Category: Con Culture


 

In-person cancellations have not kept every event this summer from canceling entirely.  One of those is typically one of the summer’s biggest events, San Diego Comic-Con.  Events for SDCC 2020 are proceeding ahead beginning Wednesday, but this time providing an opportunity for fans of all things pop culture a chance to sit through the kinds of panels you might see were you to attend in person in any regular year–without standing overnight in lines.  You can even grab a lanyard off the rack, print your own badge (for you and your pets), cosplay with your family, and load the panels up on as big of a screen as you have.  It’s 350 panels over five days, beginning Wednesday, July 22, and wrapping up Sunday, July 26.  Check out all our suggestions for building your own fun convention week experience below.

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Why do you wear a mask?

I think they are just terribly comfortable.  I think everyone will be wearing them in the future.

Since–like everyone else–actors are unable to do their jobs until the risk of the COVID-19 pandemic has passed, many have offered up some of their time over the past 120 to 150 days to provide fans with extra interviews, table reads (like the Community table read we discussed here at borg), and comic-cons at home, creating some content for the fan base we wouldn’t have otherwise had access to without this strange new normal of sheltering at home, social distancing, and masks.  If you don’t subscribe to or know what Quibi is, you may have missed the latest–an ensemble of actors from popular to more obscure re-enacting scenes from Rob Reiner’s fan-favorite fantasy, comedy, and romance, The Princess Bride.

The style is all intentionally low budget–think of the kind of backyard films you might have made as a kid, and in fact, the film is called Home Movie: The Princess Bride But it’s great fun, all filmed with quarantine safety rules in place (those filming together were already living together), and the kind of thing any classic film fan base would be overjoyed to see created.  The best part is learning who had actual historical costumes in their closet to work with (Mad Men man Jon Hamm had a Renaissance shirt in his closet, as did comedic actors Neil Patrick Harris and David Spade, and Rogue One’s Diego Luna), those who didn’t, and who might be better actors than you’ve given them credit for.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

They’re outnumbered and outgunned.

Last year Halo, Destiny, and Crackdown game writer and Spawn comic book writer Jonathan Goff created a comics mini-series last based on Xbox′s Crackdown 3 (previewed here at borg).  A military science fiction-action series not requiring readers to know the game, it featured some nicely rendered futurism from artist Ricardo Jaime (The Shadow).  Goff and Jaime created a future world ruled by a corporate power elite, and a city sitting on a powder keg of class warfare ready to blow.  Then the lights go out.  Literally.  Someone has taken control of power sources everywhere.  Dynamite’s Crackdown is heading to a comic shop near you next week in a complete trade paperback edition so fans of the game and sci-fi can join in on the action.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

The new Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition adventure Mythic Odysseys of Theros has an inspired twist on the mythology and real world of the Ancient Greeks, creating a bit of a mirror fantasy setting that is still nicely footed in that world.  The new campaign, which arrives online and in game shops July 21, has a very different look and feel from your typical D&D sourcebook.  You’ll harken back to when you first imagined living among a pantheon of dueling Gods, and encountering your first images of hydras, hippocamps, krakens, and chimera (or watched Clash of the Titans).  And a book full of some enticing new maps will keep you absorbed in hours of roleplay this summer, even if you’re needing to make it all work with your friends over Zoom instead of in person.

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It was only a little more than a year ago that you were just weaning yourself off your eight season fix of Game of Thrones But the board game companies think you’re not ready to move on yet, so they have new tie-in games from the series to tempt you.  Get ready for the classics, like Risk, Clue, and Monopoly, but even toymaker Funko is joining in later this month with a tie-in, full of its own brand of mini-figures and other unique playing pieces.

What looks to you to be the best of the bunch?  Check out eight tabletop game options below and make your choice.

