Saturday, March 31, 2018

The Fantastic Four Are Coming Back in Comic-Form...Yah?

Considering how little Marvel comics I read I sure am reporting a lot about them lately, ain't I? Anyways, hot on the heels of the news Marvel is killing-off the Inhumans they've announced the Fantastic Four are coming back in their own monthly comic. Basically, as soon as it looked like Marvel was going to be getting the film rights back to the X-Men and Fantastic Four from Fox--thanks to Marvel's owner Disney buying Fox--they undid all their efforts to either make due without the X-Men (pointless attempts to make the Inhumans popular) or to spite Fox (discontinuing the Fantastic Four comic).

The new, "Fantastic Four," will be written by Dan Slott with art by Sara Pichelli, so at least it will look good while everyone argues if Slott is a good writer or terrible one as the man seems to strongly divide opinion (I think he's decent). Now its only a matter of time before someone figures out how to make a decent, "Fantastic Four," movie, right? For my money making a flick focused on longtime antagonist Dr. Doom with an off-kilter style via Noah Hawley (of, "Legion," fame) sounds good.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Our Long National Nightmare is Over (Again), Marvel is Killing the Inhumans

I've been hard on the Marvel entity known as, "The Inhumans," before. While some individual characters are interesting, they as a whole are not. They make decent supporting characters but dull protagonists with only one story ever focused on them sticking-out in my mind as decent--the Paul Jenkins and Jae Lee mini-series from the earlier 2000's. Marvel of course desperately tried to make the Inhumans catch-on and be, "A thing," through various events and mini-series that garnered minimal interest--"Inhumanity," that thing where the X-Men and Inhumans fought, etc. There was going to be an Inhumans movie that got repeatedly delayed, then was turned into a television show that bombed horribly (it looked bad and was bad) and near as I can tell is effectively cancelled after 1 horrifically weak season.

Besides the exception of a few newer characters who happen to be Inhumans--Ms. Marvel/Kamala Khan comes to mind right away--people could give less than a damn about them. Marvel basically was trying to get people interested in the, "Inhumans," because they lacked the film-rights to the X-Men and the Inhumans were a theoretically good stand-in. Marvel is going to be buying Fox now though and reclaiming that property for film, so the Inhumans look extra redundant. Hence, Marvel's going to spare us all any more terrible stories and is killing off the Inhumans--with the exception of the few people like, I imagine.
The one Inhuman people may really care about.
Donny Cates is a super-hot writer right now who has made a number of great comics at an assortment of publishers and is currently tearing quite the streak of popular titles at Marvel. It was just recently announced that he will be writing, "The Death of the Inhumans," with Ariel Olivetti on art. All I can say is thank God. The Inhumans as an entertainment property is a well that ran dry long ago, a mine that quit giving gold, a dog that stopped barking, and other random weird metaphors for saying, "This shit has gotten old." I truly hope if anyone can wrangle an interesting yarn out of an Inhumans-focused story it is Donny Cates, but even if he can't salvage the Inhumans by killing them off, I'll understand.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

I Loved Visiting Comic Force in Branson!

My wife, Clarkson, and I recently took a trip to Branson. Whenever I'm on a vacation I of course love visiting comic-shops in other locations, so I took the opportunity to use, "The Google," and find that Branson now had a comic shop known as, "Comic Force." This is something I did not recall it having during a previous visit about 5 years ago. We stopped by there and chatted with the owners, Gale and Josh. I was impressed with how well-organized and inviting the store was, and doubly-impressed with the neat floor themed for comic-books.

There was an impressive selection of comics for sale with mainstream and independent publishers well-represented. They also had a great deal of Funko Pops available, and in the back of the store was a sizable set-up of tables and chairs for gaming-events. Gale said how they had been open a bit over a year and had started the shop as Branson was lacking a dedicated comic-shop and gaming-space. They said a number of local residents had pull-lists for comics and came for gaming events, plus tourists to the region (as Branson gets a lot of visitors) would often stop-by too.
I bought some back-issues that looked appealing and was pleased to see local creators had books for sale too which I eagerly picked-up as I love supporting independent and small-press comic-makers. My wife, Clarkson, and I all enjoyed our visit to Comic Force and loved the wide selection, friendly owners, and overall relaxing vibe of the place. We will be sure to stop by whenever we return to Branson and I'd encourage anyone visiting the area to stop by the store for sure. You can visit their website here or say hello to them on Facebook at this link!

Sunday, March 25, 2018

My First WildCon Was a Blast!

Saint Louis Community College at Wildwood for a number of years has held their mini-con, "WildCon," and this year I was able to attend for the first time! Put on yesterday by the department of Campus Life and College Transition, it has a bunch of student volunteers to help run it and was stellar!

