Friday, August 17, 2018

Film Friday: Sony, Please Don't Do A Cinematic Universe Of Spider-Man's Secondary Characters Without Spider-Man

Trouble Brewing
The start of something great, or a tipping-point into a terrible idea?
With the upcoming release of the hopefully-decent, "Venom," movie approaching, Sony has made it clear they have big plans for all kinds of movies featuring characters who are best known for their associations with Spider-Man...but these movies will mostly likely lack Spider-Man, and this seems as if it is a terrible idea. Seriously, the more I read the more horrifically stupid this sounds. To understand this upcoming possible future however, we need to understand our history of how it all came to this.

A Fast Review of the Past
"Captain America: Civil War," featured the first shared-rights appearance of Spider-Man.
Let's begin a quick-ish refresher: Marvel was on the verge of bankruptcy in the early 2000's and sold the film rights to various popular characters. Fox snatched-up the Fantastic Four as well as the X-Men (but Marvel's now-owner Disney is getting those back) and Sony bought the rights to Spider-Man and anything associated with his character. From this we got some solid, "Spider-Man," movies featuring Tobey Mcguire as the Web-slinger, and then those, "Amazing Spider-Man," films which the less we talk about, the better. Eventually, Sony and Marvel came to an agreement where Spider-Man could appear in Marvel films and Marvel characters would in turn appear in his films, with each corporate entity retaining the rights to those characters but being able to bathe in the incredible amount of money this deal made.

Here's the thing though, this kind of ties-up Spider-Man into the Marvel Cinematic Universe for some time and only he (and anyone who appears in his movies that specifically involve him and the Marvel folk) can really be in a Spider-Man related movie by Sony. This means unless we were to get, say, Venom, Morbius, Jackpot, Black Cat, or anyone else in his specific movies Sony can't mention him in any other flick. I mean, these characters can have their own movie, but he can't be in those right now, or else they de-facto are in the Marvel Cinematic Universe too--which ain't part of the deal. I know this sounds confusing, but what I'm basically saying is Sony has all these Spider-Man friends and foes they might like to make movies with, but can't because Spider-Man--whose relationship to them is their defining feature--is tangled-up with Marvel/Disney. Unless of course, Sony made movies with these characters without having Spider-Man actually involved, but that would be pure stupidity and...oh no.

Presenting: Sony's Universe of Marvel Characters...Yes, Really
Just some  examples of what we can apparently expect to be hitting movie-screens in future.
Yes, that is the real name as an article in Variety discusses. Apparently Sony is so confident that characters such as Silk or Nightwatch can stand alone without Spider-Man--despite the fact their entire existence is inexorably linked to Spider-Man--that a whole slate of Spider-Man-less films featuring his secondary characters are planned in the Spidey-less-Sony-verse (I'm gonna trademark that, don't rip me off, Bleedingcool). Now, I am not mocking this idea due to the fact the characters are less-known. Back in 2007 only hardcore comic-book fans could tell you much of anything about Iron Man before the film came out a year later. There is more to this than that.

See, it is perfectly reasonable to take a character people don't know and capitalize on its potential to make a great flick. What isn't reasonable however is to completely get rid of the very thing that defines a character (e.g. how all these folk know Spider-Man). That would be like, "Iron Man," but he never gets injured and then dedicates himself to stopping violence, instead he just keeps selling weapons (that might make a decent, "What-if," comic, but not a movie). To have all these people who basically have as their defining trait--"I know and love/hate/have worked with Spider-Man," be ignored just seems odd and makes me wonder how the characters will even work in a movie. I guess we will see relatively soon with the upcoming, "Venom," flick setting a bit of a tone for what the future holds in Sony's so-called cinematic Universe. I'm not sure how many times I need to say that this whole, "We gotta make a cinematic universe!" idea  studios have is an issue, as while it has worked great for Marvel, that doesn't mean it will always work for everyone--or is even a good idea to try in the first place. It is going to happen again though, apparently, and I sincerely hope Sony knows what it is doing. I honestly hope whatever movies they do end-up making are good and not a total mess, but I'm clearly a bit pessimistic.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Judge Me if You Want, I Love the Viral-Hit Song, "Mooo!"

Just yesterday I was saying how the concept behind the song, "Medicine," was stupid and resulted in a super-weak result. Then, I'm reading the AV Club today and learn about how a rapper from South Africa known as Doja Cat created a jokey song titled, "Moo!" The whole thing is basically an exercise in her doing silly cow and barnyard puns whilst referencing other rap songs with a farm-twist. She is literally rapping as if she were some kind of cow, a concept far-fetched enough as the basis for a jam that it makes me think of the elaborate plots Warren Zevon would weave back when he was alive with his tunes--of course this is moreso incredibly absurd and corny, yet it actually works really well and is quite entertaining. That she made it up basically on the fly as a lark is especially impressive.

There is a smooth beat and the verses are a great mixture of funny, bragging, and self-awareness. The incredibly low video-quality of the music video just adds to the charm, with what I assume to be a production budget of about $10 where Doja Cat dances in front of a really glitchy green-screen featuring cows, food, and for some reason, anime breasts. The biggest, "Special effect," if you want to call it that, would probably be Cat's expert twerking in a cow-print hoodie, which is as weird as it sounds. "Mooo!" is just the right mixture of dumb and ingenious--kind of like the show, "Aqua Teen Hunger Force," with about the same intentionally bare-bones graphics-work. I am intrigued to check out Doja Cat's official release debut now, so I guess that's an example of a viral video doing its work to get people interested in her other musical output!

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

I'm Baffled by the Concept of the New Song, "Medicine," by Queen Naija

On the radio I've been hearing a new song titled, "Medicine," by a singer named Queen Naija. It has a catchy sound, but the whole concept of the song is moronic. Basically, she knows the man she is with has been cheating on her with numerous women, which makes her angry (normal concept for a song so far), so she gets revenge by...sleeping with a bunch of guys he knows in order to then tell him about it for no reason other than revenge--wait, what? Seriously, of all the reasons to have sex the idea she is doing it to, "Give you a taste of your own medicine," is one of the worst excuses I have ever heard. We as humans have sex for fun, to relax, and of course if we feel horny, but just to make your spouse angry? I ain't buying it, she's having sex because she wanted to have sex and her man being a scoundrel just serves as a handy excuse, I'd say.

