Wait, what?! Guys treated as girls on comic covers…

o-SEXIST-AVENGERS-POSTER-KEVIN-BOLK-570No doubt you’ve already seen the hilarious parody poster of The Avengers by Kevin Bolk.Totally bootylicious.

Side note: Man butts are hilarious.

But I just came across this *giggle* nice cosplay of *snort* the Hawkeye Initiative.

Side note: the Hawkeye Initiative is when comic artists, sick of drawing women in ridiculous poses, drew Hawkeye in them instead. “It’s funny, but it makes you think.” -Sergeant Bilko

Read Mary Sue’s write up of it here.

Other side note: poor Hawkeye. His suits look TERRIBLY uncomfortable to fight in. Or, to lounge around in. Or to do errands in, for that matter. Itchy leather up the butt crack never goes well with a trip to Walmart.

Now, may I introduce to you, Matt as Hawkeye with his ever-professional sometimes-partner, Black Widow.

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I’d say that times are a’changing, and artists and writers are much more aware of drawing slightly real women in slightly less-ridiculous poses (and, there are of course awesome women writers who are on the scene like Cat and Marjorie Liu, telling their artists to ‘zip it up’). There are even some artists and writers who have done away with unreal women altogether, and actually draw them as people! (huzzah!)

But if you’ve been to a comic con lately, you’ll know that it’s the majority of women in comics are dressed in bikini chain mail.

Chainmail-BikiniBIKINI CHAIN MAIL IN THE SNOW!

Side note: do not try that in real life.

Side side note: check out E.A. Aymar’s new multi-media serialized story, When The Deep Purple Falls. It looks exciting! And you know how multi-media tickles my fancy…

Bad Bible Stories: The Woman Who Ended the Battle With A Rock

Once, there was a judge in Israel named Gideon. He has an exciting war-story in which he defeats an army with only jars and trumpets and torches and faith, but that’s another story for another day. Gideon’s good. I want to tell you a bad story.

Speaking of bad, he had a son named Abimelech. This guy was drunk on power and blood, and would do anything to get more.

Speaking of more, Abimelech had SEVENTY brothers. Yeah, you heard right. Seven oh. Seventy. That means that Gideon was a rather prolific spreader of seeds. He had wives from all over, or…I’m sure ‘wives’ is a generous word for what they were. Anyways, Gideon had made a foray into Shechem at one time in his life…saw a pretty slave girl…one thing led to another, and here comes Abimelech a few years saying to his mother’s people, (in the best sultry power-hungry voice you can imagine), “Ask the leading citizens of Shechem whether they want to be ruled by all seventy of Gideon’s sons or by one man. And remember that I am your own flesh and blood!”

Like anyone, the men of Shechem would rather be led by one power-hungry, blood thirsty king they have some ownership over, so they gave him seventy coins. With those seventy coins he went out and bought “reckless troublemakers.”

Don’t think this:

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Think this:

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Then he went to his father’s house, forcefully took it over, and beheaded sixty-nine of his brothers, using the same stone as a chopping block. Blood flowed like wine. I can’t imagine the degree of heartlessness you’d need to kill your entire family in one day, in their own homes…and I’m sure not all of his brothers were grown. Only one of the brothers escaped, the youngest. His name was Jotham. He was like a prophet poet. And he was super angry.

Now Abimelech was king, and no one could come against him.

When the leaders of Shechem were crowning Abimelech king, Jotham went to the top of the neighboring hill (he wanted to be sure he had a good distance between him and them): and he shouted a poem at them.

No, it was more like an angry punk rap. He basically said, “Yo yo leaders of the people: the trees asked an olive branch to become their king but it refused to quit its work because we need olive oil. Next they went to the fig and implored it to be king, but it said, ‘should I quit makin’ my sweet fruit? I don’t think so. Then they begged the grapevine to become king but it refused, because it was too busy makin’ grapes for wine. So finally, they turned to the thorn bush and asked IT to be king. And it accepted.”

I’m sure everyone gasped. Them’s fightin’ words! NO ONE wants to be called a thornbush. But Jotham  didn’t stop, he kept shouting (by this time I’m sure his voice was hoarse):

“If you have acted honorably and in good faith toward Gideon and his descendants today, then may you find joy in Abimelech, and may he find joy in you. But if you have not acted in good faith, then may fire come out from Abimelech and devour the leading citizens of Shechem and Beth-millo; and may fire come out from the citizens of Shechem and Beth-millo and devour Abimelech!”