Despite calling itself a, "Mini-Con," there was a ton of stuff going on! WildCon is completely free and geared towards being fun for families so there was great deal of activities for all ages--something I liked as sometimes cons seem to forget that there are younger fans of comic-culture out there! For all the ages there was everything from face-painting, to temporary tattoos, coloring, making your own cape and super-hero mask, old-school video-games hooked-up, and the Saint Louis Student Robotics Association was there with some incredibly cool robots that people could drive around with remote controls. Plus, as all good cons need there was a photo booth for cosplayers to take a picture at before taking part in the cosplay contest. I also quite enjoyed playing with the display of, "Devil sticks," which involves careful I enjoyed it but was by no means good at it! Throughout the day other activities occurred as well such as Magic Tournaments, karaoke, and there was cake!
I drew this.
I'm proud it only took me till I was this age to stay in the lines.
There were a number of creators present at the con, with Author Morgan Straughan Comnick of the, "Spirit Vision," series there, as well as talented caricature artist Andie. I met pocaster Jim Yelton of the, "Geek Universe," podcast, and ran into Mike Cole who I often see at comic-cons displaying his stupendous art! I especially was impressed with what app-maker Ryan Talbert had at the show. He was showcasing his new app, "HerdMap," which I had actually seen an ad for at an ice-cream shop the previous day! It is an app you can download to your phone and use to read reviews of local businesses--not unlike Yelp--but the really cool aspect is that a number of businesses have partnered with the app to provide coupons and deals exclusive to HerdMap. This makes it a great way to discover a new place to shop or eat and get a good deal. In addition, a portion of its profits are put towards animal-based charities. I've been fiddling with the app and find it quite user-friendly and intuitive. The majority of deals are based in Saint Louis for now but Ryan told me he had plans to expand it soon!

There were plenty of vendors at the show, from the always-radical STL Comics to other comic-sellers plus the great Anime-based store, Animeggroll. I also was impressed with the wares on display from Alexandra Geektique. I picked-up a first issue of the old, "Howard the Duck Magazine," as well as a trade collection of the trippy, "Supreme: Blue Rose," Warren Ellis and Tula Lotay did recently at the show, so I was pleased!
My first time at WildCon was was a blast! From all the fun activities, to great number of creators, to the packed vendor hall this free comic-con was awesome for kids, adults, and anyone who just loves having a great time! I plan to go again for sure next year in March of 2019 and will also have my wife and son come along so they can enjoy it too!

Friday, March 23, 2018

Film Friday: Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

The newest, "Jumanji," film is both kind of a sequel  thanks to a few clever references and clearly is its own standalone entity too. The game updates itself from being board-based to a digital world people are sucked into and hijinks ensue as this time it is a bunch of high-schoolers ending up in the world as avatars quite different from how they are in regular-life. If the actors portraying these avatars were poor the movie would have sucked. Thankfully, we get Karen Gillan, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, and the ever-enjoyable Dwayne, "The Rock," Johnson on the screen for the majority of this flick's just-right running time of 2 hours so all is well.

"Jumanji: Welcome the Jungle," probably struggles the most at the start when the kids who will be sucked into the game are introduced. They fit too easily into annoying cliches--"Nerdy guy," "Jock," "Self-absorbed girl," and, "Smart-but-socially-awkward girl," but that arguably has to be done so that when they find themselves in the world of, "Jumanji," it is all the more funny to see the shrimpy kid turn into The Rock, the tall jock become Kevin Hart, the awkward girl be a fit-and-cute Karen Gillan, and in a stellar performance, the narcissistic girl manifests in the game as a very upset Jack Black. Many of the best jokes come about from her at-first disgust at suddenly being a middle-aged man shifting into a zany joyous self-discovery as she gets used to having a penis (it's just cute and self-aware enough to not come-off as transphobic as I worried it at first might).
This gem is important for...reasons?
There is a plot, involving a gem that has to be put in statue or something, but the main source of entertainment is just watching the four cast-members squabble until mid-way through the movie when (mild spoilers ahead) a surprise fifth-player is introduced and played by a very convincingly confused Joe Jonas who thinks it is still 1996 and he hasn't been trapped in the game for over two decades. That Joe Jonas is actually a decent actor and can hold his own with the other four powerhouses was almost as much of a surprise as him showing-up (kudos to the movie for not blowing his appearance in trailers or such).

"Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle," is good fun thanks to a fantastic cast and managed to keep me consistently amused. I won't bother trying to compare it to the original as it is its own unique and highly enjoyable beast. The plot may be mostly forgettable, but the back-and-forth between the superb cast makes everything delightfully breezy. It's great fun and easily worth rating 4 out of 5 stars.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

They Don't Ever Call White Men Thugs or Terrorists, Do They?

They don't ever call white men, "Thugs," or, "Terrorists," do they? The, "They," in this case being the media, politicians, law-enforcement, etc. A white man can create bombs and kills a bunch of people but he isn't a terrorist, he's someone who is, "Challenged." I would say someone who creates bombs and puts them in random places to inspire fear is a terrorist. A 17 year-old boy who shoots a 16 year-old girl who doesn't want to date him anymore apparently is just a, "Lovesick teen." She was rendered brain-dead and is being taken off life support, by the way. I don't know about you, but a man who kills a woman because she didn't want to be romantically involved with him sounds a lot like a, "Thug," to me. I guess I'm wrong though, because these men were white, so they get the benefit of the doubt.

A black man is killed by the police or frankly any white man and he's judged somehow deserving of the fate. He obviously should've listened to the officer's orders, he was, "No angel," he was clearly a thug, or some other variation of, "He was black, he must have been guilty of something." Meanwhile, a white man shoots-up a school and it is fault of the students there for not choosing to #walkup and reassure the psychopath--good ol' victim-blaming. If a white man kills people it is society's fault, if a man of any other color or ethnicity gets killed it is his fault (and if its a woman, she should've been nicer to the white guy who killed her, but if the man was black he's terrible and she needs sympathy). The white man who murdered innocents was, "Mentally disturbed, picked-on, lovesick, didn't know what he was doing," but the black man who got murdered was, "Clearly in the wrong, should have listened, shouldn't have been where he was."
To say America doesn't have a racial double-standard is to tell a big fat lie. Because I'm a white man I could do something heinous and it would be reported in the news like...

