Monday, December 10, 2018

That, "Umbrella Academy," Trailer was Pretty Cool


I know, I know, everybody is discussing that, "Avengers: Endgame," trailer, but whilst it has been viewed and dissected to Hell-and-back I'm over here watching the trailer for the Netflix adaptation of, "The Umbrella Academy," and thinking how it looks pretty cool. We don't get too much plot information, but some snazzy imagery flies by, and the short little trailer seems to capture the weird and funny tone of the books quite expertly. Plus, I like Ellen Page and the trailer knows she's a great talent to focus upon too. I of course have been overjoyed to see Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba back at work on books in the series, so I'm pretty eager for this show to make its premiere in February of next year.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

The Saint Louis County Library Agreed with my Suggestion That They Ought to Buy a, "Black Lightning," Comic Collection!

I often write about my fondness for my local library. Well, the other day I was talking with an employee about some comics I thought they should carry and she told me how on the Saint Louis County Library website you can, "Suggest a purchase." I went to the site and sure enough there was a link to do just that. I filled-out a form with the title of the comic, the creators, the ISBN, and my thoughts on why it should be added to the system. I suggested the library buy, "Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands," as with the success of the television show (which the library did have copies of season 1 available to check-out) it made sense people would want to read stories about the character. I figured that a recent mini-series written by one Black Lightning's co-creators (Tony Isabella) that was accessible to readers new to the character could make a great addition to the library system.

I submitted my proposal a few days ago and quite quickly heard-back from the library that they agreed with me! They will be buying copies of, "Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands," so that more people can be introduced to the character of Black Lightning! I just want to thank Tony Isabella and Trevor Von Eeden for creating this awesome character and now I don't have to loan people my copy of the book so that they can enjoy it, I can just tell them to visit the library, and then if they like what they read to buy more works by Isabella and Eeden!

Friday, December 7, 2018

Problematic Songs, Sexual Predators, and the Scientist Who Let Me Down

Two things are on my mind and they weirdly relate. They are the controversy over, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” and how much it stings for me that a man I was quite a fan of, Neil deGrasse Tyson, is potentially a sexual predator. To start though, let's discuss the song.

Look, I get it that, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” sounds a little problematic depending on the context of how one interprets certain lyrics. That said, it upsets me to a great degree how people are so worried about a song yet seem to not care in the least about the actual countless women who are date raped and choose to victim-blame. People get mad about a song, but when an actual person we respected is revealed to be a sexual predator you don’t want to believe the women, really?
Neil deGrasse Tyson
Neil deGrasse Tyson is a genius scientist who is funny and has a great screen-presence. He also hurts women. Out of all the big-names to be found to be sexual predators this reveal has been the hardest for me. Tyson is a man who has tirelessly worked to spread knowledge in way that informs and entertains. He has shown how being smart is cool and besides perhaps Bill Nye is the best-known celebrity famous for his intelligence. He gained fame for wanting to educate others about the cosmos and doing it in an exciting way. He is clever, easy-to-like, and seems so approachable and cool. It is distressing to think all of these assets that made him so skilled at gaining fame also probably assisted him greatly in gaining the trust of the women he harmed.

I don’t want to think Neil deGrasse Tyson is a sexual predator, but ignoring the mounting evidence that he has tried to keep buried (the first woman to come forward, Tchiya Amet, started telling her story in 2010) would be tantamount to ignoring reality. Victim-blaming is never okay. I was a huge fan of Tyson, but I won’t ignore that our heroes can at times be revealed to actually be villains.
Tchiya Amet
People are out here throwing a fit over a song that historians will tell you actually is meant to be harmless and contains no malice whilst bending over backwards to defend a man who truly does hurt women because the idea that even Neil deGrasse Tyson could be a sexual predator is too much to bear. I don’t want him to be—I 100% truly do not and am distraught to think the increasing number of allegations could be true. I won’t deny reality however, because I’m much more concerned with preventing actual rape than arguing about a damn lighthearted song from decades ago--but yeah, it hasn't aged that well.

Perhaps people are most upset because this news shows how if Neil deGrasse Tyson could be a sexual predator, anyone could be, and folk don't want to consider that. A charming scientist can a be a rapist, a respected female director can prey upon young men (let's not ignore men can be victims too), a popular journalist can be a creep, and if we don't start holding everyone accountable to just act like decent human beings things may never get better. Before we get too concerned about a song discussing an imaginary scenario I think we should address the very alarming and very nonfictional situations going on, but that's just me.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

"Fallout 76," Sounds Like Big Ol' Mess

The video-game, "Fallout 76," when it was first announced, intrigued me a bit. A spin-off of sorts from the usual games, developed by Bethesda (who have made a chunk of the more recent, "Fallout," titles), and with some cool hooks. Set in West Virginia (where I've previously lived, so that's cool) before any other, "Fallout," game and focused on when some of the first, "Vaults," opened  and people attempted to make the land suitable for human life again, it was a prequel to everything else, basically. That was maybe neat. It would also be online, but in a way where you had servers with some other players but not some kind of massive big server so much as little instanced ones. That sounded a little odd. Then it was revealed there would be no human computer characters, only real-life players would be humans and everything else would be a robot, ghoul, animal, etc. with the only hints of actual humans being old in-game computer files, audio-tapes, etc. which is a bizarre idea to me, someone whose best memories of, "Fallout," games came from the zany folk I would encounter--even if they weren't, "Real," so much as carefully-scripted NPCS. I thought the game would perhaps be decent, however. From what I've heard though, things ain't good.

Reviews of, "Fallout 76," seem to range from thinking it has potential to outright declaring it a buggy monstrosity. For a multiplayer game it sounds awfully lonely, with most people just avoiding each other to accomplish little quests or build-up a camp, the game apparently is disgustingly buggy and crashes so often it is comical. Also, people who bought the game with an expensive collector's edition are mad that a nice tote they were promised turned out to be the equivalent of a plastic trash bag--but Bethesda is slowly sending out replacements now that a supposed, "Shortage," of the material for the bags has ended. Oh, and if you want to report a problem with the many bugs in the game or ask for your nicer bag, be wary as a glitch in Betheda's own system had people getting other individuals requests for support, and being able to see all their personal information. To say the launch of, "Fallout 76," hasn't exactly gone smoothly would be an understatement as flimsy as the initial collector's edition bag. Maybe eventually a workable and fun game will emerge as, "Fallout 76," gets extensive patches and updates. For now though, it is as messy and ruined as the post-nuclear wasteland it portrays.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

I Had a Dream About a Comic I Wish Existed--"More Wednesday Comics."

