Wednesday, June 16, 2021

"Powers Fearful & Divine, "#1 Advance Review

I always enjoy the stuff released by Blue Fox Comics, so when they reached out to ask if I wanted to read the first issue of, "Powers Fearful & Divine," I was excited to do so. It'll be launching a Kickstarter in August and the advance copy I read was quite fun.

"Powers Fearful & Divine," takes a variety of real-life historical figures and imagines them all interacting in a clever manner a bit like, "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen," but with actual humans. Houdini and HP Lovecraft essentially team up to try and stop Arthur Conan Doyle and the Spiritualist movement from unleashing a deadly weapon on Earth--with Nikola Tesla possibly being the best hope to create a counter-weapon. It's all very clever and fun to see various historical figures working together (or at odds) and writer Cy Dethan does a great job emulating the, "Voice," of everyone, although considering how miserable a person HP Lovecraft apparently was, he comes off a bit too likeable here. Still, Dethan clearly did their research on everyone, spotlighting how Houdini was famous for trying to disprove anyone who claimed to actually have mystical powers as opposed to doing tricks and illusions.

RHStewart is the artist and their artwork works well for the story. Everything looks suitably, "In the past," as it were and the historical characters look like their real-life counterparts, which is always tricky for artists when they are drawing actual people. Sometimes the style is very minimalist, but it looks good overall. There is a lot of dialogue in the comic, but RHStewart always gives us something interesting to look at with the discussions.

"Powers Fearful & Divine," #1 is a great first issue and has me excited to see what future issues will hold for the historical mash-up of famous figures. It does a great job drawing from actual history and inventing other elements. I'd encourage you to check out Blue Fox Comics website so you can stay updated about when the Kickstarter launches!

5 out of 5 stars.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Everyone is Talking About Batman's Sex Life

The internet loves to debate things about Batman. Should he kill the Joker and his worst villains? Would he have benefited more from trauma counseling than dressing up as a vigilante? Could he beat Superman in a fight? One thing that I've never heard argued about is if Batman engages in oral sex. Well, the past couple of days the internet has gone utterly insane due to a certain snippet of news relating to what Batman does or doesn't do sexually.

In an interview with Variety, co-creators and executive producers of the funny (and very adult) cartoon, "Harley Quinn," Justin Halpern and Patrick Schumacker disclosed one of the few things DC wouldn't let them do. They couldn't have a jokey scene with Batman going down on Catwoman. Apparently, "Heroes don't do that." This news tidbit was picked up and started trending on lots of websites, Twitter, and the like. Are heroes the kind of lovers who don't perform oral sex on others? I know some people don't like that sex act, but I've never had the feeling it was something, "Good," or, "Bad," people did. It's just another piece of sexuality some enjoy (giving or getting) and some don't.

After last year almost nothing surprises me anymore. The blunt question of, "Does batman eat pussy?" becoming a trending topic surprised me. As for my opinion on this matter, I just know Batman has trained himself to be proficient in anything he can. He knows all forms of martial arts, is skilled in tons of sciences, and he pushes himself to the limit in everything. I would think Batman knows how to do anything sexually that a situation calls for. I'll leave it at that.

Monday, June 14, 2021

"Shadow Doctor," Has Been an Amazing Comic

"Shadow Doctor," is published by Aftershock and is based on the true story of writer Peter Calloway's grandfather, Nathaniel Calloway. It follows Nathan as he strives to become a doctor during the prohibition era, can't find work at any hospitals due to being black, and ends up serving as a secret doctor for such mobsters as Al Capone. With art by Georges Jeanty, it has been a fantastic read for the four issues that have come out so far (the final fifth issue is due in July, I believe).

"Shadow Doctor," has been intense as we follow Nathan juggling his desire to practice medicine and help others with his fear he is only helping terrible men do bad things. Peter Calloway is careful to never totally excuse his grandfather's actions or heap scorn on him, he was just a man struggling to survive who did what he felt was necessary to do the most good for others--even if it meant some questionable choices. I'd wholeheartedly recommend reading, "Shadow Doctor," by picking up the issues that have come out or once the trade is released.

5 out of 5 stars.

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Oh Yeah, E3 is Happening

I should've realized when I posted about the new, "Jurassic World: Evolution 2," game yesterday it was part of all the game announcements we are getting as E3 is happening this weekend. Remember E3? It used to be a massive video-game showcase and announcing event but significantly shrunk over the years and then became more of a streaming event due to the pandemic. It is funny to think how massive a deal E3 used to be and now I just check my videogame news websites this weekend and casually observe, "Oh yeah, that's a thing this weekend." 

