The Geekender August 7-9: Fantastic Four (the comic book), Space: 1999, Gods and Monsters, and more!

The weekend is upon us, and with it, a chance to sit back, relax and consume massive amounts of sci-fi, fantasy and horror pop culture. In The Geekender, our writers share a bit about what they're reading, watching and playing -- and we want to hear from you. Let us know what's on your plate in the comments!

Trent Moore: Being a glutton for punishment, I couldn't help myself and checked out an early weekend screening of Josh Trank's ultra-troubled Fantastic Four reboot. Turns out most of that negative press was pretty much justified. But, as much as the project's foibles have been covered over the last year or so, I really wanted to see how the finished product came together. There were glimpses of a very cool science fiction movie there, though sadly it got buried in a mediocre superhero story that demanded to take the stage in the waning half-hour. It's a fascinating peek at what could've been a very cool, unique take on a beloved franchise. As it stands, you may want to just wait and hit up a matinee. Or, you know, give it a few months until it hits Redbox.


Ernie Estrella: As a noble geek dad, I'll be actively shielding my children from any more mention of the new Fantastic Four film by showing them The Incredibles, instead, but when I retire to myself, I'll be indulging in my Kabuki Library Edition Vol. 1 by David Mack. Kabuki is about a vigilante in a futuristic Japan run by a clandestine government called "The Noh" and their army of assassins. It's all a metaphor for a girl seeking to know her true identity and her personal connections with her family. The early stuff from the series was Mack's college thesis and was rooted in his own personal experiences. But even as the product of a young storyteller, it was a taste of one of the best ongoing works in the modern age of comics. I bought every one of these issues collected in singles during the mid-'90s, when Caliber Comics, then Image, originally published them, but Dark Horse's new oversized and retrospective treatment of these classics gives me an exciting new way to revisit the series for the foreseeable future. The transition Mack made from pen and ink to his more recognized multimedia collages and paintings is astonishing, and it broadened storytelling methods beyond the borders of comic-book panels. Kabuki stays with you long after you close the book, and that's the kind of comic that's worth savoring over many weekends.


Carol Pinchefsky: Remember how, last week, I said I was going to be reading Charles Stross? Yeah, that didn’t happen. Instead, I delved back into Stephen King with his novel 11/22/63. It’s about a man who goes back in time to kill Lee Harvey Oswald. I’m ... underwhelmed. It’s well written enough, and considering its length, I’m positively flying through it. But there are points when it drags. There are some seriously creepy moments, but I was hoping for full-on creeptastic. Shall I try Under the Dome or Doctor Sleep next? I’m taking recommendations.


Jeff Spry: I'm getting a head start on my geeky diversions this weekend and popping in the first disc of my Space:1999 Season 1 Blu-ray box set Friday night, settling into some sweet retro sci-fi episodes. I was a wee lad when this influential British series starring Martin Landau and Barbara Bain first orbited my prime-time television viewing universe in 1975, with its stunning special effects and miniatures by VFX legend Brian Johnson. Created by Thunderbirds' Gerry and Sylvia Anderson, the show's premise of the moon being jettisoned into outer space after a nuclear waste explosion might be scientifically incorrect, but who really cared? The show had a revolving roster of aliens, monsters, mummified astronauts, derelict starships and strange unexplored worlds. So save me a seat on Eagle 1 and leave the light on at Moonbase Alpha; I'll be neck-deep in some amazing science fiction adventure before Sunday church bells chime.


Aaron Sagers: This weekend, I’m heading to upstate New York to indulge in one of my other nerdy passions: beer! Brewery Ommegang’s Belgium Comes To Cooperstown (BCTC) event is an annual event gathering more than 100 breweries from across the world, each pouring a selection of typically at least three beers. Last year was my first time going, and camping out on the gorgeous Ommegang grounds, and it was truly the best beer fest I’ve ever attended. But there is a genre angle to this as well! Ommegang is the brewer of the HBO Game of Thrones beers (I can never get enough of their Valar Morghulis Dubbel), and it’s a good bet the Iron Throne will be making another appearance there this year for photo opps. Plus, most beer nerds cross over into sci-fi and comic nerdom, so it’s always fun to check out brews inspired by genre. If you’re there, say hi; I’ll be the dude wearing a Star Wars Hawaiian print shirt with a Valar Morghulis in my hand!


Don Kaye: With the Fantastic Four movie turning into such a debacle as the weekend unfolds before us, and with the bad taste from it still in my mouth, I plan to go back to the source starting this weekend. I have a big old book collecting the first 30 issues of the original FF comics by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, and I am going to crack it open and just enjoy reading the first stories that really gave birth to the Marvel Comics we know today. Those stories are colorful, weird and fun, while still providing us with the family dynamic that made the Four so endearing -- and which the movies fail to capture. So I'm not exactly reading or watching anything new, but I will hopefully getting a fresh charge out of some of those original stories (Mole Man! The Skrulls!).