So basically, Jotham prophet isn’t just warning the wicked Abimelech, he’s warning the leaders that the wicked Abimelech will eventually turn into The Mandarin and go all mouth-fire dangerous on them.

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And then Jotham ran and hid.

Wise man.

Not even three years passed before God sent dissension between the leaders of Shechem and Abimelech. You see, God wanted to punish Abimelech for slaughtering his brothers. Interestingly, an entire town was completely destroyed off the face of the earth because of it. No, that’s not interesting. That’s horrific. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

So, Shechem nobles rebelled. It happened this way:

A new brother moved to Shechem, named Gaal (worst name ever). He saw all the taxes and fruits leaving the city and going to Abimelech, and it made him bitter. During the annual harvest festival, after all the money and best of the fruits were shipped away to Abimelech, and THE WINE FLOWED FREELY, Gaal incited rebellion. He said, “Abimelech isn’t a part of our family! Why should we serve him? If I were in charge here, I would get rid of Abimelech. I would say to him, ‘Get some soldiers, and come out and fight!’”

So no one in Abimelech’s family is claiming him.

But Gaal was a little too big for his britches.

Zebul, the leader of Shechem, was  furious with Gaal and his loud mouth, so he tattled on Gaal. Not only that, but he told Abimelech exactly how to destroy Gaal. Bad decision. You know what  happens to rats? They reproduce prolifically and are found in every corner of the world. Oh wait, no. Not that. Rats always get discovered.

So Abimelech splits his army into four groups and surrounds the town. And Zebul says to Gaal, “Now where is that big mouth of yours? Wasn’t it you that said, ‘Who is Abimelech, and why should we be his servants?’ The men you mocked are right outside the city! Go out and fight them!”

So Gaal takes his men and goes out and fights Abimelech. And gets massacred. Like the Little Giants did against the Pee Wee Cowboys. Except it was much bloodier.

But after Abimelech destroyed Gaal and his men, he wasn’t done. He met the army of Shechem in the fields and mowed them down. Then he went to the city. The city was in a panic. All of the leaders, and whoever else could fit, ran into the temple and hid there. Shechem killed everyone in his path. Then he and his men took branches, laid them down at the foot of the temple, and set fire to it. Everyone died. One thousand people.

Then he leveled the city and sprinkled salt over its ashes. Nothing would ever grow there again.

But do you think this guy was done? No way! His thirst for blood was only whetted. He and his men marched to Thebez. They attacked it, and conquered it. Killing everyone in their path. Stealing the valuables. Burning homes and stores. Bringing apocalypse.

But there was a strong tower in the town. Everyone went and hid in the tower, and barricaded it.

By this time Abimelech was probably drunk on blood and power.

Then the strong went to the top of the tower, presumably to shoot arrows and pour hot oil on the invading forces.

But not everyone needed an arrow or oil to get the job done.

A woman was on the roof of the tower. She watched as Abimelech and his men went to fetch wood to lay at the bottom of the tower. Once they returned and lit the branches, everyone she knew and loved would be toast.

She was not going to let that happen.

She loosened a rock from one of the walls. I presume it was a hefty rock, one that probably took two hands.

Abimelech drew nearer, with a huge branch across his shoulder. He was intent on his task: headed straight for the wall. She had only a second for this to work. Abimelech leaned down and set the branch at the foot of the tower. She held her breath, aimed carefully, and hurled the rock at his head.

SMASH.

It caved in his skull.

He lay on his back, he knew he was dying. His sword bearer pulled him out of harm’s way.

The woman looked down on him. Everyone was silent. And then there must have been a cheer go up on the top of the tower, and much congratulations to her, because Abimelech was completely and utterly humiliated. So humiliated was he that he turned to his sword bearer and said, “Draw your sword and kill me! Don’t let it be said that a woman killed Abimelech!” So the young man gladly ran him through with his sword, and he died.

When Abimelech’s men saw that he was dead, they disbanded and returned to their homes (as they should have from the beginning).

The end of the story goes thus:

In this way, God punished Abimelech for the evil he had done against his father by murdering his seventy brothers. God also punished the men of Shechem for all their evil. So the curse of Jotham son of Gideon was fulfilled.

But the moral of the story is this: That’s what you get if you ever underestimate the throwing ability of a woman.

