Monday, November 30, 2020

"Super Mario Odyssey," Thoughts/Not-Quite-a-Review

It came out some time ago, but I finally had the chance to play, "Super Mario Odyssey," for the Nintendo Switch. I didn't play it sooner because I saw I could request it from the library and just needed to be patient while other holds got copies for a couple weeks. Then it was my turn and I got to play the game without having to drop a stack of bills on a copy. I've liked the solid chunk of the game I played, but found myself getting a little bored of the formula as it appeared.

The, "Formula," in this Mario game is also the hook--Mario can throw a hat and possess other characters this way. You can take-over the bodies of assorted creatures and robots--and need to in order to solve many puzzles. As you travel to various zones you'll find an assortment of interesting things to possess in-between the usual jumping and running about. Over time, however, the routine becomes clear. 

You go someplace new, find some creatures to possess to get past obstacles or solve a puzzle, and you're on to the next World. It is fun, but after the big Metro level (New Donk City) I was getting way too used to this methodology. Occasionally something wonky and neat will happen like you suddenly going 2D and looking like an old-school Mario, and the graphics are very pretty. Still, I am glad I was able to check the game out from the library as opposed to spending my monies on it as while I'm having some fun, I feel myself getting a little tired of it and I probably won't finish the game. It is a fun little diversion for a bit, however.

Sunday, November 29, 2020

"The Other History of the DC Universe," is the Best thing DC has Released in Years

If you love comics and don't mind a slightly unorthodox format to them, you really ought to read, "The Other History of the DC Universe." Written by Oscar-award winning director John Ridley (who has written some other stellar comics too), it presents a prose-ish style of storytelling with illustrative additions that isn't quite a prose book with some pictures or a straight-up comic. This is also out of continuity as it dramatically ages our heroes in a manner the usual sliding-timeline of mainstream comics doesn't work with. The comic follows a young-to-older Jefferson Pierce from 1972 through 1995 as he realizes he has powers and uses them to fight crime as Black Lighting, all the while observing the, "Big name," heroes who happen to all be white (or a green alien) getting acclaim while his Black self receives scorn. It's really good writing and the illustrations by Giuseppe Camuncoli are gorgeous too. Seriously, this is the best thing DC has released in years.

"The Other History of the DC Universe," is going to be a series that sets out to examine the DC comic universe from the perspective of minority characters. It provides a unique take on people seeing these beings of amazing power in their World, but few of these people look like them or seem to care about everyday struggles. As Pierce remarks when Superman first confronts him, it seems the League is happy to fight interdimensional threats to reality, but cares little for stopping drug dealers or helping repair the deteriorating buildings of the inner-city.

Pierce is the protagonist of this comic, with his journal-style writings, but he has many flaws of his own. He lies to his wife about being a hero, and admits it is a bit of an addiction beating-up those who harm his city, almost as if he needed a way to target his rage lest someone innocent get hurt, and thankfully there were plenty of outlets. Pierce is all too human despite having powers, and he learns as the comic goes on many of the supposedly, "Perfect," beings people admire are flawed too.

"The Other History of the DC Universe," is not a, "Black," comic as I saw some remark online when they heard about it. It is a comic for everyone that happens to provide an interesting take on DC's heroes by giving a voice to often-overlooked characters. I loved what I read in this issue and eagerly await the upcoming ones.

5 out of 5 stars.

Saturday, November 28, 2020

The Main Street Creamery in Wildwood is Delicious!

Today is what folk know as, "Small Business Saturday." I actually went for the first time to a local small business and got some ice cream to go as Samii and I had a hankering for something sweet. I went to Main Street Creamery and it was wonderful!

I arrived around dinnertime so I was there before any post-dinner visitors. The employees there were very nice and I enjoyed examining the menu with the really cool specialty milkshakes as well as cones with decorations on them referred to as, "Unicorn horns," and used for certain shakes.

There was a wide array of ice cream and other sweet treats to pick and I got a pint of vanilla ice cream for us as well as a piece of apple pie for Samii. I also purchased the Cowboy Milkshake which was a Butterfinger ice cream with caramel and donut mixed in. It was delicious! If you ever happen to be in Wildwood or near their original location in Washington, Missouri, then I would recommend going to the Main Street Creamery for sure!

