Saturday, March 25, 2023

Check Out Mike Wolfer's Latest Campaign for, "Widow: Unleashed #1 and #2," on Kickstarter

Friend of the blog and talented creator Mike Wolfer is launching a Kickstarter campaign collecting his entire saga of, "Widow," from the earliest yarns up to eventual newly released tales. Called, "Widow Unleashed," there will be Kickstarters every few months with individual issues that Wolfer has completed. This debut campaign collects the first two issues. I've been a fan of all of Wolfer's works and especially have enjoyed, "Widow," through the years. Seeing that he and the letterer, Natalie Jane, have gone back and remastered everything from the dialogue, to art (with new coloring too), to the letters is icing on the cake when it comes to enjoying, "Widow," content.

Now, the, "Widow," series has always been a bit heavy on some horror-styled gore and sexual content. It's getting even more erotically charged with some of the more edgy pages that appeared years ago in the Avatar Press versions of Widow known as, "Widow X," but with those pieces incorporated into everything in a more natural way so the comics can be quite scintillating at times without appearing to be just a bunch of raunchiness. Basically, if you love horror that can be as scary and creepy as it is sexy this new, "Widow: Unleashed," campaign should be right up your alley.

Wolfer has a number of longtime fans (like me) thanks to his fantastic comic career and the book has already shot well past its initial goal after the campaign just launched today. I'd encourage you to give it a gander on Kickstarter and back it should you be in the mood for well-written and fantastically illustrated horror with a big erotic energy too!

Friday, March 24, 2023

Film Friday: The Pez Outlaw

Some weeks ago I happened to watch, "The Pez Outlaw," when it popped up on Netflix and I keep thinking about it thanks to the crazy story it tells. It's a documentary about how a man named Steve Glew smuggled Pez dispensers from Eastern Europe into America during the '80s & '90s, making himself the #1 enemy of the big corporation through his actions. It is a fascinating little flick as it follows Glew describing how thanks to various legal loopholes he managed to go from a quiet factory job to having a multi-million business empire of Pez dispeners. The movie hints early on that at some point everything went wrong, and it is quite the wild journey full of highs and lows as Glew and his friends (as well as corporate Pez foes) walk us through how the whole surreal story occurred.

"The Pez Outlaw," has various recreations of scenes but it arguably doesn't even need them as Steve is such an engaging and strange fellow that just hearing him recount the whole story captures your attention (he is referred to by multiple people as being reminiscent of a strange magical troll with his short stature, big beard, and hippie-styled demeanor). All collectible hobbies have a wide range of folks attracted to them (I would know as a comic lover) and Pez definitely has some quirky folks within the fanbase who have their own interesting takes on Steve and Pez itself. At a relatively brisk 90-ish minute runtime the movie remains engaging and never gets dull or stuck in a random tangent as some of the multi-episode documentaries out there can do. With such a unique yarn it is easy to keep viewers enraptured.
Steve Glew
"The Pez Outlaw," is a fantastic little flick and worth checking out. I don't think it has had a physical release but it can be streamed on Netflix. If you're into any kind of collectible or just enjoy a good story, give it a viewing!

5 out of 5 stars.

Thursday, March 23, 2023

The Recreation Council Held a Fantastic Recognition Ceremony Today

The Recreation Council is a nonprofit found here in the Saint Louis region which assists children and adults with developmental disabilities via a wide range of opportunities for fun and socialization. The agency can help reimburse people for leisure and recreation activities they engage in and it keeps track of a variety of possible programs for individuals to pursue thanks to partnering with over 100 agencies. We've utilized support from the Recreation Council to help fund our many visits to the We Rock the Spectrum children's gym where Clarkson loves playing and socializing. Thanks to the Recreation Council we've been able to keep updated about a wide range of activities and opportunities in the region. They had their annual meeting/recognition ceremony today and I was able to attend. It was a great time!

After a tasty lunch, the Recreation Council had their keynote speaker, a man named Gabriel Cobb, who discussed the importance recreation has played in his life as he's engaged in everything from cooking to learning piano, to completing multiple Triathlons. A variety of folks from partner agencies were recognized for their work as well and it was wonderful to have it discussed how many opportunities for fun and personal growth exist thanks to agencies such as the Recreation Council.

