Sunday, April 21, 2019

Happy Passover and Easter!

As of today, April 21st, 2019, we are in the midst of Passover and today is Easter as well. If you celebrate both, either, or neither, I hope you have a great weekend. Whatever the case, be sure to slather your doorway in lamb's blood if you're the firstborn and also be on the lookout for zombie Jesus.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Being the Neighbor of Someone Trey Songz Has Sex With Sounds Very Annoying

I enjoy the music of Trey Songz AKA Tremaine Aldon Neverson, but one of his new jams makes me wonder if it would actually really suck to be a neighbor of someone he's seeing. The song, "Neighbors Know My Name," involves him singing about how he and a ladyfriend have such loud and rambunctious sex it results in the neighbors banging on the wall (I assume they are in an apartment or condominium) and even coming-over and pounding on the door to demand that Neverson and his partner quit having such loud relations.

Lyrics in the song discuss how they go, "So hard," they damage a new headboard on the bed, and she often shouts a number of things from obscenities to, of course, his name, "Tremaine/Trey." One verse involves Neverson outright stating that while the neighbors, "Be dreamin', you be screamin' now they bangin' on our door," which is Neverson essentially admitting that he and his female lover  chose to have sex late at night knowing full well based on past evidence it would be disruptive.
"Good morning! Sorry about all that noise last night."
Now, I don't want prevent Neverson from having sex as many of his quality songs involve the subject of love-making and I want him to continue having inspiration for his music. I also admire that he wants to make sure both he and his partner are satisfied as sex is of course something that should be enjoyed by all parties involved (too many heterosexual relationships involve men solely focused on their pleasure and not the lady being happy too). That said, I would maybe suggest that if he is going to be so thorough in his romantic encounters with this woman that perhaps they have sex during the day when it wouldn't wake people up, or maybe if he does not live with this woman (the song never specifies if he's a resident there or just visits often) maybe this ladyfriend can come over to his house/apartment/condo sometime and his own neighbors can put-up with the loud sex (I'd assume they are used to it).

I know this is just a song and I imagine Neverson is a thoughtful enough person he would make sure his sex is not actually disruptive to others. Still, anytime I hear this on the radio I can't help but wonder how enraging it might actually be to live next door to whomever Neverson is having sex with; at least, that's my general takeaway from this ditty. Laslty, I like the line where he says the woman's body is, "A Problem," and that, "They call me the problem-solver," which doesn't relate to the noise-issue, but is a very clever line.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

A Review of "Wulfborne," #2 and #3

A bit ago I had a review segment where I talked about an assortment of indie-titles I was enjoying, including the first issue of, "Wulfborne." Its creator, Brian Middleton Jr. liked my review so much he asked if I would be interested in reviewing the second issue that had recently been published (it came out 3/27/19) as well as the upcoming third and final issue, due for release 4/24/19. I told Mr. Middleton I'd be happy to review the other issues and was provided a digital copy of the other two issues. Having now read the rest of, "Wulfborne," I would say I enjoyed issue #2 and #3 immensely!

The first issue of, "Wulfborne," has a more minimalist plot as an adventurer named Branwulf travels to meet a mysterious witch who can possibly heal his heartache. The later issues flesh things out a bit more, showing that Branwulf and a young woman shared a deep love, but she had to leave him to be the Queen of her people and now he rarely is able to see her. This has made him angry and lonely, so he's been seeking out a mysterious witch with an ethereal voice that has been calling to him with promises of being able to heal his heartache. Even though Branwulf encounters others who warn him the witch is not someone to be trusted (as well as violent guards of the witch), he fights his way to her and in the third issue they finally meet. The ending (which I won't spoil) actually surprised me a bit as I expected one element (Branwulf is a pretty violent guy) but not another (he can be surprisingly caring too).
The art in issues #2 and #3 is stellar (as it was in the first issue), with Middleton illustrating everything in a style that is a bit abstract and cartoonish to some degree thanks to some very strange creatures, yet still has enough of a gritty, "Oomph," you really feel the damage done to Branwulf or his opponents during scenes of combat. The comic is in black-and white and Middleton uses this to great effect, with light from eyes or magical beams looking striking against the deep blacks, and other little touches (such as Branwulf gritting his teeth in the image above) creating gorgeous contrasts between the white, black, and mixture of grays.

