Brush up on your Infinity Stone knowledge before ‘Avengers: Infinity War’

Nine more days till “Infinity War”! I don’t normally count down the days to superhero flicks, but this one is special because it has everyone in it – the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy, but also Black Panther, Doctor Strange, and even Ant-Man and Spider-Man.

If you haven’t seen all the Marvel movies, or you just want to brush up on the history of the Infinity Stones before the new movie, I’ll give you a little background, and a few recommendations on what to watch/re-watch before you see the new film.

If you’ve seen “Guardians of the Galaxy,” you may remember Benicio del Toro’s character, Taneleer Tivan, aka the Collector, talking about the Infinity Stones. He said, “Before creation itself, there were six singularities. Then the universe exploded into existence, and the remnants of these systems were forged into concentrated ingots. Infinity Stones.”

That explains everything we need to know about these gems. Just kidding; it explains nothing. Suffice it to say they’re powerful relics that superheroes and supervillains fight over like third-graders fighting over a Nintendo controller.

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The Collector, played by Benicio del Toro, “explains” the Infinity Stones. 

The blue Space Stone was used by the Red Skull in “Captain America: The First Avenger,” and it’s used to generate wormholes in “The Avengers.” It is housed in the Tesseract. The yellow Mind Stone is in Loki’s scepter in “The Avengers” and “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” The red Reality Stone was formed into a weapon called the Aether, and was entrusted to the Collector at the end of “Thor: The Dark World.” The purple Power Stone is contained inside an orb which is central to the plot of “Guardians of the Galaxy.” The green Time Stone was encased in the Eye of Agamotto. A master of the mystic arts can use it to manipulate time. It appears in “Doctor Strange.” Not much is known about the orange Soul Stone; maybe we’ll learn more about it in the new movie.

No one has time to watch all 18 films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe before the new movie comes out (or maybe you do – I don’t know your life). But I have narrowed it down to the basics. These are my personal recommendations, which I’ve chosen because they mention Infinity Stones, but also because they’re really fun movies. In order of release, they are “Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” “Doctor Strange,” and “Thor: Ragnarok.”

I also recommend “Black Panther,” because T’Challa/Black Panther, as well as several other characters from that movie, will appear in “Infinity War,” and their country, Wakanda, plays a big role in the new film too. Plus it’s just a really awesome movie. Unfortunately, the “Black Panther” DVD won’t be released until May 15, but you may be able to catch a Marvel marathon near you. (Check your local theater listings.)

“Avengers: Infinity War” will be released April 27.

The Original Renaissance Pleasure Faire

If you didn’t get tickets to this year’s Ren Faire, it’s not too late. The faire, in Irwindale, runs every weekend through May 20. This weekend (April 21 and 22) is RennCon™ weekend! The faire offers different themed weekends; RennConn™ is a celebration of “cosplay in all its forms.”

Time traveler weekend (including a steampunk costume contest) is May 5 and 6, and Heroes & Villains is May 12 and 13. For more information, go to http://renfair.com/socal/special-events/

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The Original Renaissance Pleasure Faire, in Irwindale. 

Photos: “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Guardians of the Galaxy,” Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures; Renaissance Faire photo by Earth to Shawna. 

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Get your geek on at your local science-fiction convention

Admit it – you have always wished you could participate in a re-enactment of that bloody rave scene in “Blade.” Right? OK, well, me neither, but the New York City Comic Con is doing it so someone must be excited about it.

Blade Rave is actually a Comic Con afterparty and will recreate the scene in the 1998 vampire movie in which the sprinklers spray blood on the dancers. If that’s your thing, you can still get tickets for the event, which will be Oct. 9, at Terminal 5. The Crystal Method is headlining.

The New York City Comic Con will be Oct. 8-11, in the Javits Center in New York City.

Depending on where you live and how far you’re willing to travel, there are plenty of sci-fi conventions with lots of special guests, costume contests, art exhibits, and more. Here are just a few of the many, many science-fiction conventions:

Geek Girl Con, dedicated to “recognizing and celebrating the contribution of women in all aspects of geek culture,” is scheduled for Oct. 10 and 11, 2015, at the Conference Center in downtown Seattle.

Stan Lee’s Comikaze Expo, Oct. 30-Nov. 1, at the Los Angeles Convention Center, will feature guests Grant Morrison, Stan Lee, William Shatner, Mike Mignola, Elvira, Nichelle Nichols, Dita Von Teese and more.

Eucon, or Eugene Comic Con, will be Nov. 14 and 15, 2015, at the Lane Events Center in Eugene, OR. Special guests this year include John Rhys-Davies from Lord of the Rings, Jason David Frank, and Chris Roberson.

Phoenix Comicon Fan Fest, Dec. 4-6, 2015, at the University of Phoenix Stadium, is the winter version of the Phoenix Comicon, which will be June 2-5, 2016, at the Phoenix Convention Center.

Wonder Con, the sister show to San Diego Comic Con, will be March 25-27, 2016, at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

Emerald City Comicon, April 7-10, 2016, at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle, will feature Nathan Fillion from “Firefly,” as well as Fiona Staples, the illustrator of one of my favorite comics, “Saga,” and many other special guests.

Comic Con International: San Diego is slated for July 21-24, 2016, at the San Diego Convention Center. Comic Con International is the home of the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards (the comic book world’s version of the Oscars), as well as several other awards.

MidAmericaCon II, the 74th World Science Fiction Convention, will be Aug. 17-21, 2016, in Kansas City, MO. Guests of honor will be Kinuko Y. Craft, Patrick and Teresa Nielsen Hayden, Tamora Pierce, and Michael Swanwick. Worldcon is where the Hugo Awards, for the best science fiction literature, are presented.