The Catgirl Critics’ Media Mewsings for June, 2008

by
Aloha Y’all! Catgirl Island www.catgirlisland.net & Clan of the Cats www.clanofthecats.com purr-sent a Mike Moon purrduction of

The Catgirl Critics’ Media Mewsings for June, 2008

featured in this month’s mew, the catgirls (and Mike) tender their reviews & recommendations purr-taining to these

Movies: Nim’s Island, Iron Man, Speed Racer, Prince Caspian, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
DVDs: 30 Days of Night, Cloverfield, Bewitched Season 6, and Speed Racer Vol. 1-5

Comic Books: Buffy: Season Eight #14, Angel: After the Fall #7, Serenity Better Days #3, Giant Size Astonishing X-Men #1, Gold Digger Swimsuit Special #15
& Manga: Aria Vol. 2, Foxy Lady Vol. 1, Dragon Sisters Vol. 1

Books: The Emily Windsnap series, Ursula Vernon’s Nurk, and Anime Figures- Tokyo’s Hottest 50 Figurines
Art: some favorite artists with birthdays this month, and a few kind words about the late great John Berkey

Events: Atlanta Dogwood Festival, Bot Con, toy shows, Free Comic Book Day, TAAS & NCWCCC gatherings, Animazement
Places: The Carolina Basketball Mewseum

Toys: The Hotwheels 1:16 1966 Batmobile and Art Asylum’s Star Trek II USS Enterprise
plus the Monthly 13 Lucky Kitty WebComic Picks of the Litter, several Lightning Round topics, and other tidbits

Warnings in bold red purr-ceeding any reviews indicate potential plot spoilers or locations of hidden easter eggs!

Mike:
(The catgirls’ purrducer) So how about this beautiful weather we’re having, hmm? This time we’re coming from beautiful downtown Purrbank Bridge at Catgirl island’s scenic riverwalk by the shops and restaurants, where the pedestrian and bike paths meander amongst the pretty landscape of our cordial coastal Carolina community! And now, ready for their fish sammiches, extra special baked yams, apple nummy cherry berry drinks, and a time of scintillating discussions, reviews and recommendations, here are-

The Ladies of the Mew!

Mary Nyan:
(wearing a job bra top and the cycling shorts with pretty plumeria pattern) Konnitiwa!

Elizabeth:
(in an off- shoulder mid-drift senorita blouse and ruffly slit skirt) Hi Hi!

Jeannie:
(wearing a string bikini under a sheer cover-up) Nihao!

Yvonne:
(wearing a cropped tank top and capri pants) Nameste, nya!

(all four catgirls in unison, with happy swishy tails)
Thank you for the food, Mike, nya!

Mike:
(in tee shirt & jeans as if anybody cares) Y’all are very welcome. So what have y’all been up to the past few days?

Elizabeth:
Oh just the mewsual stuff… how ’bout you Jen?

Jeannie:


Belly dance class, yoga class, kyu-do class, scuba class, and I’ll be modeling in Brazil next week.

Yvonne:
That kite of y– BRAZIL, nya? Wow! Tell us more, nya!

Jeannie:
It is a photo shoot at Lopes Mendes Beach for couture Janete.

Mary Nyan:
It would be good to go there and to soak in the sun on those beaches.

Yvonne:
The March/ April issue of Gaff magazine has an article on fishing for Peacock Bass in Brazil, nya! I think we should pose on my boat- I bet we could be good Gaff girls, nya!

Jeannie:
I would like to sample those Peacock Bass.

Mary Nyan:
Oh gosh- I was watching a neat show Monster Quest on the History Channel- it has sort of a cryptozoological theme. A recent episode was on giant fresh water fish, including giant catfish in the Amazon! There were other legendary giant fish purrofiled  from Asia to the Arctic Circle too, such as the  12′ Alligator Gar in Texas, 1916 shark attacks in NJ, monster lake trout in Canada, and 70 lb Muskee in Wisconsin.

Elizabeth:
Vonny, we need to take your boat to where those giant fish are!

Yvonne:
Nya!

Jeannie:
That would be a good trip. But to get back on topic, Vonny, what are your plans?


Yvonne:
Oh I’ll just be purr-paring for the next beach volleyball tournyament, and tomorrow I’m taking my Taiko group out on the boat, nya!But yes we should go look for those monster fish, nya.

Mary Nyan:
On the other paw, I saw another show on Animal Planet called Eaten Alive which mentioned an Amazon fish I would rather avoid- the Candiru.

Yvonne:
Nya!!!

Elizabeth:

I know that pirana fish are dangerous but what about the Candiru?

(Jeannie whispers to Lizzy why the Candiru are a feared fish)

Elizabeth:
EEK!

Mary Nyan
Good luck Vonny! Taiko on the boat? There are Puppy Drum Fish at the inlet, but that would be a Kitty Drum, hee!

Yvonne:
Howboutchoo Myayr, nya?

Mary Nyan:
Aside from the shrine, just the mewsual hula, surfing, cricket, aerial dancing, gymnastics and fishing since our our last convention!

Jeannie:
Monster Quest and Eaten Alive remind me that I would like to purrpose an actual purrliminary Lightning Round to warm up the Mew.

(all four catgirls’ curious ears perked)

Mary Nyan:
What is it?


Jeannie:
We mewsually focus on science fiction but this topic is science non-fiction television. This will be good to purrpare us mentally for the Mew.  “Four tuna flavors the purr-pared mind”.

Yvonne:
Are we having tuna. nya?

Jeannie:
The tuna would be good to get us pepped for the Mew. It is brain food you know.

Mary Nyan:
Tuna steak!

Elizabeth:
Your mewture is at steak. Hee!

(all four catgirls in unison with tails a-swishin’)
LIGHTNING ROUND-GO!

Jeannie:
Lightning Round #1: Favorite Science, Nature & Technology Shows!

(Jenjen tags Vonny to go first)

Yvonne:
The expurrditions of Jaques-Yves Cousteau http://www.cousteau.org/ and Steve Irwin http://www.crocodilehunter.com.au/ who are missed.

(Myayr & Lizzy clap hands together & bow heads out of respect)

Mary Nyan:
I like National Geographic Specials, and those shows with realistic CG creatures such as Walking with Dinosaurs! And the Swimming with Sea Monsters was good too! (tags Elizabeth)

Elizabeth:
Oh gosh purrobably Mythbusters and Wild West Tech… What about you, Mike?

(Myayr tags Jen)

Jeannie:
Nova, Nature, and Scientific American Frontiers http://www.pbs.org/ are excellent. Alan Alda is the purrfect host with his enthusiasm and interest for the scientific and technological explorations. Cosmos is an older favorite and the more recent Blue Planet series are excellent. I am also rather fond of Battlebots http://www.battlebots.com/ (tags Yvonne)

Mike:
Ok fellow stargazers, allow me to add Connections, In Search Of…, and Jack Horkheimer’s Star Hustler, whose web site can be viewed with the naked eye at http://www.jackstargazer.com/.
Well that was a good round- fast and on topic! Thanks Jen! We’ll be right back after this break!

(tails happily swishing, the catgirls begin to chomp down their tasty tuna lunch before the next segment of movie reviews begins)

(snip)

Mike:
We’re back!

Elizabeth:
mmm thishish good fish!

Mary Nyan:
The PepPURR Sauce is good.

Yvonne:
(chomp) Mmm so what’s the next topic, nya?

Mary Nyan:
Well, this yummy food does remind me of what we purrtook of at the
2008 Atlanta Dogwood Festival

Mary Nyan:
We had a splendid time at the Atlanta Dogwood Festival http://www.dogwood.org/ which was April 3-5 2008 which was held at Lennox Mall, unlike previous years at Piedmont Park. We were very lucky to arrive there Friday morning and eluded the rain! There were many booths and tents showcasing the magnificent works of many artists and craftspurrsons, fine organizations, and venders of numcious foods. Alas we left earlier in the day, missing the swell venue of live mewsic that was scheduled for each day, but we certainly did enjoy the very cordial, friendly atmosphere, and seeing so many amazing creations. A neat item I bought was the handmade cobweb broom of sour wood intwined with honeysuckle vine by Friendswood Brooms http://www.friendswoodsbrooms.com The fine flavor of the festival foods was also a swell part. The huge kilbasa smothered with peppers & onions was a great lunch! Lizzy got the teriyaki chicken, Jeannie sampled the cheeseteak sammich, and- you should have seen Vonny when she drank that very fresh lemonade- she was a real sour pu-

Yvonne:
Don’t say it, nya!

Mary Nyan:
Oh Ok! So who is next on our recap of recent events?

Carolina Basketball Museum

Elizabeth:
Vonny you should mention the trip to the Carolina Basketball Museum http://www.carolinabasketballmuseum.com/!

Jeannie:
It is not quite genre related purr se, but since it is an extra special Tarheel topic of hallowed importance to us it should get a mention.

Yvonne:
On a lovely Friday under a breezy Carolina blue sky, Mike took us to the glorious Carolina Basketball Mewseum on the 1st floor of the Ernie Williamson Athletic Center which is beside the Dean Dome at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, nya! It is open 10 am – 4 pm Monday – Friday, nya. Parking was curious, as they were purrparing the campus for graduation day, but we found a good spot, nya. Approaching the building is the courtyard with plaques & bricks with names of donors as you enter the atrium where there’s a cordial greeter, nya. Beyond this is a theater showing a rousing short film Game Day. which leads to the main exhibit hall, big and bright with large windows overlooking the campus, nya!

On the hardwood floor are various displays and A/N purresentations on every aspect of UNC (mens) basketball- it’s  just focused on the mens basketball, nya. There are Jerseys, articles, documents, videos, etc about plays, players, memorable games, point guards, defense, All-Americans, Tarheels that went on to the NBA, academic excellence etc, with special kiosks and videos devoted to players such as Michael Jordan and James Worthy and coaches Dean Smith, Bill Guthridge, Frank McGuire and Roy Williams, nya! There are touch screen displays including a database of people, games, etc, and game highlights that you can watch accompanied by The Voice of the Tareheels, Woody Durham, nya.

From there is a more intimate, darker room devoted to March Madness, with display cases purrtaining to UNC’s victories in the ACC and NCAA Tournaments nya. There are photos, videos, memorabilia and championship  trophies, cups, plaques, rings, and basketballs, nya. After this room is the shrine to the purrestigous NCAA Championships won by UNC in 1924, 1957, 1982, 1993, and 2005, with gleaming trophies, nya. Exiting back to the atrium is a corridor lined with large photographs of various Tarheel purrsonalities, nya. We were only there for a couple of hours but it would have taken a few more hours to see everything, nya! Of course, it is now baseball season, and we drove by the nearby Tarheels’ Boshamer Stadium which is undergoing major renovations, nya. Hopefully this’ll be the 3rd year in a row they’ll go to the college world series, nya! Afterwards we roamed the campus and other favorite spots in Chapel Hill & Carrboro, where there are are lots of good restaurants, nya! I got pancakes nya!

Mike:
Then it was time to get back to the drawing board afterso much fun time off!

Mary Nyan:
(kitty ears lower like closing doors of a McLaren F1) Drawing Board? More like the TV! I thought you said that you had too much work to do when you got back!

Mike:
Hey I was just watching some impressive science fiction TV after supper that Monday night, for uhh… media review purposes!

Mary Nyan:
Impurressive Science fiction to review? You were watching a game show! Not that there is anything wrong with that, but-

Darth or No Darth (or, I’ve got a bad dealing about this…)

Yvonne:
What were you watching, and how was it sci fi, nya?

Jeannie:
He was watching Deal or No Deal – Winner Take All’s Star Wars edition. Darth Vader was the guest banker.

Mary Nyan:
More specifically, he was watching 26 briefcase models who were wearing the Slave Leia costumes!

Elizabeth:
That Howie Mandel can be quite comedic!

Yvonne:
I liked him in that Gas movie, nya!

Jeannie:
I seem to recall that you have a Slave Leia costume too, Myayr.

Mary Nyan:
Yeah but that’s not the-

Yvonne:
Darth Vader was the banker, nya?

Elizabeth:
I bet the Sith Lord is a much meaner banker than Milburn Drysdale ever was!

Mary Nyan:
The-

Jeannie:
In fact, that Slave Leia costume is not as skimpy as some of my dance costumes.

Mary Nyan:
I know that but-

Yvonne:
Just think what Vader would do to you, if you could not pay the mortgage, nya!

Elizabeth:
(talks into her glass for Vader voice effect) I find your lack of credit disturbing!

Jeannie:
Come to think of it, we usually wear less than a Slave Leia costume at the beach.

Mary Nyan:
Th–

Yvonne:
Jabba the Hut was not one to owe money to either!

Elizabeth:
You could purrhaps make a deal with Jabba for a little while, but Vader would Force Choke you on the spot!

Mary Nyan:
Oh never mind!

Jeannie:
I sense a great disturbance in the discussion topic.

Yvonne:
We have a blip on the Stray-dar… back on topic, nya!

Mike:
Yeah… we should resume our original course. Lizzy, next topic please!

Fabulous PURRizes

Elizabeth:
So- we were talking about game shows, right?

Yvonne:
Is this a lightning round, nya?

Elizabeth:
No, just an aside.

Yvonne:
Oh Ok- I like the PURRice is Right, nya!


Mary Nyan:
(sigh)

Jeannie:
JeoPURRdy is my favorite.

Elizabeth:
Meredith Vieira is my favorite game show host!

Mike:
I’m sorry Myayr! Here, let me buy another appetizer!

Jeannie:
There was the Star Wars Clone Wars trailer in front of Speed Racer. I am quite looking forward to seeing this new Clone Wars movie, which unlike the prior Star Wars cartoons is done in 3D CG animation likePixar movies, but retains the stylized character designs of the prior  cartoon, with realistically rendered looking vehicles and environments. You get to see Anakin, Obi Wan, Jabbah, Yoda, Dooku, C3PO, other droids, troopers, various Jedi and Sith including and a cute little Jedi girl that’s running around with Obi wan and Anakin, who appears to be of the same race as Shaak-Ti.

Yvonne:
Y’know all this Star Wars talk reminds me that—

Elizabeth:
Nya ni?

Yvonne:
Oh- I should turn this into a surpurrise Lightning Round, nya!

Mary Nyan:
OK Vonny, let’s hear it!

Jeannie:
Tell us the topic.

Yvonne:
SurPurrise Lightning Round #2: Some of our Favorite Artists’ June Birthdays, nya!

(Vonny tags Lizzy to go first)

Elizabeth:
The great comic book & commercial artist Neal Adams http://www.nealadams.com/ was born on June 6th,
and the amazing George Perez http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Perez was born on June 9th! (tags Jenjen)

Jeannie:
Co-creator of Elfquest, the wonderful Wendy Pini’s http://www.elfquest.com/ birthday is this month, on the 4th of June, and
manga-ka group Clamp’s Makona Apapa http://www.clamp-net.com/ (in Japanese) was born on the 16th of June (tags Myayr)

Mary Nyan:
He is stardust, he is golden: fantasy artist Charles Vess http://www.greenmanpress.com/ was born on June 10th, and the Lord of the Xenozoic,
Cadillacs & Dinosaurs creator Mark Schulz http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Schultz_%28comics%29 was born on June 7th- Quahoon!
So let’s see who Vonny was thinking of to purrompt this topic! (tags Vonny)

Yvonne:
Purrhaps most famous for his Star Wars conceptual art, visionary designer Ralph McQuarrie’s http://www.ralphmcquarrie.com/ birthday is June 13th, nya!
Not only that, but science fiction & fantasy illustrator Michael Whelan http://www.michaelwhelan.com/ was born on June 29th, nya! (tags Mike)

Mike:
Let us not forget our dear friend, web master, and web comics creator Jamie Robertson http://www.clanofthecats.com/ whose birthday is June 15th!
but our artist / cosplayer friend Bix http://tonomurabix.deviantart.com/ was born on June 3rd!