Various games are being announced from vampire hunting ones to space RPGs to slime ranching sequels. I don't have time to play games as often, but I do still enjoy keeping up-to-date on what is happening in gaming. E3 may not be as big of a deal anymore, but it is useful for hearing about some new stuff.

Saturday, June 12, 2021

"Jurassic World: Evolution 2," Announced for...This Year?

Normally when a game is announced you can expect it to be in development for some years. That's why I was surprised to read that, "Jurassic World: Evolution 2," is due to come out before the close of 2021. The first game was a fun park-builder with the major selling point that you weren't just building rollercoasters or concessions stands, you were making your own Jurassic Park/World. I quite enjoyed the first game but did eventually grow a bit tired of how it could be clunky at times. A sequel that fixes up the kinks and introduces new elements (underwater Dinos and building customization sound snazzy) is quite welcome. It'll be out on various consoles and PC before we enter into 2022.

Friday, June 11, 2021

Check out the Grand Opening of STL Comics at their New Location This Weekend!

STL Comics has had a physical presence before, but now has moved into an awesome brand-new location! They will be doing a grand opening event starting tomorrow (Saturday) and running through this Sunday. Between 10AM and 5PM this weekend you can go to 4117 Old Highway 94, Saint Charles, 63304, and have a great time. I know I'm gonna swing by for a bit and see what goodies I can find!

Flashback Friday OutKast Edition Volume 4: Stankonia

 Intro

OutKast entered the year 2000 with a new LP. It featured Andre now going by Andre 3000, he and Big Boi actively being involved in every step of the tracks being created, and it was named, "Stankonia," after the name of the studio OutKast had purchased together to make this latest album. It was--as Wikipedia tells it with some reliable sources, "A word created by André 3000 as a portmanteau of the words 'stank', a slang synonym for, 'funky,' and, 'Plutonia,' the title of a poster in his bedroom depicting a futuristic city. He explained, 'Stankonia is this place I imagined where you can open yourself up and be free to express anything.'"

Stankonia

"Stankonia," has some of my favorite OutKast albums ever. It is also my least favorite album by OutKast overall. This leads to some complex feelings about the album and I won't be doing my usual track-by-track examination so much going in-depth with the highlights and lowlights. It is an album with a lot to unpack after all. Without, "Stankonia," we probably would not have gotten the masterpiece, "Speakerboxx/The Love Below." I say that as this features the first hints of Andre moving away from rapping and instead doing more singing or sonic experimentation. It has more instances than in the past of he and Big Boi both doing some tracks solo. Plus, while the earlier OutKast albums don't, "Feel," exactly like they come from a specific time period, "Stankonia," undoubtedly sounds like a 2000-era LP in one big aspect of how it is overloaded with skits.

Skits on albums seemed to be extremely huge in the late 90s and hit an apex of sorts in the 2000s. Rock albums, rap albums, they were there a lot. They've evolved/mostly faded away in terms of being comedy-focused and OutKast even had them somewhat on their earlier albums, but they were more sporadic and less comedic--they often just were used to introduce or segue into songs. The skits on, "Stankonia," range from some potty humor, to jokes about sex, drugs, nothing awful but little to amaze your ears. There are some tracks that utterly astound listeners, however.

I said, "Stankonia," has some of my favorite tracks ever made by OutKast, and when I say some of those songs you understand why. "So Fresh, So Clean," "B.O.B." AKA, "Bombs over Baghdad," and of course, "Ms. Jackson." These tracks are just masterpieces. "So Fresh, So Clean," is a little raunchy without outright being filthy and has the best little beat. "B.O.B." is a kind of rap-meets-rock combo that was about the futility of war and became all too topical when America invaded Iraq a second time some years later. Then, "Ms. Jackson," what else can be said about that track that others besides me haven't said better? It's vulnerable and a bit angry. It was a very real song as Andre came up with it as a ballad to the mother of Erykah Badu. He had a child with Badu and wanted the mother to know he felt he was doing his best as a father (for those curious, Badu's mother loved the song). I won't spend this whole post just talking about that one song, but know that I could.

