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Ciera Foster on becoming Livewire, Ninjak Vs, and the Future (Toylab Exclusive Interview)


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Toylab bloggers have made no secret that they are excited about the direction of Valiant Entertainment. With the launch of X-O Manowar comic, the upcoming Secret Weapons series and of course the upcoming live action Ninjak vs the Valiant Universe. We are thrilled to bring you an interview with one of the star's from Ninjak vs. the Valiant Universe, Ciera Foster. Ciera Foster is playing one of my favorite Valiant characters, Livewire. When casting for Ninjak vs was going on I openly wondered if they would find an actress who could portray the mixture of intelligence and bad assness that is Livewire and with Ciera they just flat out nailed it. She is intelligent, beautiful, and a good person as well. On top of all that she brings a legit athletic and martial arts resume to the table. Toylab's Marvel Matt sought out Ciera on questions about playing Livewire and she kindly answered.

If you love Valiant, if you are curious about Ninjak vs. The Valiant Universe then you need to read this interview. Ciera has an infectious enthusiasm for playing Livewire that has pushed my excitement for seeing her in action to 11.
Divinity #0 - Ciera Foster - Livewire Cover

As part of highlighting the Ninjak vs film Valiant is releasing a series of variant covers featuring the actors.  The Ciera Foster - Livewire cover will come out with Divinity #0.  It looks amazing!




Please Follow Ciera Foster on Twitter and Instagram:


Ciera we are very excited to see you play Livewire in Ninjak vs. the Valiant Universe.  What was the first thing that excited you as an actress about playing Livewire?

Firstly, thank you and the enthusiasm is certainly mutual!!! Thinking how to respond to that question is a bit tricky because it's a loaded answer. - The first thing that comes to mind is hands down the simple fact that I am a comic book, cartoon, video game fan. Yes, ME!!! I grew up with my older brother Nick and my guy cousins Keion and Cedric and we practically lived (and still do I might add) all things superhero,... seriously! But that's just the tip of the iceberg. I love playing Livewire not only because of what she is "a superhero" but because of WHO she is. Livewire is a natural leader with boundless compassion yet yields uncompromising strength. She's both admired and respected and hates wrongdoing particularly at the cost of the defenseless. Daily I'm blown away at the blessing of playing this character whose values are so aligned with my own. She continues to amaze me. With my background in athletics and my previous and current endeavors in the humanitarian field I couldn't have written a better character for me to play, which is a credit to the founding creators and the current exceptional team of writers working for and with Valiant.


 Speaking of Valiant I legitimately cannot answer this question without acknowledging how thrilled I am (Not to mention damn proud) to be a part of the Valiant Universe. I know I could easily sound biased but the fact is the more anyone delves into Valiant the more apparent it will be that there is no other major super universe with as much diversity in character, craftsmanship, and artistry plus overall badassness. From Harbinger, to Faith, to Bloodshot to one of my favorites Britannia (Just to name a few). I mean seriously it doesn't get more diverse than that! No slight on other comic universes but Valiant isn't creating a league of its own, it already is one. People are just seeing it on a larger scale and that makes me pretty damn excited to be your Livewire.


Livewire is the star of a comic series coming out called Secret Weapons have you been able to get a preview of that?

Valiant does a phenomenal job of providing us plenty of material. But it's no secret as Valiant continues to get bigger and bigger that our CEO Dinesh Shamdasani and VP of marketing Hunter Gorinson have made secrecy Valiant's "Secret Weapon" (See what I did there...) - I have a bit of a preview on the way from H.Q. but the hard hitting stuff I get to read with everyone else, which is cool with me. I get to share the journey as a fan and with the fans. I think that's important as an artist especially when playing a comic book character to be along for the ride at the same pace. Otherwise it's easy to project stuff onto to the scene or character that hasn't happened. Which I feel does everyone an injustice. - I've certainly done my research and since the book is about the emergence of the Harbinger program, I'm just as excited as the Valiant fans.

Livewire may seem like the star but I believe my character has the honor of being somewhat of a guiding force for some incredible new characters that will be introduced. I personally love that. It is my understanding Secret Weapons conceptually challenges the notion of being a "misfit". I believe the world could use a little more of that these days.

The Bat and the Sun is producing the series how did you meet them and get the part as Livewire?
Ciera Foster playing Livewire in Ninjak vs the Valiant Universe

Pure hustle. I went to audition almost two years ago for a role I submitted myself for. It was an extremely small, low budget, independent project. I have managers and agents of course but I like to search out new creative challenges for myself (Maybe that is the artist/athlete in me) because the role was pretty controversial and the project as I stated didn't pay much. I'd just gotten back from holiday, when I received the callback and I was pretty tired but I love what I do and I don't miss auditions so I went happily and did my thing. - I didn't get the part lol!

