Wednesday, August 16, 2017

I Tried Parker's Water Ice and it Was Delicious!

They do soft-serve as well!
A couple weekends ago, Clarkson and I headed-over to the nearby Chesterfield Mall whilst my wife and her sister took my Mother-in-law to the movie, "Girls Trip," as a birthday present (they said it was really good and recommend folk see it). Whilst we were at the mall a vendor had popped-up in the main atrium (as often happens at this mall, but usually it is a jewelry event or something) who was selling a treat called, "Water Ice." I specifically tried the brand called, "Parker's Water Ice," and found it quite tasty! They were out of cherry or strawberry when I saw them a bit later in the day but I got grape and found it delicious! Water Ice is kind of like if a slushie had a baby with an ice cream or sorbet. It is free of dairy but has an intriguing thickness to it before melting in your mouth with its delightful fruit flavor.

I was very impressed by Water Ice and think I want to get myself some more. The company, "Parker's Water Ice," originates in Memphis, Tennessee but has an individual contractor named, "Angel Eaton," who operates out here in the Saint Louis region. I thank Parker's Water Ice for introducing me to this tasty treat and look forward to having it again!

Journalistic Integrity Note: Parker's Water Ice did not give me any money to write this or is even aware of who I am; I will be informing them I made this article once it is posted but that's it.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Rant-Reviews: A Smorgasbord of First (and one Zero) Issues!

You Know The Routine By Now...
Seriously, you know how this goes at this point. I do all kinds of capsule/rant-reviews but keep going back to that well of discussing debut issues of titles because while many comics may not even get to a tenth issue, they all have a first (or a zero issue, which is the case with one book I'm going to discuss). I've got a veritable ton of first/zero issues I've been able to sample lately so it is time to dive-in...

Many New Books
Redlands #1
I talked about how this title was getting very hot in The Hot Comics Revue and it is nice to see when a book is both popular and very, very good. Written and colored by Jordie Bellaire (whom I've recognized as a stellar colorist before but haven't seen as a writer previously) with art by Vanessa Del Rey, this is a first issue that is clearly setting-up a lot without revealing too much at the same time. We see how it is about a corrupt town being overtaken by supernatural forces that also have a moral agenda of giving power to the disenfranchised--so horror with a social message, which is my favorite kind of horror. It's grim, violent, and I really enjoyed reading it. Redlands will have a second printing soon but until then your best bet for getting a copy is eBay or MyComicShop.
4.5 out of 5 stars.

Mister Miracle #1
Another title featured in my first Hot Comics Revue, this book is written by the talented Tom King with Mitch Gerards providing the artwork. People are absolutely fawning over this book and I thought it was pretty good but don't quite see why people are going crazy about it. It's weird and off-kilter, has a real ominous feel, and Gerards artwork is amazing, but I don't really feel myself hooked-in yet. I'm willing to be patient however because while, "The Vision," grabbed me right away King's, "Omega Men," took a bit to really get going, but once it did that was a stellar book. As this puppy is so hot until there is a new printing you're going to need to do eBay or MyComicShop to get any copies, or find a shop that inexplicably isn't sold out.
3.5 out of 5 stars.

Galaktikon #1
I am a fan of Brendon Small's work from Adult Swim's shows, "Home Movies, " and, "Metalocalypse," so when I heard he had a comic coming out I was excited to read it! I then learned the comic is actually an adaptation of sorts of a music album which has a sequel album coming-out soon as well--so that's interesting! Having read this first issue I now am actually a bit interested in checking-out the music as this was a oddly enjoyable title. Equal parts funny and depressing, watching a once-beloved hero of space deal with the difficulties of life via a ton of alcohol is sad, but the book's dark sense of humor carries it through pretty nicely. I liked it a lot and look forward to the next issue as well as giving Small's album a listen whilst I wait in the meantime. You can currently grab copies of the first issue of, "Galaktikon," on eBay or at MyComicShop.
4 out of 5 stars.

Danger Doll Squad #0
I've read the, "Dollface," comic before and this title brings her, the cult-hit Zombie Tramp, and another solo-character known as Vampblade together to form a team/squad. As is the trend with any comics featuring these characters there is a lot of humor, a lot of violence, and a whole lot of variant covers (with some featuring plenty of nudity). I was honestly a little disappointed in this zero issue as it does introduce us to all the characters and makes us aware of who they are, but does little else. After one big prologue we basically jump right into the action briefly before being told to pick-up the official #1 issue in October as well as future issues of, "Vampblade," for more set-up. It's a decent primer on all the characters, but that's about it. You can still find some of the zero-issue covers at Things From Another World and eBay is of course a great resource as well should you want to grab all the assorted covers!
2.5 out of 5 stars.