Plus, if this really is a case of just boning a bunch of dudes to make your man, "Cry," how unhealthy a relationship is that where all you do is cheat on each other to cause the other to hurt? Apparently the song draws from a former marriage Naija was in, so thank God they got divorced if this song reflects what their relationship was like. I get the idea of the song, that she feels slighted, but I'd get the concept more if that meant she then went and slept with some former lover or someone she has been fighting feelings for, etc. Instead it is just like, "I'm gonna call up all these guys to spite you!" I just find it baffling, and it results in a pretty weak basis for a song, methinks.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Ed Benes has a Neat New Kickstarter

Back some years ago, on a day I felt particularly salty and cranky, I made a post where I called Ed Benes a hack. Some time later I took a long hard look at his work and myself, and realized the dude had talent and was not a hack, but a creator I enjoyed, as I discussed in another post. After all, there are lots of creators whose work just makes me recoil in disgust (hey there, Greg Land), but Benes ain't bad at all. Hence, in my effort towards self-atonement so I feel like I'm not a mean person, I want to share with folk how I noticed Ed Benes is doing a neat new Kickstarter campaign for a comic-book.

Titled, "Nina and Ariel," it is the first issue of, "A post-apocalyptic sci-fi series inspired by Ed's love of Heavy Metal Magazine and similar European comics of the time, and also the work of Frank Frazetta (Fire & Ice, etc)." Also, it puts fears of long delays to rest, assuring backers, "All of the work is has been scripted, drawn, lettered, and colored.  Now all we need is to send it off to the printer!  The Kickstarter campaign is going to help us cover all print costs, and will also allow us to pay the creators, and to get issue 2 into production as soon as possible!" Benes is the writer and artist with some other folk on coloring, lettering, etc. It looks fun and for just $4 you can get a PDF or pay a smidgen more for a physical copy, up to big bucks for all kinds of variant covers and goodies. It looks like a legitimately fun comic with some sharp illustrations (Benes ain't phoning it in on this labor of love) and as someone who loves sci-fi it has my attention.
I'm not proud of when I was needlessly mean to Benes, but think that since my initial apology-post and now telling folk about the comic I hopefully have made it up to guy. Plus, I of course backed the campaign so that I can get a copy of my own to read and enjoy. I would encourage you to do so as well by following this link.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Scattered Observations on the Latest Video-Game News

Scraps for Lunch!
This isn't a post full or links or a well-focused article. It is some assorted thoughts on video-game news I've been reading lately. In other words, I have enough content to make a single article out of some scraps of ideas and you're going to read these scraps and enjoy them! Please?

Snippets of Thought
I am of course someone who loves the, "Fallout," series of games whether it is the classic isometric 1st and 2nd, the masterpiece that is 3, or the stellar 4 (I never played, "New Vegas," I know, I suck). With that said, the idea of a multiplayer-focused Fallout game such as, "Fallout 76," just does not appeal to me, at all--especially as more details come out. I mean, having lived in West Virginia for some time growing-up I do find it cool that there is a game set in that state, but I've always most enjoyed the, "Fallout," series when it is a solitary experience with just me and maybe an NPC comrade to help carry all my junk. The whole point of a nuclear post-apocalypse is that things will be lonely, and slapping something akin to an MMORPG on the mold with a bunch of other folk running-around just seems a bit odd for this franchise.

In this era of the internet it astounds me someone would try to plagiarize anything considering how easy it would be to check if they did. Well, apparently a reviewer for IGN did so with his review of the game, "Dead Cells," and got fired for it. I just feel bad that the team behind the mostly well-reviewed game are having to put-up with this fiasco occurring over their title.

The original, "Red Dead Redemption," game surprised everyone by coming-out with basically zero expectations regarding it and being an amazing mixture of adventuring, wild-west gunplay, and a depressing-but-touching plot. Since then people have been clamoring for a sequel and while one was announced a bit ago, precious little had been revealed. Finally more drips-and-drabs are coming out and it looks like, "Red Dead Redemption 2," will be quite fun, but I wonder if it will be able to live-up to the now immense expectations facing this series?

Some developers keep adding to a game even after it is, "Done."
Imagine spending a couple years, half a decade, or even a full 10 years working on a game, putting in your blood, sweat, and tears. Then it comes out and you're left asking, "Now what?" in a mixed state of relief and dread. As you can imagine, the whole thing is bittersweet.

In this supposedly more advanced and progressive day and age it is depressing to think we still need to have these articles about sexism and discrimination at a big company such as Riot Games. It is depressing because one would hope such articles aren't needed, and it is upsetting because without an exposé the problems would undoubtedly continue.

Lastly, I read many stellar things about, "Divinity: Original Sin II," on the PC and continue to get more and more excited for its release on the Playstation 4. Apparently if you pre-order the digital download of the game you can play the first, "Act," now. It's an interesting way to draw consumers in for sure, like a mega-demo of sorts, I suppose.

Full Now?
I hope you found these pieces of video-game news and observations filling enough. Between the good and the bad there clearly is a lot of interesting things going on with games. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm gonna look into this whole, "Play the first act free," thing with, "Divinity: Original Sin 2."

Friday, August 10, 2018

Rant-Reviews--What I Read The Past Couple of Days

A Quiet Moment
I think we all know that life can be busy, I know mine is. Therefore, when I don't have anything I immediately need to do I try to get in some reading as I of course love comics and books. I had a quiet moment or two the past couple of days  that allowed me to read some new comics I acquired this week. Therefore, let's dive-in to discussing some comic-books, shall we?

What I Read
Farmhand #2
Written and illustrated by Rob Guillory, known by many for his artwork on another Image series, "Chew," this comic is incredibly weird...which means it is perfect for me. A fascinating blend of humor, horror, and mystery, it centers on a farm that uses advanced stem cell technology to grow human body parts from literal plants, plus how the son of the farm's founder has a strained-at-best relationship with his Dad. The comic juggles high-concept sci-fi, family drama, corporate intrigue, and a good deal of jokes but Guillory balances it all out perfectly to give readers a comic I so far adore just two issues in. The book is an ongoing series with a lot already going down, so I'm excited to keep reading based on what's been foreshadowed so far!
5 out of 5 stars.

Beast Hunter X #1
I'm almost always a fan of Mike Wofler's writing and/or artwork, with his comics that carry a strong sci-fi and/or horror-focus often being a favorite of mine. His latest comic, "Beast Hunter X," has an interesting concept with a mixture of known horror monsters (vampires, werewolves) having to come together to face a new and scary creature. It raises a number of questions/mysteries and is jam-packed with all kinds of fighting and gun-play. In the back-matter Wolfer discusses how he was going for a 1980's horror-vibe like the old flicks full of creatures and nasty explosions. I would say Wolfer nails the tone perfectly and the art mostly compliments his writing with it sometimes being a bit scratchy for my tastes but otherwise solid (Demi Mandir does art). It's a delightful first issue and if Wolfer's past work is any indicator, this is going to be a great series!
4 out of 5 stars.