The second and third issue of, "Wulfborne," were both a real treat to read, with my earlier criticism of the plot seeming a bit too minimal/lacking fully addressed--and the fantastic artwork continuing to impress. Brian Middleton Jr. has crafted a stellar read and it is yet another example of the amazing books put out by publisher, SCOUT Comics, who clearly should be proud Middleton has his comic being published with them. I rate these two issues both 5 out of 5 stars, and would encourage you to ask your store to pull the upcoming third issue. You could also ask your store to order the previous issues, and if you lack a comic store, SCOUT has a helpful web-store with copies of the first issue and the second issue for sale). I look forward to seeing what Middleton does next, be it a sequel to, "Wulfborne," or something entirely that will doubtlessly be awesome as well.

Note: As mentioned in the article, digital copies were provided for the purposes of an honest review.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

They Kept a, "City of Heroes," Private Game Server Secret for Six Years...What, How?

One of the first Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (or MMORPG) I ever played and enjoyed was, "City of Heroes," or, "COH," for short. I had tried, "Ultima Online," over dial-up but was miserable at it. However, when I later had broadband-speed internet and found myself in a colorful world of heroes and villains just like in my beloved comic-books, I adored it. I made a bizarre-looking character with a robotic face but a snazzy two-piece brown suit whose name I sadly am unable to recall. Rest assured though, he looked both imposing and classy when I'd hover him around, beating-up the underlings of assorted zany bad-guys.

As with many online games, "City of Heroes," was shut-down when there wasn't enough money to be made from it by its developer, NCSoft. It officially ceased to exist November 30th, 2012. I went on to play, "World of Warcraft," off and on for some years and haven't done much with MMORPGs since besides a short stint trying not to constantly die in, "EVE Online." There had been efforts by fans to make an approximation or some kind of private server of the game for years, but nothing had really come along especially well--it was all quite basic or got hit with a cease-and-desist letter from NCSoft who didn't want anyone messing with their intellectual property, even though they'd basically killed it. That was it then, right? Actually, there has been a fully-functional private server of the game kept secret for six years with all the original data so that you could actually get your old character and bring it back. Wait, what?
A screen-shot from the game's final day it existed...officially.
It is the 20-teens, as some folk call them. Nothing stays hidden. Top-secret political documents get leaked all the time, celebrities with high-tech encryption still get their phones hacked and nudes posted online against their will. Hell, if I even mumble out loud how I need a new frying pan, it seems like either my phone, Echo Dot, or some other device hears this and as if by magic within a day my Facebook feed is splattered with advertisements for frying pans. Nothing can be kept a secret now, and you're telling me there was a group of individuals who for six years (forming not too long after the game shut-down) were able to have thousands of people keep this huge secret? Everyone manged to keep their mouth shut that they had acquired numerous pieces of code and data through their own work and the assistance of people who had been employees at NCSoft developing the game? This is both fascinating in that these people should probably be put in charge of our Nation's secure documents and enraging in that I would have loved to know this and, you know, played the damn secret game. The mixture of shocked delight and anger about, "COH," having been secretly alive all these years with the code-name, "SCORE," has ripped the small community of people who fondly remember the game apart.
One fan of the game expressing their anger about the secret server;
there are many, many posts on Reddit and Twitter like this.
For all this time anyone who thought such as SCORE existed but weren't privy to the secret were called conspiracy theorists, making it darkly funny how all along this utterly insane theory was true. This is akin to finding out that Tupac has been alive all along and releasing music to a select group of fans who refused to share the news/music with anyone else--it is startling and it makes you mad for being left-out and called insane all these years you argued Tupac was alive (disclaimer: I do believe he is dead, no matter how sad that makes me). How did the truth come to light, however? As with most of the time when sensitive documents leak, someone had an ax to grind.

