La Borinqueña and La La: Heroes Worth Waiting For

When my oldest daughter was 3, we would sit together in her bean bag chair, turn off the lights, and watch the Justice League animated series. Here she learned about superheros and when she started becoming interested in comics, I wanted to make sure she read something that represented and looked like her so I handed her a copy of Araña. That was five years ago, and now she is 12 and is immersed in finding representation in what she reads.

It’s small stories like this that amplify the importance of diversity in literature and, in this case, comics. It is for that reason that the launching of Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez’s La Borinqueña comes at a much needed time.

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NOC Recaps Arrow: Choose Your Path Oliver

After a brief hiatus from our T.V. screens — and a teaser about how the rest of the season may play out — we find Ollie at the hands of Ra’s, perhaps ready to taste metal again until Ra’s, in all evil dude monologues, explains to him that he is not going to kill him. He divulges the secret that there have been other Ra’s Al Ghuls — and as he explain his eternal life source, aka the Lazarus pits, he makes an offer that Ollie will need to consider.

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NOC Recaps Arrow: Oh Sara, No Time is a Good Time for Goodbyes

After an action-packed season premiere, complete with a shocking twist ending, you knew the second episode — titled “Sara” — was going to be all about the fallout.

[Ed. note: I can’t be the only one who was thinking of the old Jefferson Starship song throughout this episode, right?]

Spoilers ahead.

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NOC Recaps The Legend of Korra: Where in the World is Zaheer?

Episode Nine: “The Stakeout”

This first part of Book 3 has been fast and full of non-stop action. So you know there would be some “set up” episodes and “The Stakeout” falls under this category. There isn’t too much revealed and not much action, but we do see the return of the spirit world and we learned about Zaheer’s past and perhaps clues to his intentions with Avatar Korra.

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NOC Recaps The Legend of Korra: Sister, Sister

Episode Six: “Old Wounds”

There are some opportunities when my whole family sits down and enjoy a TV show, The Legend of Korra is one of them. This is episode really dives into the history of the Beifong family, sibling fighting  and of course metal bending.

Beifong and team Avatar are in Metal City trying to recruit Opal who has now discovered she is an air bender. Beifong blew up at her when she tried to introduce herself and we start this episode at the breakfast table.

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NOC Recaps The Legend of Korra: Sparky Sparky Boom… Woman?

Episode Four: “In Harm’s Way”

Kai has been kidnapped to be part of the Earth Queen’s new Air Bender Army. Mako and Bolin rediscovered family. The league of super evil benders is forming. Korra and Tenzin are trying to figure out where are all the air benders in Ba Sing Se.

Yeah, a lot happens in this episode.

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We’re Ready to Ride the Lightning with The Flash

At the beginning of the recently concluded television season, the creators of Arrow announced they were going to produce a spin-off based on Barry Allen, aka The Flash. Last month on Hard N.O.C. Life, we had the privilege to pick the brain of Andy Poon, the concept illustrator behind the costumes on Arrow and Smallville, and we had an intriguing discussion about Barry Allen. Most of us here at the NOC have been watching Arrow, and I voiced my enthusiasm about the episode (“The Scientist”) in which Barry — as played by Glee’s Grant Gustin — first appears.

As always we were skeptical, but knowing that the creators of Arrow were involved, I had hope. It also helped that the producers seemed to be filling out the cast with plenty of people of color. Then images of The Flash’s costume were leaked, and I seriously began to have doubts.

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Keeping an Eye on Arrow

Almost Human may never come back. Sleepy Hollow is on hiatus. Who knows when Book Three of The Legend of Korra will ever come out? So what’s good and NOC-worthy on TV right now? Well The CW is trying out this show called The 100 that resembles a Hunger Games/Lord of the Flies mashup (s/o Shawn Taylor for the references). It’s a hot mess, but I can see how it might catch on.

But if you’re a NOC and need something to watch between the time you put the kids to bed and when you got to put yourself to bed, I suggest you check out a different show on The CW. What am I talking about? It’s simple. Watch Arrow.