If you live in the Saint Louis region I would encourage you to look into the Recreation Council. If you live somewhere else I'd still encourage you to look into local agencies you might have that can provide support for those who may have a disability. Such agencies can be a fantastic resource and they always are looking for volunteers too!

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

There is Going to be a "Good Burger," Sequel!

I've been a fan of Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell since back in the day when they were on, "All That," their own television show, and then growing up to do a wide range of projects (Kenan is basically the bedrock of, "Saturday Night Live," right now). In 1997, they did the " Good Burger" movie, which grew out of an, "All That " skit and was a solidly entertaining flick. I was intrigued to hear that Kenan and Kel are going to be coming back for, "Good Burger 2," on Paramount+. Now, this could go horribly wrong as we've had nostalgia-filled sequels that couldn't quite live-up to the original flick. 

Thad said, the CEO of Paramount+ is actually the director of the first movie, Brian Robbins, so I'd think the first movie holds a special place in his heart too and he'd only get the top creative team to work on a sequel. I mean, Kevin Kopelow and Heath Seifert, who co-wrote the original film are back writing this one, so that's a good sign. Kenan and Kel have been friends, on the rocks, and seem to be in a good place again, thankfully. Phil Traill will be directing the sequel and it is due to land on Paramount+ sometime later this year. I am hopeful it will be a delectable time.

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Check Out the, "Hornets," Kickstarter!

Not too long ago the illustrator of a new graphic novel reached out to me. It was Ben Edwards and he sent me a bunch of information about, "Hornets." It was getting ready to launch on Kickstarter and I said I'd happily make a post about it once the campaign started. Well, now here we are! Written by Jordan Sam Adams with lettering by Rachel Ordway, "Hornets," is a sci-fi comic that follows an elite team of female soldiers who end up captured by the enemy force. 

I gave it a read and enjoyed the G.I. Joe vibe mixed with, futuristic war themes we've seen in titles like, "Metal Gear Solid." Edwards is a great artist and whether he's drawing giant robots or soldiers stuck in a dingy prison, the comic looks fantastic. I'd encourage you to check the Kickstarter campaign out and you can back it if my description and the preview pages strike your fancy.

Monday, March 20, 2023

The, "Shazam," Sequel Had a Rough First Weekend

"Shazam: Fury of the Gods," opened in first place at the domestic box office. That would sound impressive, but it actually made less than was projected--and the projections weren't that high. The latest Shazam flick is a flop, in other words.

Apparently, it is an okay film, if not as fun as the first according to reviews. Why did it falter? Are James Gunn and Peter Safran to blame with the big DC reboot coming and making this movie feel utterly inconsequential? Is Dwayne, "The Rock," Johnson the big culprit? Will people break out that old refrain that, "Hey, maybe folks are tired of superhero films?" even though that keeps being said anytime a movie stumbles and then gets dropped when another one does gangbusters? 

I don't know why the Shazam sequel clearly struggled with its debut and if it even really matters for DC's plans going forward. I just feel a bit bad for director David F. Sandberg who was bummed by the critical reviews and is, "...definitely done with superheroes for now." Ouch. Anways, I liked the first movie and will probably stream this when it comes to HBO MAX or whatever, but I'm not in a rush to see it in theaters. Wait, maybe people like me were the problem? Eh, who knows?

Sunday, March 19, 2023

I'm Excited for the Saint Charles Quad Con Next Sunday!

Next Sunday is the Saint Charles Quad Con. Put on by Quad City Con, their events are always great fun! The mixture of comics, toys, games, cosplay, and a stellar assortment of vendors and creators results in a superb show. It is always packed to the gills with awesome stuff to buy and cool folks to meet. This show will be at the same location as previous ones--49 Lawrence Street in Saint Charles--the name of the location has simply changed and it is now known as Steel Shop Athletics and Events. I would encourage anyone in the Saint Louis and Saint Charles region to attend the show a week from today. The doors open at 10AM--see you there!