Friday, November 27, 2020

A Handful of Black Friday Deals for 2020

We are mostly staying home this Black Friday. The big shopping event has turned more into a monthlong event and any deals on the day itself are often online-only much like, "Cyber Monday." Being homebound doesn't mean we're lacking some cool deals, however. I thought I would share about some offerings that caught my eye. In alphabetical-ish order...

Black Friday Deals

Antarctic Press is offering 50% off sitewide if you use the code, "BLCKWKND," when you check-out from their website.

Funko is providing a free holiday-themed Freddy Funko with any purchase of $75 or more.

IDW is advertising up to 50% off limited edition collections and general comics.

SCOUT Comics has a 50% coupon code of BF2020 on their site.

Things From Another World's Black Friday event offers between 30%-70% off an assortment of comic-related goodies.

Home to unique cult and exploration cinema, Vinegar Syndrome is doing their annual massive Black Friday sale. It offers around 50% off almost everything on their site from preorders to limited edition slipcases.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Thanks for Being Safe This Thanksgiving/I Rip Into People Who Are Not Being Safe

Today is Thanksgiving in America and if you're being safe and staying home, I am proud of you. You can stop reading this post and go relax until the last paragraph. The rest of you assholes, however, can proceed to the next paragraph for a verbal thrashing. Don't click away, you scroll down now!

How dare you think that COVID-19 is not a big enough deal to keep socially distant. You are so eager to be with your loved ones--some who may be older or immunocompromised--that you'd risk their lives just to have a, "Regular," Thanksgiving this year. Well, guess what, knucklehead? This isn't a, "Regular," year and things are not normal. If you just waited a year for vaccines that are on the horizon you could celebrate Thanksgiving safely in 2021, but no, you had to be that dune who rode planes, traveled around the United States, had a mini super-spreader meal today, and now will be heading back home exposing everyone else in the general public on your merry way. Speaking of, "Merry," you do realize when cases spike in 2 weeks or so due to all the morons having a big Thanksgiving that is going to basically make Christmas even more dangerous to have with loved ones--not that you should even have a big Christmas event but knowing the choices you've already made I bet that's planned too, COVID-be-damned, eh? I'm ashamed of you, embarrassed for you, and hope you don't get sick or even worse, die (or lose a loved one) due to your selfish actions.

Alright, everyone's back? Okay then, let's have a great Thanksgiving and enjoy kicking-back! The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade looked a lot different, but we can still enjoy it, and the food you've made or ordered will surely be tasty. Happy Thanksgiving, my friends!

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

The Grammys Continue to (Possibly) Be Corrupt and Rigged, Still (Undoubtedly) Pretty Lame

The Weeknd is/was set to perform at the upcoming Grammys. However, he was not nominated for any awards for his latest album. Considering how much buzz and love it has gotten this upset him and resulted in accusations of the Grammys being, "Corrupt." As The Weeknd tells it, due to tense negotiations about how he was performing at the Super Bowl a week after the Grammys and how that impacted certain things, the Grammys purposely shut him out of having a chance to win any awards. Now, one could accuse the Weeknd of just being petty...but, he may have a point. Remember early this year when tons of accusations were being lobbed at the Grammys for being a rigged sham

Yes, I know 2020 has been a long year, but that did in fact happen way back in January. I am of course not a big fan of the Grammys usually, with their constant snubbing of rap albums winning awards outside of set rap categories often rubbing me the wrong way. I was pleased in 2019 when Kacey Musgraves won album of the year, however. All of that said, I thought the running gag has always been that nobody cares about the Grammys?

Watch old episodes of shows like, "The Simpsons," and there are multiple jokes about how the Grammys are lame, with my favorite being when Homer remarks in one episode, "Oh, why won't anyone give me an award?" To this, Marge says, "You won a grammy," and Homer responds, "I mean an award that's worth something." Then some 4th-wall-breaking text appears that says, "Mr. Simpson's opinions do not reflect those of the producers, who don't consider the Grammy an award at all," which is just a lovely double-burn. It is silly but reflective of how people often are dismissive of the Grammys. Eminem famously rapped about how stupid they were years ago (but still was willing to accept some, for what that's worth), they try to say how one album is better than another even though we all have different tastes. 