Ghost Money #1
I've enjoyed speaking with publisher Lion Forge before and they always put out an interesting assortment of books. This new series continues that trend with a yarn about terrorism, money, and politics. Starting in the past before moving about ten-ish years into a potential future, the book imagines a world full of hateful Neo-Cons, rampant Global Warming, and abject poverty...so basically what the world is like now but with slightly more advanced cars and even more drones clogging-up the sky. It's a dark and ominous book, and I quite liked it although the first issue just seems to kind of suddenly-stop as opposed to ending on a solid cliff-hanger or making it clear what the next issue might hold. It's a solid read though and as the story is further fleshed-out I bet things will only get more fascinating and depressing. You can find the first issue of, "Ghost Money," on eBay or at MyComicShop.
3.5 out of 5 stars.

Dead of Winter #1
The third book in this review-segment which also was mentioned in The Hot Comics Revue with this discussed as a title that might get pretty steamy/popular if fans of the game are into it. Based on the tabletop game of the same name, the first issue of, "Dead of Winter," is a fine read. For a comic set in a winter-filled zombie apocalypse there is actually a good deal of humor, but I found most of the characters were pretty paper-thin in terms of personality outside of the start of the comic, a dog named Sparky. It feels like he get the most character development of anyone and he can't even talk! I still enjoyed reading the comic however and imagine if I were well-versed in the game I might have gotten a bunch of references and enjoyed it even more. You can still buy copies at Things From Another World as of this posting should you desire!
3 out of 5 stars.

Tales of Science Fiction: Vault #1
Published by a comic-company--Storm King--that seems to release titles related-to or supervised by John Carpenter, their latest mini-series, "Vault," is a horror-influenced sci-fi tale with a first issue that frankly is a bit of a mess. The back of the comic explains the plot more clearly than the inside of the comic as the plot jumps all around in time, too many characters pop-up only to be easily confused with other characters in bland space-suits, and random stuff about space-fungus or monsters occurs...or something? It's really quite bad besides some decent artwork and I can't exactly recommend it, but should you want a copy MyComicShop or eBay are as always good places to buy from.
1 out of 5 stars.

Grumpy Cat/Garfield #1
I of course have a soft-spot for Grumpy Cat ever since it was the first book to, "Blurb," me on the back-cover as a reviewer. I also enjoyed reading old Garfield newspaper comic-strips when growing-up and have at times perused his comic-book. Considering how both cats are full of attitude, it makes sense for them to meet--and why not have them meet in a format they both excel in, comics? It is a little disappointing that our two stars don't meet until the end of the first issue (so the second issue will be fun for sure), but plenty of plot and funny jokes occur in this issue to make it well worth picking-up. Basically an evil CEO has a way to make cats behave more like dogs and needs some of the most difficult cats in the World to test his program before he sells it to the general populace in the hopes of making major moolah. Therefore, we witness in this issue Garfield and Grumpy being stolen through some clever methods. It's great silly fun and I would recommend it if you want to have a good laugh! Copies of one cover can still be bought at Things From Another World and eBay is a great site if you're after the assortment of variants.
5 out of 5 stars.

I Need a Break!
After reviewing eight new books I need to sit-down and take a breather. I hope you enjoyed reading my meandering thoughts on these assorted new comics and were inspired to check at least one or two of them out (or now know what to avoid if it isn't for you). I'd get up and shake your hand to thank-you for reading all this, but I'm a little winded so, let's just nod and I'll lie down here for a moment till the hurting stops.

"Dark Fang," Sounds Like a Fascinating New Comic

I generally try not to just copy and post P.R. releases from various publishers as posts, because plenty
of other websites I enjoy reading do that and if you're coming to my site you usually are well-versed in comic news or don't care about it and read my page instead because you want to read my scattered thoughts on the rest of the wild world of popular-culture. That said, a newly-announced comic from Image caught my attention enough that I wanted to share with everyone else how it sounds neat. The book is, "Dark Fang."

Written by Miles Gunter and illustrated by Kelsey Shannon, "Dark Fang," is an action-horror book about a woman named Valla who is a vampire and has lived peacefully at the bottom of the ocean, presumably subsisting on the creatures down there. Suddenly her whole home finds itself dying and she ascends where, "Searching for answers on the surface, Valla finds a world headed toward an environmental collapse that will ultimately wipe out her food supply. Now, to stay fed, she must take on the juggernaut that is the global fossil fuel industry." Yes, this is a comic about an environmental activist vampire. How weirdly awesome does that sound?

