Wednesday, January 15, 2020

DNA Kit Companies Always Worry Me

Hey, you all know that while Medical companies that do things with your DNA have rules about privacy, places such as 23andMe do not? Right? I just ask because those cheap kits then allow them to sell the info about the building blocks of your life to pharmaceutical companies. This isn't a rumor, 23andMe actually brags about it in their stock filings. Robinhood--an app that lets you invest in stocks and has an information news email wrote about how 23andMe is getting such a degree of profit from these revenue streams they could just make the kits free as those things aren't the product, you are the product. Check out this bit from the email:

Anytime a service or item is free it is making money off of you. Facebook of course does that too, but Facebook is just selling access to data about your, "Likes," and how you post a lot about which contestants on, "The Bachelor," are arguably this season's villain (I'm not big on Kelsey or Hannah Ann). I love technology, but I don't like the idea of my genetic information being used by a private company however it likes once I sign-up for, "Free." That leads to the last part of the email:

Call me old-fashioned, but this worries me. I am all for my DNA helping to hopefully research diseases or find a match for bone marrow, but within agreements, I've seen and understand. I don't want my DNA to indicate I possibly like certain types of food and suddenly get targeted ads online saying, "Hey, your genetic profile indicates you'll love our chicken nuggets!" You can't just take a cotton swap with my salvia and sell it off to the highest bidder. Maybe I'm paranoid, but I feel like I've seen enough dystopian sci-fi movies/read enough books to know this ain't a path I want to go down.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

People Are Really Analyzing That, "Morbius," Trailer

As you can see above this text here, the trailer for that upcoming, "Morbius," movie came-out recently. It looks potentially good with its mixture of horror and action, plus Jared Leto is a great actor when he isn't being an insufferable human. The things that have really caught people's attention, however, are a random background poster with Spider-Man (in a strangely different from the Marvel Cinematic Universe outfit) and a surprise appearance by Michael Keaton AKA the Vulture in the MCU-linked, "Spider-Man," movies. These two things have led to a lot of analyzing and overthinking.

I have seen theories that this is some complicated multi-World Spider-Verse where one of the old previous Spider-Men are involved, it is a unique mix of stuff, etc. Some reasoning for this being an alternate World is the different Spider-Man outfit. I'm gonna guess it was just a piece of art chosen for the trailer and will be corrected. Now, with Michael Keaton showing-up that shows there is some connective-tissue forming between Sony's movies featuring Spider-Man and his friends/foes. It should be noted though that this is different from if someone owned by Disney/Marvel popped-up like happens in the movies specifically featuring Spider-Man. I'm going to say this is probably going to be a case where the Sony flicks can comment on elements of the MCU movies that involve Spider-Man or their properties, but it will probably not be a two-way street where we can expect Morbius to appear anytime soon in an, "Avengers," flick.

I'm always down for more Michael Keaton in any movie.
Now, I could be wrong and when Marvel and Sony renegotiated their deal about Spider-Man certain things were agreed upon. Perhaps the MCU will be allowed to draw some from Sony and we could very well be heading towards an epic, "Sinister Six," movie where Spider-Man and the Avengers fight Moribus, the Vulture, and whomever with Venom even possibly pops-up. We shall see what the exact case is with all this before too long, but I don't think it is any crazy-complicated thing with multiple Universes so much as it is studios carefully navigating ownership rights.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Cankor is a Wild and Weird Ride of a Comic

Matthew Allison's graphic novel, "Cankor," collects his self-published comics of the same name and will be published by Adhouse books in late March or early April of 2020 (so, this year). The thing that immediately caught my eye about, "Cankor," and resulted in me reaching out to ask for an advance review copy was how Allison's illustrating style reminded me of Michel Fiffe (in a good way) with the surreal storytelling of Michael Deforge (also in a good way), while wholly being its own thing. It makes sense solicitations for the comic have pointed-out how this is reminiscent of Derforge (it mentions Quitely as well, but I really see more of a Fiffe-style) as well. Again though, this is its own odd thing. As for that thing is/what is, "Cankor," about?, it's complicated.

"Cankor," is a comic about various realities within the comic's World, while also at times making it apparent it is aware it is a comic (a little meta here and there) and riffing on other comics and the very question of reality itself--such as when Allison has some, "Author's notes," that themselves seem to be a mix of reality and fiction (I believe he got in a fight at a concert once, I'm not sure I believe there was ever going to be a, "Batman: Year Five," comic). "Cankor," at times follows extra-dimensional beings made up of both flesh and machinery duking it out violently, but this only when it isn't exploring otherworldly landscapes with its characters at well or dipping-back into a reality (of sorts) where people seem to be living in our regular world, except its black-and-white and people lack any visible eyes for some reason--I told you this was some weird stuff.