Automa #5
I greatly enjoyed my interview with Charles Forsman I did previously, which included us discussing his comic only Patreon supporters (or stores that support the Patreon who want copies to sell) could acquire. This series, "Automa," is that comic, and considering how good it is I'd encourage everyone who is able to contribute $3 Forsman's way to do so--that way they'll be able to love this book as much as myself. This issue has a lot of trippy visuals as the protagonist, Lee, deals with the fact that his robotic-arms from the future are basically taking over the rest of his body (if you read the comic it makes sense). Forsman is a fantastic illustrator and these surreal dream-style sequences are a treat to read, even if it is at the expense of further plot development this issue. It's rad stuff however, and if you go support his Patreon you too can enjoy, "Automa," as much as I do.
5 out of 5 stars.

Michael Cray #10
While the main, "Wildstorm," book written by Warren Ellis has been amping-up more and more with a war brewing between two secret organizations that monitor/control Earth and Space, its spin-off comic, "Michael Cray," has been more low-key, having our protagonist stop twisted versions of DC heroes in this strange world. At first the book followed a routine where for two issues Cray would fight someone and move onto the next threat with an over-arching theme slowly becoming apparent that there was a whole lot more going on than met the eye, and since about issue #7 the big plot has become apparent with Cray fighting an alien parasite within his brain that may actually tie back into the main Wildstorm book in some ways whilst also dealing with quite evil versions of John Constantine and Diana Prince. It's been a good read and it wraps-up in just two more issues, so I hope it, "Sticks the landing." Based on how enjoyable the book has been so far I'm not worried, however.
4 out of 5 stars.

Predator: Hunters II #1
With a new #1 to kick off its second volume of the, "Predator: Hunters," mini-series, Dark Horse continues this series intriguing take on the Predator concept, namely it pits the alien/aliens against humans who know from the start what they are up against. This is admittedly a hokey, "Hunter becomes the hunted," concept, but it actually works quite well with the Predator, as so often the character is the cat in a game of, "Cat-and-mouse," resulting in it being a fun twist when the tables are turned. What's left of our team from volume 1 now heads to Afghanistan and it seems there are other parties interested in the Predators as well. This issue also has some exciting and gory Predator-action so I was pleased with the mixture of plot, blood, and general mayhem.
4 out of 5 stars.

Fantastic Four #1
I just recently talked about how it felt like there wasn't much hype for the return of the Fantastic Four in their own comic. After I made that post I had one personally anonymously comment on the blog to say they were excited and my friend James Doe (real name) told me on Facebook he was pumped yeah, I guess at least two people in the world are clamoring for a, "Fantastic Four," comic. Having read the Dan Slott-scripted comic I now can conclude that it is alright, but nothing amazing. The issue is mostly place-setting for the team to reunite and we witness Doctor Doom retake Latveria in an epilogue that was pretty cool because things actually happen in it. Otherwise, little occurs besides the Thing getting engaged to Alicia Masters--which is sweet--and it becoming apparent the team will finally reunite in the next issue. For a big-deal #1 this is a pretty quiet and low-impact return of this book. It wasn't bad though, just relatively unimpressive AKA average. Now I'm just curious what my aforementioned chum, James, thought of it.
2.5 out of 5 stars.

Relaxation and Writing
Some people hate writing, but I enjoy it so I took this free time to offer my thoughts on some assorted comics. I hope you enjoyed reading my opinions and are now inspired to seek-out (or even avoid) some books.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

The Stock App Robinhood is Interesting, Fee-Free, and Useful

When it comes to the stock market it can seem a little mysterious. Sometimes we think of the stock market as if it is this strange ethereal concept that can impact the economy but with little to do with us in our day-to-day lives. We might be interested in the stock market, but how can we take part in it without an expensive broker or paying fees? There have been some apps with the idea to give everyone access to the stock market, but one by far getting the most buzz is Robinhood. I thought I would try it out on my iPhone, and I like it.

Robinhood has gotten a lot of press for allowing people to simply verify they are a U.S. Resident, link their bank, and get to work buying and selling stocks. The are no fees, with the idea instead being to offer a, "Gold," level for people who do a lot of stock-trading and to continue growing a user-base. Also, people can invite friends and get a free random stock, which is cool. Once the app approves you things are as simple as putting in some money and getting to work at trading stocks during the business hours the market is open (if the market is closed you can make a purchase or sell order to execute the next day). The app shows you how well a particular stock you pick has been doing over time, will provide links to news, and otherwise is extremely user-friendly.
Robinhood also allows people in a small number of states that allow it (19 so far) to invest in Cryptocurrencies such a Bitcoin. I of course am not a big fan of Bitcoin or other digital-currencies so that interests me very little, but I know some folk love the stuff. As those, "markets," never close people can buy or sell digital coins at any time too whilst their so-called markets rise and fall. As with stocks, you transfer money from your bank to trade these faux-coins. Again though, the stocks are more interesting to me.

To test out Robinhood I transferred in $50 and bought a stock in Funko, Snapchat, an electric car charging company I read about online called Blink, and some really cheap, "Pennystocks," like company behind Moviepass that is currently hemorrhaging money and has their stock for about 7 cents each. I proceeded to sell the pennystocks a few hours later when it hit a high and made like 10 cents, sold Snapchat before its, "Earnings Call," and made 50 cents, found my Blink stock went down enough I lost 20 cents, and Funko basically held steady enough I bought another stock of it. My, "portfolio," is currently two stocks in Funko and one in Blink. If I were made of money I could of course invest a ton into playing the stock market and either become millionaire or go broke and live in the gutter. I don't have that kind of capital though, so I'm perfectly happy to watch as my Funko stock hopefully climbs over time and make a few bucks.
My testing-out Robinhood with $50 was of course using it on a very small-scale, but I still found it fascinating, full of information, easy to trade stocks with, and love how there is absolutely no fee to use it (just bonus features for the gold level). I've told some chums about Robinhood and hope we each get some free stocks from my referrals as well. I'd encourage people to try it out, but to make sure they of course invest responsibly and try and get a referral link from a friend so you can take advantage of a free stock!

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Breakfast Food is the Best Food

No, This Isn't Open to Discussion
I believe that Breakfast food is the best food, and that eating breakfast foods should never be limited to just the morning. I love waffles, pancakes, and french toast for a carb as well as bacon, sausage, or ham for meat. A tasty scrambled egg is always delightful as well and you know I love potatoes whether they be cubed or shredded! I don't get why we can eat lunch items at dinner and vice-versa, yet folk think its quirky to desire some biscuits and gravy at 5PM. Breakfast is delicious, and should be an option at any time of day. I posted about this on Facebook and found an overwhelming number of people agreed with me. It's anecdotal evidence, sure, but if I could get everyone on Facebook to actually agree about something in this era of division, that's pretty encouraging.

