Monday, June 24, 2019

"Cinema Purgatorio," Kind of Just...Ended

It ended up not quite being, "Monthly."
Back in February of 2016 the Kickstarter campaign for special editions of the new Avatar Press anthology series, "Cinema Purgatorio," wrapped. Featuring an impressive lists of contributors including none other than Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill with a movie-themed short-story each issue as well as other folk, it sounded cool. There was Kireon Gillen and Ignacio Calero with a video-game themed piece called, "Modded," Garth Ennis and Raulo Caceres following-up on a short two issue mini they had done that shifted into the anthology, "Code Pru," about an EMT for monstrous creatures living among humans (but just trying to have a normal life). Christos Gage and Gabriel Andrade had one about Kaiju being trained by humans called, "The Vast!" and Max Brooks and Michael DiPascale had a weird take on the Civil War where instead of Americans fighting each other they were in a fight against giant ants--it was titled, "A More Perfect Union." The Kickstarter was a big success and the comic started coming-out on a good schedule. Then it got kinda delayed and mostly forgotten.

In May of 2019 the last issue of, "Cinema Purgatorio," was released to little fanfare beyond Bleeding Cool (who is owned by Avatar Press, natch) mentioning it. It had been oft-delayed and weirdly enough accidentally reprinted one entry of, "The Vast!" but as it never needed a catch-up piece some theorized it was meant to be shorter than the other stories and/or was horribly delayed and the title holding-up the series coming out at a decent schedule. The end of the stories in, "Cinema Purgatorio," indicate some of them will be continuing in some form--"Code Pru," "The Vast!" and, "A More Perfect Union," seem to plan on follow-up comics or graphic novels (one would assume within Avatar Press). I liked, "Cinema Purgatorio," but other than some buzz when it first began thanks to one of the stories featuring Moore and O'Neill working together (they are of course both well-known creators individually and folk love their, "League of Extraordinary Gentleman," work) there was usually little discussion of the title anywhere.
All of the stories within, "Cinema Purgatorio," were quite solid and equally good--a rare thing to say about an anthology series where many times you get some gold and some garbage. I'd for sure be interested in reading any follow-up comics with the stories that indicated more is to come, but wonder if the relatively muted reception to anthology series will result in the individual creators or Avatar Press deeming the stories not worth following-up further on. That would be a shame because, as I said, it was a solidly entertaining book (at least when it was able to actually come-out). I really liked, "Cinema Purgatorio," but it seemed a lot of folk just kind-of shrugged about it. It's a shame, but that's how things go sometimes.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Saint Louis Comic-Con 2019 Was a Blast!

Another Spectacular Show
I had a wonderful time at the Saint Louis Comic-Con this year! It has wrapped as of 5PM today and I enjoyed myself immensely. Here are some of the highlights of the con for me as well as the cool stuff I acquired!

Great People, Snazzy Comics
One of the first people I was excited to see at the show was Tom Nguyen. A talented comic-artist and all-around lovely guy, I enjoyed chatting with him about his work with the television program my wife and I both love--"Big Brother," where he uses his skills to help plan-out set designs and other artwork. Next I ran into the two women who make-up, "Sugar Quill Studios," which consisted of some awesome stickers, prints, and other absolutely gorgeous works. They also were promoting the products of their friend behind, "Jam," which also had some superb stuff! I then spoke with Camerson Petti who is the writer and co-creator of the comic, "Skeleton Bay Detective Agency," which follows a group of youth as they investigate a wide-range of mysteries in their town. I met Beth of Gothic Nothic Geek Boutique who had a wide-range of really neat handmade and organic products such as candles, lip balm, and more! I saw a cool booth run by Damian Starr who was there to assist with selling comics to raise funds for the charity, "Comicbooks for Kids!" which donates comics to children in hospital settings so as to assist them with having fun and relaxing reading to take their mind off medical concerns. Mr. Starr also told me about his own comic he was working on, "Take Your Kid to Work Day," which involves a young boy named Dennis taking on all kinds of dangerous monsters when his Dad takes him to a seemingly-normal military base that holds some dark secrets. It is on Kickstarter now, actually!

