SDCC 2011: Ashley Eckstein Gives Us “Her Universe”

If I were asked to name a person that embodies the term “delightful,” it would be Ashley Eckstein. As the founder of Her Universe, a female sci-fi clothing and merchandising company, and the voice of the Jedi Padawan Ahsoka Tano in the animated Star Wars: The Clone Wars, she’s a person not only that completely loves what she does, but also has a unbridled passion for expanding it — and it just happens that her passion is that geeky sci-fi demographic that we here in the Fridge love so much.

Last month in the Lucasfilm press room at SDCC, we caught up with the lovely Ashley to talk Her Universe, The Clone Wars, and more!

Lastly, if you’ve got (or you are) a wonderfully geeky lady, make sure to check out Her Universe!  They’ve got plenty of Star Wars merchandise, of course, but they’ve also just teamed up with Syfy, so you’ve got even more choice for that beautiful Warehouse agent or Cylon.

Thank you so much for chatting with us, Ashley! We’ll catch you again soon!

Open The Fridge: Hi, Ashley. Thank you for talking with us today. Now, you’re deeply entrenched in geek culture, particularly in Star Wars culture. Of course, not only are you the voice of “Ahsoka Tano” in Cartoon Network’s Star Wars: The Clone Wars, but you’re also founder of a clothing line called ‘Her Universe”?

Ashley Eckstein: Yes, it’s the first merchandise line exclusively for fangirls!

OTF: That’s great! Judging by the attendance here at the con, that is a demographic that definitely needs attention.

AE: Yes, it’s definitely an underserved market. Close to half of all sci-fi fans and half of all Star Wars fans are women, and they weren’t giving us [women] anything to buy!

OTF: What does your merchandising line offer?

AE: Well, I’m actually wearing our Boba Fett tanktop right now and a Star Wars charm bracelet. We’ve got jewelry, T-shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies, accessories. We’ve got all sorts of things to make girls geek chic from head to toe.

OTF: What exclusives are you offering here at the convention or that you’re debuting for Her Universe?

AE: Well, we just debuted our line with the Syfy channel and their properties. So we have Battlestar Galactica merchandise, and our convention exclusive is this toaster necklace from Battlestar. Definitely an inside necklace for all the BSG fans out there. There’s only 300 of these at San Diego Comic-Con. We’re also debuting our charm bracelet for Star Wars. All of [the charms] are Star Wars symbols, and we have a Naboo charm that is convention exclusive.

We have several products from Syfy shows, like Warehouse 13, and Syfy original movies, like Sharktopus! The winning monster from their monster madness contest! I’m a huge Sharktopus fan, so we have matching his and hers Sharktopus shirts, as well as some new Star Wars products.

Click the jump to read more about Her Universe, how playing Ahsoka has influenced Ashley’s own life, and more!

SDCC 2011: X-Play’s Blair Herter

And another SDCC interview hits the Fridge!

Outside of the Hilton Bayfront on Day 2 of Comic-Con, Blair Herter chats with us here at OTF to talk about his plans for the weekend and the game that tops his list from all of the games on the con floor.  We also discuss X-Play’s plans for the weekend, and the real reason why he was wearing white pants that day.

Also, Blair breaks an exclusive: Steven Spielberg wears True Religion jeans!

Thanks so very much for chatting with us, Blair!  As your reward, some brand new hydrocodone pills candies are headed your way.

Fun fact: We helped Blair clean up the body after the interview. That prostitute’s blood was everywhere.  He still owes us for the dry cleaning costs.

Open The Fridge: Blair, what do you have coming up in the next week, covering Comic-Con for X-Play and G4?

Blair Herter: Well, personally, the next thing I’m gonna do… I gotta hide the body. I have to run back upstairs right after this interview and handle that. [laughs]

Yesterday, we had an hour live X-Play, which is the first time we’ve ever done it here at the show because there’s so much video game stuff here. We did an hour live, which was awesome. Today, we do Attack of the Show live for an hour, and tomorrow, we have four hours live, which I’m sure will be pretty cool.

But, my next thing for the live show in about 30 minutes, I have 10 minutes with Steven Spielberg.

OTF: Wow. Seriously?

