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Episode 27 - San Diego Comic-Con 2014

We're back, but our hearts haven't left San Diego. Rob Piontek and Dwight Tejano, with guests Krys Lewis, Claire Rudolph, and Vicky Bartolo, talk about their time at San Diego Comic-Con 2014.

   

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10:00AM

NYCC 2014: LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham

Few games out there can capture both a great sense of humor and great gameplay, but TT Games manages to do that with every iteration of their LEGO gaming franchise.  From the LEGO Star Wars games to LEGO Batman to LEGO Harry Potter to LEGO City Undercover to LEGO Marvel Super Heroes... the list goes on but all of them match easy, comfortable gameplay with a fun wit, making just about every LEGO game a joy to play.

LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham looks to continue that trend.

Following the success of 2012's LEGO Batman 2 (which introduced free roam and voice acting) and 2013's LEGO Marvel Super Heroes (which introduced throwing every character you can think of into a game), LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham is set to take Batman and a whole swath of DC heroes and villains onto different planets in the DC Universe to combat the oncoming Brainiac menace.

At NYCC, I had the chance to talk with game director Arthur Parsons and asst. game director Stephen Sharples about the design philosophy behind the game, while Tek chatted with uber-talented voice actor Troy Baker about the recording process and his roles across the justice spectrum.  Watch the video now!

LEGO Batman 3: Beyod Gotham comes out on November 11 for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC, Wii U, Nintendo 3DS, and PlayStation Vita.

#DangItSharples

10:00AM

NYCC 2014: Marc Evan Jackson Discusses The Detroit Creativity Project

He's......from Earth.

Actor Marc Evan Jackson runs the gamut from TV to films to podcasts, but when he's not entertaining, he's helping to teach. As President of the Detroit Creativity Project, Marc does his part to help underprivileged youths get a leg up in life with free improvisational theater training. 

At New York Comic-Con, I had the pleasure of talking with Marc and got to learn a great deal more about the DCP than one can glean from the website. In addition, Marc took a few moments to share his love of working on The Thrilling Adventure Hour, and even prompted an unexpected musical performace out of me. 

Click below to hear MEJ talk DCP and TAH!

To get involved and help out the young folks of Detroit, visit detroitcreativityproject.org where you can donate and learn even more about the program. Plus, as Marc mentioned, Saturday November 1st is the Detroit Party, hosted by Keegan-Michael Key to benefit the DCP. If you are in the Los Angeles area this weekend and are inclined to attend, click here for more information.

Be sure to keep up with Marc, the DCP, and Thrilling Adventure Hour via Twitter for the latest on all fronts, and check back soon for more from NYCC 2014!

10:00AM

NYCC 2014: Freddie Wong and Will Campos Discuss the Final Season of "Video Game High School"

School is back in session!  The award-winning web series Video Game High School has returned for its final season, and it's going out with a bang!  (Many of them, actually. All from bullets.)

When we last left VGHS, BrianD and Jenny Matrix were racking up the kills in Field of Fire as a couple, Ted embraced his drift racing talent but left his best bud behind, and Ki discovered that the best way to help the school would be as student body president.  But what would be in store for our intrepid heroes this time around?

At NYCC, we caught up with YouTube sensation and VGHS creator Freddie Wong and Head Writer Will Campos to talk about what's in store for the final season.  Spoiler alert: it's headshots, heartbreak, and high frame rates that close out the last chapter of Video Game High School

Check out our interview to find out what episode they can't wait for you to see, what made Josh Blaylock and Johanna Braddy the clear choices for Brian and Jenny, if anything will top the Shot Bot Cherry Blossom sacrifice from last season, and more!

As one who has watched the entire series, I can tell you without question that this season blew me away.  As they mention in the video, Episode 4 is the one to watch for -- and for good reason.  The cast and crew deserve every award they get and more!

VGHS's final season airs every Monday (episode 3 is out today!) on YouTube and at Rocket Jump.  If you don't want to wait (and why should you? It's amazing!), you can purchase the entire season now on Google Play, Vimeo, and on iTunes.

If you're only just catching up to VGHS (what took you so long?!), the past seasons are available on YouTube, Rocket Jump, Netflix, and a variety of other places.

10:00AM

Review: Nomino, the Social Game to Challenge Your Friends

Remember how fun game nights are? You and a few friends get together to play cards or a board game or some other group game (Taboo has always been a favorite of mine.) Nomino is a new social game that leverages your social network and the ubiquitous practice of posting photos online to recreate that “party game” feeling in an easy and fun way.