Before I tell you about my dream, a history lesson. Some years ago DC had an amazing Summer event, one of my favorite events they ever did. For twelve weeks they released a big piece of newsprint that could be unfolded to reveal massive comics featuring an assortment of heroes. There were different tales all done by a cool team of writers and artists (and some writer-artists). Out-of-continuity yarns about Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Meatmorpho, Aquaman, Hawkman, and so forth were done by a who's-who of creators including such big names like Neil Gaimain, Kyle Baker, Amanda Conner, Walter Simonson, Joe Kubert, Dave Gibbons, and too many more to name, all who gave us lots of comic-book goodness. It was collected in a massive hardcover that matched the size of the newspaper when unfolded. I loved it, and DC hasn't done anything like it since 2009. Except in my dream.

Now then, a couple days ago I had a dream, you may know the kind. I refer to if you ever have a dream where you don't recall the majority of what occurred but a small detail stands-out in your mind? I had such a dream. I don't recall the general plot/focus, but at one point within this dream I'm in a Barnes and Noble and spot a massive hardcover collecting something called, "More Wednesday Comics." Within the dream I glanced at the front and back before my dream continued with whatever surreal story it was telling--I honestly can't recall the rest--I remember that book with a shocking clarity however. "More Wednesday Comics," on the back describes how it is the hardcover collecting the, "Sequel to the smash-hit series before it," with a focus on creators returning to characters they did beloved runs on for fresh takes along with new talent.
Interestingly enough, Quitely has drawn a version of The Question.
It was for the, "Pax Romana," one-shot as a part of, "The Multiversity."
The book discuses how it has stories such as a new strip on The Question written by Denny O'Neil (who did my favorite run on the character) with art by Frank Quietly. Also, none other than Alan Moore writing a horror-heavy story about Swamp Thing illustrated by Bernie Wrightson. Grant Morrison stops by to do a darker take on, "Superman," basically completely counter to, "All-Star Superman," with art by Eduardo Risso (who in real-life illustrated the Batman-story in the original, "Wednesday Comics," publication). Frank Miller writes and draws a story that involves weird time-travel resulting in his Batman from, "Year One," meeting-up with the one from, "Dark Knight Returns," and basically being disgusted and pledging he'll never end-up like his older-self, whilst the older-Batman mocks the younger one's naivete.  Jack Kirby and Tom King collaborating for a, "Fourth World," epic co-written together and illustrated by Kirby in the vein of the recent, "Mister Miracle," sounded cool, and for some reason Jim Balent writes and draws, "Wonder Woman," which within the dream confused me as he is of course known for his work on, "Catwoman," and never wrote or illustrated Wonder Woman as far as I know, but trying to make sense of a dream is a fool's errand. It was all very strange yet exciting.

A lot of these stories couldn't happen or won't happen (Alan Moore isn't exactly on speaking-terms with DC, Jack Kirby died before Tom King even started making comics, etc.) but within my dream this big hardcover book existed and was glorious. I told my wife how I had a dream about a comic that didn't exist and she asked if maybe it really did, at least in some form. She wondered if I didn't utterly imagine it, which I had to tell her I tragically did. This made me wonder what it would be like if something at least slightly like my dream could happen--I mean, if DC ever made a sequel to, "Wednesday Comics," I would for sure want to buy it as it came out and when it was collected. After all, even if my version I dreamed about is impossible to create (in this reality at least) I would enjoy any kind of, "More Wednesday Comics," DC could potentially give us. For now though, all I can do is literally dream.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Tumblr to Ban All Adult Content, Shoot Self Squarely in Foot

When it comes to social media networks, Tumblr is one that has been around for a bit. Present since 2007 it is a visual-focused social media network, letting people put up bits of text, but more known for its posting of videos, images, memes, and so forth. It also has a lot of adult content. Whereas sites such as Facebook never allowed NSFW stuff from the start, Tumblr was a bit of a Wild West, with all kinds of sexual-stuff being posted. This brought with it troubles too, with a degree of underage sex-content at times being on the site before eventually getting taken-down. Still, when it comes to a social network people use for porn, Tumblr is the first one to spring to mind. That is arguably its bread-and-butter besides memes. Therefore, hearing that as of December 17th Tumblr will ban all adult content is akin to hearing that come December 17th a steakhouse is only going to serve vegetarian meals.

Yes, Tumblr had issues with sex-spambots and some people trying to get underage porn on there. It would make sense to address that as opposed to outright banning anything adult, however. There were already some safeguards in place for minors, but this is like using a sledgehammer to squash a fly. Plus, the rules are very odd. For example, showing people outright having sex is obviously banned, and you can have most of the female breast shown in images, but don't you dare show a nipple. Why exactly America is perfectly fine with a whole lotta boob being shown as long as the nipple is hidden continues to be a mystery, but that is the the rule.
I found this meme about Tumblr on Twitter.
Thanks to @Soul_Slappy for making it!
One demographic already concerned are LGTBTQ individuals who in recent years had found Tumblr to be a space they felt safe discussing their sexuality and how that--obviously--at times meant discussions or images of sex. It is telling that even completely appropriate posts which happen to have LGBTQ content are already being reported or auto-flagged for the upcoming shutting-down of anything adult on December 17th. There is a vibe that if you post a picture of you kissing your opposite-sex partner that'll be fine, yet mysteriously an innocent same-sex kiss will be given a marking of pornography--quite possibly from hateful people. Oh, and speaking of hateful people, while Tumblr is exercising its rights to control what gets posted on its website by banning porn, it meanwhile is oddly silent on Nazis, Alt-Righters, and other posters of hate-speech. Apparently a nipple is more offensive than someone declaring how they want to kill minorities.

Tumblr has every right to control what is put on it, this is not a violation of free speech. When you have a website you let other people use you are allowed to control what is posted, and if people dislike it there can go somewhere else online. It is a violation of logic however, as once Tumblr bans all adult content it will most likely wither and die along with other social-media sites we've mostly forgotten. Many Tumblr-users have already planned an exodus, be it to to other somewhat-similar social networks that are smaller but allow adult material, their own website, or the like. Unless this massively negative reaction causes Tumblr to change course, come December 17th you most likely don't want to visit Tumblr if you're looking for anything raunchy to enjoy. I myself never found Tumblr that useful for promoting the blog and basically just kind of clumsy for posting anything, adult or age-appropriate, so I have no, "Dog in this fight." I do offer sympathy to the Tumblr-users who are now being told their content is not wanted, however, as that must be stressful and discouraging.

Monday, December 3, 2018

A Complicated Relationship with Judaism, Struggles with Mental Illness, and Moon Knight

Hanukkah has Begun
The first night of Hanukkah was yesterday. This resulted in me thinking about Moon Knight, because why not? The thing is, the more I thought about how much I love the character (under most writers and artists' pens) the more I started to realize why I identify with Marc Spector AKA Moon Knight so much. There are basically two big reasons that I'll go into and in the process will be making a pretty personal post, so if you prefer only reading my blog when I'm just riffing on culture and being a smart-ass this may be a bit of a swerve for you as this is one of those rarer serious articles--just so you're warned.