I know it won't appeal to everyone, but I personally would get a kick watching Valla lecture an oil baron about how what he does is hurting our planet and when he tells her to buzz-off she takes a big chomp out of him, it would be weird, funny, and cathartic considering just how doomed our planet currently looks in terms of how those in power are handling the environment. There isn't currently any preview art available and the book isn't due to be released until November, but I know I'm already excited to see what this story holds!

Monday, August 14, 2017

The STL Comics Summer 1 Day Show Was Fantastic!

A Stellar Time Was Had!
The raffle table during a brief pre-show moment of quiet
As earlier discussed in a previous post, I was pumped to attend the Summer 1 Day Comic Show and this past Sunday I did just that. I arrived shortly before the show-floor opened to the public and was able to snap some pics of the quiet before a sizable crowd made its way in. At 10AM sharp everyone was allowed to enter and upon paying an extremely fair $5.00 entry fee (free for kids 10 and under) the floor was open to all! Upon my entering the show-floor one thing struck me about this comic-show which I never realized could be so noticeable--there were a lot of comics. I know, it sounds funny to remark a comic-show had a lot of comics, but how often do you go to supposed comic-cons and find they are stocked with random celebrities or folk trying to sell you insurance? It was just striking to walk into a comic show and find it was full of actual comics, and that made happy!

Don't get me wrong, I am a fan of shows that are focused more generally on popular-culture or meld some pop-culture stuff with comics, but I also think it can be refreshing to go to a show that is almost entirely-focused on comics or if there are vendors who don't have comics, they have fun comic-related stuff. For example, I got to meet Lisa Pavia-Higel who is behind, "Geekery Gal," which she describes as, "jewelry and sass for geeks, chicks, and advocates. She had an assortment of awesome wearable objects that related to a variety of nerdy-subjects and I was impressed to hear that 10% of all profits go to charity! Also, I saw my chums from Aging Monster Press, met local author and comic-maker Brian Morris and chatted with illustrator John Lucas about a book he illustrated, "Shrinkage."
A cool old underground book I picked-up at the show!
Besides comic-makers the show was chock-full of vendors as well. There were people selling expensive books like first appearances of Deadpool, other recent hits, old Golden Age stuff, and plenty of dollar bins, which are of course one of my favorite things to root through for goodies. I chatted with folk like the, "Middle School Geek," Tom Barker who is in the process of setting-up a website for his comic-business but currently can be reached via email--and who had a lot of great books. There were some vendors with cool old underground comix as well and of course people with Funko Pops and old horror comics as well as horror flicks (if I had brought more money I would have picked-up a cool old VHS copy of, "Night of the Living Dead," but alas I gotta strictly budget my funds).

I had a great time at The STL Comics Summer 1 Day Show and for sure am going to attend the recently announced Winter Show happening March 4th in 2018. It feels like it is a good deal of time away right now, but I'm sure that date will sneak-up on me and I'll be enjoying another comic-focused show in no time!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Some Thoughts on Digitalization, Sexualization, and the Subjective Treatment Lately of Reality

Seeking Primarily Two Things Online...
I (obviously) like to write about popular culture and the trends I see in it. Well, more and more I see the fact that the internet connects us with much of the wider-world making our own personal worlds that much smaller. To clarify: In our ability to reach-out to anyone with an internet connection and learn about different views, exotic places, see new stuff, etc. we have purposely sought out basically only two things--other people who share our exact same views and sex-related content AKA porn.

We are now capable of talking to someone literally half a world away and discussing interesting subjects, but we use the internet to find people who share our precise views and/or will get naked on camera for us. As a book I read long ago once stated in a different context, (it was about genetics), but has a title which works perfectly, "The Future is Now." I would amend that however to state, "The Future is Now About Making Reality Fit Our Views and Getting Off."

A Comic and a Song
It's not a subtle comic, but its fun.
I started having these thoughts when ingesting assorted pieces of culture. For example, I was reading a comic--because this is of course a blog often about comics--which I mentioned when discussing 2016 in review. The comic was the zero issue of, "Lookers," a revamped concept from an old Avatar Press series now published under their, "Boundless," imprint.

"Lookers," is a comic full of sex as it is about cam-girls who take advantage of horny men on the internet who they learn are also social-media trolls so that they can track them down in order to beat them up and embarrass them in order to stop their picking-on other people.  It is a concept both clever and totally stupid at the same time. The first page (which I've edited to make safe-for-work) however makes an extremely pointed statement about the well-known communications concept of the, "Male Gaze," however. Observe:
Edited to be safe for viewing in public!
If you didn't want to bother clicking the image, it states how, "The Male Gaze is a webcam," which is pointed in how true it is. We no longer have to wait for mass media and advertising to create products for the male gaze to observe and consume, we merely have to type the right phrases into our internet search and a few confirmations of being 18 or older and entering a credit card later we've got women (or men) modeling for us in whatever manner we like. The, "Lookers," zero issue is now getting a mini-series tying-in with another comic about a female superhero named Ember hounded by paparazzi so hopefully that will be insightful--the first issue comes out shortly and the 3rd can still be preordered on sites like Things From Another World.

