET

The 'Star Wars' divide: A tale of two costumes

Editor's note: Erika D. Peterman is a Florida-based writer and editor, and the co-creator of the comics blog

Parents try, with varying degrees of success, to shape our kids’ pop culture tastes. For many a geek mom and dad, this extends to Halloween — or as I like to call it, a day of nationally sanctioned cosplay.

Of course, even the gentlest suggestion is a form of projecting. (“What’s not to like about this Wolverine costume?”) But even if they bite, it’s only a matter of time before they start, you know, thinking for themselves.

My son and I were on the same page when he first discovered the original Star Wars trilogy a few years ago. He latched onto those movies in a major way and displayed the all-too-familiar enthusiasm that drove my mother nuts from roughly 1977 to 1983. In ways good and bad, the apple didn’t fall far from the tree.

How to talk to your kids about "Star Wars"

Enter the Prequel Years. Slowly but surely, he began to fall for the despised “Phantom Menace,” “Attack of the Clones” and the slightly less awful “Revenge of the Sith,” which he’s only seen in parts because of that whole leg-amputating, flesh-burning thing. These films are watchable only because Ewan McGregor did such a solid Obi-Wan, but they nevertheless became his favorite of the six. Anakin — I’m sorry; “Annie” — was his ace and there was nothing I could do about it. I let it go.

Or at least I thought I had. FULL POST

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