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On Line

COMIC EXPO

by Moe - 4 Comment(s)

I had the pleasure of attending the Comic Expo held April 27-29 at the BMO Centre as a representative at the library booth. The Event was a huge success with an estimated attendance at the three day event in the 45,000 + range. At one point on Saturday afternoon Calgary’s Fire Marshall actually closed the event to further entry as maximum saturation had been reached. And boy was it saturated.

The crowds were amazing, the costumes dazzling, and the atmosphere electric.

We engaged with hundreds of people and once again I am struck with how responsive people are to public libraries and their presence at such events. I talked to people from Fredericton, Houston, Los Angeles, Wyoming, a lot from Vancouver and Edmonton and one lady who had travelled all the way from Pool, England to see James Marsters- and who can blame her. She is a librarian and was thrilled to hear that libraries are alive and well in Calgary as she herself had recently been made redundant as a “soft target” of England’s budget cuts.

I asked dozens of attendees to pose for pictures in front of our “EVERYTHING YOU'RE INTO“ banner, and without exception, everyone agreed. They loved the banner and thought it really spoke to their own wide variety of interests.

If there was ever an event that more readily embraces the diversity of people’s interests, I have yet to find it. Steam Punk, Horror, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Anime, Graphix, Gothic, cartoonists, animators, illustrators, self-publishers, all very enthusiastic and ready to share what Public Libraries mean to them. There was one very charming young lady, Melissa, who along with her entire family had a wildly successful, heavily-attended ‘Steam Punk’ booth. She had an amazing hand-made costume and I asked if she would be willing to come over and let me take her picture in front of our banner. She did, stayed for around 10 minutes, drew a huge crowd, and proclaimed "Reading is Sexy, Libraries are wonderful, Support your local library.” She makes costumes, jewelry, accessories and specializes in the most amazing steam punk goggles, monocles, field glasses etc-- she does her research at her local library -- and yes, I bought a pair- I LOVE the steam punk look.

Freddy Kruger, Q , Skeletor, Wolverine (old and new versions), an entire family of Superman[s], Lady Galadriel, Orcs from the White Tower, The Fly, Rorschach, Darth Maul, Spider-Man, Red Skull, The Mad Hatter, Star Trek, and Steam Punk galore --- all happy to stop and pose with our banner. One of the people who I asked to pose, Red Skull, was on his way to the judging for best costume, but agreed to take the time for a picture with us. He went on to become one of the finalists. What an amazing costume! Thanks Skull. Freddy K, who I have always found to have one of the most disturbing faces ever, took a little bit of the edge off for me when he said "Who doesn't like libraries!" My Darth Maul guy actually physically implanted his horns; that's an amazing degree of committment...

And if you are wondering if I sprung for my own big photoshoot with the entire Star Trek- Next Generation cast- the answer is--- sadly not. At $495.00 it was a little too rich for my blood.

And now for something completely gritty

by Moe - 2 Comment(s)

Guest blogger Trevor has gone to a darker and grittier area of our collection. Some excellent recommendations here, but as he warns there is a fair share of language, sex and violence.

Now that the deluge of summer family blockbusters has finally subsided I find myself hankering for some comic book films that don’t have to cater to the younger demographics. Here are comic book films that should appeal to a more sophisticated crowd.

Watchmen – Are masked-heroes really saviours of society or are they merely fascist vigilantes, corrupting the American ideal as they practice their twisted form of justice? This theme, and others just as thought-provoking, helped solidify Watchmen as one of Time Top 100 Novels of All Time. The film does an excellent job of translating the deep and complex tale.

A History of Violence – An unflinchingly brutal film about one man’s journey to overcome his violent past, A History of Violence is not your typical comic-book fare. David Cronenberg direction is as stark and visceral as ever and Viggo Mortensen delivers a strong performance.