(story found in Judges 9)

Other bad bible stories:

That Time Jesus Let A Thief Into Heaven

The Bleeding Woman

When Good Girls are Whores

Jael

Bible Stories You Won’t Hear In Sunday School

Exercise…Doesn’t Mean You Have to Stop Eating or Smoking

You know those super fit people who obsess about being super fit? You spend two minutes talking with them and in their eyes you can see them thinking, “I’d much rather be doing lunges with forty pound weights on my back right now.” Or…you text them early early in the morning about going shopping with you and they text back, “That would cut short my twenty mile run so do you mind if we speed walk at the mall?” Or, when you walk into Arby’s, they send you a telepathic guilt trip about the fact that you’re eating curly fries and a shake and they won’t eat anything that doesn’t have vitamins in it. Vitamins!

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But then again, some people are on the other end of the spectrum.

The other day I was running at a park. And then I….okay. OKAY! Fine. I’ll be honest. I was more like slow jogging/fast walking…I was enjoying the nice evening and the quiet and the fact that no toddlers were clinging to my ankles (have you ever tried running with toddlers clinging to your ankles? It’s not as easy as it sounds!)

I kept lapping this lady, who was puffing smoke like a ad exec in the 60′s:

Sure, whatever, she can smoke. This is a park after all! But then I kept watching her and realized she wasn’t just meandering around the park. She was walking around the park, quickly. Smoking! While exercising!

But I can’t judge her motivations. Maybe she things the exercise will negate the bad effects of smoking? All I know is that smoking shows an obvious sign of lack of wanting to quit smoking.

Now what would be REALLY funny would be watching someone running while eating a big mac. That’d make me feel much less stupid about running and eating Jalapeño Cheetos at the same time!

Forgotten Thailand, no more.

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Any idea of what it’s like to be a Thai juvenile prisoner? Any idea of what it takes to become one?

Forgotten Thailand is an upcoming documentary that follows the story of one juvenile ex-prisoner named Ruun. As the film answers those questions, it also delves into even deeper issues–like how we view prisoners and “victimizers,” and how we can stop the cycle of crime.

Can you imagine being on a running track that you know is bad for you and will always lead you to either death or prison. Yet you can’t get off it. Anytime you try you get shoved right back on. It always takes you the same place, no matter what and you keep running this circle that you hate. That’s what it’s like for so many juvenile prisoners.

My “Uncle” Soonthorn is Chaplain of the prisons. He’s been family friends since before I was born. I was always so excited to see him–and couldn’t wait for him to cook his amazing Thai food for us! He’s an incredible man, with an untiring devotion to doing good and a great sense of humor while doing it. He’s seen so many complete transformations in the lives of the prisoners, and in turn he helps them get jobs, homes, and brings them back together with their family.

I’m so thrilled because there’s going to be a documentary made and Uncle Soonthorn and the prisoners and…well, I’ll let the director, Joseph Lang, tell you the rest:

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The focus of this film is to ask the question of how we should treat those who have murdered, sold drugs, lead gangs in violence, thefted and so on.

It has been proven that prisoners who leave their chains usually have no where to return except the gangs and problems that got them in prison in the first place. The story that we are filming is just that story! It is the story of a boy who has been in and out of prison for years and he is put in a position of hopelessness and despair.

To even take it a step further let’s step into a Thai boys mind. Over 95% of Thai people are Buddhist and Buddhists believe in the cast system. In the cast system it is a constant fight to the top. Every man wishes that he could be higher so that he would eventually reach enlightenment. For a boy who is thrown into prison at a young age he is obviously seen as one of the lowest of lows and therefor an outcast. This is one of the reasons that Thai prisoners can not escape the prison cycle.

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I have been working on this film in pr-production for about a year. Myself and Jordan Maglessen are headed to Bangkok Thailand from June 13-27, 2013. We are going to be filming for two weeks straight while there.

Our main character’s name is Ruun…he is a 20 year old boy who was once a prisoner in the Bangkok Juvenile Correctional Prisons. We will be capturing his story and filming with him around the city. I imagine that there will be many film shoots both in the day and late into the night.

Two years ago I was able to go to Bangkok for a summer internship in prison ministry. It wasn’t until then that my passion for this ministry really began. I remember one time, while visiting a juvenile prison, I stood next to a Thai officer and he leaned over to me and whispered in my ear…I will never forget the words that he said and I would have to say that they were a HUGE part in creating my desire to film this documentary…the officer whispered, “Do you see all of the boys Joseph… All of them will be let free from prison in four months..” he paused and then to my surprise finished by saying, “Then soon they will ALL be returning to prison. They won’t be coming back because of they are required to, but because they will return to their old way of living in the world and that will send them back here…it is a lifestyle that they are stuck in for the rest of their lives.” My heart was hurting for those boys. I remember looking out and seeing their faces, most of them only twelve years old and some of them as young as nine. This has been a moment that has shaped my passion for prison ministry. I have personally seen how God works through this ministry and how he can pull these boys and girls out of a viscous cycle. These people were not born to be bad or to hurt others…they have simply grown up with different surroundings than I have. Yes there are men and women who hear truth and still refuse to accept or obey it… but I believe that these people are still worth fighting for. Who are we to be judges?