Apparently, I just wasn't right for the role, but the director liked my energy and work. He looked at my resume and said, "I gotta ask you about your martial arts and athletic background..." I filled him and the assistant CD in. Per usual I started geeking out over my love for superheroes. He told he might have a referral for me. I left and that was that. I had no expectations. I actually forgot until months later I got a phone call from Aaron Schoenke to play Storm for Bat in the Sun's Wonder Woman vs. Wolverine. After about 5 minutes of me talking about Ororo Munroe's history a little Street Fighter, Dragon Ball Z, Sailor Moon and a dash of Mortal Kombat I got the part. Almost a year later I got another phone call out of the blue from Aaron, I remember his exact words.

"Are you available next month to work? ... There is a thing...Its cool....really cool....you'll like it...I can't tell anything else but if you interested I think you should audition for it....that's all I can say.  I'll be in touch."

Yep, it was at that moment for exactly 17 seconds I thought I'd finally got the call to be a real life spy LOL. Auditioning for Livewire was actually not too far off. A week later I got another call then another with limited info. I was sent audition sides (1-2 pages of material) I was told to send them back the same day as soon as possible. Reading the small bit of information I was given about the character (Still almost nothing not even a mention of Valiant) I had to make choices based off of a combination of training and instinct. I even overrode some of the direction I was given. As I worked on it with my older brother Nick we let our knowledge and passion of superheroes guide us. We had so little info we worked on it all over about three hours straight (discussing it constantly) until it felt right. I sent in my taped audition to Aaron and Sean at Bat in the Sun. After that Bat in the Sun sent it to Valiant in New York. About ten minutes later Aaron texted me I got the part - No better feeling. I know I didn't know someone, there were no favors, just my hard work paying off step by step. The best woman got the job. I was (am) Livewire.

The Valiant Universe is full of bad asses and Livewire is one of the biggest bad asses of them all, what was it like to film action sequences in Ninjak vs. The Valiant Universe? 


What a fun question. It's literally a dream come true. As long as I can remember I've pretended to be a superhero, ninja, secret agent, etc. This is a lot cooler because its for real! I LIVE for this stuff! As you mentioned being such a powerful character one of the most powerful in the entire Valiant Universe especially as a woman is beyond exhilarating. When we film the fight scenes in particular I enter into a whole other zone. It's like a shark when they smell blood ...Was that too crazy LOL. I spent ample time on set not only on Livewire as a character but her characteristics in combat which is a huge part of the storytelling. As an artist but above all as a fan, I can tell a lot about character by the way they fight. I think a lot of comic hero heads would agree.

I fused my knowledge of the character with martial arts, artistry, and comics together to give Livewire an action personality that is so dynamic. I truly hope our fans and viewers enjoy watching it as much as I enjoyed portraying it. Ultimately, a large part of Livewire is her fighting because that’s when you see how powerful she is when it all becomes unleashed. It gives me chills just thinking about it!

None of it would be possible without the involvement of the Valiant heads Dinish Shamdasani (CEO) and Joshua Johns (Dir. of Digital Media / Development) giving me the freedom to be an artist and working so collaboratively with Bat in the Sun. All of the fights in Ninjak Vs would be a nothing without the full cast and crew (Seriously you've seen our cast, athletes for days.) Credit is especially due to our director Aaron Schenoke he was born to create epic fight and action sequences. The direction let alone the vision of Aaron and his father Sean Schenoke combined is priceless. Lastly, but certainly not least our special affects composer Nikolay Zamkovoy is just a beast and creative genius that kills it every time.

You were an NCAA athlete and have trained heavily in martial arts.  Can you go into you're training in martial arts and did that help you land this role.


My dad is a 7th degree black belt and Tang Soo Do master. He was also sparring partners with the legendary Chuck Norris. My father trained me in his dojo where I had to attend classes until I was about eleven. We also trained at the park outside of class. After a break my mother kept me involved in Taekwondo and Karate. When I was twelve I was recruited to play basketball. I traded theater club at the time for basketball practice in hopes of earning a scholarship. I played basketball for eleven years straight including competitive national and international summer leagues. As my skills developed I began to only play "up" on teams with athletes older than me. The same happened in high school by the end of my freshmen year I was on varsity already and playing in regional finals. Club or school ball I was always on regional, sectional, or state championship teams. I also played competitive softball two years, track and field for three years (undefeated), and was recruited to play volleyball at the collegiate level. More often than not I was the captain on many of my teams especially through college. I was a COAA California State Championship finalist. From there I was recruited to SoCal where I became an NCAA athlete and received a scholarship to play basketball.

Afterwards I returned to martial arts mainly Taekwondo testing for my black belt, while also pursuing my acting career. During both regular school and acting school I also attended two film fighting schools. I attended Theatrical Academy of Combat under the instruction of Dan and Jan Spreaker who choreographed the films Hook and Master and Commander. There I learned my film fighting foundation and weapons technique. My best weapons are the broad sword, quarter staff, and the cutlass. After that I attended Film Fighting LA under the instruction of Robert Goodwin who helped train Robert Downey Jr. in Iron Man. There was a big emphasis of the three points of Shaolin Kung Fu Martial Arts Method which I fell in love with. The school incorporated several art forms of camera fighting, stunt work, wrestling and firearms.   I've also had to do various training for a variety of roles and I still take classes and workshops. I will never stop learning and improving, I love this expression of the body and I'm blessed with the physicality to do something dynamic with it.

