Comic Con Dashboard

New DC LEGOs revealed at Comic Con

This weekend was Comic Con. I’m not about to tell you everything that happened there… you can find that anywhere and all over, if you look. Here’s a little rundown of the things that I saw and enjoyed:

- Kick-started with the very first viewing of Captain America. Chris Evans was there to introduce the film in person (very, very pretty person). This movie was really wonderful. I was impressed by Evans’ portrayal, by the faithfulness to the WWII era, and by the acting of Stanley Tucci and Hayley Atwell especially. Tommy Lee Jones was perfect for his role. Surprise hottie of the film was Sebastian Stan, AKA Carter Baizan from Gossip Girl. This was possibly my favorite superhero movie yet. Don’t get me wrong, I love Iron Man, but this had more heart to it. Also, the sneak peek at The Avengers at the end was AWESOME.

- Went to see the Batman Arkham City panel with Mr. I’m not a gamer myself, but I most certainly am a Batman fan, and this panel was especially great because I was able to see Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill talk about having worked together as the voices of Batman and The Joker for almost two decades. I had no idea they’d all worked together so long. The game looks fantastic and gritty, and I know Mr. is very excited for it.

- Went to Simon & Schuster’s first ever Comic Con panel, and won two books by Wake author Lisa McMann! The first is Cryer’s Cross, about high school students disappearing, and the second is an ARC of McMann’s first Middle Grade novel, a fantastic looking book called The Unwanteds that’s about a world where children are punished for being creative. It was explained that she got the idea from talking with her son about how all the art programs are being stripped from schools.

- I was able to also see Scott Westerfeld and his panel about bringing to life the world of Leviathan. This was an exciting panel for me because I was able to get some insight on the worldbuilding from a series I really enjoy. He spoke about why he wanted to write an illustrated novel, the history of World War 1 and the collaborative process with Keith Thompson that went into making this series. I was excited to snag a signed copy of Leviathan from the Simon & Schuster booth at the end of the Con, and am really looking forward to Goliath, the last book of the series, due out in September.

- I stood in line with a bunch of other great girls during the Name of the Star giveaway by Penguin Teen, and a lot of us were tweeting back and forth with Maureen Johnson whilst in the line, which was a lot of fun. We’re some of the very first to be getting this book, and I know for example that the girl behind me had a guy with her because someone on Twitter had offered to give $50 to a favorite charity for anyone who got them a copy of the book, so she got him to grab one for herself. Clever! Eventually the booth gave the books to us a little earlier than planned, because the line had gotten so long that all the spots were taken! I think next year will be a very good one for book swag at the Con…

- My favorite moment at the Con was the signing I went to after the Middle Grade panel that I went to. I was able to meet and chat with some awesome book people. Firstly I was able to get my Beyonders book signed by Brandon Mull, author of the magnificent Fablehaven series, and I was able to tell him about how he was one of the authors I was sort of proud of, because I found him on the second-to-bottom shelf in a fenced-off children’s section of a Deseret Book, before there was any hype about his books, and that I’d been telling people to read them ever since. He gave me a high five and sincerely thanked me for telling people about his books, saying that’s how you gain readers. Also, I told him I hadn’t had a chance to read Beyonders yet, and he assured me that I’d really enjoy it, telling me how it’s a little bit of an older audience than Fablehaven, and that he honestly thinks it’s better.

- Sitting next to Brandon Mull was John Stephens, author of the new Middle Grade novel The Emerald Atlas, part of a series called The Books of Beginning, which my sister bought at the Con. Stephens has also worked on two of my favorite TV shows—Gilmore Girls and Gossip Girl. I was able to thank him for being involved in Gilmore Girls, especially (he told me he was a writer for the first four years of the show), telling him that I was grateful for anyone who’d had a hand in bringing Rory Gilmore to life, as she was the same age as me and was so wonderful to have on TV as a smart girl who loved books.

- I was also able to very briefly talk to Nathan Bransford, agent and author of Jacob Wonderbar and the Cosmic Space Kapow. I was able to thank him for the wealth of information available on his blog about the publishing industry, telling him that I was one of those people who want to do it “right” when I have a manuscript ready to submit to an agent. He told me that I was going about it the right way—learning all I could about the industry and about individual agents themselves. All three gentlemen were extremely nice and it was such a thrill meeting them, mainly because I love book people, and it was so new for me to meet people in person who are as passionate about the bookworld as I am.

- I did also see the panel for the new Spiderman movie—which I’m really surprisingly looking forward to. I thought it looked ridiculous at first, but it’s being done by the same producer as (500) Days 0f Summer, and looks like an actual, organically told story, instead being as cartoony as I’m used to Spiderman being. I think what broke me down was when they showed an exclusive trailer, and the music that rolled in was Coldplay’s “Kingdom Come,” which is probably my favorite Coldplay song ever. And it was on footage for Spiderman. Suddenly this didn’t look like a movie about an obnoxious, whiny kid who puts on a red suit and fights bad guys. It looked like a movie about an actual teenager who was smart and conflicted and was coming up with solutions to problems. The producer talked about how influential music was in making the film, and I sort of wanted to make out with him. Also, the kid playing Spidey—Andrew Garfield, was just adorable in the panel. He reminded me of a young Daniel Radcliffe with his overacting talking and excitedness. And the movie has Emma Stone in it, and if she’s not the cutest thing to hit Hollywood since Meg Ryan, I don’t know what she is.

So, maybe not what you were expecting from a Comic Con post, but it’s what I enjoyed the most! It was very exciting to see the book publishers back at Comic Con in full force. It seems like their presence has weakened over the past few years, but they were definitely there this year!

