Sunday, July 25, 2021

Late July 2021 News and Links


Ending July With Some News of Interest

As we near the end of July let's close out the month in style with some quality news stories I thought were interesting enough to curate and share with you all.

Things to Read/Watch/Etc.

Our 2020 Summer Olympics have kicked off in 2021 (you know, because COVID-19 shut everything down), and as someone who enjoys watching assorted people excel beyond what seems physically possible at varying activities, I'll be tuning in when able.

The, "Bachelor/Bachelorette," franchise has stumbled a bit despite being the OG of dating shows in many ways. Streaming networks have seized upon the opportunity to provide their own programs all about finding love (or at least having a good shag).

John Carpenter has made some damn fine films. "Escape From New York," is now 40 and still relevant as ever.

MF Doom, who passed last year, has been honored with a street being named after him. He continues to be missed.

There has been some discussion about the film, "Luca," and if the characters within it are/could be gay. Faefyx Collington wrote about how it, "...may not be a gay narrative, but it's absolutely a queer one."

It amuses me a bit that, "Kaiju Score," was optioned before even the first issue came out and it just got a little buzz. Then, a tiny bit more news came out discussing some writers being attached to script it, the ever-popular Key Collector Comics app mentioned that, and speculation went crazy simply because the app talked about it. Shows how KCC has a lot of fans. I myself find it handy and have blogged about it before.

Ales Kot is a writer I've always greatly enjoyed the work of. He kind of took a break for a bit but has been writing stuff again and will actually be doing a, "Gunslinger Spawn," comic. Cowritten with Todd McFarlane, and featuring an assortment of artists, seeing Kot is involved has me intrigued.

A Robocop-themed game sounds like it could be fun if it remembers its satirical roots and does something clever with the concept. Whether, "Robocop: Rogue City," will do that and hopefully have fun gameplay or fail to utilize what makes the series special will probably determine whether it succeeds or fails.

To close on some other video-game news, as someone who enjoys crane games, a virtual one where you collect fish that are then released back into the ocean just sounds adorable. The name is cute too, "Clawfish."

Enjoy the rest of July and the Start of August

I hope you have a nice rest of July and for some of you, August will mark the start of the school year (some folks don't start till early September). August also may be a month that is incredibly hot in your region (or cold, for my readers South of the Equator). I just hope this month concludes in a pleasant manner for you and we all enjoy the kicking-off of August in a bit.

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Visit These Comics Shops if you Get Out to Central New York

I live in the Saint Louis region, but as longtime readers of my blog may recall, I used to live in Upstate New York AKA Central New York AKA the region where the cows outnumber the humans. It had been a while since we were able to visit my family but we were just recently able to do so. When we had some free time I was able to stop by some fantastic comic stores. Some I've maybe mentioned before, others are new (at least in terms of me discussing them). Should you get to the upper-central area of NY you should give these places a visit!

Central NY Comic Shops (in Alphabetical Order) to Visit:

Comics for Collectors

Comics for Collectors used to be at one end of the Ithaca Commons, but about two years ago moved to the opposite side. The owner, Tim, is a fantastic guy full of knowledge about comics. There is a wide assortment of new releases, a good chunk of back issues, and plenty of hardcovers and trades to explore as well. The shop is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year and may it have many more!

Heroes and Villains

Found in Cortland--smack dab between Ithaca and Syracuse. Heroes and Villains is located with other businesses in the old Cortland Corset building that was retrofitted to fit an assortment of snazzy stores, "Heroes and Villains," was on the first floor but now is on the second of the big former factory. The owners are extremely nice and there is a good selection of current releases, trades, and back issues to enjoy digging through. Should you need magic cards or the like they carry those too!

Larger than Life Toys and Comics

I discovered Larger Than Life Toys and Comics when my family took a trip during the day to the Syracuse Mall/Carasouel Mall/Destiny USA/Whatever you want to call it. They have another location in Clay, New York, as well that is probably cool as this location was awesome! There are tons of vintage and newer toys, Funko Pops, and shortbox upon shortbox full of back issues you could inspect. I didn't have a ton of time to check the store out while there, but what I did see was stellar. Next time I'm in town you know I'm gonna do a deep-dive on those older issues!