What does it feel like to join the ranks of Super Heroes? Playing Livewire makes you into a role model how does that change your mindset?

Playing Livewire doesn't change my mindset in regard to being a role model its quite the opposite, it affirms it. I've always had something inside of me pushing me to help others and to inspire. Its simple really, acting is my passion but helping others is my purpose. As I reflect on my career and life up to this point it adds up to this moment, this platform. When I was in college I was a paid activist for the CAA California Teachers Association I fought for educational rights, teacher rights and fair tuition costs. I was one of three student activist ambassadors hired by the CAA to represent SQE Students for Quality Education in which I was trained on activism techniques and school reform. My job was to bridge the gap between legislation and student rights.

In athletics as an NCAA athlete I was the captain and placed in charge of the team community service out reach programs. As an artist I've been to Haiti as an ambassador to Artists for Peace and Justice founded by writer/director Paul Haggis. I'm also an ambassador for the Water Underground Project and supporter of Children International. Now more than ever I feel these experiences have been part of a greater purpose which supersedes fame and popularity and has everything to do with passion. 
I say all this only to make the point that now I am Livewire,  I am just getting started. Be it a student athlete captain, activist, ambassador, acting class, or even growing up at home I've always been held to a higher standard. Livewire just raised the bar. I'm apart of something much bigger than myself.   As you stated I realize that makes me a role model, especially for little girls and young women. Challenge Accepted.

There have not been many black female super heroes in live action media?  Halle Berry comes to mind as Storm in X-Men but mind is drawing blanks on others.  At any rate it is a very small club of actresses that you are joining, does that add meaning to portrayal of Livewire.

I know what this means and I don't take it for granted. I'm humbled and honored, I think about it daily. People write me and post things about me regarding that very point. It's a blessing and a privilege. I always wanted to be a superhero but besides Storm there were no other heroes in all of the great universes that looked like me. It was a bit disheartening as a kid. Naturally, I assumed I'd play Storm if there ever were a Strom Origins film developed. This was my goal. By the way Alexandra Shipp is killing that role. But I realize now I was only thinking at the level of what I was shown possible. In the emerging age of the female lead heroine / superhero and with me as Livewire as a lead female superhero of color I take great pride and happiness in knowing that girls and boys of all races and backgrounds will see me and other upcoming heroes, and know that anything is possible. The best part is one day it won't even be a thought and the word "Black" or "Female" hero won't be a big deal. We will all just be superheroes from all walks of life representing everyone. That said let me clearly say in this moment in time I'm extremely proud to hold the torch for both female heroines and heroes of color until the goal of visibility amongst both is reached.

What is the future of Livewire?  We know that Valiant has a variety of film projects in the future.  Will Ninjak vs. The Valiant Universe lead to role in those projects?

All I can say is that I'm blessed to be a part of something very special. I'm the face of Livewire for the first time, ever. To be so well received playing a character that was seemingly physically designed for me and virtually my whole life has been preparing me to play is pure joy. I'm certainly enjoying every minute of it. Since my character reveal and trailer premier/panel discussion at NYC Comic Con reception and the over all presence of this remarkable character continuing to expand. As you noted for the first time since the dawn of Valiant a series highlighting Livewire is being released now in Secret Weapons. That's major. Additionally, you mentioned its no secret Valiant is developing films. Eric Heisserer the Oscar nominated screen writer for Arrival not only wrote Secret Weapons but is writing the Harbinger film as well. To me what that says for not only the future of my character but the future of Valiant Comics and comics period is not lost on me. Playing Livewire as an artist (Especially a woman) being considered a fan-favorite character and being a fan myself means the world to me. I would love to play Livewire in the Harbinger films. I am Livewire. I was born to do this. I also look forward to continue to expanding and growing with the fans. We have the best fans hands down, period. I feel we are in this journey together and I mean that with everything in me. - Ninjak is something special, the Valiant Universe is special. The fans are beyond special. Valiant Entertainment / Valiant Digital are doing amazing things in both entertainment and comics. Valiant is so creative they plan things out far in advance. I think we will just have to stay tuned to see what unfolds.

What is the coolest moment you have had at a Convention since becoming Livewire?

When Bobby Leet a father of two recognized me walking around Comic Con NYC during my press day. The trailer and character reveal were not until the following day but he was such a big Valiant fan that he already knew who I was and asked for a picture. That memory sticks out to me as clear as day. He was the first one, we still follow each other on Instagram. By far to me the most impactful moment was the next day at the trailer premier and panel discussion. A guy (granted he was dressed as Armstrong lol) came up to me with tears in his eyes. He said he'd grown up reading the original Valiant Comics when he was a kid. He was so overwhelmed he could barely talk. He said Livewire was one of his favorite characters and he was emotional because I was everything he'd imagined her to be and more. The man said my being Livewire and the entire Ninjak Vs. experience was overwhelming and surreal for him. He assured me his tears were that of joy. I could feel his emotion then and now. I gave him a hug and thanked him. I still have the picture we took. I have many incredible moments with Valiant fans but that one will always be in my heart. It was at that moment that I truly realized what it meant to be and "Stay Valiant".