I mean, you could argue that makes all award shows kind of pointless due to everyone liking different stuff, but at least with stuff like an Oscar there are some awards that make sense, like ones remarking on great editing or cool special effects (I quit caring about who wins the supposed movie of the year a long time ago). If award shows, in general, are mocked, and the Grammys are the most heckled of all shows, plus they might be the most corrupt of the big awards, who cares about them? Yeah, it can look impressive on your resume to say, "Grammy winner," but if you hate the event so much, why even want an award from it? That's just my two cents on all this, although now I really do hope The Weeknd performs at the show because an anti-Grammys act at the Grammys itself would be pretty wild.

They Found a Weird Monolith in the Deserts of Utah

A weird metal monolith was found in the middle of the deserts of Utah. I understand this is probably a unique piece of art, someone making a statement, that sort of thing. I know some people want to say it is aliens, but I doubt that. However, is 2020 really the year to be plopping down mysterious sleek metallic structures inspired by, "2001: A Space Odyssey," out of all years? 2020 has been an absolute shitshow of COVID-19, murder hornets, a war nearly starting being America and Iran, a political election that Trump refused to concede, the government releasing videos of UFOs when the former singer of Blink-182 forced their hand, people getting mystery seeds in the mail, and strangeness upon strangeness in the World. I don't think this is the appropriate time for a mysterious monolith. Maybe in 2021, but not now.

That said, the monolith is kind of cool-looking and it does remind me how that movie it is likely indirectly related to was pretty dope. That scene with HAL admitting that despite a computer it was scared to be turned off (even if it was homicidal) was weirdly touching and scary. Anyway, this isn't the year!

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Reminder: Local Comic Shop Day is Tomorrow

Local Comic Shop Day is when the retailer organization ComicsPro works with member stores (and as of this year, any store interested) to release special comics and variants of comics in stores. In past years it was on Saturday, but this year--with the World so different--it is on Wednesday, November 25th. There are a variety of comics with fun variant covers and one exclusive graphic novel this year, so it is a smaller offering, but in a year like 2020 it is nice to have it happen at all. Give your comic shop a call and see if they'll be taking part in LCSD tomorrow--if they are, grab some exclusives!

Monday, November 23, 2020

"Cyberpunk 2077," Copies Have Leaked

The game, "Cyberpunk 2077," has been repeatedly delayed. It was officially done and discs were being printed a bit ago, but it got delayed again for a massive day-one patch. That said, some copies seem to have leaked out into the general public by accident. Now, we've got people occasionally streaming short clips, and the developer, CD Projekt Red is not pleased. This is the unpatched version of the game, of course, so it is a final-but-not-final product. I'm still cautiously optimistic it'll be a fun game, and it is nice in a way to know it does exist as an actual product that is about to be (officially) for sale. That said, I hope anyone who does get their hands on a copy in advance looks out for any lawyers CD Projekt Red might be sending their way if they reveal too much.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

A "Secret," Predator Move is in the Works

I like the movies featuring the, "Predator." Some of the movies with the alien are not that great, some are amazing. The most recent one, "The Predator," was a huge mess, but at least it was a fun mess. In an interesting twist, a film has been in the works with the title, "Skulls," that is secretly a predator film. The director of that is Dan Trachtenberg--a man who directed another surprise sorta-sequel, "10 Cloverfield Lane." That was a weird but interesting flick, so if we can get a, "Predator," movie that is strange but good, I'll take it. 

From what people know, "Skulls," is about a “Comanche woman who goes against gender norms and traditions to become a warrior," so a movie set in the past with Predators sounds just delightful, in my opinion. Strip away all the complicated lore or too many of the Predator-gadgets and just give us an intense battle between warriors and a mysterious somewhat-invisible monster and I'm good.