Allison does a lovely job alternating between Worlds and providing faux-supplementary material ranging from calling himself out for swiping other's work to criticizing comic-book reviewers (my feelings weren't hurt, I hope I'm not as snobby as his fake reviewer). His drawing-style shifts as needed in clever ways, with the, "Real," World not just being black-and-white but also more sketchy in style than his clean and complex lines of, "Blood, wires, and suffering."

The comic is at once multiple plots all going on at once loosely related or outright unrelated to each other while at the same time arguably being one big mega-plot where it all ties together in a strange way of mixing straightforward sci-fi storytelling with meta-fiction and general zaniness. It is utterly bonkers, and that is probably why I loved it. I would be sure to request your comic shop/bookstore/library/legal weed store orders a copy so that you too can enjoy this fantastically bizarre work.
5 out of 5 stars.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

The First ToyMan Show of 2020 Was a Delight!

Today was the first ToyMan show of 2020 and as one would expect, it was stupendous fun! I kicked it off exploring all the awesome wares for sale on the first floor. I chatted with John of Bigfoot Comics and Collectibles and he told me they would have some shows in the future as well. I requested he keep me informed about them and he said he would! As I looked around I was able to trade a comic of mine for these really cool, "Mars Attacks," mini-comics. I am of course a big fan of mini-comics and ashcans so these really appealed to me. Give them a look:

Then I saw Justin Mosely from  Wayne Kent Comics and was pleased to purchase a Moon Knight comic from him my collection lacked. There was plenty of other awesome vendors as well, I saw some really old Lego sets that were astounding and some die-cast cars that looked quite impressive. I also ran into my chum Spike from Lost in Space Toys and Collectibles before I bought a couple other snazzy comics from some vendors--a neat team-up of Spider-Man and Ghost Rider fighting the (underrated) villain, the Orb, and an issue with Spider-Ham. Check them out:

I went upstairs and saw an assortment of my author friends. I talked with Leigh Savage about some of her latest erotica books being released and saw J.E. Nelson and her daughter, we discussed how busy they'd been lately! I also chatted with Jessica Mathews & Jennifer Stolzer about how things had been going for them and how they had some upcoming books in the work as well. I met Stevie Tisius of Steveidrawsdinos and loved her artwork as well. Before I headed back downstairs I saw Lonnie Johnson of Heroes for Kids too. I then went downstairs and browsed some more, at which point I got this first issue of, "Wolverine," when his ongoing series started. I was very pleased:

This ToyMan show was a lovely way to start the year. With an assortment of great comics, toys, video-games, and collectibles it is always jam-packed with incredible items and talented creators. The next show is on March 8th and I would strongly encourage you to attend if you'll be in the area as it is such a stellar show!

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Amazon is Throwing Major Shade at the Honey Plug-in Since Paypal Acquired It

There is a browser plug-in called, "Honey," that helps find discounts and codes for shoppers. It has worked for Amazon before. Honey was recently acquired by Paypal, who is a competitor of sorts to Amazon (Paypal for a long time was owned by eBay and Amazon doesn't accept Paypal). Not long after that happened, Amazon started warning shoppers that Honey was possibly malware and should be uninstalled. Upon reading this I found myself thinking how remarkable it is that Amazon is being petty to this degree.

I mean seriously, Amazon is all hunky-dory with Honey but once a competing company such as Paypal acquires it for...let me check my notes...4 billion dollars(!), Amazon suddenly wants to act like Honey is malware. Oh, and yes, Amazon does have its own competing plug-in now too. Clearly, my opinion is that Amazon is doing all this to undermine Paypal and Honey and it looks like Amazon wants to disparage that. It's not a good look, but Amazon has enough money that I suppose it's of little concern to the company.

Friday, January 10, 2020

A Prelude Graphic Novel For an Ongoing Comic? Interesting...

Image Comics announced a bit ago that with Robert Kirkman done writing, "The Walking Dead," he has a new comic in the works--"Fire Power." Even though he could probably spend the rest of his days counting the cash he's accumulated from TWD I admire him wanting to do more comic-work, even if I suspect any future projects are secretly pitches for media options as comic-books...but I digress. Basically, Kirkman and all-around awesome artist Chris Samnee (who I met at a comic-con before and really is as nice as people say) will be doing, "Fire Power," to tell the story of a man who travels to a mystical city to discover his ability to summon fire through martial arts. I know, it doesn't sound too wildly creative, but one way the comic will be released is pretty clever.

Essentially, Kirkman and Samnee will be releasing a full-length graphic novel that serves as a prelude for the ongoing series. People can read a big chunk that serves as an introduction and then follow the comic monthly afterward. I see the logic in this, as, "The Walking Dead," itself picked-up a lot of readers via people who read the earlier trades and then once caught-up would follow the series monthly. By having a big ol' prelude graphic novel there is already a pre-collected edition of sorts readers can absorb and really dive into the series before it starts releasing single issues.