As you can Ciera is already a real hero and doing great things with this role I recommend checking her out on social media and her website.  Also look for her at Cons as I expect her to be going to a few.

Learn more about Ciera Foster:

Please follow Ciera on her Twitter and Instagram 

How to beat Vaporeon in Pokemon Go?





How to beat Vaporeon in Pokemon Go?

Vaporeon is both common and powerful making him one of the popular Gym Battle Pokemon's.  Many believe that Vaporeon is overpowered especially given how common Eevee is.  This is likely due to speed being less of a parameter in Pokemon Go!  This leads Pokemon like Vaporeon who have a large amount of hit points and have strong attacks to take over quickly.

That said no Pokemon is unbeatable and the trick with beating powerful Pokemon is to find the right Type against them.

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So with that said!

HOW TO BEAT VAPOREON!
BEST POKEMON VS VAPOREON!
HOW TO CATCH VAPOREON!
WHAT ARE VAPOREON'S COUNTERS

The trick with Vaporeon and all WATER type pokemon is to use a GRASS Pokemon.  GRASS  Pokemon have a defensive and offensive advantage against water Pokemon making them by far the best to take them on. In previous games WATER attacks were cut in half when used against a GRASS Pokemon and the effect of GRASS  Attacks were DOUBLED!!!

Which GRASS  Pokemon to use?

You want to know why Vaporeon is sitting on top of so many gyms look no further than how rare and unpopular the GRASS  Pokemon.   Which one do you build?  Any one you can.  I have seen a variety of Water Pokemon doing very well in Pokemon Go and I think it has to do with how few built up Grass Pokemon there are.



Make sure you pick a Grass Pokemon that also has GRASS Attacks.  This gives the Pokemon advantages in both attacking and defending.   This will make it extremely competitive against Vaporeon.


Parasect with Solar Beam


My favorite and efficient killer of Vaporeon is Parasect.  Parasect is a GRASS / BUG hybrid and one of his combo moves if you get it is Solar Beam.  Solar Beam packs a whooping 120 damage in Grass type.  A CP 800 can take out a C) 1500 Vaporeon provided it has solar beam.
I will also mention that a Parasect with all bug moves is still worth keeping as it can take down another common defender Exeggcutor.

The best part of Parasect is that it is an evolution of Paras that is a common Pokemon so evolving a Parasect or even multiple Parasect's is not too hard.

My only warning is that Parasect has many weakness particularly to flying Pokemon so leaving him as a gym defender himself may not be the idea.  Though he could likely surprise many a trainer who attacks with a Vaporeon.



Electric Pokemon like Jolteon!
Another good way to take down Vaporeon is with evolutionary cousin Jolteon.  Jolteon's ELECTRIC attacks are super effective against WATER Pokemon.  That is right ELECTRIC attacks work well against WATER pokemon.  They just don't get the defensive bonus that the GRASS pokemon have.
Add in the other ELECTRIC type of Pokemon in here for good measure like fan favorite Pikachu / Raichu.

With release of Legendary Pokemon Zapdos would make an excellent counter to Vaporeon.


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Top Cow at Denver Comic Con


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Top Cow is bringing in some of their top talents and will have a booth at Denver Comic Con.



Special Guests at the Top Cow Booth to include:
Zack Kaplan (Eclipse)
Matt Hawkins (Symmetry, Aphrodite IX)


Top Cow Panels:
tbd



Comic Con News

Valiant Comics at Denver Comic Con


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Valiant will be rolling deep into Denver Comic Con and they have a lot to check out!

Books: Will be selling specail variant cover of Secret Weapons with art by Katie Cook.

Special Guests at the Valiant Booth to include:
Jodie Houser (Faith)
Fred Van Lente (War Mother, Archer and Armstrong)
Bart Sears (Bloodshot & Hard Corps Unity)

Valiant 101 Panel:  There will be a panel on Friday called Valiant 101 which is meant to be a primer for new readers of the publisher to know where to start.  Toylab Bloggers should be there!


