As some of you may know, I work at a major thrift store in Provo. We get thousands of items donated daily. I work in the back sorting through those donations to see what’s good enough to be resold and what’s not. I have been working there for eight months now and I have seen lots and lots of geeky items. If you follow me on I Love the Star Wars Prequels, you know that I post updates sometimes about prequels-related merchandise. Star Wars is perhaps the biggest franchise represented as far as action figures, toys, and collectible items. This is a sampling of some of the geek items I’ve seen at the store from a variety of fandoms and favorite media.
Yes, I can make this list work. I can come up with 17 reasons that the year 2017 is going to be a good one that are all geek-related. Can you? Is there anything on this list you didn’t think of? Anything I didn’t have room for?
Like I’ve said before, I don’t put the ‘Mormon’ in The Geeky Mormon very much, but last week in one of my Sunday meetings we had a discussion on people in the scriptures who play supporting roles. The message was that the part that every person plays in God’s plan is important, even if compared to others’ parts it appears minor. I went home and thought about characters from my favorite books, movies and TV shows that play important supporting roles and, perhaps, deserve a little more credit than they normally get. If most of these heroes have been recognized by their fandoms, then they are worth mentioning again. The characters that speak to our hearts, no matter how big or small a role they play, are the ones who make a difference.
Finding Nemo has always been my favorite Pixar movie. It is one of THE defining movies of my generation. By all rights, I should be offended that they decided to make a sequel at all. And yet after seeing Finding Dory the other day, I’m actually glad that they made one. Finding Dory doesn’t really work as a stand-alone film: in fact, the exposition of Dory’s backstory ties in directly to where Dory met Marlin. I wish they hadn’t explained away so much of Dory’s spontaneity. Yet as annoying as it was for Pixar to retcon so much of Finding Nemo it segwayed nicely into Dory’s conflict as the central protagonist.
Here’s a short tribute to the saddest deaths in some of our fandoms, to the ones who die without being likely to come back. None of these are necessarily in order, and I don’t have time to discuss the hows and whys of all their deaths today. But see if you can make it through this post without crying. Also, spoilers for just about everything.
My capstone paper at BYU was on online fandom and I had to explain a lot of terms in detail to a professor who wasn’t very well-versed in modern trends. Since graduating, I’ve found out there is a lot more to fandom that I wasn’t even aware of, including terminology and slang. If you use Pinterest and Tumblr or you follow fandom sites on Facebook, the following may be some ideas to be aware of when looking at fan art and reading others’ posts, as well as commonly used slang. The slang terms you can look up in the Urban Dictionary (which is a site I DO NOT recommend for children).
Our favorite movies wouldn’t be as cool without the amazing musical scores behind them. This is a sampling of some of my favorite movie tunes.
- ‘This is Berk,’ James Powell, How to Train Your Dragon (2010)
Quick rant here: I really wish Disney’s live action team had some better ideas than to keep remaking classics as live-action films. They’re doing a good job with some of them—I loved Cinderella, remember?—but the previews for Pete’s Dragon and The Jungle Book actually turned me off. And the lineup for their future films isn’t very promising—with the notable exception, of course, of next year’s Beauty and the Beast directed by Bill Condon and starring Emma Watson as Belle.
When people ask what the difference is between Salt Lake Comic Con and its FanX event, the only real answer you can give is the size. Part of the Salt Palace space is closed off and so there are much fewer artists and vendors. There are also fewer attendees, so when it comes to fighting crowds it’s much less of a hassle.
The good news is, I will be attending Salt Lake Comic Con’s FanX event next week. I am planning perhaps my most intense cosplay ever for the occasion: I am going as Mira Nova from the TV show Buzz Lightyear of Star Command. This will involve painting my face blue and wearing a wig, and I am currently working on sewing the dress (and like all of my sewing projects it’s consuming my life). So far, it’s been a lot of hard work and a lot of time and money. There are pieces of the project I bought as far back as October. Why am I doing this? Why am I cosplaying an obscure character from an obscure TV show in hopes that a few people at FanX will recognize me?
Because it’s worth it. If you ever saw BLoSC back in the early 2000s and knew what a brilliant show it was, you would see.