Corporations know that having breakfast available anytime is good for business. Look at how popular Cracker Barrel is, or the fact that McDonald's finally started serving their most popular breakfast items all day a few years ago. Plus, White Castle is aware that as much as people might crave their burgers, it is also a good idea to have the breakfast choices as an option at all times. Breakfast is awesome and I will gladly eat it anytime of day. You can disagree with me on this if you want, but you would be wrong.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Mercari is a Terrible App for Sellers

A chunk of time ago I made a post about how I enjoyed using Mercari to purchase items. Since that time I started selling items on Mercari sometimes too, listing comic-books, Funko Pops, clothes, etc. After a number of bad experiences as a seller and the worst one just occurring, I can say I personally feel Mercari is a terrible app for anyone wanting to sell anything. Curious how I came to that conclusion? I shall break it down...

Now, people will sometimes complain about eBay and how it, "Always sides with the buyer," but I personally have never had a bad experience with eBay customer service when I have needed to reach out to them via phone or email. Meanwhile, with Mercari I've had it happen to me and read about it happening to other people where a buyer will complain something was damaged or not how they wanted, and be allowed to return it with no investigation. They don't have to supply pictures of damage, or that the item wasn't packed well, etc. Now then, this time I had a Pop I sent someone and they said it was damaged, so they of course were allowed to immediately return it. I noticed they had negative feedback and probably were pulling a scam. Mercari didn't care. I requested I still at least get credit to buy stuff if not my full payment--Mercari said no. I repeated how this was most likely a scam of them replacing my Pop with one that was already damaged and it fell of deaf ears. I then sent the last message below:
As you can see, I pointed out how I was done with the app and felt other ones were more deserving of my selling on them--after all, without sellers these apps lack anyone to draw fees from. The response was one of indifference and basically the same snarky tone I encountered my entire time I was working with customer service on this issue. I'd had problems with Mercari before--as I've said--but this was just atrocious and beyond anything I'd ever had occur with any other selling app or website. Oh, and the Pop was returned and I'm pretty sure they did a scammy swap-out as I suspected.

It is needless to say I don't plan to sell on or buy from Mercari ever again in the future. I would much rather buy and sell at the many other options that exist such as eBay, Poshmark, OfferUp, Facebook's Marketplace, and other sites/apps I'm surely forgetting. If Mercari wants to have such blatant disregard for the people who make it turn a profit, they don't need me, and I surely can go without them.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Another Awesome Toyman Show Has Concluded!

Today, August 5th, I enjoyed yet another Toyman Show put on by the awesome Chris, "Toyman," McQuillen. In honor of how it is back-to-school season in our region (most schools start back-up next week) there were free backpacks full of school supplies for the first 50 kids in attendance at the show with a paid entry (kids 16 and under get in free, so as long as their parent was present and got a ticket the kid got in for free as usual and got a free backpack full of useful stuff)! It wasn't only the kids who were appreciated though, there were door prizes as always including passes to upcoming shows as well as other goodies.

For this show a number of stellar guests were present, such as comic-artist Steve Geiger--who has worked for a wide range of publishers from big names like Marvel to smaller companies, and whom I have met at other cons and can attest is super-nice. Guy Gilchrist of Muppets, Nancy, and Looney Toons fame was there as well, plus D.A. Firzell (whose dark art style is scary and impressive), and Scott Schwartz from, "A Christmas Story," was present too! I know what you're wondering though--did I get any cool stuff this time? Well you know I did!
As the above picture shows, I was able to acquire a Pikachu Funko Pop as well as a Pop of Sub-Zero signed by the actor who portrayed him for the original, "Mortal Kombat," video-games, Daniel Pesina. I got both of these from the awesome toy retailer who had a vendor-booth at the show, Toys of Our Youth. I was able to trade them a variety of things I had for these rad Pops and they are always the first vendor I speak with anytime I attend a Toyman show thanks to their amazing selection and very nice staff.

After making some trades with Toys of Our Youth I enjoyed walking about the rest of the show-floor, where I as always spotted an amazing array of stuff for sale. Whether someone is after action figures, Legos, toy cars, comic-books, old T.V. Guides, video-games, DVDs, vintage horror posters, or anything else new or old the diverse range of vendors with a wide range of rad items is what keeps me coming back to Toyman--there is always something new and cool to look at and consider buying! 
I usually seem to meet someone new and cool at each show too. For example, I made the acquaintance of  a Funko Pop-vendor named Tugboat Tony (and his delightful wife) and was excited to provide a mixture of trade and cash for the super-cool Bullseye Funko Pop pictured above. I've acquired a Bullseye Pop sometimes before, but never one in a condition as great as the one this was in, making it a stellar addition to my small-but-mighty collection of Ad Icon Funko Pops. The couple was really nice and are selling a variety of their collection currently so I'd encourage people to message Tony if you're after a particular Pop as he and his wife had quite the number of Pops for sale at the show!

All-in-all I had yet another amazing time at the latest Toyman show--there is a reason I keep going back. Whether I'm meeting cool new folk like Tugboat Tony, chatting with the awesome folk at Toys of Our Youth, interacting with the countless other vendors, or introducing myself to the cool guests, Toyman always is jam-packed with things to do and stuff to buy. Oh, and it has free coffee, which is a Godsend if you're someone who likes to go to shows earlier to browse all the cool stuff but also needs coffee in the AM to be able to function. As long as the fantastic vendors keep returning, cool guests keep stopping by, and the coffee remains plentiful for the times I attend in the morning, you can bet I'll be present at the Toyman show too--so keep an eye out for me September 23rd, when the next Toyman event occurs!

Saturday, August 4, 2018

There Isn't That Much Excitement For the Return of a Fantastic Four Comic-Book, Is There?

As big comic book companies are wont to do, big-name characters sometimes die and/or have their comic-book cancelled on occasion. This occurs often at Marvel. Back in the earlier 2000's it happened with Thor and there was as lot of hubbub when he came back to life. At the end of Marvel's event, "Civil War," Steve Rogers was assassinated and Bucky became Captain America for a bit until the momentous return of Steve Rogers some time later. This brings us to how a handful of years ago the comic, "Fantastic Four," ended, arguably because Marvel's head who then held a lot of power, Ike Pearlmutter, was mad that Fox wouldn't cooperate with Marvel in regards to film-rights with the Fantastic Four. The book was cancelled and there was a good deal of outcry. Then...people basically quit caring.