Friday, July 23, 2021

"Max Payne," is 20 Years Old

I've always been a fan of the, "Max Payne," series. Three games in total--the first two developed by Remedy and the 3rd by Rockstar--they each had their charms. For my money, the 2nd one was the best, but the first is still a grand time. It is now 20 years old, believe it or not.

An over-the-top story about a cop fighting a big conspiracy, "Max Payne," is drenched in a noir tone. It is full of, "Bullet time," where you leap and drive in slow-motion while shooting your gun, and is possibly best known for Payne's angrily scrunched-up face that was provided by developer Sam Lake. It inspired an incredibly poor movie and, as I mentioned, had some stellar sequels. As far as I know, we shouldn't expect any more games with Payne anytime soon, but what we got was snazzy indeed.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

A New, "Luke Cage," Comic? Yes, Please!

Marvel announced today the first new, "Luke Cage," comic in a while. It is a three-issue mini-series titled, "Luke Cage: City of Fire." It sounds like it won't hesitate to be topical and features Luke working with the hero he teams up with the most besides Iron Fist, Daredevil. Here's the blurb:

"In the new series, a shadowy rogue group named the Regulators are terrorizing ordinary citizens in New York City, and Luke Cage is called to action when a Black man in his community is murdered by a crooked police officer. Cage quickly crosses paths with Daredevil, who is determined to bring down the Regulators no matter the cost, but Mayor Fisk is equally determined to use them to tighten his grip on the city. There is unrest in the streets, and it’s up to Cage to keep the city from going up in flames."

I keep forgetting Wilson Fisk somehow became Mayor of New York City in the comics (I think J. Jonah Jameson was mayor at one point too some years ago). Creator Ho Che Anderson is making his Marvel, "Debut," writing this comic and the artists will change issue-per-issue which will either be really cool or disorienting if other comics that have done that trick in the past are any indicator. I'm just excited to be getting a new Luke Cage comic and bet Anderson and the group of artists will make something pretty snazzy.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

"Skull and Bones," Has an Even More Troubled Development Than Suspected

Back in 2020, I discussed how, "Skull and Bones," was a video-game that seemed to be in development Hell. Little did I suspect just how bad things really were as a new and lengthy article from Kotaku breaks down. Written by Ethan Gack, the piece has quotes from many (anonymous) developers discussing a title that seems to lack any clear focus, is millions of dollars in the hole, and has basically nothing to show for years of work--so much would get made then scrapped. The phrase, "Running around in a loop," is used to describe development. The developer, Ubisoft, has had lots of controversies over the years about staff mistreatment and sexual harassment, so this is yet another problem for the conglomerate.

"Skull and Bones," may eventually take shape into a playable and enjoyable game. It may even be awesome if it does finally come out. Right now though? Things are just rough. It's a shame as pirate games can be pretty fun when done well.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

AdHouse Books is Shutting Down and Will be Missed

AdHouse Books is the publisher owned by Chris Pitzer and it has put out some fantastic comics over the years. Chris has announced that AdHouse is closing for an assortment of reasons and he's ready to move onto other things. I totally understand this even if it makes me sad as AdHouse released some phenomenal works. I wish Chris the best and will hold a fond spot in my heart for AdHouse.

Monday, July 19, 2021

"Kane and Able," is a Mind-Bending Mix of Comics from Two Wild Creators

I've been a fan of Shaky Kane for some time and am a bit less familiar with Krent Able but like what I have seen of his work. The two recently teamed up to create a two-man anthology in the form of, "Kane and Able." Published by Image comics, it is utterly insane and delightful.