David Bitterbaum, a loving husband and father was understandably upset that McDonald's told him there would be a wait for french-fries as they needed to cook more. He responded to this news by becoming blinded with grief to the degree he stole a hot-air balloon and experimental magnet, using them to temporarily borrow (or as some would say, "Steal,") the Saint Louis Arch, lifting it up and relocating it some counties over in the State Capitol, Jefferson City. Mr. Bitterbaum expressed regret about doing what he did and when reached for a comment, Governor Eric Greitens responded, "I don't approve of this young man's actions, but it helped distract the news-cycle from my sex scandal so I'm actually cool with this happening." Mr. Bitterbaum was released from police custody without any bail required and the District Attorney announced there will be an offer of a plea deal of community service that Mr. Bitterbaum can fulfill by teaching a free class about the history of comic-book character Moon Knight at the community center. "We feel he knows what he did was naughty and putting him in prison away from his son and wife just felt mean," was the reasoning given. "Like, McDonald's could have at least offered him a free soda while he waited, you know?"

Meanwhile, if a man of any other skin color did this it would either be reported he was a, "Dangerous criminal," or, "Deranged terrorist," that people want locked-up for stealing the Arch. My example seems silly and over-the-top, but is it really in a world where a white man commits mass-murder in Las Vegas with a bunch of assault rifles and he's described as appearing, "Polite, unhurried, unmemorable," but 12 year-old Tamir Rice is murdered and despite being an innocent child is somehow blamed for his own death? They don't ever call white men terrorists or thugs, but they really should when it clearly applies.

The Latest, "Deadpool 2," Trailer Looks Like More of the Same--In a Good Way

Because I am addicted to the internet I saw that the trailer for, "Deadpool 2," was posted and watched it a couple times already today. It's right above this text and good fun. It basically looks like more of the same from the first movie, and I mean that in a good way. It appears like it will be fun, silly, full of violence, and have a bunch of swearing.

I was amused how the preview name-drops, "X-Force," and even outright says it is basically a way to launch that franchise in one of the trailer's meta-moments. Ryan Reynolds was basically born to play Deadpool and Josh Brolin makes a suitably imposing Cable. It comes out in May with enough distance between it and the release of , "Avengers: Infinity War," that they shouldn't step on each other's toes. Fun fact: Brolin is also the voice of Thanos so he should theoretically get some hefty checks for royalties if he/his lawyers negotiated his deals well.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

March-Mania Links for the First Day of Spring

Not Quite Madness
I don't watch basketball so I can't say I have acquired the, "March Madness," everyone talks about. I do think I've got some quality links that could inspire a bit of excitement/Mania. It also is the first day of Spring today, although based on much of the weather across the United States you wouldn't believe it. There is still some killer stuff I've found and wanted to share, so let's begin!

Link Mania!
Let's lead-off with some exciting news, namely how the entire original creative team behind Kool Keith's Doctor Octagon persona are reuniting for a brand-new album. There was a 2006 LP without Keith's original collaborators of Dan the Automator and DJ QBert that was decent but lacked the same spark, so getting the initial gang back together has me pumped. This will either be very awesome or absolutely terrible, I'm thinking. 

I was intrigued by this article from Kotaku which talks about how, "Calvin and Hobbes," showed the issues that can arise with youth in organized sports

This article discusses how OJ may be a monster, but why does he get demonized and other famous killers like George Zimmerman get a pass? 

I don't have an Xbox One and my computer lacks the power to play it, but if I could, I'd be all-in on, "Sea of Thieves," which was officially released today. Full of sailing, swashbuckling, and other alliterative pirate-activities, it looks fun.

"The Matrix," couldn't have predicted the kind of messed-up internet we'd have in 2018, as well as how alt-right assholes would try to co-opt some of its symbolism and wording. It's still a great movie, though.

White Evangelicals abandoned a lot of their principles to support Donald Trump, a repugnant human being. This piece tries to make a little sense of how that happened.

I see so many people dismiss, "The Game," as a shoddy movie for an assortment of reasons, but I love the film and think the oft-derided ending is superb. I'm glad there are some other writers out there who love the flick as much as me!

The new DC, "Age of Heroes,"-themed comics tend to be fun, but apparently have had a bit of a mess getting who is doing what art straightened-out.

It isn't just DC with some problems however, as Marvel is shifting editors around for their upcoming, "Fresh Start," of comics in a manner a rudely sarcastic person might call akin to rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. I'm not that snarky though so I shan't actually say that.

Enjoy Spring...When it Actually Starts
I hope everyone has a great Spring when the actual Spring-weather kicks-in. Till then we shall huddle by our heaters.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

I Bought and Read Indie Comics from Etsy for Fun

Independent Reads From Etsy
Back in the day if you wanted to buy little handmade mini-comics or self-published books you needed to go to a comic shop that was cool sharing some shelf-space with local creators or be plugged-in to the various self-publishing and underground comix communities. Then the internet came along and people were able to put their stories online, which has resulted in a number of smash-hit web-comics. The thing is, I really like to be able to physically hold my comics and I like supporting independent creators, publishers too small to be in, "Previews," and people who just like to make comics sometimes as a hobby. This resulted in my realizing some time ago that Etsy is a stellar resource for finding indie comics.

