MERCHEQ

Merchandise Equality

It’s been awhile since my last post, I apologize. I’ve been sitting on this post for a while. Partly because I haven’t wanted to step on any toes of the voices already out there. I also wasn’t sure that I had the right words to say at the time, and finally because I think this is a topic that can’t just go away. This is something that we need to keep talking about, and working together to find a solution.

Geek culture is filled with strong women. We see them in movies, cartoons, comic books, and TV shows, yet we don’t see a lot of them in toys. Some “insiders” say it’s because geek culture is male dominated, and that this male dominated culture only won’t pay for products with these strong female characters. But are those people wrong?

Since starting this blog, I’ve seen a few instances that show these “insiders” may in fact be wrong. People lost their minds when the Guardians of the Galaxy merchandise starting hitting the shelves. Not only were Gamora figures scarce, but companies who bought the merchandising license from Marvel/Disney removed Gamora from all packaging and clothing. When Star Wars Rebels toys started hitting the shelves, Sabine Wren and Hera figures were no where to be found. Even Avengers: Age of Ultron came under fire for their lack of Black Widow and Scarlett Witch merchandise. There was even more hot water when Black Widow was replaced by Iron Man on a toy thats literal concept came from a scene in the movie.

So what can we do? It’s simple. We have to stop talking with only our keyboards and our smart phones. We also need to start talking with our money. When you see merchandise with these strong female characters, buy it and share the purchase on your social media pages. Don’t only look in big box stores, search your local comic book store, or even the parent company’s online store. Show these companies that you really want these figures, don’t just tell them.

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10 Father’s Day Gift Ideas for a Nerdy Dad

Father’s Day is around the corner and while you are getting pummeled with gift ideas for dad ranging from grill accessories to camping gear, I thought I would share some ideas for those non-outdoorsy, nerdy dads…like myself.

1. Gift Card to Local Comic Shop

If the dad you are shopping for is a fan of comics, he will be a huge fan of this gift idea. Brand new comics these days are about $3.99 with variant covers costing a little more. A $25 gift card will go a long way for your comicbook fan.

2. Marvel Unlimited subscription

If dad likes reading things on his electronic devices more than reading a physical book, Marvel Unlimited is for him. For either $9.99 per month or $69 per year, you have streaming access to 15,000+ Marvel titles, and member-only deals on Marvel comics and merchandise. If you want to pay $99 per year, you get everything mentioned above along with (for a limited time) an exclusive limited edition Hasbro Legends 6’ AU Variant Ultron figure, a variant edition of Age of Ultron #10, a personalized Marvel Unlimited Plus Membership card, invites to member only events, 15% off digital comics and collections every day at the Marvel Digital Comic shop, and 10% off Marvel merchandise every day at MarvelShop.com

3. Comixology e-gift card

Comixology is like your virtual comic shop that has all the comics you could ever want in one place. If dad likes reading on his electronic devices but is more into other publishers (DC, Dark Horse, IDW, etc.), you can get an e-gift card from Comixology and dad can enjoy his favorite comics from his smart phone, tablet, or computer.

4. Hoodies/Graphic Tees

Nerdy/Geeky hoodies and graphic tees seem to be the in thing now. Clothing wise, it has never been a better time to be a nerdy/geeky dad. You can go shop online at places like thinkgeek.com and teefury.com, or you can find nerdy/geeky shirts at pretty much every big box store. You can also follow Styled by Marvel on Instagram for some clothing ideas.

5. RFID Blocking Wallet

Credit cards are becoming so tech savvy that they are starting to become a nuisance. Thanks to RFID technology you can now pay for items just by tapping your cards to the card reader, rather than using the magnetic strip. With advances in technology, we usually run into people who are able to alter the technology to take advantage of people. Criminals are using RFID scanners to steal card information from people using cards with RFID chips in them. Help the dad in your life stop this from happening by getting him a RFID blocking wallet. You can make it extra nerdy by getting him this Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D inspired wallet from thinkgeek.com.