Krystal Clark: I'm diving into DC's latest animated feature, Justice League: Gods and Monsters. There was a lot of buzz about it coming out of San Diego Comic-Con, and after watching the trailer I can see why. Gods and Monsters is just what its title implies. It shows the Trinity (Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman) in a whole new light. Superman is General Zod's son and was raised by a Mexican family, not the Kents. Batman's a scientist who turned himself into a vampire-like creature, and Wonder Woman the New God is Darkseid's daughter-in-law. The story's set in an alternate universe, and I'm more than a little intrigued. Bring on the weirdness!


Dany Roth: This weekend is for research. Of course, in this case, research means tracking down and watching as many horror movies as possible that feature a lead female villain, especially in a slasher role. I've already been watching the complete Sleepaway Camp oeuvre, which features the very unusual case of Angela Baker. But this also means I'll get to revisit some of the old classics, as well as some of the more recent horror juggernauts, and try and piece together just what (if any) evolution there has been for the female slasher over the years.


Lisa Granshaw: I decided to finally start reading Marvel's Kanan: The Last Padawan comic-book series. So far, I've read the first two issues. It was fun getting a glimpse of what Kanan's life was like as Padawan Caleb Dume with Jedi Master Deba Billaba, even if it was a brief apprenticeship. Issue one's cliffhanger with Order 66 and Dume finally feeling like he found his place meant I knew issue two was going to be heartbreaking, and it did not disappoint. It was terrible seeing it all come crashing down around Dume as he has to kill former clone friends, watch his master die, and then go on the run. Still, I'm looking forward to seeing what the young ex-Padawan who eventually becomes the Kanan we've seen in Rebels does in the next issues now that he has to try and make his way in the galaxy on his own.


Matt Dorville: This weekend, I plan on returning to the world of Shadow in Neil Gaiman’s American Gods. A couple years ago, Gaiman released the American Gods: Preferred Text Edition, which contained over 12,000 more words (that’s about an extra 50 pages), and, with the announcement that Bryan Fuller, whose Hannibal I just finished and loved, is doing the television show of the book for Starz, I figured picking up the book again would be a good refresher. Rereading is also a wonderful practice that I don’t get to do as often as I’d like since, like everyone I know in New York, I always feel short on time, but each time I’ve reread a book I enjoyed it has been a wonderful experience, and American Gods is certainly worthy of revisiting.


Evan Hoovler: This weekend, I am doing two genre-related things. First of all, I am paying tribute to the late, great Rowdy Roddy Piper by watching the entirety of his 1980s sci fi film, They Live, which is available on YouTube. At a time when almost all wrestlers wore way-too-tight spandex, Piper brought real character to his persona by wearing a kilt, leather jacket and "Hot Rod" T-shirt. These days, whenever someone asks me why wrestling is no longer popular, I point to the lack of characters. We need more Big Boss Mans, Roddy Pipers and George "The Animal" Steeles. Also, after months of begging from my friends, I am finally going to get into Blizzard's CCG Hearthstone. It's pretty much a leaner version of Magic: The Gathering that costs way less to get into. I've always been a fan of card games, dating back to my early teens, when I played two World Championships for the game of contract bridge. Even more than playing card games, I like discussing them: strategy, merit, deck matchups, etc.


Matthew Jackson: I have stacks upon stacks of comics in my office right now that haven't been read, in part because I recently moved and in part because, when I start getting lazy, I stay lazy about keeping up with stuff like that. So, this weekend, I'm going to do my best to catch up on some series I've been missing, particularly Sex Criminals by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky and Injection by Warren Ellis, Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire. If I have time, I might even get around to reading the half dozen issues or so of Batman that I've been neglecting.


Adam Swiderski: I recently downloaded the first four issues of Spider-Gwen, the Edge of Spider-verse spinoff that offers up a world in which Gwen Stacy, not Peter Parker, was bitten by a radioactive spider and granted super powers. I've read the first two and will probably finish off the second two this weekend, and, well, I'm already in love. The writing by Jason Latour is sharp and witty, cleverly playing with a lot of the conventions of the Spider-Man mythology, and the art by Robbi Rodriguez ... well, let's just say there's a reason Spider-Gwen cosplay has sprung up so quickly at cons. Plus, now Gwen is a drummer in The Mary Janes (fronted by you-know-who), one of New York's hottest bands -- and they have a real single (thanks to Texas band Married With Sea Monsters), called "Face It, Tiger." Swoon.


You've heard what we're up to -- now it's your turn! What movies, books, comics, shows and games will you be diving into this weekend? Let us know in the comments!

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