Michel Fiffe is possibly the best-known person who sells their comics on Etsy, with his massively popular and awesome, "COPRA," still being sold on the platform. There are countless other people who produce and sell comics too on the website. In my desire to find some I spent a chunk of time searching-around Etsy for comics and mini-comics that looked neat and ordered a variety to read and share my thoughts about. I didn't tell any of these people I was going to spotlight their works on my blog but will of course notify them I shared my thoughts once this post is up. I was very pleased with what I received from creators, with many clearly putting their passion into these titles. Should you want to read their works too you can always follow links I'll provide as well at the end of each comic I discuss. Shall we?

The Comics
How to Make Everything Out of Cardboard by Kaila of Nun Comix
This is a very brief mini-comic that only cost me a single dollar and for sure provides more than enough entertainment to make me feel I got my money's worth. Drawn in a cute and scratchy style, the author, Kaila, shares about her love of hoarding cardboard and making random stuff out of it. I am someone who also likes to hoard random things such as packaging supplies (paper, bubblewrap, etc.) as I always feel I can reuse it whenever I mail stuff and hate the idea of wasting stuff like those air-pocket plastic things. I greatly enjoyed this mini-comic, and as I said, it is only a dollar! Follow this link to buy your own copy!

Ghoul Time by Serenity Sersecion
The full title is, "Ghoul Time: First Crush Comic Book," and this fun romance-themed mini-comic follows two undead creatures as they explore the graveyard for another person that one of them has a crush on. Sersecion's art-style is energetic and peppy, with a dash of a manga-influence in the way the characters appear too. It also is really sweet and makes me hope there will be a follow-up where we witness a date between the characters who state they feel an, "Affection," towards one another. You can learn more about, "Ghoul Time," and purchase your own copy here.

Tetraspace #2 by Foxy AKA EatMoreCat
While this is a second issue, each one is advertised as being a stand-alone tale that is, "Twilight Zone-esque," in nature. I adore a good twisty sci-fi yarn so I was eager to purchase this book illustrated by the Esty user selling it! Set in the early 1980's and following a young couple in love but stuck living far apart, I found it a good read with quite a clever surprise twist--I don't want to spoil the supernatural-element that makes things cleverly weird, but it surprised me when it occurred and the story took a very dark turn. This smaller-sized comic was fantastic and I'd recommend you acquire yourself a copy via this link.

Rising Sun #1 by Kensai Productions
"Rising Sun," is the latest release from Kensai Productions which is a small indie-publisher headed-up by Edward Sims, who also wrote this issue. It was only $4.50 with free shipping for a full-sized and quite thick comic loaded with a variety of stories. The book reminds me a bit of G.I. Joe (in a good way) with assorted military-styled characters coming together or fighting. The art by Brian Balondo is quite solid and wouldn't be out-of-place in a mainstream release. The whole comic is very professionally done and highly enjoyable with its action-packed vignettes. Also, Kensai Productions was kind enough to throw-in a free copy of one of their older titles, "Black Arrow #1," which was much appreciated and features the character of, "Black Arrow," who also plays a role in this first issue of, "Rising Sun." Should you want to buy your own copy just follow this link!

Globule by Spidersaurus
This mini-comic was dark and disgusting--in a good way! Focusing on a young dinosaur-woman and her friend discussing various life-troubles before towards the end things take a supernatural and body-horror styled turn with a monstrous dead animal. It's a weird and esoteric read that kind of reminded me of Michael DeForge's style of otherworldly story-telling and hyper-detailed gross bits. It's a disorienting comic but one I greatly enjoyed being made uneasy by. You can buy a copy here!

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Avengers: Infinity War Trailer and Some Scattered Thoughts

The last, "Big," trailer before, "Avengers: Infinity War," hits theaters this April 27th arrived upon the internet yesterday. It was a pleasant way to start the weekend and you can watch it right up above this post. I just wanted to share some thoughts about it, helpfully collected in various talking-points...

Infinity stones explained!
I was happy to see the trailer have the characters just straight-up discussing how Thanos wants the Infinity Stones and that's why he is coming to Earth. I was kind of worried almost the entire movie would be, "Who is this guy, what does he want from us?" and would end with that finally revealed for a sequel where the, "Real fight," then happens. Thank God that isn't the case and everyone earlier on will know what the deal is.

The Guardians of the Galaxy meet the Avengers
We all were waiting for that magic moment Chris Pratt's smart-ass Star-Lord would exchange a quip with Robert Downey Junior's smart-ass Iron Man. We got to see that and I loved it.

No love for Hawkeye
This trailer lacked certain Marvel characters, with Ant-Man being MIA. One really notable absence considering he's been there from the start however would be Clint Barton AKA Hawkeye. The dude ain't even on posters for the movie. He kind of got some of the spotlight in, "Avengers: Age of Ultron," but has basically been everyone's least-favorite Avenger since then in terms of the movies. Poor guy.

Spider-Man is always a delight
Tom Holland continues to make a great Peter Parker/Spider-Man with his quip at the end about Doctor Strange and how they must be using their, "Made-up names," is absolutely hilarious.

