Saturday, June 6, 2020

Let's Celebrate Dragonflyman Day on June 16th!

I was a big fan of the mini-series, "The Wrong Earth," naming artist Jamal Igle one of my favorites of 2018 along with the series itself being a favorite mini/maxi-series. It had a clever hook in the same heroes from two universes end-up swapping places so that a campy one ends up in a grim-and-gritty World and vice-versa. It was a bit meta, very clever, and overall fantastic. There has been a prequel series since then, but I can't wait for more tales set after the original book's conclusion.

To mark the character turning 91 weeks old publication-wise they are having Dragonflyman Day on June 16th, with the whole thing clearly being a bit of a joke about how much Dragonflyman riffs on Batman who is himself a quite old character in years when it comes to publication. It is silly and clever, which is fitting for this comic. As a fan of mini-series featuring the character, I'm eager to celebrate his, "Anniversary."

Friday, June 5, 2020

DC Officially Quits Diamond, Causes the Biggest Comic-Book Distribution Shake-Up in Decades

This news is now being reported all over, but I saw it first on Comics Heating Up--DC is leaving Diamond to instead distribute its individual comics solely through its own distribution system it set up. I wondered if this would happen when DC made its alternative system, or if they would try to have both it and Diamond. I guess the question of what exactly would happen has been answered now. DC was locked-in with Diamond for decades, but the shutdown brought about by COVID-19 allowed them to try their own thing, which they now are going to fully pursue, whether comic-stores like it or not. Basically, if you want DC floppies, you've gotta go through their distribution system (trade paperbacks that go to bookstores will be through their regular distribution method with Penguin).

This is quite the shake-up and it could work out well for Diamond to have more competition or could very well result in a crisis that brings the comic-book industry to its knees (anyone who remembers the Heroes World Distribution debacle with Marvel knows what I'm talking about). Big changes are afoot when it comes to the selling of comic-books and it'll take some months for the ramifications to really sink-in of DC's break with Diamond. I just hope everything shifts for the better as opposed to causing a mess.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

"Spider-Man: Life Story" is a Unique Take on an Oft-Written Hero

The main hook of, "Spider-Man: Life Story," is to imagine that teenaged Peter Parker got bit by a Spider in the early '60s and then just kept aging in real-time, with each issue addressing a decade up to the 2010s with issue #6 of the mini-series. Chip Zdarsky wrote the mini-series and Mark Bagley illustrated. Zdarsky is a skilled writer (and illustrator) and Bagley has drawn tons of Spider-Man-related comics be they in the Ultimate Universe or regular continuity. This results in a stellar team-up that spins a fantastic yarn which could have come off as gimmicky but works incredibly well.

By letting a number of heroes from the past age whilst introducing the more recent ones within the era they came about the mini-series actually manages to show just home timeless heroes are regardless of the decade they exist within. It also is fun to see how Zdarsky tweaks the long and complicated history of Spider-Man, working in the Venom symbiote and clones but in unique ways along with other classic storylines altered just a bit for a fantastic story. Bagley absolutely nails the artwork too, masterfully illustrating characters as they grow older over the decades along with perfectly encapsulating the fashion and, "Look," of each era. A lesser artist would be unable to draw a half-century of time, but Bagley does it with marvelous ease.
"Spider-Man: Life Story," works as a book for longtime readers of Spider-Man who want to see clever takes on a variety of classic stories as well as a great read for those with only the faintest knowledge of Spidey who are intrigued by the idea of seeing him aged realistically from his earliest appearances. It reads great, looks amazing, and I highly recommend it.
5 out of 5 stars.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Cassette Gods is One of My New Favorite Websites

I've made mention here on the blog how I've been fiddling with older/retro/vintage technology. I acquired a VCR player that has allowed me to enjoy random horror flicks from the 80s and 90s and I also have been doing a lot with my cassette player lately I acquired some years ago. I've been making mixtapes and listening to lots of cool older and newer works released on tape. Yes, lots of indie artists actually release music on cassette still and it is quite fun. I've made mention of how much I enjoy using Bandcamp, and it has some cassette releases, to give an example. However, another great resource I've used for finding awesome bands on tape is Cassette Gods.