This all does make me wonder why they don't just release everything in graphic novel installments (as Joe Casey and Pitor Kowlalski have done with their comic, "Sex," after it was monthly for a kind of the reverse of this)? Robert Kirkman is a lot richer than me so I have zero qualifications to judge his business and publishing choices, however, so I guess now we will just see if this idea of a prelude graphic novel before an ongoing series works-out well or falls flat on its face. I mean, at the end of the day if the story is good that will help, if the story is bad, little can be done to save it. At least with Samnee on art that'll look smashing, I imagine.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

"Big Punk," is a Hilarious and Wonderfully Drawn Mini-Comic

Janelle Hessig is a drummer, writer, and creator of comics. Known for her punk aesthetic and style she recently teamed with an indie publisher who pretty much always puts out stellar work, Silver Sprocket. They are publishing her latest mini-comic, "Big Punk," and I loved reading the digital copy that was sent out to press with the request we share our thoughts if we like it/hate it/feel any specific way.

"Big Punk," is about an unnamed Punk Lady who moves out of an increasingly gentrified metropolis known as, "Fog City," as she finds herself disillusioned with the gritty culture eroding. Before long she finds herself bored, but as that header-image shows, she meets a sexy Bigfoot and things get wacky.
"Big Punk," is short, humorous, and has some heart as our lady-Punk falls in love with a Bigfoot and tries to balance being a tough punk with having a loving heart for her new hairy beau. Hessig's drawing-style has a bit of a cartoonish look with that rough edge that makes the sharp and biting critiques of modern society expertly land. I greatly enjoyed, "Big Punk," and would recommend buying yourself a copy on Silver Sprocket's website.
5 out of 5 stars.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

A PC That Rips-Off the Nintendo Switch Could Actually Be Clever

At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) all kinds of interesting and sometimes bizarre pieces of technology are introduced. There are items there that go on to become huge hits and things that just cause everyone to scratch their heads in bewilderment, shown-off as a concept but never actually seeing the light of day. Alienware showed off a conceptual portable PC suitably named the, "Concept UFO," at CES and man, it looks like a PC version of the Nintendo Switch.

Nobody on stage when the Concept UFO was unveiled pointed out how much it looks like a Nintendo Switch, or that the controllers pop-off and can attach to themselves like a Nintendo Switch. For real though, this conceptual PC totally rips-off the Nintendo Switch, and that could actually be clever. Imagine being able to access your game library on Steam, GOG, Epic, or whatever service you use and playing any game that supports a controller moderately well? That would be pretty snazzy, although a graphics-heavy game would probably zap the battery in something like the Concept UFO in an hour or such...making it not exactly that portable unless you have easy access to a charging port while you're out and about.

The Concept UFO is more of a theoretical prototype than anything else. It also really looks like a Nintendo Switch rip-off. That said, maybe the Nintendo Switch has some good ideas that are worth drawing inspiration from, with even me admitting after some initial trepidation I kind of want one these days. I guess we will have to just wait and see if the Concept UFO will ever become the, "For Sale UFO," if my horrible pun makes sense.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

People Love that Cameo Website/App

You may know of Cameo. Imagine if for anywhere from $5 to $1,000 you could hire a celebrity to record a, "Shout-out," to you with their cell phone's selfie function. Some people would think it is dumb to pay a D-list celebrity fifty bucks to wish a friend a happy birthday or break-up with a boyfriend, but others would love it. Enough people like the idea that the website/app Cameo has become hugely successful.

It is weirdly fascinating to me as I have never really been a, "Cult of celebrity," person. I don't really obsess over famous folk with a mixture of affection or rage (politicians aside as they really do affect everyday life). Famous people are regular humans who managed to be really good at something (acting, singing, a sport, whatever) and are now known for it. This includes lesser-known celebrities who maybe would like some extra-scratch by saying a simple catchphrase such as, "No soup for you!" or to, "Stay thirsty, my friends."

I don't have anything against individuals wanting to pay celebs to record a video message, it is a lot of like paying a celebrity to sign an autograph for you at a comic-convention (which I don't do, but I have paid creators to make awesome sketches for me). I guess I just don't personally see the appeal when I scroll through everyone...and wait, Kevin Conroy is on there for just $75? That's actually not a bad price to hear the voice of Batman pay you a compliment. Anyways, Cameo is making tons of money, so it clearly has struck folk as something snazzy.

Monday, January 6, 2020

Oh Wow, "New Mutants," is Actually Coming Out?

The movie, "New Mutants," has been in development Hell for two or three years now. A horror-themed X-Men spin-off, it was basically completed, had reshoots planned, they didn't happen (it seems), Fox was announced as being acquired by Disney, more delays happened. It got to the point it was thought, "New Mutants," would never be released or it would just be quietly dumped onto Hulu or Disney+ so the money spent on it did not go to waste. Then there were rumblings a trailer would pop-up online and now here it is above.

We've got an actual release date of April 3rd and while this probably won't work in a weird little stinger to tie-in with the Marvel Cinematic Universe or acknowledge the other X-Men movies much, it is at this point impressive the damned thing is actually going to be in theaters. How good it will be in the end...we shall see.