Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Book Review: 'The Ayla Trilogy: Book 1 - A Cage Of Roots' by Matt Griffin

Cover art by Matt Griffin
'A Cage Of Roots', book one of the 'Ayla' trilogy by Matt Griffin begins with 12 year old Ayla trapped and seemingly buried alive. Not exactly the best start for our protagonist, but it does set the tone for the rest of the book, as Matt describes the panic and fear in Ayla really well.

As Ayla struggles with to come to terms with her new surrounding and how she got there, we're also introduced to the other folk in her life; her uncles Lann, Fergus and Taig and best friends Finny, Benvy and Sean. But when they realise that Ayla has gone missing, they band together in a plan to rescue her. But this plan involves the mystical and the fantastical and draws from old Irish mythological tales. The journey to save Ayla is very treacherous and will change everyone forever.

'A Cage Of Roots' is a really good read that's full of relatable characters as well as delving into the fantastic of Irish mythology. I would compare it positively with Neil Gaiman's 'Coraline', in that it's a story about fear, danger, hope, being brave, friendship and betrayal but it's also a fun adventure story with a cliffhanger of an ending. The book is also punctuated with creepy black and white illustrations, also by Matt (who is also an established illustrator), which adds to the overall eerie feeling of the story, especially with Ayla's struggles.

It may be aimed at kids, but this is a good and atmospheric read, no matter what age you are.

Available from:
O'Brien Press

Book Review: 'Star Wars: Resistance Reborn' by Rebecca Roanhorse

Set in between 'The Last Jedi' and 'The Rise Of Skywalker', 'Resistance Reborn' by Rebecca Roanhorse is a really enjoyable read that bridges the two movies well, as well as including quite a few recognisable faces from across the Star Wars canon.

After the decimation of the resistance on Crait in 'The Last Jedi' , Leia Organa orders Poe Dameron to recruit more allies for the cause. Poe is the main focus of the book and we follow him as he attempts to complete his mission. But he still doubts himself after his previous disastrous decisions, but by the end of his mission and journey, he realises that he has friends and colleagues that do believe in him and are willing to fight for him and the resistance. Fulfilling a redemption of sorts, just in time for the new movie.

Finn, although still coming across as excitable and naive, does do a bit more here than just shout "Rey!" like he does most of the time in the movies, as he helps Poe with his mission. The two do seem to be the best of pals. None of the 'Stormpilot' shipping teasing came across to me, but YMMV.

Rey doesn't appear very much in the story, but she seems to having a crisis of confidence, coming across as shy and introverted at times. But under Leia's guiding wing, tries to coax her into the stronger and more confident young woman we see in 'The Rise Of Skywalker', and there are a few heartwarming conversations between them that fans will enjoy.

'Resistance Reborn' also ties in with most of the current 'Star Wars' canon featuring quite a few guest appearances from other media as well, like the books, video games and comics. So if you've been fairly invested in the new expanded universe of 'Star Wars' content, you might get a kick out of seeing some of the names dropped and picking out the various Easter Eggs. 

Overall, it's a fast paced read that can be read as a standalone but also does a good job of bridging the films, and setting the stage for the new one. There's also plenty for 'Star Wars' fans to enjoy, which didn't feel too heavy handed with the fan service. A solid entry in the 'Star Wars' literary universe.

Available from:
Waterstones Books Forbidden Planet Kobo UK ebooks & audiobooks Kobo US ebooks & audiobooks Kobo Canada ebooks & audiobooks Audible Audiobooks Alibris for Books, Music & Movies

Book Review: 'The Locked Tomb: Book 1 - Gideon The Ninth' by Tamsyn Muir

Cover art by Tommy Arnold
The buzz surrounding Tamsyn Muir's debut novel, 'Gideon The Ninth', book one of 'The Locked Tomb' trilogy was pretty strong. Lest it be said that Tor Publishing certainly knows how to hype up their titles! And with a blurb on the cover that reads "Lesbian necromancers explore a haunted palace in space...", (along with excellent cover art by Tommy Arnold) it's certain to draw some inquisitive looks on the bookshelf. But it's praise and buzz that is very deserving!