The irony of all this is that I was never a huge fan of Toy Story, where Buzz Lightyear, the Little Green Men, and Emperor Zurg originated. But right after Toy Story 2 came out, Buzz Lightyear of Star Command premiered with a feature-length event, The Adventure Begins, starring Tim Allen. Then the show came on ABC and Disney’s One Saturday Morning. I couldn’t tell you at what point I fell in love with the show or specifically why. But the show’s female lead, Mira Nova, grabbed my attention quickly and kept it. The humor was a big draw, too. Booster was okay but I really loved the zany robot XR. As for Buzz Lightyear himself, well, for me it was never about him. At least at that age.
Buzz Lightyear of Star Command took place in a very engaging original world even while making riffs on Star Trek and other popular science fiction, but it was also never afraid to poke fun at itself. Some of the episodes veer off towards the cheesy side, some are brilliant, some are better animation quality than others. The show very rarely referred to its Toy Story origins, except for in the “Strange Invasion” and “Stranger Invasion” arc where it becomes the butt of a brilliant joke that I know better than to spoil here.
I’ll give you the scoop on the main cast, since you may not have seen the show. Buzz Lightyear himself in the show is a little less nuanced than the Toy Story version, a straight-up, stereotypical hero who is sometimes so caught up with himself that he isn’t aware that the ladies find him desirable. But he’s occasionally interesting to watch, as in when he saves the day in “Speed Trap.”
Booster is a large alien who likes to eat food, and he also has a thirst to prove himself as a hero. There aren’t any moments that stick out for me except for “Plasma Boy,” where he falls in love with a girl but has to compete her boyfriend.
XR the robot is the main comic relief, with his killer one-liners, smart attitude, and tendency to blow up in nearly every episode. However, he gets to be a hero on multiple occasions, including in “Enemy Without a Face” when all of his flesh-and-blood friends start fighting each other.
Now, the meat: Mira Nova is a princess of an alien race known as the Tangeans that can “ghost” through solid objects. In addition to her powers and beauty, however, she is a level-headed counterbalance to Buzz’s high-and-mighty act and the voice of reason for Booster and XR. Her best episode? In “The Shape Stealer,” Star Command goes on a lockdown and Buzz is trapped outside with the nemesis. No one else can get to him. She puts her helmet on and ghosts through the armored security of the space station. Flawless.
Mira isn’t overly sexualized on the show, but she’s comfortable with her femininity while kicking butt for a living. Maybe there’s some flirtation with Buzz at the beginning of the series but she saves the show by being the one woman who doesn’t want him. I think she’s mostly attached to Buzz because he’s her hero and her team leader. Mira does get a bounty hunter love interest in the episode “Star Crossed,” and he was okay, I wasn’t terribly attached to her relationship with him, but the episode itself was one of the best in the series. She is definitely a heroine for any young girl to look up to, and I can say that even though she would never make the official lineup she is my favorite Disney princess.
(Also, Mira was voiced by actress Nicole Sullivan, who also played Shego in Kim Possible. I have asked repeatedly for Sullivan to come to Salt Lake and it hasn’t happened. So if they won’t bring me Mira Nova, I’ll bring Mira Nova to them–aka that’s part of the reason I’m doing the cosplay.)
While the central cast is the glue that holds the series together, Buzz Lightyear of Star Command offers a host of supporting and minor characters that are to die for. Other heroes of the series include Commander Nebula, the head of Star Command; Buzz’s love interest biologist Osma Ferbana; the President of the Galactic Alliance, the adorable LGMs; and Cosmo the diner operator. The villains are delicious: there’s Zurg with his grubs and brainbots but also the malicious Gravitina, the sinister energy vampire NOS4A2 who delivered some of the most thrilling episodes of the series, the egotistical Torque, and Buzz’s traitorous old friend Warp Darkmatter, now in the employ of Zurg. We even get a few characters in between, like the Star Command Psychiatrist, Mira’s father priggish father King Nova, and the scumbags on Tradeworld. If you like the worlds of Star Wars or Guardians of the Galaxy you will love this show.
My mother is a huge fan of BLoSC, and she says it’s not just a show for kids but there’s humor for the adults as well. Watch The Adventure Begins if you get the chance, but it’s only the tip of the iceberg. If someone knows of a way to watch the show online (preferably for free) let me be the first to know, I may start looking myself, but Disney seriously needs to release the show in DVD/Blu-Ray so the fans aren’t as tempted to pirate it. In the meantime, I am getting very, very close to finishing my Mira Nova cosplay, and I will have pictures for you. Hope to see you at FanX!