BH: Yeah! And I’m just so stoked. I’ve been doing this for 10 years, and – it’s not that I don’t get nervous, because I still get nervous sometimes – but rarely do I get really excited to meet people. I honestly have no idea how I’m going to keep… That’s why I wore white pants today so that you won’t be able to see in case something happens. I mean, it’s Steven-freaking-Spielberg! So that’s literally the next thing I have to do, which is pretty awesome.

Click past the jump for the rest of the interview to read just what game is at the top of Blair’s list, the main difference between playing games at work and playing games at home, and more!

Book Review: “The Way of Kings” by Brandon Sanderson

Culture Shock

If you’re a fan of fantasy novels, you get used to seeing the same ideas used over and over again.  The hero rising from humble origins, dragons, castles, dark evils and magical swords, etc…  After awhile, these tropes just start to feel natural, and instead of being annoyed when you see yet another farmboy begin on his hero’s quest, you look forward to how the author will spin the same old story and make it interesting.  Then, you read a book like The Way of Kings, and remember what made you fall in love with the genre to begin with.

Sanderson is gaining renown in the fantasy genre lately, partly because of his work to finish Robert Jordan’s epic Wheel of Time series, but also for his Mistborn series and stand-alone novels Elantris & Warbreaker.  Each of his worlds is unique and well-written, but The Way of Kings really ups the ante.

In Roshar, horrific storms sweep the land every few weeks, so the landscape has evolved to survive them.  Grass retracts into the ground when endangered (even when that danger is something as small as a lady about to trod upon it).  Most forms of wildlife have developed a chitinous outer shell and look more like large bugs than dogs or oxen.  Tiny creatures resembling globes of light are drawn to elements (fire, water, etc…) but also to things like pain, fear, and glory, giving visual indicators to emotion.

Read on the full review!

First Look at Henry Cavill as Superman!

The first official photo from Zack Snyder’s Superman reboot, Man of Steel has been released.  Check it out below! Interesting, to say the least.  The image definitely evokes a more gritty sense than what we’ve seen from Superman in the past.  Actor Henry Cavill sports the new take on the classic

SDCC 2011: Alison Haislip Being Awesome

Our Comic-Con interviews continue: this time with the super-mega-awesome Alison Haislip.

We caught up with Alison, the G4TV resident badass and The Voice‘s social media queen, on Thursday when we both hit the convention floor for the first time that weekend.

Alison talks G4, American Ninja Warrior, The Voice, and her stint as Jane Bond.  You know, I could write some color commentary about this, but you’re not reading this anymore, are you? You’ve skipped directly to the interview because you love Alison.  Well, I do too, and I’ll fight you for her.  Anyway, there’s a fun break in the middle while Chris Hardwick hijacks our interview and starts throwing stuff at Alison.  It was pretty awesome.

Anywho, thanks a billion, Alison!  We’ll catch you next year! (Hopefully sooner!)

Open the Fridge: We’re at the G4 booth, and we’re the envy of everyone we know — because we’re talking with the beyond lovely Alison Haislip. Alison, thank you for joining us.

Alison Haislip: Thank you!

OTF: We talk with you every year, so we know that you know how amazing this convention is. This year is no different. What have you seen here already that’s new and exciting?

AH: This is literally my first time on the convention floor — this very moment!

OTF: Same here!

AH: Yeah, for this interview. So I haven’t seen anything yet! I was hanging out with Hugh Jackman over at the parking lot at Petco [Park] because he was there promoting “Real Steel.” By the way, nicest dude in the world! We did a robot battle together. I won. I’m amazing.

OTF: Haha!

AH: Then I went over to Zach Levi’s Nerd HQ, where he’s doing his own little seperate Comic-Con for people who couldn’t get badges to [San Diego] Comic-Con. We just finished the “Friends of the Nerdolution” panel.

OTF: How’d it go?

AH: It was awesome! It was so fun! The fans are amazing. That’s what I love about Comic-Con: coming here and meeting all of these [gestures to the con floor] people. All of these people who tweet you, write on forums about you all year — you finally get to face them, and say, “Hey, you were a jerk on the forums! Thanks a lot!” No, it’s so fantastic. I love it here.

We all know you want more of Alison, so hit the jump for more!