Official Message from Valiant for Denver Comic Con!
From Friday, June 30th to Sunday, July 2nd, Valiant is bringing its cross-country road show to Denver, CO for Denver Comic Con 2017 – and we’re bringing a star-studded line-up of exclusives, programming, and panels for a can’t-miss comics celebration!
All weekend long, join Valiant inside the Colorado Convention Center at booth #1546 to see why Valiant is the award-winning, chart-topping superhero universe to beat with a selection of paperbacks and deluxe hardcovers for critically renowned and award-winning titles including BLOODSHOT REBORNBRITANNIADIVINITY III: STALINVERSEFAITHNINJAKQUANTUM & WOODYSAVAGEX-O MANOWAR (2017) and many more!
And don’t miss the mountains of Valiant merchandise rolling into Denver, including the SECRET WEAPONS #1 DENVER COMIC CON VARIANT, featuring the art of fan-favorite artist Katie Cook (My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic)! THE MUST-READ NEW SERIES of the summer from Academy Award-nominated writer Eric Heisserer(Arrival) and visionary artist Raul Allen (WRATH OF THE ETERNAL WARRIOR) with Patricia Martin (BLOODSHOT REBORN) begins here as the technopathic hero Livewire steps into the fore to lead an extraordinary new team of Harbinger Foundation escapees…and reveals a hidden, high-stakes corner of the Valiant Universe never before explored…
Plus: Be sure to visit the all-star Valiant talent that’s charging into Denver Comic Con 2017 all weekend long, including:
  • Jody Houser (Writer, FAITH, FAITH AND THE FUTURE FORCE)
  • Bart Sears (Artist, BLOODSHOT & H.A.R.D. CORPS, UNITY)
  • Fred Van Lente (Writer, WAR MOTHER, ARCHER & ARMSTRONG)
Then: Your official introduction to Valiant’s award-winning pantheon of heroes begins on Friday, June 30th at 2:30 p.m. MST in room #501 for the VALIANT 101: THE STORY STARTS HERE panel presentation! New to the Valiant Universe? Jump on board right here with a concise and fun-filled introduction to the origins and adventures of Valiant’s greatest and most iconic heroes – from BLOODSHOT and DIVINITY to FAITH and HARBINGER RENEGADE to NINJAK and X-O MANOWAR! From The A.V. Club to Buzzfeed and Entertainment Weekly and dozens more, Valiant has been hailed as the premier superhero publisher in comics today… Now, look no further than this panel of Valiant all-stars to find out where to start!
Finally: Get the inside intel on the most devastating conflict to ever disrupt the Valiant Universe on Saturday, July 1st at 2:30 p.m. MST in room #501 for theVALIANT: THE ROAD TO HARBINGER WARS 2 panel presentation! The road to Valiant’s biggest, most ambitious and impactful comic book event of all time starts right here! Jump on board to find out what the future holds for HARBINGER RENEGADE, X-O MANOWAR, BLOODSHOT, FAITH, DIVINITY, NINJAK, and the rest of Valiant’s most powerful heroes… and how the coming of HARBINGER WARS 2 will soon be felt across the entire Valiant Universe!
We’ll see you in Denver! And don’t miss a moment of the incredible action as Valiant’s cross-country convention road show charges on through Hartford,WantaghSan Diego and more throughout the summer!

Comic Con News

I hate THWIP! the LAME Marvel Show


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I hate THWIP! the LAME Marvel Show.
It is supposed to be Thwip the BIG Marvel Show but I changed the BIG to LAME why? Because I hate this freaking show.  Why do I watch it then you ask?  Because I along with every toy, film, and comic blogger HAVE to watch this show to know the latest from Marvel.  That is right this lame, crappy show has the exclusive to all kinds of Marvel news.  There is basically no way this show should be able to suck.  Its like making a crap pizza it should not be possible but somehow they manage to annoy the living F#%# out of me everytime I watch this show.

This morning I kind of lost it.  I watched this crappy video that was meant to be about Thor Funkos but the video was so freaking lame.  My post turned into a rant about Thwip rather than covering the Thor Funkos.  People started asking me......dude whats your problem with this show........dude why don't you watch something else.    Well fine, I decided this calls for special measures time to slip on the brass knuckles and devote a whole post solely to WHY I HATE THWIP!


What is Thwip?
Thwip is a show hosted by Lorraine Cink and Ryan Penagos.  They put on a weekly youtube show that is meant to be a variety show style format that features special Marvel guests and also gives exclusive Marvel news.  Lorraine and Ryan previousily co-hosted live Marvel broadcasts from comic conventions.  Penagos is also the host of This Week in Marvel podcast and Lorraine is a host of This Marvel Minute.  I actually don't hate Lorraine's Marvel Minute it is her just reading the corporate Marvel lines with enthuisiasm and she does well at it.  If you are curious the name Thwip comes from Spider-Man's web shooters.  This show is Marvel's "Official" youtube show that they highlight on Marvel.com and on the MarvelEntertainment Youtube Channel.

I could embed one of their videos but screw that.  If you want to see it go on Youtube and search for this garbage yourself.

Why does Thwip Suck?
First lets start out with I am not the only person that thinks Thwip sucks.  Thwip is widely panned.  The comment section of each of their shows is  full of people rolling their eyes.  Further the show gets very low amount so views for being an official Marvel show.  The reason for this is very simple......the show sucks.  I don't think the Variety show format is to blame, No I blame the hosts.  They are F#%$ing Posers. These guys never offer anything insightful, nothing deep because they know nothing to begin with.  The best they can do is offer spoon fed lines from someone off camera who may or may not know anything themselves.