After I had a snack I continued browsing and met Harley of Pastel Jackalope. They had some very cool artwork, but my absolute favorite was one they based upon a nightmare their mother told them about--a hamster with human legs. As you can see above, its pretty wild! I also met M. Ainhi, the author of a quartet of books in the, "Blood Inheritance," series that all sounded really cool. I got to see again the team behind the comic, "Hafu," whom I met at a previous con; they had the second comic in the series for sale and it looked rad. Game Night Gear was present at the show with their board-game subscription service, and I had the pleasure of making the acquaintance of talented artist Jeffrey Moy as I explored the con.
I picked-up the first issue of the comic, "Visitations," from creator Scott Larson whose enthusiasm about his book made me eager to buy and read it! I checked-out the work of, "Biff! Bam! Boom! Comics," and after that I met William Schlichter who had an assortment of his books for sale, including one really neat sounding one titled, "SKA: Serial Killers Anonymous," about a group of serial killers who form a support group to try and stop killing. I saw Steven J. Bolds who had some really cool art prints for sale and last but not least met Rad Cat, who makes all kinds of neat costumes and art.
I bought/traded for a handful of interesting comics at the show. I got some old issues of the great DC comics series, "52," and some other random stuff, but the coolest acquisitions in my opinion were a snazzy ashcan promoting a, "Batman," comic and four old issue of the, "Snowman," series that was published by Avatar Press on occasion (I have a soft spot for the old over-the-top Avatar Press titles). I also loved browsing through all the great books that were brought to the show by STL Comics and on display in their booth. I told the owner of STL Comics, Eric Meyer, how excited I was for the upcoming Micro-Con on July 28th--expect posts about that as the date nears!

Thanks to Saint Louis Comic-Con
I just want to thank the Saint Louis Comic-Con for letting me come to the 2019 show and write about how awesome it was. I had a fantastic time and am already looking forward to the 2020 show next year!

Friday, June 21, 2019

Film Friday: One New Cinematic Universe Concept I'd Support

I was sitting around and thinking about how after everyone tried to copy the Marvel Cinematic Universe and basically failed (sometimes spectacularly) unless they were inexplicably a, "Conjuring," movie, there was one universe I'd like to see. Basically my idea is a combination of a Cinematic Universe and a Multiverse such as the one seen in that recent animated Spider-Man film and directly referenced in trailers for the new live-action Spider-Man flick. Basically, my idea is to make the three main, "Annie," films all cross-over in some way. Yes, I'm serious, and yes, I've probably gone quite mad.

There is the initial, "Annie," film which was released in 1982 and features a stellar cast including Carol Burnett, Tim Curry, Bernadette Peters, Albert Finney, and more. Following that is the lesser-known but still solid 1999 television movie, "Annie," which had names such as Alan Cumming and the superb Kathy Bates as the delightfully evil Miss Hannigan. Lastly, we have the most recent, "Annie," film which had a much more diverse cast (some haters dismissively refer to the movie as, "Black Annie,") including such awesome folk as Jamie Foxx, Cameron Diaz, and Rose Bryne. All three movies make various tweaks to the plot and have certain better and worse elements overall. What if there were a way to make them all cross-over somehow though?

Evil Hannigan's Unite
Picture it, taking place after all the other movies we find that Miss Hannigan somehow finds a way to travel other dimensions (don't ask me how, maybe the power of sheer spite towards children) and attempts to unite with her other selves who have been defeated by Annie to find a, "World without an Annie," where they can run a big ol' orphanage without ending up broke or in jail. However, the Annie of the various dimensions, all now different ages and doing different things in life discover this plot and realize they need to team-up to stop Miss Hannigan from breaking-apart the, "Annie-verse," which I do plan to trademark, in case you were wondering. This leads to all kinds of multi-dimensional shenanigans and the eventual defeat of the evil league of Hannigans.

However, before all the Annies can celebrate too much there will of course be a post-credit stinger. In this a shadowy figure with a young girl's voice will state how, "They are more worlds than you can imagine that need your help," before stepping forward and revealing she is Madeline, of that famous franchise! Oh shit, I just kicked-off the craziest cinematic universe of popular children's characters ever and I didn't even mention where the Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, Pippi Longstocking, and a talking Curious George come in. Yes, this sounds overly complicated and most likely will fall flat on its face as with any other Cinematic Universe that has been attempted lately besides the MCU (or again, the inadvertent formation of a, "Conjuring," universe), but damn-it someone should give me millions of dollars and at least let me try to get these movies made. I mean, it can't be any worse than what Zack Snyder gave us (and refuses to quit talking about what he would have done if DC/Warner Brothers let him keep at it). Seriously, give me 100 million dollars for at least the initial film and I'll give you absolute gold or at least an interesting mess. Let's make this happen, people!