"The Fantastic Four," comic ended, the most recent attempt at a movie tanked at the box office, and everyone stopped even pretending they had any interest in the Fantastic Four. Then things got more complicated. Marvel started the process to acquire Fox and all the properties that were sold to it years ago such as, "X-Men," and, "Fantastic Four." Then Marvel announced some months ago that they were pleased to be bringing back the, "Fantastic Four," comic and the crowd went...really, really mild. Yes, apparently there wasn't much clamoring for the Fantastic Four to return in a comic-book, with most people greeting the news with a shrug. My reasoning for this is that people who seem to really like reading a comic with the Fantastic Four don't seem to read much else from Marvel, and vice-versa. While the team were a big deal some decades ago, as time has gone on people view them kind of as a quaint and outdated idea. It's a happy little family that goes on big science adventures. They're fun, but lack the gravitas of some other Marvel heroes. Hence,  the Fantastic Four come back in a comic, and nobody seems to care. I mean, it is back in a matter of weeks, and the response is crickets.
Sometimes when Marvel has a new event-comic or a big-deal first issue being released they will have comic-stores do a big party with promotional items, cake, and the like. The only thing I've really seen done to build hype for a new, "Fantastic Four," comic is some little postcards that practically beg, "Please don't forget we are bringing this back." Perhaps Marvel sees there isn't much excitement for the, "Fantastic Four," comic and is disappointed, or maybe this response was expected and they just feel like they need to have a comic in print if they're going to start making movies with the characters once they have the full rights from Fox being acquired. I am not sure what Marvel thinks, but I am sure they see what I and everyone else sees, that the response to, "Fantastic Four," returning as a comic is pretty much equal in excitement to when the comic still existed--people acknowledge it, but don't really get excited. Hopefully when the book comes out in less than a month it'll at least be decent.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Is, "No Man's Sky," Worth Playing Now?

Hey, hey you! Remember that game from almost two years ago that had a ton of hype? Yeah, "No Man's Sky." Remember how everyone had impossible expectations of it and was really let down when it turned out to be a pretty-but-bland game that was more about tedious resource-management and long flights within the void of space as opposed to a rollicking adventures through the cosmos? Well apparently since then there have been smaller updates and now a massive one that take it from something I tried out for a couple hours and forgot about to a really cool game.

When it first came out a lot of people decried how it felt like a lot was missing and it was more of an, "Early Access/Beta-stage," than it was much of a game. Does this make, "No Man's Sky," an example of how rushed development is bad, or is it proof that releasing a game earlier and listening to player feedback is the way to go? I have no clue--there really isn't any way to know, honestly. Whatever the case, perhaps, "No Man's Sky," is worth a second look these days. Should anyone have tried it out back in 2016 and given it a shot again now do please let me know how much things have hopefully improved.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Television Tuesday: Big Brother Season 20 is Great, Thank God

I have written about the show, "Big Brother," and its seasons ever since I started religiously watching the television program (and sometimes its live feeds or at least reading-up on what happens besides what is broadcast) around season 15. For those unaware, "Big Brother," is a CBS reality-show that has been going since the early 2000's and involves putting a bunch of people into a house, isolated from the outside world, and making them compete in challenges to have the power to send other house-guests home--while cameras tape their every move. It is a mixture of silly contests and genuinely interesting social drama as people's real selves become apparent once folk start to, "Crack," being stuck in this household with each other. One big thing about the show however is depending on who exactly is in the house, that can drastically impact how interesting things are. Thankfully, season 20 has been stellar so far.

I and basically everyone else hated season 19. It brought back someone from season 18 we all liked--a man named Paul--but then he proceeded to run the house as the only, "Veteran," of a previous season and those who didn't do what he said were bullied and treated horribly, until at least in the last episode a bitter jury robbed him of wining (people voted-out pick between the remaining two house-guests who gets a half-million dollars), which was admittedly funny to see. Before that, seasons alternated between solid and dull generally, but for real, 19 was awful and after going through something as boring and tedious as it I feel like we earned season 20 of, "Big Brother." As for why it is good, well, people are actually playing the game, making an effort, concocting plans, watching those plans fall apart and/or come to fruition, and its just thankfully fun to see all this happen. As happens any season some stronger personalities are getting more air-time, but that is to be expected and usually as the house loses some of the many people living within it week after week other folk get attention. Yes, "Big Brother," is good again, and it is glorious.
Tyler from this season.
Reality television is arguably by nature trashy and voyeuristic. "Big Brother," knows this however and leans into it, with the title itself being a reference to  George Orwell and his idea of a future full of constant surveillance where we are always being watched and scrutinized. That is what fans of the show love to do, whether we are gawking at hilarious things like Kaitlyn failing to solve an absurdly easy puzzle to avoid, "Eviction," from the house, witnessing Tyler clearly be more than a dumb surfer-bro with how expertly he is tricking people into allying with him, or observing a tense discussion about hurtful words between J.C. and Bayleigh that hopefully helped those watching to discuss such things too--there is always cool stuff.

After season 19 being boring, full of bullying, and just otherwise lame, I am so thankful that Season 20 of, "Big Brother," has so far been immensely entertaining and appears as if it will continue to be a great time as the season proceeds. Whether it is a great season or a bad one I like to watch the show, but a fun season always is wonderful, obviously.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

5 Things I'm Sick of Seeing on the Internet

Oh that Internet
The internet, it is a wonderful thing in how it puts the world at our fingertips, but also arguably it is one big mistake that should have never been created and has doomed our society. I am of course a super-important web-journalist (not really) so I spend an inordinate amount of time on the internet (that part is true). With that in mind, there is some shit I am just sick of seeing on the web and will share some of it with you now, because I need to vent, damnit. Here are five things in particular...

What I'm Tired of Seeing
Nonsensical Fan-Theories
I've blogged about this before, and for good reason. I can't stand when people try to claim two separate shows are somehow, "Linked," or individuals who offer a weird grim and dark take on a cute kid's show ("Seriously man, everyone on rugrats is dead!") and the internet is full of this. I'll be honest, sometimes shows are loaded with metaphors, complex textual clues and references, and sometimes a children's show is just a cute cartoon that you are reading way too much into. I understand you want to seem like you, "Get it," and know a secret about a movie or television program, but your so-called theory is basically its own form of glorified fan-fiction and makes you sound more like a crazy-person than some kind of genius.

White People Complaining About Wanting to be "Allowed," to Use the N-Word
Oh dear God, the White people who do this need to stop. It seems anytime a white person in power or a white celebrity lets slip this slur and gets into trouble other white folk love to say, "But the black people, they get to use it with impunity, why?" The thing a select group of white people seem to miss is you can use the word, you can use it as much as you want, they just want to use it without consequence or responsibility, which one cannot do. I am reminded of this web-video by a comedy troupe known as, "The Message," that disbanded some years ago but made a genius point:

"If that's how they truly feel," is what it says about white people using that painful word. And don't  get me wrong, if we are discussing the word, we need to say it. One of the best writers on popular-culture I've ever had the pleasure of reading, David Brothers, put it best when he wrote, ""Basically, if you are utterly incapable of saying the word nigger, you shouldn't be talking about the word nigger...We're adults right? Adults use words, understand the history of those words, and understand that painful words can be used in certain contexts without offense," and it is a painful word. You see, when I worked as Medical Case Manager  at a non-profit it happened that I worked with a majority black population and much of my office was made-up of African-American individuals as well. This resulted in my getting odd questions such as, "Do they let you use the word?" First off, no. Secondly, I wouldn't use that word, no matter what, and if you asked me why, I would simply give you a list. I would say, "Emmett Till, Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson, Denise McNair, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, Trayvon MartinPhilando Castile..." and the list would go on-and-on of black people younger and older, past and present, killed for the color of their skin, all undoubtedly called a Nigger at some point--ask any black person and they can tell you about a time they were called that word by a white person, and it wasn't in a nice way. If you're a white person and really want to say the word with an, "Er," or an, "A," at the end, you can, but be ready to own-up to the questions you'll get for the word you're using.