Everyone gives this show a kind of pass because no one wants to be the dick head that picks on a girl in the geek world and calls her a poser.  Well guess what....I am that dick head.  These hosts are complete POSERS.  I don't care if you go to a convention, or enter a store, or wear a costume, but if you HOST THE SHOW that has exclusive access to the subject you are talking about then you should be an expert.  THIS IS NOT THE F#$#ing CASE HERE and its just painful to watch.  When you can walk into any comic book store in the country and meet people on the daily who know more than these hosts.  When you see people passonately grinding their butts off and would love to have this show and then you just see these jokers mail this in.  It kills you.  Part of me really dies as I watch this show.  Its like their dumb goofy faces stick out a straw through my computer screen and start sucking out part of my soul.

These Variety shows fandom programs can be entertaining.   I really like Chris Hardwick's Talking Dead show, sometimes I find that show to be more entertaining than the actual Walking Dead show that precedes it.  Part of the reason here is that Chris is a real nerd, who goes above and beyond to be the most knowledgable Walking Dead fan there is.  He knows the source material, the show, the actors, and even the fans.  He stays abreast of everything!  This allows him to ask insightful questions.  Even though I am a hardcore zombie and Walking Dead fan I never feel like Chris knows less than I do.

There are also a host of Comic/Geek shows I watch and love here is a shout out to a few of them:

  • Andre "Black Nerd"
  • A Comic Show
  • KidCom
  • Hybrid Network
  • Comics Explained
  • Nerdist
  • Barzinga
  • Looper

All of these shows maybe with the exception of the Nerdist operate with less resources than Thwip.  None of them have the exclusive access of Thwip.  In effect they should all suck compared to Thwip but instead I can tell you that they have put out far superior content.  In some of these cases these guys are putting out these videos from their parent's basement.  These are shows that are nothing but passion projects of their creators, and yet.......they obliderate anything that comes from Marvel.

Why not give one of these grinders a chance to run the exclusive show?  These guys actually earned it.  Just an idea, and Marvel you can use all the ideas you can get.

How to beat Blissey? Pokemon Go


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Blissey is a cute, funny looking Pokemon that has ironically become the ultimate Gym Defender in Pokemon Go.  This Pokemon is renowned for having the most HP in the game.  Chansey who is Blissey's preevolved form already had more HP than other Pokemon but Blissey takes that HP to the ultimate EXTREME.  The HP of Blissey is so high that it is very difficult to defeat it in the 90 second time allotted to battle a Pokemon.

Blissey has become the bane to many players existence.  One good thing about a gym with Blissey though is that it is very difficult for gyms to go up in Prestige when Blissey is present.  It is a great defender but an awful bubble Pokemon.

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About Blissey:


"Biting into one of the delicious eggs that Blissey provides will make everyone around smile with joy." Pokemon Crystal Pokedex.
Blissey is the evolved form of Chansey and has the highest level of HP of all Pokemon in Pokemon Go.  All Blissey are female at 100% gender ratio.  She is an evolved form of the Pokemon Chansey.  Blissey was not released in the initial Pokemon Go release.  She was released in Pokemon Go with the Gen 2 Pokemon in Feb 2017.

Blissey is a Normal type Pokemon with a primary weakness to Fighting Type Pokemon.


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As a member of the Amazon Affiliate Program Toylab can bring our guests great deals on Pokemon products like those recommended for you below:  It is very hard to find Blissey products but I have found some pre evolved Chansey products.










Now for the ultimate question!  How do you beat, how to kill, how to defeat Blissey.  What Pokemon is a counter Blissey?




Blissey's type does not factor into the discussion with Blissey as much as does its sheer HP.  The goal of a Blissey in a fight is to time out an attacker.  Basically if you take over 90 seconds to take it down then it wins.  While the 90 seconds is normally plenty of time, this is not the case with Blissey.   Blissey is the ultimate Pokemon Go tank with tons of HP and defense.   Blissey luckily does not have the highest attacks so it normally will not pose too much of a threat to your Pokemon.

With Chansey you are fighting the clock.  How much attacks can you unleash on it before the timer strikes 0.

Strategy for how to Take down a Blissey Gym:

1) Avoid Blissey until necessary:
Try to bring down the gym by attacking the Pokemon beneath the Blissey.  Remove as much Prestige as you can until you are forced to battle Blissey.  This also makes fighting Blissey simpler because you do not need to worry about the other Pokemon and Blissey can take your full focus.

2) Add Attackers:
The more people who attack the more time you will get to take down Blissey.  Plus the more presitge that sucked from the gym at once.  The more help you have the better.

3) Pick your attacker the Blissey Counters
Ultimately the Pokemon you want to use to take down Chansey is the one that has the highest DPS (Damage Per Second).  You also need to generally forego dodging and attempt to crank out as much damage as you can.


Blissey Counters
Recommended Attackers with Move type:




My favorite option is Machamp!
  • Machamp Counter and Dynamic Punch
However you will need to occasionally dodge to keep him alive as he is defensively not as strong as he is offensively.