Those are some amazing songs, but I said that, "Stankonia," was my least favorite OutKast album, and the lack of much that outright astounds me the rest of the LP is why. Other stuff is perfectly good, but with OutKast you normally expect everything to be more than good, generally. We've got the political, "Gasoline Dreams," the trippy, "Humble Mumble," an early appearance by Killer Mike on, "Snappin' & Trappin," but some tracks really drag. "We Luv Deez Hoez," sound more like a rejected, "2 Live Crew," track than something OutKast would have made. "Gangsta Shit," is dull, "Spaghetti Junction," lacks oomph too. I just find myself alternating between amazement at my favorite tracks and being horrifically underwhelmed with many other songs. The fantastic songs are some of the group's best, however, as I keep saying.

Conclusion

It's an odd experience, listening to Stankonia more than 20 years after its release and finding my first impression of when I heard it (a bit after it came out) is basically the same. There is cream that rises to the top and a lot of tracks I consider to be okay, but a bit skippable. Following, "Stankonia," was something that wasn't quite a, "Greatest Hits," album or a brand-new LP, it was, "Big Boi and Dre Present...OutKast." I'll cover it next week.

Thursday, June 10, 2021

I Greatly Enjoyed the First Three Issues of, "Harrier."

I always love supporting indie comic creators and here in Saint Louis I met Thomas Moran--the creator and writer of the comic, "Harrier." With artist Andrew Henry (issue 1) and Diego Albuquerque (issue 2 & 3) they have been able to put out three issues so far of, "Harrier," and I like what I have read! The series follows a detective named Olvia Jones who becomes embroiled in a massive conspiracy between shadowy organizations and the CIA--of which her father was once a member.

The first issue lays out who Oliva is and puts her through a lot of danger which she recovers from in the second issue (as best she can) and then the third issue is loaded with action as Olvia becomes the experimental, "Harrier," in order to protect a fellow detective from danger. I liked the third issue the most as it was full of cool super-powered fighting and felt like a big release after all the build-up in the earlier issues.

Andrew Henry's artwork is solid, sometimes a little minimalist and abstract but in a manner where everything still looks quite good. Diego Albuquerque is great as well and I love the action he illustrates in the third issue, as I mentioned. Between Moran's writing and Herny's illustrations, I found, "Harrier," to be an engaging read. You can find digital copies on Comixology or visit the Facebook page and message it for physical copies.

5 out of 5 stars.

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Chris Harrison is Done with the, "Bachelor," Franchise

To quote a clever comment I saw online, "Chris, take a moment and say your goodbyes."

That's right, after being with the franchise from the start, Chris Harrison is officially leaving, "The Bachelor/Bachelorette/Bachelor in Paradise/etc." I honestly thought he would be back after a taking break, but per Deadline, he's done and getting a fat check to keep his mouth closed about all the dirt he has. Is it wrong a piece of me wishes a deal weren't reached and he wrote a tell-all book? I mean, this guy undoubtedly knows where the bodies are buried and (allegedly) demanded 25 million to go quietly. For those who don't follow all the hot gossip about this show, Harrison made some mistakes a while ago when he defended a show's participant for attending a racist party and it was all quite awkward.

If I may steal another quote, "The rose has wilted," but at least we are getting some fun guest hosts in the meantime. David Spade, Lil Jon, Lance Bass, and other random people who apparently love the show and answered the phone when they were called shall be present for the upcoming, "Bachelor in Paradise," season, so that's nice. I've always had such a love-hate relationship with this show, but damn if it doesn't entertain me--whether it's the on-camera antics or all this behind-the-scenes drama!

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Television Tuesday: " Loki," Premieres Tomorrow

 

It's about the end of Tuesday and I'm about to discuss a show coming out on Wednesday. That show is, "Loki," the latest Marvel Cinematic Universe offering in Disney+ episodic form. Early reviews are enthusiastic and Tom Hiddleston is always a treat on the screen whether he's a trickster God, famous author F. Scott Fitzgerald, or he could read a phonebook and it'd be great. Now, this version of, Loki we see in, "Loki," is one who didn't pop up in a chunk of the other films as that iteration died in, "Infinity War," and then this one was in, "Endgame," when they traveled through time and accidentally gave the tesseract back to the Loki from way back in the first, "Avengers." Yes, it is confusing even if you read a whole article explaining it. I think the main idea of this show is that we get a mischievous Loki, there's time travel, and we're going to have some fun. 

Plus, Owen Wilson is present, he's a good actor too and actually worked with Hiddleston in the aforementioned, "Midnight in Paris." How weirdly cosmic that movie involved time travel and now here we are again with a vaguely similar theme. Anyways, Loki drops in the early morning of tomorrow. I'll be snoozing at the official release time but plan to view it soon after, perhaps with some breakfast toast!