People Hating-On the New Version of Something they Loved as a Kid
Go online and you won't be able to search far without somebody bitching about how, "Star Wars Episode VIII sucked and retroactively ruined my childhood," or, "The new Thundercats looks like trash compared to the old one," and etc. As I've talked about plenty of times on here before, nostalgia is a powerful tool, and also a bit of a trap. People think back to when they were younger and how much they loved something, then they can't stand the slightest change being made to it. Fans forget something though: The creators of your entertainment owe you NOTHING. George Lucas owed you nothing with his, "Star Wars," movies whether you loved or hated them all, just as Disney owes you nothing now. The creators of any popular entertainment are making a product they want to make (or see the market desires made) and these people and entities don't care if it is different from what you loved.

Just because I am a big fan of, "Batman Returns," that doesn't make, "The Dark Knight," any better or worse with its portrayal of Batman just as, "Batman Versus Superman," is its own good or bad movie, regardless of what was made first. Just as we as humans change, so too does our entertainment. Something may be different, but that doesn't automatically make it good or bad, its actual quality does that. Don't let nostalgia make you illogical and spiteful for moronic reasons.

Insane Conspiracy Videos
Apparently against all scientific proof and logic, the Earth is flat. Also, our United States Government which is so inept it can't keep track of wrongfully imprisoned children somehow masterminded a complex plot to attack itself on 9/11, which I assume they had been planning ever since we faked the moon landing--I guess we had to fake that due to Earth being flat, right? For real though, I am thankful we as a population now have the technology that anyone can make a video to express their views, but the downside to that is anyone can make a video and put it on the web, no matter how crazy they are.

Thanks to basic video-editing software being idiot-proof and how we almost all have a high-quality camera these days on our computers or phones, it is relatively easy to make a long or short video. The person making the video still needs attention-grabbing content however, so many people seem to think claiming something moronic is the way to go. That's why YouTube and other websites are full of supposed time travelers with dire warnings, people who think the Government fakes mass shootings, claims that vaccines cause autism, or anything else stupid you can think of. The one saving grace in all this is that I don't actually have to watch any of this videos if I don't want to, I just have to put-up with my friends sharing them on Facebook or the news reporting on that's a bit better, but not by much.

List Articles
Yes, I am aware I just made a list article of sorts, and I have written for websites that make list articles in the past (I needed the money) so I am a hypocrite and will own it. I more-so mean list articles that require you to click to read every single entry, however. If it is something I am interested in reading but it is an article with ten entries and every single paragraphs requires I scroll past ads and click, "Next page," you can bet I'm going to bail. Please, can we stop having articles that do this, pretty please?

I Feel Better Now

Now that I have complained about my, "Top 5," of things I am sick of seeing online, I feel better. The internet has done something amazing in how it links the world, but it also clearly has a number of downfalls. Still, thanks to the internet I was able to complain (albeit about problems it created) so I guess that's good. Plus, without the internet, there would not be The Newest Rant, and that is truly a terrifying thought.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Mini-Run Review: "The Immortal Hulk," #1-#3

I've read comics from Marvel featuring the Hulk off-and-on for years, with some writers doing a stellar job writing about the not-so-jolly green giant and his alter ego of Bruce Banner, and some writers really struggling to find a good tone to go with. Al Ewing is a stellar writer however, so when I heard the latest re-launch titled, "The Immortal Hulk," would have more a horror-theme I was intrigued. The concept of the Hulk itself is quite scary after all, it is Banner's Id unleashed, full raw rage and violence that he can only hope is pointed in the right direction at the, "Wrong," people. Ewing has been driving this point home opening each issue with an assortment of quotes from psychological and philosophical texts. It's been good stuff. Oh, and the Hulk is moderately intelligent again, so he's even more dangerous.

The first two issues were from Bruce Banner and his alter-ego's point-of-view, covering how he is officially, "Dead," in the eyes of the world but now using this freedom to roam about the U.S. solving various mysteries that relate to the Gamma Radiation that gave him his powers and righting wrongs he encounters along the way. This in issue #1 has him attacking a biker gang and in the 2nd issue solving a grotesque case of anyone who mourns at a graveyard then getting sick and dying--a cycle of sadness and death quite fitting for a character like the Hulk.
Banner and a both metaphorical and literal dark reflection of himself.
The third and latest issue is quite interesting however in that it relays a number of people's perceptions of what occurred when the Hulk stopped a young man with gamma-based superpowers who was holding hostages at a church. It has a framing device of a reporter who has appeared in other issues (and who suspects Bruce Banner is alive) trying to get the bottom of what is going on, and interviewing an assortment of folk. They each tell the same story, but quite differently.

There is a policeman who relays the story as if it were a Golden Age yarn of heroics, a bartender who only saw a disheveled Banner, an older woman who recalls things with a rosy and romantic viewpoint, and a priest whose version of events paints a horror-story vibe. Each, "Take," on what happened has a different art-style that works perfectly with how separately everyone's recounting is. This makes a relatively straightforward tale of The Hulk bursting in to solve a problem a lot more complex and interesting. I'd say it is a high-point of the three issues so far.
"The Immortal Hulk," has so far been a fantastic comic thanks to the writing talent of Al Ewing and an assortment of great artists. The more horror-focused tone works perfectly for the character of the Hulk, and Ewing's clever story-telling techniques in the 3rd issue keep things rolling along delightfully. I'd say this series so far handily earns 5 out of 5 stars.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

I Was Oddly Fascinated by this Article on Washing Laundry in Cold Water

I like odd little random facts and information. My affinity for things that are strange is probably one reason I enjoy talking about Duck-Billed Platypus in all its idiosyncratic glory (a venomous mammal that lays eggs is quite quirky), or why I once spent hours reading-up on the complex ownership history of the Dr. Pepper brand (hence why sometimes places that only serve Coke or only serve Pepsi will both have Dr. Pepper). Therefore, when I saw this piece about why it is foolish to continue to wash clothes in warm water it caught my eye.

