Mythbusters 10th Anniversary Collection

I’ve watched a bunch of Mythbusters episodes, although I couldn’t tell you what order they all came in. That’s one of the virtues of the series, that any given show can be watched in any order, since they stand alone.

If you’re not familiar with the show, each installment takes on a few “myths”, although these days, it’s as likely to be a viral video as a classic urban myth. The team, with their special effects experience, builds something — a measurement apparatus, a fake house, a rebuilt car, a dummy equivalent to a person — to test whether an assumption is plausible, confirmed, or busted. Many times, things blow up, or firearms are involved.

I was looking forward to the Mythbusters 10th Anniversary Collection because I loved the concept. Each of the five cast members — Adam Savage, Jamie Hyneman, Grant Imahara, Kari Byron, and Tory Belleci — picked ten favorite episodes, making for fifty shows to watch (on ten discs, out of 222 episodes through 2014).

Unfortunately, this set isn’t nearly as interesting as it could have been, since there’s nothing here but episodes. There’s no explanation of why a particular person chose their selections, and there’s no information on where in the series a particular installment fell, and there are no special features. So instead of seeming like an anniversary celebration, this seems more like a way to sell the show in another arrangement. (I’m also confused by the 10th Anniversary mention, since the show debuted in 2003, making this year the 12th Anniversary.)

Fans probably already know all these episodes. As a less dedicated follower, I found this set neat as a kind of sampler pack, with famous show moments like “Alcatraz Escape”, “Confederate Rocket”, and “Five Second Rule”. The full episode listing is (with each person’s picks in alphabetical order, as the set has it — and episode numbers via Wikipedia):

Adam’s Picks

  • Airplane on a Conveyor Belt – Season 6, Episode 3
  • Alcatraz Escape – Season 1, Episode 8
  • Birds in a Truck – Season 5, Episode 8
  • Bullets Fired Up – Season 4, Episode 7
  • Inverted Underwater Car – Season 8, Episode 19
  • Jet Assisted Chevy – the original pilot
  • Lead Balloon – Season 6, Episode 2
  • NASA Moon Landing – Season 6, Episode 10
  • Penny Drop – Season 1, Episode 4
  • Swimming in Syrup – Season 7, Episode 5

Jamie’s Picks

  • Big Rig Myths – Season 5, Episode 11
  • Breaking Bad Special – Season 11, Episode 10
  • Confederate Rocket – Season 3, Episode 16
  • Drain Disaster – Season 9, Episode 17
  • Fire vs. Ice – Season 10, Episode 2
  • Motorcycle Water Ski – Season 11, Episode 6
  • Ping Pong Rescue – Season 2, Episode 13
  • Seesaw Saga – Season 7, Episode 7
  • Shattering Subwoofer – Season 4, Episode 15
  • Trench Torpedo – Season 10, Episode 13

Kari’s Picks

  • Blue Ice – Season 9, Episode 2
  • Chinese Invasion Alarm – Season 3, Episode 15
  • Duct Tape Hour 2 – Season 8, Episode 8
  • Exploding Pants – Season 4, Episode 10
  • Fright Night – Season 10, Episode 15
  • Myth Evolution – Season 7, Episode 18
  • Paper Armor – Season 9, Episode 11
  • Phone Book Friction – Season 6, Episode 12
  • Red Rag to a Bull – Season 5, Episode 16
  • Viral Hour – Season 6, Episode 11

Tory’s Picks

  • Alaska Special – Season 6, Episode 7
  • Cannonball Chemistry – Season 10, Episode 17
  • Duel Dilemmas – Season 10, Episode 10
  • Indy Car Special – Season 11, Episode 4
  • Killer Brace Position – Season 3, Episode 9
  • Revenge of the Myth – Season 10, Episode 7
  • Salsa Escape – Season 3, Episode 2
  • Titanic Survival – Season 10, Episode 12
  • Vodka Myths – Season 3, Episode 17
  • Zombie Special – Season 11, Episode 11

Grant’s Picks

  • Baseball Myths – Season 5, Episode 14
  • Bikes and Bazookas – Season 9, Episode 12
  • Bouncing Bullet – Season 10, Episode 8
  • Bubble Pack Plunge – Season 10, Episode 9
  • Coffin Punch – Season 6, Episode 18
  • Crimes and Myth-demeanors 1 – Season 4, Episode 11
  • Flu Fiction – Season 8, Episode 11
  • Prison Escape – Season 7, Episode 9
  • Underwater Car – Season 5, Episode 3
  • YouTube Special – Season 7, Episode 4

Inspired by the spirit of scientific exploration that drives the Mythbusters show, here’s a breakdown of how many episodes from each season are represented. The small showing for the first two years makes sense, since Grant, Tory, and Kari weren’t in place as a trio until season 3. All the Season 1 picks are from Adam. Season 10’s showing is helped by Tory picking four of those episodes, with Grant and Jamie each picking two.