A Complicated Relationship with Judaism
Marc Spector was raised Jewish. His Father was a Rabbi, in fact. He would most likely still identify as culturally Jewish, but as his origin goes, things get complicated. He was a mercenary for hire who turned on his team when ordered to kill innocent archaeologists, getting shot by his crew he refused to follow the murderous orders of. He died at the foot of a statue of the Egyptian God of the Moon, Khonsu. He came back to life, and from that point adopted the heroic identity of, "Moon Knight," serving as an avatar for the Egyptian God. A Jew, basically serving a powerful Egyptian without question. It is loaded with weird metaphors and the comic has often touched upon this, with a myraid of Spector's friends, enemies, and his own pysche remarking how he has arguably both thrown-off his Judaism to serve an Egyptian God and at the same time is like his ancestors who were slaves to Egyptian powers.

Spector rarely seems to observe Jewish holidays, and the other alter-egos he has assumed in his effort to fight crime don't seem interested in religion at all, be they Jake Lockely, his cab-driver identity he uses to stay close to the streets or Steven Grant, a persona Spector created with his accumulated wealth to give cover to his creation of all kinds of expensive gadgets for Moon Knight and the mansion they are housed in. Spector has deep Jewish roots, but he's terrible about observing his faith, and quite possibly would be disappointing a number of people in appearing to shrug off his religion and dress-up as a hero fighting for an Egyptian God. Now, I am not a vigilante who dresses-up in a symbolic fashion for a God of another faith, but I am pretty non-practicing when it comes to my Judaism. There were times I was quite observant in my life; I had my Bar-Mitzvah at age 13, and on very rare occasions I even tried to keep somewhat kosher (it didn't stick, bacon is too delicious). As I got older however, I became less and less observant of my faith, morphing into someone essentially culturally Jewish but not practicing my faith much at all.
Before our son, Clarkson, was born, Samii and I agreed we would not try to force either of our religions upon him. Samii is Christian, but not overly-religious by any means, and as I have said, I'm Jewish, but terrible at practicing my religion. We agreed we wanted our son to be made aware of his religious heritage as he grew however, understanding his background as someone with both a Christian and Jewish lineage. I don't expect my son to grow-up and be a practicing Jew, but I want him aware of where he came from. He can mature and choose to believe whatever he wants, and I'll support him no matter what. I don't want him to worry he is letting people down, as Marc Spector has been told numerous times in regards to his extremely complicated relationship with Judaism.

To the immense credit of my parents and my Bubbie, they have never made me feel bad about how observant I am or am not in regards to my Judaism. I have reached out to my Bubbie on a number of occasions as she is Clarkson's sole great-grandparent who is still alive on my side of the family, and if you were to picture the definition of, "Wise Jewish Grandmother," she would fit it to T. She has often offered advice (but only when I've requested it) about how I can work to help make Clarkson aware of his heritage, as even if I have struggled to be particularly observant, I know the importance of making my son aware of his rich background. Marc Spector has a very complicated relationship with Judaism, and I do as well to some extent, but thankfully I have a support network, something he lacks. Which actually brings me to my next element about Marc Spector I identify with, mental illness.

Struggles with Mental Illness
With depression we often put on a, "Mask."
Marc Spector does this too, but is he the mask or Moon Knight?
Marc Spector has mental illness. No matter who is writing him, that is acknowledged. Some writers have portrayed his adopting various personas as a multiple identity disorder, others have written him as fully aware he is playing a role, but putting that aside, the comics about Marc Spector have a number of times addressed how he clearly has issues with depression, anxiety, and anger. He has pushed away those who care about him most due to lashing out at them for simply trying to help him or offer support. He can at times be self-destructive, not stopping to rest and instead trying to keep his negative feelings away through non-stop crime-fighting, refusing to take time for his own personal or social health. When he gets in fights it is known his style is that of simply taking a punch and then hitting back, not bothering to dodge, but instead seeking pain for a thrill. Regardless of the kind of psyche one needs to wear an elaborate costume and fight crime, Marc Spector clearly has a number of mental health issues.

I do not have multiple personality disorder. I have never self-harmed (intentionally at least, there are times I've nearly sliced my fingers off trying to cut a sandwich). I have never wanted to hurt others without a reason. I do however have depression and anxiety. In 7th grade I began occasionally having these overwhelming feelings of doom. I would be perfectly fine then suddenly get the sensation that everything was terrible, the world was awful, and I could suddenly just drop-dead. I spoke with counselors and it became clear these were panic attacks. By the end of 8th grade I had begun having depressive episodes as well where I would want to simply do nothing and push away anyone who tried to offer support, or would take the opposite tact and become hyper-focused on working on assorted tasks (homework, playing a video-game, reading something) as if doing something else long enough would make the depression hopefully eventually go away if I ignored it.
Spector at times blames Khonsu for his flaws.
Is it this God's fault or Spector's own pysche though?
My opinion is clear.
Moping around didn't help my depression or anxiety however, and trying to engage in random activities almost to a compulsive degree was of little assistance as well. Eventually through a mixture of counseling, antidepressants, and working on developing coping techniques I got to a much better place in life. I still struggle with anxiety and depression, but to a much smaller degree than Junior High through my early College years. Again, a strong support system in the form of parents, friends, and now my understanding and caring wife has helped me immensely. By having people who refuse to be ignored or pushed away when you tell them to scram (but actually need them most) in your life that is helpful to a degree that cannot be overstated.

Marc Spector has people who care about him, but when he is at his lowest he can be positively toxic. His on-again-off-again girlfriend Marlene tries her hardest but can only do so much before Spector forces her away. Spector has at times seen doctors for assistance with his problems but usually ends-up disregarding any helpful advice, instead perpetuating his cycle of self-destructive tendencies. It is telling that despite occasionally working with super-hero teams, Moon Knight often chooses to work alone, and there have been occasions he could've had help from other heroes who have their own problems and can relate, but instead rejected any kind of support network. Should my son ever start having his own mental health concerns as he grows-up I want him to know that his mother and I are there for him with no judgement, only support and love.

Closing Thoughts
I am not a super-hero like Moon Knight. I do not have as complicated a relationship with Judaism as Moon Knight does either.  Also, I do not have nearly as many mental illness issues as Moon Knight. All of that said, when I look this hero and his civilian-self of Marc Spector I identify with enough of the character that a number of elements within him really speak to me. He has struggled with many of the issues that I have, just to a highly exaggerated degree. As the 2nd night of Hanukkah nears I continue to have a relationship with my religion that is always changing just as my relationship with my own mental health is always evolving. I am a parent to a child who will undoubtedly have his own views on Judaism (and religion in general) and who may face mental health challenges a bit like mine or completely unique to him. No matter what however, my son will have a support network there for him to ensure he's happy, healthy, and comfortable with his beliefs. I can only hope that in some fictional universe Marc Spector has such support too, and while a well-adjusted Moon Knight would possibly make for boring reading, it is a nice thing to imagine.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

I Had a Wonderful Time at STL Comics' Mirco Con Yesterday!