A Youtuber named Destoyer Stroyer who gained access to this invite-only server has stated he felt uneasy about all the secrecy, and was under the impression that if the people behind SCORE had access to old character data they might have their hands on other more-private information from people who used to play, "COH," such as names, addresses, and old credit-cards. Therefore, believing this whole thing felt wrong--and quite possibly realizing it would also get him a ton of viewers--Destroyer Stroyer made a video revealing the existence of SCORE to the world. Now the people behind SCORE are doing damage-control due to all these angry fans of the game upset they were left-out and for fear of getting hit with a big ol' lawsuit from NCSoft (the PC Gamer article I linked to earlier and will re-link right here goes into this further).
While I mourned the game others were making new characters in secret,
I'll admit I'm a bit jealous.
I am one of those players who would have appreciated even the chance to revisit, "City of Heroes," had I known about this huge secret server of the game that functioned perfectly whilst everyone else barely had their attempts at an emulation or server out of the early-planning stages. It makes me a bit sad, but it also is just fascinating this secret was kept for so long, with it thought around 3,000 people, "In," on this. Now as everyone gets over their surprise about this server existing, I only wonder what the fallout of such a wild reveal will be. Now if only Tupac would reveal he's been alive all along and this will be the most shocking week ever.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

I Don't Know if I'd Use a PlayStation 5 Much at All

The company behind the PlayStation consoles, Sony, has begun revealing some specs for a potential PlayStation 5. It has been emphasized how much of anything definite materializing is still at least a year away, but some stuff has been revealed, namely it will be faster and better (kind of what one expects a new console to be). There are folk who have said this sounds a bit boring, but I myself don't need a game console to have all kinds of fancy bells and whistles (I recall how nobody wanted a Kinect with their Xbox One), I'm just happy for it to run without crashing/bugs and play fun games. That said, would I even use a PlayStation 5 much for the actual purpose of playing games? I mean, in our household we often use my PlayStation 4. It is great for watching the occasional DVD or Blu-Ray, it streams Youtube, Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime wonderfully, and oh yeah, it can play games. The thing is, I rarely have much opportunity to play games on my PS4 now, often using the bits of available time I do have for other endeavors.

The last game I actually played on my PS4 was, "Red Dead Redemption 2," and it has been months since I booted that game up. There are other games that sound kind of fun, but frankly the one titles I'd give-up my available time for to play are maybe, "Cyberpunk 2077," and, "Vampire: The Masquerade--Bloodlines 2." Otherwise when I'm not busy with Clarkson as a stay-at-home-Dad, spending time with Clarkson and Samii, or doing some part-time work, I really would rather use my free time to read, watch something, or work on this ol' blog. I don't have time to spend hours learning a so-so game, it has gotta be amazing, and preferably not too time-consuming. Therefore, do I really need a potential PlayStation 5? If I can use the PS4 to stream everything we need and barely play games, it is not especially pressing, is it? Perhaps once in a blue moon when a title I really want to play comes out it'd be handy, but the idea of eagerly buying a PlayStation 5 is low on my list until it has been out a good long while with some price-cuts, most likely.

Monday, April 15, 2019

My Proposal for the, "Game of Thrones," Finale

Yesterday was the premiere episode of the final season of, "Game of Thrones." There are six episodes making up this eighth season and people are going wild with excitement, theories, and many debates about who will end up claiming the Iron Throne. I have not really watched much of the show and only have some passing familiarity with it as someone who tries to keep-up with all of popular-culture in order to discuss with some knowledge (or an attempt at knowledge). Yes, I am not a huge fan like some people who are annoying in how all they talk about is the show, but I also am not one of those almost equally annoying people who like to make a huge deal out of how they don't watch the show--you know the type, they've been on Facebook making passive-aggressive jokes about how, "I must be the only one who doesn't care about the, 'GOT,' premiere, LOL!" We get it, Karen, you don't have HBO. With all of this said, I have an idea for how to make a, "GOT," finale that would be both ingenious and enrage probably everyone, or least almost as many people who threw a fit over the, "Lost," finale.

