Interview: Raina Telgemeier

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SmileI got the chance to record a quick interview with Raina Telgemeier, Eisner award-winning creator of the all-ages graphic novels Smile, Sisters, and Drama, as well as the the Babysitters Club graphic novel adaptations, at the Alaska Robotics Mini-Con in Juneau this April. Listen to us discuss webcomics, birds, and the wonderfulness of Rey.

You can find Raina Telgemeier at her website here and on twitter as @goraina. Her next graphic novel, Ghosts, will be available for purchase September 13 wherever fine books are sold.

Interview: Pat Race


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comic-bearWhen I was at the Alaska Robotics Mini-Con this past April I got the chance to sit down and interview Pat Race, the organizer of the con and one of the people behind Alaska Robotics (note: there are no robots are involved in Alaska Robotics. OR ARE THERE???). Listen to us discuss Alaska, conventions, robots, Alaskan conventions as robots, the feeling of neglect that comes with not being from the Core Worl–er, the largest community in the area, the Alaska Robotics artist camp, Kowakian monkey-lizards, and more!

You can find Pat Race at the Alaska Robotics website or on twitter as @alaskarobotics.

Review: Han Solo #1

han solo coverA lot of people are kvetching over Han Solo getting a limited series comic book because OH NO he’s already getting an origin film. Those people should hush for a moment and read a very fun issue of Star Wars comics called Han Solo #1.

As our first female writer for this new batch of Star Wars comics, expectations were (unfairly) going to be high for Marjorie Liu but she rises to the challenge and delivers the set up for an all around fun story. More than any of the other books so far, this feels like a Star Wars book. A lot of that has to do with the fantastic artwork by Mark Brooks with an abundance of alien life forms in the background of every cantina scene. Every limited series has had its own unique vibe and I am digging this one so far.

This is a Han Solo who’s not quite feeling himself. He’s being overly careful when it comes to smuggling and he takes a dangerous mission when a Princess asks. We’re used to seeing this cocky and confident captain so it’s refreshing to see one who second-guesses himself even a little bit. What makes this book such a joy though is that it’s still distinctly Han Solo. Harrison Ford’s voice popped into my head at more than a few lines. Liu also has a good handle on Leia. One of the more delightful scenes involves Leia and Cracken arguing like Han’s not even in the room and it all just feels right.

On the art front, it’s nice to see another female colorist join the Star Wars family and it’s equally nice to see some Mark Brooks interiors especially after so many of his great covers on the Kanan book. He can convey a lot about the characters with just a few panels an facial expressions and his work really helps bring the book together.

I think it’s saying something that my biggest gripe with this book is that Airen Cracken has graying brown hair instead of graying red hair. Do you really need me to tell you that this was a great start to another series and to go pick the book up?

Han Solo #1: Marjorie Liu/Writer, Mark Brooks/Artist, Sonia Oback/Colors, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Jordan White/Editor, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor

Review: Star Wars #20

The end of an arc in the main Star Wars book means it’s time for another foray into the journal of Obi-Wan Kenobi. Artist Mike Mayhew returns to team up with Jason Aaron as we jump in our ship and head back to Tatooine.

In theory, the Obi-Wan interludes are about Obi-Wan watching Luke growing up but as we reach the third one, it’s becoming clearer that they’re really about Obi-Wan and Owen Lars and the tenuous relationship between them. Don’t get me wrong: young Luke is enthusiastic and adorable and a breath of life on the page. The shaky and ever evolving understanding between Owen and Obi-Wan is something entirely different. Almost two decades pass between the trilogies and it makes sense that things between them wouldn’t be static. I’m intrigued to see where else this might go especially if Beru gets to play more of a role. (By the way, the flash of her being a total bad ass in this issue was AWESOME.)

Mike Mayhew’s facial expressions are probably the strength of his work in this book. They tell stories entirely on their own on his very polished and pretty pages. I wasn’t overly fond of how Black Krrsantan looks more like King Kong than a wookiee in the face on one page but that’s a relatively minor quibble. That said, Mayhew definitely knows how to frame a heroic shot.

The more the Star Wars team publishes these Kenobi Interludes, the more I enjoy them. They continue to be a palette cleanser of sorts between arcs but in the most positive way. It’s a nice way to take a deep breath and let it out again before we dive into our heroes’ next adventure.  That said… bring on the stormtroopers!

Star Wars #20: Jason Aaron/Writer, Mike Mayhew/Artist, Chris Eliopoulos/Letterer, Jordan White/Editor, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor

Awesome Con 2016 Convention Report 2016

awesome conIt’s starting to feel a little repetitive to say that this year’s Awesome Con in Washington DC was bigger and better than the year before but it’s no less than true than in years past.  Now in its fourth year, Awesome Con’s main hall filled up even more of that giant hall in the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in downtown DC and the star powers of the guests increased.  How many other conventions can say they secured both Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman from Doctor Who let alone conventions that are less than five years old?

The line for Capaldi and Coleman less than half an hour after the convention opened on Sunday morning.

The line for Capaldi and Coleman less than half an hour after the convention opened on Sunday morning.

It’s true that Awesome Con continues to have growing pains.  More than a few con-goers were unhappy on Sunday when it became clear that autograph and photo op lines for the Doctor Who duo were a bit of a mess.  The demand was clearly too high and the people running it were unprepared for the volume.  The panel even ended up being delayed nearly two hours to try and accommodate the rush.  Awesome Con Founder Ben Penrod took to social media the next day to issue an apology and explanation; something that Awesome Con has always been very prompt about.  Like Penrod says in the post, they’re still learning and they never make the same mistake twice.  (Anyone remember the badge fiasco of 2014?  That hasn’t happened since.)  I’m always impressed by a convention that not only immediately owns up to their mistakes but also demonstrates that they’ve learned from the experience. Continue reading

Of Dice and Droids Side Episode #1: The Age of Rebellion Beginner Game

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AGE OF REBELLION

The Beginner Game

Here’s something we haven’t done before: a side gameplay episode! Of Dice and Droids has always had a goal of demystifying tabletop gaming. We wanted to take that one step further this week by playing through the Age of Rebellion beginner game using only the character sheets and GM adventure book that comes in the box to show that pen-and-paper RPGs aren’t as daunting as they look. While Nanci and Saf have played before, this is Brian’s first experiencing in the role of Game Master and is the first time guests Sarah, Maia, and Mike have played a tabletop game of any sort.