Cassette Gods is a blog that has been around since 2007 (an impressive feat) and they review music releases on cassette that are submitted for their consideration. The artists might be with a larger label, an indie act found on Bandcamp, or any other variation, as long as they have a cassette they can be reviewed. Pretty much any genre you can think of has been reviewed and the writer at Cassette Gods do a fantastic job writing about the music they receive, whether they love it or hate it. Cassette Gods has helped me discover a lot more awesome music to enjoy on my tape deck and I can't thank them enough for that. The least I can do is give them a shout-out on this blog and tell everyone who reads my site to check them out--especially if you can play cassette tapes with one device or another!

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Now David Ayer Wants a Director's Cut of His, "Suicide Squad."

As I and the rest of the internet discussed, HBO Max is going to give Zack Snyder enough money to make his director's cut of, "Justice League," AKA the, "Snyder Cut." Well, that has resulted in David Ayer, the director of, "Suicide Squad," now coming out here saying, "Hey, I could easily do that too!" Now, even the most generous of people will describe, "Suicide Squad," as, "Not that great," but according to Ayer if we were to witness his true vision free of meddling from Warner Brothers we would get something magical. Yes, supposedly the version of, "Suicide Squad," we were denied would have a deep and interesting Jared Leto Joker, tie in some New Gods elements, and otherwise be better than sliced bread as Ayer tells it.

All I have to say about this is, "Look what you've done, internet." Seriously, everyone had to whine for a, "Snyder Cut," that I imagine will be entertaining but not especially amazing and so the point HBO Max decided, "Hey, we can maybe get enough subscribers it is worth it to do this." Now, David Ayer wants to assure us, "Suicide Squad," is actually an Oscar-level masterpiece as opposed to a hot turd on a bright Summer day. For all I know there is an incredible version of, "Suicide Squad," we were denied. However, I suspect no matter how hard Ayer insists he can polish that turd, it's still going to be steaming in the Sun regardless of some studio interference being cut-out and a handful of scenes tweaked. We'll see if he gets his wish of a new cut or not, I guess.

Monday, June 1, 2020

The Hot Comics Revue 10: Comic-Book Speculation Gets Wonky

Spec Going Crazy
Time for a special edition of the Hot Comics Revue where instead of my usual format I examine how the market is a little crazy lately. The past couple of weeks it is has been really random what comics are getting lots of love in the secondary market (they are all Marvel-related, interestingly too), so let's examine it.

Random Speculation Hit #1
A second-printing variant to, "Symbiote Spider-Man," with Mysterio on the cover went from being worth its standard price to selling for $50 or so due to it being printed in low quantities. Then it was sometimes found inside the Marvel Comic Walmart packs so people are selling those on Facebook in comic groups I frequent for $20 eaach with the promise of a, "Chance," you might get the good cover in some weird kind of game of chance that just seems stupid. Plus, many say the comic variant isn't even that rare. Still, it is quite popular, so the market wants what it wants.

Random Speculation Hit #2
"Marvel Action Avengers," is an all-ages comic featuring Marvel heroes in out-of-continuity adventures which is randomly published by IDW through a deal with Marvel/Disney. Issue #10 features the first cover appearance and full appearance of a Yellow Hulk. We've had Green Hulks, Red Hulks, and apparently even Blue Hulks, but this is the first yellow, with a cameo appearance in issue #9 also getting some after-market love with this book hitting $40-$60 in sales. It was an underordered title and it suddenly got hot.