Thursday, June 20, 2019

DC Comics Just Took a Humanitarian Stand and I Applaud That

Currently at America's Southern border things are an absolute mess. Migrants are being kept in cages within concentration camps (and yes, they fit the definition of concentration camps), and our Country seems gripped with a violent xenophobia not seen for decades. There are certain elements that are very obviously to blame (Trump, the GOP, etc.), but things continue to just get worse instead of better with so few politicians willing to speak-out no matter how many people they represent urge them to do so. Big corporations at times have taken stands on issues (Nike and its deal with Colin Kaepernick who was blacklisted from the NFL for his protesting police brutality), but usually this only occurs when the company crunches the numbers and sees they can make more money supporting one issue as opposed to another. DC made a statement today though that seems less motivated by finances and more by general humanity.

DC Comics tweeted about the need to support refugees and stand with migrants. They deleted the Tweet but then put it back up an hour later and now it still stands. This is sure to piss-off a bunch of angry xenophobes who seem to forget that Superman himself is literally an alien refugee, sent to Earth and landing in America by parents who wanted him to have a change at life (e.g. not dying on Krypton), but at this point saying you are in favor of migrant concentration camps just makes you look like  heartless monster, so obviously DC is doing the right thing here. Even if it gets them some angry press, some right-wing readers saying they'll never read DC books again, and so forth, this is the caring and human choice to show support for those who need it. DC took a stand on this humanitarian issue (it isn't political, it is treating people as human beings) and I applaud them for doing so.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

"Doomsday Clock," #10 Reminded Me of Another Random Comic

"Doomsday Clock," is the 12-issue max-series from DC that has much to the surprise of myself and others been really, really good. It has also been horrendously delayed for assorted reasons, but it keeps slowly coming out on a vaguely quarterly schedule now. Geoff Johns is writing it and Gary Frank is providing the illustrations. It has been extremely clever and utilized characters from the comic, "Watchmen," in the only way I thought would work--getting really meta and 4th-wall-bending. Much has been written about how the latest issue is in a way Geoff Johns making his own clever comments on working for DC in comics and film as well as changing concepts of DC's multiverse in fascinating ways (now the, "Metaverse,") and clever in the way it shows the comic-World is so pliable in time and space with Superman as its intriguing center-part. One thing I haven't seen though, is anyone commenting on how darn much certain elements are reminiscent of another great comic.

If I were to ask someone to name their favorite comic done by two creators who collaborate often named Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, the odds are good that person would say, "Criminal." If they like the duo's older stuff, "Sleeper," might get thrown-out. Most would maybe forget what I feel is actually their greatest work, "The Fade Out." The comic is about the dark and seedy underbelly of Hollywood in 1948. It follows an assortment of studio-heads, actors, screenwriters, and such as the industry works to keep a whole bunch of secrets kept quiet (e.g. how many people were in the closet, had substance abuse issues, and so forth). It was only 12 issues (the debut was extra-long), but a fantastic dozen for sure. I found myself really getting some of its vibe in certain aspects of the tenth issue of, "Doomsday Clock."

This latest issue of, "Doomsday Clock," shows where Doctor Manhattan of the famous, "Watchmen," comic went after he left that Universe. He went to the one with Superman and noticed the strange way time seemed to alter and bend around the character. Manhattan doesn't meet Superman first, however. No, he meets a young man named Carver Coleman who has gone to Hollywood hoping to become a big star but is struggling in an unforgiving and difficult industry. Manhattan ends up having Carver be a bit of a focal point for him to practice his powers to, "See," around in time and much of the comic when it isn't following Doctor Manhattan involves Carver and his immense success as an actor in the, "Nathaniel Dusk," film series.

"Nathaniel Dusk," was an actual detective-comic published by DC at points in time and, "Doomsday Clock," has had the films serve as a bit of a background-material in much of the issues, not unlike how, "Watchmen," incorporated that Black Freighter comic within the text. A lot of the comic-moments with Carver and his putting-up with the sleazy side of Hollywood made me strongly think of, "The Fade Out," albeit now with DC super-heroes and Doctor Manhattan thrown-in to tweak stuff.