©ThinkGeek

©ThinkGeek

6. Subscription Box Service

Subscription boxes have become such a staple in the nerd/geek community. Every month you get a box filled with nerdtastic items. There are quite a few out there, but here are my favorite 3 that I have come across.

    1. Marvel Collectors Corp – Is the dad in your life a big Marvel fan? You can choose a $25 every other monty for 1 box or you can prepay 6 boxes for $125 and you get a free annual gift. Each box comes with a collectible items created by Marvel and Funko. Each box values at $50 worth of items.
    2. LootCrate – If dad is has a wide variety of things that he geeks out over, LootCrate is the way to go. You never know what you will get from LootCrate, but you will always enjoy when that box arrives at your doorstep. LootCrate has four different plans that you can sign up for. Their one and done box is $19.95, the 3 month plan is $19.25 per month, 6 month plan is $18.95 per month, and the 1 year plan is $17.95 per month. The 1 year plan includes a bonus gift.
    3. NerdBlock – NerdBlock gives you the opportunity to narrow down what you could get in your monthly box. There are 6 different categories to choose from.   There are probably on 4 categories that you would choose for dad. The ComicBlock comes with 3 comics, a shirt, and a collectible for $13.99 per month. The ArcadeBlock is a mystery box that gives you mystery gaming collectibles and a new shirt in every box for $19.99 per month. The HorrorBlock has collectibles from your favorite horror movies and a new shirt in every box for $19.99 per month. And lastly, the Classic NerdBlock is a mystery box filled with all sorts of collectibles and a new shirt with every box for $19.99 per month. You can do a monthly subscription where you pay the cost of the box plus shipping. You can also do 3, 6, and 12 month subscriptions, each of those plans comes out as a one time payment.

7. Netflix Subscription

With classic shows like Star Trek, M*A*S*H, Bill Nye the Science Guy and Netflix Originals like Daredevil, and House of Cards, dad will spend hours being nostalgic and falling in love with new shows when he logs in for the first time. For $7.99 you can stream to 2 screens at a time with HD availability, and for $11.99 you can stream on 4 screens at a time with HD and Ultra HD availability.

8. Movie Tickets

Why not surprise dad with tickets to a movie that’s already out or even pre-sale tickets to an upcoming movie (Ant-Man comes to mind). You can find pre-sale tickets from Fandango.

9. Tickets to upcoming Con

In my opinion, convention tickets are the ultimate Father’s Day gift. I am not just talking about comic conventions, there are many different kinds of conventions going on throughout the year. You can look into tickets for cons like the Las Vegas Star Trek Convention, Dragon Con, or something like Walker Stalker Con. If you have never had a convention experience, I recommend finding a more localized con. For example, I wanted to make sure that a con was something that I could do with a toddler, so I attended the first Salt Lake Comic Con. The convention was held 5 miles from my house and it was small enough that I felt like I could do everything that I wanted to plus we go to see everything that I wanted J to see. Now J and I are planning on going to conventions outside of Utah. Going to cons can be expensive, but they are so much fun and it’s something that you can make a family outing.

10. Nerdist.com’s Ultimate Convention Hoodie

If you decided to go with tickets to a con, you can’t go wrong with Nerdist.com’s Ultimate Convention Hoodie as an additional gift. For $65 dad is getting the best hoodie he could ever need for his con experience. Look at this picture and tell me this is not the coolest hoodie in the entire world.

©Nerdist Industries

©Nerdist Industries

StarWars Logo

May the Fourth Be With You: A Guide to Celebrating Star Wars Day

Star Wars is an integral part of geek/nerd culture. We all have our reasons why Star Wars is important to us and why we want to share it with our children. For me, Star Wars showed made me believe in the impossible. It showed me that our imaginations have limitless potential to create brand new worlds. I want my son to see what I see in Star Wars. I want him to use his imagination to its fullest potential.

