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The Joy of Geek Podcast, Episode 67:
Exploring the Halls of Junior High Horrors with Rob Potchak, Rob Retiano and Billy Parker

On this special episode of The Joy of Geek Podcast, we (Rich and Kevin) introduce you to the spooky world of Junior High Horrors: and all-ages Horror comic series launching later this year. We recently had an opportunity to interview the creative team - Writer Rob Potchak, and Artists Rob Retiano and Billy Parker - to discuss their individual origin stories, their introduction to comics, and the genesis of Junior High Horrors.

This episode was recorded live at Arkham Comix in Rocky Mount NC, so things do get unpredictable and noisy at times, but this episode offers a unique glimpse into the life of independent comic creators on the road promoting their work. And since this is The Joy of Geek, we also squeeze in some chat about the films, TV shows and comics we've been enjoying lately, as well as what we're looking forward to in the weeks and months to come.

So join us, as we battle our way through thumping background bass and the clatter of after-con table breakdown, all in pursuit of the ultimate interview. This...is The Joy of Geek. Live!

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The Joy of Geek Podcast, Episode 66:
Best Summer Blockbusters and Incredibles 2

On this episode of The Joy of Geek Podcast, we (Rich and Kevin) celebrate the time-honored tradition of the Summer Blockbuster with a look back at our Top 3 favorites from the 21st Century, and a few subtle nods to the 80s and 90s for good measure. From trilogies to cinematic universes to stand-alone masterpieces, this was a tough list to make, with films like The Dark Knight, Bridesmaids, Mad Max: Fury Road and Pirates of the Caribbean all in contention.

And speaking of blockbusters, few releases are as hotly anticipated as this summer’s Incredibles 2 - the Disney Pixar animated superhero sequel 14 years in the making. But how does Brad Byrd’s sequel compare to the widely-beloved original? Kevin - our resident Pixar aficionado - weighs in with a mini-review. We also discuss some recent news and media we’ve been enjoying - including the renewal of Lucifer on Netflix, the relaunch of DC’s Vertigo imprint, the nordic-noir series Marcella, The Planet of The Apes Trilogy and more.

So join us, as Nolan and Spielberg go head to head in a celebration of Hollywood’s biggest season of spectacle. This...is The Joy of Geek!

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The Joy of Geek Podcast, Episode 65:
Solo: A Star Wars Story Review and Westworld Season 2 Update

On this episode of The Joy of Geek Podcast, we (Rich and Kevin) review the new film Solo: A Star Wars Story, starring Alden Ehrenreich as a young Han Solo, and directed by Ron Howard. The film went through a famously troubled development cycle, including a change in director, last-minute acting lessons and drastic reshoots on its journey to the screen, but does the final product deliver on the promise of a fun, swashbuckling Star Wars adventure?

In our Spoilercast and Review, we look at Solo from all angles - from the performances by Ehrenreich, Donald Glover, Emilia Clarke, and Woody Harrelson, to the quality of the script, to the visual effects, original score, surprise cameos and easter eggs and beyond - and debate its overall success, both as a Han Solo origin story, and as a standalone film. We also discuss the film's abyssmal performance at the box office and offer some theories on why audiences aren't showing up. 

But first, we make a brief stop at Westworld (and The Rajand Shogun World) to check-in on the show’s second season and decide whether or not the magic of season one is back. Hint: it is. We also discuss what we’ve been reading and watching lately, including: Deadpool 2, American Gods (and Neil Gaiman’s work in general), Howard’s End, XO Manowar and more. And in news, we discuss Lucifer’s cancellation and search for a new home, and celebrate The Expanse’s revival at Amazon.

So join us, as we learn where Han Solo got his name, how he met Chewbacca, and what really happened at that legendary card game...and try hard not to be disappointed. This...is The Joy of Geek!

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The Joy of Geek Podcast, Episode 64:
Fall TV Upfronts 2018 - Trailers, Renewals and Cancellations

On this very special episode of The Joy of Geek Podcast, we dive headlong into the 2018 TV Season with a look at all of the newly-released trailers from ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX and The CW. From ABC’s Cop Drama The Rookie starring Nathan Fillion, to Fox’s Zombie-Pandemic sci-fi show The Passage, to the new reboot of Charmed on the CW and beyond, we watched the best and the worst that this year’s TV Upfronts had to offer, and we’re here to tell you all about it.