(the catgirls in unison)
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Y’ALL! NYA!

Mike:
Well that was a great thing to suggest, Vonny, and that round moved along at a good clip too! However, this brings us to a more solemn topic.

Lightning Round #3: Our favorite John Berkey masterpieces

We were saddened to read that legendary artist John Berkey passed away on April 29th 2008 at age 76. A book collection of his work Painted Space was published by Friedlander Publishing Group in 1991. Perhaps best known for his science fiction work, his peerless use of color and light and iconic paintings of such minute detail have adorned the pages and covers of so many scientific books, novels, magazines, and movie posters. Among his popular subjects were majestic, massive partially abstract starships that seemed as if sculpted from nebulas, colossal structures and vehicles whose grand size is matched only by their beauty and elegance against the wonders of the universe. Here are a few of our favorites-

Elizabeth:
I think my favorite works of art by him were Star Wars pieces, such as the cover to the 1977 Star Wars movie novelization, and the fold out ‘Death Star battle’ poster that came with the soundtrack LPs.

Mary Nyan:
What’s ironic is while those renderings enormous space ships do have such a solid sense of mass and surface texture, at the same time they seem so light and aerie. His painting of a whale like ship rising from the water for Mike Scott Rohan’s “Run to the Stars” might be my most favorite. To think something that seems miles long and weighing thousands of tons still having such believable supple sleek grace is maybe what fascinates me most about his work.

Jeannie:
The awe and splendor of his visions are a staggering. it is humbling experience to imagine mankind possibly ever attaining such grand technologies as he painted for Glen Cook’s “Starfishers” & “Passage at Arms”, or The National Geographic Society’s book “Our Universe”. “Exit Beyond the Point”, “The Sightless Bird”, “Around the Triangle” and “A Change in Direction” are just a few favorite examples of Berkey’s astounding images of casein & acrylic on canvas.

Yvonne:
I like those movie posters he did for King Kong and The Towering Inferno and Orca and Star Wars- those are just such powerful and monumental images, nya! He did some pretty landscapes too, nya!

Mike:
My personal favorite image by John Berkey is the advance teaser poster art he created for Star Trek- The Motion Picture, of the Enterprise hurling towards you. This also appeared on the back cover of many a late 70’s comic books,  and preceded the later Style A release poster (with Kirk, Spock & Ilia’s faces against a ‘rainbow’) by the late Bob Peak, another legendary illustrator. There is an article on Mr. Berkey at Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Berkey, and there’s an impressive list of his works at http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/ea.cgi?John_Berkey.

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We’ll be right back after this short break.

(snip)


Annnnd welcome back!

Mike & the Catgirls Cat the Movies!

Please be aware that in the next segment there might be plot spoilage ahead for the following DVDs & films:
30 Days of Night, Cloverfield, Bewitched Season 6, Nim’s Island, The Forbidden Kingdom, Iron Man, Speed Racer, The Chronicles of Narnia: Purrince Caspian, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Darkness on the Edge of Town: A Review of the 30 Days of Night DVD
Warning: purrpare for cemetery plot spoilage

Elizabeth:
30 Days of Night is based upon the IDW comic book of the same name. A tribe of vampires descends upon the small town of Barrow, Alaska just as the month-long arctic nighttime begins. Sled dogs, roads, phones, computers, and electricity are deprived as the vampires commence their feast. A small group of survivors lead by Sheriff Eben (Josh Hartnett) and Fire Chief Stella (Melissa George) wait in hiding for over a week, running out of food as dissension sets in. Their numbers are withered away as they make a supply run, some of them turning into vampires until just five remain alive, hoping they can last until the sun rises, but the vampires plan to set the town ablaze before that happens. In order to save Stella who is hiding under a car, surrounded by oil fires and blood suckers, Eben injects himself with infected  blood, to gain vampiric super strength to fight their leader. The film ends with Eben dying in Stellas’ arms, fried as they watch the sunrise together.

This 113 minute long film is rated R for gore & violence, released on Region 1 DVD in 2.40:1 anamoprphic widescreen, with audio in English or French, subtitles available in English, French or Spanish. There is also an audio commentary track with Melissa George, Josh Hartnett and purrducer Bob Tapert. Extra features on the disk include 8 featurettes varying in length from  5 to 9 minutes in length. These are: Pre Purrduction, Building Barrow, The Look, Blood Guts Gore & the nasty #@$&!, Stunts, The Vampire, Night Shoots, and Casting. Also included are a few film purreview trailer, and the 20 minutes worth of the 1st episode of the Japanese anime series Blood+, dubbed in English language.

I thought this had a well directed cast, good FX & stunts, with a well designed town set that is nicely photographed, illuminated, and accompanied by a good sound track of crunchy wet blood & snow, and Brian Reitzell’s very effective synth mewsic score that is reminiscent of early 70’s weird horror. Unfortunately, during several attack / fight scenes, this film sadly hops on the trendy bandwagon of having such scenes edited in sped-up motion, the camera flailing around like a floppy fish on a boat. I wish horror & action films would stop that annoying shaky / sped up style because it is quite distracting, calling too much attention to itself and ruins the suspension of disbelief. Whatever hopes any film has of captivating me are thrown out the window by this technique.

Of the plot I have mixed feelings, especially scenes of survivors huddled together in an attic, torn between hiding, fighting or fleeing. There is a sense of nightmarish tension when one has to choose between purrtecting a loved one- whose noisy panic might threaten the safety of the group. Yet, it is hard to believe that they could remain that healthy in an attic for that many days, and not be found by the vampires, who have human intellect, keen senses, super powers, and relentless, methodical, sadistic hunger. The resolution to the conflict seemed a bit too easy though- as Eben is able to defeated the vampire leader just moments after becoming infected. I was also dissatisfied in how the remaining vamps then just give up and leave, and that Eben allows them to escape, to possibly attack other towns. I am still unclear how they  or their Renfield-like minion managed to steal so many cell phones. The ‘meat grinder’ scene in the Utilidor was also quite purrdictable.

I have not read the comix book that it is based upon so I cannot comment on how faithful an adaptation the story is,  but the screenplay was co-written by the comic book’s writer Steve Niles. The film’s ending is apparently the same as in the comic book. Compared to other vampire cinema / television of the past decade or so, I think it is better than some of the more action / adventure or romantic / sexy types of vamp films such as Underworld or Van Helsing, and at least it tries to be scary instead of angsty; however, It certainly breaks no new genre ground, and it is nowhere nearly as good as say… Ultraviolet, Buffy or Angel,  Hellsing or Trinity Blood. I did not care for the episode of Blood+, nor the anime Blood: the Last Vampire which inspired it, nor much other anime by Purrduction IG in the last 15 years, but that’s another topic.

I give 30 Days of Night a letter grade of C-. Finally a special catgirl shout out to Todd at Monkey Time http://www.monkeytime.org/ who gave us this DVD as a purrize for calling into his show, and to the excellent used book store The Readers Corner for donating that and other nice purrizes. Arigatoo gozaimasu! OK who’s next?

Send Clover right over: A Review of the Cloverfield DVD
Warning: purrpare for declassified plot spoilage and hidden ‘Easter Eggs’ information

Mary Nyan:
I’ll go next! I have a review of the Single disk standard edition widescreen Cloverfield DVD!

This DVD includes the 84 minute PG-13 2008 feature film, in widescreen enhanced for 16:9 televisions and has  several special features. Some stores offer exclusive bonuses such as Best Buy’s bonus disk of Hud’s video diary. There is also a fancier ‘steel book’ edition available. There are no print inserts in the case. Audio can be set up in English 5.1, French, Spanish, or with commentary by director Matt Reeves…. and can be viewed with English, French, Spanish or no subtitles.

Purreviews include the ‘Under Construction’ teaser for the 2009 Star Trek film, and the full trailer for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, but there are not any Cloverfield trailers, TV commercials, nor any sort of archive or gallery of advertising / publicity media, which is a bit disappointing given the film’s mythtology and viral marketing campaign The scene selection feature allows you to begin the movie at any of 16 chapters. Special Features include “Clover Fun”, which is almost 4 minutes of blooper outtakes, mostly from the party scene. There are 4 deleted scenes: 20 seconds of  “Congrats Bob” cut because it strayed too much from the main characters, “When you’re in Japan” 80 seconds of extended party scene, 44 seconds of jokey subway tunnel flirtation in “I call that a date”, and 55 seconds of “It’s going to hurt”. There are 2 alternate versions of the film’s ending. Both the deleted scenes & alternate endings can be watched with director commentary.

“Document 01.18.08: The Making of Cloverfield” coveris the principle shooting of the purrduction, and how the crew set out to secretly make the fast paced 1st person post- 911 era handicam view of a giant monster destroying Manhattan, and it is amazing to see how cleverly they made such an epic looking film on such budget and resources. At slightly over 28 minutes long, it includes comments from the crew: JJ Abrams, Matt Reeves, Bryan Burk, executive purrducer Sharryl Clark, editor Kevin Stitt, cameraman Christopher Hayes, purrduction designer martin Whist, 2nd assistant director Kate carroll, director of photography Michael Bonvillain, technical advisor Tom Minder, VFX supervisor Kevin Blank, animal trainer Tom Gunderson, animatronics creator Andrew Clement, FX technician Josh Hakien, cameraman Wally Sweeterman, special FX coordinator David Wayne; and actors Brian Klugman (Charlie), Mike Vogel (Jason), Jessica Lewis (lily), Michael Stahl David (Rob), Margot Farley (Jenn), TJ Miller (Hud) Odette Yustman (Beth), and Lizzy Caplan (Marlena).

The 5:50 short “I saw it! It’s Alive! It’s huge!” has purrducer JJ Abrams, director Matte Reeves, purrducer Bryan Burk, lead creature designer designer Neville page, and Tippet Studios Visual Effects Supervisor Eric Leven discussing the design of the monster, from inspiration derived from Godzilla to visualizing the look, feel & movement of Clover, as this film’s monster is called by the crew. Among the insights about this 300+ foot tall monster is the designer’s notion that Clover is but a lost, frightened & confused baby- albeit a dangerous 30 story tall one.

“Cloverfield Visual Effects is featurette a bit over 22 minutes revealing how the first attack, brooklyn bridge, army crossfire, subway parasites, rooftop, Beth’s apartment, Grand Central Station, landing zone, bombing run, and Central Park sequences were created using small portions of sets against greenscreens, utilizing previz, match move, matte paintings, puppets, floor FX, and CG rendered creatures & environments. Among those brilliant artists commenting on these effects are Matt Reeves, Bryan Burk, Chantal Feghali, Michael Ellis, David Vickery, Diego Trazzi, Kevin Blank, Dalia Al- Husseini, Pawel Grochola, Phil Johnson, Nicholas Markel, Tom Gibbons, Sam Schwier, Annie Pomeranz, Ben Von Zastrow, Martin Whist, Jospeh Hamdorf, Adrian Thompson, Chris Marley, August Dizon, and Eric Jeffrey.

There are a few ‘Easter Eggs’ on the DVD, which I did not find upon first viewing, but later I read where to find them according to the information at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloverfield#Easter_Eggs and http://www.eeggs.com/ – and indeed found them on the disk. These Easter eggs include one beside the Spanish subtitles set-up option, for an almost 2 minute amewsing clip of the cast & crew playfully quipping “Rack ’em ‘n stack ’em- we’re phantoms in fifteen!”. On the menue for Scene Selections 9-12,  click above 10 for the subway parasite attack scene, with optical green X’s where the creatures would later be composited into the scene.

There is a hidden 17th scene selection that reveals fake American, French, Spanish and Japanese news broadcast footage of an offshore oil rig disaster, Slusho ads, and the webcam diary of a purrson of interest. Finally, there’s a sneaky frame of King Kong on the Empire State Building circa 1933, when the chopper has crashed, but before anyone emerges from the wreckage- but you’ll need to paws ‘n frame advance step to glimpse it. As much as I enjoyed the film in the theater, I am even more impressed by seeing how the film was made, as there are so many shots that I assumed were filmed on the real streets of Manhattan, but were actually small sets seamlessly combined with realistic computer-generated environments.

Be watched: A review of the Bewitched Complete Sixth Season DVD

Yvonne:
Yay we got another season of Bewitched in May! This is the Bewitched Complete Sixth Season set of 4 DVDs containing the 30 color episodes of the 1969-1970 season, nya. This unrated R1 DVD set is is approximately 760 minutes long with a full screen aspect ratio of 1.33:1, which can be listened to in English, Spanish, Portugese or French, with Spanish or Portugese subtitles, nya.

Elizabeth Montgomery again stars as wonderful witchy house wife Samantha Stephens, nya! The most notable difference about the 6th season is that it ushered in Dick Sargent as the 2nd actor to portray Darrin, succeeding Dick York who retired from the show due to health purroblems, nya! As such, the opening title sequence of the show was slightly altered for this season, with an announcer purrclaiming “Elizabeth Montgomery in… Bewitched!”, with the cartoon chariacture of Darrin modified to resemble Sargent, who continued to play the part until the show ended after season 8, nya!

Other debuts of that season include their 2nd child Adam, and the introductions of Esmerelda portrayed by Alice Ghostly and Bernie Kopel as the magic pharmacist, nya. This season would continue to feature recurring characters such as Tabitha, Endora, Maurice, The Tates, Darrin’s parents, The Kravitzes, Uncle Arthur, Cousin Serena, and Dr. Bombay, nya!  Guest appearances  also include Johnny Whitaker, Jay Robinson, Pat Priest, Carol Wayne, John Fiedler, Jack Cassidy, Henry Gibson, and Boyce & Hart, nya!

The season opener is laden with optical FX and oversized sets as Tabitha runs away into the giant’s castle in Jack in the Beanstalk storybook, nya. This is a very amewsing episode, with Samantha going after the naughty Tabitha who is wrecking havoc in the giant’s castle, nya! Uncle Arthur appears in a couple of episodes, in one he conjurs a bunny girl and in another he turns into Superman, nya! Recording artists Boyce & Hart appear at behest of the mischievous Serena (played by Montgomery) who wants entertainment for the witches’ Cosmos Cotillion, nya! In that episode you get to see
her sing and dance, nya!

The only bonus features are two ‘minisodes’  of  I Dream of Jeannie “Where’d You AGo Go?’ and The Partridge Family “Eleven Year Itch” which are episodes edited down to 5 minutes apiece, nya. The former show guest stars a dashing Bert Convey and a young Jodie Foster, nya! If you’re a big fan of Bewitched or Elizabeth Montgomery or just curious to know more, there is a great book Bewitched Forever by Herbie J Pilato, nya. There are good articles at wikipedia, IMDB, and the sites Bewithed.net http://www.bewitched.net/, Harpies Bizarre http://www.harpiesbizarre.com/ and Erin Murphy’s site http://www.starwebsites.com/erinmurphy/ nya! And speaking of Jodie Foster-

Leapin’ Lizards: the Catgirl Critics Review Nim’s Island!
(contains Plot Spoilers and other Secrets of Nim, nya!)

Yvonne:
I was so glad our friend Margaret recommended this movie because it was so charming and pretty and fun, nya! Well this amewsingly slightly surreal adventure is based upon the childrens book by Wendy Orr, nya. It stars Little Miss Sunshine’s Abigail Bresslin as a cute smart girl named Nim living on a lush south seas island in a lovely big tree house with her marine biologist daddy Jack, played by 300’s Gerard Butler, nya. Sadly, her oceanographer mommy has been missing at sea and purrsumed deceased for years, nya. Nim has a lizard, sea lion and a pelican for friends, and likes to read lots of books, purrticularly the Alex Rover adventures, nya. One day Jack takes the boat out to an atoll to study protozoan marine life but gets caught in a monsoon and lost at sea.