It is Sunday evening and I'm still thinking about the stellar time I had at the latest Micro Con held by STL Comics yesterday. Between the great guests and large number of comic-vendors I had the level of fun one would expect from a big ol' convention, but thanks to the free parking and small $3 entry fee folk pay (kids 10 and under are free) it had the excitement of a big convention but didn't break the bank like one.

When I first arrived I enjoyed chatting with creators Lorenzo Lizana and David Gorden, who had tables next to each other. Mr. Lizana told me about an upcoming sci-fi comic he was working on titled, "Regulators," that will have a sci-fi space-pulp vibe meets, "The A-Team," with a strong sense of adventure and the tongue-in-cheek style of those classic 1980's episodes of the show. Mr. Gorden was selling his latest comic he wrote and illustrated, "Kwame Hightower and the Man With No Name." Both were a delight to speak with about comics (as always) and they were kind enough to pose for a quick photo:
After I stopped to meet and talk with Kyle Strahm about how I've enjoyed his work on, "Spread," as well as other cool comics, I began examining the goods on sale. A wide range of comic-vendors were present, from those selling more expensive golden and silver age books, to retailers with plenty of modern stuff, and of course a number of people had my personal favorite thing to root through--dollar bins. I bought some cool cheesecake-style comics from Cabal Books and got all excited just looking at an old copy of Moon Knight's first appearance in, "Werewolf by Night," #32 which Wayne Kent Comics had for sale in addition to other stellar reads. Speaking of Moon Knight, I was able to trade some of my stuff for a handful of awesome, "Moon Knight," books in addition to some other stuff from a vendor based in Cape Girardeau, Shane Lodi. They are absolutely gorgeous:
Yesterday's Micro Con was just plain fantastic, and I appreciate STL Comics for always putting on such great comic-shows. I'm excited for their upcoming, "Geeky Extravaganza," which will be an event focused on not just comics, but also incorporate toys, crafts, gaming, and other fun stuff. That happens on January 26th, 2019, at the Manhattan Antique Marketplace (10431 Saint Charles Rock Road, Saint Ann, Missouri 63074) and you already know if I'm able to attend I'll be there!

Saturday, December 1, 2018

A Chunk of News and Links to Kick-Off December 2018

December Has Arrived
It is now officially the last month of the year. Big winter holidays such as Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and the like are rapidly approaching. Let's relax with some news and links before things get too crazy, shall we?

Knowledge to Absorb (As Well as Useless Stuff)
When I was a young pre-teen I had not yet really started feeling much in the way of attraction to females, but as puberty started to hit certain things would trigger me feeling fluttery and weird in my stomach. One of those things that left me all confused about being hot-and-bothered was Ivy Valentine from the first, "Soul Calibur," game and its sequels. I knew the outfit was exploitative and tacky, yet my hormone-addled self couldn't quit staring. I appreciated this article by Maddy Myers where she shares how she had much of the same sensations as a teen too, "I have felt every possible feeling about character Ivy Valentine’s tits and ass. Alienated. Angry. Sad. Jealous. Embarrassed. Bored. Horny. Amused. Jaded," and how she came to a terms of sorts about the character.

A new version of, "Batman and the Outsiders," had been solicited with two creators I enjoyed working on it--Bryan Hill as well as Dexter Soy--but has suddenly been canceled before even the first issue had a chance to be released. It seems it may be solicited again in the near future, but this is just odd.

My friends at Comics Heating Up have an article discussing virtual reality technology from the angle of how it could impact comic-culture, for example chilling in Bruce Wayne's mansion, or helping the Avengers fight Thanos. I myself have never been a big fan of VR as it makes me sick to my stomach wearing those headsets. Perhaps in a another decade or two the technology will advance further to where I'm more of a fan.

Rare image of the Sentinelese.
There has been a lot of controversy and discussion relating to a self-declared missionary of Christianity who a number of times tried to interact with one of the last remaining isolated cultures in the World--the Sentinelese--and ended up killed. They've been contacted before by anthropologists so they aren't completely without outside-world interaction, but the small tribe has repeatedly made clear it desires nothing more than to be left alone. There has been outrage from some organizations that feel the man--who was breaking multiple laws contacting the tribe--was wrongfully murdered, and others point-out it was self-defense but feel we somehow, "Owe," it to these remote tribes to modernize them. I personally think we should leave them alone, not because I am against modernizing them or for any fancy philosophical reason like Survival International discusses in its preference for allowing the tribe to remain isolated--I simply think it is wise because they literally have immunity to nothing and further contact with the outside world could utterly wipe them out. They apparently are recognized as their own sovereign location, so unless someone from there tries to contact the outside world, leave them alone.

Anytime in the future I see a white person comment how, "Slavery/Segregation/etc." was a long time ago and black people should get over it, they have the same opportunities as everyone else now," I'll point them to this article that breaks-down the economics of our nation's long history of institutional racism through discussing a big study on said topic. Hopefully once someone sees these facts they'll shut-up with their, "Racism is over," shit that it still astounds me to hear people say with a straight-face.

I've been playing, "Red Dead Redemption 2," and shared some thoughts on it recently. I enjoyed this article observing how there is so much to do in the game, yet nothing feels forced or rushed, something I loved as well.
I am a big fan of Lion Forge comics, a publisher based here in Saint Louis. Hearing they are doing some restructuring just makes me hope everything is okay and that whatever changes they make allow them to have continued success.

Plenty of folk observed that the, "Venom," movie (which I still need to eventually force myself to see) was in a way a romance movie about Eddie Brock and his Symbiote. Sony seems to be leaning-in to this, with an official promo-ad for the upcoming DVD (and Blu-Ray) release really playing-up that angle.

Finally, I always thought the, “Star Wars,” prequels were silly, not just because an evil wannabe dictator ascended to power, but because so many ignorant people in the movies supported the Empire despite the fact it was essentially telegraphing how evil it was, basically screaming, “We are the bad guys, persecuting anyone different!” Then I read the latest example of Trump supporters so blindly in love with him they are cheering the tear-gassing of children whose families are trying to seek safety in America (A nation whose own leader is treating them like inferior beings) and I realize we were all a little too hard on George Lucas back then. Jar Jar Binks still sucked though.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Funko Friday--Funko's 12 Days of Christmas Starts Tomorrow!