My proposal for the, "Game of Thrones," finale is simple and an idea I've seen some people mention before as well with rumors of it even happening in the past: Reveal that the entirety of, "GOT," has taken place in one of the previously-unseen theme parks from  another HBO show, "Westworld." It can be revealed how basically everyone is a host who started doing their own crazy thing once the park, "Broke," at the end of season 1 and the entire series has been a show-within-a-show. Yes, "Game of Thrones," started running long before the, "Westworld," premiered, but the concept of, "Westworld," actually is far older than, "GOT." "Westworld," was originally a film directed by author and occasional filmmaker, Michael Crichton, way back in 1973. George R.R. Martin did not release the first book until August of 1996, and the show started in April of 2011. Therefore, "Westworld," quite officially did come first in terms of existing.
Inhabitants of the Fantasy World of Westeros, or malfunctioning hosts within Westworld?
Why not tie together two great shows inspired by the works of two amazing creators and simultaneously look clever while pissing everyone off? It isn't like it will ruin the still-unfinished books as Martin has stated the show has always had a bit of its own path. It will probably result in a barrage of angry tweets at HBO, but is there really anyway whatsoever that, "Game of Thrones," can have a finale that lives-up to the immense hype?

Let's be honest, how many shows have actually had a satisfying series' finale that pleased almost everyone (I can think of maybe just one show, "Breaking Bad," and then I go blank)? Why not tie, "Game of Thrones," and, "Westworld," together in a bit of a meta-wink/middle-finger at viewers. If nothing else, it'll allow HBO to maybe dip back into the show a smidgen in future seasons of, "Westworld," as it explores the ruined park of Westeros and essentially forces fans of either show to watch both in order to fully understand everything. It would be clever and a a bit of an evil-genius move. I know with 99.9% certainty this isn't going to happen, but if it somehow did, I'd admire the chutzpah of HBO for sure--it would quite possibly utterly break Twitter. I've written this article with my tongue firmly in my cheek, but a little piece of me does fully believe this would be awesome in a really twisted and messed-up way. That, and I just really like, "Westworld."

Sunday, April 14, 2019

The Big River Comic Convention Was a Blast!

An Awesome Time Was Had!
Yesterday the Big River Comic Convention was held for the first time and it was a spectacularly fun time. I arrived early in the morning with a friend who joined me shortly before the show started at 9AM. The location had been changed due to flooding concerns a couple weeks earlier to the Tabernacle of Praise Recreational Complex, but even with that shift in location everything was still very impressively organized--especially considering this was Hannibal's first comic-convention! I left in the early afternoon (it ran until 5PM)  but there was already a line before the show started (see the below picture) and as the day went on it got very busy, with tons of fans and families in attendance.

There was a line to start and people kept coming!
I enjoyed chatting with guests at a variety of booths, got some great comics from an assortment of vendors, and saw some stellar cosplay! In alphabetical-ish order here are some highlights of the day:

The Folk I Met and Stuff I Bought!
Alex the Comic Hoarder 
I met YouTuber and vendor Alex the Comic Hoarder. He has been doing Youtube videos for about three years discussing comic-books he told me, and was at the show selling some of his collection to make some more space. I was happy to assist him in his efforts through purchasing an assortment of great books including a handful of, "Avengers," comics, in addition to an older, "Ms. Marvel," a, "Batman," issue from Grant Morrison's run, and some other stellar books. I'd encourage you to visit his Youtube page and subscribe, I already have done so myself!