We also discuss some of the most notable renewals (Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Lethal Weapon, etc.) and cancellations (Lucifer, Last Man on Earth, etc.) as well as the near-instant revival of Brooklyn Nine Nine, and the shows we’re saddest to see come to an end (Deception, iZombie, etc.). And as a note, The Expanse had yet to be revived by Amazon at time of recording, but it’s fantastic news.

So join us, as we continue our annual tradition of watching trailers, making a list of shows we want to check out, and then cautiously tempering our expectations. This...is The Joy of Geek!

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The Joy of Gaming Podcast, Episode 71:
God of War Spoiler-Free Discussion, Resident Evil Zero and More

On this episode of The Joy of Gaming, we (Rich and Jordan) discuss one of the biggest gaming releases of the year, God of War. The game’s creative director Cory Barlog has long been a subject of interest and speculation on the podcast, and now we finally know what he’s been doing for the past five years. This ambitious reinvention of the God of War franchise takes Kratos out of Ancient Greece and into the world of Norse mythology, and has been garnering near-universal praise from fans and critics alike. We dive into a spoiler-free discussion of the first half of the game, weighing in on the revamped combat system, the Mjolnir-like Leviathan axe, the game’s new setting of Midgard, the story and addition of Kratos’ son Atreus, and much more.

But before we journey to the Lake of the Nine for some much needed R&R, there is some recent gaming news to discuss, including: Destiny 2’s new game mode and Warmind expansion, SNK Neo Geo Mini reveal, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 and its lack of single-player, a new trailer for Red Dead Redemption 2, Labo’s sales success, new Overwatch updates, and more. We also have some other game’s we’ve been playing recently to talk about, including: Resident Evil Zero Remaster, Just Cause 3, Far Cry 5, What Remains of Edith Finch, a brief discussion of the SNES mini, and more.

So join us, as we grab our Leviathan Axe, greet Freya in her turtle lair, and set out to spread the ashes of our beloved from the highest point in the Nine Realms. This...is the Joy of Gaming!

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The Joy of Geek Podcast, Episode 63:
Avengers: Infinity War Review and Westworld Season 2 Premiere 

On this episode of The Joy of Geek Podcast, we (Rich, Jordan and Kevin) are here to discuss Avengers: Infinity War - one of the biggest and most anticipated films of our time. Infinity War is the 19th entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, serving as the culmination of more than 10 years of films and bringing together heroes from every corner of the galaxy for an epic confrontation with Thanos. In our Spoiler-Filled Review, we’ll cover all aspects of the film, including: the portrayal of our favorite heroes, the overall narrative, standout character moments and story beats, that insane ending, and much more. We’ll also devote ample time to the film's villainous centerpiece - The Mad Titan Thanos - and debate his overall place in the pantheon of cinematic Marvel villains.

A new Avengers film would usually be more than enough excitement for one episode, but there’s another epic confrontation that demands our attention - this time between humans and hosts. That’s right - HBO’s Westworld is back for Season 2 - and we have some surprising thoughts to share about the blood-soaked premiere and the very different version of Dolores it presents. We also take a few minutes to discuss some of the other media we’ve been enjoying lately, including Deception, The MentalistPaper Girls, Descender, Peter Jackson’s Bad Taste, and more.

So join us, as we descend into madness on multiple fronts - attempting to save the universe and discover the cost of true freedom - all in one episode. This...is the Joy of Geek!

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The Joy of Geek Podcast, Episode 62:
Ready Player One Review, A Quiet Place, Unforgotten and More

On this episode of The Joy of Geek Podcast, we (Rich and Kevin) review the film Ready Player One, directed by Steven Spielberg and based on the 2011 novel by Ernest Cline. The film is a celebration of 80’s pop culture and the history of video games, and is set in the year 2045 where the desolation of the real world leads most of humanity to escape to the OASIS - a virtual reality utopia where anything is possible. Ready Player One is one part rollicking, Indiana Jones-esque adventure film, and two parts pop-culture fan service turned up to 11, with everyone from King Kong to Tracer from Overwatch making an appearance, and a scene from Kubrick’s The Shining thrown in for good measure. And in theory, this sure sounds like a recipe for pure, escapist fun.

But does Ready Player One deliver on its tremendous promise, or buckle under the weight of too much fan service and an overblown production budget? To decide, we’ll weigh in on all aspects of the film - from the cast, to the narrative, to the special effects - and yes, the myriad pop-culture references - and let you know how it all comes together, in our SPOILER-FILLED, Joy of Geek Review. We also discuss some recent comics and TV news, and discuss what we’ve been watching and reading lately, including: A Quiet Place, Westworld's Spoiler “Strategy”, HBO’s Bill Hader dramedy Barry, DC Comics’ Doomsday Clock, Unforgotten on Masterpiece, SyFy’s Wynonna Earp, Hamilton on Broadway, and more!