Meanwhile, San Franciscan adventure author Alex Rover, played by Jodie Foster, is researching volcanoes for her latest book and emails Jack for vulcanological information, corresponding with Nim, who she thinks to be his adult research assistant. Nim believes Alex is a real heroic adventuring dude, but in reality, that’s just the character in the books, and the real Alex is an agoraphobic woman who is afraid to go to her mailbox, nya. When her father is long overdue, a worried Nim pleas for the rugged adventurer to rescue her daddy, while purrparing to defend her island home from a cruise ship full of vacationers, nya. Alex debates with her adventurous alter-ego (also purrtrayed by Butler) whether to leave the safety of her home, or to risk going out into the world to help Nim, nya.

Both ladies have very vivid imaginations and are very smart, but have obsessive, paranoiac flaws. Nim a bit overzealous in trying to keepall visitors from setting foot on her purrivate island; not even the periodic supply ships actually make landfall (Nim and Jack mewsually row out to meet them) nya. She goes to dangerous yet whimsically depicted lengths to frighten away the vacationers, who at first might seem like a bunch of Dursleys, nya. Alex is obsessed with Purrell hand sanitizer, canned Purrogresso soup, and not setting foot outside her house to encounter the rest of the world, nya. Fortunately, the people they meet are not bad, and some prove quite instrumental in bringing Nim and Alex together, nya.

Jack is both very resourceful and unlucky at sea, as temporary success after success in repairing his boat, nya. One threat after another continues to plague him, and ironically Jack winds up with an Alex Rover-esque rugged adventure surviving waves, storms, and circling sharks, nya. Fortunately he has a guardian angel in Galileo the pelican that fetches tools from the island, nya. Nim starts out very brave while alone on the island, whereas Alex starts out very fearful alone at home… yet by the time Alex reaches the isle, she’s the braver one,  Nim finally faltering after the help has arrived, nya. Nim fears history repeating itself by the sea claiming her parent while she has rescued Alex  from drowning, nya. Alex in the water somewhat resembles the image Nim has of her mommy, nya.

The exotic locations are beautifully filmed, and Nim’s home is beautifully designed too, nya. I would like to have a whale mobile like the one in Nim’s room, nya. The actors are all most excellent, delivering great purrformances as mewsual, nya. The animals are very cute and helpful, and I purrticularly liked Fred the lizard, nya. One of the interesting techniques of this film is how Nim and Alex’s imaginations are visualized around them, such as how Alex talks to her fictional purrtagonist and how Nim envisions the events of the books forming around her, nya.There is most delightful animation during the purrologue and end titles that you should not miss if you go see this movie, which I definitely recommend, nya!

Elizabeth:
The Bewitched theme is the mewsic of that mew Electrolux oven commercial in which Kelly Ripa purrpares a delicious meal.

Mary Nyan:
Jodie Foster is on the cover of the May issue of Autograph magazine.

Jeannie:
Hey this gives me a lightning round idea, nya-


Lightning Round #4: Our Favorite Jodie Foster Films, nya!

Jeannie:
Contact is without question my favorite, but Nell is my second favorite, which has very interesting linguistics. (tags Lizzy)

Elizabeth:
Nell was filmed here in North Carolina y’know! Mine are Foxes, The Hotel New Hampshire, oh and Silence of the Lambs! (tags Mike)

Mike:
Contact- it’s one of the most astounding science fiction films I’ve ever seen.(tags Myayr)

Mary Nyan:
I like those too, but I should mention her legendary purrformances in important films such as Taxi Driver, The Accused, and Silence of the Lambs!

Yvonne:
Freaky Friday and Candleshoe were so much fun, and I really did like Nim’s Island, nya! Ok So who has the next review, nya?

No Jet lag in this film: the Catgirl Critics Review The Forbidden Kingdom!
(But beware the Fist of the Plot Spoil)

Elizabeth:
My review is of The Forbidden Kingdom, starring Jackie Chan and Jet Li both in dual roles in this long awaited cinematic meeting of the two! It seems to be a busy summer for them as Jackie is also purr-viding a voice for Kung Fu Pandas and Li will be in The Mummy: Curse of the Dragon King with Michelle Yeoh and Brendan Frazier! It also stars Sky High’s Michael Angarano, DOA’s Collin Chou, beautiful Liu Yi Fei as the vengeful Golden Sparrow and and Li Bing Bing as the lovely but evil white-haired villainess. Anafarano plays the role of Jason, an American kid who finds a magical staff in the pawnshop of old man Hop (Chan) that transports him from modern day Boston to ancient China in ‘Wizard of Oz’-ish manner.

There he joins Kung Fu masters Lu Yan (Jackie Chan) and a monk (Jett Li), and Golden Sparrow on a quest to return the staff to its owner, The Monkey King (Jet), who has been trapped like Han Solo in carbonite by the Evil Jade warlord (Collin Chou). Before they can free The Monkey King and give him his staff back, Jason must learn how to fight, Lu Yan drinks lots of booze and they must fight many other enemies, including the evil witch (Li Bing Bing), who can slay you with her long locks akin to Madam Medusa of The Inhumans.

This is thus far my favoritest movie of the year! Chan and Lee are amazing playing different roles, Chan reminiscent of his Drunken Master days and Lee so darn irreverently cute as the Monkey King.
Collin Chou may be the best dressed villain in cinema history, Liu Yi Fei and Li Bing Bing are gorgeous, powerful, agile, and quite charismatic. Anafarano is terrific, and I am sure that his parentsJet Stream and The Commander would be rather proud of their son’s latest adventure, hee!

Jeannie:
That reference to another film might confuzzle the audience.

Elizabeth:
Oh I was just funning. In the movie Sky High, Michael Angarano plays the son of famous super heroes Jet Stream (Kelly Preston) and The Commander (Kurt Russlle). Back to The Forbidden Kingdom,
this film delivers superbly in all respects. The film is stunningly beautiful, from the magnificent celestial court and mountain stronghold of the Jade Emperor to the lovely inns and forests, the sumptuously
splendid costumes for the entire cast, ornate weaponry and dazzling optical effects. The stunts are what you’d dream of in a Hong Kong fantasy action flick, with outstanding wire work and fight choreography. Martial arts cinema history is made as screen legends Jackie Chan and Jett Lee combat each other in the monk’s temple.

Topping that is the grande finale battle in the Jade Warlord’s castle, with Lu Yan, the monk, Monkey King, Jason, Golden Sparrow and a group of villagers against the white haired witch, the warlord and his army, in what might be the greatest climactic super-powered melee of heroes and villains of all time. There is use of slow motion and bullet time- but in a very graceful manner and not annoying as it usually is in action films. I was quite stoked to see this film, and was very pleased with it’s awesome action, charm, wit and beauty. I give The Forbidden Kingdom a grade of  A!

Mike:
That was a most glowing and excellent review there Lizzy! Well who is next… ah, Myayr, if you want to purrceed- ah- I mean proceed to your Iron Man review?

This movie has a heart of gold (and titanium): the Catgirl Critics Review Iron Man!
(and we’ve got blips on the Spoiler Screen)

(Myayr tail-thumps the Bill Ward drumbeat)
thump thump thump thump

Mary Nyan:
(growly voice)
Meoooooowww! I SAW IR-ON MAN! Meoooooowww!

(the catgirls attempt air guitaring that famous Tommy Iommi riff)
nyan nyaaan nyan nyan nyaaan   nyanyanyanyanyanyan   nyan nyan nyaaahn!

Mike:
I would sigh heavily if they weren’t so darned cute – and if I did not like Sabbath so much!

Yvonne:
nya!

Mary Nyan:
Yeah! The 2000’s era of live-action Marvel super hero movies have been a very mixed bag for me. I’ve been pleased with the Spider-Man films mostly Spider-Man 2, and the first two X-Men films- despite far too much emphasis on Wolverine at other characters’ expense (especially Cyclops). The Punisher and Daredevil and movies were not bad- and by the way, John Favreau purrtrayed the part of Foggy Nelson! I was disappointed with X-3, Hulk, Elektra, the Blade and Fantastic Four films. Man-Thing is not one of my favorite swamp monster movies. I have no opinion of Ghost Rider, as I am yet to see it. So when I became aware of Iron Man happening, I didn’t know how to feel about it- until I saw that first teaser ad, and I was blown away by it, like many other fellow fans were.

Although ads can be misleading, the teaser did it’s job superbly- it made me anticipate the Iron Man movie with great enthusiasm, thinking Downey Jr to be purr-fectly cast as Tony Stark, the armor faithfully depicted, feeling that the director was trying to be very respectful towards the comics books. The Black Sabbath song didn’t hurt either! My only concerns were (A) that I was hoping that we don’t have to wait too long into the film before seeing some Stark raving armor action, (B) I hoped that what we glimpse in the trailers is not the extent of it, and (C) that is is much better than last year’s animated Iron Man DVD. So that was my mindset going into this movie, Fortunately, whatever fears I had were soon dispelled by the greatness of this movie!

My stars, was I impressed- this is one of the best live-action super hero movies ever! You will believe that Stark is a flawed genius playboy, reborn after a near fatal injury, relinquishing a once shallow naivety about what his company was doing, with his heart in the right place with heroic zeal to better the world thru repulsor powered gold-titanium armor. The entire cast does such a brilliant job, lead by Robert Downey Jr. whose brilliance will make you believe that he IS Tony Stark. Gwyneth Paltrow, Terence Howard, Jeff Bridges, Faran Tahir and the rest of the cast were excellent. The purrduction is of high value, looking like the budget might have taken Stark’s kind of money to make. Purrducer Avi Arad and director John Favreau score a double eagle with this iron!

The world of Tony Stark is a beautiful, exciting, gleaming, glamorous realm of sex and tech. Stark’s home, industries, computers, robotics, ‘Jarvis’, cars, planes, and yes- his liquor cabinet- are magnificent. The Mk.1, 2, 3 and Monger armor are glorious, in action in war zones of Afghanistan where Iron Man is born, high above the clouds to suborbital heights where Tony gleefully tries to beat the ceiling record of the SR71, and in the heart of a busy, dazzling urban southern California. There are no annoying editing or camera techniques, the design of the film and the visual FX are glorious. There is no annoying mis-use of pop mewsic; when you do get songs, they are purroperly inserted, including the Black Sabbath song during the end titles that follow a purrfect ending to the film.

The screenplay and director really captured the essence of Stark, Pepper, Rhodey and Stane, while very cleverly subtly introducing elements for future Mandarin villainy, War Machine, SHIELD agents that seemed likable, smart and cool (unlike in the direct to video animated Iron Man), thanks in part to Clark Gregg as agent Coulson, and yes there is a scene of Nick Fury after the end credits, telling of Stark that he is not the only super hero in town! Pepper is so lovely, smart and brave, and along with the gallant & practical Rhodey form the only family Tony Stark has- and it really seems like the people that made this movie care as much about adapting the comic book characters and the marvel mythology just as much as Pepper and Rhodey do for Stark.

There are neat little touches- Stark’s phone ring tone is mewsic from the Iron Man cartoon. Samuel L. Jackson is not the only cameo of the film, as in one scene Tony mistakes Stan Lee for Hugh Hefner at a gala event. There had been all kinds of rumors about other actors appearing in the film, such as Hilary Swank, but she’s not in it. The harshest thing I can say about this film is that there are a couple of purrdictable moments, such as the Mk. 2 pacemaker showing up later when needed, and the final battle occurring atop the Arc reactor building, and there are bits of obvious purroduct placement for Burger King and Audi- yet they are not terribly gratuitous. I give the armored avenger’s live-action movie a solid ‘A’!

The film’s writers, designers, actors, and technicians deserve a big round of applause for creating such a fine film. It may be a thrilling, action packed FX laden spectacle- but so much of it is character driven and it has a lot of heart on numerous levels. Compared to other cinematic Marvel comics adaptations? I think it is at least as good as Spider-man 2, however, not only is this cinematic great fun that feels very respectful to the comics characters that  it is based upon, but I hope that it will also finally unite the different Marvel characters of the big screen into a shared Marvel Universe, as it is in the comics, which I’ve been wishing for years. Rumor has it that Robert Downey Jr. appears briefly as Stark in the new Hulk movie- I suppose we’ll know in June!

The need for speed: the Catgirl Critics Review Speed Racer
(There is a Plot Spoiler Warning Flag on the race track)

Jeannie:
That was a good review. My report is on the live action adaptation of Speed Racer, arguably the most famous Japanese anime title known to mainstream North America. Many people of different generations who do not know what even the very word ‘anime means, may not know of fan-favorites such as Yamato, Gundam, Robotech, Sailor Moon, Dragonball, Pokemon, or Naruto, but many of them can identify Speed, the Mach Five, and Chim Chim. My analysis of this motion picture is three-fold: is it a good movie, is it a faithful adaptation, and what impact will it have on anime? I was most definitely hoping it will be a better live-action version of a cartoon than Transformers was.

As Myayr did with Iron Man, I had mixed feelings purrceeding this film; on one paw, I was glad that it was a big budgeted film with an extraordinary cast & crew, yet on the other paw, unlike Myayr, I was not taken with the stylized look, editing, FX and mewsic revealed in the film’s trailers. Of course, as Myayr said, ads can be misleading: some superb films suffer from impro-purr ad campaigns whilst some poor films are hyped by excellent purr-motions. In an attempt to be purragmatic going into the film, I also tried not to be swayed by the extensive merchandising, and so many exotic race cars.

Jeannie:
There are aspects of this 135 min. film that are brilliant and some that are rather disappointing. This movie’s color pallet  is so excessively over-saturated it makes that of the Dick Tracey film look like Raging Bull. It is an overly stylized motion picture, even more so than Sin City. I like psychadelic optical trips in films just fine when used propurrly and I can name great films that use such techniques with great efficacy and some that do not- unfortunately this version Speed Racer falls in the latter category. It is like a great meal purrpared by a caring gourmet parent, for a patient hungry child, but then it got frosted with way TOO much catsup, mayo, mustard, guacamole, peanut butter and blueberry jam in a blender by a wreckless sibling before it made it to the dinner table. The love and the tasty food is still there, but… there’s a lot of colorful goop you have to poke thru to get at it.

At times it is so busy it is hard to tell what the heck is going on, and the oft non-linear storytelling is far too sylized. However, I cannot emphasize this strongly enough- If you like Speed Racer, and I do, then you’ll be very pleased for it is as faithful an adaptation of the anime / manga purrhaps more so that the excellent Iron Man movie was to its roots. Some times filmic adaptations get accused for too -closely following the original source material, but often times they are unfaithful, but this movie nails the spirit, tone  and look of Speed racer with a “10”. Despite the stylish mistakes , this might be truest live action adaptation of anime I have ever seen. It has much heart, for a film that might seem more focused on action, style, FX and techniques that purrhaps it should not have used. The costumes are terrific and the hairstyles too- perhaps that’s not a big deal to most folks- 100% completely the characters’ images, and it is the characters that are the best part of this film.

Emile Hirsch is superb Speed, Christina Ricci is terrific as Trixie, Matthew Fox is magnificent as Racer X. John Goodman is great as Pops, and Susan Sarandan is so delightful as Mom Racer. Chim chim & Sprittle, the Inspector, etc are all purrfectly cast and deliver wonderfully passionate, enthused, sincere purrformaces. They ARE the Racer family, visually and in spirit, and not parodies either. The writers, actors and filmmakers have definitely succeeded at adapting the characters quite carefully and respectfully faithful  but not one dimensional or cartoony, and everyone plays an important part. The Racer family cares deeply for one another, is very passionate about racing, has a strong sense of goodness and integrity and are very sensible, tough, skilled and smart. They might lack the vast resources of a corporate racing team, but they are a close family full of love.