Good Options
  • Rhydon - Defensively Rhydon can weather Blissey's storm and maintain constantly attacking.  He is not the best offensively but has worked better than I thought he would. 
  • Dragonite with Dragon Breath and Dragon Claw - A powerful plus high DPS Pokemon
  • Tyranitar with Bite and Crunch - This is a new monster from Gen 2 with very high attacks and DPS.
  • Gyarados with Dragon Breath and Hydro Pump with the Dragon Breath move this Pokemon can cut through a lot of HP.
  • Donphan with Counter and Play Rough
  • Heracross Counter and Close Combat
I have seen people take down a Blissey using Alakazam, Primapes and Ratticate (with Bite, Hyper Beam).  I have yet to test this combonation but almost everyone has Primeape and Ratticate.

Vaporeon:
Vaporeon with Water Gun and Hydro Pump - I think most people have this Pokemon and it has a very DPS plus it can withstand the punishment that Blissey will unleash on it.  This will most likely by people's go to.  I really like Vaporeon here so if you lack these other options then default to Vaporeon.

Don't use Gengar.
Gengar is likely not a good option.  Gengar has some of the highest DPS moves in the game but he is weak against multiple of Blissey's moves.  This means that you will likely need to dodge significantly to keep you Gengar in the battle and this greatly reduces your Gengar's overall DPS from the match.


4) Don't Dodge just attack!
Dodging reduces the amount of damage you are doing and when you are battling Blissey you just are going to have to take your lumps.  The only attacks I would consider dodging are its specials.  Even there I wonder if I should have just kept attacking.



The Poke fun has just begun...Also See!



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Denver Comic Con Preview


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Denver Comic Con is coming up Friday June 30th and the Toylab Bloggers are going to be hitting it hard!

Here is the breakdown of who is coming:

Celebrities:
Just to warn everyone Celebrities are not typically NOT our focus.  Our bloggers tend to be more interested in artists and writers that said there are some pretty interesting Celebrities and we may join some panels.  Here are the highlights of ones that stick out to us arranged in themes.  Once again we love the artists so much that they will bleed into our breakdown here.

There are going to be some awesome people there that I don't know where exactly to put them as a theme including John Cusak, Weird Al Yankovic, Jon Heder, Michael Chiklis, and Felicia Day.

Defenders
I am hoping for a Defenders Panel we will see that would be a must go event if they have one.
  • Finn Jones - Iron Fist
  • Mike Colter - Luke Cage
  • David Mack - Artist well known for covers on Jessica Jones, Daredevil, Echo and the Defenders.  Has a series called Kabuki.


Stranger Things 
The kids of Stranger Things will be there and I hope we get a panel with them.  I tend to think a Stranger Things panel will be the highlight of the con.
  • Millie Bobbie Brown
  • Gaten Matarazzo
  • Caleb McLaughlin

Guardians of the Galaxy
Michael Rosenbaum - I am curious about the future of Martinex

Dresden Verse
  • Jim Butcher -?  Have not seen him listed but he has some colorado connections so it would not surprise me to see him here.
  • James Marsters (Spike from Buffy, and Dresden in audio books)  I could have put James in either the Whenonverse section or this section.  I decided to put him here because I run into so many people who love his Dresden work.  I would say the hardcore fans of James used to be Buffy fans but are now mostly Dresden fans.  I could be wrong.  Either way I am seeking him out as a Dresden fan and am hoping for him to sign the first Dresden Files book Stormfront that is already signed by author Jim Butcher.

Whedonverse (Firefly, Buffy, Dollhouse):
Nathan Fillion
Clare Kramer (Glory)
Eliza Dushku
Landau, Juliet - Drusilla in BuffyGeorge Jeanty - Artist of Buffy and Firefly comics also really just a really cool dude.
Dexter Vines - Artist of Buffy also has worked on Marvel and DC.

Star Trek:
Kate Mulgrew
Garret Wang

Animation:
Kevin Conroy - Voice of Batman from Batman the Annimated Series
Carey Means - Aqua Teen Hunger Force
Andrea Romano - Batman cartoons
Chris Sabat - Dragon Ball Z

The Walking Dead:
Khary Payton - King Ezekiel

Doctor Who:
Catherine Tate
Billie Piper - Was coming but has canceled do to a part coming up.