So join us, as we enter the OASIS in search of fame, fortune and the secret of happiness. Hint: it’s LOVE. Well, that, and taking Tuesdays and Thursdays off from video games. This...is the Joy of Geek!

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The Joy of Geek Podcast, Episode 61:
YA Author Scott Reintgen on his novel Nyxia and "How To Get Published"

On this episode of The Joy of Geek Podcast, we (Rich and Kevin) interview Scott Reintgen, author of the new Young Adult Sci-Fi Novel series Nyxia (Crown). The interview is taken from a panel we hosted at Oak City Comic Con titled “How to get Published,” and Scott shares the story of how he turned his passion for writing into a career, including advice on: pitching to literary agents, how to handle rejection, and perhaps most importantly of all, how to take your writing to the next level. Scott also goes in depth about the writing process for Nyxia, and the even more daunting task of writing the second and third books in the trilogy.

So join us, for a look at what it takes to get the ideas in your head out onto the page, and then into the hands of readers everywhere. This...is the Joy of Geek!

(Scott has an excellent blog/website with more tips on writing and links to preview his novel Nyxia.)

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The Joy of Gaming Podcast, Episode 70:
Monster Hunter World, Celeste and March 8th Nintendo Direct

On this episode of The Joy of Gaming Podcast, we (Rich and Jordan) are back and ready to talk about all of the games we’ve been playing recently. Leading the conversation are two games that couldn’t be more different, but have each won over fans and critics alike. First there’s Monster Hunter World, which marks the return of the series to home consoles, and has sold in excess of 6 million copies since its February launch. We’ve both been slaying our fair share of monsters, and offer our thoughts on the subject. And on the opposite end of the gaming spectrum, there’s Celeste, a retro-styled indie title from the developer of Towerfall that has been praised for its fun-but-unforgiving platforming and unforgettable story. But was our journey up Celeste mountain a memorable one? We’ll let you know at the top.

That, however, is just the beginning, as the Nintendo Direct on March 8th was certainly one for the history books. We talk about all of the big announcements, including Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo Switch, the new Splatoon 2 DLCLuigi's Mansion 3DS, WarioWare Gold, Mario Tennis Aces, and much, much more. We also have some other recent games to discuss, including: Nier: Automata, Bayonetta 2 on Switch, Steamworld DigDarkest Dungeon, and more. And to round out the proceedings, we go head-to-head to debate Breath of the Wild’s overall quality as a Zelda game, discuss the recent (official) announcement of Shadow of the Tomb Raider, and offer a mini-review of the new Tomb Raider film.

So join us, as we slay a large number of Anjanaths, take a spiritual journey up a treacherous mountain, choose sides in a war between androids and robots, and watch Alicia Vikander do some serious raiding. This...is the Joy of Gaming!

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The Joy of Geek Podcast, Episode 60:
Annihilation Review and Spoilercast, Lady Bird, and More

On this episode of The Joy of Geek Podcast, we (Rich and Kevin) dive headlong into the "shimmer” to discuss the new film Annihilation. This is director Alex Garland’s highly-anticipated follow-up to 2015’s Ex Machina, and it stars Natalie Portman as a former soldier turned biologist on a mission to save her husband - and possibly all of mankind - from a mysterious shimmering cloud that threatens to consume the earth. And if that brief synopsis sounds a bit hard to pin down, there’s good reason: Annihilation is a mind-bending Sci-Fi journey of the first order, full of challenging questions and unsettling answers. But is it a good film?

To answer that question, we are initiating the SPOILERCAST protocol (or in other words, we’ll be discussing Annihilation in full detail - so if you haven’t seen the film yet, consider this a SPOILER WARNING). We’ll take a look at the film from all angles, including the cast of characters, important story beats, overarching themes, music, and performances, and also discuss some of the real-world challenges Garland faced in trying to bring his vision to the big screen (after all, Annihilation is being released direct to Netflix in most of the world).

And if that wasn’t enough, we round out the episode with a look at what we’ve been watching and reading lately, including our (arguably very late) thoughts on Lady Bird, Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams vs. Black Mirror, Redneck by Donny Cates, and more. We also discuss the recently announced DC Comics Black Label imprint and some of the titles and creators that have us excited for its launch.

So join us, as as we enter into a universe full of twisted flora and fauna, meet the scariest bear of all time, and are forced to question the very nature of human existence. This...is the Joy of Geek!

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