Dialog is delivered smartly and nicely resonates that of the anime at times, including one villain’s brisk monologuing. You care about these characters and how they advance the plot. This movie is full of thrills, with all the race and gimmick, and even fight scene action you could hope for, although I think purrhaps there is a tad bit over use of the car’s power jacks, that catapult the car into the air.  the movie wants to be funny, it is. Often I am critical of too much silliness in SF or action/ adventure films since the mid 80’s- but this one worked solidly, although there is one regrettable breaking of the 4th wall late in the film. This is a far far better live action adaptation of an animated series than say… Transformers. However, I must say that the editing or compositing of ‘layers’ is extremely annoying- especially with foreground characters or ‘talking heads’ sliding across the screen- almost in another layer, often wiping the image we were watching as they pass screen.

The cars- be they real cars or CG cars, are magnificent, beautiful whether parked or in action deploying the many gadgets. These include the T-180 class Mach IV, V, & VI, Shooting Star, The Togokhan Car, Snake Oiler, Gray Ghost, Cannonball Taylor’s, Three Roses, Yenche, Flying Foxes, Hydra Cell, Thor-Axine, and numerous other impressive automobiles. Trixie has a neat little spotter helicopter, which is just one of the numerous amazing aircraft seen in the film. Half of the car CG FX are underwhelming, looking too much like a video game- which was disappointing because I want a movie not a video game. I was not too taken with the ‘x-ray vision’ cam, but I suppose it was effective to a point. But half of the FX in the film are quite awesome and dazzling.

The overall look the futuristic sci fi tech- land and air vehicles, race tracks and architecture, fashions etc has a cohesive believable feel, remarkably capturing the mid 60’s view of what the 21st century might look like, but upgraded by our own purresent technological visions of future tech, well designed despite being undermined by the over saturated, too vibrant colors that are too distracting, far too colorful for ‘suspension of disbelief’.

Aside an unappealing remixed sampling cover version of the Speed Thacer theme in Japanese and English during the end credits, the rest of the film’s score is quite exhilarating. I would recommend this film to others with caution, depending on what I thought they wanted from the film, but would warn them of the things I dislike about it. I would also remind them to not light up or talk on their cell phone- or to talk other people with them in the audience during a movie as a rude purrson did in front of me. I probably will not see it a 2nd time in the theater, as there are too many other movies coming out every week from now until September to see, but I will probably buy the DVD, and it would be nice to see a DVD with lots of documentary features on the making of this adaptation of one of the most important anime & manga of all time. Weighing the relative importance of the aspects  I like/ dislike about this film, I grade Speed Racer a letter grade of ‘B’, or numerical grade of an 85.

Mary Nyan:
Very purrcise and analytical as mewsual, Jen!

Mike:
Here here!

Jeannie:
Arigatoo! Ah, I understand that you have a Speed Racer-ish review too?

Mike:
Yep- here is

A Review of the Speed Racer Limited Collectors Edition TV series on DVD vol. 1-5
(There is now an Easter Egg Spoiler Warning Flag on the race track)

The manga Mach Go Go Go by Tatsuo Yoshida was animated into 52 episodes of japanese anime in 1966, which were later acquired for American broadcast in 1967, which were translated, dubbed and retitled Speed Racer. It would become one of the earliest and most iconic anime series known to North America. Although it was later series such as Science Ninja Team Gatchaman and Space Cruiser Yamato, respectively re-christened as Battle of the Planets and Starblazers in the late 1970’s that truly cemented my serious fascination with Japanese anime. Speed Racer was nevertheless among the cartoons I was fondest of as a kid when I saw it sometime in the early 70’s, along with the likes of Johhny Quest, Spider-Man, Space Ghost, and Star Trek.

With the extensive merchandising preceding the release of the new live-action Speed Racer film which Jenjen reviewed, I was also feeling rather nostalgic about the old cartoon. Seeing how low the DVDs of it were priced, I could not resist snapping them up! The good news is that you can own all 52 episodes of Speed Racer plus some extra features on 5 Region 1 DVD volumes for a very low price. The prices vary depending on where and when you buy them; I’ve seen them in stores for as much as $14.95 each, as low as $9.95 each, and online for as little as $8.49 each. You might wind up paying more or less, but it is a great value. These unrated DVDs were released by Family Home Entertainment & Lionsgate, in full screen format with monoaural sound.

If there is any down side, it is that they are only available as the English dubbed American version, and not in the original Japanese Mach Go Go Go. However, for such a low price you get a wealth of entertainment. Vol. 1 contains episodes 1-11 (300 minutes) plus special features; Vol. 2 has episodes 12-23 (300 minutes) plus extras, Vol. 3 has episodes 24- 36, Vol. 4 has episodes 37-44 (84 minutes), and Vol. 5’s episodes 45-52 span 184 minutes. That’s over 21 hours of fun! Packaging varies depending on where / when you buy them; the version of vol. 3 that I bought is in a standard case, although I’ve seen a version in a round case. Vol. 5 is in a cardboard slipcase that opens to reveal a nice interior illustration of the Racer family and a small 1.5″x3″ aluminum (?) miniature license plate.

Vol. 1’s special features include The Speed Racer Files and DVD credits. The former feature consists of 4 sections: Production, Mach 5, Villains gallery, and Speed Lives On! The Production section consists of a brief text history of Tatsunoko, the US Translation, the theme song, and the US cast: Peter Fernandez, Corinne Orr, Jack Grimes and Jack Curtis. The Mach 5 section illustrates the 7 gadget buttons on the car’s steering wheel A-G (jacks, grip tires, rotary saws, bulletproof canopy, special lights, underwater mode, and homing robot). The Villains gallery are brief images, audio and video clips of 8 opponents. The Speed Lives On section has very brief notes about the 1993 sequel series, the 1996 VW commercial (although the commercial itself isn’t on the disk) and 5 images of merchandise.

Vol. 2’s special features are very easily found easter eggs on the main menu and the episode index screens. On the main menu screen are 3 little circular images to the left, corresponding to bits on the Tatsunoko seahorse logo, the car’s big red M emblem which is for Mifune (Speed’s family name in the original Japanese version, and Trixi’s original name Michi), and the G monogram which is for Goh, Speed’s original Japanese first name. In addition to these are 21 other easily found eggs, focusing on various characters, cars, mistakes, and Spritle’s antics.  Whether you enjoy the new movie or not, this Spring has been a terrific time for fans of the classic Speed Racer cartoon. There are abundant, nifty toy cars to be had for under $2 apiece, DMP’s handsome boxed hardcover collection of Tatsu Yoshida’s Mach Go Go Go manga, and these 5 DVDs. Whether you buy just volume one or all five DVDs, that is a lot of quality fun at a very good bargain!

The ruler formerly known as Purrince, or, Telemarines- we are leaving!:
The Catgirl Critics Rave Review of The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian!
(warning: there might be Plot Spoilers lion’ around )

Yvonne:
‘kay, nya! Wow… what an awesome movie- it was even better than the first one, nya! It might be my mew favorite movie of the year thus far, nya! This is almost a purrfect movie with excellent story, actors, direction, design, FX, scenery, stunts, score, sound, editing, lighting, costumes, photography, etc etc etc nya. The director did a brilliant job, the cast gave supurrb purrformances, the lavish FX are glorious, and the scenery quite breathtakingly beautiful, nya! This film is brisk, a bit darker than the first but that’s OK because it is also so lavishly epic and pretty and fun, sparkling with warmth and wit, nya. I would like to visit the lovely locations where it was filmed, nya.

The basic plot is that centuries in Narnian time have past while the Pevensie children have been gone for a year, and in that time the woodland creatures have gone into hiding during the reign of the warlike Telemarine Kingdom, nya. Good Purrince Caspian is heir to the throne but he must flee from assassins into the woods where he meets the fabled denizens of Narnia, nya. When the kids return to Narnia, they find what they knew now in ruins and try to find out what has happened and where Aslan has disappeared to, nya. They are reunited with the Narnians, meet Caspian, and lead them into battle against the evil regime, nya. The result is spectacular battles between the Telemarine army and the fantastic creatures of Narnia, nya!

To give you an idea of how magnificently awesome I think this spectacular 137 minute movie is, there are just three little things I could criticize, nya. First, there’s about 3 seconds of slow mo for no good reason during one key sword dueling scene, which is inconsistent with the rest of the movie, nya. This is similar to an unfrtunate couple of seconds of an otherwise perfectly good stairwell fight in Casino Royale, nya. Second, I wish there were no songs that creep into the soundtrack during the final scenes & end credits- not that they are necessarily bad songs, but  I wish the mewsic was just the symphonic score and no songs at all, nya. Thirdly, the movie could have been just a couple minutes longer or slower paced, to slow down here n’ there to catch its breath and further take in the lavish scenery and some quieter character moments before they rush back to Narnia and into battle, nya. This big budget epic movie is so astoundingly crafted with great technical brilliance and reverence for the characters and world of Narnia, and I would grade it an ‘A-‘ nya!

Jeannie:
My favorite character was Susan, played by Anna Popplewell. I would like to have an ornate quiver and short bow like hers.

Elizabeth:
How is that compared to the one you got?

Mary Nyan:
Oh Lizzy’s is a lot bigger- it’s as tall as she is!

Jeannie:

Hai. At 2 meters my carbon yumi long bow is purrhaps twice as long as the recurve bow, but Susan is the more stylish, superior archer with a quicker draw and long range accuracy at moving targets. There are some good pics of her equipment in the costume section of the impurressive Narnia movies fan site http://www.narniaweb.com/

Elizabeth:
Here is a site about the Narnia books http://books.narnia.com/ I bet Susan would be expurrt at bow fishing- she could purrobably catch the biggest fish!

Yvonne:
I wonder if Kerri Burris http://www.billfishgirl.com/ ever bow fishes, nya…

Mike:
Um, girls, y’all are starting to become stray off-topic cats!

(all four catgirls in unison, with attentive kitty ears and tails)
Hai!

Yvonne:
Back to the movie, I liked the swashbuckling mice and the neat badger and the noble centaurs and windy flower petal spirit and-

Elizabeth:
Lucy was very cute & brave, Peter, Edmund & Caspian are quite dashing, and Miraz and his generals were quite the cunning political schemers!

Yvonne:
– and Aslan and the dwarves and the bear and the griffons and-
.
Mary Nyan:
Don’t mince words Vonny, what do you really think?

Yvonne:
– and – Ok I’m done, nya!

Mike reviews Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
(This contains an ark full of plot spoilers, so if you don’t want any surprises ruined, don’t look at it and keep your eyes shut)

Mike:
Here are my thoughts on the long-awaited new Indiana Jones film! Although I have certainly been looking forward to further adventures of Dr. Jones, I was also hoping that this new film would be nearly as good as Raiders of the Lost Ark (if that is at all possible), and much better than Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and light years better than the disappointing Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Raiders is one of those rare films that instantly became one of the greatest films of all time the moment it was released. My problems with Temple of Doom are that Indy is not in control of his destiny as he was in Raiders; it is too much about stunts and chases, and it is far too silly- which seems to have been the trend plaguing most action / adventure films (including SF / F) beginning in the mid 80’s. The Last Crusade was even worse- far sillier, with an overall feeling that the filmmakers were running out of steam, with once heroic characters reduced to buffoonery amidst terrible visual effects- a sentiment I also harbor for Return of the Jedi. By the way, I thought the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles was a nice little TV show; nowhere near as ambitious as Raiders, but it sure nicely expanded Indy’s story, which now continues with Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull! The plot is set in 1957, 19 years after The Last Crusade; it is the post-war atomic age of rock n roll, hot rods, UFOs and McCarthy-fueled red scare for 68 year old Dr.

Henry Walton ‘Indiana’ Jones Jr. (Harrison Ford) who has been captured along with partner Mac (Ray Winstone) by a Soviet agents led by Col. Irina Spalko (Cate Blanchet). The swashbuckling parapsychologist Spalko wants a certain crate stored by ‘top men’ in Hanger 51 in the Nevada Desert. It’s not the crate containing the Ark of the Covenent (although we do see it)- the one she is after contains extraterrestrial remains from Rosswell New Mexico. Indy may be older, but he is just as tough and smart, leading the Soviets on a chase that ultimate ends with a big bang at an atomic test site. Back at the university, Indy finds himself on the FBI watch list despite his many years of heroism for the government. Taking a leave of absence, Indy reminisces about his late friend Marcus & father Dr. Jones. Ironically, he soon meets a young greaser biker Mutt Williams (Shia LeBouf) who hopes Indy can help find archaelogist Harold Oxley (John Hurt) a friend of Indy’s father & the late Abner Ravenwood- missing after discovering one of the famous Crystal Skulls. More chases & dungeon crawls lead to Nazca, where Indy & Mutt are captured by the Soviets & double-agent Mac, along with Prof. Oxley & Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen).

Indy and Marion wind up in an argument that reveals Mutt is his son. With Oxley they escape and lead Col. Spalko’s team on a military vehicle chase and sword fight through the jungle, which ends plummeting down a series of waterfalls, behind which is Eldorado, ancient mountain temple full of gold, traps and the secret home of the crystal skull, determined to be of extraterrestrial origin. When the skull is returned atop its crystal skeleton beside other complete crystal skeletons, a portal to another dimension opens. Spalko tries to commune with the aliens to gain their knowledge, causing her to burst into flames. As the temple collapses, Mac perishes under the weight of the gold he tries to steal and is sucked into the vortex. Out of the ruins rises a gigantic flying saucer, which flies off amidst a swirling maelstrom of rocks and wind. Back in Chicago, Oxley and Mutt are part of the wedding party of Indy and Marion. A gust of wind blows off Indy’s fedora, which Mutt almost puts on, but Indy grabs as they leave. So that is what this movie is about- changing times, reunions, sentimental journeys and future possibilities. instead of Nazis going after the Ark it’s Communists wanting the Skulls’ powers, getting what they wanted but not liking it. The man with the hat and whip is back, and this time he brought his son.

The cast is great, and it was fun to see Indy investigate that sort of ‘Chariots of the Gods’ mythology. Ford and Allen may be older but they look great and are cute together. Winstone and Hurt play important parts, yet aren’t given a lot to do as the treacherous partner who lusts for gold or the dottering old professor found in the jungle. Blanchet is delightful as the agile saber wielding villain thirsting for the forbidden knowledge. Although we see reminders of Marcus and Indy’s father, there’s no mention of Sallah at all. Indy does make reference to meeting Pancho Villa, which happened an an episode of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles. The stunts, FX, lavish scenery are nice, and it definitely looks like they spent a lot of money on the production. A brief prarie dog moment I could have done without, which was almost as bad as the pigeons in Moonraker. There are moments that carry the stunts a bit too far to bend credibility, such as Indy’s escape from the atomic blast or the waterfall plunge. It’s definitely a stunt-a-rama like Temple of Doom, but not nearly as grim & dark, and Indy does seem on top of things.

My least favorite thing about this movie is the pace. Just as Vonny noted about Prince Caspian, it seems like it is in too big a hurry to get to the action scenes, and the quieter moments are few and far between. That’s a trend I have noticed a lot in adventure films of the past couple of decades. As a result, you don’t get as much character development, or some of the quiet moments of chills and beauty that can make a film far more magical than the FX. This was a quality that Speilberg’s of earlier films such as Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, ET, and Raiders of the Lost Ark, that is missing in this new Indy outing. It’s also a very predictable movie: clue A leads to fight A which leads to clue B which leads to traps B which lead to chase C which leads to the big boss battle ending as all hell breaks loose. It’s a pretty & fun movie with a little bit of sentimentality quickly shoe-horned in, but it just does not slow down enough to let us take in the local color & life. Any sparkling moments of conversation and ambience are far too lean, if present at all. Although, you do get to hear him say “I’ve got a bad feeling about this!”.