We got to see more of Wakanda and it is clear that Thanos and his forces will be attacking there. It should be a good time watching what appears to be Steve Rogers, Bucky, Black Widow, Black Panther along with the army of Wakanda fighting Thanos' evil forces.

Chris Evans looks good with a beard
Chris Evans makes a good Captain America, and he also looks quite snappy with a beard. I hope he doesn't have to shave it during the movie as its a good look.

The Vision's gonna die, right?
My last thought is one that isn't in the trailer, but we all know that The Vision is in some serious trouble right? If the whole point of the Infinity Gauntlet is for Thanos to get all the stones, he will need to rip it right out of The Vision's forehead in what will most likely be a violent and climatic movie-moment. I mean, it could possibly not happen, but I'm pretty sure it will.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Explaining Saint Louis-Style Pizza to Everyone Else, An Article in Three Parts

Part One: What is Saint Louis-Style Pizza?

When talking about pizza and the styles of it people often like to talk about, "Chicago-style Deep Dish," versus grabbing a nice slice of New York za' and all the other regional pizza-styles you can enjoy. One thing you can't find outside of where it actually originated however is Saint Louis-style pizza due to a variety of factors--with one being you can't find the cheese it uses anywhere else. Yes, seriously.

There is a pizza-chain known in the Saint Louis region as, "Imo's," which prides itself on being, "The Square Beyond Compare," and serving Saint Louis-style pizza. This entails the pizza being on a very thin crust, with a light tomato sauce, and provel cheese. Provel cheese a mixture of cheddar, swiss, and provolone that is known for its gooey and buttery texture. People who like this kind of pizza say it is a nice thin-crust with a, "Clean bite," and people who hate Saint Louis-style pizza declare they feel like they're biting into a cracker with a bit of tomato paste and a chemical hellbeast of mutated cheese on top.

Part Two: Why Didn't it Spread?
While other kinds of pizza migrated outside of their region of origin to some degree, Saint Louis-style pizza continues to really only be accessible within Saint Louis and areas not too far from it. As for why this may be...frankly, most people who try this kind of pizza hate it. Seriously, they despise it to the level where you only see it discussed outside of the region if people are dumping on it or posting pieces, "In defense of," it. The idea that nobody has ever felt a need to make an article, "In defense of deep dish," tells you a lot about the perception of pizza from STL.

The first time I tried Saint Louis-style pizza I was thrown by the unique flavor of Provel cheese and how crunchy the crust was. I didn't like it much. Then I tried it again and liked it a bit more. Also, for some reason getting it topped with bacon made it really good. I now can eat it even without bacon and enjoy it. It's a different kind of flavor texture, but it is an acquired taste that many hate. When I have friends or family visit and give them some Saint Louis-style pizza to try they almost always respond to it with a mixture of shock and revulsion. I'm not saying this to be mean, I'm just trying to explain to everyone that Saint Louis-style pizza is unique in a way that sometimes only people native to the region can appreciate, along with folk open to giving it a chance like myself--hence, it didn't spread. Honestly though, to whatever degree some people dislike Saint Louis-style pizza, residents here love it that much more.

Part Three: Why Do Residents of Saint Louis Love it?
Within the city of Saint Louis right in the dairy aisle people can actually buy Provel cheese to put upon their own pizza, sandwiches, or whatever they like. As Provel cheese can't be bought outside of this area it is something super-common here but rare everywhere else. I was talking with a cheese-monger at Schnucks (a local grocery chain) once and he told me that they would sometimes have people buy a massive amount of provel cheese and pay the cost of shipping it overnight on dry ice to some far-away state due to how they were former STL-residents who couldn't kick their hankering for the stuff. As I said, as much as some people hate Saint Louis-style pizza, other's adore it tenfold more.

I am not exactly sure why residents of Saint Louis love this unique style of pizza so much. It has grown on me during my extensive time living in the region but I still don't have as much affection as some people who swear up-and-down they won't eat any kind of pizza but the kind made at Imo's. It might be that people just really love the cheese's taste, the unique super-thin crust texture, or it could all come down to pride, with the rage felt by those who live Saint Louis at their pizza being made fun of overpowering any logic pointing out that it is honestly a delicacy with a unique flavor profile that not everyone will like. Whatever the reason people in this region love Saint Louis-style pizza, it is without a doubt something interesting which I would encourage anyone who comes to this area to try, or if you have a ton of money you could always call-up a local grocery story and get some blocks of Provel cheese mailed-over.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Coke's New Georgia Peach and California Raspberry Flavors Are Disgusting Abominations

I am a big fan of Coca-Cola. When it comes to ranking colas I go: Coke > RC Cola > Store-Brand Cola > Motor Oil >Pepsi, in the order I'd be willing to drink those. I'm not super-picky or weird about Coke having flavors either. I have a great fondness for Cherry Coke, enjoy a Vanilla Coke now-and-then, don't really like Diet Coke but can drink it, and quite miss the old coffee-flavored Coke known as, "Blak," that existed once upon a time.