Having said that though, the blurb doesn't quite tell the whole truth of the book. Yes, the main protagonists - Gideon Nav and Harrowhark Nonagesimus - are lesbian necromancers that do get to explore a palace that appears to be haunted, although with necromancers, it ought to be kind of expected, and it is in a science fiction space setting. But 'Gideon The Ninth' is much more deeper than that. The main plot is that the Emperor has invited the heirs, and their cavaliers, of the nine loyal houses to mysterious deadly trials of skill, with the victor ascending to immortality. But once our protagonists arrive for the trials, nothing is what it seems, especially when other guests start to be found murdered. The Emperor's invitation turns into a race on two fronts, one: to complete the trials and puzzles before the other houses do, and two: to solve who or what is murdering the other guests!

It's a wonderful whodunnit of a story with plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing and engrossed, with some deliciously over the top characters thrown in for good measure. Gideon is definitely now one of my favourite book characters! A snarky badass, with the wit, muscles and swashbuckling sword skills to defeat any opponent. And we get to view the book mostly through her eyes, complete with all the sarcastic thoughts and snappy back chat between Gideon and Harrow, after all Harrow does kind of blackmail Gideon into becoming her cavalier for this invitation, so it's no surprise that things are a bit frosty between the pair of them, but after a situation changes their relationship forever, things begin to cool and the frostiness begins to dissolve when they are now in each other's company. I enjoyed the cast of supporting characters too, although as we're mostly experiencing the story through Gideon, they're not as well developed as her or Harrow, but they do occasionally have their moments to shine.

'Gideon The Ninth' is a unique read that's fun yet dark, simple but complex, with a glorious lead that is one of the funniest and most relatable characters I've read in a while, and a story that got better after each page as it shifted from oddball SFF to a murder mystery. After meeting the author, Tamsyn Muir, at a book signing at MCM Comic Con London this year, which was an absolute pleasure, you get the feel that her personality certainly weaves throughout the book. It's definitely one of the more original stories I've read, but it is one that I can definitely recommend! Looking forward to book two!

Available from:
 Waterstones Books  Kobo Ebooks UK Kobo Ebooks US Kobo Ebooks Canada Audible Audiobooks Alibris Books

#ArtOfTheDay: 'Storm' by Yasmine Putri

Cover art by Yasmine Putri for 'Fearless' issue #2, published August 2019 by Marvel Comics

Monday, December 30, 2019

#CoolArt: 'The Mandalorian' print by Dave Perillo through Bottleneck Gallery

'The Mandalorian' by Dave Perillo, a new print release through Bottleneck Gallery.

18" x 12" screen print in a numbered limited edition of 125 for $40.

On sale Monday December 30 at 12pm ET from the Bottleneck Gallery website.

#CoolArt: 'Dark Side Rey' print by Rory Kurtz through Bottleneck Gallery

'Dark Side Rey' by Rory Kurtz, a new print release through Bottleneck Gallery.

13" x 19" giclee print in a numbered limited edition of 175 for $55.

On sale Monday December 30 at 12pm ET from the Bottleneck Gallery website.

#CoolArt: 'Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker' by Eto Gabashvili

The Japanese Ukiyo-e / 'Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker' inspired 'The Sea' by Eto Gabashvili.

Available on merch on Eto's Redbubble and Teepublic stores.

A Geeky Nerfherder Video: BP Fairs Toy Collectors Fair, Friday December 27 2019

Photo slideshow of the nerdy days out at the Geek culture conventions and events visited throughout 2019

Part 14: Featuring photos from the BP Fairs Toy Collectors Fair at The NEC in Birmingham, UK on Saturday December 27 2019

Check out the Geek Cons IV: 2019 playlist for more videos from 2019

#ArtOfTheDay: 'Tactical Advantage' by Manuel Castañón

'Tactical Advantage' by Manuel Castañón

Card art from the 'Gwent' digital collectible card game published by CD Projekt Red, based on 'The Witcher' novels written by Andrzej Sapkowski and video games.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

The Geeky Nerfherder 8th Anniversary & My 2019 Favourites

2019, the year that was. Another year of watching some really good movies and TV shows, playing some great video games, reading some awesome books and comics, as well as travelling around the UK on nerdy days out at various Comic/Geek Cons and events this year, and getting to meet actors from some of my favourite movies and games, plus some of the finest authors, comic creators and alternative poster artists!