As you can see, Star Wars holds great meaning to me. It is something that my father shared with me, and it is something that I can share with my son. Monday is May 4th which means that cities across the world will be celebrating the Star Wars Universe. You may be thinking to yourself, “How can I celebrate Star Wars Day?” And the answer is, there is no correct answer. You can celebrate it however you want. It could be something big like cosplaying as your favorite Star War character, or something small, like wearing your favorite pair of Star Wars socks. If you are unsure how you can celebrate May the Fourth, here are a few things big and small that you can do to celebrate Star Wars day on your own, or with your friends and family.

Start your morning off with your favorite Star Wars song:

Whether it’s the Main Theme or the Imperial March, playing your favorite Star Wars tune will get you ready for a great Star Wars themed day.

Wear some Star Wars clothing:

It could be anything from a pair of socks to an amazing t-shirt. Don’t be afraid to show your geek side, millions of people will be with you in spirit.

Find Star Wars events in your area:

Maybe there is a movie marathon going on at your local theater, maybe there’s a 5k walk/run going on at the park, or maybe a local gallery is featuring Star Wars art work from local artists. Just search and find some events and meet up with more Star Wars fans.

Cosplay:

Put together a quick Jedi outfit with some robes and a lightsaber, use two milk jugs to make a storm trooper mask, wear a cape and bring out your inner Lando or Vader. Don’t worry if people say “your body type doesn’t fit the character,” or “that is a cheap looking costume.” Forget those people. Cosplay is all about fun, if you think you’re going to have fun making and wearing the costume, then do it.

Marathon the movies at home:

If you are the type of person who doesn’t like big crowds, just marathon the movies in the comfort of your own home. Invite a few friends over, order some pizza, make some popcorn, sit in your favorite Star Wars pajamas, grab some drinks and prepare yourself for awesomeness.

Catch up on the Star Wars animated shows:

Have you watched all of Clone Wars (it is really good, you should watch it), are you caught up on Rebels (it is really good, you should be watching it)? No? Then you may want to get yourself ready for an even longer marathon. It’s worth it, I promise. You could also check out Phineas and Ferb: Star Wars, we loved every second of it.

Read your favorite Star Wars books:

There are so many Star Wars books out there, you can read the extended universe (no longer canon), the old comicbooks, the new comicbooks (which you really should be reading, they are amazing), or you can read some of Jeffery Brown’s Star Wars books with your kids.

Whatever you do this May 4th, just remember to have fun celebrating something that means so much to you. I hope you have a good Star Wars Day, and May the Fourth be With You.

Little Luke Skywalker

What are your Star Wars day plans? Share them in the comments.

avengers_age_of_ultron_2015_movie-wide

Avengers: Age of Ultron review

I have so many thoughts about Age of Ultron, so I will try to give them in the least spoliery way:

The movie itself is not as dark as I thought it would be. Yes people die, but not in uber graphic slamming car doors on heads (Netflix Daredevil reference) way.

Ultron is a pretty bad dude, James Spader does an amazing job showing that, but he is not as physically terrifying as the Chitauri from the first Avengers movie. Ultron is more terrifying on a mental level and leaves you thinking about the future of humanity.Your kids might not have nightmares about Ultron.

Black Widow and Scarlett Witch are amazing!! ScarJo and Elizabeth Olsen prove that women heroes are just as strong as the guys and that they can hold their own against Ultron and his robotic minions. I left the theater wanting to see either solo movies for both characters, or a Black Widow/Scarlett Witch team up movie.

The Vision was not what I expected, and I loved it!! Some people might not like this portrayal of The Vision, but I am not one of those. The Vision fits perfectly in the MCU and I was sad that we didn’t get more.

