Category Archives: sci fi fantasy

FILM: Why the Future of Girl Power Depends on “Wonder Woman” + Sexy New GIFs

LilGripes.com has one message for the DCEU:

Wonder Woman better be as specta-f–king-cular as the trailers make it look… or else.

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Warner Bros. Pictures released the “Official Origins Trailer” for Wonder Woman… and it looks epic, heartbreaking and quirkily humorous all in one gorgeously shot and edited package. We fall in love with star Gal Gadot more and more with each new frame:

Here are some exclusive highlights from the brand-new trailer:

Twee Diana (see Wonder Woman’s origins here) sees her future sword, “The Godkiller” (it can kill gods) for the very first time:

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Her mom, Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen), tells her “not you.” Bitch, please:

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So little Diana becomes a young woman (relatively…she’s 500ish years old in WWI when this movie was set) and her aunt, General Antiope (Robin Wright), trains her to fight HAM:

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Diana discovers a unique perk to her fashion accessories:

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(So, do all the Amazons on Themyscira possess Wonder Woman’s famous Gauntlets of Submission, like in the comics?)

Even more famous than her bracelets is Diana’s Lasso of Truth, which is seen being used here to its greatest visual potential:

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That is, of course, after Diana watches London pilot Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) crash upon the shores of her isolated island and decides to join his global fight against the German plot (possibly being engineered from the shadows by Wonder Woman’s archvillain, Ares, the God of War) to use a weaponized gas that can penetrate enemy gas masks.

Wait, we’re getting ahead of ourselves… Here is what we pieced together from the trailer in more GIFs:

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Slaying that mermaid braid, Diana!

A breathtaking shot showcases Diana’s superhuman capabilities as she swiftly dives in to save Steve:

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The inciting incident of the film:

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Several German-marked boats land on the beach of Themyscira and soon after that, a full-on battle ensues between the Amazons and these Jerrys:

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General Antiope and co. ride

We see Diana’s reaction to bullets for the first time in her 500 years of life:

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The shock of seeing one of her own fall by a foreign weapon probably propels Diana to take up arms (literally) and follow Trevor back to London:

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In London, Diana is forced to wear a 1900s petticoat… and girl ain’t having it:

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“How is a woman supposed to fight in this?”

Diana smells the fake flower on her hat, reminding us why Gal Gadot was the perfect choice to lend gravitas to this larger-than-life character:

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How CUTE is Gal??

Meanwhile, people keep trying to kill poor Steve:

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This scene, as brilliantly pointed out by Entertainment Weekly writer Anthony Breznican, serves as a direct homage to Christopher Reeves’ Superman blocking a bullet from Lois Lane whilst incognito as Clark Kent, with Gal Gadot even donning Clark-esque glasses in this scene:

This leads us to speculate that Steve Trevor is more than just a military pilot. He clearly discovered a secret, intentionally or not, that the Germans did not want him to… like a gas that can pierce gas masks:

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Which brings us to the identities of the film’s two possible archvillains, Ares and Circe:

This masked woman is rumored to be Circe, a classic Wonder Woman villain. She appears to be in collusion with Danny Huston’s character, a German officer who is most likely Ares in disguise.

(Why? Well, we see him manage to hold his own versus Wonder Woman in hand-to-hand combat later, for one):gs10zau3s5axphxo8mzm.pngNEWCercesBOMB.gif

I see London; I see France; I see Wondie’s underpants (or not? Is there the female equivalent of a jockstrap underneath her armor?)

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Ares’ sword is no match for Wondie’s gauntlets and we see him gasp later in the trailer, “WHAT are you?”

Well… I’m someone who can throw a horse carriage:

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A whole bunch of baddie-asskicking shots like Wonder Woman flipping in the middle of flight and busting through a window like it’s a curtain:

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THIS IS..DIANA!

One of the many, many things we love about Wonder Woman as a superhero is that she’s not bulletproof but due to her agility as a warrior, her gauntlets/shield are sufficient for her to deflect any projectile aimed her way:

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Overall, this trailer has us so psyched with scenes like the above that we are almost worried:

What Has Us Worried…

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So much hinges on this: the future of the DCEU franchise (which already has Justice League, The Flash, The Batman, Aquaman in its lineup), the future of the Wonder Woman franchise, the future of female-led superhero franchises, Gal Gadot’s career, etc. etc. etc. Heck, the future of the concept of “girl power” could hinge on it.

1. DCEU’s track record so far sucks, sucks, sucks.

Please let Wonder Woman be the film that rights this ship. In the name of all that is good, we pray this is true.

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2. Please Don’t Be Femi-Nazi or Preachy.

Can we please have a female-empowering movie that doesn’t simultaneously weaken the men in it just so women can shine? Yes, this is Diana’s/Wonder Woman’s story so it is fair that the male lead is a mere sidekick as well as her love interest, but he doesn’t need to be rendered an object of ridicule for Diana to seem strong. If this were the case, it would only undermine the value of Wonder Woman’s own strength.

When a man is weakened so a woman can be strong, EVERYONE loses.

Why can’t men and women be equally fortified in a movie for once?

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3. Please, Zack Snyder, stay far away from this.

We have already seen a great deal of slow-mo action shots in the trailers, especially highlighting Diana’s super-abilities with handling bullets, her lasso and her power of flight. We hope there isn’t the typical Snyder-esque overuse of this, to the point where the film’s excitement almost hinges on it. Let the film breathe and let Gadot do her thing.

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My On-Air Appearance Talking “Logan” and other top stories #ICYMI

HAPPY FRIDAY TWEET:

I return to air tonight on CosmicGeppetto.com, probably in a bathrobe, to re-gush over Logan and its trifecta of Oscar-worthy performances in Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine, Dafne Keen’s X-23, and Sir Patrick Stewart’s Professor X. First things first, though, let’s summarize for ya our favorite piece of casting news this week: smoldering actress Serinda Swan (Graceland, Smallville) getting tapped as Medusa in the upcoming Marvel network TV series, Inhumans.

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Who is Medusa? What is an Inhuman? Why is this actress perfect for the role? Read all about it on our list of the coolest weapons superheroines possess (in Medusa’s case, she has…super-hair. It’s actually quite sexy).

(For more on the Inhumans show itself, debuting in IMAX theaters for two weeks in September before premiering on network TV, here is Entertainment Weekly’s Exclusive First Look  on the cast list).

Back to Logan and Our Primetime Chat!

We will be on the Cosmic Geppetto show tonight (airing at a later time) to discuss the vaunted superhero film in-depth, raving about the many finer points of the experience like how X-23 comes in the adorable, unassuming package of an 11-year-old with all the wisdom of a thirty-something seared into her eyes. Or how all three stars deserve Oscar nods next year or we riot. ICYMI: Here is our must-read on the film, giving you a primer on the precocious prodigy who stole hearts all over theaters this last week.

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Until We Share the Aired, Edited Version of Our Appearance,

Enjoy Lil’s Prior 2 Appearances on Cosmic Geppetto:

a) We discuss prominent superhero race and gender changes in live-action film and TV roles recently.

Click on image for link:

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b) We discuss being a Cumberbitch and, more specifically, Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange in Marvel’s latest triumphant solo venture by the same name.

Click on image for link:

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FILM: “Logan” – Who is the New Face Behind X-23?

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LilGripes.com Returns Confident and Celebrating X-23,  Logan (no spoilers!)’s Tween Weapon

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LilGripes.com is back, shedding our wintry writer’s block… and what better way to jumpstart our brand-new confidence, in a brand-new year replete with brand-new looks (see Lil’s Lookbook and Video), than by feting the first superhero event of 2017? Yes, we are talking Marvel/20th Century Fox’s Logan. More specifically, we are talking the li’l wunderkind at the heart of Logan: Wolverine (Hugh Jackman)’s daughter-clone, “X-23″/Laura Kinney, portrayed prodigiously by brand-new face Dafne Keen.

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Remember that name. In 10 years, this girl will be wearing the hottest designer dress of 2027 as she accepts her Oscar for Best Actress in a Motion Picture. To be frank, she should also be winning an Academy Award next year for her turn as the conflicted young mutant. An effectively mute character (scroll to bottom for X-23’s backstory), Laura’s personality is expressed through facial expressions and guttural noises for much of the film. What could have been a forgettable mini she-bot was imprinted on the big screen with feral doe-eyes and a simultaneously tender temperament.

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When Keen does speak as Laura, she does so in English and Spanish, with lilts both sad and humorous in both languages. Not to mention, it is simply delightful to watch a 4’2″ girl do literal spins and acrobatic circles around baddies ten-fold her size while skewering them with metallic claws.

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So… Who is this talented little woman of mystery?

1. Ella habla español: Dafne Keen, née Daphne Keen Fernández in Spain to Will Keen, a British actor, and María Fernández Ache, a Spanish actress/theater director, turns 12 this year. Keen split her upbringing between the UK and Madrid, her bilingual nature a huge relief to James Mangold, Logan‘s director, who requested an actress between 11-12 who not only could rattle off both Spanish and English vernacular fluently but also looked of ambiguous Hispanic origin.

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2. She was born to tumble: She was a gifted gymnast at just 10 years old, when she sent in her audition tape to U.K. casting director Priscilla John. According to Vanity Fair, John watched the tape, enraptured as she watched this four-foot child scale a tall bookcase in her living room while casually picking up and fingering different objects around her. On her way down to the ground, she gracefully descended into a tumbling run. Needless to say, most of X-23’s violently acrobatic sequences did not require a double.

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3. She’s a cute eater: The endearing Pringles scene in the extended trailer? It was indubitably based on another part of Keen’s own audition tape where she chomped down crackers without a word while her eyes darted wildly around her. “She was devouring everything in that room,” John recalls. “She had an innocence and a vulnerability, and I said, ‘People are going to fall in love with her.'”

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4. She is a true novice:  If you Google Dafne Keen, there is still very little public info on the rising star. Logan is her big-screen debut and her only other credited work was a role on The Refugees, a short-lived Spanish TV series on which she collaborated with her father (who was also on Netflix’s The Crown).

5. She can hold her own: Based on the audience’s and critics’ reception of X-23, Keen has already accrued a passionate fanbase, good tidings for a potential X-Men franchise mounted on her character. In what is famously Hugh Jackman’s and Sir Patrick Stewart’s last turns as Wolverine and Professor X respectively, Keen still sways the screen every frame in which she appears, her porcelain features either lighting up with animalistic rage or evoking the childlike innocence of a sheltered lab experiment.

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Like Wolverine, Laura/X-23 possesses retractable adamantium claws, instantaneous regeneration/healing, and enhanced strength/senses

That brings us to X-23/Laura Kinney’s long story sorta short:

X-23 is Weapon X‘s 23rd (but first successful) attempt at creating a human mutant with Wolverine’s powers. Created in a lab, birthed by a surrogate mother she will never know and raised in a military facility unsuitable for children, 11-year-old Laura and other mutant youngsters only managed to escape their makers with the help of their nurses when the program decided to terminate these “experiments.” Bleak stuff.

On the run with Logan and Professor X in this film, Laura learns the outside world while Logan learns fatherhood (she is created with his DNA, after all). Armed with two adamantium claws on each hand and one on each foot, as opposed to Wolverine’s three on each hand, she is just similar enough to her violent, volatile yet ultimately virtuous pops to honor his legacy amongst this new generation of mutants.

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Isn’t this how all father-daughter time goes?

Aww…

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P.S. My brief spoiler-free Logan review (I wore yellow and black to rep Wolverine’s original costume):

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The Coolest Weapons Female Superheroes Have

Boys love their toys, a time-honored adage to which all superhero mythology can attest.

Batman is literally a walking vigilante-toy store, what between the Batmobile and his Utility Belt. Green Lantern has a magical ring, Thor has that unpronounceable hammer of his, and Captain America’s got an indestructible shield. For all their ass-kicking powers, most prominent superheroines don’t get to play with as many fun gadgets and gizmos.

Captain Boomerang and Green Arrow are named for their famously nifty weapons, after all (to be fair, so is Katana). SuperGirl is 100 (1,000?) armies onto herself (if those armies had heat vision and indestructibility), Jean Grey moves things with her mind, and Scarlet Witch, well, can do anything (we mean, anything) with her mind.

Harley Quinn carries a mallet/baseball bat as pretty and crazy as she and Gamora of Guardians of the Galaxy packs as many knives as her assassin-friendly leather outfit will allow. But with the following extremely cool exceptions, it only takes a cursory look of the comics and their live-action TV/movie adaptations to realize female superheroes don’t get the geek-lusty toys the boys do:

1. ALL of Wonder Woman’s Accessories

Lasso of Truth? Invisible Plane? Bracelets of Submission? A sword called GOD KILLER? !  So… what do they all do?

Lasso of Truth: This golden, glowing Lasso compels whomever it’s bound around to tell the truth and obey the will of its wielder.

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Fun Fact: Originally belonging to the Goddess of Love, Aphrodite, the Lasso was intended by its creator, William Moulton Marston, as an allegory for the feminine wiles.

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God Killer: Capable of killing the immortal, God Killer comes in handy especially to Wonder Woman as some of her biggest foes (Hades, Ares, etc.) are of the deity variety. A pretty standard stabby-looking sword, God Killer also possesses some measure of self-consciousness, to the point where it can alter its physical form to better suit its user’s needs. (e.g. It can grow heavier to faster move the wielder’s hand toward its victim)

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Bracelets of Submission: Completely indestructible, they can absorb or deflect all kinds of projectile weaponry and what a badass name! Sure, a whole suit made of the same material may be even more useful but then Wonder Woman can’t do cool-looking moves like these:

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Invisible Plane: Way more practical than it sounds, Wondie’s invisible jet is actually an incredibly effectual advantage over enemies. Although Wonder Woman herself can fly, the jet provides protective shelter, unique onboard equipment (i.e. weaponry), and, obviously, invisibility for Wonder Woman and itself as they move silently in stealth mode.

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This drawing is misleading, as Wonder Woman herself would be invisible to anyone outside the plane.

Fun fact most people don’t know about the plane: It is psychically connected to Wonder Woman and her tiara. She can remotely control/pilot the plane through her tiara, rendering the headdress another weapon in her extensive arsenal.

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2. Black Widow’s Gauntlets

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After Wonder Woman, any other super-female’s weapons are going to pale in comparison, but they still rank high on the badassery scale, like Black Widow’s gauntlets. Criminally underused in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), these gauntlets pack the exact technology that lends Black Widow her code name… She’s known for her sting. Their full capacities in the comics:

  • Widow’s Line – Retractable grappling hook and cable connected to the gauntlets, mostly used for rooftop gliding, rappelling and climbing up steep cliffs and hills.
  • Widow’s Kiss – An aerosol instant knock-out drug, pioneered by Russian Spetsnaz. When used, it appears to be purplish pink fumes that can knock out a person for more than twenty hours.
  • Widow’s Bite – A high-frequency electrostatic charge that also act as percussive energy blasts, the effects of which can be felt for at least a month. It can deliver charges up to 30,000 volts. The “Bite” can be set to deliver minor shocks with stunning or lethal high voltage currents.

This is most similar to what we see with the MCU Black Widow:

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In Avengers: Age of Ultron, we saw her use batons mimicking the gauntlets’ bite:

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  • Explosives – Explosives like grenades are stored in the gauntlet.
  • Tear Gas Pellets – There is also tear in the gauntlet that can cause blindness when released. It can also render the opponent unconscious.
  • Radio Transmitter – This enables Widow to lock onto a target and track its every move. If placed on a moving vehicle like a car or bike, it enables Widow to track down its location.

It is too bad that, in the MCU, her gauntlets just deliver electrocuting shocks. I know, just electrocuting shocks. Meh! At least she also has her guns, pepper spray… and an incredibly lethal body:

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3. Medusa’s Hair

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Yes, hair as a weapon. Believe it or not, the ability to mentally manipulate one’s hair at will is called something: Trichokinesis. Medusalith Amaquelin-Boltagon, Queen of the Inhuman Royal Family, can control the rate of growth and movement of each strand of her tougher-than-steel hair individually. Each strand of her hair has far greater tensile strength, elasticity and durability than an iron wire of the same thickness. Among the ways she can weaponize her hair:

  • Snap it like a whip at a rate faster than the speed of sound
  • Bind enemies or objects as if it were rope or to lift them (The weight is supported by the psionic force coursing through her hair, not by her skull, neck, or scalp. Hence, why Medusa’s hair is more an accessory than a part of her body)
  • Rotate it in a fan-like manner
  • Pick locks, type or write with a pen if her hands aren’t free, etc.

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She maintains control over her hair even if it is cut from her head. Also, due to all hair’s lack of nerves, Medusa cannot be harmed by attacks on her hair but she can “feel” sensations on it through its psionic field.

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Medusa ties up the Fantastic Four

OK… that’s a lot of sci-fi geeking out.

4. Psylocke’s sword

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Psylocke’s katana looks just like any other katana, except it is 100% psychically conjured. See, Psylocke, being a powerful telepath, can kill or harm her enemies in a vast variety of creative ways but ever since swapping bodies with a Japanese ninja, she chooses to fight up-close with a conjured blade.

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5. Witchblade

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A list of the greatest female-wielded super-weapons would be remiss if it didn’t include The Witchblade. An offspring of the “primal forces in the universe,” The Darkness and The Angelus, it usually manifests as a metal gauntlet and, being male in nature, apparently only seeks out female hosts. Most famous among the hosts was the live-action adaptation of Sara Pezzini, a NYPD homicide detective. Armed with the Witchblade, it allowed her to:

  • transform the gauntlet into a bladed weapon, chain, hook, shield or full-body suit of armor if need be or a discreet bracelet when inert
  • generate wings so she can fly
  • shoot energy blasts
  • fire projectile darts or whip-like grapples to attack or to climb
  • heal wounds on her own, including mortal ones
  • reanimate the dead
  • empathically show her scenes of great trauma and relive the experiences of past wielders as dreams
  • damage incorporeal beings
  • slay other-dimensional entities and deities

Which of these (sets of) weapons would you most want to rock?

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FASHION: Do “Star Wars” Cosplay Everyday: We Called It; Now You Can Wear It!

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Happy New Year… Phew.

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The #WritersBlockStruggleBus was real coming back from our 2016-2017 winter hiatus. More unfortunately, the world had just lost Carrie Fisher, geeks everywhere lost their first love in Princess Leia, and the Star Wars universe is now devoid of both Han Solo and General Leia Organa… all on the tail of a triumphant reception this Christmas season of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

This wintry whirlwind of all things related to the galaxy far, far away makes us harken back to a happier time–one year ago, in fact, when J.J. Abrams successfully rebooted the franchise to end all franchises and made Rey (…Skywalker?) a cultural icon for new generations to come.

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LIL GRIPES DASHThe minute we laid eyes on Rey’s Desert-Punk outfit, we predicted it would beget many sexy Ready-to-Wear imitations:

(REY-diantly Hot and Chic)

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Well, don’t call us clairvoyant, but… here we are:

(These products’ official detail descriptions sound eerily similar to what we wrote, just sayin’)

Her Universe Star Wars Rey Girls Flyaway Cardigan:

Hot Topic’s Her Universe line features this cardigan from its 2015 Fashion Show Audience Winner, Leetal Platt, who turned Rey’s scavenger gear into something wearable at school and work… as well as Comic-Con.

10531540_hi“Rey’s costume immediately called for drape and the sleeves made us want it to be a sweater. We thought if the fronts were long, they could be crossed and the front, paired with a belt, and also serve as cosplay, so, double duty!”

– Leetal Platt, designer

Plus Sizes also available. Both options currently on sale!

Star Wars Rey Draped Ladies’ Sweater:

mustardbrand also produced a sartorially elegant version of Rey’s robes. This rendition is much more subtle, unless one is searching for its connection to Star Wars. In that case, you can find a faint silicon Rebel Badge on the left upper arm sleeve:

We are happily blown away by the exquisite level of detail the design took in adapting Rey’s original outfit to 2017’s fashion sensibilities:

  • The cross-body styling on the sweater’s front is a modernization of Rey’s wrap top; it leads to an asymmetrical back hemline.
  • The subtle pintucking on the forearms mimics Rey’s arm wraps. No Jakku sand included.

“The subtle silicon Rebel logo on the upper arm lets you share your allegiance with those who get close enough – but it’s not evident if they’re not looking for it!”

And coming soon from Hot Topic Her Universe:

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Anddd Coming Soon in 2017 from LilGripes.Com:

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  • Hey, So-Called “Feminists”: Give Wonder Woman Her Ambassadorship Back!
  • DC v Marvel: Who Has Better Female Heroes and Villains?
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Put It Out of Its Misery

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12 Days of Christmas: ON THE 5th DAY: Top 5 #TheWalkingDead Gifts

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It’s Christmas, CORRRAAAAL! Eat the goddamn pudding!

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1. The Walking Dead Lucille Bat Matte Gold Pendant

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Pretty and fatal… that’s how all women like our jewelry. Nothing screams the two more than a pendant of a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire.

2. The Walking Dead Negan Lucille Crossed Bats Adult T-Shirtwadchat07_grande.jpg

LADIES, wear a choker and a delicate, medium-length chain necklace with this shirt. It’s called murder-chic.

3. The Walking Dead Charm Wrap Gold Bracelet

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It’s all in the details. Of all the ShoptheWalkingDead.com products we’ve seen Chris Hardwick hawking on Talking Dead, he’s never highlighted this exquisitely charming (haha) beaut. The perennially trendy juxtaposition of black-and-gold offsets each dangling relic from a plotline on the show: the handcuffs Rick used on poor Merle, black and gold skulls, the wings on Daryl’s iconic vest, and Daryl’s crossbow… Basically, the Dixon brothers make for great accessory fodder.

4. 6 POP! Daryls >>> 1 Real Daryl (not really, though)

Every fangirl knows that, like Pokémon, YOU GOTTA CATCH THEM ALL! Except two are unfortunately sold out for the indefinite future (we’re sure you can find them on EBay and/or Amazon, however).

It is a testament to Daryl Dixon’s/Norman Reedus’ fandom that Funko POP! made 4 more vinyl action figures of him than they did of Rick Grimes… literally one for each season.

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Our personal fave… for any Secret Santas out there.

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The Dixon brothers make for great accessory fodder.

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Click to see each Daryl up close:

5. The Walking Dead Michonne Hand Forged Replica Sword with Wall Mount

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For the ultimate bad-ass chick who also happens to love elegant, and deadly, home décor, place this high-carbon steel replica of Michonne’s katana (with an aluminum handle wrapped in leather and real ray skin) on its own wall mount in your living room. Or bedroom, if you’re into that kinda thing.

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FILM: Why Would Sienna Miller be the Perfect Catwoman to Ben Affleck’s #Batman?

To be perfectly honest and modest, I should be the next Catwoman. But back to reality for a hot sec:

Now that the new DC Extended Universe (DCEU) has a well-received Batman in Ben Affleck (Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad) a.k.a…. Batfleck, our Dark Knight needs a kitty Cat(woman). Sienna Miller has expressed her interest in portraying the feline anti-hero. There has been no confirmation or denial about a Catwoman role in the upcoming The Batman solo venture (being written by Affleck himself), but aside from me, Sienna Miller is the no-brainer choice for Selina Kyle:

1. She is one of the most seriously underrated actresses in Hollywood, with her tabloid follies unfortunately eclipsing the due respect her thespian talents deserve: Sienna Miller on Rotten Tomatoes.

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Miller in “American Sniper”

After critically acclaimed roles in numerous indies, one supporting villainous role in G.I. Joe: The Rise of the Cobra and a few token turns as the “wife” in Oscar-nominated movies like American Sniper and Foxcatcher, THIS would be the big break she deserves.

2. She can rock the catsuit and the goggles…while kicking a–, as seen in G.I. Joe::

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LIL GRIPES DASH

[Sienna Miller is a seriously underrated actress], with her tabloid follies unfortunately eclipsing the due respect her thespian talents deserve.

LIL GRIPES DASH

3. Blonde, brunette, pixie cut, shaggy bobs and long boho waves with bangs… She looks good in literally any hairstyle or hair color the role might throw at her:

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  • P.S. Cat eyeliner looks ready-made for her: sienna2.png

4. Miller already has history cooking up steam onscreen as Ben Affleck’s lover in the upcoming Prohibition-era crime drama Live by Night (directed by Affleck)… and since Miller’s voiced interest in working with Affleck again, they probably generated genuine chemistry:

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5. She was born to play the cool chick… and who’s the Ultimate Cool Chick if not Catwoman?

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