Oh, and I know not all entertainment and porn is designed for the straight male, but plenty a study will show the majority of it is made that way, and with the ease and privacy of the internet we now can easily head wherever we want online to find any sexual desire or fantasy (within reason and legality) we like. Sex has become digitized, and another example of this is the stellar song, "Digital Girl," by Jamie Foxx and featuring The Dream and Kanye West.
"Digital Girl," has a remix too, but I prefer the original.
On the song, "Digital Girl," Jamie Foxx croons about how he feels like he loves a woman whom he has never seen in person, but only knows via his computer screen. The lyrics are worth dissecting for sure, as Foxx goes on and on about how much he adores this lady he's never even met and that someday he wants to get her, "Ass up in this kitchen," but you wonder if in some ways Foxx prefers keeping it all digital. Frankly, the only thing more masturbatory about the internet than how many of us use it for literal masturbation is that many folk use it to find others who blindly agree with their beliefs.

A Reality of Our Own Making

On the internet we love to point out when people are wrong. Arguably, the only thing we enjoy more than that is teaming-up with others who share our views to point-out together how others are wrong. This piece by The Atlantic titled, "How America Went Haywire," is required reading for anyone wondering what the Hell has happened to society lately. Basically, we all live in our own realities that defy actual facts and how by finding others who feel the same way (such as online) we can make our lives an echo-chamber of nonsense until we truly believe Hillary Clinton ran a child sex-ring out of a pizza restaurant or that vaccines somehow cause autism...in dogs.

When we only go to websites that repeat this kind of nonsense and refuse to interact with anyone who feels differently than us we start to buy into the bullshit lock-stock and barrel. After all, if all our sources say Sandy Hook was a false-flag operation to bolster gun control efforts of course it was, the only news-sites and people we believe declare it to be the God's honest truth! We have gotten to the point where thanks to the internet we can enter a reality of our own making, but not just in video-games, it now can be done with simply some web-browsing.

It'll All Be Okay Though! Right?
Tech overload?
This piece so far has been pretty depressing and negative, which isn't my entire intention. As someone who is sex-positive and not at all a prude I want folk to enjoy talking about and watching consensual sex-acts to their heart's content as well as having a great time finding other people who share their social and political views so that they can engage in a jovial exchange of shared opinions. I just find it worrisome at times that as our access to the world expands we seem to be shrinking our personal circle that much smaller to only things that turn us on or people who agree with us.

I guess all I'm saying is when you're done looking at porn on the internet maybe find some articles that challenge your belief-system, pieces that state facts that you may dislike but are just that, facts. Even if you don't like the truth that doesn't stop it from being reality, and if you expose yourself to enough actuality you may turn into/remain a well-reasoned and thoughtful human being. That, or you can be one of those people who insist the Earth is flat. Your call.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

The Debut of The Hot Comics Revue!

The Hot Comics Revue Has Its Debut!
I am of course friends with the great folk over at Comics Heating Up. My chums there often will discuss comics that they can see possibly heating up (speculation, as it is called). With the blessing of CHU's founder, Tony, I have my own segment "The Hot Comics Revue," which looks at recent-ish releases and covers what is warming-up, red-hot, and has the potential to get steamy. If you're looking for advice on upcoming comics to possibly buy I would for sure recommend visiting CHU, and if you'd like discussion of what has been released read on for the first-ever edition of this new segment!

Books That Are Warming-Up
Alien Bounty Hunter #1
This first issue is from the newer publisher Vault and already has Mark Wahlberg attached as a producer for a tentative movie. As this is past the, "Maybe-getting-optioned," stage and instead has Marky-Marky clearly determined to make it into a flick this baby is starting to warm-up, with the first issue already selling-out at Diamond and a second-printing on the way. Assuming a movie does get made--and if it is good--this puppy could keep getting warmer and warmer. Copies of the first issue are actually still available at Things From Another World and MyComicShop or eBay are great to use as well.

Black #1-#6
"Black," is a book that had a highly successful Kickstarter and went on to be published by Black Mask Comics. It takes place in a world where only a small percentage of people have super-powers, and they also are always black individuals. The six-issue mini-series (which just concluded) explores race, super-powers, and was a title I recognized when discussing my favorite reads of 2016. It was just optioned so expect the value of these books to skyrocket if a film is made! You can currently pre-order the trade at Things From Another World  to enjoy reading or find individual issues on eBay and MyComicShop.

