Saturday, April 4, 2020

$250,00 Being Given to Comic-Book Stores by DC

In a rare bit of joyful/good news from the comic-book market which is (currently at a standstill with much of the planet right now due to COVID-19), DC Comics will be giving $250,000 to a number of comic-book stores through the Book Industry Charitable Foundation. The BINC is a nonprofit whose stated goal is to assist booksellers (including comic retailers) and their employees in times of need. There is without a doubt a great deal of need right now so I applaud DC for this action. After all, if we lose a lot of comic stores due to COVID-19 there won't even be anyplace to sell comics. Anyways, there was some happy news to break-up the constant bad stuff.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Film Friday/Flashback Friday: "Doctor Strange," is a Great Movie

I put off seeing, "Doctor Strange," for quite a while after it came out. I did this because I heard how it was a shoddy film. People said it was just a retread of, "Iron Man," with magic, it was dull, Benedict Cumberbatch was mediocre, and all these terrible things. I finally saw it in 2019, about three years after its initial 2016 release, and...loved it. This wasn't a fluke, it has held-up to rewatchings and I have to say, "Doctor Strange," is a damn good film.

It is a bit like, "Iron Man," in the idea of a jerk learning responsibility is a key plot point, but that's like saying, "Star Wars," is the same type of movie as, "Lord of the Rings," because they both feature a big quest (taking down the Death Star/returning a magic ring to a Mordor). Plus, Benedict Cumberbatch does a stellar job, coming across a good mix of cocky at first as a highly-skilled surgeon, then desperate after he needs help to repair his hands due to a nasty car accident, followed-by thoughtful once he begins mastering his powers. Oh, and the special effects are incredible, with people fighting in warped cityscapes, jumping through portals, and the scene where time starts to rewind towards the end is fantastic as well. Plus, "Doctor Strange," avoids one of the biggest problems found in Marvel movies, a boring climax.

Often in Marvel flicks everything builds-up to a big fight with the main villain which ends up being an over-the-top display of special effects that goes on way too long. That ain't the case in this movie. Instead, Doctor Strange uses his smarts to trap the big baddie (the demonic Dormammu) in a time-loop until he agrees to give up so that he and Strange aren't caught infinitely in a stalemate. Instead of some crazy long-winded fight, the hero wins with their smarts in Marvel movie, how cool is that?

"Doctor Strange," is by no means perfect. Rachel McAdams is a stellar actress who is given little to do as Strange's on-again, off-again girlfriend, and the last-second reveal of another Infinity Stone comes across as a bit of, "Oh yeah, we have to tie this in with the Avengers,"-moment. That said, "Doctor Strange," is easily one of my top Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, and seeing how much disdain it receives online honestly befuddles me. I guess I'm just different in thinking this and, "Iron Man 2," are a lot better than many claim.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Bad Idea Comics Adjusts Their Debut Date, Does Other Interesting Stuff

I've been following the company Bad Idea Comics with a close eye. I continue to not be sure if their idea of distributing comics directly to 100 specifically picked stores that have strict rules about selling them will work to hype-up demand or make their books basically impossible to get for many folks and leave them with little interest. Now, with Diamond shut down suddenly the direct shipping idea seems pretty clever, but the super-limited shops do lead one to wonder how this will shake out. Then again, they admit in their own name it might just be a terrible idea.

They have some quality creators on board, so I think the books might be cool. It should be noted they now have announced due to comic stores being shut down many places due to COVID-19 they will push back their May release date for their first comic, "Eniac," to later on. They won't be just sitting about though, they have ideas for other books and their creators are actually working on more products now--probably due to some publishers outright stopping any production, period/"Pencils down." I also admire that $25,000 will be distributed evenly between the 100 stores getting the first launch of comics from Bad Idea and some other stores that will be assisting with the second wave of launches(so $250 each or so, which is a nice chunk of change to help with bills for stores struggling to make any money right now).

In conclusion, it is interesting to see Bad Idea is basically doubling their production plans for comics while other companies really scale-back due to the pandemic. I'm sure the creators who work with Bad Idea appreciate being able to do the work they love and I think its cool Bad Idea is giving money to the stores that are working with them to support this endeavor of releasing comics a slightly different way. I continue to be intrigued by all this, that's for sure.

Deadpool and, "Fortnite," Coming Together Should Work Well

The equally beloved and reviled comic-book character/movie star Deadpool will be appearing within the game, "Fortnite," in the near future. This makes a twisted sort of sense as both Deadpool and, "Fortnite," are often made into memes that serve as dumb humor despite both being a bit deeper than they would appear at first glance. I haven't played, "Fortnite," in a good long while, but I know it continues to be popular and have a lot of weird tie-ins that sometimes make sense and sometimes do not. Deadpool showing-up at least fits the general zany tone of, "Fortnite," however, I'd say. He will be in the game on April 3rd (tomorrow), either as a new mode, playable character, quest, or something--he'll be there, I the general point.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Don't Compare Your Animal Crossing Town to Other Ones

Apparently, a game where the main focus is to catch bugs, fish, plant flowers, decorate, and otherwise chill is making people stress because social media has them distraught how their town looks compared to other people. Yes, "Animal Crossing: New Horizons," is a great game and the whole point is to make a nice little town on a deserted island for yourself and some humanoid animals. However, because it is now easier to visit a friend's house or you can simply go on Twitter and see some amazing creations, it makes some people go into a tailspin of self-doubt when they consider how their house/clothing designs/flower setup looks against other people's works.