"Kane and Able," features stories about the, "Shield Bug," which seems to riff a lot on the history of comics in general, includes a story about monster-men who patrol the, "Creepzone," and has my favorite story, "Black Fur," which features a jetpack-riding bear that fights a strange humanoid cockroach that creates flesh monsters from humans in a weirdly self-aware short story. Kane and Able are two different creators but have styles that complement each other well. Kane is a bit more geometric and abstract at times, Able goes for a hyperdetailed look that can be suitably gorgeous or gross (those flesh monsters are impressively nasty).

"Kane and Able," is a nice big oversized comic in its physical dimensions and page count of 72--it has a spine to it too so it is more of an original graphic novel than just a big ol' comic. Whatever you call it, it is a treat. The bigger pages really let the amazing art and surreal storytelling breathe. Cain and Abel did not do so well as brothers in the bible but Kane and Able make a great team in the field of comics.

5 out of 5 stars.

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Valve Announced a Handheld Computer Gaming Device--The Steam Deck

Back in January of 2020, I observed how there were rumors of companies making handheld computers that were designed to be kind of like the Nintendo Swtich or just outright ripped it off. It is now 2021 and Valve just recently unveiled the Steam Deck. The Steam Deck is designed to connect to Valve's online computer gaming store (the biggest one in the market for digital games) which is known, of course, as Steam. Many companies that utilize Steam are down for being a part of this device and its prices will vary from the competitive-with-a-Switch $399 to more fancy models that'll run you cool 650 smackers. A portable gaming PC you play like a handheld sounds intriguing. I'll be keeping my eye on the Steam Deck and think that Valve's influence in gaming definitely gives them enough power to maybe have this thing succeed.

Saturday, July 17, 2021

The Heroes for Kids Comic-Con Was Great Fun!

I attended the Heroes for Kids Comic-Con today and had a fantastic time! Heroes for Kids is a nonprofit and they held this con to raise funds and give everyone a great time. I went down to Perryville with my good friend Greg and we had a stellar time seeing old friends, making new ones, and (obviously) buying comics.

One of the first people I met and really enjoyed talking with was Eric of PJ Comics. I bought some cool stuff from him including a, "Batman," #6 from the New 52 era with beautiful Greg Capullo artwork and a, "Secret Invasion," #1 second printing variant cover (ya'll know love snazzy variants). I also met Ethan from E&A Comix who had an assortment of cool stuff (including some stellar, "Daredevil," issues from the Bendis and Maleev run). I bought some cool, "Avengers," comics from Red Brick Collectibles as well. I checked out some laser-etched items by Mr. Laser which were snazzy, saw my friend Justin of Wayne Kent Comics, and saw the always-delightful Bruce Reynolds. He had a bunch of comics for sale! Bruce was kind enough to let me snap a pic of him with a chunk of his wares:

I proceeded to meet some really cool creators. I met sci-fi and fantasy author Jason J. Nugent, chatted with author and artist Chely Penn who had some really snazzy prints for sale, and had the pleasure of meeting the author and cartographer Ellie Mack--she can custom make maps for RPGs and such! I talked with author Molly Daniels as well. Then I met the folks behind Russxplode Studios who had a fun book called, "Xenonanite Titan!" I met Lacye Lembcke, one of the creators of the cartoon Dope Bunny and Clive. I saw my friend, author J.E. Nelson (we had just chatted at Toyman last week too), and met artist Breanna Horneker. I had the pleasure of meeting author Ellie Mack and learned about her cool book, "The Awakening." I also saw Bradley Potts, who I've written about before, selling his awesome comic, "Stalker."

Before heading out in the afternoon, Greg and I watched a fun cosplay parade (a pic of some of the lineup is above) and I had some coffee from Villainous Grounds--a shop in Perryville that sells comics and coffee! The Heroes for Kids Comic-Con was a real treat to attend and I already can't wait for the next one in 2022!

Friday, July 16, 2021

Biz Markie Has Passed

Biz Markie was a cool dude. He passed today at the age of 57. He had battled health complications from Type 2 Diabetes for years. Best known for the song, "Just a Friend," he had many other awesome songs, with, "Vapors," being a favorite of mine. Whether he was rapping, beatboxing, or half-singing he just always seemed so happy and enthusiastic. He'll be missed.