Random Speculation Hit #3
"Venom #25," has a Previews exclusive variant (which rarely get attention), that has a physical Funko Pop to go with it as well, with the Pop and the comic being Funko-ized homages to, "Amazing Spider-Man #316," which was the first cover appearance of Venom. For some reason that no one seems to grasp the comic has been going for $75-$100. Speculation is a wild thing, as this book and the other two show. If these prices will stick, go higher, or all stay at the same level, time will only tell. Comic-book spec is a wild thing, after all.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

A Nice Chill Game Like, "Townscaper," Sounds Good Right Now

"Townscaper," is the latest kinda-game-kinda-virtual-toy from Oskar StÃ¥lberg who has made some cool digital programs before that are fun to fiddle with and create stuff. This is a more complex project as it isn't just played in the browser so much as a full-on program that runs. It isn't really a game though, you just place the blocks of a seaside city and watch as the game naturally designs itself around your plans. It looks relaxing and with the state of the World currently, a nice little relaxing fun sounds delightful. An early access version is due to be out this next month (we've now entered June tomorrow in the trash-fire that is 2020). Assuming my computer can run it, I'll spend the $6 or so it will cost to enjoy.

Injustice Results in Crisis

The powder keg that is America ignites again. As many would tell you, from the start of its inception America has treated black citizens as second-class citizens at best, little more than property via slavery at worst. Attempts have been made to address these centuries of injustice through peaceful protest, violent protest, and even the gentlest attempts to state, "Look, can't you even agree this isn't right?" It seems to often fall on deaf ears, however, with people, "Tut-tutting," when Colin Kaepernick protested police brutality in the most peaceful and low-key way possible, and then these same folk complaining, "Why can't they protest peacefully?" when the walks and chants do little to grab attention.

I don't approve of riots, of looting, of mayhem. I also can see that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was right when he said how a riot is the language of the unheard, and this was a man whose whole model of protest was via peaceful protest. We have a judicial system that over-punishes Black boys, girls, men, and women. We have a police system that has been allowed to run unchecked as it murders these individuals with no consequences. We have a President (Trump) who unwittingly quotes a racist police chief from the 1960s encouraging the shooting of protestors whilst calling them, "Thugs." This, when a week or so ago he was calling White people protesting their desire to go to Applebee's or get a haircut in the era of COVID-19, "Fine people," as they stood outside buildings with their guns yelling about the dumbest stuff possible to protest.

Protests are breaking-out nationwide, some turning quite violent. It is tragic things have gotten this bad, but anyone who claims they didn't see it coming is either lying or incredibly ignorant. His name was George Floyd. His life mattered. The lives of all the Black individuals killed wrongfully mattered. I'm not surprised that all this injustice has resulted in a crisis. I'm surprised this didn't happen sooner.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

More Marvel and DC Comics are Going Digital-Only or Are Outright Cancelled

In news that is sure to irritate many, more Marvel and DC comics are apparently going to be digital-only to escape cancellation or just shall be outright cancelled. COVID-19 has done a number on many businesses and the comic-book industry is by no means exempt. For that reason, I understand that things have to be shifted to solely being digital (at least until collected in trade) or might end-up cancelled, but it is still just a big bummer. I also worry about smaller publishers who have had titles delayed and could find their very existence at risk due to not having nearly as much funds as a company like Marvel or DC. I'm concerned we will see a number of smaller publishers going out of business soon, but I hope I'm wrong.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Film Friday: "Sonic the Hedgehog," is Getting a Sequel!

I had a chance to watch, "Sonic the Hedgehog," a bit before my birthday and found it to be good fun. I am a fan of James Marsden, enjoy Jim Carrey, and Ben Schwartz was fabulous as Sonic's voice. It was a cute flick about friendship and had a good number of jokes mixed with some snazzy action. I also am aware that when it was in theaters (probably one of the last big releases before COVID-19 shut everything down) it did very well. Hence, I imagined there would be a sequel and am pleased to see that one was announced today with the original creative team and one would assume much or all of the original cast. I look forward to it for sure!