The article goes in-depth about concepts such as the energy conservation we can achieve from using cold water to wash clothes, how it helps protect clothes, and that while warmth is needed to clean things, advancements in all kinds of chemicals create the sort of, "Heat," needed by the friction of washing using something called surfactants.  The key surfactants not too long ago were created by Proctor and Gamble and appeared in the then-novelty, "Tide Cold Water," detergent that now lots of other companies have created versions of as well. The piece goes into polymers, enzymes, and is otherwise really technical about something most of us probably never consider when we toss our clothes in the washer, add some detergent, and start it up. In conclusion, I like weird bits of trivia, which the article is full of, and also illustrates why we should all wash our clothes in cold water. Now, if you excuse me I'm going to crack-open this book I got from the library about the history of pinball that I hope to enjoy reading for no other reason than it looks fascinating--at least I'll read it as long as my son continues to enjoy his nap.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

This Movie I Found at Walmart Looks Awesome and Terrible at the Same Time

This movie is titled, "The Jurassic Games," and basically is mash-up of, "The Hunger Games," (which is essentially a rip-off of, "Battle Royale,") with, "Jurassic Park," along with a dash of, "The Condemned," and the mostly-forgotten, "Gamer." Basically a bunch of convicts go into a virtual-reality world where they have to fight to the death and avoid dinosaurs. If they die in the game however they die in the real world, so they really don't want to get shot or eaten by a dino. It looks gloriously dumb and I might try to rent it sometime as I didn't feel like shelling-out a whole $10 at Walmart for it.

According to some reviews it actually is a lot better than one would expect thanks to some surprisingly decent special-effects and being relatively self-aware at how it is ripping off enough franchises to shake a stick at in the hopes that a random mixture of ideas will somehow work--and it seems it weirdly does! Perhaps this is a sign we should combine other popular film-concepts. Maybe a mixture of, "The Notebook," and, "Silence of the Lambs," with a tiny bit of, "Predator," plus, "Mad Max." It could work, right?

Monday, July 23, 2018

Comic-Con International/San Diego Comic-Con 2018 is Done. Here is Some News From It

As a Con Ends, I Have Mixed Emotions
Comic-Con International AKA San Diego Comic-Con is, "In the books." As happens whenever a huge comic-con concludes, I have mixed emotions. I am both exhausted from the deluge of news, toys, trailers, cosplay, and general stuff that occurs during a con but also enjoy how something that might be big news any other day is just a drop in the bucket of all the mayhem that occurs during something like San Diego Comic-Con (there was a lot of news). Plus, it can be exciting how busy I get between reading all the announcements, trying to get exclusive toys (I was busy every morning on the Funko Pop Up Shop website) and living everyday life too. That said, it is quiet and calm now, we can rest and reflect, and that is a good thing too. I get as excited for big cons (whether I attend them or just follow news about them) as I do about kicking-back once they are done, so yeah, its a mixture of emotions. Let's discuss some of the big news to come out of CCI/SDCC though, shall we?

News of the (Pop-Culture) World
Out of everything at the show, the most buzz seems to be dedicated to the unveiling of the trailers for two upcoming DC films, "Aquaman," and, "Shazam!," with folk surprised at the flicks look like they might actually have a solid dose of humor, something mostly unheard of in DC flicks unless you hire Joss Whedon to finish your movie. I myself am all for an action-packed production starring Aquaman, and have zero issues with Captain Marvel/Shazam being a heroic comedy. Also, the new, "Godzilla: King of Monsters," seems promising, speaking of other big trailers, albeit one without super-heroes.

Funko had yet another fantastic year at the show, selling tons of products both there and online. They also had their, "Fundays," event where fans who manage to get an exclusive ticket are treated to announcements, food, and of course free Funko-goodies!

Marvel is bringing back their, "Uncanny X-Men," comic which is fine news that doesn't really get my blood pumping, but hearing that Chelsea Cain will be writing a new mini-series focused on The Vision perks me right up!

"Black Lightning," had a panel at the show, and I for one can't wait for season 2.

Grant Morrison will be writing and Liam Sharp will be illustrating a new, "Green Lantern," series, and have it be like a procedural as mysteries are investigated. The creative team alone piques my interest enough I'll be reading it for sure!

As I talked about in a post dedicated to the subject yesterday, one of the biggest news stories that occurred about CCI/SDCC didn't directly involve it, with James Gunn getting fired for some decades old jokes he tweeted that an alt-right foe of his dug-up.

I'm fond of local publisher Lion Forge, and hearing that the talented Gail Simone will be spearheading a bunch of comic-books for the company is stellar news for sure!

One of the main actors on the television adaptation of, "The Walking Dead," Andrew Lincoln (who plays Rick) confirmed that the rumors were true and he is leaving the show. How it will work without him shall be seen.

There was new footage of the, "Venom," movie and it was confirmed the bad-guy was a lesser-known character named Riot. I like Tom Hardy despite all the hate he gets, so I hope this movie is good.

"The Batman Who Laughs," will be getting a mini-series written by Scott Snyder, which is something I normally would not care about as I feel, "Meh," about this character. However, the amazing artist known as Jock is illustrating it so now I feel like I have to read it and observe his brilliant illustrations.

The next season of, "American Horror Story," seems to be a bit of a crossover concerning the first and third one of the best and one of the worst, I guess?

The cult-favorite show set in the Star Wars-universe known as, "The Clone Wars," will be back for a surprise new season. I never watched it, but know some fans who are screaming with glee.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

James Gunn Got Fired For Some Dumb Reasons AKA The Biggest News of SDCC Wasn't Even Planned

SDCC is wrapping-up and I'll have thoughts on that, but right now the biggest news to come out during the convention doesn't even involve the show directly. You see, James Gunn is a popular film director who started-out making really edgy, gross, and silly stuff for Troma, went on to do weird and enjoyable horror ("Slither,") and then made a lead to the mainstream while keeping a fun slight edge with his, "Guardians of the Galaxy," movies. Sometimes folk say a lot of the Marvel flicks seem alike except for the ones with directors who have a really strong voice such as Ryan Coogler (who directed, "Black Panther,") and the, "Guardians of the Galaxy," movies. James Gunn also was a known for his vocal distaste of President Trump and being pretty liberal. This recently resulted in some alt-right borderline neo-nazi named Mike Cernovich wanting to make things bad for Gunn. They found some jokes he Tweeted a decade ago, posted them online, and acted all upset despite their saying things ten times worse daily and not in a joking manner (Cernovich is one of those people who think all mass-shootings are Government plots, and that a pizza restaurant in Washington D.C. is a secret pedophilia ring). Anyways, the crass jokes Gunn Tweeted a decade ago resulted in Disney/Marvel Studios firing him.