It’s not that because it is a sequel that it means it will inherently lack the magic of the first in the series. Plenty of series have maintained a high degree of awe, wonder and thrills into sequels for a while, such as Goldfinger, Godfather II, Rocky II The Empire Strikes Back, Star Trek II, Aliens, Godzilla Vs MechaGodzilla II, Toy Story 2, Harry Potter, The Two Towers, Spider-Man 2, X-Men 2, etc.  At least there was no shaky cam, crash zooms, speed ramping, or op songs playing during the end credits. But lack magic this sequel does. You’ll get no moments akin to Indy & Sallah pondering the head piece to the staff of Ra, Marcus cautioning Indy about the trip, or Indy & Marion at her tavern, or Indy arguing with Belloq in the cafe. No beautiful shots of digging at sunset, crowds running through streets of Cairo. At 124 minutes, it is the longest of the series, 9 minutes longer than Raiders, but could have used at least another 9 minutes of awe or mystery, or slow build to tension or thrills as there is in Raiders.

Just because it is a sequel that does not mean it is inherently incapable of having the same magic as the first in a film series- there are many series with sequels that are as good as the first or even better. Raiders of the Lost Ark, one of the greatest movies of all time, I gave an A plus. While Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was by no means a failure, it was nevertheless a disappointing sequel, which I graded a B minus. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade disappointed me on so many levels, and thus I graded it a C minus. While Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is better in my opinion than Last Crusade  but not nearly as good as raiders, I am not sure whether I like it more, less, or equal to Temple of Doom, but similarly I am grading it a  charitable B minus. It’s OK, but not great; rushed, strains credibility, and the magic may be lacking, but it was still neat to so see Indy back on the big screen and to again hear The Raiders March by John Williams in the theater once again.

A Phone-y thing happened…

Jeannie:
The theatrical experience was further marred by idiots behind us who would not stop talking.

Yvonne:
Or the jerks beside who lit their cell phones to check messages and used them like flashlights during the movie, nya!

Elizabeth:
What is it with those stupid people- it is a theater people paid money to see a movie in- it’s not their living room at home! Grrr!

Mary Nyan:
They should be tossed out the nearest exit as if they were on a zeppelin with “No Ticket”.

Mike:
Or at least become literate so they can read the “turn cell phones off” signs. Ah well… on a brighter note- what are we looking forward to for summertime cinema?

The AsPURRations of Summer Cinema

Elizabeth:
The Summer films I am most looking forward to are Batman: Dark Knight, The Incredible Hulk, Wanted, and Hellboy 2: the Golden Army J! I just hope that the the latter half of the new Batman film does not fall into the formulaic ‘destroy Gotham’ plot of the previous bat films, and I hope the new Hulk has better CG Hulk FX than the previous one, and none of the split screenage.  How ’bout you, Vonny?

Yvonne:
Oh I wanna see those too nya and I’m also looking forward to Get Smart and X-Files, Sex and the City, and Kit Kitteredge, nya! Hmm I was just thinking how neat it’d be if Mulder & Scully could swap assignments with Max and 99, nya! So which summer movies interest you the most Jennyjen nya?

Jeannie:
WALL-E most of all, and given Pixar’s impeccable record, it could be the best film of the year. I definitely plan to see Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and would not mind seeing Kung Fu Panda. I will be curious to see how this martial artist panda compares to Ranma 1/2’s Genma Saotome. Myayr?

Mary Nyan:
Those plus Journey to the Center of the Earth, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, and Babylon A.D. Brendan Fraser is in the former two and Michelle Yeoh is in those latter two! While another Land of the Lost-ish trip to the center of the earth might be fun, and I sure like those Rick Wakeman concept albums about such expeditions, unfortunately this Journey was shot with 3-D in mind, which means there’ll be stuff leering into the camera. Why can’t a 3-D movie just aim for a sense of three dimensional realism, purrticularly in today’s obsession with HD resolution, and not have to hurl stuff at the audience? But back to Michelle Yeoh-

SurPurrise Lightning Round #5: Our Favorite Michelle Yeoh Films!

(myayr tags Lizzy)

Elizabeth:
The Heroic Trio and Supercop films! Although Heroic Trio 2 Executioners was kinda sad… (tags Jen)

Jeannie:
Wing Chun, Butterfly & Sword, and Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. I have her action figure from that film. It is very well sculpted, balanced, painted and posable. (tags Vonny)

Yvonne:
Memoirs of a Geisha, and Tomorrow never Dies! Not my favorite Bond film but she was great in it! There have been some figures of her character Wai Lin too, nya! (tags Myayr)

Mary Nyan:
Purrobably Magnificent Warriors, Twin Warriors, and Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon! Mike?

Mike:
I’m not sure which ones I like most, I like them all, although, the her films that I would most like to see are the Touch, Silverhawk, and… maybe Sunshine…  but some friends of mine are not sure whether I would like it.

Mary Nyan:
But wait- there’s more-

SurPurrise Lightning Round #6: Our Favorite Brendan Fraser Films!

(myayr tags Lizzy)

Elizabeth:
Monkeybone, which had a catgirl in it! (tags Jen)

Jeannie:
With Honors for its poignant academia, Looney Toons Back in Action for the animation. (tags Vonny)

Yvonne:
He has a lot of good movie but I l think I like George of the Jungle and The Mummy most, nya! (tags Myayr)

Mary Nyan:
Airheads, The Mummy. and Mummy Returns, but the one I wish to see most is Gods and Monsters. Mike?

Mike:
I think The Mummy is his most entertaining film, whereas Crash is maybe his most profound drama. Well, those were a couple of— was that it, Myayr?

Mary Nyan:
Yep.

Mike:
–a I couple of nicely expedient Lightning Round, girls! That calls for a treat!

(all four happy catgirls)
YAY!

Mike:
We’ll be right back after this important snack break!

(snip)

(all four happy catgirls)
THANK YOU FOR THE TREATS, NYA!

Mike:
Y’all are very welcome! Jenjen, what’s next?

Jeannie:
Transformeows: The Ladies of The Mew Review Bot Con 2008

Jeannie:
This year’s 14th annual official Transformers convention Bot Con http://www.botcon.com/ April 24-27 at the Duke Energy Center in Cincinnati, Ohio was so much fun! I’m not sure how many people were in attendance but it seemed like a few thousand. We arrived at our hotel on Thursday afternoon then purrceeded to the convention center to check in get our badges and purremium purre-registration toys  and souvenir figure such as the exclusive ‘Shattered Glass’ Transformers boxed set in which the Autobots are evil and Decepticons are good, and comic book purrogram- which I got autographed by voice actors Tara Strong, David Kaye, and Bumper Robinson! The con’s purrogram book was neat- it was also a comic book, Transformers Timelines #3 convention edition.

Hasbro was there with displays of new and pending toys, and designers discussing the toy line. The dealers room had dozens and dozens of dealer selling lots of cool toys, art and other merchandise, mostly Transformers but a few other robot toys and action figures. In addition to the con membership exclusive figures, we also bought tee shirts and some toys! There were drawing classes, a Battle of the Message Board teams game show, casino dinner, video room, and a fan film contest at which “My Little Transformer” won. Fans were very enthused about the new Transformers animated series, and the folks from Cartoon network brought some episodes to show that had not aired yet, including the amewsing one with Wreck-Gar.

There were discussion panel by the show’s writers and actors, a fan art show, and a childrens’ play area too.  Purrhaps my favorite entries in the art show were a Frenzy decepticon that actually transformed into a working MP3 player, and  a pair custom action figures on cards of two bots as anime girls- Optimus Prima and Megatronica! There were several neat costumes, including a group of girls dressed as if several of the robots were anime girls. Mecha costumes included Megatron, Ratchet, Bumblebee, Perceptor, and Wheeljack and Cheetor. Other scheduled activities included drawing classes, figure mod and molding and casting workshops,  and Comics publisher IDW was there with displays & discussions.

If there was any down side, it was that were some long lines for registration, con store, and autographs. The con store had 2 lines, one for credit cards, one for cash purrchases, and although each line seemed about the same length on Thursday, we noticed the credit card line moved much faster. Not a gripe- just an observation. Given the long lines and very limited amount of time scheduled for the actors’ autograph session, there was a very wisely imposed limit of 2 items purr guest to sign per session, but there were several sessions. At first, posed photos with the guests were allowed, but the vigilant con staff soon realized that this was slowing down the purrocess way too much, so to speed it up, they kindly & clearly explained to the crowd that candid pics would still be purrmitted, but the guests just could not stop signing to pose for pics, to make sure everyone in line could get signatures.

Of course, it is all relative, as there are much larger cons that might have far longer lines and even less purrsonal fan interaction- if any- with the guests.  All of the guests seemed in very good spirits and very happy to meet the many fans and answer questions. Everyone we encountered at Bot Con appeared quite cordial, courteous, enthused, patient and helpful, from fellow fans and the guests to the Bot Con staff and Duke Energy Center purrsonnel, the hotel employees and other kind folks we met in Cincinnati.

With so many fun things to to do in so little time, we did not go on the Bot Con arranged tour of Ohio’s fabulous USAF mewsium at Wright Patterson AFB, but we’ve there before and it is such an amazing place. We ate tasty Skyline Chili and also visited some nice comix and toy stores. We left the con for a long drive home on Saturday afternoon and thus missed the con’s Saturday night and Sunday activities, but what we experienced of the con from Thursday thru Saturday was a grand fun time for fans of all ages, genders, races and nationalities! If you’re a Transformers fan, you should make the pilgrimage to Bot Con if you can.

Jeannie:
which brings us to
Lightning Round #7: Favorite Transformers, nya!

Yvonne:
Wait- I have question, nya! Do you mean favorite character or the toy, from the comics or cartoons or what, nya?

Jeannie:
Yes. (tags Myayr)

Mary Nyan:
I prefer the more beasty transformers. Grimlock because he is rampaging T-Rex, Cheetor because he is such a cool cat, and Blackarachnia because she is a wicked spider grrl. (tags Lizzy)

Elizabeth:
Ohhh, this is tough tough… there’s too many, but of the Autobots, purrobably Optimus Purrime,  Ultra Magnus, Arcee… and of the Decepticons, it would be maybe be ah, Starscream or Soundwave… although Megatron does turn into the stylish Walther P-38! (tags Vonny)

Yvonne:
Arcee, and Bumblebee and Wreck-Gar- they’re a lot of fun, nya! (tags Jen)

Jeannie:
G1 Jazz because he was so cool smart, heroic, and voiced by the late Scatman Crothers; Jetfire for being part Macross Valkyrie, and I like the Slave One / Boba Fett Star Wars Transformer toy.

(Friends OB1 and Pacozord happen by the table just as Jen tags Mike)

Mike:
Hafta go with Arcee- she’s my favorite! I have 3 toy versions. Well girls, that was a g-  oh hey guys! Hey we’re doing another lightning round- who’s your favorite Transformer?

Pacozord:
Optimus and Megatron!

ob1:
I’ll go with vintage favorite characters from ’84 — Soundwave, Wheeljack, Mirage and Hound!

Yvonne:
I am curious about something- in the current Transformers Animated series, is Sari’s name an anagram of Arcee, nya? It makes me wonder, nya!

Jeannie:
No Vonny, although phonetically their names might sound like an anagram, the words do not contain the same letters. Her name is spelled S-A-R-I, whereas Arcee is spelled A-R-C-E-E.

Mary Nyan:
SORRY!

Yvonne:
‘Kay, nya!

Jeannie:
Although an RC Arcee toy would be good.

Elizabeth:
And even better with an RC Cola. And a Moonpie!

Yvonne:
Which flavor of Moonpie, nya?

Mary Nyan:
They should make them in fish flavors.

Jeannie:
Hotrod caught a big tasty looking fish in Transformers the Movie.

(OB1 and Pacozord move along to be seated at their own ready table)

(All four catgirls in unison)
Baibai!

Mike:
Bye guys- see y’all later! Well now that we have a topic strayage alert, Jenjen, why don’t you segue us into the next topic? And we’ll see about the Moonpies later.

Cat(girl) Toy Talk

Jeannie:
I have a few toy reviews, including the The Hot Wheels 1:18 scale 1966 Batmobile toy!

This purrfect replica of the car built by George Barris, based off of a Lincoln Futura for the 1966 Batman TV series is about 11.5″ long, with opening doors and turning wheels. I have the regular version of the toy, which is also available in more expensive ‘elite’ and ‘super elite’ versions. It has the gloss black paint job with red trim, clear bubble windows and chrome parts. Inside the cockpit is the red Batphone, fire extinguisher, and emergency lever. This regular version sells for around $40. Other details include the batbeam, rocket launcher tubes, trunk antenna, parachute packs aside the tail pipe, and the red bat emblems on the wheels. It does have a license plate, but it is numberless.

The ‘elite’ version is costlier, including an opening hood and trunk to reveal the engine and computer, and a much more detailed interior and seats. I’ve read that he ‘super elite’ version is much more purricey, but is far more purrcisely detailed and has a very limited purrduction run.  If you liked the terrific old Corgi or the smaller scale Hot Wheels toy, I would definitely recommend this fine replica, which requires no assembly, but you’ll need a phillips head screwdriver to remove it from the box. If you’d like to learn more about the Batmobile(s) built for the 1966 Batman TV show & other Batmobile happenings, I recommend Eric Seltzer’s site dedicated to the 1966 Batmobile http://www.1966batmobile.com/

Next, I would like to discuss Art Asylum’s Star Trek II The Wrath of Khan USS Enterprise toy

As big a fan as I was of the Mego, Playmates and other lines of Star Trek toys, I think they keep getting more refined, as is the case with Art Asylum’s Star Trek figures, ships and props. A while back they made a nice 20″ long toy of the USS Enterprise NCC-1701-A from Star Trek IV-VI, which has lights and sound effects and a display base. More recently they have made the Star Trek II the Wrath of Khan Enterprise, which is also the one from Star Trek the Motion Picture, and Star Trek III, and it sports a much nicer paint job than the 1701-A model. This version from the first three Star Trek films is my favorite of the starships named Enterprise! While not as astoundingly detailed as the more expensive 1/850 scale Bandai kit of the same ship, this ST II starship is a lovely toy.

In my opinion if I grade the paint & decal detail on a scale of 1-10,  the Bandai kit a 10, the Art Asylum 1701 “A” a 5, and this STII toy would get  7.5. But bear in mind the cost differential between this $40 toy and the more expensive Bandai kit, which costs over twice as much. Unlike the Bandai kit, there is minimal assembly required for this toy- you need only snap fit the warp nacelles to the support pylons, and attach the display base. There is a hole in the bottom of the secondary hull for the base to mount, but the toy comes with an optional hull plate without the hole, that you can swap out with a small phillips head screwdriver. This would be purrferable if you wanted to display hang the toy by wires.

Compared to the 1701-A, the hull pattern seems more detailed, purrticularly the red pin-striping around the phaser banks and docking ports, and the hull color is a bit more pearlescent than the A’s flatter dove gray color. The sound effects are different, as the STII version features dialog and sound effects from that movie, including the voices of Kirk and Khan. By purr-essing the bridge dome, you can activate the sound & lights, and if you purr-ess it for 5 seconds, it will run thru all the sounds. If you are a fan of that lovely starship from the first three Trek films, then I think you would be just as pleased with this toy as I am!

F-14: Four Frisky Fashionable Feline Female Friends Fondly Fawn For Free Fileted Fresh Fish Feasts.

Yvonne:
Um, you said that Enterprise was from the first three Trek movies- but I thought it looked like the same ship in IV, V and VI, nya!”