Mythbusters Episodes per Season in Anniversary DVD Set

(The studio provided a review copy.)

Has Manga Become a Niche Category?

Ed Chavez, Marketing Director at manga publisher Vertical, has been answering a bunch of questions online recently, and his comments are quite informative.

One that particularly struck me was this answer to the question as to whether manga is becoming more niche.

Knowing that seinen still lacks, even though vocal fans ask for it, kinda tells me that readers either grow out of manga or only stick with a specific type of it… Essentially pigeonholing it (turning it into a niche).

Having talked to some comic/media critics I think it is becoming harder for them to get into manga also.

Will kids still consume the stuff? Sure. I mean, most manga pubs are seeing growth while stores are cutting manga shelves. But unlike the 00s, where a shojo boom introduced a whole new demographic to manga, there hasn’t been a culture-shifting movement recently to break manga out of this current position it has settled into.

I love manga. It kept me excited about comics at a time when I was ready to give up by giving me stories I was more interested in, particularly those starring young women.

However, I agree with what Ed is saying here. I find myself working harder to find series I want to follow. Many new releases seem to fall into pre-existing categories that have already demonstrated success: vampire romance, harem fantasy, adventure quests, and so on. It’s harder to find the kind of female-oriented story that so appealed to me (although Vertical is one of the few still releasing josei manga), or work aimed at adults.

There’s nothing wrong with being a niche — many products, such as superhero comics, have succeeded quite well for decades targeting a specific audience looking for more of the same they already follow. But with so much manga out there still untranslated, I’d like to see support for a wider age range of material. Why does the audience “grow out of it”? Is manga only selling now to customers who already like it?

Supergirl Has Been Cast

Melissa Benoist

The Supergirl series announced last fall now has a star: Melissa Benoist. She’s best known as one of the “new class” from season four of Glee, playing a “girl next door” type that would be well suited to the character. As described,

Benoist will play Kara, who after arriving on Earth was taken in by a foster family, the Danvers, who taught her to be careful with her extraordinary powers (which she shares with her famous cousin, Superman).

Now 24, Kara feels un-empowered, a slave to having repressed her innate abilities. She’s still pretty, but with her face hidden behind glasses and her hair pulled back, she doesn’t know it herself. An unexpected disaster forces her to use her powers in public. Energized by her heroic deed, for the first time in her life, Kara begins embracing her extraordinary abilities.

Sounds like the addition of a coming-of-age twist, but the Supergirl comic series quite often went in for soap opera and emotional dramatics, focusing on a young woman finding her place in the world. That aspect, if foregrounded in the show, could be quite appealing.

Batman vs. Robin Details Announced

Batman vs. Robin box art

Batman vs. Robin, the next original DCU animated movie (after Justice League: Throne of Atlantis, out next week), has had details released. It will be available April 14 in either a Blu-ray combo pack (with DVD and UltraViolet versions) or standard DVD edition. There will also be a deluxe edition with the Blu-ray combo pack and a collectible Batman figurine included. Here are key elements from the press release:

The shadows of Gotham City are no place for a child but Damian Wayne is no ordinary child. Now bearing the mantle of Robin, he blazes a headstrong and sometimes reckless trail alongside his father, Batman. While investigating a crime scene, Robin encounters a mysterious figure, Talon, who leads him on a life-altering course through the depths of Gotham’s secret society, known as the Court of Owls. It’s a dangerous journey that will force Batman and Robin to face their most dangerous adversary, each other! Based on the #1 best-selling graphic novel, Batman: The Court of Owls [by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo], this action-packed caper is one that fans won’t want to miss!

Television stars Jason O’Mara and Stuart Allan reprise their roles as the voices of Batman/Bruce Wayne and Robin/Damian, respectively. Adding to the celebrity-laden voice cast is Jeremy Sisto as Talon, singer/songwriter/comedian Al Yankovic as The Dollmaker, David McCallum as Alfred, Grey Griffin as Samantha, Sean Maher as Nightwing, and Kevin Conroy as Thomas Wayne.

Produced by Warner Bros. Animation and DC Entertainment, the film is directed by Jay Oliva (Batman: Assault on Arkham) from a script by award-winning comic writer J.M. DeMatteis.

The Blu-ray extras will include the following special features, in addition to the usual audio commentary and “bonus cartoons from the DC Comics vault”:

Gotham’s City Secret: The Mythic Court of Owls — The Court of Owls is the secret society that directly connects the past of Gotham to the current city. Are they silent guardians that are the noble benefactors or are they the malevolent force that manipulates a city toward their grand design?

Talons of the Owl — If the Owls are the masterminds, their instruments of destruction are their assassins. Appropriately called The Talons, these warriors are designed to carry out the will of the Owls.

A Sneak Peak at Justice League: Gods & Monsters — An advance look at the next DC Universe Original Movie with the creators and cast.

The Gods and Monsters sneak peek is the only extra also on the DVD.