Clearly I'm not a purist when it comes to Coke flavors, but Lord help me these new, "Georgia Peach," and, "California Raspberry," flavors are grotesque excuses for soft drinks. They taste more artificial than you could imagine, with the overpowering punch-in-the face of peach being just as miserable as the cloying pseudo cough-syrup zing of Raspberry that sticks in your mouth like an unwelcome visitor. They are both nasty, but I think peach is just a little bit worse as it is so overpowering in its nastiness, while raspberry sneaks-up on you more with the grossness.
Not pictured: how they all retched after drinking these.
I'm not sure if it's just me as I've seen some pretty positive reviews for these new flavors. I think these are absolutely wretched however and will stick with the flavors I know I love as opposed to these poor excuses for refreshments. I just hope someday we get a Coca-Cola mixed with orange juice as I already love manually making that and how good it tastes--it even has an official drink-name, going by the moniker of"Muddy Water." Eventually we'll get that, I hope.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Reminder: I Have a Patreon!

I just wanted to remind everyone I have a Patreon and should you love my blog so much you want to give me even a dollar a month that'd be awesome. I would use this money to help pay for hosting expenses for the blog, buying more stuff to review, and probably honestly blow some of it on snacks. I got a button working on my blog so that people can easily visit my Patreon and of course you can also just click this link if you want to learn more. There is no pressure to support my Patreon, of course, as I'll keep on doing this whether it makes me money or costs me money.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Today's ToyMan Show was Fantastic Yet Again!

I have now often written about the Toyman shows put on Chris, "Toyman," McQuillen. They continue to be amazing fun and always have awesome stuff to purchase. I was sure to come by again today bright and early (although Daylight Savings slowed me down). First I said hello to my chums at The Comic Grind bus outside the show before I headed in to do some buying! It may have been cold and the dreaded morning after we, "Spring Forward," and lose an hour of sleep, but the show was still packed with folk worth chatting with about toys and comics as well as awesome vendors such as the good folk at STL ComicsWayne Kent Comics, and Toys of Our Youth--all vendors I highly recommend buying from.

 I realized something today as well. While the Toyman shows often have guests, I don't usually discuss them--which is unfair to the ToyMan shows as they get some cool folk! For example at this show there were special guests such as artist and actor Tim Proctor as well as actor and former WCW Wrestler Bishop Stevens.
Tim Proctor and Bishop Stevens.
Both have been on shows such as, "The Walking Dead," and they were very friendly and eager to speak with attendees. They also were kind enough to pose for a photo together for the blog. In addition, I ran into a member of the professional cosplay group, Curvy Kitty Cosplay, who was super nice and excited to discuss cosplay! Toyman shows often get actors, comic-creators, cosplayers, and more, so I should really make sure I mention the guests too as I don't want to short-change all the awesome stuff at Toyman and just talk about the vendors--although as always there were plenty of superb vendors!

For my pick-ups at the show, I was able to acquire some assorted newer Ashcans for a variety of comics series at a good price as well as an old first-printing of, "Zap Comix #0," which is a fascinating piece of history for anyone interested in R. Crumb and underground comic-books. I also got some random dollar comics that caught my eye and I was going to buy a Funko Pop of Bullseye, the Target mascot, but I decided to browse a bit more first and by the time I walked back to the vendor it had been sold--yet more proof that the old saying is right how the time to buy something is when you see it!
Some ashcans and Zap Comix #0
Today at the Toyman Show I had a delightful time meeting guests, shopping, and just enjoying looking at all the assorted wares from comics, to Funko Pops, die-cast cars, dolls, and much, much more. The Toyman show is always a good time and I encourage everyone to come to one sometime! The next Toyman event will be on May 6th and you can visit the website here to learn more.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Gideon Falls #1 is Bewildering, Ominous, and Gorgeous

I read the new horror-themed Image title, "Gideon Falls," and found myself quite enjoying it. That shouldn't be a surprise as it is written by the talented Jeff Lemire and illustrated by the amazing Andrea Sorrentino. This creative team has of course worked together before, be it during a run on, "Green Arrow," for DC or the, "Old Man Logan," comic at Marvel. Sorrentino's art style is just abstract and stylish enough to really grab the reader's eye while not being overly garish or difficult to decipher. Meanwhile Lemire's writing always seems to be its best when he's allowed to tell a yarn at whatever pace he likes, with some (but not all) of his Marvel and DC work feeling rushed or incomplete but his pieces done for other publishers usually giving the sensation of being allowed to, "Breathe," a good deal. They make a good team, in other words.

In its first issue, "Gideon Falls," introduces us to two characters who don't yet know each other but their paths will surely cross sooner than later. Plenty of mysteries are introduced (what is this black barn?) and we get a nice sinister vibe throughout the whole issue. We have an old priest who has been called to town due to a death of the town's previous holy man, and things clearly aren't quite right. Also witnessed is a young man obsessed with gathering random garbage for an unclear reason when not reassuring his therapist he's perfectly fine. A few other characters pop-in but as a sudden and gruesome death at the end of the first issue makes clear, things are going to get bloody fast.
"Gideon Falls," has atmosphere to spare and sets a lot of groundwork for an intriguing story. It also is outright gorgeous. My only issue is that so many questions are raised I worry how long it will take to begin getting any answers. I'm excited to keep reading however and see where things go.
4.5 out of 5 stars.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

DC's Newly Announced, "Black Label," Line Sounds Like a Bland Concept With Potentially Stellar Comics

It had been rumored for a bit, but today DC officially announced their new, "Black Label line," of comics which will basically consist of R-rated and potentially out-of-continuity stories featuring popular characters. It is a little funny as back in the day DC's now-basically-dead Vertigo line was kind of an, "R-rated Elseworlds," and the current oft-delayed books in the, "Young Animal," line can be pretty mature what-with the swearing--and let's be honest, this line sounds like an excuse to let Batman say an unedited, "Fuck," and maybe show some illustrated breasts as DC already has shared extreme violence with us in the past via their non-mature readers comics (remember when it felt like every DC book had to feature someone getting an arm ripped-off? Wild times). This whole, "Black Label," honestly sounds like a somewhat dumb idea except for the fact that the announced books actually appear like they could be really, really good.