Readers of the blog are well aware that I am a fan of Funko and their assorted products--especially Pops. Therefore, I am excited for the start of Funko's big, "12 Days of Christmas Event," starting tomorrow, December 1st, and running all the way through the 12th. Each day there will be a unique item made by Funko--it could be a Pop, Dorbz, Rock Candy, shirt, cereal, or any other interesting thing they produce. They may have a special deal to pay in advance for everything that will be released (which may not be revealed until each item's day), but I myself will probably just check everyday to only buy the stuff I want/can afford. I'll be sure to keep an eye on the Funko, "Pop-up Shop," website and would encourage anyone potentially after the releases to do so as well!

Thursday, November 29, 2018

"Red Dead Redemption 2," is All the Things a Masterpiece Usually Is--Beautiful, Incredible, Flawed

Not a Review
This is not a review of, "Red Dead Redemption 2." I am by no means far enough into the game to offer a general overview of everything, especially because this is a game that is so full of content that it slowly unveils you could be hours in and still learning something new. No, instead I'll just break down three ways that I can already conclude the game is a masterpiece.

A List
It's Beautiful
This may be one of the most absolutely gorgeous games ever. Just simply spending chunks of time riding your horse up into snowy mountains, along winding plains, and into muddy swamps inspires awe. Animals appear flying and/or running around for you to track and hunt, or simply study. It feels like you're in this majestic world full of living, breathing characters all going about their business in bustling towns, or setting-up tents for the night in the wilderness. It is utterly awe-inspiring.

The story itself has a unique beauty as well, dropping much of the usual cynicism and snark found in titles produced by Rockstar Games (look at the parody-styled take on America in the, "Grand Theft Auto," series for abundant examples), instead telling a story about the myth of the American West, masculine toxicity, and regret, lots and lots of regret. A prequel to the first game, "Red Dead Redemption 2," opens in 1899 as your main character, Arthur Morgan, and his team are on the run due to a botched heist. Bandits who live off the land and pride themselves on being free of the constraints of an increasingly-modernized America, the game follows your crew as things just seem to get worse. The good old days of the West are often discussed, yet many of the older characters dismiss this idea as things having always been the same, despite the rosy-lens folk like to view the past through. It's a depressing and stark story, miles away from the non-stop dirty jokes and sarcasm of the aforementioned, "Grand Theft Auto," games, with its own depressing beauty in how the epic tale methodically tells itself.
It's Incredible
A lot of today's new and modern games seem to want to overwhelm the player with options. Everything feels rushed as a player is told to do this main mission, accomplish a side-mission, gather all the rare trinkets marked on the increasingly-cluttered HUD, the whole thing exhausting. "Red Dead Redemption 2," does not do this. It never holds your hand beyond when it gives you instructions on how to do things, then leaves you to it. You can go hunting, look for herbs, mill about town greeting folk in-between some hands of poker at the saloon, and while there is a checklist of tasks for full game completion, it never feels forced. "Red Dead Redemption 2," doesn't want players to rush through the main storyline, it wants you to take your time doing the main tasks for your crew and in-between the bouts of action let yourself relax, explore, and otherwise take things slowly. 

When I hear people talking about the game/read comments online it isn't usually the big missions that are discussed, but the small seemingly random moments the game can suddenly surprise players with. That time you were riding your horse down main-street and a man was thrown out a window in an apparent brawl. When you tried to stop and assist someone with a wildly-bucking horse but before you could do anything the animal kicked its owner dead with a hoof-to-the-head and took-off, leaving you to debate the lack of honor in looting a dead man (I mean, he isn't going to be using his supplies anytime soon now). The world is utterly massive yet it is the small moments that seem to impart the most gravitas.
It's Flawed
There has been a lot of controversy over the work conditions at Rockstar Games. Apparently as the game neared its end of development employees were expected to engage in, "Crunch," where they could work up to 100-hour weeks with no expectation of overtime pay beyond hopefully big bonuses now that the game is a mega-hit. Talk of this seemingly-mandatory crunch along with the recent implosion of Telltale games sparked further discussion of how game-makers should be able to unionize and have some kind of protection. Even putting aside the behind-the-scenes drama, the game itself is not without its own troubling flaws. Mega-bugs that one would've expected to be noticed persist, and some individuals have found the slow pace and minimalist nature of the game off-putting in this era of games with constant action and hand-holding on maps loaded with symbols of all the content to do. 

I've already said I love how, "Red Dead Redemption 2," doesn't force you into anything (after a relatively on-rails opening), instead letting random little things occur in the world that make it feel strangely alive...but then, when everything is so carefully constructed and perfected one notices how the tiniest cracks can seem massive. After all, you could shoot someone out in the wilderness and another person who seems far out of the line-of-sight will witness it and try to run to the law, yet if you stick-up a shop you will see how all the people milling around outside a few mere feet away--basically peering in the window--won't respond. It isn't game-breaking, but when the company brags about how it paid so much attention to every detail that even horse testicles rise and fall in varying weather, you notice it.

Masterpiece
I am a sucker for looking-up spoilers in regards to games (and movies, books, etc.) so I already have read-ahead to see how, "Red Dead Redemption 2," will proceed for my playtime and how it will conclude. As odd as it may sound, now that I know how interesting things will continue to be when things sorta-end (don't worry, no spoilers, but as with many Rockstar games you can keep playing after the credits roll), it makes me all the more eager to keep going slowly and take my time getting to stuff even more impressive than what I've already seen. "Red Dead Redemption 2," is a masterpiece, from all its impressive elements to its problems. Plus, with a game so massive as this I think that another title I'm interested, "Cyberpunk 2077," might finally be released by the time I'm finished, so that's cool.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

I'm Pumped for the Upcoming Mirco Con on December 1st!

Anytime STL Comics puts on a Micro Con that I'm able to attend I get very excited. For a very reasonable price ($3, kids 10 and under are free, parking has no cost) you can visit with a variety of cool guests, observe the wares of an assortment of vendors, and otherwise have a great comic-con experience in a smaller form--instead of having to dedicate a whole day or two you just need a couple hours to have some fun. With guests including (but not limited to) Kyle Strahm and Lorenzo Lizana as well as vendors I love buying from such as Cabal Books and Wayne Kent Comics, it is sure to be a great show. I'll be there for sure sometime between 10AM-4PM at the Holiday Inn Airport West (located at 3400 Rider Trail S, Earth City, MO 63045). I hope to see anyone else who is able to attend there!

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

The 12th and Final Issue of, "Mister Miracle," Has Me (and Everyone Else) Puzzled

Normally when a comic reaches its conclusion (be it the end of an arc in an ongoing, the last issue of a mini/maxi-series) almost all of the questions that have been raised are answered for readers (with maybe one or two left behind for a potential sequel or the next story-arc). The concluding issue of, "Mister Miracle," by Tom King and Mitch Gerads does not do that however. It just lets most of the questions we readers have been puzzling-over throughout the run be raised and just sit there, unanswered. The book instead basically says, "Well, what do you think the right interpretation is?" and has us, the readers, discuss. It's both clever and infuriating.