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Forty years ago a research vessel found a missing spaceship commanded by a mysterious scientist on the edge of a black hole.   Unfortunately it all happened two years after Star Wars.  Unlike Disney’s 1982 hit Tron, which would gain a large fan following, Disney’s winter 1979 science fiction film The Black Hole got left behind or at least somewhere in-between.  Nominated for Oscars for best cinematography, best effects, and best visual effects, the effects today don’t hold up so well, and the movie is known more for its soundtrack than anything else.  But its promise was an interesting slate of leading actors: Robert Forster, Maximilian Schell, Anthony Perkins, and Ernest Borgnine (who probably should be an honorary borg here just on principal).  If you hold any nostalgia for the movie, it’s probably because of the unique robots: V.I.N.CENT (which stands for Vital Information Necessary CENTralized) voiced by Roddy McDowall, and B.O.B. (which stands for Bio-Sanitation Batallion)–a robot who has seen better days, voiced by Slim Pickens.  And one more–not only was the star of the movie named Maximilian (this confused me as a kid), so was the evil red robot.  For fans of the movie, you’re in luck this year, as Disney Select is issuing all three as action figures.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

If you ever needed a big, fun, family game, it’s probably now, right?  We’ve just previewed Avalon Hill’s forthcoming summer release Scooby-Doo! Betrayal at Mystery Mansion, arriving in stores later this month, and it’s a winner–no doubt it will go down as the season’s best tabletop game.  With dozens of throwbacks to the classic animated series featuring Scooby-Doo and the Gang, it mixes elements of Clue, Monopoly-like strategy levels, and staples of the roleplay game genre including its own Monster’s Tome game book.  Twenty-five impressive mysteries and dozens of possible outcomes for each will keep your family busy this summer with your favorite sleuths: Velma, Fred, Daphne, Shaggy, and, of course, Scooby-Doo.

You won’t play this game without piping in with your own ruh roh and jinkies along the way.  Clues, objects, and events all point back to elements of the TV show.  Colorful tokens (like Scooby snacks, pizza, flashlights, and treasure) are provided specific to each of the 25 mysteries that work together with clue cards (like a painting with eyes following you, a mysterious letter, and a locked box), layout tiles to build 28 rooms inside the haunted mansion and spooky areas outside, along with 8 dice and three guide books, all to set 3 to 5 players on their way to sleuthing out a mystery, Mystery, Inc. style.  Everyone plays one of those famous “meddling kids,” then one player steps out to play the monster, ghost pirate (or is that pirate ghost?), masked neighbor, werebeast, alien, witch, henchman… you’ll have plenty of familiar baddies to take on, challenging each other in the style of previous roleplay games like Magic the Gathering with upgradable strengths and dice roll battles.

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Mouse Guard is the New York Times bestselling series of graphic novels in a classic square children’s hardcover book format by author-illustrator David Petersen.  Petersen has stacked up awards for his series like no other comics creator, including for Mouse Guard: Black Axe, the Harvey Award in 2014, for Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard Volume 1, the Eisner Award in 2011, for Mouse Guard: Fall: 1152, two Eisner Awards in 2008, for Mouse Guard: Winter: 1152, the Eisner Award in 2008, and for Mouse Guard: The Role Playing Game, the Origins Award in 2009, among others.  A movie with Fox was in pre-production before the Disney-Fox merger cancelled it.  Now fans of the internationally popular series can purchase fully customized miniature figures from Crazy Bricks featuring Petersen’s fantastical characters.

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The next adventure from Dungeons & Dragons is coming this summer.  Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden is a tale of dark terror. Wizards of the Coast promises players will visit the forlorn, flickering candlelights of civilization known as Ten-Towns and traverse many bone-chilling locations that surround these frontier settlements.  Beneath the unyielding night sky, players will stand before a towering glacier and recite an ancient rhyme, causing a crack to form in the great wall of ice.  Past this icy dungeon is a secret so old and terrifying that few dare speak of it.  What fantastic secrets and treasures are entombed in the heart of the glacier, and what will their discovery mean for the denizens of Icewind Dale?  Do you dare try to save Ten-Towns from the Frostmaiden?  The new supplement to the 5th Edition of Dungeons & Dragons is available for pre-order now with an add-on frosty set of dice.

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Such a large bounty for such a small package.

Topps has released the first trading card set in its more than 40-year run of Star Wars trading cards exclusively devoted to a single character.  And who would that be?  Everyone’s favorite Yoda mini-me lookalike, The Child, who the world has branded Baby Yoda.  Unlike many of the Star Wars series Topps has created over the years, this will be easy for everyone to get the complete base set, as it sells in a single box.  The Mandalorian: Journey of the Child Trading Cards follows the adventures of The Child as viewers of the Disney+ TV series (and anyone with the Internet) saw, but now you’ll have the best key framed images from season one.  You can pick up the set now for about $11 here at Amazon. 

A man of your skill should make short work of this.

Plus, there are variant cards for collectors outside the base set, for those wanting to go on the hunt.  These are the cards you are looking for:

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