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The Unnaturals

The Unnaturals

WONDER WOMAN TO THE MAX: It was announced, in an unprecedented move by a streaming service, to release Wonder Woman 1984 on Christmas Day to both theaters and HBO Max subscribers simultaneously. Unlike Disney+ with Mulan, Wonder Woman 1984 will be available to all HBO Max subscribers at no additional cost for a month. Andrew and D. Bethel discuss this move and how it relates to how Disney has been doing business, as well as what it means for movie in the future.

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RELEVANT EPISODES:

  • Episode 137 – Atomic Karate” (09 June 2017): Where D. Bethel and Andrew talk with fellow nerd podcaster, Mary Traverse, about Wonder Woman.
  • News Cruise” (07 Aug. 2020): Where Andrew and D. Bethel discuss the news of Mulan costing Disney+ subscribers $29.99.
  • News Bruise” (11 Sept. 2020): Where D. Bethel and Andrew talk about the odd political discourse around the release of Disney’s live action adaptation of Mulan.

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Dad Talk

Dad Talk

WEEK IN GEEK: It’s kind of an accidental ’80s week as Andrew watches the YouTube Premium/Netflix series, Cobra Kai––which then prompted him to go back and watch the original Karate Kid movie––while D. Bethel, in an effort to see what all the hype was about, sat down and watched a version of the 1984 sci-fi classic, Dune.

THE NEW FINAL: At this week’s PlayStation 5 event, a trailer for Final Fantasy XVI was revealed as an exclusive (at least for the moment) for the PS5.

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  • News Bruise” (11 September 2020): Where D. Bethel and Andrew discuss the trailer for this year’s new Dune adaptation, briefly.

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News Bruise

News Bruise

I’LL MAKE AN INTERNATIONAL INCIDENT OUT OF YOU: The live action version of the ’90s animated classic, Mulan, was released to Disney+ subscribers (for the cost of an extra $29.99) and, with it, came a lot of controversy––from Chinese reviewers not being too keen on it to human rights issues, D. Bethel and Andrew run through the discourse of this interesting, troubled film.

ANOTHER DUNE: The first trailer for Dennis Villaneuve’s new adaptation of the Frank Herbert sci-fi philosophical classic, Dune. Andrew and D. Bethel muse on the potential this new film has (and how people will still likely be disappointed by it).

And here’s an example––from Jodorowsky’s Dune––of some of the pure artist intent Jodorowsky had in his approach to movie-making (with his Dune being the center of it).

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News Cruise

News Cruise

ANY PORT IN A NERD STORM: Rather than blasting the news, Andrew and D. Bethel blur the distinction between nerdy news and Weeks in Geek with Andrew expressing his excitement for Star Trek: Lower Decks on CBS All Access, Dan’s strange sense of place after watching the HBO true crime documentary mini-series, I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, before they discuss the news of the upcoming live-action Mulan remake getting a simultaneous (albeit for $29.99) release on Disney+ and in theaters.

RELEVANT LINKS:

  • Bethel, D. “News Blast: Three X-Films Announced for 2018.” A Website [ , ] For All Intents and Purposes. 23 April 2017. –– Where D. Bethel discusses the announcement of the New Mutants movie, along with the announcement of Deadpool 2 and Dark Phoenix. Deadpool 2 was the only film to release in 2018.
  • Diaz, Eric. “Mulan is Going Straight to Disney+ for $29.99.” Nerdist. 04 August 2020.
  • And, for the sake of completion, here is the website for the city of Cerritos, CA, which indeed translates to “little hills.”

RELEVANT EPISODES:

  • A Veritable Odyssey” (12 July 2019): Where Andrew and D. Bethel discuss the first trailer for the live-action Mulan remake.
  • Bouncing Waveforms” (15 May 2020): Where D. Bethel discusses the most recent (and final?) announced theatrical release date for New Mutants.