Did the book's hero, Scot Free, in fact stop an evil force, or did he die in the first issue and has been trapped in some form of Heaven or Hell (depending whom you ask)? Does his story take place in the DC Universe before Flashpoint, after, or is it even completely unrelated to the regular DC Universe and in its own strange place? Is the relatively happy ending we are witnessing in the book all a lie and Scot Free didn't die in the first issue but maybe a later one a the dude seemed prone to getting hurt or hit with anti-life beams, is he trapped in an alternate reality? Nobody knows, everyone online is guessing, and the book even says at the end to not expect any kind of continuation of this story, instead expect another interesting comic from King and Gerads in the near-future. This was among my favorite comics in 2017 and I still loved it with this ending, but boy am I befuddled. I guess all I can do is say, "Darkseid is," and accept that the lack of answers King and Gerads wanted to provide are in a way a part of the story itself.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Issue #2 is Already Out, but Here is a Glowing Review of, "Mars Attacks," #1!

I am a big fan of Kyle Starks, enjoying both his writing and art-work. He was kind enough to make me an amazing sketch of Moon Knight when I last saw him at a local Wizard World, and I've continued to follow his projects with enthusiasm. He is the writer for the latest, "Mars Attacks," comic published by Dynamite and Chris Schweizer contributes the great artwork, resulting in a new comic I already love.

"Mars Attacks," for those only vaguely familiar with the brand, was a trading-card series released by Topps that developed a cult following, later had further cards released as well a comics by Topps (they published comics for a bit some years ago), was made into a Tim Burton-directed movie that I think is charmingly weird, but tragically was a box-office bomb, and has continued to enjoy a cult-style popularity thanks to its mixture of sci-fi and dark humor. Kyle Starks' writing style fits this perfectly as his past projects would show, and Chris Schweizer's art is pitch-perfect for the book as well. The majority of this issue follows a young man visiting his father at a retirement home as they learn about the alien invasion and proceed to try and escape--with the book then pivoting to displaying what is going on at a National-scale as an issue-closer. The comic is loaded with humor, discussing how the martians kind of look like walking testicles, discussion of how an elderly woman name Shirley who cheats at bingo arguably deserves the vaporization she receives, and things generally are wacky and hilarious.
I am thankful that Topps, despite no long doing comics themselves, licensed Dynamite the rights to make a, "Mars Attacks," series, and I'm double-thankful such a fantastic creative team for this property, Starks and Schweizer, are making this book. The 2nd issue just recently came out and I'm going to be sure to grab it, and I would encourage you to purchase these initial issues as well!
5 out of 5 stars.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

I'm Happy, "Umbrella Academy," is Back

Back when it was announced how a man I'd never heard of, Gerard Way, would be making a comic for Dark Horse, I looked into who he was and learned he was the lead in the band, "My Chemical Romance." I thought to myself, "Oh great, another celebrity pretending to make a comic who isn't going to actually do anything besides slap their name on it." That was in 2007, and then the Free Comic Book Day preview of the series, "Umbrella Academy," came out from Dark Horse and made me say, "Whoa." Afterwards I read the first series/volume, "Apocalypse Suite," and loved it, followed by the equally delightful, "Dallas." With the artwork of Gabriel Ba complimenting Way's surreal writing expertly, I adored this series and realized Gerard Way was a comic-crafting master.

Kind of super-hero comic, but not really, "The Umbrella Academy," were super-powered kids adopted by an eccentric rich guy who grew-up into a variety of dysfunctional adults. Way's writing style had the strange otherwordly-elements of Grant Morrison mixed with the sharp cynicism of Warren Ellis, and I couldn't get enough. The only problem was, those two volumes plus some assorted one-shots and such were all we got, for some time. Way went on to be busy both with his band and embarking on other comic-related projects such as the tragically short-lived imprint, "Young Animal," at DC. However, it was announced recently there will be a Netflix series based on the comic, and I guess either that inspired Way and Ba to make more, "Umbrella Academy," or they realized if they want it to have a bunch of seasons there needs to be additional material--whatever the case, "Umbrealla Academy," has returned and I am happy.
The first two issues of the third volume, "Hotel Oblivion," have followed the even further-fragmented team as it picks up the pieces of what's left of the family after how volume 2, "Dallas," ended with only further ruins and anger. These issues have introduced some interesting new elements as well, whilst drawing from the previous entries. "Umbrella Academy," has always been a dense read and the third volume is not the place to try to start reading it by any means, as there is little in the way of recap as opposed to the book just going full-steam ahead with its usual weird and wacky fun. Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba both continue to be on the top of their game, resulting in a stellar read. I'm loving what has come out so far and just hope after this volume concludes it we won't have to again wait a number of years for more, "Umbrella Academy,"-brand goodness.
5 out of 5 stars.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Manga Reviews Yet Once More!