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World - The tale of a young man’s quest to get a girl (complicated by the need to first defeat her 7 evil ex-boyfriends). This one isn’t particularly violent or kid-unfriendly, it’s just aimed at an older crowd. The videogame references are a perfect wink and high-five for the 20-30 year old crowd who grew up glued to their Nintendos.

Kick-Ass – The “teenage boy decides to become a superhero” story certainly sounds like it would fit into a family friendly mould. The extreme violence and ubiquitous (and hilarious) profanity, take it to a whole other level though. Nicholas Cage gives his bar-none best performance as an Adam West-esque Batman lookalike.

Sin City-is a pitch perfect blending of classic film noire and modern action ideals. It masterfully weaves three tales of vice, violence, and revenge and does so in beautiful black and white. The all star cast of Bruce Willis, Mickey Rourke, and Clive Owen (among many others) adds substance to this stylistic flick.

by Trevor

Take me with you!

- 1 Comment(s)

Moe is on holidays right now, so she's asked a few other Movie Maniacs to step in and write some guest blogs for her while she's away. I was totally fine with this prospect until she revealed exactly where it was that she'll be vacationing.

Hint: It's New Zealand.

Now! This is a pretty excellent destination to choose at any given time, but it just so happens to be the BEST destination at THIS given time.

Don't know what I'm talking about? Clearly you're not as big of a fan-girl as I am (neener neener)...

The reason why New Zealand is the place for any Movie Maniac to be right now is because Peter Jackson is currently working on the second leg of his new Tolkien epic, "The Hobbit" in that glorious country as I type.

Now what you have to understand, is that we're still AGES away from the release of this movie. The first phase of it JUST got into post-production, and they've still got loads of editing and tweaking and awesome-ifying to do yet, and everything else is in pre-production. This is ALSO only the first half of the journey -- they're splitting the novel into two films, like any smart adapter does these days.

Which means, my friends, that they are filming RIGHT NOW, in all their dwarvish make-up glory, in beautiful locations all across the land of the Kiwis. And I couldn't be more jealous of Moe for getting to be there.

If the set production vlogs are anything to go by (which I'm hoping they are, even though Jackson is not releasing them NEARLY as often as he should be...) this second leg of shooting will carry on well into December. And even though the sites and sets are a very closely guarded secret, this makes me hopeful that Moe might just stumble across a hobbit or an elf or a dragon here and there. She has told me they love drivng down back roads just to see where they come out, so with a little luck... At any rate, I've told her it's probably best to bring her lady-dwarf costume (beard and all) and some speedy running shoes for dodging the security guards.


As a tribute to the epicness that is Jackson's work in New Zealand, I've decided to include a couple of OTHER movies shot in this locale. Click on the titles for links to the Calgary Public Library catalogue!


Whale Rider, possibly the biggest film to actually focus on Kiwi culture and life, revolves around a young Maori girl and her search to fulfill her destiny. Beautifully filmed, beautifully acted, this one was up for an Oscar and 28 other awards. It won most of them.

King Kong and Lovely Bones (both directed by Jackson) are not set in NZ, but do use its gorgeous locations as backdrops. Both are written by Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, two collaborators of Jackson's on LOTR. Both also have all-star casts, and one of them has Jack Black. What more can I say?

If you're into horror, 30 Days of Night (originally a graphic novel series) is a terrifying, and R-rated, Vampire flick... I promise these blood-suckers don't sparkle. Almost half of the cast is either Kiwi or Aussie, but you can't tell, because they're all pretending to be from Alaska.

I swear, New Zealand must have the most diverse climates and landscapes of any country... where else could pass for Pennsylvania, Alaska, Middle Earth... or Pandora?

That's right, James Cameron's epic Avatar was shot there too. Wanna know why? Check out this article from "Film New Zealand".

Other epic NZ-based movies include The Chronicles of Narnia,The Bridge to Terabithia (starring The Hunger Games' Josh Hutcherson), and Spielberg's highly anticapted Tintin movie, out this Christmas.