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High Five Super Friends

High Five Super Friends

THE INTERMINABLE CUT: Zack Snyder had already made it clear that his “Snyder Cut” of Justice League for HBO Max was going to be long, but recently made clear that it was going to be even longer than the 214 minutes he previously said it would be, meaning it will likely be close to four hours of film. Andrew and D. Bethel have some thoughts about long run times with nerdy and geeky movies.

RELEVANT LINKS:

RELEVANT EPISODES:

  • Episode 149 – We Are Not Here” (08 December 2017): Where D. Bethel talks about watching the theatrical cut of Justice League.
  • A Casualty of the Rhyme” (22 May 2020): Where our hosts are joined by our DC correspondent, Taylor Katcher, to talk about the news of the Snyder Cut coming to HBO Max.

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Bouncing Waveforms

Bouncing Waveforms

NEWS BLAST (COVID-19 EDITION): A lot of stuff is going on amid the global pandemic, and Andrew and D. Bethel are here to talk about it (if Dan actually was able to record his audio this time). They talk about the AMC theater chain shunning Universal Pictures amid Trolls World Tour‘s success, Civilization VI‘s bold new plan for a year’s worth of DLC and expansions, Marvel and DC Comics are shipping books again, The Flash has an abbreviated season (ending on somewhat of a downbeat), and New Mutants gets a theatrical release date…again.

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The Transformers Paradox

The Transformers Paradox

GOTTA GO FAST: Sonic the Hedgehog destroys box office expectations Valentine’s Day weekend. Andrew and Dan discuss the surprise success of this cinematic adaptation of the beloved video game franchise.

BIRDS OF PREY: OR, THE REINSTATEMENT OF INSTITUTIONALIZED SEXISM AGAINST WOMAN-LED SUPERHERO FILMS: Birds of Prey released last week and its box office performance left some upset. D. Bethel and Andrew talk about the relativity of box office success, how Marvel fandom may be tainting the pond, and how marketing is a strange magic.

DOOMED ANIMAL CROSSING: In a bit of light news, with Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Doom Eternal releasing on the same day, Twitter and Reddit have become very interesting places, and in mostly good ways.

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RELEVANT EPISODES:

  • Episode 101 – The Black Arts of Algorithms” (05 August 2015): Where Andrew and D. Bethel discuss a similar discourse around the reboot of Ghostbusters and how it was deemed a failure despite earning perfectly fine box office numbers.
  • Episode 155 – Captain Host” (20 July 2018): Where Dan and Andrew ask the question, “Were there too many superhero/nerd movies packed into a single summer?”, among which Solo: A Star Wars Story was released.

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Cuddle Point

Cuddle Point

WEEK IN GEEK: This week, Andrew dives in to Hello Games’ No Man’s Sky after another patch while D. Bethel relays his experience going to see Kevin Smith present his newest film––Jay and Silent Bob Reboot––as part of a traveling tour for the movie when it came to Sacramento.

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2019: Nerd Endings

2019: Nerd Endings

This year we are hosting a variety of looks back at 2019 as hosts and friends-of-the-show offer up the things that defined the year for them. Today we have a look back at the nerdy things that came to a close by Taylor Cassell & Taylor Katcher.

Having three major franchises end in the same year brings a lot of societal excitement that engages even the initially un-engaged. My girlfriend, Taylor, being one of those initially un-engaged folks feeling the nerd zeitgeist (and my non-stop jabbering about Game of Thrones, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Star Wars) was a gateway into wanting to be a part of all three as they ended in 2019. This is not an easy task – We’re talking about catching up on 8 seasons of Game of Thrones, 23 Marvel Movies, and 10 Star Wars Films in a matter of months. Below is the result of all three and how we both felt about them. We are listed as our initials, since we’re both named Taylor, and it’s more confusing in writing than in our daily lives. Taylor Katcher will be referred to as TK, while Taylor Cassell will be TC.

Game Of Thrones

[TK] There was a lot to like in the first half of the final season of Game Of Thrones (Arya being “The Prince That Was Promised” being a highlight), but man did they fumble the ball in the very end. A definite bummer for all those who had been watching for ~eight years, but it doesn’t take away from the journey. It just left a bad taste in my mouth. 