Highlights from 2019 include meeting authors of some of my favourite books: Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck (aka James SA Corey) - authors of 'The Expanse' series, Zen Cho (The True Queen), Samantha Shannon (Priory Of The Orange Tree, The Bone Season), Tamsyn Muir (Gideon The Ninth), Tasha Suri (Empire Of Sand, Realm Of Ash) and Ian Livingstone & Steve Steve Jackson (Fighting Fantasy gamebooks), as well as meeting lots of the creators behind some of my favourite comics (way too many mention) at the various geek cons I went to around the UK, especially at the Thought Bubble Comic Festival in Harrogate; plus attending a screening of 'Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back' with a live orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall; as well as attending the 'Final Fantasy: Distant Worlds' concert, also at the Royal Albert Hall.

It's also a Happy Birthday to The Geeky Nerfherder, as it's been 8 years to the day since this nerdy blog began with a blog post way back on this day in 2011. The Geeky Nerfherder has come a long way since then too, but the aim is always showcasing awe-inspiring art, whether it's poster art, comic art or art from the latest new contemporary exhibitions, and the artists that make them.

My social media profiles, where I sometimes post bonus content, such as the #OnThisDay feature where I post some of my favourite films, books, comics that were first released or published on a particular date, continue to gain new followers, with the number of followers now numbering in the thousands! WOW! Thank you so much!! It's always great to know that people are also enjoying the artworks I'm posting and hopefully discovering new artists along the way as well. But if you’re not already following, here are the links to my social media profiles:

on Twitter (@GeekyNerfherder)
on Instagram (@geekynerfherder)
on Tumblr (GeekyNerfherder)
on Pinterest
on YouTube
on Ello (@geekynerfherder)
on Goodreads

Stores:
on Threadless (GeekyNerfherder)
on Red Bubble (GeekyNerfherder)
on Society6 (GeekyNerfherder)

I'm still featuring the latest poster releases and highlighting some of the pop culture inspired and new contemporary art shows on the blog, continuing my 'Artist Spotlight' series, as well as my #ArtOfTheDay series. I'm also trying to add more reviews of the books and movies I read and watch over the year.

As well as the video project on my YouTube channel of the Geek Cons I go to, I have also been tinkering away on another side project; writing a story I've had in my head for a while. It's no surprise that I'm hugely inspired by science fiction and fantasy, and the story I'm building is definitely taking inspiration from those genres. I'm fairly happy with how it's slowly progressing so far, especially with the world building and the lore of the world. There's still a long way to go yet, but it's been fun to dip into my imagination and get creative in some way, whenever I can.

As always, a big thanks to everyone I've met throughout the year at the Geek Cons I've been to; from the familiar and to the new faces, and of course to everyone that drops by the blog and/or follows me through the various socials I post to. I hope that you continue to enjoy my posts of cool art and pop culture geekery.

You can also help support the blog by using these Affiliate Links when shopping online:
And so, it's that time of year once again, where everybody lists all their favourites from the year, and here are mine:

Artist Spotlight: The Art Of . . . Joseph Meehan

Showcasing art from some of my favourite artists in the field of visual arts, including vintage; pulp; pop culture; books and comics; concert posters; fantastical and imaginative realism; classical; contemporary; new contemporary; pop surrealism; conceptual and illustration.

The art of Joseph Meehan.

#ArtOfTheDay: 'Doji Hotaru of the Crane Clan' by Muju

'Doji Hotaru of the Crane Clan' by Muju.

Card art from the Dynasty deck of the collectible card game 'Legend Of The Five Rings' by Fantasy Flight Games.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Artist Spotlight: The Art Of . . . José Luiz Benicio

Showcasing art from some of my favourite artists in the field of visual arts, including vintage; pulp; pop culture; books and comics; concert posters; fantastical and imaginative realism; classical; contemporary; new contemporary; pop surrealism; conceptual and illustration.