Nomino is a simple question-and-answer game, where a captioned image is your single clue to the answer. Players get to add their own Nominos to the database too in an effort to challenge (and possibly stump!) their friends and other players. That’s where the party game comes in: who doesn’t like to challenge their friends with trivia? You post a Nomino, share it on Facebook/Twitter/other social media, and your friends from everywhere and anywhere try to rise to the challenge. This is the first game I’ve played in recent memory that positively leverages social sharing as part of the experience (in contrast, too many games on iOS and Android require obtrusive, bothersome sharing in order to earn currency or something – whereas the point of Nomino is to share the challenge.)

Players earn coins for answering and creating Nominos. Those coins can be redeemed for free stuff from corporate partners, adding further value to play. As of this writing, there’s only one prize (a $10 Starbucks gift card), but I’m told that they’re working on other partnerships for more prizes. Currently, the coin redemption rate is pretty damn inflated (that $10 gift card is a whopping 240,000 points), so I’m almost worried at seeing the exchange rates for gear and prizes that are more than $10 in value. Regardless, these are prizes that can be earned simply by playing a free game – even if it’ll take quite a while to earn something really good, you can’t argue with free.

Hit the jump for the full review!

Click to read more ...

10:00AM

NYCC 2014: Catching Up With Kirby Krackle's Kyle Stevens

Chatting with Kyle Stevens is quickly becoming a New York Comic-Con tradition. The frontman for Kirby Krackle, the Nerd Rock sensation from the Emerald City, is not only one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet, but with new music and projects from the band always on the horizon, there's plenty for him to talk about.  

Fresh off his set at Rock Comic Con during New York Super Week, Kyle took a few minutes to talk at his booth in the NYCC artist alley, filling me in on the ever-growing Kirby Krackle Fan Club, the success of their hit single Dancing Baby Groot, and what to expect in the near future.

Check out the interview below! 

Be sure to join the Kirby Krackle Fan Club if you haven't already to get access to exclusive member songs and rewards, as well as help benefit some great causes like Hero Initiative and Child's Play. It's as easy as visiting the band's homepage at kirbykracklemusic.com. Also, be sure to keep up with all the latest Kirby Krackle news by following them on Twitter @kirbykrackle and download their app for music, news, and upcoming appearances.

And, if you're feeling nostalgic, check out our interview with Kyle from NYCC 2013!

10:00AM

NYCC 2014: Mark Gagliardi & Hal Lublin Talk "Thrilling Adventure Hour"

Our convention season comes to a close with New York Comic-Con, an event that never disappoints, and always presents great opportunities for meeting cool people and seeing what's on the geeky horizon for the next year. NYCC 2014 was no exception.

Kicking off our coverage from the Big Apple's premiere pop culture event is an interview with two of the Work Juice Players, better known to most as the cast of The Thrilling Adventure Hour. Following the recent development of my TAH fandom, I had the fortuitous pleasure of sitting down with Mark Gagliardi (Croach The Tracker) and Hal Lublin (Phillip Fathom) at the TAH booth at NYCC to talk about their convention experiences, the popularity explosion of the podcast, and their live show on Comic-Con weekend.

Check out the interview below! 

If you're a fan of old-time radio, clever comedy, or just plain fun, subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, follow @ThrillingAdv on Twitter, and be sure to visit thrillingadventurehour.com to learn more about the live show and podcast, as well as enjoy a preview of the upcoming comic book series based on fan-favorite segments Sparks Nevada: Marshal on Mars and Beyond Belief.

Check back soon for more from New York Comic-Con 2014!

10:00AM

Review: The Flash

To quote a friend of mine, "DC just whipped their dick out onto the table." Following the series premiere of The Flash last night, I’m inclined to agree.

Following the amazing success of two seasons of Arrow, Warner Brothers and DC Entertainment have gone for broke with their ambitious plans for television. We have Gotham airing on Fox, Constantine arriving on NBC at the end of October, and Supergirl touching down on CBS next season, but we can’t ignore the fact that this particular trail has been blazed byArrow on The CW. And who better to continue along that trail than the Fastest Man Alive.

Among the aforementioned titles, The Flash has the distinction of being the first spinoff that is officially part of the shared DC universe on the small screen (the jury is still out on the others), thanks to Barry Allen’s debut on Arrow last season. With that being the case, the bar was already set pretty high for the Scarlet Speedster’s return to television, so the question really has been if WB/DC/CW can capture lightning in a bottle for a second time (pun very much intended). I believe they have.