Saturday, March 18, 2023

"Superman: Lost," #1 Kicks off Quite the Superpowered Mystery

Christopher Priest is a writer who can take a character I generally don't read the stories of and get me extremely engaged in a yarn about them. Priest gave us a superb run on, "Deathstroke," which made me care about the character for the first time ever (and when it ended I honestly went back to having zero interest in Deathstroke, so is life). Now, Priest is doing an out-of-continuity 10-issue series about Superman titled, "Superman: Lost." With artist Carlo Pagulayan, this creative team has already knocked it out of the park with the first issue. 

Basically, Superman leaves for a mission and then seems to be back quickly...but he proclaims it has actually been 20 years. How did he go missing, how did he get back, what impact will this have on the relationship with Lois, and what was up with the mysterious political scandal the comic mentioned in the first half and how it might relate to all this? These are some of the questions Priest and Pagulayan raise for us and I am excited to watch as the complex twists and turns being set up see answers. Between some fantastic writing and gorgeous artwork, this comic was a treat--and that's coming from someone who doesn't usually read many Superman-centric stories. I'm eager to read more and already feel like this series is going to be quite the treat!

5 out of 5 stars.

Friday, March 17, 2023

Flashback Friday: "Spring Breakers," Was a Beautiful Mess That Predicted More Than We Could've Expected

The AV Club's Hattie Lindert wrote an article for the AV Club titled, "Spring Breakers Predicted Everything." I felt like the article didn't quite say what, "Everything," was and at the same time stated it perfectly. The movie created such a weird, warm, colorful vibe that when you look at it now seems like a ton of the Instagram pictures and videos so-called influencers upload full of sandy beaches, barely-there bikinis, and ample bottles of liquor reflecting neon lights. Over at Rolling Stone, David Fear has similar observations of how the movie predicted the chaos that was to come in America. "Spring Breakers," accomplished a lot considering it kind of sucks in terms of being a coherent movie.

Seriously, this a flick about some young women who go on Spring Break, and team up with a drug-peddling and money-obsessed rapper named Alien so as to be on vacation forever. Alien is played with insane delight by a James Franco who must've actually been on drugs and not just pretending because he seems too authentically high on weed, cocaine, and other stuff to be acting. The women consist of former Disney stars who 2013 were trying to break free of their squeaky-clean image (Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens), the wife of the movie's director, Harmony Korine (Rachel Korine), and Ashely Benson who was known for, "Pretty Little Liars," at the time if I remember the dates of everything correctly. A solid cast that somewhat aimlessly roams around Florida drinking and doing drugs, breaking the law, and giving us a film that is phenomenally strange and twistedly entertaining even if it's a total mess.

Seriously though, I have to give credit to a flick that has James Franco play a grand piano on the beach as he belts out, "Everytime," by Britney Spears before it segues into a violent montage of criminal activity with Spear's song playing over it. It's weird and nonsensical, but I dig it. As for the cast these days. Gomez and Hudgens have achieved a lot of success, Rachel Korine and Harmony seem to be happily married still, and Benson has continued with a fruitful career acting and singing. Franco seemed to drop off the face of the Earth when a lot of sexual misconduct allegations arose relating to extremely barely legal (like the age of consent in his state but not-even-able-to-vote) women. He seems to be slowly creeping back into showbiz, for better or worse.

"Spring Breakers," landed in our midst like a huge comet crashing into the social psyche. It left an impact even if folks weren't sure quite what the impact was for a number of years. "Spring Breakers," predicted the messy and excessive era we live in now. Forget being responsible, post some pics of yourself practically naked in a g-string with a glass of the current popular beverage and try to live as luxuriously as possible before everything comes crashing down due to your own financial irresponsibility--or the economy simply collapsing on its own(look at all those banks recently, after all). It doesn't matter if you're actually rich and successful, just give off that image because it's all about appearances and the vibe, baby. To quote Alien when he names all the stuff he owns, "Look at my shit," and consider how that could basically be the slogan of many Instagram accounts these days. "Spring Break forever," indeed.

Happy Saint Patrick's Day 2023!

Today is Saint Patrick's Day. My Grandma Burton was as Irish as they come and loved the holiday and celebrating it. I think of her whenever it is Saint Patrick's Day and hope everyone has a good time celebrating (and celebrating safely if they are drinking). Now go out there and find some gold at the end of a rainbow or such!