Books That Are Currently Red-Hot
Mister Miracle #1
Tom King is a stellar writer whose 12-issue series have been great reads. He of course did, "The Omega Men," and, "The Vision," which now brings us to, "Mister Miracle." This puppy has sold-out everywhere and already is going for triple cover-price on eBay after having come out just this week. "Mister Miracle," is a runaway hit and clearly on fire! Should you want a copy be prepared to check MyComicShop or the aforementioned eBay and expect to already pay well above cover.
Redlands #1
A hot new horror title from Image, a second-printing was announced the day of this comic's release. A retailer appreciation variant was made too and is worth picking-up if you can locate it. As this title is hard to find your best bet is eBay or MyComicShop should your local shop not have it in stock.


Books With Steamy Potential
Dead of Winter #1
This comic actually draws from the popular tabletop game of the same name which looked really fun when I read some details about playing it. I've seen theorizing that as fans of the game learn about the comic it will become more and more sought-after, so this is a possible slow-burn. Grab a copy on eBay or MyComicShop and sit on it for a bit till the smoke starts forming, so-to-speak.

Slasher (The Series So Far)
This could be a long-shot, but I have an inkling about this title. Written and drawn by Charles Forsman, one of his earlier works, "The End of the Fucking World," has been made into a television show that will air in Canada and be available worldwide via Netflix. It has been getting some buzz and that makes me wonder if his current comic--this fascinating series titled, "Slasher," might start looking attractive to T.V. or movie studios with its weird mixture of sex, violence, and pathos. I personally would love a show based on this fantastic comic after reading what has come out so far and if such a thing gets made I could see this series really heating-up. There are a lot of, "If's," here, but I just have a feeling mixed with a hope that this baby gets popular if for no other reason than it is really worth reading. Issues can be found at Things From Another World, on MyComicShop, or of course via eBay.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The STL Comics Summer 1 Day Comic Show is This Sunday!

I of course am a fan of comic conventions, comic-shows, and basically any kind of shindig that involves comics! I have also talked before about how it can be annoying when you go to a supposedly comic-focused event and discover the con is full of random retailers (I've seen folk selling gutter-cleaning systems), or guests that have nothing to do with comics (like that time Tara Reid sat bored at her booth during a convention I attended). I don't mind shows that have comics as an aspect but not the focus, but sometimes you really just want to go to an event that puts comics front-and-center, you know? Therefore, a show such as the Summer 1 Day by STL Comics, which prides itself on being all about comics and related merchandise, sounds like something quite enjoyable!

The Summer 1 Day is--as the name implies--a show that takes place over a single day (This Sunday, August 13th) and it will be going from 10AM to 5PM. It will be in an event-space at the Holiday Inn on 10709 Watson Road in Saint Louis, and has free parking and a very reasonable admission fee of 5 smackers (with kids 10 or under able to attend for free). I spoke with the show and was excited to hear that there will be vendors from over 7 different states all with a variety of cool comics and local and regional guests with experience in the comic industry will be in attendance too. Also, the CBCS will be present and accepting comics to be graded!

I'm excited for the Summer 1 Day and will be there Sunday eagerly checking out the comic-goodness on display. See you there!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Television Tuesday: Big Brother 19 AKA Well Isn't This a Fine Mess!

I like to talk about, "Big Brother," at least once every season on the blog since I started watching it. It usually is entertaining even if we get an odd season where everyone gets along really well and things are super-mellow (17 was like that). I'm feeling a little nostalgic for that borderline-boring season however because, "Big Brother 19," has got to be one of the most mean-spirited seasons ever (even more than 15) full of bullying via a cast that I struggle to not hate all of (outside of someone named Kevin whom I'll talk about more shortly).

For those unaware of what, "Big Brother," is, the show involves a bunch of real people going into a house to be (mostly) cut-off from the rest of the world and forced to live in isolation with each other, getting voted-out at various times until one person gets 500,000 dollars through winning competitions, teaming-up with other players, using their intelligence, and having luck on their side. It usually is good entertainment viewing a cast of characters all have fun, argue a bit, and otherwise just kick-back whilst playing the game of, "Big Brother." The thing is, when a handful of people are stuck together they can either really start to like each other (show-based romances or, "Showmances," happen a lot) or hate--and I do mean hate--one another. Usually most people in the house keep their wits about them and the hotheads get kicked-out early. What happens when the hotheads outnumber everyone else or are able to convince otherwise pleasant people to follow their lead, however? Mayhem, sheer and utter cruel mayhem.
My prediction? Bullying, lots of bullying.
I'm not alone in hating almost everyone on this season of, "Big Brother." I was at first excited when at the beginning the runner-up of Season 18, Paul, came and joined everyone. It all went downhill from there however. With a house full of blind followers Paul (whom I once liked but now despise) has basically taken over the house and his word goes, with anyone who stands against him relentlessly bullied. Popular website, "Joker's Updates," has an amazingly smart and detailed write-up about serial bullying and how what we have been witnessing in the, "Big Brother," house has occurred.