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Ponyo’s Magic Realism

In 2008, a character with a two-syllable name captivated a then 4 year-old NOC-in-training as she watched a movie about a fish-girl, magic, friendship, and bringing balance to the world. Many would guess that I’m describing The Little Mermaid, or even the early stages of Avatar or The Legend of Korra. All are fair assessments, but in this case we are referring to the eighth film from the amazing Studio Ghibli: Ponyo.

Now, I have written before about my introduction to anime while growing up in Peru, but it is my brother Diego that is the expert in our family. I remember him saying that I had to watch Princess Mononoke and Spirited Way, but I never got around it. And it wasn’t until one day he came to our house determined to introduce me and his niece to the world of Miyazaki.

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El Chu and Some Other Planes

As a parent, you remember the first time you took your #NOCsintraining to see their first movie. Isabella’s was Kung Fu Panda. Giselle’s was Kung Fu Panda 2. Well, it was their little brother’s turn, and we were honestly apprehensive about the situation. Santi cannot sit still for more than 20 minutes, so we needed to find something that would boost his interest.

Santi's first movie
Santi’s watching his first movie.

The Disney film Mater’s Tall Tales was a huge hit in our household, especially with Santiago, our 2-year-old. So when we found the short film at the end of Cars 2 about “Air Mater” all that Santiago could say for weeks was “Again! Please!”

With that in mind, we settled on Planes to watch. The nerd in me, researched characters and plot before we went to see it. Everyone was excited because this was supposed to be the next in the Cars series, but I was intrigued with one character, El Chupacabra.

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Watching LEGO Marvel Super Heroes: Maximum Overload

If you walk into our house, then head up the stairs, take a right at the top and walk through the door, you will find yourself in the lair of our #NOCsintraining (aka my girls’ room). From a quick glance around, you will deduce that there are Star Wars and Avengers bed sheets. Further examination of the room will reveal that LEGOs are also in abundance. And if you inspect their bookshelf, you will find comic books mostly from the Marvel Universe with a focus on the Avengers.

So yes, LEGO and Marvel nerds, we are. But my girls seem to take most interest in building LEGOs these days. Which I enjoy, too. So it was to our delight when we found out that Marvel and Lego decided to put out a series of, well, Marvel LEGO Super Heroes and titled it Maximum Overload. Since it was a Saturday evening, and it was on Netflix, and I had made popcorn, we watched it.

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NOC Recaps The Legend of Korra: When the Isht Goes Down…

Episode Thirteen, “Darkness Falls”

Vaatu is free. Harmonic Convergence is upon us. Unalaq is still being an ass and making no sense. It’s like those winter mornings when you don’t want to get out of bed. So, who do you call? The Fire Ferrets. Mako, Bolin, and Korra take on Vaatu and Unalaq in a Wrestlemania meets Celebrity Death Match quarrel. We’ve been waiting for this, when Korra goes Hulk smash… and slams Vaatulaq!

So let’s go!

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NOC Recaps The Legend of Korra: Stargazing

Episode Eleven, “The Night of a Thousand Stars”

I am not going to lie. This season of The Legend of Korra has been better than I expected. So the next four episodes are for sure going to make me drop some F-bombs and some holy expletives with tons of exclamation points to fill in my excitement. So you’ve been warned.

“The Night of a Thousand Stars” was a filler episode and a warm-up to what we all have been waiting for, the “Harmonic Convergence” show down.

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NOC Recaps The Legend of Korra: Light and Peace

Episode Ten, “A New Spiritual Age”

The last two episodes of Korra have been intense. Which has reflected the way my life has been the past two weeks as well. A year ago, around this time, I lost a close friend of mine: a family member, the godfather to my son, and one of the biggest nerds of color I’ve ever known.

The wife and I introduced him to A:TLA, and I know he would geek out over LOK. So forgive me, if this post is a little bit different.