To be honest, we used the “The Long Night” episode from this last season––the part where it pans past each character so that you, the viewer, were reminded that no one is safe––to pause and explain what happened to that character since season 1 and then watched the remaining episodes together. But it was perfect for Taylor since she hadn’t seen an episode since Season 1, so Winterfell was a known locale and most characters were back together again for the first time since Season 1.

[TC] I have a knack for avoiding spoiler culture by avoiding…culture. When I started dating Taylor, I noticed my ability to get spoiled increase. Now, my brain registers words like “tesseract,” “vibranium,” and “OLED.”

I fell off the GoT train after one season. After season 1, episode 10, the next episode I watched was season 8’s, “The Long Night” and, for me, it was like no time had passed since we were in Winterfell. 

Taylor got to catch me up on about 70 episodes worth of TV in a 45 minute span. (I didn’t have to ask––I could tell it was the best date he’s ever been on.)

Here is a live look at TK in that moment. Source: HBO

A brief recap of my thoughts, questions, and exclamations: 

  • Bran’s alive?
  • The dragons are all grown up.
  • What’s the red wedding? (There was a purple wedding?)
  • Do you agree with Sansa Stark’s rape or was it gratuitous?
  • Holyfuck, WINTER HASN’T COME?!

I was a part of the GoT zeitgeist for about three weeks, speculating if a woman would take the throne and unpacking fan theories with my coworkers. It was a blast and I could have taken eight more years of this feeling.

Final thoughts: I feel bad for all the people who named their kid “Daenerys” and got a six-episode final season with an accidental Starbucks commercial. 

The infamous Starbucks scene. Source: HBO

The Marvel Cinematic Universe

[TK] Seeing Avengers: Endgame in theaters opening night was one of the best theater experiences I have ever had. We gasped, cried, and exclaimed together in harmony. Leave it to the biggest media franchise of all time to gift its fanbase with the biggest fan payoff of all time. I know this isn’t “the end” of the MCU but it was the end of the first 10 year Phase that began with Iron Man in 2008, which is a significant chunk of lifetime for most viewers.

Without enough time before the theatrical release of Endgame, Taylor and I started her journey with the intention of watching Endgame upon home release. From May through October, we watched every single MCU movie (except The Incredible Hulk) so that Endgame would be as impactful as possible. And it was––Taylor gasped, cried, felt the impact of The Snap, and the death of Tony Stark. Watching all of these movies again really showed how inviting they were and was a great time for both of us (and the occasional friend popping in to see Chris Evans bicep curl a helicopter). I would recommend both a rewatch for seasoned fans and the full series for newcomers as Disney/Marvel really knows how to make fun films.

[TC] I knew Iron Man was cool because I knew Robert Downey Jr. was cool. The marketing agency I worked for had even snagged RDJ for a Microsoft OneNote campaign called The Collective Project, awarding us our first-ever Cannes Gold Lion as an agency. I bragged to Taylor about this on our first date, probably failing to mention that I had no idea who or what Iron Man was.

Man oh man, did Iron Man live up to his Robert Downey Jr. affiliation. Iron Man ended up being my favorite, with a three-way second place tie of: Bruce Banner (boring but Mark Ruffalo), Captain America, and T’Challa.

My favorite part of our journey through the MCU was how much it united my best friend and roommate, Lauren, and Taylor. In addition to bonding over encroaching on her roommate/best friend territory, soon we could all bond over a missed dance with Peggy Carter, Bruce Banner’s secret, and ON YOUR LEFT jokes (just kidding, only Taylor makes those jokes).