SDCC 2011: GameSpot’s Ricardo Torres

In this second installment of our SDCC interviews, we talk with Ricardo Torres, GameSpot‘s Editor-in-Chief, about our favorite pop culture convention from outside of the hallowed halls of the San Diego Convention Center.

Torres discusses the evolution of Comic-Con International, GameSpot’s role at the convention, the new DCU 52, and more!  Having attending the convention over the past decade, Torres has seen everything SDCC has to offer, both as a fan and as a reporter, and he has a fascinatingly unique perspective on nerdvana.  You should watch, unless you don’t like wonderfully cool people.

Thanks, Ricardo!

Open the Fridge: Ricardo, thank you for joining us.

Ricardo Torres: Thank you for having me.

OTF: So tell us, how long have you been coming here to SDCC?

RT: Oh, man… over ten [years], probably like twelve at this point.

OTF: Wow. So you’ve seen this grow from the small convention that it was, when people sold comics out of cardboard boxes, to the giant media-rich behemoth it is now?

RT: Yeah, it’s very mind boggling because 10, 12 years ago, it was much smaller. It really was a lot more intimate, and now it’s scaled up so hugely. It’s really amazing because, as it’s grown, you’ve kind of gotten a sense that pop culture has wrapped its arms around comics and games and movies and TV, specifically in sci-fi and fantasy in a way that it never has before. So, it’s kind of awesome because it validates the kind of stuff that we like, right?

Hit the jump for the rest of the interview to see what Ricardo thinks is the biggest draw of the show, his opinions on the upcoming DC reboot, and more!

SDCC 2011: G4TV’s Blair Butler

It’s been a long week, but we’ve got some great stuff from San Diego Comic Con 2011!  Over the coming days, we’ll be posting new interviews from our SDCC coverage to whet your insatiable appetites, and I assure you, you won’t be disappointed.

In the first of a few great interviews from the west coast, Open the Fridge talks with G4TV’s Blair Butler to discuss the new DCU 52, Locke and Key, and Blair’s own comic writing debut in the upcoming Heart.

A comic book geek to the core, Blair is all-around awesome, and we are so thankful that she took a few minutes to talk with us.  Make sure to check our her MMA-focused comic Heart when it comes out this fall.

Thanks a million, Blair!  Let’s do it again soon!

Open the Fridge: Blair, you must be one of the busiest people at this convention with all of the comic news coming from the floor. How do you deal with it all?

Blair Butler: You know, it’s nuts! I don’t sleep, and, sadly, I don’t go to parties (which I would love to do!) but we have 12+ hour shoot days every single day, which is incredible because I can cover so much stuff that I love. You know, I get to cover comics; I get to cover crazy collectibles – and there are both of those things in excess this year. This morning, we talked to Captain America, Chris Evans. So it’s been a rousing Comic-Con so far!

OTF: It’s already been so busy for us, too, we haven’t even had a chance to hit the floor so far! What are you looking toward most in the comic world this year? With the DC reboot, there’s a lot of news out there. What are you really forward to the most?

BB: So, obviously, first and foremost, DC is doing this massive reboot in September. All 52 of their ongoing titles are starting over at issue #1, including staples like Action Comics and Detective Comics, which were up to, like, the 600s now. Superman has jeans now! It has been a bit controversial, but it’s because they’re starting the origin story over. Lois Lane isn’t married to him anymore. So this is a huge reboot – new costumes, new characters.

But there are couple titles I’m really excited about: obviously, you have the big new Justice League book which is done by Geoff Johns – one of the best writers in the entire industry – and illustrated by Jim Lee, who is not only co-publisher of DC, but also artist of their flagship book! So that guy never sleeps!

There’s a book called Blackhawks that’s a war comic, a classic DC war comic. It’s getting this cool reboot, and the writer they brought in to do it [Mike Costa] is this guy who did what I like to call the HBO version of GI Joe [GI Joe: Cobra]. He did an adults-only GI Joe comic that the toy company actually let him do, and it’s amazing! So that’s going to be cool.

Click past the jump to read what DC character is getting a reprieve from the Joker’s madness, what else Blair’s excited about from Comic-Con, and Blair’s own debut comic, Heart!