"Doomsday Clock," has two more issues to go of its dozen and seems as if it is going to make some big changes to the DC Universe while also cleverly contextualizing the rules of it Universe. "Watchmen," was also 12 issues and altered the landscape of the comic-book form forever. "The Fade Out," was of course 12 great issues and is in my opinion unfairly ignored by many when the best works of Brubaker and Phillips are discussed. Dozens all around, linked in various ways be it the comics directly riffing on each other or tonally reminding me of certain elements in the others.

I know Johns and Frank weren't drawing from anything in, "The Fade Out," with this tenth issue of, "Doomsday Clock," but it just felt nice to see an unintended and inadvertent spiritual sequel to, "The Fade Out," popping up in issue #10 of, "Doomsday Clock," of all places when it came to certain parts of the story and its vibe when it came to late-40's (and some of 1950's) Hollywood. Again, I'm about 99.9% sure I'm the only person to see much similarities between the books, but it makes me all warm and fuzzy to think I did even if I maybe look a bit like a crazed-maniac drawing random comparisons between totally unrelated books.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

I Never Liked Mr. Resetti

At various points in my life I always enjoyed playing, "Animal Crossing." Whether is was on a Gamecube, Nintendo DS, or even the micro-transaction-happy iPhone version, I found great pleasure in the charm of living in a little village with a bunch of anthropomorphic critters as my neighbors. One thing I did not like, however, was Mr. Resetti. Therefore, I was happy to hear he got, "Fired."

In previous, "Animal Crossing," titles you could only save your game by having your character go rest in their bed for a nap. The game always moved in, "Real-time," so when you would stop playing your character was essentially, "Asleep," until you came back to adventure more. You'd go fishing, catch bugs, pick fruit, run errands for chums, send some letters to your animal-neighbors, then lie down and, "Sleep." Perhaps for some reason the game got turned off before you could save, however? Maybe you lost power or something? Well, when you would turn the game back on Mr. Resetti, an angry little Mole would appear and scold you. The first time he'd be relatively polite, but if it kept happening he'd get increasingly angry, threatening to delete your game or otherwise bring you harm. I hated him and how rude he was. This is why I'm pleased that the upcoming version of, "Animal Crossing," for the Nintendo Switch will have an auto-save feature and therefore make Mr. Resetti's job of yelling at you redundant. He's been laid-off, and I couldn't be happier.
Perhaps I'm being silly here. Mr. Resetti never could actually affect your game in a negative way, and he had a point that you shouldn't reset your game without saving it, even if something you didn't like occurred (perhaps you sold a piece of furniture and later regretted it). Still, he was just programmed to be so unpleasant and crass that it stuck with me and resulted in him being one of those video-game characters I hate the most. Hopefully now that he doesn't have to work this job that caused him so much stress Nintendo can find another position for him within, "Animal Crossing," or even a different game series. Just tell him next time he thinks he can talk smack to me I will shove a hose down into his burrow and flood it. I ain't playing.

Monday, June 17, 2019

The Saint Louis Comic-Con is this Saturday!

I'm excited that in less than a week the Saint Louis Comic-Con will be happening. Held at 1 Convention Center Plaza in Saint Charles, it is always a fun event. With free parking and a reasonable cost to attend, you don't break the bank just to enter the show and can instead spend your money on all the spectacular guests, artists, and vendors! I personally always like how the Saint Louis Comic-Con (which is done by parent company Mighty Con) has a strong focus on comic-books and plenty of vendors selling them. I don't mind when shows are just pop-culture focused, but I always treasure being able to go to a show and enjoy browsing a bunch of comics in-between talking with awesome guests known for their work in the field of comic-books (that isn't to say this show lacks a wide range of interests, I just especially love the comic-content).

The con starts at 10AM Saturday morning and I can't wait! You can buy tickets there (with kids 12 and under free), but I always recommend purchasing them in advance just to make things easier. I look forward to the show and know it'll be great time just as it is every year. I'll be sure to make a post discussing the fun I had afterwards, but if you can go I'd encourage you to do so as opposed to just reading about how much I consistently enjoy myself! See you there!