Amy Hale
Author and my friend Amy Hale was at the BRCC and excited to discuss her books for sale as well as ones she was in the process of working on with attendees. She is always great to see and you can visit her site here.

Better Together Creations
The good folk of BTC had a variety of cool stuff, from magical wands to wood-burned items, and their original comic, "Lame Brains." It was great chatting with them and I'd recommend visiting their Facebook page!

Bishop Stevens
I always enjoy seeing former pro-wrestler and current actor Bishop Stevens at shows. He is very friendly and loves talking about the art of acting. You can say hi to him on Facebook here!
Blonde Bombshell Cosplay
BB Cosplay was at the show and led the cosplay contests. She was dressed as a really neat Elsa from, "Frozen," at the show. She is on Instagram here.

Bob Hall
Famous writer and artist of comics Bob Hall was present with a wide range of his work. He was extremely friendly and had an assortment of cool stories. It was really cool to meet him and chat about our shared birthplace of Lincoln, Nebraska (its a cool place)! His website is here.

Comic Grind (The)
I always love seeing The Comic Grind at conventions and shows! A bus that has been changed into a mobile comic store that also serves coffee and treats, it is both ingenious and just plain fun to be in (or buy from). I encourage you to visit its website so you can stay updated on all its future, "Stops."

Costumers for Christ
The non-profit Costumers for Christ had a free comic about Jesus as world's original and greatest hero and were very pleasant to speak with. Their website is here (here is the Facebook) and has some unique interpretations about a variety of comic-book subjects that are interesting to think about from a religious standpoint (e.g. how nobody stays dead in comics/all the resurrections).

David Gorden
My good friend and comic creator David Gorden was at the show with his fantastic comic, "Kwame Hightower and the Man With No Name." He was a pleasure to see as always! He's on Facebook here.

Geek Chic
David and Dawn of Geek Chic had a ton of comics, toys, and other awesome stuff for fellow geeks. I was able to purchase some great old Moon Knight comics from them, so that made me very happy. Their Facebook page can be found here.

Graflex Shop (The)
The Graflex Shop had super-cool replica lightsabers that were really impressive to look at. Their website can be found here.

Heroes for Kids
Heroes for Kids is a non-profit dedicated to, "Bringing together Law Enforcement, Firefighters, EMS, Military, and costumed heroes to bring smiles to people while bolstering community relations and raising money for different charitable organizations." They were at the show with a variety of cool comic and movie items (many signed by notable celebrities) and were raising funds at this particular show for Backstoppers. They also let me take a picture with their booth's Superman, which I appreciated! Check out their Facebook here.

Jacob Bouvet
Jacob Bouvet is an indie comic-maker who had some cool comics, mini-comics, and zines. I was eager to buy some of them and they are really good! Visit his website here and get some for yourself too!

J.E. Nelson
I met Ms. Nelson previously at a Toyman show and was happy to see her here at BRCC too! She is an author whose book, "Daphne's Adventures," follows the adventures of a young girl with ASD as she survives a zombie apocalypse. You can visit J.E. Nelson's site here!

Legendary Rose Cosplay
Cosplayer Legendary Rose was at the show and very friendly and excited to chat about the art of cosplaying. I greatly enjoyed meeting her. You can find her on Instagram via this link.

Lorenzo Lizana
Lorenzo Lizana is another awesome comic creator I am honored to call my friend. He was hard at work drawing and chatting with attendees. He's on Facebook here.

Monroe Street Press
MSP sells reprints of 20th and 19th century books covering a wide-range of subjects. Their books were really high-quality and a great way to see old texts in format that you can read without worrying about old pages crumbling into pieces! Their site is here.

National Fire Safety Council
Members of the local National Fire Safety Council were at the show handing out fire-safety information (check those smoke detectors, people), and letting folk take pictures with Firepup.  As you can see I was eager to get a snapshot taken!