Harry Potter:
Phelps, James and Oliver - The Weasley Twins

Writers and Artists:
Coming Soon



Updates: 


We are continuing to monitor changes to Convention policies.  Denver Comic Con which begins at the end June just released a new policy and plan for entering the convention.  The key component is that there is a BAG and Prop check.  I wanted to highlight the word bag because I know I normally bring a bag to the con with comics and the like in it.  This year if I do that I will need to go through the Bag and Prop line that will undoubtedly move much slower than the other lines.  Here is the official announcement from DCC.
DCC’17 PSA: NEW ENTRY LOCATION, SINGLE REGISTRATION LOCATION, AND BAG/PROP CHECKS FOR 2017! Hey DCCers, we have three big changes involving entry this year, so please read this post carefully! You can send questions to info@popcultureclassroom.org.
First: The main entrance for the con has changed this year, and will be at the “Bellco Theater Entrance” on the SPEER BOULEVARD side of the Convention Center.
Second: There will be only one Registration location (where you go to exchange your tickets for badges, or to buy new tickets) this year. The single Registration area will be in the Lower B Lobby on the Welton Street side of the Convention Center. Note that we’ve had a Registration area in this location each year of the con. In this location, there are multiple bag check lines.
Third: Our security team will be doing bag and prop checks this year for everyone’s safety. We will begin the entry process earlier than in past years because of the increased time required for checks. The exact opening time will be announced in the coming weeks. There will be two entry lines, one for people who have bags or props, and one for those who don’t. There will be multiple bag check lines. Full disclosure: The line for bag and prop check will be much slower than the other line, so if you want to get in as fast as possible, leave your bags and props at home if you can.
Remember to read our cosplay and prop policy for 2017 here:


Comic Con News

Who is the Enchantress?


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http://orig02.deviantart.net/1bf9/f/2009/324/3/d/enchantress_sketch_card_1_by_veripwolf.jpg
Who is the Enchantress?


Enchantress is an Asgardian Marvel villain.  The primary Asir/Asgardian hero in the Marvel universe is Thor, who is generally Amora's enemy.  

Real Name: Amora

 First Appearance:  Journey into Mystery #103


Species:  Asgardian


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Bio:
http://comicattack.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/amora__earth-616__013.gif

Amora is a magical apprentice of the powerful Norn, Karnilla.  Karnilla kicks out Amora for lacking discipline.  Undeterred Amora begins to use her good looks and magical abilities to charm and seduce magical secrets from wizards and magi.  Eventually, she becomes one of the foremost magical users in all of Asgard.  Increasingly, power hungry Amora sets her sights on the conquest of Asgard.

Not a great warrior herself Amora has sought to manipulate, seduce, charm and control powerful warriors to fight for her cause.  These warriors have included Brunnhilda, Skurge the Executioner, Arkon, Loki, and even the mighty Thor himself!

Skurge the Executioner has been Amora's longest lasting and most frequent thrall of her seductive charm.  Thor has been a constant but highly elusive target of Amora.  She is often angered by her inability to control the thundergod. 



Odin eventually exiles Amora from Asgard.  She returns to defend Asgard with her henchman Skurge the Executioner.  There she earns some temporary respect battling against Surtur and his hordes from Muspelheim.  During this time she has a relationship with Heimdall the guardian of the rainbow bridge.  She never stops scheming though and is constantly looking to further her own ends.  One of her schemes includes forcing her sister Lorelei to fall in love with Loki.

Amora finally gets the long sought affection of Thor when he feels pity for her.  The Executioner nobly sacrifices himself in part to escape the control of Amora.  Amora finds that she deeply cared about her enthralled warrior despite her poor treatment of him.  While grieving for him she find herself in the arms of Thor.  The two begin a relationship that lasts a short while.  When Thor is missing to after battling Onslaught, Amora even plays the hero and defeats the evil Set.  During Ragnarok, Amora is killed along with the other Asgardians.  This is the end of Thor and Amora's relationship.

Thor is revived and begins to find and awaken the other gods.  He is initially hesitant to waken many of the troublesome Asgardians, including Amora.  However, Loki tricks him into awakening all of them.

When revived Amora does not return to Asgard and is overwhelmed with loneliness.  Her initial action was to attempt to free Skurge the Executioner from Valhalla but she is convinced by Loki, Balder, and Thor that this would have dire ramifications for the nine worlds and relents.  Still lonely she seeks out a new confidant.

Amora finds Donald Blake who is desperate to gain the powers of a god again.  She tricks him to eating a Golden Apple and then cuts off his head.  From his blood grows a massive monstrous warrior called Keep. Keep becomes Amora's new thrall.  The pair are defeated and banished from Asgard.

Powers:
http://static.comicvine.com/uploads/scale_small/0/6535/1305372-enchantress.jpg

Being Asgardian she is far stronger, faster, and more durable than a normal human.  She also ages much slower and can live for thousands of years. 

Magic:
Enchantress is one of the most powerful and knowledgeable magic users in the Marvel universe.  She has been trained by the infamous Norn Karnilla before studying under various magi and wizards whom she seduced.  Her magical skills are thought to be on par with that of Loki.  Her magic powers are tethered to the realm of Asgard and can weaken


  • Interdimensional travel including teleportation 
  • Energy projection - Fires power blasts
  • Illusions
  • Paralysis
  • Shape Change
  • Transmutation
  • Seduction/Mind control- Has been shown to greatly control the minds of men.  In part this is due to her own beauty and her abilities to enhance it with magic.  Her kisses are capable of pushing men beyond attraction however into full on enthrallment.  She has kept men like the Executioner enthralled for many years at a time.


MCU:
The Enchantress has not yet appeared in the MCU


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