Sunday, June 16, 2019

(100% Not Serious) Father's Day Advice

Happy Father's Day!
Today is Father's Day. I have loved writing about my son, Clarkson, and have made serious posts discussing being a Dad as well as just generally enjoying talking about my awesome baby boy (although now he's officially toddler-age). That said, to commemorate this Father's Day I thought I would share some tips that actually are terrible and you should not under any circumstances follow or take seriously. With that said...

Awful Advice For Dads
Make sure to give your baby at least 1 cigar a day to smoke, but no more than 3.

By age 2 it is reasonable to expect your child is capable of operating heavy machinery without supervision. Don't hesitate to let them use a forklift, welding equipment, etc.

If your baby poops in their diaper while in public, help them feel less self-conscious about it by letting-loose into your bitches as well.

Don't let your child play really violent video-games alone. Play with them so you can beat the hard challenges with less trouble.

To help foster responsibility in your child, get them a pet. Don't make it a boring pet like a cat or dog though. Get something interesting like a Komodo Dragon or Polar Bear. They'll not only learn the importance of keeping their pet fed, they'll be skilled at avoiding being bitten/mauled.

If your child starts throwing a fit in the store over a toy don't let them get away with making a scene. Show them you're the professional fit-thrower and proceed to kick and scream on the ground even louder than them.

Only let your baby drink clear liquor until age 5, stuff like whiskey will keep them up at night. Red wine is okay though.

Never hesitate to bring your baby to a movie--no matter the rating or how often they fuss. Everyone around you will 100% completely understand if they start screaming for snacks in the middle of a dramatic moment.

Teach your child proper manners. For example, if they're at a restaurant and the food is taking awhile it is always good form to begin banging your utensils on the table while loudly exclaiming, "I want num-nums!"

Let your child know you will always love them, no matter what--this one is actually a piece of good advice to end an otherwise silly post. Happy Father's Day, everyone!

Saturday, June 15, 2019

E3 Happened A Bit Ago

That big Electronic Entertainment Expo or, E3, as it is also known, happened a bit ago. It used to be a huge deal, with video-game companies making big announcements and such. Now it gets some press but is a lot less of a, "Thing." There were some interesting tidbits, such as the fact Microsoft plans to launch a new console during the holiday 2020 season, and how that long-in-development, "Cyberpunk 2077," has a definite release date (April 16th, 2020) as well as a digital Keanu Reeves, which is exciting but also as more is seen of the game some social-elements are a bit...problematic. Also, "Dying Light 2," looks kind of cool with is multi-layered cities, plus that, "Final Fantasy VII," remake keeps chugging along, but there wasn't anything super-wild and crazy announced that hadn't already leaked to some degree before the show (sup, "Watch Dogs: Legion,") or is specifically of interest to me even if other folk are pumped (a new game with George R.R. Martin involved).

E3 happened and some cool stuff was there, but it wasn't as wild as back in the day; that sums things up pretty well. Oh, and also that, "Avengers," game from Square Enix looks kind of off-putting and its annoying it'll be one of those, "Service games," you get sporadic little updates to. That does not inspire much excitement within me.

Friday, June 14, 2019

A Quick Observation About an Ariana Grande Song

Ariana Grande is a bit of divisive personality currently, with there being lots of debate about if she's appropriating Black culture for monetary gain (opinions range from, "Yes," to, "It's Complicated," basically). That said, there is something weirdly admirable about some of the lyrics in, "Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I'm Bored." Within the song she tells a man that she would like him to leave his girlfriend and then have sex with her for no reason other than she bored. She is sure to point-out in the song she is aware this is wrong, mean, and unfair, but she's basically really horny, and yes, bored. Also, to Grande's credit she is not willing to cheat with this man. She will only, "Let you hit it in the morning...like it's yours," once he is officially single. This essentially means she respects a relationship enough to never have someone cheat, but is still sleazy enough to encourage someone to end a relationship so she can get a good boinking--which she fully realizes, "Ain't right," but she doesn't care.

I suppose the song is in a way weirdly thoughtful, because if a man is willing to leave his girlfriend simply if Ariana Grande is bored and willing to have sex with him (if he's single), the woman he's leaving doesn't deserve such a flaky and crass boyfriend. Yes, everyone, Ariana Grande is doing the woman dating the man she wants to bang a favor. Again, it is all weirdly admirable.