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Uncle Soonthorn praying with prisoners.

I have always loved film making. It is amazing to hear the power of a story. God has always worked through stories and it is my desire to share this powerful redemption story.

Ultimately I want the film to challenge to think of how they really view criminals and what our place as Christians is in dealing out justice. I also desire for men to become more aware of prison ministry…it is a ministry that is often neglected and I pray that this film will bring more support for it.

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The name “Forgotten Thailand” is supposed to point to those who are so often forgotten. In Matthew 25 Jesus asks if people would remember him if he were in prison and I think we don’t take this seriously some times. It is my desire that through media and films we can bring to light what is “forgotten.”

Joseph Lang, Catching Motion Film.

To keep updated on Forgotten Thailand, ‘like’ their page on Facebook.
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The Ender’s Game Trailer

So this was my first reaction to the fact that Ender’s Game was going to be turned into a movie:

This isn’t just a book. The series changed me. As a human, as a woman, as a Jesus follower, and as a writer. It changed the way I viewed war, children, space, time, our minds, computers, and most importantly…telling the truth.

I guess it was really the awe-inspiring Speaker for the Dead that really changed me. But Ender’s Game was a precursor to that. Ender’s Game is a coming of age tale of the deepest kind. It’s about a boy different from me in every way and yet I can totally relate to him. It’s about a world split apart by racism and fear. It’s also been fully realized in my own head…I can see Ender and his world as if they were right in front of me. So when well meaning friends and family and random geeks online would ask what sucks about  making a movie out of the book I’d be like:

And then they’d quietly walk off, wondering why I don’t just get a life.

So the movie trailer for Ender’s Game is out today:

It makes me think a few things:

- is Harrison Ford like, 89 now?

- Harrison Ford has such an amazing presence it doesn’t matter if he’s 89 with oxygen in a wheelchair, I’ll still be impressed with his roguish, confident yet wholly sympathetic character.

- This is an action movie

- Trailers have no real say on what the movie is (best example to date, The Host. Awesome, acting filled trailers. Boring, kissy-face movie.)

- I love the world building they’ve done. The Battle School was a thrill to see.

- Ender’s Game is a philosophical book. The most important part of the book take place in his head, as he changes and realizes who he is. Valentine and Peter, Demosthenes and Locke, and finally, the head games the adults in Ender’s life play with him can never be fully realized on film. They can hint at it, and imbue the qualities in his character, but you’ll only be only to get that depth, that SOUL, if you read the book. It looks like they didn’t even try to capture it in the movie.

- Before I saw the trailer, I didn’t want to see the movie. I was afraid it would ruin something for me. I don’t think that anymore. From what I’ve seen so far, it’s just an action movie. I like action movies. I’ll probably enjoy it. It’s not trying to be the book. And I’m good with that.

What do you think of the Ender’s Game series, and the Ender’s Game movie trailer?

Mr. Beaver’s Great Quote

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I’m reading The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe to my girls right now. Here’s a great quote by Mr. Beaver I came by today:

“But in general, take my advice, when you meet anything that’s going to be Human and isn’t yet, or used to be Human once and isn’t now, or ought to be Human and isn’t, you keep your eyes on it and feel for your hatchet.” -Mr. Beaver

My review of Iron Man 3

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Iron Man 3, directed by Shane Black and starring Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Ben Kingsley, and Guy Pearce, completes one of Marvel’s strongest trilogies. The arc is so clear: Iron Man is about the creation of a hero. Iron Man 2 is about his deconstruction. And in Iron Man 3 is about his reconstruction.

The antagonists were a thrill to watch, and the mystery intriguing. The pace was very well done–with enough action and tension in every scene to keep your eyes glued to the screen, but never at the cost of character development. My favorite action scenes were when he fought without his suit–it was infinitely creative.

I really liked the beginning, it had a comic book feel to it. The scenes were choppy and the flashbacks were solid and well told.

I highly recommend this incredible film. 5-Stars. Now tell me what you thought of the movie in the comments! I like nothing more than gabbing about movies.

Here’s my video review:

Iron Man 3 Review from Ellie Soderstrom on Vimeo.