If we can play through this and make it work (we did!) anyone can. Go find some friends, pick up a copy of one of Fantasy Flight’s beginner games, and have fun!

The Cast:

  • Brian the GM
  • The Spy played by Saf
  • The Engineer played by Nanci
  • The Soldier played by Mike
  • The Diplomat played by Sarah
  • The Ace played by Maia

This podcast has been brought to you in part by Her Universe and your support on Patreon. Be sure to subscribe on iTunes/Google Play to hear all of the adventures! You can also subscribe to the Tosche Station Radio master podcast feed for even more great Star Wars  and geek culture content. 

This podcast has been brought to you in part by Her Universe and your support on Patreon. Be sure to subscribe on iTunes to hear even more adventures! You can also subscribe to the Tosche Station master podcast feed for even more great Star Wars content. 

Tosche Station Ranks the SWEU

A few weeks ago, Cooper from Eleven-ThirtyEight got most of Star Wars Twitter to rank their favorite new canon novels. Then people started creating their own lists, because why not? I love lists, so I couldn’t help but be drawn into the fun. Then I asked some of the other staff writers from Tosche Station to rank their SWEU favorites.

So here you are, without further ado or explanation: a ranking of our Top 5 Favorite Legends Novels, Legends Characters, Canon Novels, Canon Literature Characters, Canon Film/TV Characters, and Bit Film Characters Who Get Fleshed Out in Legends.

To the cut!

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Of Dice and Droids Episode VI: Hungry Like the Wolf

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THE END OF ALL THINGS

EPISODE VI: Hungry Like the Wolf

The Cast:

  • Tom the GM
  • Gin played by Saf
  • Percival played by Jay
  • Shoto played by Sho

This podcast has been brought to you in part by Her Universe and your support on Patreon. Be sure to subscribe on iTunes/Google Play to hear all of the adventures! You can also subscribe to the Tosche Station Radio master podcast feed for even more great Star Wars  and geek culture content. 

This podcast has been brought to you in part by Her Universe and your support on Patreon. Be sure to subscribe on iTunes to hear even more adventures! You can also subscribe to the Tosche Station master podcast feed for even more great Star Wars content. 

Review: Poe Dameron #3

WHAT’S IN THE GIANT GLOWING EGG? HOW COOL CAN JESSICA PAVA BE? IS BB-8 THE ACTUAL BEST? Poe Dameron #3 answers all of these and more as Poe faces off against Agent Terex and Black Squadron has to fly like bats out of hell against some First Order TIE fighters.

The first part of the story comes to a close far sooner than I expected but I like that it doesn’t get dragged out. Soule knows how to tell a tight story and doesn’t make things go on and on just to fill page space. All of those questions that I started this review out with are answered and more. The short, non-spoilery answers to those questions are: 1) Something weird, 2) VERY, and 3) Obviously! One of the best things about Soule’s story here is how he’s able to work little character details in almost seamlessly. We learn more about Snap and Karé and Jess and yet none of it feels forced.

The other best part of the story is definitely Agent Terex. The creators come up with a creative yet plausible way to potentially keep him around for stories to come. A good villain can be worth their weight in gold and Terex definitely has lasting potential.

It’s always worth mentioning how lovely and fun Noto’s artwork is. Without it, Terex wouldn’t have the same flair and Poe wouldn’t have quite the same charm. Even the adorableness of BB-8 jumps right off the page.

Poe Dameron continues to be a decidedly fun read and certainly worth your time. Next month, the hunt for Lor San Tekka continues and they head to prison… because that always goes well.

Poe Dameron #3: Charles Soule/Writer, Phil Noto/Artist, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Jordan White/Editor, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor

Review: Darth Vader #21

Want to know how to end a comic book issue? Read Darth Vader #21 because this one definitely got an ‘OH SNAP’ from me. We’re in the final days now of this awesome run by the Vader team and I suspect that very bad things are going to be happening. But first! Dr. Aphra is back!

It’s been fun reading about the adventures of Aphra, Sana, and Leia over in the main Star Wars book but I’m glad to see her returned to the pages of Darth Vader. It’s felt like something was missing the last few issues even though she was never forgotten in the story. Even when she’s clearly feeling less than her best, there’s something about Aphra that just makes her pop off the page. Don’t get me wrong: I’m still very worried about her surviving but it just feels right to have her around again.

On the flip side, we have Vader (I mean, I guess it’s technically his book) who is 100% done and ready to just crush Cylo and move on to better things. In this issue, we get both the ruthless Vader and the one who can outfly almost anyone. The latter is a tricky thing to convey in comics since you’re restricted to unmoving images but Larroca makes it work. If you ask me, Cylo is handling Vader coming after him all too calmly. Even if we didn’t know that Vader and the Emperor survive, those are not two people I would want to tick off on a personal level.

Oh the Larroca/Delgado artwork for the nebula? Drop dead gorgeous. I’d kill to see more pages with it. (And the space whale-shark-abomination thingys. Can’t forget them.)

Darth Vader #21: Kieron Gillen/Writer, Salvador Larroca/Artist, Edgar Delgado/Colorist, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Jordan White/Editor, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor