What Are Henry’s Ethical Duties to Frank Irving as an Attorney?

The Horseman of War on Sleepy Hollow is a lawyer. Or pretending to be one. Either way, just lovely for our reputation as attorneys.

Duty_of_Loyalty_SleepyHollow_6154The reveal came at the end of The Kindred when Henry visited former Sheriff Frank Irving in a prison psychiatric hospital. The NEW Sheriff in town apparently was pushing the limits on cruel and unusual punishment, seeking not just psych evaluations, but threats of electric shock therapy. “Henry the Lawyer” appeared to put a stop to the tests, which is what a lawyer is exactly supposed to do for his client at object police torture.

However, Henry had Irving sign papers (most likely the engagement letter) that pricked the former sheriff’s finger, in effect making him sign the engagement letter in blood.

This raises many important legal issues. No one should EVER sign a contract of any type without reading it first. God knows what evil clause is in there that could negatively impact Frank Irving. No legal fees or retainer could include someone’s soul, even though not specifically stated in any state’s ethical rules.

Henry might be a powerful warlock, but that does not mean he passed the bar in the late 18th Century. New York does not permit people to engage in the unauthorized practice of law, warlock or not. The law specifically prohibits any “natural” person from holding themselves out to the public to practice law (including appearing in Court and advertising), without having been licensed, admitted to practice law in New York, and taken an oath to the Constitution. NY CLS Jud § 478.

If Henry is a licensed attorney, he has several major breaches of his ethical duties. The first being having his client sign a blood oath that likely goes against his client’s interests. This act would violate his Duty of Loyalty to Frank Irving to not act adversely against his client.

Henry also has a significant conflict of interest with Irving, as Henry’s goal is to bring about the Apocalypse under the direction of Moloch, which goes against Irving’s interests.  A lawyer may not represent someone if a lawyer’s professional judgment will be adversely affected by the lawyer’s own business or personal interests. NY CLS Jud Appx R 1.7(a)(2). As Henry wants to destroy the world and use Irving in some way to achieve that goal, this conflict of interest unquestionably would violate Henry’s ethical obligations to Irving.

Henry is also violating his duties to New York State and the US Constitution, with his active criminal conspiracy to kidnap his mother, commit murder, and bring about the end of the world. All of these actions would result in disbarment.

I am She-Hulk!

She Hulk comicNinety percent of lawyering is conversation…[The other ten percent is] mostly beating up robots.”   Jennifer Walters

Okay, I didn’t get a blood transfusion from Bruce Banner, I’m not green, nor am I that strong, but I am a lawyer!  And, like Jennifer Walters (She-Hulk’s alter ego), I left a big firm to go smaller.  My departure wasn’t quite as dramatic (no tables were destroyed) and I joined a small boutique firm instead of going solo, but some of the challenges are the same (I just wish I could find some office space as cool as hers!).

Cash-EnvelopeThe perks of going smaller can be big, as life as an associate in biglaw (as we call life at the big firms) can be a grind, with long hours worked and health destroyed.  Like She-Hulk at the beginning of Episode 1, many associates work those long hours in the hopes of getting a big bonus (bonuses are a bit of an obsession for biglaw associates), which they need to pay off their massive law school debt.  So leaving biglaw can be a scary but liberating experience.

These similarities were the reason I started reading the new She-Hulk storyline, which I first learned about in the ABA Journal.  Josh has already discussed some other She-Hulk issues in the current storyline, but my favorite story to date was right there in the very first episode: the patent lawsuit with Iron Man.

Welcome to the world of IP litigation.  While patent troll plaintiffs are a problem, so too are big companies that can overwhelm individual inventors with armies of lawyers (from biglaw!), mountains of motions, and enormous ediscovery productions.  Patent litigation is an expensive mess, even as DC tries to correct some of the worst of the problems (with questionable success).

Fighting robotJennifer Walters, in her patent lawsuit, still had to deal with a creepy defense attorney, overwhelming litigation defense strategies, and other standard legal obstacles.  But, unlike most lawyers, she also had to fight Tony Stark’s robots.  Of course, she’s She-Hulk so she was able to deal with the robots with minimal problems.

She then circumvented Stark’s counsel by talking to Iron Man directly.  While it’s cool that she’s friends with Tony and (spoiler alert!) was able to talk sense into him about her client’s claim to the disputed invention, she violated a California State Bar Rule of Professional Conduct by speaking to directly to the opposing party about the lawsuit.  Under California’s rules (and the rules of most – if not all – states), a lawyer can’t speak directly to the opposing party about the lawsuit if the opposing party has an attorney unless the opposing party’s attorney consents to the communication.

Breaking the ruleI’m pretty certain Stark’s attorney didn’t okay the communication, which means he could file a complaint with the state bar about Walters’ violation of the rules of professional conduct.  But, as we know, superheroes don’t always have to follow all the rules we mere mortals are bound by!

She-Hulk is probably the first comic book that I can relate to at least a little, even if (once again) she is a better-dressed lawyer than I am.  Now if they just added in some kids so she had to juggle work, family, and being a superhero, I would truly be able to identify with her!

Did the Doctor Need Courtney Woods to Have a Permission Slip to Travel in the TARDIS?

The Doctor Who episode “The Caretaker” ends with the Doctor taking the 14-year-old student Courtney Woods (who called herself “Destructive Influence”) on a trip in the TARDIS to dispose of Skovox Blitzer in deep space.

Could a school janitor take a 14-year-old off school premises in a time machine without a permission slip? The law in most countries would say no.

TimeLords_PermissionSlips_6152The state of California is a good example of the requirements for conducting a “field trip.” A school district can conduct ” excursions in connection with courses of instruction or school-related…educational…activities” within the state, outside of the state, or in a foreign country.  Trips abroad can be “permitted to familiarize students with the language, history, geography, natural sciences, and other studies relative to the district’s course of study for pupils.” Cal Ed Code § 35330(a)(1).

Legally speaking, leaving planet Earth for a distant section of space would be “outside of the state.” As the Doctor took Courtney just into space, she was not in “a foreign country,” but an interstellar void.

A school district has broad immunity on field trips, because “all persons making the field trip or excursion shall be deemed to have waived all claims against the district for injury, accident, illness, or death occurring during or by reason of the field trip or excursion.” Wolfe v. Dublin Unified School Dist., 56 Cal. App. 4th 126, 128 (Cal. App. 1st Dist.1997), citing Cal Ed Code § 35330.

However, there is one giant requirement with field trips: Students need written parental consent to go on a field trip. This consent is known as a “permission slip.” Generally speaking, students who do not have a signed permission slip remain at a school in an alternative activity. Wolfe v. Dublin Unified School Dist., 56 Cal. App. 4th 126, 128 (Cal. App. 1st Dist.1997).

Some permission slips need to explain what the students are doing and know risks in order for parents to give their informed consent (such as after school sports). As such, parents are giving their express agreement to assume the risk of the activity. Such express agreements are valid if they do not violate public policy.  Allan v. Snow Summit, Inc., 51 Cal. App. 4th 1358, 1372 (Cal. App. 4th Dist.1996).

Which brings us to the Doctor and Courtney. It is highly unlikely there was a permission slip signed by Courtney’s parents for her to travel into space. Just imagine what such a permission slip would look like to include known risks. While there would be high educational value in deep space exploration with an alien to dispose of an alien war machine, the risk of doing so would in no way be approved by a school district, even with Ian Chesterton as headmaster.


Help Us Attend San Diego Comic Fest & You Can Appear on The Legal Geeks

I am very pleased to announce I will be speaking at two sessions at the upcoming San Diego Comic Fest on the weekend of October 18. This is the first time I will be presenting at a comic book and geek convention, after doing over 400 eDiscovery seminars. My topics are Tattooine Law: Legal Lessons from Star Wars and Lawyers of SHIELD: The Level 7 Hornbook to Criminal & Constitutional Law.

Please help me cover travel expenses for the first appearance appearance of The Legal Geeks at a comic book convention on Go Fund Me. Supporters can have their geek photos in future posts or even join us as a guest on an upcoming podcast. Fore more information, please visit http://www.gofundme.com/TheLegalGeeks

Here are the full descriptions for the show:

Tattooine Law: Legal Lessons from Star Wars

Josh_Han_Thinking_0429California attorney Joshua Gilliland from The Legal Geeks explores the legal system from a galaxy far, far, away. Star Wars teaches valuable legal lessons on Tattooine: 1) the intricacies of property ownership of R2D2 and CP3O; 2) Employee & Independent Contractor Safety Issues in Jabba’s Palace; and 3) Han’s Legal Justification to Shoot First.

“Tattooine Law” explores whether the Jawas had a valid ownership interest in finding CP-3O and R2D2, which determines whether the Skywalkers had a valid sale of the Droids. We will go deep into Jabba’s Palace and understand Jabba’s duty to keep a safe work environment for his employees. Finally, we will explore the issue that is the epicenter of fanboy rage: Han’s legal justified to shoot Greedo first.

Lawyers of SHIELD: The Level 7 Hornbook to Criminal & Constitutional Law

Josh_SHIELD_3294Agents of SHIELD and Captain America The Winter Soldier were Constitutional joyrides. Joshua Gilliland, one of the two attorney bloggers from The Legal Geeks, will break down the legal issues from Season 1 of Agents of SHIELD and Captain America 2.

The presentation will address what is known about the legal structure of SHIELD, the lawfulness of resurrecting Agent Coulson, whether SHIELD violated the 4th Amendment with their computer searches, whether Skye committed treason for hacking into the NSA, and whether the Winter Soldier could be convicted of treason. The material will also discuss how drones can be used in law enforcement and due process issues from Agents of SHIELD.

Mild Treason & Silence of the Lambs on Agents of SHIELD

Agents of SHIELD kicked off with a great World War II introduction featuring Agent Carter and the Howling Commandos. I have high hopes for Season 2 and really enjoyed the premiere. However, the episode also had a HYDRA of legal issues, because they kept cutting off heads with two more torts or crimes growing to take its place.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFlying the Friendly Skies

Director Coulson has been flying coach to recruit SHIELD Agents. As “Phil Coulson” is likely on not just the “No-Fly List,” but the FBI most wanted list, Director Coulson has to be traveling under a fake name.

To have an understanding of how air security works, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) administers the Terrorist Screening Center (TSC), which develops and maintains the government’s Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB). The No-Fly List is a subset of the TSDB. The TSC provides the TSA with the No-Fly List. Latif v. Holder, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 85450 (D. Or.June 24, 2014).

If Coulson was flying coach, he had to be doing so under a false identity. This would mean he is either committing identity theft or fraud. Moreover, the government would view his recruitment efforts as not one for a cool club, but a terrorist organization.

Is Buddy the Dog Still Howling Agent Ward?

Grant Ward has achieved a new level of creepiness while talking to Skye in his cell. Besides taking obsessive to a new level, Ward actually would have a real legal gripe against Director Coulson: Ward had been falsely imprisoned by a former law enforcement agency without a trial in solitary confinement.

Ward_Trial_CellThere are very valid reasons Ward should be in prison for all the people he killed, terrorists he aided, and weapons of mass destruction he stole. However, the Constitution guarantees everyone in the United States the right to know why they are arrested, the right to an attorney, the right to a trial, the right to confront witnesses, plus many other “inalienable” rights. There is little question Ward earned a firing squad for his treason, however, he should have had a trial. Moreover, as SHIELD is no more, keeping Ward locked in a high security basement would be false imprisonment.

Assault on the US Military

SHIELD agents kidnapped General Talbot and made an armed assault on a secure military facility to capture government property from the SSR. All of these things are bad from a legal perspective, but there was a significant change in tactics since TAHITI: the SHIELD agents used ICERs (formerly known as “Night Night” Guns) on military personnel. This is a marked improvement since the good guys killed two people without justification to save Skye. As the heroes were not using lethal weapons on US soldiers, this makes the likelihood of pardons for stopping HYDRA more likely in the future.


First Legal Issues in Gotham: Can Selina Kyle Be Prosecuted as an Adult?

The series of Gotham kicked off with a multitude of legal issues to cover the 75 years of Batman. The series is fantastic and brings the world of Gotham City to life. It is time to turn on the Bat-Signal and discuss the issues presented in the first episode.

Josh_GothamLet’s start with Selina Kyle, the girl who will become Catwoman. As a minor, Kyle leaps from rooftops and uses a knife to cut open a grocery bag to steal milk. Immediately after taking the milk, Kyle pick pockets a man’s wallet.

If Selina Kyle were an adult, she could be convicted of grand theft in California, because she took the property from the person of another. Cal Pen Code § 487(c). If Selina was in New York, merely placing her hands in the proximity of another person’s pocket or handbag would be “jostling,” a class A misdemeanor.  NY CLS Penal § 165.25. Taking the wallet would be a second crime of theft.

As Selina is not a legal adult, but engaged in crimes that would be grand theft, prosecuting her as an adult would be difficult. While the use of the knife might entice a DA to charge her as an adult, it would fail, as the knife was not used to commit murder, which is one of the exceptions for prosecuting minors in Juvenile Court. Cal Wel & Inst Code § 602. As such, Selina would likely be found “delinquent” and prosecuted in Juvenile Court.

Granted, Selina following young Bruce Wayne is not yet stalking, but probably more an interest in having seen his parents murdered. There is no ice-breaker for “I was there when your parents were gunned down. Do you need a hug?” So, we will give her the benefit of the doubt she is trying to find a way to say hello in the least awkward way possible.

James Gordon

Detective Jim Gordon is one of the few TV/comic book characters who openly cares about Due Process of law. It is very refreshing, like a cool glass of milk. In the first 5 minutes of meeting Gordon, we see him save a police officer, avoid a gunfight, and attempt to stop police officers from beating the suspect who was already under arrested and restrained. Alfred’s comment “You’re new. Good luck mate,” highlighted that Gordon is the idealist DA’s son who wanted to see a murder suspect put on trial, opposed to killed in a gunfight.

Gorden also showed no fear in chasing down facts to prove the wrong man was killed resisting arrest for the murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne. Moreover, when confronted by a crime boss about maintaining order and told to murder Oswald Cobblepot, he faked the future Penguin’s death. While that does create a huge problem with Cobblepot on the run killing people, Gorden did not himself become a murder.

Alfred Pennyworth

The Wayne’s Butler immediately took charge in caring for the young Bruce Wayne. While it would take time for Thomas and Martha Wayne’s wills to be probated, Alfred has to legally become the adopted father for Bruce Wayne. Probate and custody is not exactly thrilling TV, so it is unlikely we will see Pennyworth’s application for legal guardianship of Bruce Wayne.

To the Bat-Poles

Gotham had a strong start and I wish the series success. I do hope to see Adam West make a cameo, perhaps as a judge or grandfather in a family portrait.

Did the Doctor Commit Bank Robbery in Time Heist?

The Doctor Who episode “Time Heist” is a lot like Ocean’s 11 mixed with the myth of the Minotaur, with the twist of saving the Minotaur.

DoctorWho_Eyebrows_1500Did the Doctor, Clara, Psi, Saibra, actually commit bank robbery while saving the Teller from the Bank of Karabraxos? The answer is yes, but not because they saved the Teller.

In the United States, a person commits “bank robbery” if they enter a bank with the intent to commit any felony, or any larceny, or take any property from a bank belonging to another person that is at least $1,000 in value. 18 USCS § 2113(a) and (b).

The Doctor’s ultimate reason for breaking into the bank is to rescue the Teller and his mate who had been imprisoned in Director Karabraxos’ private vault. It is not the fact the Doctor saved the Teller and his mate that constituted bank robbery, but taking the items to restore Psi’s memories and medicine for Saibra’s mutation. Unless those items belonged to the elderly Ms. Karabraxos who effectively hired the Doctor to conduct the heist, those two items were under the custody and control of the bank, most likely over a $1,000 in value, and would meet the plain language of the statute.

However, if Ms. Karabraxos owned those items, then she could have properly paid the Psi and Saibra for saving the Teller from her own bank. Moreover, the Doctor and his companions could not be breaking into a bank if they had permission from the owner, even if she was in the future.

Additionally, as the Bank of Karabraxos was holding one creature in slavery, plus one other imprisoned as leverage, this was one bank that was operating outside the bounds of the law. Moreover, erasing the minds of suspected criminals and putting them on display showed the bank was operating under its own legal system. There is no way such an organization could be insured by the FDIC or be recognized as a lawful bank.

Could Nick Fury Promote Phil Coulson to Director of SHIELD?

Agents of SHIELD Season 2 has Phil Coulson where he should be: Director of SHIELD.

Fury_Appoint_Coulson_0560Just one GIANT-MAN sized problem: Nick Fury likely did not have any legal right to make such a promotion. No amount of Pym-particles could shirk the fact SHIELD had been disbanded, with its members either wanted for questioning or subject to arrest warrants for treason. Never mind the fact the world also thinks Fury is dead.

While the exact organizational structure has not been stated, SHIELD operated as a branch of the US military (as evident from the questioning by the Joint Chiefs at Congress at the end of Winter Soldier), with also an international oversight committee empowered to make policy. SHIELD was headed by Secretary Alexander Pierce (who likely was confirmed by the US Senate), run by Nick Fury as Director (also likely confirmed by the Senate), and headquartered in Washington, DC. In the wreckage of Winter Soldier, SHIELD was disbanded and political fallout for the fictional US President was overheard on talk radio in Agents of SHIELD.

Did Nick Fury have any legal right to appoint Coulson as Director? It is extremely difficult to envision any statutory authority to do so. However, Fury arguably had apparent authority from a Realpolitik point of view: Fury had all the secrets to rebuild the organization. As such, giving those secrets to Coulson effectively is only enabling vigilantism that borders on treason, albeit justified by the necessity defense.

There is a small amount of evidence that Coulson’s appointment is operating under limited government approval: at the end of Season 1, the former SHIELD agents were not arrested with the HYDRA agents, surgically altered soldiers, and Cybertek employees. Either the arresting agencies decided to ignore Coulson’s team or give him tacit approval by not prosecuting them for attacking General Glenn Talbot and other US soldiers in Canada. The US Government still needs SHIELD to combat threats such as HYDRA, thus might be operating with plausible deniability of Neo-SHIELD’s actions.

We will know for sure as Season 2 unfolds.

Oh My God I am 40: Reflecting on the Top Geek Events in My Life

I have hit the milestone that always seemed like a far distant future: I turned 40.

While my feelings on my age are very reflective of Admiral Kirk in Wrath of Khan, I have lived in one of the best eras of geekdom EVER.

Being a geek means you appreciate the symbolism from the stories you love. Many of us love to quote films. We know the value of a moment in time. We also know that moments in time can be lost like tears in the rain, but for everyone who is a geek, we know that this, this is our time.

Let’s take a look at what I think are the best geek moments of the last 40 years:

Roll Out of Space Shuttle Enterprise (September 17, 1975)


The Space Shuttle Enterprise at the National Air & Space Museum Annex at Dulles International Airport in 2008.

The Space Shuttle Enterprise was rolled out on my first birthday. This event is a testament to how much people love Star Trek, as it was the fans that inspired NASA to name the test Shuttle Enterprise.

The 747 glide and landing tests of Enterprise paved the way for the first flight of the Columbia in 1981. I had the privilege of seeing the roll out of Columbia, because my father was in charge of the team that installed the tiles.

Rollout of Columbia.

Roll out of Columbia.

Star Wars: A New Hope (1977)

A substantial part of my childhood was spent either watching Star Wars, or running around the backyard with my Y-Wing Fighter, or having light saber fights with my brother. Granted, I was so young when I saw the original Star Wars, I had confused memories in my early years of wondering where I saw a double sunset.


Battlestar Galactica (Debuted on my birthday in 1978)

What better birthday present for a four year old then spaceships and robots fighting?

The original Battlestar Galactica was an outright rejection of detente with the Soviet Union or pacifist leaders. Even the doomed Colonies President looked like Jimmy Carter, whose dovish policies resulted in the near destruction of humanity. Political overtones aside, Donald Bellisario created elements in Battlestar that would later be seen in Quantum Leap.

The 2004 reboot of Battlestar Galactica was not a reflection of Cold War politics, but the War on Terror. Lots of great issues and effectively ends with the opening quote of the original series: “There are those who believe that life here, began out there.”

Superman the Movie (1978)

Richard Donner and Christopher Reeve proved a comic book character could be a colossal box office hit. Without Superman the Movie, there would have been no Spider-Man, Iron Man, Avengers, or Guardians of the Galaxy. Add in a “super” movie score, and the bar was set for super-hero movies in 1978.

Star Blazers (Debuted on my birthday in 1979)

Battleships. In space. With a theme song that said, If we can win the Earth will survive.


Star Blazers introduced a lot of “adult” concepts on a children’s TV show. Little things like genocide of the human race through nuclear war.

Captain Avatar’s dying words, as he looked at a picture of his dead son and irradiated Earth through his tears, echoed in my five year old mind for years: “The Earth. I am sorry I will not be here to see you green again. But I have seen you.” [Picture falls to the deck, Doctor comes in the stateroom and salutes his dead Captain.]

Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back (1980)

My mother took me to see Empire on opening day. We sat out on a beach blanket at the now gone Century 21 movie theaters in San Jose waiting hours in line.  I can still remember the heat of that day in May 1980. She loved telling the story of how my feet stopped at the edge of the seat and for the length of the film, I did not move or blink. The audience reacting in total horror and shock of Darth Vader saying, “No, I AM YOUR FATHER,” is perhaps one of the most iconic moments in film.

Empire also taught us life does not always have a happy ending. Sometimes, you just survive to live another day.

Superman 2 (1980)

Kneel before Zod! Kneel!

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

We are simply passing through history. This, this is history.

Steven Spielberg and George Lucas brought the classic adventures of the 1930s back in full force, while fighting Nazis, and finding the Ark of the Covenant.  Moreover, you are hard pressed to find a living male who did not want to be Indiana Jones.

IndianaJonesHat_0408Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)

I remember going home from seeing Wrath of Khan, looking out the car window at the night sky, trying not to cry.

The Wrath of Khan has an impressive list of life lessons, from facing a no-win scenario, the challenge of aging, redemption of parents, and sacrificing yourself to save your friends, because the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.

Blade Runner (1982)

Ridley Scott’s science fiction epic has many dynamic questions on being human. Roy Batty’s final words always captivated me: I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I’ve watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those … moments will be lost in time, like tears…in rain. Time to die.

The fact Roy Batty let Deckard live added a surreal complexity to the film’s villain, posing the theory that Batty had loved life more than he had before dying, which is why he did not kill the hero.

Return of the Jedi (1983)

I have very fond memories of seeing Return of the Jedi opening weekend. There was a sense of awe. People cheered when Vader threw the Emperor down the exhaust shaft.

And Vader did not yell “Nooooo” in 1983.

Star Trek III: Search for Spock (1984)

Sometimes, the needs of the one outweigh the needs of the many. Search for Spock had wonderful symbolism of loyalty between friends. The crew of the Enterprise was willing to destroy their careers in order to save two of their friends. The end result was another lesson in changing the definition of victory, when you have to destroy your own ship to save everyone.

Plus kick the bad guy off a cliff into lava.


I ain’t afraid of no ghost.

One of the most entertaining geek movies ever. One of the main villains is also the EPA and government regulations, proving not all evil spirits are undead.

Josh_Ghostbusters_9333Back to the Future

I remember seeing Back to the Future with my paternal grandparents in Ann Arbor, Michigan when the movie came out. A wonderful story with reckless driving, treason, collaborating with terrorists, and defense of others.

Man, this is heavy.

BTTF_2395_1TimeCon 1985 & 1986

Josh,Gabe,Checkov2My first “geek” convention was TimeCon in 1985, celebrating Star Trek, Doctor Who, and a whole lot of science fiction. We got to meet James Doohan, Walter Koenig, George Takei, and Anthony Anthony.

TimeCon_85Stark Trek IV: The Voyage Home

1986 was a year when Star Trek went mainstream with The Voyage Home. A great story that caught the attention of a much broader audience than traditional science fiction fans.

We also had a very short trial for our heroes. While they did have a solid necessity defense for stealing the Enterprise, sabotaging Excelsior, and destroying the Enterprise, they went with a guilty plea.

Klingon_BirdofPrey_4070Aliens (1986)

Game over man. 17 days, we won’t last 17 hours.

Exhibit A you can have a science fiction blockbuster with a strong female lead. Bring on Captain Marvel. Agent Carter cannot get here fast enough.

Terminator 2

Come with me if you want to live.

Exhibit B that that you can have a strong female lead.

TRex_1Jurassic Park (1993)

Steven Spielberg brought dinosaurs to life with both CGI and practical special effects.

A real game changer in film making.

Moreover, if you can create an extinct species, is it automatically on the endangered list?

1990s Science Fiction on Television

Star Trek the Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, X-Files, and Babylon 5 were all shows I watched weekly. I gave shows like Earth Final Conflict, Space Above & Beyond, Tek Wars, and Lexx, a chance, but never got into them.

X-Men (2000)

The first X-Men movie brought back comic book movies as a viable box office success. After years of defeat, from Superman the Quest for Peace to Howard the Duck, X-Men was a fun adaption of our favorite mutants.

Until X-Men: Last Stand destroyed it, then X-Men: First Class saved it, and X-Men: Days of Future Past, put us back on the right track.

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

Peter Jackson brought J.R.R. Tolkien to life. The fact Return of the King won Best Picture and Jackson took home Best Director, demonstrated “sci fi” and “fantasy” films could clean house at the Oscars.

Spider-Man (2002)

The first two Spider-Man movies again showed comic book movies could be successful. And then Spider-Man 3 torpedoed the franchise.

Firefly (2002)

What happens when you have an amazing show that is a creative adventure of a steampunk Western in Space where being a “Companion” is a respected career choice? You get cancelled after a dozen episodes (or fourteen counting the two unaired ones). Firefly suffered that initial fate, but because of its incredible fan base, developed cult status and spawned one movie.

You can’t stop the signal.

The Dark Knight Trilogy

Batman Begins, the Dark Knight, and Dark Knight Rises, again demonstrate comic book movies have depth and box office success. Sure, watching all three in a row can be highly traumatic, but an action-packed tour de force. Never mind Gotham looks like a fictional city, then Chicago, and then New York.

CaptainAmerica_25Marvel’s Civil War

I started re-collecting comics after many years because of Civil War. A very gripping story that walked the tight rope of making both sides look right, whether you supported the Registration Act or thought it looked like a massive civil rights violation.

The story’s ending with Captain America’s assassination and following shock waves in Fallen Son and James Barns/Winter Soldier ultimately becoming Captain America were fantastic.

I actually had to get Captain America #25 in Canada. Not one the local comic book stores had the big issue of Cap’s death and I was lucky to get the last issue in Vancouver on a business trip.

DC’s Sinestro War & Blackest Night

The Sinestro War in Green Lantern was a stunning war story that ultimately turned on the Green Lanterns shifting from law enforcement to war-making when the Guardians gave the Green Lantern Corps permission to kill members of the Sinestro Corps. The war is won, but at a cost that ultimately lead to the Blackest Night.

DC delivered again with Blackest Night, where death itself declared war on life. Heroes and villains alike are brutally killed by dead characters who rip out the hearts of the living. There were actually disturbing deaths before the battle was turned in the heroes’ favor.

There many symbolic moments of how the different Lanterns interacted, such as only the Blue Lantern representing Hope could calm the Red Lantern represent rage, or that Compassion was the rarest of all the Power Rings.

Star Trek (2009)

JJ Abrams brought Star Trek back after years of being off the air and the big screen. The return of Star Trek also showed a new era in science fiction film making, because fans who grew up watching the show and movies, are now making the movies.

The Entire Marvel Cinematic Universe

Marvel movies have set the gold standard for comic book adaptions. They range in depth from political thrillers like Captain America The Winter Soldier to a rip-roaring good times of Guardians of the Galaxy. I look forward to their future films.

The Day of the Doctor

Doctor Who for decades was watched on late night PBS in the United States.  The fact the 50th Anniversary special was a global simulcast that broke world records stands as testament that being a “geek” is now mainstream. Also factor in the 3D showings in one night that had fans from five decades dressing up and cheering is just wicked cool.

JoshPOT_SonicsThat Time Being a Geek Helped Save My Life

On February 21, 1990, my bowel ruptured as a result of being undiagnosed with Crohn’s Disease for five years. What followed included nearly 70 days in two hospitals, three surgeries, and a whole lot of pain.

I spent my days in the hospital watching Star Trek and Raiders of the Lost Ark. I also read Tom Clancy’s Clear & Present Danger. My wonderful grandmother set out to find Stephen Coonts’ third book The Minotaur.  I had to know what happened after Final Flight.

My very kind godmother worked some magic with her sister, a florist in Beverly Hills, who through several contacts asked Leonard Nimoy to send me a get well card. Being an outstanding human being, Nimoy delivered.

Nimoy-Card-AutographI was lucky to meet Leonard Nimoy in 2009 at a conference and thank him for sending me a get well card back in 1990.

 Life is the Greatest Adventure

My first 40 years have been a great adventure.

I have seen two Space Shuttle launches, watched dolphins illuminated by bioluminescent plankton swim around a tall ship, borrowed aircraft carriers and battleships, and have traveled from Anchorage to Saint Thomas. There are many more adventures to have and I look forward to the days ahead.

And it is good to be a geek. This is our time.