Booking Through Thursday – Discoveries

Hey look, it’s actually Thursday!

There’s something wonderful about getting in on the ground floor of an author’s career–about being one of the first people to read and admire them, before they became famous best-sellers.

Which authors have you been lucky enough to discover at the very beginning of their careers?

And, if you’ve never had that chance, which author do you WISH you’d been able to discover at the very beginning?

I think the closest I can come to saying that I discovered someone on the “ground floor” is Brandon Mull, writer of the Fablehaven series, among others. I picked the first Fablehaven book up as an impulse buy at a Deseret Book (an LDS bookstore) down in San Diego, just a few months after it came out. Back then it was just a couple of copies on a very low shelf hidden in the back of the store in the kids’ section. Granted, these are kids’ books, but when the final Fablehaven book came out, it got its own table displays at Barnes & Noble. That’s a far cry from being hidden away on the second-to-bottom shelf in a cornered-off kid’s section.

The cover of the book got me to pick it up. I’ve heard some rumors that a green cover is death to a book for some reason, though I’ve never understood a word about that, but in this case it definitely caught my eye. The illustration on the cover did, as well. It wasn’t until after I finished the book that I understood what the cover illustration was supposed to be, and I’ll admit that the cover illustrations don’t do a whole lot for me… I either disregard half of the picture with some kind of mental-block, or I’m just not big on the cartoony appeal, but bygones.

The interesting title, gold lettering, and sparkly-ness of the cover was enough to get me to pick it up. I had been in the mood for something fantastical, and the Fable- part of the title gives away immediately that this was, even though I thought the character on the cover was creepy, and didn’t notice the colorful fairies on the cover for an embarrassingly long time. I flipped the book over and became EXTRA intrigued. In place of a carefully-worded pitch or a list of quotes was something made to look like a want ad torn from a newspaper.

If I’d had any doubt that this was going to be fantastical, the ad asking for a new caretaker “willing to perform emergency dental surgery on a fog giant” and listing knowledge of gnomish language as “a plus,” snagged my imagination from the get-go. I read the synopsis on the inside flaps of the paper cover (the book was in hardback) and decided I’d take a gamble on it. This isn’t usual for me—I like to pick up a book half a dozen times before I buy something, especially in hardcover, because I just don’t have the funds that often, but this seemed like a good day. Besides, something from found at Deseret Book can’t necessarily be found somewhere else. I was with my mom that day, and she had a membership card, which at the time still consisted of points (now you have to have a premium membership), and I think the book ended up being about free. Well, ish. You know.

The book was a slow go for me the first time I picked it up, but the second time I stuck to it, and by a couple of chapters in I was stuck. And thrilled. It was everything I’d been hoping for and more. Kendra and Seth are a VERY realistic pair of kids with a very realistic sister/brother relationship. The creatures they come across span from the amazingly beautiful to the grotesque and terrifying, but Mull does it in a way that is constantly uplifting. (Rather than being emotionally dark, like the Spiderwick Chronicles seems to be, based on the film, at least).

The books are by turn funny, scary, and downright cool. The kids make mistakes but learn from them in a very real way. And every book gets better and better. I just love this series, and I’m thrilled to know that so many people have come to love it also. It is very deserved. I’ve been passing on the excitement, fantasy and fun by word of mouth ever since. Just recently, my husband has finished reading the first book and started the second. He loves it, too.

I haven’t read any of Mull’s other works yet (except for the children’s book Pingo, which is adorable!) but I do own The Candy Shop Wars and am really looking forward to his Beyonders series, the first of which is due out next month. Woohoo!

Reactive Reading

My husband has started reading the first Fablehaven novel by Brandon Mull, which is one of my favorite series, ever. Probably my very favorite kid-lit series (I’m not counting Harry Potter here, he’s in a realm of his own). Fantasy like you’ve always wanted it—scary at the right times, but always uplifting and full of awesome heroics. (Not half so emotionally dark as something like The Spiderwick Chronicles, either).

Anyhow, back to my husband. Now, I read pretty intently. You sit me down with a good book and I’m glued to it. I don’t want any interruptions if the book is really good. When something shocks or worries me, I probably gasp or widen my eyes, possibly clench the book closer to me, but really I’m still all alone in my little world—or rather, I’ve forgotten myself entirely, because I’m so deep in the world I’m reading about. And I’ll admit, sometimes I don’t want anybody near me when I read. When I read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, I shut myself up in my room for three days, only coming out when it was absolutely necessary.

My husband on the other hand, has sat next to me while doing most of his reading (I’ve been reading too, but mine is a mix of business and pleasure), and he reacts vocally to what he reads. He’s gotten incredibly frustrated with one of the characters—Seth, if you’ve read the books—and has vented that frustration loudly to me. I’ve read all but the last book (I really hate for it to end, so I’ve been prolonging it. That, and I was getting married, so I was a little busy) so I love Seth, despite his rash ways that always lead him into trouble. I tried pointing out that he didn’t know what he was doing in a lot of the scenes that irritated my husband so much, but he would have none of it.

I honestly love it. I think his reactions are great, and I really should have expected nothing less, as my husband’s personality could never quite be mistaken for quiet, like mine. Anybody else seen someone read so reactively?  Do you, by chance?

P.S. I’m really excited to watch as he reads the rest of the series. The Fablehaven books just get more and more awesome as they go, and his reading them makes me want to reread them. And okay, finally finish the series.

P.P.S. The Jayne icon is the closest I could find to relay the obvious reactions my hubby’s been having, but on a sidenote, I’ve gotten him watching Firefly, too. We’re about half-way through the series now. The hooks are in. He’s caught.