People who have paid to watch the live feeds on CBS that broadcast 24-7 (going down sometimes during competitions that can only be seen on the television broadcast) have witnessed people either behaving grossly and acting like spiteful morons (the aforementioned Paul and instigator of many fights, Josh), or have been essentially taking every opportunity possible to talk about having a myriad of medical problems they want to have money donated to them for (Raven, who won't shut-up about how sick she supposedly is despite some of her conditions being a lot more treatable than she lets on), or people who clearly want to squeeze some fame out of doing the show (Elena has stated on feeds she wants to be famous). It is no secret the production of the show manipulates things and people, and God have things been done in Paul's favor lately. What gets broadcast on television seems to skim over a lot of the worst behavior, with the editing making house guests' behavior look less terrible than they have been, with many a person observing the show, "On the feeds," this year is a lot different than what we see on T.V. People who at first were hard to like at all (Cody and Jessica) now actually are people I'm cheering for after watching how the rest of the house has treated them for the sin of not blindly worshiping Paul. Seriously, thank God for Kevin.
Kevin is the token older-person on this season of, "Big Brother." Normally the, "Old guy," gets voted out early, with their lack of knowledge about the show itself hamstringing them some. Kevin has an amazing social game however. He is laid-back, fun, funny, and everyone likes the guy. He has a ton of wisdom, is affable, and whilst the rest of the house has been full of bullying or yelling he has made it clear he just wants, "To have a good time," and would really prefer that everybody just chill-out.

I'm not going to quit watching, "Big Brother," this season as some have done despite how wretched it has been in terms of people's behavior to each other. The way the program has turned into, "The Paul Show," just frankly is lame. My recent seeing that there may at least be some movement--even if secret and minimal--against Paul's wishes makes me hopeful that if his reign ends the mass psychosis currently affecting everyone could subside. For now though, this particular season of, "Big Brother," has been a hot mess of bad behavior, terrible people, and a nice guy named Kevin. We are a bit more than about half-way through this season right now (I think), and I honestly hope that everyone can just settle down, have fun, and that I'll quit having to constantly shake my head is dismay at how these human beings are acting. Time will tell.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Advance Review: Self Storage Trade Paperback

I read the first issue of, "Self Storage," from the publisher 451 some months ago and really liked it. I just recently saw that the trade paperback collecting the entire six-issue mini-series has been solicted in the newest August 2017 edition of, "Previews," for release October 25th, and that caught my attention. Therefore, I reached out to 451 and inquired if I could possibly have a digital copy of the entirety of, "Self Storage," for the purposes of review. They kindly agreed and I was able to read and enjoy the whole mini-series, which I found wonderfully twisted with a macabre sense of humor that tickled my funny bone just right.

The story centers on a young man named Chris Smith who makes a living buying-out storage units and selling their contents (think, "Storage Wars," to give you an idea). His girlfriend thinks what he does is, "Ghoulish," and his only friends are two other unit-buyers who he actually hates somewhat. Basically, Chris is a bit miserable. One day Walt, the owner of a big storage-establishment Chris frequents, calls about a unit that was paid for up-front for many years but which is now up for grabs. Walt has no clue what's in it as he knows better in this business than to ask questions. Chris buys it only to discover a strange zombie-woman is the sole occupant of the big space. From there the real fun begins...
Chris eventually learns the woman's name is Jessica and she clearly was experimented on by her scientist Father. Really, the whole, "Why," of the story is actually the least interesting part, and I would't have minded if there was actually more mystery to who Jessica is/was. It isn't a big element however, with the more entertaining madness that occurs being delightful in how dark and funny it is. Basically, Jessica is aggressive towards everyone but Chris and once she bites somebody they of course turn into a zombie too. Chris and his friends try to keep things contained, but you can't keep a good zombie down.

The foreward to the trade itself admits zombie-stories at this point are so worn-out it is hard to create something original with them. I think the author of the comic (and that foreward) Clay McLeod Chapman manages to make something pretty cool though, as this isn't a zombie story so much as a twisted love story between a woman who is quite literally dead and a man who is a little dead inside himself. The art by Matt Timson imparts gravitas to both the quiet and comedic moments as well as some scenes of shocking gore resulting in this creative team giving us a stellar read.
"Self Storage," is darkly hilarious and just a little bit sweet--when it isn't being really bloody at least. I quite enjoyed reading the entire story as a single collection and it can currently be ordered from the earlier mentioned August 2017 issue of, "Previews," by your local comic shop/preferred online comic retailer. Thanks to the enjoyment I gained from this comic I would rate it...
4 out of 5 stars.