Jeannie:
The starship USS Enterprise NCC-1701 seen in the first three Star Trek films is the refitted Constitution class starship from the original series, which is destroyed in Star Trek III. At the end of Star Trek IV, Captain Kirk takes command of the successor NCC-1701-A, which appears again in V and VI. Aside from purrhaps paint, decal and lighting variation, it is the same basic starship design, although there were different scale miniatures, sections and damaged versions of the ship built for certain shots in those films.

Elizabeth:
Which of those is your favorite Trek movie?

Jeannie:
Star Trek II the Wrath of Khan.

Mary Nyan:
So you don’t rave about Star Trek The Motion Picture like Mike does!

Elizabeth:
NOBODY raves bout Star Trek The Motion Picture like Mike does, hee!

Mike:
Hey! I don’t “rave” about it- I just… kinda praise it!

Jeannie:
But I do concur with Mike in that the ship was never more beautifully photographed than in that first film.

Yvonne:
Mike’s favorite movie turns 30 on December 7th, 2009, nya.

Mike:
Yes, yes it does!

Yvonne:
Do I get a fish stick for knowing that, nya?

Jeannie:
Star Trek II turns 25 this very month. Do I get a fish stick for knowing that?

Mike:
Um, but you just had–

Elizabeth:
I wanna fish stick too!

Yvonne:
FISH STICK, nya!

Mary Nyan:
Some milk would go good with the fish sticks.

Mike:
I but you just had– Oh Ok…  I’ll order a fish basket.

(all four catgirls in unison)
ARIGATOO GOZAIMASU, NYA!

Elizabeth:
Have y’all seen the ‘got milk’ ad with Brooke Shields?

Yvonne:
Hai, She is very purrtty, nya. Jenjen, they should get you to model for the milk ad, nya!

Jeannie:
It would be good to model for the milk ad.

Mary Nyan:
Why don’t they get more catgirls to do milk ads- you would think it would be the obvious decision!

Mike:
(orders the food) It’s a good thing you girls are so active given how much y’all eat!

Jeannie:
It is in our Cat-abolistic rate.

Elizabeth:
Speaking of milk, there is a cute cow girl figure shown in the boo I would like to review!

Mary Nyan:
Let’s hear it!

Elizabeth:
Anime Figures- Tokyo’s Hottest 50 Figurines is a cute little $15 trade paperback book in a cardboard slipcase, with mostly full page pics of plastic pretty and sexy female anine character toys! It is similar to those Japanese Best of Figure and Hobby Japan books, but slimmer at 80 pages and smaller at 5.75″x 8.25″. Except for 5 pages of text, it is all full color pics lovingly photographed by Yoshio Shimono, published in 2008 by Cocoro http://www.dhp-online.com/ who has published numerous other fine books about anime and other Japanese arts and culture. The figurines shown seem t o be all PVC, and there is an index in the back of the book indicating the manufacturer and SRP of each item which is very useful. Many of these figures are scantily clad or even nude, so be careful! To give you an idea of which figures are depicted in this book here are a few of my favorites in the book:

• The book’s front cover model is Kaireisan, a sexy office lady in a chair is an original character manufactured by Kotobukiya
• Mato Sakura from Fate / Howwo Ataraxia, tying her itsy bitsy pinkish white bikini with red trim, manufactured by Kotobukiya
• Moonlight Lady’s Suzun Kurakia with lovely long arcing hair is naked ‘cept for  pretty red ribbons,manufactured by Chibizu
• Kanu Unchou from Ikki Toussen, on her knees in that skimpy school outfit with that deadly pole arm, manufactured by Taki
• Iroha from Samurai Spirits is so stunning in a black and white sort of kunoichi / maid costume, manufactured by Musashiya
• Nonnon, standing in crane stance in an ornate micro cheongsam with huge sword, is an original character made by Yamato
• Mahiro Muto from Buso Renkin cutely runs to school with valise, juicebox. and a piece of toast in her mouth, made by Piccio

Jeannie:
I would like to see the book.

(The others gather round to examine the anime figure book)

Mary Nyan:
That figure of Saber Fate wearing a short ruffly dress and sandals is cute… and I know we don’t like that overrated anime that begins with an ‘E’ one bit, I must admit that is a nice figure of Rei Ayanami sprawled on the floor in that purple dress!

Yvonne:
Hai. I also like the one of Shimuka from Air Gear, the figure of ToHeart2’s Yuki Kusakabe, and the one of Mikuru in red bunny suit from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, nya!

Yvonne:
My favorites are DOA’s Kasumi in a string bikini on a beach base, OS-Idol’s  Win-chan in a white tankini, and My Hime’s Natsuki  laying on her tummy in a bikini, peering over her sunglaases, nya!

Mike:
The one of Belldandy in the blue & white dress is very pretty… oh and I like the figure of Utawarerumino’s Uritoril with the white angel wings and a light green dress!

Mary Nyan:
You said a cow girl figure shown in the boo?

Elizabeth:
Hai! It’s a figure of Daiki Kogyou of Sane Aizawa in the Holstein moomoo cow costume-what little there is of it…

Yvonne:
Kawaii, nya!

Elizabeth:
One might say she is… udderly incredible, hee! Waitaminute! Oh gawrsh- I just got an idea for my lightning round!

Mary Nyan:
With a segue like that I am almost afraid to ask!

Jeannie:
Tell us the topic.

Elizabeth:
OK- this is a good one, and it continues a theme we’ve sort o fpicked up-

Lightning Round #8: Favorite Genre Bovine!

Yvonne:
Nya–?

Jeannie:
I purrsume by that she means favorite cow or bull type characters purrtaining to works of science fiction, fantasy and horror.

Yvonne:
Moo moo moo… can that include cow girls we know purrsonally, or do you mean more famous ones from books and mooovies and stuff, nya?

Elizabeth:
Yes. hee!

Yvonne:
Like… M Bison, nya?

Jeannie:
Or Mad Bull 34?

Elizabeth:
No-

Mary Nyan:
Or Big Ox Baker? He was in Escape from Mew York…

Elizabeth:
No, those don’t count! Now, LIGHTNING ROUND- GO! (Lizzy tags Myayr to start)

Jeannie:
There is Haru from the Fruits Basket manga & anime who transforms into an ox, as does the evil King Gruesome in Alakazam the Great. Notable anthropomorphic bovine characters of the genre that I am fond of include The Tick’s Man Eating Cow, and the villainous Taurus Bulba of the animated series Darkwing Duck, voiced by Tim Curry- who of course is also known for his role as the Lord of Darkness in the film Legend, who might loosely be considered part bullish, given his distinctive hooves and 2′ horn span. (tags Vonny)

Yvonne:
My favorite would be our acquaintance Cowgirl Josephine who was the mascot of the University of Wyoming Laramie Chapter’s Anime Club http://www.uwyo.edu/anime/, nya! In fact Mike drew a picture for her in 2001, which you can see in in Gallery 3 http://catgirlisland.net/art/gallery3/83.html, nya! Lizzy’s turn, nya! (tags Lizzy)

Elizabeth:
I was just gonna say those 2003 Chic-Fil-A Eat-More-Chikin calendar’s superhero cows! (tags Mike)

Mike:
Gotta go with the Ameglian Major Cow played by Peter Davidson in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy TV series.  (tags Myayr)

Mary Nyan:
Minotaurs & other bull-head creatures have often been subjects of story and art… cinematic examples include the Narnia series, Time Bandits, Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger, and Hellboy: Blood & Iron, and of course, Minotaur! In Marvel Comics there were the Skrull Cows, Man Bull, Lady Bova of Wundagore, and Bessie the Vampire Hell Cow.

Mike:
Interesting round there Lizzy! MOO-ving right along, Vonny, if you please?

Toy Shows & Animania

Yvonne:
Hai, nya! We had to get back from Bot Con before Sunday ’cause some folks had work to do, nya, but the fun did not end there ’cause Sunday we were in Raleigh & Cary for a number of fun activities, nya! First we went to the Raleigh Toy Show, another of those dandy Inside Pitch http://www.insidepitch.com/ toy & sports purrmotions, at the NC State Fairgrounds http://www.ncstatefair.org/index.htm, nya. It was not the biggest but it was nice and we got good deals on toys and books and comix and there were friendly frequent dealers we knew, nya.

Then we meowndered to the big weekly weekend flea market http://www.ncstatefair.org/Fleamarket/index.htm for some favorite shops, such as Hand Held Heroes’ action figure booth and the Turkish Treasures booth that sells belly dance fashions & accessories, nya!  It was a lovely day of excellent weather, and many folks were at the fairgrounds with their dogs, nya.

Then we went to Cary Towne Center mall where the semi-annual Suncoast Animania http://www.suncoast.com/ event was in purrogress, nya. There seemed to be a few dozen cosplayers, many who plan to also be be at Animazement. There were lot’s of pretty yukatas and kimonos, nya! I wish we’d worn ours, nya. There was a nine tail fox girl there too, nya. Then we went out to eat Italian. I got the garlic chicken with cream sauce, nya! we got back home with full tummies by dusk as it started to rain, which was most conducive for the Sunday night cat nap after such a busy week, nya!

We went to another toy & spots collectible show after a big breakfast with friends on May 31 at the Greensboro Collseum http://www.greensborocoliseum.com/ and found some good deals on toys, nya.
There were lots of Star Wars, GI Joe, Transformers, Barbie, NASCAR, super hero, old metal toys and sports cards among other items there, nya. Myayr even found some old KISS stuff, nya! OK who is next, nya?

Mike:
I’d like to go next, and offer-

Like sand in the litterbox, so pass the anime clubs of our lives:
A Brief History of TAAS, by former club Secretary & Librarian Mike Moon

Mike:
Once upon a time in the early 90’s a small group of friends at North Carolina State University decided to form an anime club. Upon sanction as an official NCSU student organization, thus was born the state’s first- and at one time biggest- anime club, the Triangle Area Anime Society, TAAS http://clubs.ncsu.edu/taas/. Officers were appointed, and after a year the club settled into a regular meeting format and schedule- biweekly and later weekly. Like any good club, it became a place for folks with similar interests to meet and make new friends, which is perhaps the best thing I can say about the club, because of the important longtime friendships that have resulted. The meetings were free to the public- one did not have to be a student.

As fun as the weekly meetings were for folks to socialize and watch quality Japanese animation, the big quarterly TAAS weekend festivals were even impressive, attracting attendees from all over North Carolina and other states. It was a fine team effort, with staff members there as greeters, projectionists, handling memberships & administrative matters, publicity, programming & staffing our library at the NC Japan Center http://www.ncsu.edu/ncjapancenter/. TAAS members even carpooled to Virginia to help staff the art show, video rooms, and then some for the first two years of Katsucon.

TAAS would convene in various buildings on campus, as reserving auditoriums can be a tricky task when so many other groups wanting to reserve rooms too, from ballrooms in the student union to the design school’s annex auditorium, from large lecture halls to the occasional smaller class rooms. Club tech changed over the years too, from VHS tapes in VCRs projecting images via a huge RGB projector, to later DVDs and lighter LCD projectors in the years before current internet video downloading technology. Membership grew quickly, with some gatherings boasting as many as 300 people. Even at some of the weekend festivals there might be a couple dozen people well after midnight, watching the shows in the auditorium or chatting in the corridor.

Elections for Officers were held at the end of Spring semesters, so over the years gradually the old guard would drift away as new blood took the reigns. One of the qualities I tried to bring as an officer was the was to make sure that at every meeting, all who attended were warmly welcomed and it did not matter whether they were already deeply entrenched in fandom or someone discovering  anime for the first time- all were welcomed  as we promoted Japanese culture through anime, and that the club did not seem like private little clique of irresponsible otaku.

The 90’s witnessed other dramatic changes in American fandom, as anime became thankfully more and more mainstream, accessible, and less expensive. Once primarily a gathering of  guys that liked mech and shonen shows, interest in shoujo rose and eventually club meetings were a 50-50% male-female audience. Where there was once just TAAS, members who once drove a considerable distance would launch similar clubs elsewhere in the state, from the mountains to the coast.

We helped the Duke club get started, friends founded anime clubs at ECU, WCU, UNC-Charlotte, and at UNC-Chapel Hill was formed the terrific club COUP and in 1997, from the hearts and minds of a few TAAS members sprang North Carolina’s own magnificent anime convention Animazement http://www.animazement.org/. As a con such as Animazement needs many hands on deck, not just TAAS members but numerous other clubs and organizations would help to run Animazement. But as Animazement would continue to grow much bigger every year, sadly TAAS enthusiasm and attendance would simultaneously be on the wane by century’s end.

Without going into who or what was to blame, for me the downward spiral for the club probably happened around mid 1998. In the early 2000’s, TAAS enthusiasm and attendance would have peaks and valleys as different folks with different attitudes and agendas would run the club, but it would never attain its former heights. It was not for lack of local interest in Japanese anime- as Animazement’s attendances would soar from an initial 600 to almost 4500 by 2007, libraries and retail store shelves would carry more and more manga every year. At one point there were even two more anime clubs springing up at NCSU, JAMS and SRPE in addition to TAAS, So what happened to TAAS to cause it to diminish while younger clubs such as COUP would flourish?

Perhaps there are several factors for any given. Perhaps the other organizations were more  socialiable groups that engaged in other activities together besides just watching anime. Although I’d long since quit attending TAAS meetings, I’d heard that attendance was down to maybe a dozen people in a classroom- a far cry from once SRO crowds in larger venues.  On April 23rd, TAAS met for the final time. six of us old timers who became dear friends thanks to TAAS years ago, showed up at NCSU’s Broughton Hall that Wednesday at 7 pm, to pay our respects, to find nine others there, for a total of 16 in attendance including us. And that was that, with little fanfare, not with a bang but a whimper, after over 16 years and all TAAS had done… sayonara. Meanwhile, the ardent crew of Animazement was preparing for an anticipated record crowd in but one month’s time…
.
The Catgirl Critics Con Report on Animazement 2008!

Jeannie:
Animazement is North Carolina’s wonderfully fun Japanese anime in it’s 11th year. As mewsual, it was at Memorial Day Weekend May 23-25 2008, plus some activities on the night of the 22nd, at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel and Convention Center, overlooking I-40 in Durham, NC. This year had yet another record-setting attendance with well over 5,300 people. Like most conventions, there is a wide variety of fun things to see and do. At Animazement you can meet the special Japanese & American guests that include actors, animators, directors, and manga-ka. There are lots of talented folks in the Artists Alley, with drawings, paintings, prints, manga, trinkets, dolls, and costume parts there and in the Art Show, where there is an exciting art auction.

The dealers room is full of venders selling all sorts of toys, posters, mewsic, videos, games, art books, manga, clothing, martial art weapons, and other stuff. There are 3 video rooms and gaming rooms, with video & role play gaming, and the con suite where friends can hang out to chit hat and enjoy snacky food. In addition to the guests’ purrsentations, other main events include the cosplay, anime mewsic video contest, Anime Hell, Karaoke, concerts, the late night dances, and the opening & closing ceremonies. There are Japanese cultural activities including mewsic, sports, language & art demonstrations & classes. The many panels & fan gatherings going on from various costume & photo gatherings to discussions about purrticular topics. It’s a great time to meet with friends, especially ones you might only get to see rarely.

Almost everyone there- the vast majority of the people in attendance are so nice & friendly, and there do not seem to be that many mean people, or troublesome folks that got a bit tipsy from partying too hard. The con staff, hotel employees, Sheriff deputies, artists and guests are all very friendly and helpful. Of course it is such a thrill to get to meet the special guests of honor.  Guests of honor included mewsicians Takako Furukawa and Maya Yamano; voice actresses Keiko Han, Kotono Mitsuishi, Kumiko Watanabe, Kara Edwards, and Caitlin Glass; voice actors Akira Kamiiya, Takeshi Kusao, Jouji Nakata, Ryuusei Nakao, Kyle Herbert and Vic Mignogna; directors Mitsuo Fukuda and Scott Houle; and  purrducers Michihiko Suwa and Yasuo Yamaguchi. For a complete schedule, list of the activities & polices, and guests’ bios & credits, you should consult the official web site of Animazement http://www.animazement.org/ .