At a Wonder Woman 5K Run recently, the MC said “I love you 3,000” to the lone man dressed as Iron Man and I smiled dopily; I was officially a part of the fandom.

from Marvel’s The Avengers. Source: Marvel/Disney

Star Wars

[TK] Let’s be clear – I love Star Wars. I think that rewatching all ten movies before The Rise Of Skywalker only solidified how much I truly love Star Wars. However,  it also made me come to terms with how much I kinda dislike most of the numbered films. I found that I was annoyed that I had to watch any of them in full to get Taylor caught up––especially the Original Trilogy. If anything, only Taylor wanted (needed?) to watch them, and me getting upset every time she fell asleep during a space battle only solidified my dislike of the films because I wasn’t as happy to lead her through them the way I was with the MCU, and it showed in an ugly way. It turns out I like the idea and lore of Star Wars, as The Clone Wars, Rebels, and The Madalorian are the best of Star Wars IMO. Although, I LOVE rewatching my favorite scenes and quoting them from the films, I never need to watch them in full because, in reality, the world George Lucas created is better than the world he wrote most of the time.

The Rise of Skywalker (TROS) was THE MOST Star Wars, but only because it was done as safely as possible. Say what you will about The Last Jedi (a personal favorite film), but at least it tried to say something and make a stand about elements of Star Wars––mainly who can use The Force. TROS walked a lot of that back but seemingly to only not upset anyone. But again, this isn’t about me or you, it’s about Taylor enjoying the shit Reddit argues about for the thousandth time…for the first time.

[TC] In my world, I was the first to ship Reylo. I was the only one aware of how sexy Princess Leia is in a gold bikini. Jar Jar was un-ironically my favorite character and my dad liked Yoda, not yours.

First we tried watching them in release date order. I fell asleep for long stretches throughout. So did Taylor. At one point, we took a break from the viewings for a few months. Every so often, Taylor hinted: “We don’t have to watch them, babe.”

Some things play better in memory than in real time. From Star Wars Episode VI: The Return of the Jedi. Source: Lucasfilm.

Then, as we got dangerously close to the Episode IX release, we tried again, starting with Rogue One and ending with Solo for fun. Here’s Taylor’s prescribed watch-order (in case you’re wondering):

  • Rogue One
  • Episode IV
  • Episode V
  • Episode I
  • Episode II
  • Episode III
  • Episode VI
  • Episode VII
  • Episode VIII
  • Episode IX
  • Solo

After Solo, The Last Jedi was my favorite. When Rey moonbeams her saber to Kylo, I literally gasped. I could have watched an entire film of just Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver’s sexual tension.

I don’t remember this but apparently, after we finished the MCU, I said to Taylor, “How could Star Wars be half as good?” Now, I love you 3,000, Star Wars.

From Avengers: Endgame. Source: Marvel/Disney

(I think it’s important to note that while we were binge-watching the Skywalker Saga, we were also watching The Mandalorian in parallel. And if Taylor Katcher can’t make you love Star Wars, baby Yoda sure can.)

[TK] What we are trying to say is, don’t get too intimidated to start watching and enjoying these universes. Fans of these franchises want to share these universes with you, and whether you’ve watched them for 42 years or 3 months, you’ll become a fan as well.

2019: Reigniting Geekdom

2019: Reigniting Geekdom

This year we are hosting a variety of looks back at 2019 as hosts and friends-of-the-show offer up the things that defined the year for them. Today we hear from indie comic creator, friend-of-the-show, and Con Artists co-host, Kyrun Silva (from Taurus Comics), talk about what 2019 meant to him.


2019 was an interesting year of nerd and geek culture for me. The year came with a lot of highs and lows, but for the sake of this retrospective I’ve decided to stick with the highs. This year brought a lot of change for me and my family when it came to our geekdom. I continued to find that my love for comics keeps changing; in a sense, I was reintroduced to a medium that had been almost forgotten to me for awhile and my childhood dreams finally were able to come true and assemble.

INDIE COMICS

Though it started in 2018, in 2019 I really started to notice that my love for comics had started to shift. This year I noticed my tastes for books going away from the mainstream things that Marvel and DC brought to the table and turning more towards indie publishers. This change solidified in the trimming of my saver list at my local comic book shop. Where once I had fifteen to twenty books that my shop saved for me each month, I now maybe five are saved.