More Upon More Manga!
I've continued to enjoy reading manga that I find through various recommendations of others online and with assistance from the stellar folk at Animeggroll, whom I've written about being awesome before. I shall now share some reviews...
The Latest Manga
Biomega Volume 1
This book was a mixture of sci-fi and horror with some absurdist comedy thrown in for good measure. Created by Tsutomu Nihei, I was intrigued by the minimalism in the comic, as it is not especially dialogue-heavy. A plot is established, and long stretches of silence occur which often build tension before various bouts of violence. Basically, much of the world is threatened by a zombie-like plague and various interests want to utilize people who may be immune. Also, there is a humanoid bear that drives very well for reasons never explained other than it makes the comic a bit quirkier. It is a gorgeous book though and I liked it, even if I didn't quite love it.
3.5 out of 5 stars.
Knights of Sidonia Volume 1
Also made by Tsutomu Nihei, I feel like there are so many ideas and concepts in this sci-fi manga that it only barely manages to scratch the surface of what it wants to discuss. It's the future and humanity is looking for a new place to live after the destruction of the solar system by hideous space-monsters. There is a young boy who has been hidden for years within the ship with his grandpa before being discovered and trained to pilot mechs that defend the big spaceship everyone lives on from the monsters. Also, some humans can now photosynthesis food, change their gender and how they reproduce, or even look like animals with humanoid features. Clearly a lot is going on and only so much can be discussed in a relatively short initial volume, making the proceedings feel a bit rushed. I'm curious about what comes next though, so I will seek out volume 2, methinks.
3 out of 5 stars.
After School Vanilla Volume 1
I previously reviewed the highly-erotic/sex-focused book, "Vanilla Essence," which is how I learned that manga with the genre-label of, "Vanilla," tend to be comics with lots of erotica and a focus on sex-positivity and great artwork. Hence, when someone who saw that review recommended, "After School Vanilla," to me I figured I'd give it a shot as well. Created by the writer and artist known only as, "Key," this book focuses on recently of-age high-school students as well as collegiate characters in various vignettes who fall into assorted romantic situations that are at times humorous and at other points more heartfelt. The artwork is gorgeous and extremely vivid in its depictions of intimacy, with the plot of the various vignettes varying between clever scenes to somewhat hackneyed concepts. Still, I quite enjoyed this comic in all its raunchy glory and would rate it
4 out of 5 stars.
Food Wars! Volume 1
Cooking competition shows are something I love watching on Food Network, so when I told the good folk at Animeggroll this one visit when we were chatting they instantly knew this was a book for me to try out. Focused on a young man whose mastery of cooking allows him to get into a cooking school normally only rich kids can enter, the book is very humorous and also impressive in its discussion of various interesting food-dishes. It is a comic that left me both entertained and hungry, even if there isn't anything especially clever to its, "Underdog shows-up the snobs," concept beyond some unique items being cooked-up. It is a nice leisurely read, just like a tasty meal.
3.5 out of 5 stars.
Black Lagoon Volume 1
If one were to ask what an over-the-top action movie circa the explosion-filled blockbusters of the 1980's era might look like in manga form, this is the comic I'd show them. I have a fondness for those so I found the crazy wham-bam explosions of this book charming even if I never really felt myself especially invested in the characters or the plot (missing disk with valuable information, stuff like that). It's a passably entertaining read that gets by mainly on its enthusiasm and decent bits of action, but I found myself at times a bit bored--so overall pretty average.
2.5 out of 5 stars.
Pluto Volume 1
Astro Boy is of course an extremely popular character. What if you made a new reinterpretation of Astro Boy in a whole new universe and focused on the secondary characters however? Also, what if you made it a dramatic piece of introspection on war, humanity, and had great art? You'd get what I've read so far of, "Pluto." If I may spoil one aspect of this first volume (I've read a couple more but want to just review the first for this segment), the Astro Boy-character doesn't actually even appear until right at the end of this first volume, to give you an idea of its interesting take on everything. This volume essentially focuses on setting up a big murder mystery with a strange entity (possibly human, possibly robotic) that has been destroying various robots and potentially killing humans too (which despite this world having mostly-equal rights for robots and humans, electronic beings still can't kill flesh-and-bone humans, normally).We see some of the most powerful robots in the world as they deal with this encroaching threat and get a lot of ruminations on war, life, and such. Creator Naoki Urasawa also made the series, "Monster,"which I somewhat enjoyed, but I can say from what I read even in just the first volume of, "Pluto," I loved this series even more, and I look forward to finishing the other volumes I've purchased and begun reading.
4.5 out of 5 stars.

Always Fun to Explore Another Style of Comic-Making
I am of course not as knowledgeable about Western comics as some masterful professionals and historians, but I like to think I know  a decent amount. I know a lot less about manga however, which always makes it fun to explore another style of comic-making I have less familiarity with but tend to enjoy whenever I dive-in. I appreciate the suggestions I get from the fine folk at Animeggroll, from folk who message me online, and in my general searching. I hope to continue finding plenty of great reads.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Enjoy Your Thanksgiving/Thursday!

To everyone in America and its territories/protectorates, I wish you a happy Thanksgiving. Everyone else, I hope you have a nice regular ol' Thursday. So yeah, spend time with your friends, your family of birth and/or choice, plus of course have plenty to eat and drink.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

"Go-Bots," #1 by Tom Scioli is Jam-Packed with Goodness

Note: Some people spell it, "Go-Bots," and others insist upon, "Gobots." The comic is officially titled, "Go-Bots," so I shall refer to it as such in the article.

Tom Scioli is a creator who knows how to make some stellar work. Whether he's doing his, "American Barbarian," comic, creating the magnum-opus which was, "Transformers VS G.I. Joe," or his latest project, "Go-Bots," his comic pages are a mixture of modern ingenuity with a nostalgic touch. I mean, the man hand-draws his art, colors it digitally, and then also hand-letters his work. There are not many hand-letterers in comics, let alone someone who does it all. Well, as he did with his, "Transformers VS G.I. Joe," comic for IDW, here Scioli brings us a his own unique take on another retro property, Go-Bots. Incorrectly assumed by some to be a Transformers rip-off, Go-Bots actually existed first, but as with many things that are the initial creation yet overshadowed by a later version (think Betamax and VHS), Go-Bots were kind of forgotten and/or outright mocked as a historical footnote--even once their rights were bought by the same company that owns the Transformer's license (Hasbro) and they were considered an alternate-universe of sorts of the Transformers...making them an, "Alternate," to an idea they were the original of, ouch.

Here's the thing though, Tom Scioli doesn't care about any of the past baggage carried by Go-Bots. He says in the back-matter of the comic how he had an idea and this comic is an expression of that idea. It's a world where humans created Go-Bots so they could have a car that basically walked with them, but over some time the Go-Bots got so advanced they were used for everything from warfare to medicine to NASCAR-esque racing, and even underground fight-rings. They are programmed to almost never be able to hurt a human, but some defy this through various means (both allowed or illicit). The, "Go-Bots," comic introduces us to an assortment of characters and leads-up to an evil Go-Bot and his ilk turning off any safeguards in Go-Bots, allowing them to rebel and hurt/kill any human if they so choose. It's a regular-length comic yet it feels absolutely jam-packed with the goodness of a super-sized book.
Scioli is a master of the comic-page. He can fill the space with many small panels, a big splash-page, or completely change the format from more grid-based to curving on the page as if to represent the speed in a scene, as the image up above shows. He jumps around to a number of stories but it feels like they all get to breathe, whether its a military Go-Bot and its operator, a famous racing Go-Bot and its self-absorbed driver, or a peppy commuter-focused Go-Bot with a young woman who rides it. Within this first issue the stories of everyone unfold in a way both isolated yet clearly interconnected in an assortment of ways. Plus, good God is everything just so gorgeous. Scioli's artwork makes you feel like the vintage toys have come to life through his art and it is simply astounding to witness. Scioli is a creator whose talent cannot be overstated in the least.