The art of José Luiz Benicio.

#ArtOfTheDay: 'Jean Grey' by Jay Anacleto & Romulo Fajardo Jr

Unknown Comics 'Jean Grey: Phoenix' Variant cover art by Jay Anacleto & Romulo Fajardo Jr for 'X-Men' issue #5, published January 2020 by Marvel Comics

Friday, December 27, 2019

#CoolArt: 'Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker' IMAX Exclusive print by Dan Mumford

'Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker' by Dan Mumford, the second of 4 exclusive limited edition prints that will be available at IMAX screenings.

Each Sunday, from December 22 2019 – January 12 2020, posters will be handed out on a strictly first-come, first-served basis (while stocks last) with proof of purchase of an IMAX ticket at participating IMAX cinemas.

#ArtOfTheDay: 'Yennefer' by Diego de Almeida Peres

'Yennefer' by Diego de Almeida Peres

Card art from the 'Gwent' digital collectible card game published by CD Projekt Red, based on 'The Witcher' novels written by Andrzej Sapkowski and video games.

Monday, December 23, 2019

#CoolArt: 'Joker' prints by Phantom City Creative through Mondo

'Christmas With The Joker' by Phantom City Creative, a new officially licensed  'Batman: The Animated Series' print release through Mondo.

18" x 24" screen print in a numbered Regular edition of 325 for $50, and a numbered Variant edition of 175 for $60.

On sale now from the Mondo website.

Regular Edition
Variant Edition

#ArtOfTheDay: 'The Mandalorian & The Child' by Darren Tan

'The Mandalorian & The Child' by Darren Tan

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Artist Spotlight: The Art Of . . . José Bribiesca Ruvalcaba

Showcasing art from some of my favourite artists in the field of visual arts, including vintage; pulp; pop culture; books and comics; concert posters; fantastical and imaginative realism; classical; contemporary; new contemporary; pop surrealism; conceptual and illustration.

The art of José Bribiesca Ruvalcaba.

#ArtOfTheDay: 'Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker' by Marko Manev

'Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker' by Marko Manev

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Artist Spotlight: The Art Of . . . José 'Pepe' González

Showcasing art from some of my favourite artists in the field of visual arts, including vintage; pulp; pop culture; books and comics; concert posters; fantastical and imaginative realism; classical; contemporary; new contemporary; pop surrealism; conceptual and illustration.

The art of José 'Pepe' González.

#ArtOfTheDay: 'Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker' by Andy Fairhurst

'Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker' by Andy Fairhurst

Friday, December 20, 2019

#CoolArt: 'Blade Runner' prints by Pablo Olivera through Bottleneck Gallery

'Los Angeles 2019' by Pablo Olivera, a new 'Blade Runner' inspired print release through Bottleneck Gallery.

36" x 12" giclee print, in a numbered Regular edition of 100 for $50, and numbered Blue and Green Variant editions of 35 for $60 each.

On sale Friday December 20 at 12pm ET from the Bottleneck Gallery website.

Regular Edition
Blue Variant Edition
Green Variant Edition

#CoolArt: 'Frankenstein' Artist Edition print by Bernie Wrightson through Nakatomi Inc

'...I Shall Be With You On Your Wedding Night' by Bernie Wrightson, an AP print release through Nakatomi Inc.

30" x 20" fine art giclee print on archival acid free 100% cotton rag natural white paper, with archival inks, in an Artist's edition of 300 for $150.

The artist’s share of the proceeds from this sale will go to Bernie's widow, Liz Wrightson.

On sale Friday December 20 at 3pm CT from the Nakatomi Inc website.

#CoolArt: Spoke Art & MiDNiTES FOR MANiACS present 'Miyazaki Mania' at the Roxie Theater SF

Spoke Art & MiDNiTES FOR MANiACS present 'Miyazaki Mania', a six film festival at the Roxie Theater in San Francisco featuring new limited edition screen prints available at the evening screenings in the cinema lobby, as well some older archive prints from previous Miyazaki screenings.