One reason is Grant Gustin as Barry Allen, the perpetually tardy CSI who, when struck by lightning and bathed in the right combination of chemicals, is imbued with super-speed. Gustin captures the driven, yet innocent nature of Barry, who struggles with his crusade to solve his mother’s murder, his romantic feelings for childhood friend Iris West (Candice Patton), and his inability to ever be on time. Gustin’s Barry also provides a stark contrast to his counterpart in Starling City, the vengeful Oliver Queen, in many respects. Oliver, having honed all the appropriate skills, chose to begin his life of crime fighting to extinguish the flame of corruption in his home city, whereas Barry is thrust into this strange new world of powers and villains, and quickly adopts the heroic sensibilities that will help make him a symbol of Central City. It’s a much lighter tone than Arrow, thus providing something that isn’t just a transplant of what came before.

However, the two are not entirely dissimilar as our titular hero receives the support team treatment, only this time, instead of an ex-soldier, and skilled hacker, and a trained assassin, the Flash team consists of a group of S.T.A.R. Labs brainiacs more interested in exploring (and perhaps exploiting) the nature of Barry’s abilities. Heading this squad is wheelchair-bound Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh), a seemingly well-intentioned humanitarian who may or may not have ties to a Flash villain, Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker), whose cold demeanor comes off as a heavy-handed way of letting us know she may become the villainess Killer Frost, and Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes) aka Vibe, a lower-tier DC hero whose status has been elevated significantly in recent years.

The DC Easter eggs don’t stop there, though. Viewers will catch a not-so-subtle reference to villain Gorilla Grodd, Ferris Air gets a shoutout with some signage, the episode leaves us with a very clear acknowledgement of the famous “Crisis on Infinite Earths”, and, of course, we can expect The Reverse Flash/Professor Zoom to appear as he is clearly being set up as the main antagonist. Plus, if the promotional poster for the series is to be taken at face value, expect some appearances by several other DC characters. Even the original Flash series from 1990 gets some love as John Wesley Shipp, the original Flash, appears as Barry’s father, and Amanda Pays, while not present in the pilot, has been tapped to reprise her role as Dr. Tina McGee from the original CBS series. We know he's busy shooting Episode VII, but can the original Trickster himself, Mark Hamill, be far behind? We’ll keep an eye open for that one.

While treats like these will keep the fans happy, the elements that make it a good TV show are strong. Barry’s likeability is clearly the anchor, but the hour pilot does an excellent job of telling an origin story without dragging out the details or cramming too much in. The youthful cast members like Gustin, Patton, and Valdes are complimented by the gravitas brought to  the table by Cavanagh and Jesse L. Martin’s Detective West, which makes it a show the whole family can enjoy as it delivers equal parts humor and drama.

Arrow has established a hero who relies on skill and bad-assery, occasionally dipping into a darker element, but sooner or later, combat proficiency and seedy dealings give way to superpowers and lightheartedness. That being the case, The Flash winds up being entertaining because it knows exactly what it is and what will work for itself. Flash Fact.

The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8:00pm ET on The CW!

10:00AM

The Thrilling Adventure Hour: A New Fan's Reaction

Hi. My name is Rob Piontek, and I’m a fan of the Thrilling Adventure Hour.

I wasn’t always like this, though. There was once a sadder time when I wasn’t aware of such wonderful things as Martian onus and the sprawling rogues gallery of Apex City. But now, my commute is made light years better by the auditory antics of such colorful characters as Sparks Nevada, Frank and Sadie Doyle, and Captain Laserbeam. And I owe it all to my sponsor, Dwight “Fridgemaster” Tejano.

For those of you who don’t know, Thrilling Adventure Hour is a live stage show and podcast created and written by Ben Acker and Ben Blacker, and starring such talented funnypersons as Marc Evan Jackson, Mark Gagliardi, Hal Lublin, Paul F. Thompkins, and Paget Brewster, to name a few, as well as guest stars ranging from geek heartthrob Nathan Fillion to comedy musicians Paul & Storm. Tearing up audiences and the airwaves since 2005, TAH parodies/pays homage to radio shows of the 1930s and 40s with segments like the space western “Sparks Nevada: Marshal On Mars”, the overtly-patriotic “Amelia Earhart: Fearless Flyer”, and the fan-favorite suspense-comedy “Beyond Belief.” As a fan of old time radio, I am truly amazed that I went as long as I did without exploring the worlds of the TAH, but thanks to a suggestion by the aforementioned Fridgemaster, that all changed during San Diego Comic-Con back in July.