A sampling of Taurus Comics characters: (clockwise from top left) Starcore, Malik from Shaman’s Destiny, Xob the Lightning Wielder, and Ruby. Art by Michael Dorman (lines) and Anthony D. Lee (colors).

Part of this is the ability to watch Marvel and DC’s characters on the big and small screen. The ability to regularly see the Flash, X-Men, and others took away a bit for my need to read their ongoing comic book exploits. The major reason, though, is that I’m so engrossed in the indie comic book culture. I know and follow so many amazing creators that I want to support and buy their books as much as possible. This has left me with little funds to support big name publishers.

I enjoy indie books so much that I find myself supporting and advocating for them when someone asks me about comics; I even mention indie books before I mention any from the big publishers. With books that range from standard superhero lore to horror comics to anything and everything else, the indie community truly has something for everyone. Yes, you will find some duds here and there, but overall the indie community produces hit after hit at every turn.

ANIME

2019 also brought back an old friend to me and my family: anime.

Though I have been watching anime since the ’80s and ’90s, I haven’t been able to appreciate all the available books, shows, and movies. With comic books, sports, and family obligations, I just haven’t been able to watch anime like I had before. That seemed to change in 2019, not just for me but for my family.

It actually started with the series One Punch Man. My oldest son had been watching the series before any of us and asked if we could watch it while we ate dinner one night. From that point on, my family was hooked. My wife, my 3 boys and I watched One Punch Man every week when new episodes came out. But we had a problem, we had binged all the episodes and the next season wasn’t out yet. We needed a fix and fast.

(R-L) One Punch Man, My Hero Academia, Naruto, and Demon Slayer Source: (L-R) Viz Media, Funimation, Viz Media, Aniplex of America.

In came My Hero Academia, and it blew our minds. The action, the storylines, the character development. It was everything we had wanted and more. So, again as a family, we started binging another series.

But that wasn’t enough for us.

My wife and other son started watching Naruto and it’s 600+ episodes and I started getting into the series, Demon Slayer. Anime had become so important to us, we started contemplating if we should dress up as anime characters for Halloween––that is still up in the air. However, it is nice to have something that we all enjoy, something that we can talk about and look forward to as a family of fans.

AVENGERS: ENDGAME

Avengers: Endgame was not only a milestone for 2019, but for the last ten years of Marvel movies. Source: Marvel Studios

“AVENGERS…..ASSEMBLE!” Those two words, exclaimed by Chris Evans playing Captain America in Avengers: Endgame was the highlight of 2019 for me.

As the culmination of 10 years of Marvel movies, I’m sure I’m not the only person to think this was one of the highlights of 2019, but for me it was a dream that 13 year old Kyrun never would have imagined possible. The idea that theatres would be packed to see a comic book movie was unthinkable in the ’80s and ’90s, but today it’s the norm. With what Marvel has done we almost expect them to be massive hits.

‘Nuff Said. Source: Marvel Studios

Endgame also brought an end to an era. Seeing these heroes come to life and die was like watching a friend leave. I’m not going to lie, I shed a couple tears during Endgame the first few times I saw it. I for sure screamed and cheered when Cap wielded Mjolnir. I cheered when Thanos was defeated. I was there when Iron Man first donned his suit on the big screen in 2008, and I’ll be there for whatever they bring in the future.

So, that’s my 2019. It was a great year. There are more I could have mentioned, but I felt these were the biggest ones for me.


Sacramento native, Kyrun Silva, broke onto the comic creation scene in 2015 launching his first independent title, Shaman’s Destiny. 2017 saw the beginning of Taurus Comics, a new solo small press line dedicated to the many worlds Kyrun is bringing to life, including Shaman’s Destiny, Xob the Lightning Wielder, Ruby From Planet Oz, Pathfinders, Starcore, Donner Lane, and more to come. Kyrun has also been the co-host to the spin-off podcast, Con Artists, with D. Bethel.