The film festival runs from Friday December 20 until Sunday December 22 2019 at the Roxie Theater, 3117 16th Street, San Francisco, CA.

Any remaining prints from the screenings will be available from the Spoke Art website Thursday December 26.

'Spirited Away' by Tracie Ching

#ArtOfTheDay: 'Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker' by Tracie Ching

'Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker' by Tracie Ching

Thursday, December 19, 2019

#CoolArt: 'Return From The Catacombs' print by Drew Merritt through Static Medium

'Return From The Catacombs' print by Drew Merritt, a new print release through Static Medium.

18" x 24" Archival pigment print on Signa Smooth 300gsm paper, in a signed and numbered limited edition of 20 for $195. Prints #1-5 are hand-embellished using 24k gold leaf & translucent pearl and are $250 each.

Part of Static Medium's project: '20 For Change', where they'll be collaborating with their favourite artists to bring you a new print edition in a limited edition of 20, with 20% of the full sale price being donated to a charity of the artist's choosing.

This month, the 20% donation will go towards supporting the Autism Society of Los Angeles.

The Autism Society of Los Angeles is a non-profit 501c3 corporation serving millions of people in the Los Angeles area affected by autism, making a difference in the lives of people with autism and their families in the community.

On sale now from the Static Medium website.
 

#CoolArt: 'Boba Fett (Prototype Armor)' TIMED Release print by Mike Mitchell through Mondo

'Boba Fett (Prototype Armor)' by Mike Mitchell, an officially licensed TIMED print release from Mondo, in collaboration with ACME Archives.

12" x 16" giclee print in a numbered edition for $80.

On sale from Thursday December 19 at 12pm CT until Sunday December 22 at 12pm CT from the  Mondo website.

#CoolArt: 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier' prints by Grzegorz Domaradzki (aka Gabz) through Grey Matter Art

'Captain America: The Winter Soldier' by Grzegorz Domaradzki (aka Gabz), a new officially licensed print release through Grey Matter Art.

18" x 24" giclee prints on Somerset Velvet 255gsm paper in numbered Regular editions of 175 for $45 each or $80 for the 2 print Regular set, and numbered Variant editions of 75 for $60 each or $110 for the 2 print Variant set.

On sale Thursday December 19 at 1pm ET from the Grey Matter Art website.

'Captain America: The Winter Soldier - Cap' (Regular Edition)
'Captain America: The Winter Soldier - Bucky' (Regular Edition)
'Captain America: The Winter Soldier - Cap' (Variant Edition)
'Captain America: The Winter Soldier - Bucky' (Variant Edition)

'Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker' Exclusive Collector's Edition from Zavvi

'Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker' exclusive collector's edition from Zavvi.

Collector’s Edition for £59.99 (3D edition) / £67.99 (4K edition) Contains:
  • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker - Zavvi Exclusive Limited Edition Steelbook
  • High quality metal slip case with embossed detail
  • 4 Art Cards
  • Two collector pin badges
  • Limited to only 2000 units worldwide
On sale for pre order from the Zavvi website.

A bundle with the 4K Ultra HD Steelbook and a 'The Rise of Skywalker' t-shirt for £40.99, or 3D for £33.99, or T shirt separately for £14.99, is also available.

#ArtOfTheDay: 'Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker' by Adam Stothard

'Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker' by Adam Stothard

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

#NewComicBookDay: My Comics Pull List This Week

My comics Pull List this week.
  • 'Folklords' #2 (Boom! Studios)
  • 'Once & Future' #5 (Boom! Studios)
  • 'Invisible Kingdom' #8 (Berger Books / Dark Horse Comics)
  • 'The Last God' #3 (DC Black Label)
  • 'The Sandman Universe: John Contantine - Hellblazer' #2 (DC Black Label)
  • 'The Sandman Universe: Lucifer' #15 (DC Black Label)
  • 'Star Wars: Empire Ascendant' #1 (Marvel Comics)
  • 'Star Wars: The Rise Of Kylo Ren' #1 (Marvel Comics)

'Folklords' #2 (Boom! Studios)
Cover art by Matt Smith