Putting aside how annoying, "Black Label," sounds as a line name (is DC trying to riff-on alcohol brands to seem extra grown-up?) the creative teams are mostly solid, with people like Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo working on Batman and Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo doing a book about the Dark Knight as well,  John Ridley's earlier-disclosed book about the, "Other history," of the DC Universe being a part of this, Kelly Sue Deconnick and Greg Rucka both writing a Wonder Woman title, and, um, Frank Miller giving us, "Superman: Year One," with John Romita Jr. That last one could be good or an abomination (hey, I said the teams were, "Mostly solid," not entirely).
If these titles had simply been announced as general comics that were possibly not a part of the, "Main," DC continuity I would have still been intrigued by many of them. This whole, "Black Label," however sounds like a bland concept--"Elseworlds with boobies and cursing!"--with some potentially stellar content from the creative teams. I'm for sure curious about almost all of the announced books and want to at least give them a shot regardless of if they are a part of this new Black Label, or whatever other line DC wants to throw-out a name for.

Whether the, "Black Label," as a concept is a hit or a miss is really only of concern for me if it possibly means we will get more cool-sounding books announced. If I have to put-up with DC using this dumb new name for a line of really cool comics I'll withstand the idiocy of how it'll sound when I go into the comic shop and ask for the latest, "Black Label," as if I'm ordering a drink. Now we just need to wait for the books to come-out and hopefully be great.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

The Hot Comics Revue: Fifth-Entry Fun

Wait, I've Done Five of These Now?
With this edition of the Hot Comics Revue we now will have had five total segments. If this segment were chocolate chip cookies by the time you were at this number you would be feeling gluttonous, a little ashamed, and slightly nauseated. So, basically how I felt watching last night's episode of, "The Bachelor," when it turned out Arie was a jerk. Anyways, let's talk about a comic that is warming up, some red-hot titles, and a book with steamy potential...

A Comic That is Warming-Up

Bloodborne #1
I am by no means a fan of the game, but this new series about the world where, "Bloodborne," takes place (or something like that) has been generating heat. The first issue officially sold-out at the distributor level and people on sites like eBay have been doing pretty well selling individual issues or sets of all three covers. The market for comics that tie-in with video-games can be notoriously finicky, but if lovers of the game stay interested this could continue to get warmer.

Red-Hot Titles
Thanos #13-#16
Donny Cates has been discussed by the Hot Comics Revue before, because the man just seems to produce books that are both great reads and best-sellers. Now, you might have heard about this, "Avengers: Infinity War," movie coming-out soon that heavily features Thanos, and ever since Cates took over writing the title from issue #13 on, issues have been selling like hotcakes. His new-ish character of the Cosmic Ghost Rider is already a fan-favorite, and sets of the all the issues that have come-out so far (we are up to #16) get bought faster than people can list them.

Marvel announced the Cosmic Ghost Rider was getting his own spin-off mini-series, and Cates is going to be writing even more Marvel books (he's taking over for, "Venom,") so don't expect him to slow down his work anytime soon. Whatever the case, right now this book isn't just red-hot, it's nuclear!
 Amazing Spider-Man #795 & #796
After some time without any Marvel hits we now have two that are hot! Ever since Norman Osborn started popping-up in the latest issues of, "Amazing Spider-Man," and enacted a plan to merge with the Carnage symbiote, this has been one snatched-up title. Issues #795 and #796 easily command at least $10-$20 dollars online and folk selling sets of the book with those two issues are making serious bank as well.

While Osborn has been using Carnage, the big question is when he will become the much-hyped, "Red Goblin," that is sure to set the aftermarket on fire. Tomorrow we get, "Amazing Spider-Man #797," and it'll most likely also be hot, but if we finally get the debut of the Red Goblin within its pages then we will have an extra-hot commodity on our hands.

A Book with Steamy Potential
Ice Cream Man #1 and #2
I know, I know, when the publisher (Image) has put out press-releases about how the first issue has sold-out the book is maybe a little past just, "Steamy." That said, while copies of the first issue as well as the second are selling at higher levels on sites such as eBay, they still are relatively reasonable in terms of the kind of mark-up they are showing on the secondary market. Image properties have had a tendency to either get really hot a bit later thanks to getting optioned or to absolutely crater in value if delays or other problems occur, but for some reason I have an inkling this might do more of the good former than the bad latter.

This book is ripe for at least the concept of a Twilight-zone style anthology to be expanded into a show--I mean, "Black Mirror," is a hit on Netflix, why doesn't another streaming service snatch-up, "Ice Cream Man," and get some accolades? Should such a thing happen this series could skyrocket in value beyond the already-solid numbers it shows...but again, it could easily fizzle out too, as that is the risk with any kind of comic-book speculation.