The movies touches on the idea of men playing God and the consequences of those actions. The undertones might be a little too advanced for the little ones, but if they love the action of Marvel movies, they will love Age of Ultron. My recommendation is too watch the movie with your partner first, and then decide for yourself if it would be good for your child. I personally loved the movie and think that you will not be disappointed if you are a fan of the MCU.                                     .

daredevil v the avengers

Little Daredevil vs The Avengers at the Age of Ultron premiere

 

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Affordable Kid Cosplay

When I bought our first tickets to Salt Lake Comic Con, I immediately wanted to make J a cosplay for the weekend. I started looking through forums and I started getting nervous seeing how much money people spent on their cosplays and how much sewing, soldering, glueing, designing, etc went into each cosplay. I remember thinking that I would never be able to make cosplays because I didn’t have the technical or artistic skills to do it. If you want to make your kids cosplay but are afraid of costs or worried about you skill set, here are some tips to help you make affordable kid cosplays.

1. Start with simple outfits.:

Don’t make “functional Iron Man” your kid’s first cosplay. Maybe something like a Star Trek character, A blue, yellow, or red shirt (maybe not the red one), a patch ($8 from 8bit Spock on Etsy), some heat ‘n bond, black pants, black shoes and you are done.

2. Pop some tags:

Instead of going to the fabric store and spending $50-$100 on fabric, become a “frequent shopper” at your local thrift shop. All J’s cosplays have components that came from our local shops. if you go this route, you have to get a little creative from time to time.

3. Practice makes…okay:

If you have never sewed anything in your life, start. Rip up some old shirts and try to sew them back together. Do it over and over again until you feel like you are ready to sew a cosplay together.

4. Don’t be afraid to use Heat ‘n Bond or fabric glue:

If you fee like you’re sewing skills aren’t improving, don’t be afraid to use fabric adhesives to stick your fabrics together. It cuts your build time down, and even holds your fabric together if you want to sew it later.

5. Don’t build clunky cosplays:

If you are building a clunky cosplay, you will slowly make the transition from parent to prop holder. Keep it light and keep it small.

6. Don’t compare your builds to other cosplayers:

Whether it’s your 1st or your 30th build, your cosplay will be unique. Your build style will be different from every other cosplayer who may be cosplaying as the same character. Love your build for what it is…AMAZING!!!

7. Wait for Halloween costumes to go on clearance:

If you are feeling like nothing is working with your builds, don’t be afraid of store bought costumes. Sure there are some contests you won’t be able to enter, but kid cosplay is all about your kids just having fun.

The thing to remember is that no matter what you do, your kids will love it (well depending on their age). Have fun and start making some cosplays!!!

YouTube Kids

YouTube Kids App

J probably gave the shortest app review in history.

As you can see, he loves the app. I love this app as well. Not only does it have amazing content, but there are no ads, and amazing parental controls that let you put a time limit on the app. The app is very kid user friendly and organized in a way that a three year old could navigate through the app.

The “Shows” tab is filled with your kid’s favorite shows from Sesame Street to Thomas the Tank Engine and even some shows that your kid may not have heard of like Pocoyo.

©Google

©Google

The “Music” tab is filled with tons of music channels that will keep your kids entertained and active.

©Google

©Google

Lead your kids to the “Learn” tab to show them some amazing educationally entertaining content.

©Google

©Google

The “Explore” tab gives your kids a look at to some amazing artistic and fun channels.

©Google

©Google

If you love exploring YouTube with your kids, this is definitely an app I would recommend downloading.

new comic book day

Comicbook Wednesday 02-25-15

All New Captain America: Fear Him #4

©Marvel

©Marvel

Everything must come to an end. The final issue of Fear Him comes out today and I am excited to see how this short series will end.

S.H.I.E.L.D #3

©Marvel

©Marvel

If you love the TV show, you will enjoy this series. Follow the Coulson’s team as they interact with characters in the Marvel comicbook universe.

Darth Vader #2

©Marvel

©Marvel

These new Marvel Star Wars comics are AMAZING!!! If you loved the franchise, you will love these comic series. See what happened to Darth Vader in between A New Hope and Empire Strikes back.

Spider-Gwen #1

©Marvel

©Marvel

In an alternate universe, Gwen Stacy was bitten by the radioactive spider. Follow along with this new story and see what awaits Spider-Gwen!!!