Prior to the con, Dwight pitched the idea of seeing the live TAH show for an evening activity on the Saturday of Comic-Con. Adopting a “Sure, it sounds like fun” attitude, I accepted and tickets were purchased. Fast-forward to Saturday July 26th, and our group is taking our seats at the Spreckels Theatre. At this point, we learn that this is no ordinary TAH performance, but a crossover with fellow podcast Welcome to Night Vale. Like TAH, I had heard of Night Vale, but knew next to nothing about it up to that point. What transpired in the following hour and a half was more than enough to covert me to the ways of that which is thrilling and adventurous. Quick-witted humor coupled with utterly absurd situations and colorful characters made for an incredibly entertaining evening and spurred a curiosity for both podcasts.

As a follow-up, Dwight and I partook in the Conversation for a Cause at Nerd HQ the following day, which featured a panel consisting of the Bens and most of the TAH actors and guest actors we had seen the night before. In a room that was doubtlessly full of fans (much like the Spreckels Theatre), we were clearly the newcomers, not quite getting the inside jokes and references, but enjoying the off-the-wall humor nonetheless. The experience furthered my desire to dive right into the podcast.

Upon returning to the east coast, I promptly subscribed to TAH on iTunes and began at episode #1. To date, I have plowed through the entirety of the 200 episodes, fake commercials, convention panels, and fan Q&A sessions (I have a long commute, don’t judge me), and am completely caught up just in time to meet several of the Work Juice Players at New York Comic-Con this weekend. Sadly, the two live performances on Saturday October 11th at the Bell House in Brooklyn are sold out, but I hope to be present for the TAH panel on SundayOTF even has interviews lined up with cast members Mark Gagliardi, Hal Lublin, and Marc Evan Jackson during the con, so expect some inside info on what to expect in the future from TAH!

In addition to the monthly live performances and weekly podcasts (released every Monday under the Nerdist banner), Thrilling Adventure Hour can be experienced in many other forms, including a graphic novel, a behind-the-scenes web series, and a forthcoming concert film DVD! See you next time, Adventurekateers!

7:08PM

The Fridgecast Lives: San Diego Comic-Con 2014 Wrap-Up

Did you miss us? We missed you!  Now that our SDCC coverage has finally wrapped up, we sat down and talked about it, because that's how much we miss it.  It may only technically last 5 days, but it's actually some kind of magic time compression that actually shoves about 3 months of events, activities, giveaways, and things-to-do into a single extended weekend.

This is a super-sized episode that's broken up into two parts. In the first part, Rob Piontek and I talk about our weekends during the event and all the cool stuff we got to do and see.  We took a blurry photo with Phil Coulson. We got to play video games. We met Batman (again) and found out what's in store for Master Chief.  It was pretty great.

In the second part, the other half of OTF's SDCC attack force - Krys Lewis, Claire Rudolph, and Vicky Bartolo - talk about their time at the Sleepy Hollow press rooms and more.  Krys, Claire, and Vicky came through in a way that I cannot express.  The schedules this year prevented us from doing so many things (we called this one "ConflictCon 2014"), but their help allowed us to get some great stuff.  Thanks a bunch, ladies!

So, like a phoenix from the ashes, listen to the Fridgecast podcast!

10:00AM

SDCC 2014: Marvel's Agent Carter

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has definitely blazed a television trail for Marvel Studios. Its success has proven that the stories and characters of the MCU can and do translate to the small screen. Couple that with the popularity of the Agent Carter One-Shot featuring Captain America: The First Avenger's stalwart Peggy Carter, and you have the studio's next long-form project.  

This fall will see the second season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but in January, Agent Carter will star in her own 8-episode season, following her adventures in a post-World War II/pre-Cold War world. Actress Hayley Atwell reprises her role as Peggy, and will be joined by Dominic Cooper, Enver Gjokaj, and Chad Michael Murray as the series explores the origins of S.H.I.E.L.D.

At San Diego Comic-Con, we joined the roundtable discussions with series co-creators Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, Executive Producers Michele Fazekas, Tara Butters, and Louis D'Esposito, and star Hayley Atwell to talk about what we can expect from the series, and what this era of the Marvel Universe can offer.

Check out the interviews here!

Agent Carter is currently set to premiere in January 2015!