Look, I read the Tweets, the jokes are dumb, tasteless, and clearly meant to be jokes. I don't find his comments about rape and molestation funny, but they read like the kind of thing I'd expect from someone at a movie studio like Troma, which prides itself on being offensive for the sake of offense. Also, they are Tweets by a much younger and immature James Gunn back when he was simply, "James Gunn, a guy who works on movies," and not, "James Gunn, the super-popular director." I'm not going to defend the jokes as anything more than dumb and puerile, but if we all have to be wary of someone who dislikes us finding our old comments we made on the internet a decade ago, then I wonder how many of us are free of any embarrassing past statements or jokes? And again, some assholes known for being hateful and terrible are the ones who did this, adding insult to injury.
An example of an old Troma production James Gunn worked on.
Many people have come forward to defend James Gunn and say how this firing is absurd considering it all stems from a smear campaign, is based on dumb jokes from 10 years ago, and he has been nothing but professional and awesome to his cast, crew, and fans. I myself find it interesting that the very same conservatives so quick to defend Rosanne for making racist statements in the present suddenly are so offended at a liberal making jokes 10 years ago. Basically, be ready for anything you ever say online to be used against you by someone who disagrees with you, that's the era we are entering. Plus, now the question becomes if anyone will ever be able to make a, "Guardians of the Galaxy," movie nearly as great as Gunn created?

Friday, July 20, 2018

Funko Friday: I Tried Funko Cereal, I Barely Survived

Funko is of course a very popular brand and one I enjoy discussing on the blog. They recently have been releasing cereals that are exclusive at one store or another (e.g. you can get "Mega Man," at Gamestop, "Gollum," at Box Lunch, etc.) and I was able to purchase one found at Hot Topic, the, "Cuphead," one. I have never played the game, but know folk like it, and it was the only cereal for sale there, so I thought I would purchase a box and see how good or bad it tasted. I mean, I know most people are buying the cereals to either keep them sealed-up and display the box, or were going to open the box for the included figure but never touch the cereal, but I was curious. That was my downfall.

I opened up the cereal once it was home and the separately-bagged figure was taken out of the box by me as well--lest I get it wet. I proceeded to open the bag and was greeted with a smell similar to Fruit Loops yet somehow more artificial. I dumped it in the bowl and looked at the neon red mess contained within. Yes, I was staring into the abyss and the abyss stared back. I got my almond milk out of the refrigerator (as longtime readers know, I'm sensitive to dairy) and poured some in. I proceeded to walk into the living room and gave my wife a dry piece to try if she wanted. She bit into it and made a disgusted face. At this point I considered calling-off my plans to have a taste. I took a deep breath however, lifted the spoon to my mouth, and began chewing.
If you're expecting me to say the cereal was actually good in an astonishing turn of events, I'm sorry to disappoint you. It tasted like an utterly fake mess with the most plastic cherry you could imagine. It was just nasty, and I took extra bites just to be sure if I maybe simply needed to get a taste for it. I am not some kind of cereal purist, I love all kinds and flavors from Rice Kripies, to Cap'n Crunch, Lucky Charms, Apple Jacks, generic corn flakes, and everything from the more natural to significantly sugary. This cereal was just bad. Should anyone buy a box of this to display or get the figure out of I would strongly discourage you from actually eating it. I know that sounds odd about something that is supposedly a food item, but describing what I tasted as, "Food," is generous phrasing. Consider this a cereal 0.5 out of 5 stars, with the only saving grace being it wasn't so bad I threw up.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

In a Shocking Twist, Cardi B Has a New Song I Kind of Like

I have discussed before how I'm not really a fan of the newer female rappers such as Nicki Minaj and Cardi B who act as if they are trailblazers when really they are basically doing what folk like Lil' Kim and others did first. I mean, I even said how, "Bodak Yellow," was one of the worst songs I had heard in quite awhile. Therefore, you can color me surprised that a song with Cardi B (as well as Bad Bunny and J Balvin) was one I actually found kind of catchy and...good?

The song is, "I Like It," and features Cardi B doing her usual boastful raps, but she actually has some solid verses in this song, seems to adapt her flow to fit the song's pace, and as the tune is her with other artists she doesn't wear out her welcome. In another interesting twist, a chunk of the song is in Spanish with Bad Bunny speaking both it as well as English, and J Blavin rapping exclusively in Spanish. That delightful international flair mixed with the energetic horns and booming bass make a song that immediately catches your ear and makes you tap your foot along. I'm a surprised as anyone that Cardi B is on a track I quite enjoyed, but let's just enjoy this nice turn of events.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

San Diego Comic-Con/Comic-Con International Starts Tomorrow

So, the big ol' comic-con known as San Diego Comic-Con/Comic-Con International happens tomorrow. As I remarked when it was a bit longer away, I won't be there. I mean, if I could get press access and have someone pay for my room and board I'd happily attend the show, but even if my little ol' blog is somewhat known these days, I doubt anyone is chomping at the bit to put-up a chunk of cash so I can offer my trademark snarky observations on a big comic-con (should someone want to do so though, feel free to offer to send me to NYCC). Anyways, preview night occurred today--e.g. the day that isn't open to the public--but starting tomorrow we will get all kinds of comic-book, toy, television, and movie news (oh, and video-games more and more lately too), and crowds will swarm to purchase those sweet, sweet exclusive goods.

Some of the biggest draws for SDCC/CCI in terms of products seem to be cool comic-book variant covers, Funko Pops, Lego, and basically anything that fits the three criteria of being cool, limited, and in high-demand. The show will also be packed with tons of celebrities and creators, cosplayers, and fans of all kinds of popular culture. I imagine it should hopefully be a good show and I'll of course discuss anything I find interesting enough to report on during as well as after the show.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Ranking The Three New Snickers Flavors Because, Um, Why Not?

As I grow older and increasingly fragile I have tried to eat better and be more physically active lest I die while still too young to officially complain about, "Kids these days." Plus, I don't want to have eaten so much junk food my corpse is already self-preserved and so full of McDonald's debris even the gators at the zoo I've instructed to have my body thrown into the pen of shall refuse to eat me. That said, I still struggle to drink less soda and will enjoy a candy bar from time to time. One bar I am a fan of is Snickers. They recently launched three new flavors and I tried them all. I shall rate them from my favorite to the flavor I hope to never taste again.

1. Salty and Sweet
This is perfect. It still tastes like a Snickers bar but has just the right extra bit of saltiness infused within it to result in a bit of an extra kick. I was very pleased with this flavor and count it among my favorites now along with the regular flavor and the version with almonds.

2. Espresso
While not bad by any means, I find the coffee flavor overrides the taste of this candy bar being a Snickers and results in what feels more like a generic mixture of chocolate, caramel, and coffee flavors. It's okay, in other words, but I won't be rushing back to have more.

3. Fiery
I like chocolate with spice, having had hot coca infused with chiles and other things of that nature. That said, this is just terrible. It at first tastes like a Snickers with some extra spoiled ingredient mixed in and then your mouth feels kind of hot for a bit. It is just nasty.

So there you go, I ate a bunch of candy bars and made a blog post out of it as an excuse to not feel bad for eating all these Snickers bars. Feel free to follow my recommendations or ignore them completely. I personally will be eagerly picking-up more Salty & Sweet Snickers at the store when able and passing on the mediocre Espresso and atrocious Fiery, so now the real challenge is not downing a bunch of these in just one day.