Poison Ivy
This cosplayer's take on Poison Ivy was neat, I loved the little plant as an extra element!

Raven's Loft
A store located in Lebanon, Missouri, Raven's Loft had a booth full of comics (new as well as old) plus other goodies such as Funko Pops. Their Facebook page is found here.

Steampunk Robot
This cosplayer dressed as a wild steampunk robot had a really cool outfit.

Tech-Outreach
The good folk from Tech-Outreach had some stupendous stuff that they 3-D printed--even their business card was made on a 3-D printer! Check-out their site here.

Closing Thoughts
A great future for the show ahead!
The first-ever Big River Comic-Con was a smashing success in my opinion. Others seemed to agree with me too,there was stellar attendance with rave reviews, and I both overheard in-person and read online people saying how this was a much needed event for Hannibal that allowed everyone to have a stellar time. Now I can only excitedly wait for the show next year!

Friday, April 12, 2019

The Big River Comic-Con in Hannibal is Tomorrow!

I just wanted to remind everyone that the Big River Comic-Con taking place in Hannibal is being held tomorrow, April 13th! As I discussed in an earlier post, the location for the show had to be changed to a new spot due to concerns with floodwaters--it is now at the Tabernacle of Praise Recreational Complex (6400 Co Rd 445, Hannibal, MO 63401). There will be great guests, awesome vendors, fun programming, and of course there's gonna be cosplay!

I am excited to attend tomorrow and will be sure and report on all the fun. If you want to go but have yet to buy tickets you can get them at the entrance to the show tomorrow or there's still time to purchase a ticket online. I'll see everyone then!

The New, "Hellboy," Movie Sounds Bad, but I'd See it for One Reason/Actor I Heard About

If you've been following the reviews of the latest, "Hellboy," movie I've seen thoughts ranging from that it isn't especially entertaining, to folk stating it is just plain bad. However, one thing stuck-out to me in reviews that mentioned a surprise cameo. Should you be wary of spoilers quit reading this post. Everyone still here as nobody really cares about spoilers for this crappy movie? Okay, good. Anyways, it seems that during a zany post-credits scene we see the arrival of fan-favorite character from the comics, Lobster Johnson AKA The Lobster, played by none other than an actor I quite like, Thomas Haden Church! Church has been in super-hero flicks before (he was the only good element of, "Spider-Man 3," compared to the rest of that train-wreck) and it seems his little stinger segment is designed to set-up a potential sequel to the, "Hellboy," movie coming out today.

Depending on if abysmal reviews sink the flick (and destroy the chances for another installment) or it succeeds despite criticism remains to be seen, but I now kind of want it to do well just so that we get more of Church as Lobster Johnson in a future movie. The idea of a Thomas Haden Church playing a wacky pulp-hero alongside David Harbour's valiant attempt at portraying Hellboy (that still apparently is pretty weak) almost makes me forgive how we'll never get a, "Hellboy 3," with Guillermo Del Toro directing and Ron Perlman effortlessly doing his version of the lovable big red demon. Almost, but not in actuality. I will never forgive whoever/whomever is to blame for the lack of a, "Hellboy 3."

Thursday, April 11, 2019

I Worried This Would Happen: "The Black Monday Murders," Further Delayed

When it was first being teased how Jonathan Hickman was returning to Marvel (later it was revealed he is doing two mini-series about the X-Men) I was intrigued but also had one overriding concern. Namely, I was worried this could delay, "The Black Monday Murders," even further. Sure enough, it has been reported that the supposed release date for issue #9 of the Image series--the start of the final story-arc, suddenly has disappeared into the ether. Diamond, the main/basically only distributor of comics had the book listed with a tentative release date, but now...nothing.

This is exactly what I was worried would happen seeing as Hickman already is notorious for delays regarding his books. Now I just have to wait even longer to see what he and illustrator Tomm Coker have waiting for us. Perhaps this series will eventually conclude, but for now the waiting game resumes.