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What’d you think of the movie?

Dragon City Casting Call

Hard Times in Dragon City is a fantasy mystery I couldn’t put down. It was fast paced and had such engaging scenes, from the goblin town chase to the verbal sparring with Yabair, to the character development to the world building, each word was placed just right. Matt Forbeck, the author, was completely invisible. And that’s the biggest compliment I can give to any author. I was totally hooked on the story and characters.

Bravo! 5-stars! Encore!

It was deliciously geeky in that it reminded me of all the dungeons and dragons adventures I went in, and swept me back into the world. But it was also so well written that I think anyone who loves mysteries or fantasy would enjoy it.

It is one of those books I saw so clearly in my head that now I have to get it  on paper.

Basically, I casted the book.

I’m a really visual reader. With every description, I have to lay it out in my head or I can’t go on. I want to feel what it’s like in the book. I want to experience it. That’s why I love illustrations and multi-media so much, because I get to see the author/illustrator’s vision for it instead of just my own.

So here’s how I saw the characters in Hard Times in Dragon City:

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Max Gibson

Don’t ask me why, but I saw the hardened yet compassionate adventurer as John Cho. Perhaps an older John Cho. But everything, from his wise-crack language to his wry smile reminded me of him.

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Yabair – Dragon Guard

How could I NOT choose Joseph Fiennes as Yabair? He’s perfect–he can say anything with a straight face and he takes himself way too seriously. Plus, I’d die happy if I  got to see him in huge elf ears.

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Bellezza, “Belle”

Naomi Watts has the perfect blend of strong character and whimsy. Her face can do coy so easy, it’s as if a secret is always lurking behind her eyes. Perfect for Bellezza.

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Moira – Hobbit Tomb Raider

Ellen Page brims with confidence. She’s spry and spirited and cocky and adventurous, just like my favorite character in the book — Moira. I can’t wait to see what Moira does in the next two book in the series because I’m looking forward to reading more about her.

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Not much personality. Just ugly. And fast. And good with a blade…too good.

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You’ve totally got to read the book so you can tell me if I got the characters right or not.

Check out Matt’s website, and he’s a great follow on Twitter (@mforbeck) !

Things That Make Me Cry

 

- reading/watching/listening to the soundtrack of Little Women

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- seeing men cry

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- Coming home after a long trip

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- Stubbed toes

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- When my kids learn something new.

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- When I am surprised to find out that a book is dedicated to me.

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Photo on 4-22-13 at 9.56 AM

 

I was so moved. For those who can’t read backwards, it reads, Ellie Ann, from the first draft to the last, this book has always been for you. *cries big, happy tears*

River’s Edge is such an incredible book and I was thrilled to be a part of the editing process. When I read Erin’s first draft I knew it was something special and had such a unique feminist perspective, it had to be published! Her prose is phenomenal, her characters engaging and strong, and the theme of battling the monster within was powerfully done. So check out River’s Edge, a YA horror by Erin Keyser Horn.

Fantastic Sci Fi Noir, The Age Atomic

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The Age Atomic by the one and only Adam Christopher

Cover art by the incomparable Will Staehle. All of his covers are rad. *drools over his covers* Oops. *wipes of drool* hehe.

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What some smart and important people said about The Age Atomic.

TheAtomicAge1 from Ellie Soderstrom on Vimeo.

 

What I said about The Age Atomic. And yeah…I accidentally said the title wrong. Age Atomic..Atomic Age…so easy to  mix up.

The Breakdown: Anyone who loves robots, alternate dimensions, ghosts, imminent nuclear destruction, epic tales, noir, darn good writing, or science fiction should read this book. Yesterday.

I was able to ask Adam Christopher a few important questions about robots, and about his next work:

Who’s your favorite robot in The Atomic Age?

“Has to be Elektro. Inspired by the real cigarette-smoking Elektro…”

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Of all the things I’d like a robot to do, smoking is NOT one of them.

If you were a robot, what abilities would you like to have?

Definitely some kind of laser death ray I could shoot out of my eyes.

(Hmmmm, this makes me very curious about the kind of lifestyle Adam lives. Does he often come across things he needs to cut with a death ray? Or does he just use it to dice vegetables in an efficient manner?)

What’s coming up next from you?

Next up is Hang Wire, an urban fantasy about a serial killer in San Francisco, a sentient malevolent circus, and a murdered Chinese god (January 2014; Angry Robot), and then March 2014 sees The Burning Dark, a scary space opera out from Tor!

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