It's okay, seriously. Just make your own little town and don't freak out if your house looks like a mish-mash of 5 different decorating styles, your flowers lack any fencing, the museum in your town has little donations, or all the fruit trees are strewn about your island as opposed to being planted in a tidy orchard. The point of this, "Animal Crossing," game and any other is to just enjoy yourself. My town is pretty messy, but I like it. It's mine and I have tended to its weeds, caught its small museum collection, and built my home's weird array of furniture and decorations. I'm proud of it, regardless of what I see on Twitter or how amazing the islands of some of my friends are when I visit. Just relax, people.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Let's Skip April Fool's Day Tomorrow

My hatred for April Fool's Day is well known. People intentionally post false stories or made-up claims they think are funny but just upset others (pretending you are pregnant insults those of us who have actually lost a pregnancy). Perhaps if we all just were making little jokes it'd be okay, but April 1st generally just results in hurt feelings. Considering the current state of the World, do we really need to add insult to injury?

I mean, if you turn on the television this all seems like a surreal joke when you witness a reality television star who is our President giving the floor to a man who makes pillows at a COVID-19 Conference so we can be lectured about how we need to turn to our bibles for guidance. Who could make that up? Reality is weird enough that you don't need to be posting nonsense online tomorrow or trying to pull pranks on people you're going to be stuck in quarantine with for a number more weeks--do you really want your only human contact enraged with you? Let's skip April Fool's Day and just have it be regular old April 1st, Google knows it is the best choice to make, you should follow suit too.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

DC Comics is Exploring Other Distributor Models

Things are hazy right now, but it seems that DC Comics is exploring some other possible distributors for their, "Floppies." As has been discussed, Diamond Comics Distributors basically has a monopoly on shipping-out individual comics and has shut down during the pandemic, but other companies do have the rights to ship out graphic novels (trade paperbacks, hardcovers) to bookstores and comic stores that have accounts with those distributors besides Diamond. A number of other distributors seem intrigued at the idea of printing comics for DC to ship to the comic stores they already send graphic novels to (I mean, it is more money, after all), but many comic store retailers are hot-pissed.

Retailers are mad at this idea happening right now for a variety of reasons. One smaller one being that DC may have them having to juggle multi-shipping should others follow-suit (because if other publishers get different distributors there will be shipments from one company for one publisher and a different company for a separate publisher). The bigger concern is that with many comic shops shut-down and unable to even sell comics, it is pretty unfair that some may be able to make bank from people flocking to them for a hot new comic such as, "Batman," #92 with the first cover appearance of Punchline--not to mention the idea of people traveling around during a pandemic to stores in another city or state with less strict lockdown rules sounds like a huge COVID-19 transmission risk.

I imagine things will become a bit clearer (I said it was hazy) as the week proceeds.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

"Dark Side After Dark," is a Fun YouTube Show!

I enjoy an assortment of podcasts and YouTube shows, so when I heard one of my favorite local comic shops around, The Dark Side Comics & Games, was doing a show titled, "Dark Side After Dark," I was intrigued! The show features Rob (who owns Dark Side) along with his friends Brandon, Ryan, Thomas, and Jacob (who is offscreen). In the debut episode, they discussed trading card games, which I am not too familiar with, but their laid-back and humorous banter made the show really enjoyable even if the more technical-talk about the trading card games went over my head a smidgen.

Plus, every episode aims to be around 25 minutes to 45 minutes long, which is nice and to the point compared to some shows or podcasts that ramble on for 3-4 hours. I'd encourage you to check out the first episode at this link, and be sure and visit the official website of The Dark Side Comics & Games as well. They have an online store you can buy from too!

Friday, March 27, 2020

In Case You Wondered What Dan DiDio Was Up To During the Pandemic...

Dan DiDio was suddenly fired from his position as Co-Publisher at DC Comics when a number of powerful people wanted him gone (WB's executive board, maybe, we don't know for sure). I wrote about it and how eventually some facts would come out or Dan DiDio would find himself at another company. Nothing juicy has come to light yet, but since DiDio's firing, a lot has happened. DiDio maybe was not liked by a number of people, but he got DC through a number of crises (no pun intended with all the, "Crisis," comics they publish) and maybe, just maybe, some people at DC wish he were there right now as everything in the comic-book market is an utter mess due to COVID-19. Diamond has stopped shipping product for an unspecified period of time, DC's printer is shut down for a number of weeks as well, and what is Dan DiDio doing while all this happens? He's buying comic supplies.

Yep, Dan DiDio posted on his social media and Bleeding Cool reported about it how he kinda-sorta broke the law and went out while California is locked down in order to buy some comic supplies from an unnamed comic store. It went down with the owner of the store meeting him in a parking lot and popping their trunk to reveal the goods as if it were an illicit drug deal. After sampling the merchandise as the picture at the top of my article shows, the transaction was complete as DiDio was pleased with his purchase of bags and boards. DanDio seems happy and safe, so I'm happy for him.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Cherry Vanilla Coke is Pretty Good

I like to share my thoughts on different flavors of Coca-Cola. As someone who prefers the original and sometimes a nice Cherry Coke, I can be a bit picky. I thought Cinnamon Coke was worth 3 out of 5 stars and have had it off-and-on since my review. Now, we have Cherry Vanilla Coke, a combination of the aforementioned Cherry Coke as well as the somewhat popular Vanilla Coke. What do I think of this new combo-flavor? It is pretty good.

Cherry Vanilla Coke definitely has more of a vanilla flavor than cherry one. That is perfectly okay, and if you are a lover of Vanilla coke who wishes it had a bit of cherry in it, then this is the soda for you. If you adore Cherry Coke and want a hint of vanilla, however, you will be horrifically disappointed. There is that delicious Coke flavor in there too, thankfully not overpowered by the two combination flavors. I do wish the cherry were more evident when drinking the soda, but it is still tasty. I would give Cherry Vanilla Coke 3.5 out of 5 stars, as it is a solid option if you want more, "Exotic," Coke now and then.