You can pre-order the, "Self Storage," trade paperback (which I mentioned will be released October 25th) via Things From Another World, or if you want individual issues right now you can buy them at Mycomicshop.

Please Note: A digital copy of, "Self Storage," was provided for the purposes of review upon my request to the publisher

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Please Note That I am Now Accepting Advertisers

I just wanted to draw everyone's attention to the new page I have listed which discusses how I am now accepting advertisers. Please let me reassure all my readers that I will never plaster my site with a ton of annoying ads, so everyone can stay calm.

With that disclaimer/reassurance out of the way, I have a child now (my awesome son, Clarkson) and any little bit on money helps. Therefore, I have decided to accept advertisers if anyone would be interested in doing so on The Newest Rant. I don't want to do Google's Adsense as having random ads pop-up around my blog which I can't control the content of sounds annoying. However, if a person or business would like to maybe have a banner placed toward the bottom of my site or on the side--nothing too obstructive or distracting--I think that could be arranged. I'm open to all kinds of advertising as long as it makes sense for the site and rates are negotiable. Should you be interested in maybe having an ad on the site please feel free to email me at davidbitterbaum@gmail.com to chat about it.

Again, I want to assure readers of the site I have zero plans to drown it in annoying ads or anything, so don't panic, please. As this post will eventually have a whole bunch of other ones pushing it out of the sight of readers I put much of this information in the new page as well, so even should you not want to advertise now, if you ever do want to do so it will be easy to see how.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Film Friday: Two Great Scenes in Otherwise Underwhelming Movies

Remember that Post?
All the way back in 2011 I had a piece about two movies that were bad but had some great scenes. Some of the video-links don't even work anymore but here's that old post's link. Well, how about all these years later I talk about two more movies that are less-than-amazing but each have an amazing scene within them?

X-Men: The Last Stand
"X-Men: The Last Stand," is the third X-men movie that was made and has an amazing moment otherwise surrounded by a really, really weak film. Between a mess of plots with a mutant, "Cure," Jean Grey becoming the Phoenix, and general nonsense, one quiet but amazing scene takes place. Magneto goes to meet some other mutants that want to destroy humans and is asked where his, "Mark," is that shows how he's a rebellious mutant and such. Magneto declares how he was marked once and no needle shall ever touch his skin again, showing off his tattoo from his time in a Nazi concentration camp. It's understated, smart, and basically everything that the rest of this movie is not. It isn't too surprising that most (if not all of this flick) was essentially retconned-away in later X-Men movies. Still, should you want to buy a copy you can always purchase it for cheap.

Central Intelligence

"Central Intelligence," is a passably entertaining production with Dwayne, "The Rock," Johnson starring as a former picked-on high-schooler who went on to become a big-name C.I.A. agent, while the one guy who was nice to him then--Kevin Hart--went from being a student beloved by everyone to kind of wasting his life away. They team up to stop evil-people from selling dangerous stuff and other cliché junk like that. However, there is one bit with Jason Bateman as former school-bully Trevor (who they now need the help of) sees Johnson after all these years and offers him the most kind, sincere apology ever...only to reveal he is doing it as a sick joke and laugh.

It is just such an incredibly dark and twisted moment that really lands, hard. It takes the idea that hopefully those mean folk from school grew-out of being jerks and turns it on his head. Sometimes a dick stays a dick, and that's really depressing--thankfully Bateman's character does get what is coming to him later in the movie. Should you want to have your own copy of, "Central Intelligence," to enjoy you can buy it here.

Good Times...Sandwiched In So-So Times
It was fun taking an idea I did once long ago and doing it again where I discuss these great movie-moments mixed into less-than-great films! If I keep this pace up in 2022 I'll have a third post fitting this theme.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Sharing My, "Choice Cuts," From Spotify

Enjoying Spotify!
I have a number of songs I've discovered on Spotify either through my actively searching for them or its complex algorithms recommending stuff it then turned out I liked. I've been using Spotify a lot lately as I got three months without ads for just 99 cents and need to be sure and cancel before August 22nd when it will charge me $9.99 for a whole month of ad-free streaming. Yeah, I liked three months for a dollar but I'll put up with ads if it saves me 10 smackers every 30 or 31 days. I thought it could be fun to share some of my favorite assorted jams on there and talk a little bit about why I included them in the playlist.

The Songs

First off, you can follow this link to access my playlist and enjoy all the songs I shall discuss below. They aren't in any special order really other than the first ones I started adding up to some songs I just recently came across/had recommended by Spotify and liked, with the song title listed first followed by the artists Spotify displays.