Monday, March 5, 2018

I Had An Enormous Amount of Fun at the Winter One Day!

It Was a Great Time!
Yesterday I attended the Winter One Day put on STL Comics. It was even more fun than I had expected, with my meeting all kinds of neat people and getting a ton of great stuff. I thought I would break things down into those two categories, and offer some closing thoughts as well.

Cool People I Saw
A bunch of people entered as soon as the doors opened to begin the show!
While at the show I ran into old chums like Justin of Wayne Kent Comics who always has stellar books, as well as my friend James who has Cabal Books. Bigfoot Comics was on the floor as well, with a ton of books, including some really snazzy old underground reads. Lisa from Geekery Gal had a wide selection of delightful geek-themed jewelry that was impressive as always, and I ran into some of the pleasant folk from Toys of Our Youth. In addition, I was greatly impressed by the art on display from Wood + Laser who had some striking laser-engraved pieces featuring everything from comic-book characters, to fantasy, and sci-fi. Not to mention, I ran into David of Callisto Comics who had some recently-released books from his own shop he'd pulled for me and was kind enough to bring to the show. Plus, there were vendors-upon-vendors besides the ones who I have already mentioned selling tons of comics and toys. Speaking of all the awesome wares, how about I share some of the items I was able to purchase or trade for?

Great Stuff I Got
Xeno-Guardian Red Visor Go! and Pusherman
At the show I was pleased to meet the creator of, "Xeno-Guardian Red Visor Go!," and editor of, "Pusherman," two different comics that both sounded cool. "XGRVG," is an all-ages book that sounded fascinating to me as it is about a young woman who gains the power of the super-hero from an old television show she watched years ago, and is able to use powers through remembering the show. It basically is a comic about the power of nostalgia and all the positives and negatives our love for the past can cause us. As I've written extensively about nostalgia and the concept of, "Weaponized nostalgia," this of course appealed to me right away. Plus, the comic's fun manga-esque art was really cool too. Pusherman is a comic about the rise of crack-cocaine in the 1980's and looked extremely interesting so I was eager to pick it up as well. You can learn more about Xeno-Guardian Red Visor Go at its Facebook page or Twitter account, and check-out Pusherman here.

"Ironclad," is a trade paperback by Mark Stegbauer that follows the adventures of a young man named Max Clad who acquires an alien battle suit while on Summer vacation and has to protect Earth. It comes out later this year from Committed Comics but Mr. Stegbauer had some advance copies for sale. Between the fun concept and snazzy artwork I was eager to buy a copy--plus I got a snazzy free print!

Some older and newer cheesecake comics
I have a soft-spot for the old 1990's comics with their over-the-top violence and cheesecake. These old, "Swimsuit specials," were worth grabbing for that reason and as I'm a fan of J. Scott Campbell I couldn't pass-up this swanky black-and-red variant cover to the first issue of the recent re-launch of, "Vampirella."

An assortment of trade paperbacks
I spotted theese old trade paperbacks by Warren Ellis and Mike Wolfer and made sure to grab them. As there was a deal if we bought four trades I grabbed the random, "Duke Nukem," one too out of a morbid curiosity.

The first-ever issue of, "Criminal"
I'm a big fan of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, so I was overjoyed to find a very reasonably priced copy of the first-ever issue from the debut arc of their series, "Criminal." While there were plenty of stellar story-lines, the first one, "Coward," always just stuck with me the most. A fantastic find!
Two old Marvel books
"Deathlok," always had such good covers, and I've been told, "DP7," was the one good comic to come out of the, "New Universe," debacle of the 1980's. There were only a buck each so I couldn't pass them up!

Stabbity Bunny #2 Variant
I've made it no secret I'm a big fan of, "Stabbity Bunny," and that made me very excited to pick-up this awesome variant cover for issue #2 featuring a hilariously twisted homage to, "A Clockwork Orange." It is delightfully, "Wrong," for sure.

Closing Thoughts
There was a big crowd but it was still possible to navigate comfortably.
The Winter One Day put on by STL Comics is a comic-con in its purest and most joyous form. It was all about geek-culture and didnt have anyone randomly selling leaf-gutter guards. It was a show focused on comics, toys, geek-themed jewelry, and otherwise was just wonderful. There was a big crowd of people enjoying looking at all the books from the expensive to cheap, underground to mainstream, and it was just plain fun.

There were comic-creators there, and they were given respect and attention as opposed to some pop-culture cons where the focus is on D-list celebrities like your Tara Reid's or such and amazing creators are ignored. I saw a lot of families with young children, which made sense as tickets were a reasonable $5 with anyone 10-and-under free, something that encourages people to bring their young folk and get a whole new generation interested in comics, toys, and all the awesome stuff at the show. It is hard to deny there is a special magic to a comic-con that makes sure to emphasize that, "Comic," part.

I had an amazing time yesterday at the Winter 1 Day and encourage everyone to check out STL Comics on Facebook so you can be aware of what else they have coming-up in the future. For anyone who lives in or near Columbia Missouri, they will be having a Micro-Con May 20th, and while I may or may not be able to make it out that far, I would recommend anyone close enough go for sure. STL Comics knows how to put on a good show and as long as they keep doing them I'll be sure to keep saying how rad they are!