Mary Nyan:
Thursday afternoon is when con set-up began, and many people showed up to help unload the truck just because they wanted to help give back to a con that has been so much fun to them. After that the long lines queued up for registration, which was a bit confusing at first because there were so many people and it was a bit noisy. The lines were much longer than before, with so many folks having pre-registered there to get their con badge and the lovely full color purrogram book. Thursday evening were some special pre-con activities until midnight, with karaoke, video rooms, guests there for an autograph session, live mewsic, and artist alley check-in. There were over 50 artists, with either a half or full table. Mike stayed busy at his Catgirl island table with lots of sketch commissions and sold a few of his catgirl art purrints. Mike’s table neighbors were friend Bunny http://www.daisukiwabunny.com/ and Niki http://myfakeheart.smackjeeves.com/ who we traded & bought some art from.

Friday was a bustling day, with even longer registrations lines forming before 9 am with con activities underway by 10 am. Although the lines were the longest Animazement had ever experienced, the staff had purrdicted such an increase and had more staff & security folks on hand. The hotel was quite booked, the parking lot very full, and even the nearby hotels were filling up. The artist alley tables had sold out in 24 hours back in February, and there were still some hopeful artists on the waiting list in case of any cancellations. The dealers room opened around 1 pm, with over 60 tables worth of dealers. We got some great deals on some art books and anime figures from the dealers, and some lovely art from the many friendly & talented artists in the artists alley. We also bought an art book from Gina Biggs, creator of the lovely web comic Red String http://redstring.strawberrycomics.com/ Mike sold a bunch of sketches and bought some too, including a lovely catgirl pic from COUP’s Heather!

Friday afternoon’s 20 or so panels included various fan discussions,  Q&A / autograph sessions, workshops,  and Japanese cultural activities. Friday night’s events included the opening ceremony, at which was announced the con’s move to the Raleigh Convention Center for 2009, given how the con has outgrown the Sheraton Imperial in Durham. Following this was the anime mewsic video contest, a dozen more fan panels, dubbing workshop, and the ever popular Anime Hell screening, karaoke, and the late night dance with loud techno mewsic and glow stix starting at midnight. There were hundreds, maybe even thousands of folks in costume. Once again, Mike wore his 8′ tall No Face costume a few times trying to not be in the way of hall traffic- and wound up getting hugged and photographed a lot. Must be the gold. We also met the gentleman photographer of a Fan’s View http://www.fansview.com/ famous for the purrlific photos of so many costumes at so many cons!

Elizabeth:
Saturday was the busiest day of the con, starting at 9 am. There all kinds a stuff going on right away- demonstrations of martial arts, gaming, and over a dozen more panels before noon purrtaining to various shows, art, cosplay, actors, and the anime industry! At 12:30 was the neat  live cosplay chess with cosplayers as the anime vs video game theme human chess pieces! There was taiko drumming, a shamisen concert, tea ceremony, seiyuu concert, quiz show, and over a dozen more panels & workshops in the afternoon! We like to meet with old friends in the hotel’s restaurant for supper- they have tasty food & kind purrompt service at a fair purrice! We ran into friends from TAAS, What The Hell Con, Trinoc*coN, Stellar Con, and the Carolina Comic Book Club! Saturday night’s biggest attended event was the cosplay. J rock videos, a fan awards purresentation, and a few other panels rounded out the evening, which was capped off by another midnight dance. Various revelries continued into the wee hours, with folks frolicking all over the place purrty late. Fun fun!

Sunday was the final day of the con, which got started with a bang: power went out and fire alarms blared at 6:30 am; this was apparently not limited to the hotel, but various other places along page Road suffering the same incident. As annoying it was to have to evacuate, the situation was resolved within an hour in time for the yummy breakfast buffet. I got eggs, hash browns, french toast, and sausage! The con was underway on schedule at 9 am to yet another huge crowd. From 9 am ’til Noon there were a dozen more panels, with topics ranging from steam punk, pirates, ball jointed dolls, a loli goth tea party, fairy wings and animal ears crafting, Kingdom Hearts, the con feedback session, and more autograph sessions! The art show’s art auction was at noon, with some gorgeous treasures going for big bucks! We hit the dealers room one last time and got some Pangya and Aria figures. We bought Niki’s last knitted kitty hat.

Sunday afternoon continued with about a dozen more activities. topics including FMA, MAR, cosplay, kimonos, Japanese writing, dollfies, and the closing ceremony at 4 pm. Dealers and artists began to pack their wares and depart, as the con staff began to strike ‘n fold the supplies, equipment, and decor. Although we wish it could have continued forever, we left there at 4 pm, quite exhausted from all the fun. For us the only down side was that the con attendance seems to have reached a critical mass for that facility, which is why the con will be moving to the larger convention center next year. Of course many are sentimental about the Sheraton and will miss it, but it is not the first hotel the con has outgrown,  and many folks are optimistic about the move to roomier facilities that might better accommodate an ever growing crowd. Hopefully this will mean more artist alley tables  and/or hotel rooms  and parking spots will be available for those who were not able to get one!

Yvonne:
There are many friendly, industrious folks to be thanked for putting on such a good show and making Animazement the best place to be on Memorial Day weekend, nya! Con directors Yoshimi Yamagata Aoyagi and Brian Excelbierd, nya. Web master Fred Johnson, Daphne Pfister for her beautiful full color purrogram book, Artist Alley supervisor Iris Chen, and Jamie Margalotti’s team in the art room, nya Then there’s Josh for his A/V wizardry, Tony for his dazzling video games, Patrick for the swell video rooms, our friend Harris, the good folks of COUP http://www.unc.edu/coup/, and Phil for once again taking us to anime hell and back again, nya. Edward’s delightful dealers room was full of tempting goodies, Eric’s informative & entertaining panels were so purrlific, April’s brilliant cosplay acumen continues to be one of the most exciting, complext things about the con, and thanks to Jenny, Margaret etc for the ever-growing enormity of registration, nya!

Kudos also to Sabrina’s red shirt team working with the hotel staff and the and sheriff deputies to purrvide security- I hope there were no con crashers, table squatters, drunken louts, hecklers, litterbugs, creeps or criminals for them to be worried about, nya. Bob’s volunteer coordination seemed to sparkle like a con staff unto itself, with enthused helpers eagerly rallied to give back to the fun that is Animazement, nya. To the interpreters & guest relations folks such as Nami Larson, Takayuki Karahashi, Su, Casey, and others- thank you for making The Triangle Area of NC a place that the guests look forward to revisiting, nya! To the web site forum moderators, thank you for being so cordial, communicative, informative, and eloquent, nya.

To the other senior & junior staff & volunteers, guests, artists, dealers, employees of the Sheratin Imperial, and to our fellow friendly fans- domo arigatoo gozaimasu, nya! The festive activities, the pageantry of spectacular costumes, the excellent videos to watch, and lovely things to purrchase are all such important aspects of Animazement, but mostly It’s definitely the people there that make it the grandest time, and we sure do look forward to attending again in 2009, nya! Wow that was a very detailed anime con report, nya. So what other anime mews do we have to mention, nya?

Right Stuf Licensed to Distribute Aria the Animation! Woohoo!

Elizabeth:
Aria is a lovely manga and anime series about a girl named Akari who aspires to be a gondolier at Neo Venusia, the Italian-esque city of canals on a future aquaformed Mars, and her most pleasant adventures there with the Aria gondola company. Aria is one of our favorite manga- it is a most charming and beautiful slice-of-life science fiction series, and now one of North America’s oldest & most respected anime distributors Right Stuf Inc. http://www.rightstuf.com/ and Nozomi Entertainment have the license for Aria the Animation! According to their web site, the DVD box set of the 1st season’s 13 episodes can be pre-ordered via the official series (American) site http://aria.rightstuf.com/. The set is schedule to be released on September 30th 2008, with Japanese audi and English subtitles! Now in it’s 3rd season in Japan which is called Aria the Origination http://www.ariacompany.net/2nd/index.htm (a Japanese site), the anime based upon the original manga Aqua (which was retitled Aqua after volume 2) by the brilliant Kozue Amano http://ariapokoten.sakura.ne.jp/ (a Japanese site). For more information on this series, here are more links:

Yvonne:
Wikipeida’s Aria article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aria_The_ANIMATION and the always informative http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/, nya!

Jeannie:
Undine http://www.ancalima.co.uk/aria/ and Neo-Venezia http://drawerofdreams.net/neo-venezia/index.htm are fans’ splendid sites!

The Catgirls’ Manga Recommendations of the month: Aria, Foxy Lady, Dragon Sisters

Mary Nyan:
In purrevious Mews we reviewed the manga Aqua vol. 1 & 2 and Aria vol. 1, and volume 2 just came out, translated into English for North American readers by Tokyo Pop http://www.tokyopop.com/.
Vol. 3 has color covers plus 2 color pages, 183 pages of B&W manga, plus 2 pages of Ennu Club cartoon message from the author, 2 pages of character & plot notes, a preview of vol. 3. The chapters of this manga are all set during the winter time, beginning with “Snow Bug” in which Akari and Alicia gather fire wood and find a cute little snow bug, said to be a harbinger of pending snowflakes. Next is “Utopia” in which the undines escape the cold at a hot spring in the ruins of a seaside mansion. “A Day in the Life of the President” is a short slice about Aria the cat, who likes to climb into boxes & bags.

In “Visions of the Stars”, Akari meets the Gnomes as they are called- the underground workers who maintain the planet’s artificial gravity, with machinery that makes lovely sounds as if singing in caverns. “Auguri di Buon Anno” is is Akari’s first New Year’s eve on the planet, as folks gather in public squares for the occassion to throw stuff into the air in celebration. “Carnival” is the biggest festival of the year, not just for humans but cats too, as Akari joins the parade led by the mysterious Casanova character. In this volume’s ‘Ennui Club” Amano discusses how long it takes to create the manga. The splendid art, endearing characters, lovely scenery and pleasant science fiction plot make Aria among the most delightful and loveliest manga in recent years!

Yvonne:
I think Kozue Amano’s birthday was May 31st, nya!

Jeannie:
There is a pretty fold out poster of Aria’s Akari & Aika in the recent Megami magazine #95, with the Clannad cover. There is also a Strikers promo card, the bigger folded poster of Clannad characters, and even a few pics of catgirls and fox girls.  I just finished reading a manga about a fox girl.

Elizabeth:
Tell us about it!

Jeannie:
Foxy Lady Vol. one is also published by Tokyo Pop, and is authored by Ayun Tachibana. It is about Jin, who trains to be the priest of the family shrine he has inherited, when along comes a cute half demon / half human fox girl named Kogane who wishes to become fully human, but it looks like in order to do that she’ll need to mate with a human, and her sights are set on Jin. Wacky hijinks ensue. Jin’s friends Sogo and Kanato are not helping matters any. Her Fox God parents later arrive, not so sure that the human world is best for her. They give her a mystic fox stone. She can become human for brief purrriods of time if she kisses someone, causing her powers, fox parts to disappear temporarily. Later a weasel girl Izumi visits. At school, all the clubs want her to join, so there is a tournament to see which club she’ll join, and Sachi of the Occult Club is victorious. This is a nicely drawn, briskly paced manga with a lot happening on each page, rated OT (ages 16+) for the mildly ribald wacky situations that I would recommend to fans of cute magic fox girls. What about you, Vonny?

Elizabeth:
A mystic fox stone would be good to have.

Yvonne:
I’m reading Dragon Sisters Volume one, nya! It’s another Tokyo Pop publication, written and drawn by Nini, nya. This is yet another version of the classic Chinese purriod piece Romance of the Three Kingdoms, but with a cute twist- the main characters have been magically transformed into girls, nya! But not from a cursed spring this time, nya. Set amidst the rebellious times in the waning years of the Hanh Dynasty, fiesty strong girls Guan Yu and Zhang Rei wear sexy cleavage-revealing outfits, fight enemies and search for allies, nya. It trades fan service for historical accuracy, but that’s nothing new in comics or manga, nya.

Heroes Con

Mike:
The 26th annual Heroes Con http://www.heroesonline.com/heroescon.html is NC’s biggest convention, which convenes at the Charlotte Convention Center June 20-22. Founded by Shelton Drum this is the biggest convention in the state, with hundreds of guests, exhibitors, and thousands of fans from all over the globe! it is also known for the Indy Island featuring small press and independent publishers, artists & writers. It is so much fun with a most joyful ambience for comic book fans of all ages. I’ve been going there with friends since the very early 80’s and it is a fine tradition that we look forward to every year. Hopefully in the July Mew we’ll have a review of this year’s Heroes Con! After this short break, we’ll be commenting on comics, so please stay tuned!

(snip)

Yvonne:
We’re back, and  It’s time for Le Cat Chat Comix, nya!

Warning- there’s a Plot Spoiler Stake Out ahead for
Buffy: Season Eight #14, Angel: After the Fall #7, Serenity Better Days #3, Giant Size Astonishing X-Men #1, and the Gold Digger Swimsuit Special #15, nya!

Yvonne:
Dark Horse Comics’ Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight is my favorite comic book these days, nya! It has been so much fun and feels just like the TV show, and issue #14 “Wolves at the Gate Part 3” is no exception, nya. Purrfectly purrduced by Joss Whedon, it was superbly scripted by Drew Goddard, prettily pencilled by Georges Jeanty, incredibly inked by Andy Owens, colossally colored by Michelle Madsen, lavishly lettered by Richard Starkings & Comicraft’s Jimmy, with several sensational variant covers by Georges Jeanty, Jon Foster, Dexter Vines & Michelle Madsen, nya! The story begins with a sad scene as Buffy’s slayer team arrives in beautiful Japan to retrieve Akiko, but soon takes an amewsing turn with Dracula who’s joined the fight against the Asian vamps, nya. Buffy shows no mercy when capturing one of the vamps and grilling him- kinda literally- for information, nya. Love lives get more complicated, and an amazing colossal Dawn wades through the center of town, nya! There’s a shocking ending to the issue which I’ll not spoil, but the story arc concludes with June’s issue #15, nya!

Jeannie:
Dawn is wearing a shirt with Herbie the Love Bug’s stripe and #53 emblem. That is another favorite automobile of mine. The 3rd & final issue of the Serenity: Better Days was written by Joss Whedon & Brett Matthews, lettered by Michael Heisler, colored by Michelle Mudson, with a cover by Adam Hughes. This was a very exciting, action-packed conclusion to the mini series, featuring a thrilling shoot out, sparking dialog, Inara’s lovely apparel, insightful letters from readers, an announcement of a Shepherd Book series, and Whedon’s web comic Sugar Shock to be collected in print later this year. Whedon also has a new TV series Doll House, supposedly to air on Fox beginning in January with Buffy & Angel alumni Eliza Dushku and Amy Acker amongst the cast. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1135300/
Now I want a fruity oaty bar…

Mary Nyan:
I agree that the Buffy Season 8 has been terrific, but I have been elated with IDW’s Angel: After the Fall, since the TV show got cut short. Issue #7 of this ‘sixth season’ was purrticularly interesting as it was the 2nd part of the flash back to the night of that final episode when all hell broke loose in Los Angeles. First Night Part 2 was plotted by Joss Whedon and Brian Lynch, who also scripted it. Like the purrevious issue, the night is recounted in 3 chapters, each on a different set of characters. The Beta George sequence was drawn by Tim kane & colored by Jeremy Treece, Wesley’s sequence was illustrated by Nick Runge & colored by John Rauch, and Kate’s was illustrated by Stephen mooney & colored by Lisa jackson. The issue was lettered by Robbie Robbins & edited by Chris Ryall.