This first issue of, "Go-Bots," is spectacular (like much of Scioli's work) and I know Scioli will continue to impress with all the upcoming issues as he gives us a, "Go-Bot," story worthy of their status as the original transforming robots. Between an intriguing plot and his usual jaw-dropping artwork, Tom Scioli has done it again, and boy-howdy does, "It," always impress with him. I without question rate this comic 5 out of 5 stars and urge you to get to your newest comic shop to purchase a copy, as it is officially out today (with the Local Comic Shop edition having come out this previous Saturday, thereby giving some readers a head-start on ogling the gorgeous book). Seriously. regardless of if you've ever even heard of the Go-Bots you'll most likely love this comic, I know I did.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

The, "Old Farmer's Almanac," 2018 is An Informative and Fun Read That Has Me Eager to Buy the Latest One

I've always had a soft-spot for the, "Old Farmer's Almanac." I am not a farmer so I don't benefit from the complex graphs about planting seasons, calculating sunrises or sunsets, and the like. I also like to see how accurate its weather predictions are so I bought the 2018 edition as the 2019 one starts hitting stores. I enjoyed the assorted fun articles on random subjects though such as little tidbits about the US-Canada border, Woodchucks, National trends, and reading a special report on expanding diversity in the field of farming.

The main reason I got this older one though was to check the weather accuracy, and I continue to be impressed by the (top-secret) method the Almanac uses to call the weather with an accuracy that trends at 80%. It predicted we would get snow in Mid-November around Eastern-Missouri and sure enough there was a rare November snowstorm on the 15th that cancelled schools. The, "Old Farmer's Almanac," has jokes, recipes, and otherwise always is a good read. I'm excited to buy the 2019 edition that is available in stores now and check out what predictions it holds for our weather in addition to fun articles and facts.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Tales From The Dollar Bin: Ted Naifeh's "Heroines," and the Gruesome Fate of Space Goat Productions

There are comics which are worth incredible sums of money, but so many of the most interesting, tragic, or just downright weird can be found for a simple dollar or less in a store's "dollar bin". There, comics that never gained much popularity can be found alongside those that sold so much as for a copy to be worthless. "Tales From the Dollar Bin" aims to explore these comics, be they a single issue or an entire run of a series. From the great to the miserable, some of the best treasures and worst nightmares can be found in those infamous boxes. Let's have a "tale" now...

Another Time I Was Wrong
This story has many elements and gets weirder as we go along, but bear with me--the basic idea is I was wrong about something yet again (it happens sometimes). Back in the Summer of 2017 I sang the praises of a publisher by the name of Space Goat Productions Inc. when they announced they were making a, "Retailer Advisory Board," which would allow comic retailer to speak with the publisher about how sales of the comics were going, their suggestions, etc. I thought it was a cool idea. In the Fall of 2017 it turned out the CEO of Space Goat--a guy named Shon Bury--was allegedly a horribly mean man who liked to sexually harass female employees, oh and a number of Space Goat Kickstarters that had been funded for two board games (one for, "Evil Dead 2," and the other for, "The Terminator,") had been horribly delayed. The company launched a Kickstarter to make a collection of the earlier issues of a comic they had published three issues of and include the issues that would've finished it. The book was, "Ted Naifeh's Heroines." I made a post about the Kickstarter which later failed, and in retrospect that maybe was for the best because odds are backers would've never received their rewards. Why? As I said, things get weirder.

The rest of 2017 wasn't kind to Space Goat as they quit releasing any solicited comics, and the start of 2018 heaped more money woes upon them because as the Summer of 2018 approached Space Goat tried to have people fund the company for promises of minimal rewards so that it could fulfill its promises to people who had already given it almost one million dollars on Kickstarter for board games they still hadn't created or sent-out. The idea was basically, "Hey, why not give us more money and we promise now we'll make good on our earlier promises?" It didn't go anywhere, and the company said it would explore other ideas. Then the Facebook and Twitter were abandoned a couple months ago and now promote random junk, the website quit existing and a warehouse that was holding a bunch of supplies for Space Goat is actually going to auction the stuff off because they quit paying their bills--that's right, Space Goat now is basically like one of those unpaid units on, "Storage Wars." Backers of the board games are furious, people are wondering what the Hell happened, and I just feel bad for Ted Naifeh as he honestly didn't do anything wrong besides partner with this shitty company for his decent comic I found the three published issues of in a dollar bin last week.

So, What Happened?
Ted Naifeh is a talented creator especially known for a comic he did with Oni Press, "Courtney Crumrin." From what I recall of press for the, "Heroines," comic when it was first announced, Ted had the idea for his comic focused on female superheroines putting-up with sexist male superheroes but knew Oni wouldn't publish it because as a sort of company rule they don't publish super-hero works. This isn't some kind of insult to super-hero books, Oni just figures they won't make money in the market with such a property, I imagine, and the closet they've come to something related to superheroes would be maybe that, "Vindicators," one-shot related to, "Rick and Morty," and that was more of a parody of superheroes than anything else. Anyways, Ted had a superhero idea, Oni was cool with him going somewhere else, and somehow he ended-up with Space Goat. How that occurred I do not know. I guess they offered him more money than another publisher who probably would've been happy to release the book like Image, but I can only wager guesses.

The first three issue of, "Ted Naifeh's Heroines," came out earlier in 2017, and when I saw them in the dollar bin last week at a store I was browsing I bought them and enjoyed them. They feature his stellar artwork and some pretty solid storytelling. The book is mainly about a young woman with superpowers who wants to join a mostly-male super-hero team and is belittled for it. She makes her own team of assorted powered women and they fight crime whilst uncovering a conspiracy about a rich businessman famous for funding lots of superheroes. It is entertaining stuff, although I was a little put-off by how he made a lesbian character super-masculine and super sexually-aggressive. To his credit, the character admits in the third issue it is a front she puts-up to avoid being hurt, saying if she acts like a tough masculine-jerk people can't pick on her for being gay for fear of her beating them up. I liked the three issues that came out in early 2017 and unless Naifeh can take the series somewhere else (I have no idea if the now-defunct Space Goat owns/owned any rights and if they are tied-up) that may be all we get. To his credit, Naifeh spoke-out against Bury's alleged behavior and said if the book didn't get Kickstarted he would take that as a sign there maybe wasn't a demand for it and would create other works instead, so clearly Naifeh is a class-act who got taken for a ride by Space Goat like much of us.

But, Back to Me Being Fooled
Clearly I was duped by Space Goat Productions Inc. when it came to thinking they were a good company. Shon Bury clearly is a sexual harasser with a mean-streak who also enjoys habitually lying, and as much as I would like to think they weren't trying to defraud people with their board game Kickstarters there are many red flags to consider when a company tries to raise money for a new game so as to basically use that money to also pay for the first, as I've read was apparently the idea. In order words, failure led to scamming. I was fooled, Ted Naifeh was taken advantage of, the many backers of the board games who will never see those products delivered were especially screwed-over and Shon Bury and his friends seem to have absconded with whatever money they could, leaving Space Goat Productions Inc. a rotting carcass. The whole story is tragic, leaves a lot of people ripped-off, and generally just makes me angry. In all of this a quite good comic by Ted Naifeh suffered as well, but I guess we can't expect too many happy endings when we're talking about a....tale from the dollar bin!