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NOC Poetry: “Open Letter to El Fuerte”

I am a video game player. There is no denying that. But I am also a father. So finding balance between family obligations and video games can be daunting at times. So I allow myself to buy one video game — at full retail price — a year. Well one year, I decided that the game I wanted was Street Fighter IV. I’ve been a big SF fan since SFII. My cousins and I would play that game to death in my uncle’s living room to the point that we were banished from the T.V.

I was extremely surprised that there was a character of Mexican heritage in the game, so that was another incentive for purchasing it. When I chose El Fuerte as my character, I was surprised that, well, he was shorter then Blanka, his quest is to find good recipes, really has no projectile moves, and, let’s be real, resembles a rejected understudy to Rey Mysterio Jr.

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Plants Killing Zombies?

This is the story of a man that wears a steel pot for a hat, mumbles gibberish, and has zombies invading his garden. Your Job is to use plants to prevent the zombies from… ummm… eating your brains!

If this just seems too extreme for a movie plot, well it probably is. But it’s better suited to one of the best Tower Defense titles that has hit the mobile phone market. We are referring to the game Plants vs Zombies.

Its original release was a PC version by PopCap in 2005, but it made a splash on to the iPhone in 2010, and damn it, it is one of the most addicting things in my life at the moment — next to avocado sandwiches.

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NOC Recaps The Legend of Korra: Sting and the Police

Episode Six, “The Sting”

When we left off at the end of “Peace Keepers,” we were left with the image of Korra being swallowed by a Dark Spirit as she was being pursued by Eska (by the way, anyone catch the resemblance to Azula here?) and her twin as ordered by their father and full-time bad guy Unalaq. “The Sting” is one of the few episodes in season 2 so far that we get to focus more on other characters, but it really just creates more questions than answers, which is how season 2 of LOK is building up to be.

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Why We Love Quincy from Disney’s Little Einsteins

As of a father of three NOCs in training, we’ve had the experience in cycling through kids TV shows. Everyone goes through Dora and Diego phases before moving on to Backyardigans and graduating to Yo Gabba Gabba! and so on.

But in our NOC household the one TV show that all three of the kids have enjoyed thoroughly — and at times the older siblings still make ahem excuses to watch with their little brother — is Disney’s Little Einsteins.

Little Einsteins is a show where four friends — Annie, Leo, June, Quincy and a very special rocketship named Rocket (yea I know, original but bare with me) — launch into missions that are filled with classical music and historically well known artwork to engage young kids with art and music.

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NOC Recaps The Legend of Korra: The Civil Wars

Episode Three: “Civil Wars, Part 1”

If last week’s premiere of Book 2 left you with more questions than answers, you are not alone. Here at NOC headquarters, we’re wondering if the family drama that is being foreshadowed so far would lead to more personal stories to fill the gap between Aang and Korra. Well, “Civil Wars Part 1” gave us a little insight into the history of Aang’s children, the pressure that being the Avatar brings, a double date, Bolin’s love life, and internal fighting over power between two sister tribes.

Before we dive into details from our NOC perspective on this episode, we have to say..


(So, yeah, read at your own risk!)

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A Nerd of Color in Peru

I remember coming home after watching Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi on the big screen. I was quiet, but as soon as I got home and put on my pj’s, I jumped on my bed and pretended to fight invisible foes with my imaginary lightsaber. I had been practicing reproducing the sound of the masterful lightsaber and by the end of the week, I had perfected it. Some kids in the neighborhood where we lived in Lima, Peru either thought it was really cool or let their fists do the talking.

That didn’t stop me. I’ve always been the “unique” person in every room I’ve entered. Nowadays because there aren’t too many spoken word artists of Peruvian heritage in the Midwest — or the U.S. — that grew up watching Mazinger Z and Ultraman, or fell in love with Lynn Minmei from Robotech, or was sucked into Transformers, or collected Dungeons & Dragons figurines, or watched My Little Pony (not a Brony, by the way), or raised the eye of Thundera with Lion-O, or geeked out every time Voltron would form, or loved it every time Saint Seiya would scream out “Dame tu fuerza! Pegaso!

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