There are 5 different covers; I got the cover A version by Rebecca Wrigley, which depicts Wesley, Kate, Beta, Charles  & Gwen although the latter two are not in this issue. The center spread features cover B’s Spike art by Mike Oeming & Nick Filardi. Although all are exquisite, the Wesley chapter is purrhaps my favorite because it purrtains to my favorite characters from the show, Wesley and Fred. The character’s portraiture is good and the scenic detail is quite intricate. Kate’s chapter is neat as she is teamed up with Connor, and she has quite an impurressive arsenal. The Beta George chapter is a short framing sequence, in which the telepathic and tasty looking fish glimpses vamps fighting Slayers. This story concludes in June’s issue #8, with a new chapter beginning in issue #9 in June! Finally,
Angel: After the Fall Director’s Cut- issue 1 also hit the stands, a reprint f the 1st issue sporting a new cover by Alex Garner with shiny gold leaf fonts, and author Brian Lynch’s annotated 19 page script!

Elizabeth:
Recent catgirl beach volleyball action in comix was not limited to Mike’s April Fools guest installments at Clan of the Cats http://clanofthecats.com/d/20080401.html . There’s some sizzling action on the sand with Gina & Britanny in a lovely 5 page short story “Spiked Strike” by Basia, just one of the great contributions in the delightful May, 2008 Gold Digger Swimsuit Issue #15! By fans for fellow fans, these Gold Digger swimsuit issues are always a real treat, and this full color 48 pager may be the best one yet! There is also a call for submissions for future God Digger and Ninja High School specials by from Antarctic Press http://www.antarctic-press.com/. If you’ve never read the fabulous fun of Fred Perry’s comic book, you can find out more about Gold Digger at http://www.cheetaholics.net/!

Mike:
Giant Size Astonishing X-Men #1, the long awaited, long over-due grand finale to the years-in-the-making (since 2004) Joss Whedon / John Cassaday run of some of the best X-Men comics in 25 years was… a disappointment for me. Within a lovely wrap-around cover are 64 pages, but 1 is recap, 8 are ads, 12 are cover reprints. Of the actual story pages, the story seems padded out by too many full or two-page spreads, or pages of repetitive panels. Now I like big epic scenes just fine, but in this case it seemed to take twice as long to tell the story. Some of the scenic art seems to rely too heavily on photo effects for the cityscapes.The cover fueled my hope for an all out gathering of Earth’s greatest heroes to save the earth as they have in the past against cosmic threats, yet this threat did not seem to be nearly so monumental as others- even compared to the Z’noxx, and yet so many heroes (X-Men, Avengers, FF, SWORD, Dr, Strange are shoe horned into this final installment, only to seem rather helpless. It’s also a bit confusing, as to why some heroes are present while others are not, why this super weapon is so much harder to stop compared to many others, or why it (magically?) caused the the heroes to suffer from delusions of success. I didn’t think there was an exciting climax  or a good enough emotional payoff for any of the X-Men’s success or losses- it fell a bit flat. I take no delight in leveling such harsh criticism for a comic book I have so eagerly awaited, because I am (still) such a fan of Whedon’s ingenious writing, Cassaday’s lovely artistry, Laura Martin’s pretty coloring & fine lettering by Chris ElioPoulos, those wonderful characters old & new, and the previous 24 issues of this splendid series, but… I dunno, maybe I was building up this conclusion to be far more more than I should have. Comparatively speaking-

Lightning Round #9: our favorite X-Men stories & characters!

Yvonne:
I liked when the X-Men and New Mutants went to Asgard, nya! Oh and I liked Excalibur, and the team up with the Teen Titans, nya! (tags Jen)

Jeannie:
Proteus, The Dark Phoenix saga, Days of Future Past. (tags Myayr)

Mary Nyan:

Oh I agree with Jenjen- and the graphic novel God Loves Man Kills was very good too. (tags Lizzy)

Elizabeth:
I thought Astonishing X-Men 1-24 was very good! And that recent Kitty mini series. (tags Mike)

Mike:
Uncanny X-Men #1-66, #94-150, Giant Size #1 & Annual #3, and the mutants’ part in the mini series Marvels.

Yvonne:
What about favorite X characters nya? Mine are Kitty & Lockheed, Dani Moonstar & Rhane Sinclair, Psylocke and Ilyana Rasputin, nya! (tags Jen)

Jeannie:
Professor Charles Xavier, Dr. Hank McCoy, Dr. Moira Mactaggart, Heather Hudson, Kitty Pryde, Forge, Warlock and Princness Lilandra.

Mary Nyan:
The Beast, Nightcrawler, Mystique, Nocturne, Hepzibah. You know I cosplayed as The Scarlet Witch! (tags Lizzy)

Yvonne:
I like Nightcrawler and Nocturne too, nya!

Elizabeth:
Storm, Wolverine, Nightcrawler, Kitty and Rogue!

Yvonne:
And I like Polaris’s hair, nya. Oh who are your favorites, Mike, nya?

Mike:
Probably Scott & Jean!

Jeannie:
I would like some ruby quartz sunglasses. I wonder if they sell those at the glasses boutique…

Elizabeth:
Ok well done y’all! So what more comics topics do we have?

Mary Nyan:
How about the-

North Carolina Web Comics Coffee Clatch
Free Comic Book Day fun, interviews on WUNC’s The State of Things, and May Meeting!

Mary Nyan:
Just a week after Bot Con and the Animania, it would be time for more festivities, as the following Saturday was Free Comic Book Day http://www.freecomicbookday.com/. An annual national event held May 3rd, purrticipating comix shops and publishers give away free comic books! Now, there are many fine comics shops in the region  that tend to purrticipate in this annual activity, but this year we purrtook of the event at Burlington NC’s comics & game shop Heroes Haven http://www.heroshaven.com/.

As another part of the event, the store also hosted a gathering of some of the North Carolina WebComics Coffee Clatch http://ncwccc.net/. Mike’s fellow clatch members Larry Holderfield, Ursula Vernon, Dan Johnson, Thomas Boatwrightand Jamie Robertson were among purrticipating comix creators there. The fun started after midnight with the release of Shadowmoore, the latest card set for Magic: The Gathering. The store remained open 24 hours a day from 9 am Friday May 2nd until 8 pm Sunday May 4th for various gaming tournaments, including Magic, Hero Clix and Yu Gi Oh. Also contributing to the super heoric ambience were costumed folk including a Supergirl, Wonder Woman, Cat Woman, Batman, Robin, The Joker, Spider-Man, Darth Vader and a wizard!

A few days later on Thursday, May 8th our friends Stephanie Freese http://www.freese-design.com/, Ursula Vernon http://www.graphicsmash.com/comics/digger.php, and Larry ‘mckenzee’ Holderfield http://mckenzee.comicgenesis.com/ repurrsented the NCWCCC to discuss web comics with Frank Stasio on WUNC radio’s The State of Things http://wunc.org/programs/tsot/! They discussed their own comics, the Clatch,  and the nature & state of web comics in general for about 20 minutes with the very cordial host. It was a very jovial, concise, and expurrt conversation. If you would like to hear the show, it was archived on the purrogram’s site the following day for podcast!

Were that not enough comics clatch convening for the meowy month of May, a mere 9 days later was the regular monthly meeting on Saturday, May 17th in Greensboro. Meetings alternate Saturdays and Sundays, rotating between locations in Guilford County, Orange County, and Wake County, with possible future meetings in Alamance County. Sometimes the members meet at conventions too!
Of course if we’re going to discuss web comics stuff, this brings us to…. Lizzy, if you please?

Elizabeth:
Hai! It’s The Mew’s Monthly 13 Lucky Kitty Web Comic Picks of the Litter!

My picks for June are:
Tsukiyono Miyu’s Patches http://www.genkigirl.com/comics.html
Gina Bigg’s (she was at Animazement) Erstwhile Tales http://www.erstwhiletales.com/
and Prophesy of Destiny http://www.strawberrycomics.com/pod/
Your turn, Myayr!

Mary Nyan:
This month I’ve chosen
Lousia Roy’s Veltharis http://www.velharthis.com/
Robin Edwards’ TV Circuit http://tvc.strawberrycomics.com/
and Ganbare! Shimura-san http://gss.strawberrycomics.com/
Jennyjen?

Jeannie:
My turn! I’ll nominate
Sarah Davis’ The Awakened http://www.theawakenedcomic.com/
Nicole Chartrand’s Fey Winds http://kitsune.rydia.net/comicsfeywinds.html
Sarrah Ellerton’s Phoenix Requiem http://requiem.seraph-inn.com/
Go Vonny!

Yvonne:
I’ve selected
Rekka’s Skyfall http://www.skyfallmanga.com/
Andy Weir’s Cheshire Crossing http://www.cheshirecrossing.net/
Lee Chu’s Aerya’s Tears http://aerya.comicgenesis.com/
nya! (looks to mike)

Mike:
Last but certainly not least, I’d like to mention Niki Lemonades’ My Fake Heart http://myfakeheart.smackjeeves.com/
She was also at Animazement- her artist alley table was next to mine!
So what else have y’all been reading of late?

The catgirls’ novel ideas for June reading include mermaids & faeries & shrew (oh my): Nurk, Emily Windsnap, Faerie Magazine

Yvonne:
As a fan of Ursula Vernon who is a very nice purrson and incredible illustrator, I was quite eager to read storybook Nurk, nya! Recently published by Harcourt, Ursula wrote & illustrated this 131 page hardcover book, nya. It is a cute story about a shrew named Nurk who receives a letter that was intended for his Grandmother Surka, nya The letter is a plea for her to come to a rescue, and while searching her abandoned home for clues, he finds her diary and discovers she was quite a heroic adventure, nya. So with some trepidation he sets off on a quest to return the letter to the sender, winding up on much more of an adventure than he planned for his birthday nya! My favorite part of Nurk’s journey was the fish tree- I wish there were some of those around here, nya. It is a very cute book with delightful B&W – about 13 interior illustrations plus the color cover art- that would entertain readers of all ages, nya!

Elizabeth:

I’ve been reading the Emily Windsnap series by Liz Kessler http://www.lizkessler.co.uk/index.php! This series is up to volume three, originally published in Britain, published in the US in Hardcover and trade paperback by Candlewick. Each book is  around 200 or so pages in length. I got the paperback editions of these charming books, which have such neat  little illustrations by Sarah Gibb.

(The tide is now washing ashore some potentially plot spoiling information about the Emily Windsnap books!)

In Vol. One. The Tail of Emily Windsnap, a young girl finds out that she can turn into a mermaid and eventually meets a whole mer-society. She also discovers the conspiracy to cover up her parents’ secret heritage. Ironically her Mom does not want Emily going in the water, yet they live on a house boat- which purrhaps suggests her Mom’s sub-conscious connection to a sub-merged former part of her life. While this is primarily a charming cute adventure tale, she also has to contend with classmates that are impolite to her, but fortunately later finds friends who accept her for who she is. Emily deals with school & family pressures, while literally adjusting to undersea pressure as she discovers her true nature in this wonderful book that I could not put down once I started reading it!

In Vol. Two Emily Windsnap and the Monster from the Deep, her reunited family and best friend Shona move to the lovely community of All Points Island. in the Bermuda Triangle where human and merfolk coexist nicely, it’s meant to be unaware by the rest of the world- but a former classmate Mandy who was mean to her shows up on a cruise ship. Worse for everyone, despite warnings to avoid a forbidden area, Emily accidentally awakens a giant sea monster. She means well but makes big mistakes and no one is happy- not King Neptune, the mermaids, nor the Kraken- and somehow Emily must find a way make it all right. The author blends emotional crisis with a life-threatening disaster for our 12 year old heroine to overcome, yet keeps this such a whimsical, delightful, optimistic sequel!

In Vol. Three Emily Windsnap and theCastle in the Mist, Poor Emily winds up in deep trouble again, when she finds a magic ring that King Neptune had cast away. This terribly complicates matters, because her parents have been arguing a lot, and Emily fears they might part company again. Emily fears she might have to choose sides in more ways than one- as Neptune’s ring carries a curse, which means she’ll have to choose between life as a human or life as a mermaid. The curse is there because the King has yet to get over a previous marriage with a human, but purrhaps if Emily can find the companion wedding ring and unite the two, the curse will be lifted. Once gain, Kessler brilliantly weaves realistic, emotional situations that children sometimes face with a fantastic mission in
a beautiful, exotic undersea realm. These are very pleasantly swishy fun fantasy novels that I definitely recommend for kids or adults, especially for mermaid fans!

Yvonne:
We should mention those books to our mermaid friends, nya! Purrhaps I’ll see Melanakeami or Dessy later when I take the boat out, nya.

Elizabeth:
Depending on where we meet next time, purrhaps we could ask them to join us for a Mew!

Mary Nyan:

Well, aside from the comics and manga, lately I’ve just read my magazines. Some of the latest issues feature cover articles on some of my favorite athletes , such as swimmer Amanda beard in the June / swimwear issue of Triathlete; sufer Malia Jones on the cover of the June issue of Outside, and in an article on 13 weekend getaways; and  skater Kristi Yamaguchi gracing the cover on TV Guide’s May 12-18th Dancing with the Stars issue. She and Mark Ballas won! Morgan Pressel’s on the cover of the May/June issue of Golff for Women, and I also picked up the 2008 Masters Tournament official purrogram. Christina Ricci is on the cover of May’s issue #15 of geek magazine, regarding her excellent role as Trixie in Speed Racer.

Jeannie:
I recently got The Transformers Collectors’ Club issue #21, which is the Botcon issue! It has a report on the con with numerous color photos of the con and some of the forthcoming toys by Hasbro such as the new animated series figures and 20th anniversary Optimus, plus the Mini Mayhem photo comic by Jesse Wittenrich, Matt Moylan’s cute Lil Formers page, fan artist spotlight  and 7 pages of cull color Transformers comics! How about you, Mike?

Mike:
Y’know one of my favorite magazines these days is the quarterly Faerie Magazine!  Published quarterly since Spring 2005, it is always a joy to read. The Spring 2008 issue includes an interview with Spiderwick author Holly Black, articles on artists David Delamare and May Gibbs, harpist Elizabeth-Jane Baldry, and a tutorial on how to make a plush dragon by Jennifer Carson. There are plenty of other articles too, including Snow White & Rose Red, various folks Faerie collections and art, Ari Berk’s Battle of the Trees, jewelry by Kirk’s Folly, Xylem fashions, and even a bit on North Carolina’s fairystone crosses.  There’s also the usual neat ads for awesome art, decor & collectibles, a calendar of faerie related events & festivals, and other articles, reviews, and news. For more info you can visit their web site http://www.faeriemagazine.com/!

The Cat Lady Sings…

Elizabeth:
Well that’ll wrap it up for this edition of The Mew (looks at the dessert selections)… hmm… I think I’d just like another cran apple cherry nummy berry cocktail…

Jeannie:
If you have polite & sincere responses to our discussion- feel free to post them, purr-vided that your brief remarks are spam-free, not argumentative, and stay on-topic. I would like the dish of extra special baked yams.

Yvonne:
Everybody out there remember to turn off your cell phone and not to talk, text message, or light it up like a flashlight during a movie in a theater, nya! May I have an ice cream moondae, nya?

Mary Nyan:
Next month, more of our mewsual reviews, discussions, recommendations! Oh can I get the nilla creamy puddin purrrfait?

Mike:
Uh, I’ll just have another decaf diet coke… neat! Thanks for visiting, folks!

(all four grinning catgirls in unison):
Happy tails to you- until we eat again, nya! BAI BAI!

Yvonne:
Will we still get the Moonpies later, nya?

catgirls


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