Happy Friday! It’s time for the best part of the week: Staff Picks! We asked staff writers and editors to tell us about something that brought them joy this week. Before we dive into their recommendations, let’s do a quick recap.
Exclusives, Previews & Interviews: Stephanie gave us a Rogues Portal exclusive first look at the Giant Days 2017 Special featuring art by Jenn St. Onge. Samantha previewed the inaugural Hasbro HASCON, which she’ll be covering September 8—September 10. Last but not least, Robert interviewed Declan Shalvey about upcoming graphic novel Savage Town. Don’t miss out!
Podcasts: The latest episode of Film Runners explored Forbidden Zone (1980). We said a sad goodbye to Scooby Dos or Scooby Don’ts, which has a new home. The Comics Agenda dove into DC’s new Metal event, and even discussed Spy Seal #1. Got your earbuds? Have fun!
Comics: Nico reviewed the Namesake TPB from BOOM! Studios, Gregory gave us his thoughts on Dark Nights Metal #1, and Rich reviewed Star Trek: The Next Generation — Mirror Broken #3. Plus, Josh took us back in time with a review of Captain Canuck Unholy War.
Books: Contributor Kristin read The People of Paper 13 years ago and is desperate for another novel from its author. Read her letter to Salvador Plascencia. Two Solid Dudes also read and reviewed Douglas Coupland’s Generation X.
TV & Movies: DUCKTALES IS BACK! AHH! Thor recapped Dragon Ball Super Episode 98 and Samantha told us why Will S01E07 is her favorite of the series so far. She also looked at Clarke Griffin’s “princess” nickname and how The 100 deals with classism in her latest 100 Thoughts On The 100. Plus, Samantha and Shanicka watched two more episodes of Shadowhunters and shared their conversation with us. We also welcomed Bee to the Rogues Portal team with their first review of My Hero Academia S02E19!
Whew. Let’s dive into our August 18th Staff Picks!
Anelise‘s Pick of the Week: As I was perusing my local thrift store last weekend, I came across the entire True Blood book series for less than a buck. I realize I am way late to the game; I honestly don’t know why I haven’t given the series (book or show) a chance before. It’s fantastic! I just finished the first book Dead Until Dark, and it was everything I wanted: interesting characters, smart pacing, and a whole bunch of weirdness. If you like authors like Diana Rowland and Kelly Armstrong (raises both hands high), I definitely recommend checking out True Blood if you haven’t done so yet!
Christoph‘s Pick of the Week: My (anti-)pick of this week is the third season of Voltron. Since I saw the first two seasons of this amazing series, I have been a big fan. Great characters, interesting story, a rich universe, and impressive animations. The third season, however, is kind of a downer. It starts promising with questions; for example, after Keith’s disappearance, who leads the team? The answers, however, are not that well implemented. Unfortunately, I feel like I am always three steps ahead of the characters. The “surprising” twists can be smelled miles ahead. The last two seasons were clearly better at that.
One of the worst parts is this: It’s not a major spoiler when I say that Keith is the next leader. I understand that he has never lead a team before, but the mistakes he makes are unforgivingly stupid. When in doubt: listen to your team! And by the way: can we finally have a romantic relationship between Keith and Lance? They are clearly meant for each other!
But, like this relationship, emotions are poorly handled. I just don’t buy it, and if I have time to think about such things, especially during 20-minute episodes, that’s a bad sign. Beginning with episode 5, the episodes get better. There is a change of scenery that’s new and surprising, but then the season ends with episode 7. To end on a high note at least gives us hope for the next season, which arrives in October. Not all of Voltron‘s new season was bad. The animations are staggeringly beautiful, the characters lovely and the dialogues work for the most part.
Michael‘s Pick of the Week: My pick this week is the CW show Riverdale, based on the Archie Comics. The new season doesn’t premiere until October, but the first season was just released on DVD and Blu-ray. The series isn’t just the typical teen fare, although it strays into that area often. It’s surprisingly competent murder mystery with some clever writing, solid actors and a visual palette that’s basically Bryan Fuller-lite. So if you’re looking for a series that could have alternate titles like “Tween Peaks” or “Archie Has Sex” then this is the show for you. Amelia Wellman reviewed the first season for Rogues Portal, so definitely check those out, too.
Reed‘s Pick of the Week: This week (and most weeks) I listened to a lot of podcasts. I work in an archive, so podcasts are a great way to pass the time. Since I’ve been working on the Rogues Portal Book Club‘s seven month long re-read of Harry Potter, I’ve been trying to listen to Harry Potter-themed podcasts to get some inspiration for our monthly discussions!
Enter Accio Politics! Thanks to my Twitter feed, I stumbled upon this new podcast by two recovering English majors, Adriana Wilson and Erin Barrio. Accio Politics is breaking down the political themes of the Harry Potter series chapter by chapter and it’s just so smart. Adriana and Erin have raised questions such as: is the wizarding world a surveillance state? Or what are the politics of appearance in Harry Potter?
I think, though, my favorite part of listening to Accio Politics is that Adriana and Erin are really, really good at debating and questioning each other’s interpretations of the text. It’s a hallmark of being good academics but also good listeners. It’s exactly the kind of culture I crave when discussing Harry Potter: one where we can view the text through our own frames of reference but also see – and respect – where other folks are coming from when they disagree with us. You can check out Accio Politics on their website!
Stephanie‘s Pick of the Week: Mesmerized by the gorgeous steampunk-esque covers, I grabbed the first two volumes of Monstress to read on my commute for the next couple weeks… and I ended up burning through both before the weekend was through!
Marjorie Liu builds a rich and diverse world divided by old blood and arcane magics, teetering on the edge of an abyss so deep it threatens to swallow the known world. Liu is a remarkable storyteller. The characters who inhabit this matriarchal society, especially the protagonist Maika Halfwolf, are deftly crafted to reflect the nuances of a brutal war that has reached a tepid stalemate, and though Maika is the one with an actual monster rousing within her, they all have to live with the demons they create. Sana Takeda’s artwork is a stunning meld of Eastern and Western styles, with manga-inspired layouts and ornate art deco set pieces, and her soft, twilight colouring shrouds everything in an eerie, mystical veil. This is a fantasy-horror comic that you absolutely need to read!
Want to tell us what you’re loving this week? Sound off in the comments or let us know on Twitter and Facebook! Your responses might be featured on our social networks! Have a great weekend, everyone!