MoCCA Arts Festival Has New Location

MoCCA Arts Festival 2015

The beloved MoCCA Arts Festival, to be held this year on April 11 and 12, is moving to a new location. Center 548 is located on West 22nd Street near 11th Avenue and the Chelsea Piers. Programming will be held in two rooms at the High Line Hotel on West 20th Street and 10th Avenue, “a mere two blocks away”. The event will include three exhibit floors, a gallery of original art showcasing the work of special guests, and a rooftop café. Although there will be fewer tables in the new space, admission remains $5 a day.

The Guests of Honor are Aline Kominsky-Crumb, Scott McCloud, Raina Telgemeier, and J.H. Williams, an excellent selection. I had a blast at last year’s show, where they exhibited the Charlie Brown parade balloon — I’m curious to see what they come up with this year.

Would You Wear a Bombshells Robe?

Diamond Comic Distributors would like you to know that there’s still time to order DC Comics Bombshell robes, as shown in the January Previews catalog. Images and codes are below, to use at your local comic shop, where the robes are exclusively available. They’ll be shipping in mid-February (but too late for Valentine’s Day).

“The satin robes feature some of the leading ladies of DC Comics such as Batgirl, Wonder Woman, Poison Ivy, and more in a collection of colors representing each character.” The imagery comes from the faux-40s art by Ant Lucia originally used as comic variant covers last June. Each robe is $48 and comes in either Small/Medium or Large/X-Large.

I think it’s a neat idea to have some women-centered merchandise, but I suspect these are most likely to wind up as gifts from fanboy to girlfriend (or fangirl to girlfriend, for that matter). I like the Wonder Woman best because of the starred trim.

  • Wonder Woman Red Robe Small/Medium (JAN15 2069)
  • Wonder Woman Red Robe Large/Extra Large (JAN15 2070)
  • Poison Ivy Green Robe Small/Medium (JAN15 2071)
  • Poison Ivy Green Robe Large/Extra Large (JAN15 2072)
  • Catwoman Black Robe Small/Medium (JAN15 2073)
  • Catwoman Black Robe Large/ Extra Large (JAN15 2074)
  • Blue Supergirl Robe Small/Medium (JAN15 2075)
  • Blue Supergirl Robe Large/ Extra Large (JAN15 2076)
  • Purple Batgirl Robe Small/Medium (JAN15 2077)
  • Purple Batgirl Robe Large/ Extra Large (JAN15 2078)

Wonder Woman Red RobePoison Ivy Green RobeCatwoman Black RobeBlue Supergirl RobePurple Batgirl Robe

Read Shonen Jump for Free for a Month

To celebrate the three-year anniversary of the launch of the English-language digital Weekly Shonen Jump, Viz Media is giving away four issues online.

Weekly Shonen Jump

Starting with the January 19 issue (today!) through February 9, you can read the magazine containing manga chapters for free at shonenjump.com or through these methods:

In addition to the U.S. and Canada, Weekly Shonen Jump and the special limited time promotion are available to readers in the U.K., Ireland, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand at ShonenJump.viz.com and through the Weekly Shonen Jump App for iOS and Android devices. Additionally in North America, the free Weekly Shonen Jump issues also will be available via the VIZ Manga App and Weekly Shonen Jump App for iOS and Android devices….

Each issue includes top titles One Piece, Naruto, Bleach; comedies One-Punch Man, Nisekoi, Toriko, and Food Wars; the supernatural action of Blue Exorcist and Seraph; sci-fi World Trigger; and the cardtastic action of Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal!

The English translation is available same-day as Japan, and a year’s subscription is only $19.99 US.

Titan Adds Another Doctor Who Title

Doctor Who: The Ninth Doctor cover by Alice X. Zhang

Cover by Alice X. Zhang

To go along with their comic series featuring the Tenth Doctor, the Eleventh Doctor, and now the Twelfth Doctor, Titan Comics has announced a five-issue Doctor Who: The Ninth Doctor miniseries.

The Ninth Doctor, played by ​C​hristopher ​E​ccleston, is the one who returned Doctor Who to television ten years ago. The comic will be available on March 11 at a cover price of $3.99 US and can be pre-ordered from your local comic shop with Diamond code JAN15 1599​. Typically, there are also alternate covers: one by the internal artist and a couple of photo options.

It’s written by C​avan ​S​cott​ and illustrated by Blair Shedd. Promised to appear are favorite characters Rose and Captain Jack. This is one instance where the comics can provide something the show can’t, since Eccleston hasn’t participated in various anniversary efforts in the past. The miniseries, titled “Weapons of Past Destruction”, is described as follows:

Leaving World War II behind, The Ninth Doctor, Rose and Captain Jack discover that Time Lord technology, lost in the wake of the Time War, is being sold on the intergalactic black market! Now the threat of a NEW temporal war brews on the horizon. Can the Doctor stop history repeating itself?




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