Drive In--MED, Blu & Madlib, Aloe Blacc
The mixture of old soul-samples, rapping, and singing makes this just sound like a great kind of song to chill-out to.

Lost--Sorcha Richardson
Ms. Richarson's voice mixes expertly with a guitar in this song where she tries to encourage a heartbroken friend to forget the girl who made him sad and instead just come out and have fun with her.

#WhiteGirlVoice--Rajtheone
Rajtheone raps between the sound of missed phone calls about the struggle of breaking-out in music and ends the song with a stellar piano break-down followed by a swell of the score.

Thunder--Roy Blair
I just love when toward the end everything gets really loud and dramatic.

Nice Guys Finish Thirst--Name UL
Some funny raps (he has stains on his shirt because he likes to eat yogurt) and the, "All Night Long," sample make this a lot of fun.

iSpy (feat. Lil Yachty)--Kyle, Lil Yachty
I am not really a fan of Lil Yachty and his bottomless enthusiasm (which the AV Club assures me is okay), but for some reason his rapping mixed with Kyle's singing on this song just makes me smile anytime I'm in a bad mood.

Eastside--Bohan Phoenix, Chauncey
Bohan's rapping in both English and Chinese mixed with some nice singing by Chauncey makes this song really stick in your head.

I Think You're Alright--Jay Som
The quiet and mellow melodies on this song make you almost miss how the lyrics are a little dark. Great stuff.

Game Ova--Tobi Lou
The video-game-esque sounds work wonderfully with Tobi Lou's rapping about relationships.

Smart--Palmer Read
The sounds of this weird techno-rap song make it abrasive yet strangely fascinating

Back 2 U--Joey Gatto
Another song with a cool break-down that I really liked.

Morning Rain--Adam Torres
Torres voice almost reminds me a little of Tracy Chapman--soothing and always pleasant to listen to. This song is a stellar one to listen to if you need to just unwind

Weekend--Mac Miller, Miguel
Mac Miller has grown on me over the years as he has seemed to gain in skill. This jam about eagerly anticipating the weekend is a hoot.

G N Ya Life--Young Giatnz, K-Young
We all need someone special in our life, don't we?

Janet--Berhana
The minimalist music mixed with weird off-key singing to compliment the rapping somehow just works perfectly here..

Tibetan Pop Stars--Hop Along
A weirdly angry and longing alt-rock jam. I dig it.

Sugar--IshDARR
Techno-infused rap about being in love with a woman who is a little older and wiser than the artist.

Theme Song--Urban Etiquette, Matt Burton
The rapping on this I can take-or-leave but that piano mixed with Burton's singing is fire!

Blank Space/Stand By Me--Imagine Dragons
This live cover of Blank Space that morphs into a weird rendition of Stand by Me is superb.

Maria I'm Not So Drunk--Triller
The intoxicated-sounding music works well in this incredibly weird ditty.

Warm On A Cold Night--HONNE, Aminé
The verse by Aminé is disposable but the rest of the song is a suitably catchy assortment of singing and cool sonic effects.

Rich Girl (Remastered Version)--Hall and Oates
Because why not fucking have a classic pop-song sprinkled in with everything else?

Airport Bar (Remix)--Trés, Noah
This song actually samples, "Willy Wonka," and it works, it god-damn works stupendously!

Uncomfortable--Mansa
A song about how relationships can be difficult that I like the melody of.

The Uber Song--DRAM
DRAM is a funny guy and this piece about how he's willing to spend $27 on an Uber for a girl he would like to hang-out with elicits a chuckle anytime I listen.

Sidewalks--The Weeknd, Kendrick Lamar
I enjoy listening to The Weeknd and am a huge fan of Kendrick, so of course a song with both of them is sure to please!

Bad and Boujee--William Singe
I actually was a little familiar with the Migos fellas before they blew-up, hearing their stuff talked about and played on some underground-styled stations. I didn't really care for it then but could tell they would probably blow-up in popularity. Now they have and I still don't really like their music much, but this cover of, "Bad and Boujee," is actually really good!

Crew--Goldlink, Brent Faiyaz, Shy Glizzy
I like the weirdly ethereal sound on this a lot and find the lyrics to be, "Meh."

Kiss And Tell--ROMderful, Naji
The beats and salsa-sounding music make me want to get-up and dance to this song.

No Heart Feelings--Gerald Walker, Walker Family
A song about breaking-up and trying not to still have those feelings in your heart.

Enjoy!
Again, feel free to follow this link to my playlist and give these songs a listen for yourself. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did and found reading my thoughts for including them on the playlist at least moderately intriguing.