Wednesday, October 31, 2018

I Wish Everyone a Happy Halloween!

It is October 31st of 2018 which means that today is Halloween! I hope everyone enjoys today whether they're out getting candy, handing goodies out, or hiding in their house with all the lights off hoping nobody knocks on their door because they want to hoard all the sweets for themselves. Samii and I will most likely be taking Clarkson trick-or-treating around the neighborhood and/or at a Mall depending on if the weather is nice or turns out to be cold and rainy as has been declared a possibility. Either way, it should be a fun evening and night!

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Television Tuesday: "Great Day Saint Louis," is Stellar

You all know the stereotype about those local morning shows in various regions. The kind that go, "Wake Up [Area Name]," or, "Good Morning [Area Name]," and exist nation-wide. The idea is that they tend to be hokey, silly, or not worth watching. Well, I'm happy to say that, "Great Day Saint Louis," defies this cliche by being a really good morning show I love. On KMOV (a CBS affiliate), there are generally three hosts (although sometimes one is off or on an assignment): Kent Ehrhard, Laura Hettiger, and Matt Chambers, if one is listing them in alphabetical order by first name, although they are all equally delightful. Kent, Laura, and Matt do the show with a mixture of good humor, sincerity, and good-natured sarcasm that makes it stellar.

One other stereotype of these morning shows is that the hosts are oblivious to when something is silly or dumb, but this crew is fully cognizant of when they do something absurd, having a self-awareness about the more silly news stories or segments they discuss that makes everything all the more enjoyable. The show runs an hour from 9AM-10AM Central Time on Monday through Friday and has all the usual stuff from local news to national stuff, weather forecasts, and occasional cooking segments, movie reviews, etc. They work a lot of content into the show and I always am eager to hear their take on everything from local to world events. If you live in the viewing area I would encourage you to tune-in to, "Great Day Saint Louis," and if not you can always watch fun clips of their segments on their website. The only thing that would make the show greater is if someday my blog gets big enough they bring me on to talk about popular-culture subjects like some kind of expert (which I'd never claim to be, but I am pretty nerdy, something Matt and I have in common  based on how excited he gets about comic-books too).

Monday, October 29, 2018

"Wailing Blade," #1 Review

I like Comixtribe, they always put out interesting and quirky books. I was a big fan of, "Sink," when I had the chance to acquire a digital copy for review ahead of its release and was pleased when it became a big hit thanks to its great quality. They've been promoting an upcoming comic for a bit now, "Wailing Blade." The first issue had a special release at NYCC 2018 and some copies were sold online (along with a free digital copy that was temporarily available, a nice promotion). I purchased a copy of #1 as I wanted to give it a read figuring a Comixtribe book was bound to be good (plus it had Joe Mulvey on art, whose work is great). Having read the first issue of, "Wailing Blade," I can say I loved it and am eager for more!

"Wailing Blade," takes place in a far-flung future well after society collapsed. This results in the world being a mixture of medieval-type structures and living conditions mixed with super-advanced technology--remnants of the long-lost past. Writer Rich Douek has a clever idea here, with the only other examples of this sort of, "Post-post apocalypse," I can think of being maybe, "Horizon Zero Dawn," and a handful of books and short-stories. Within this world there is the Headtaker, who is a soldier and executioner of sorts of the land's ruler known only as the, "Tyrant." The Headtaker is a very scary guy, and he wields the titular Wailing Blade--a massive sword that can do some serious damage. This debut issue alternates between following the exploits of the Headtaker as well as a handful of rebels who fight against the Tyrant called, "Windcleavers." The Headtaker is clearly the bad-guy here, working for a ruler whose name even declares them a fascistic dictator, but he still is an interesting character to witness the adventures of, along with the rag-tag group of Windcleavers struggling to survive in a world falling under total control of evil.
As I noted earlier, Joe Mulvey is the artist and his drawing always impresses. Whether he's illustrating the surreal mixture of a lush landscape along future/ancient technology, or portraying the Wailing Blade ripping-up people in a most graphic fashion, Mulvey's art is fantastic and makes each page gorgeous. Between Douek's story and Mulvey's drawing this is a stellar debut for the new series. I am excited for when this first issue has its official release in (I believe) 2019 and will be sure to order myself a copy of it and all future issues!
5 out of 5 stars.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

It's 2018 in America but Jews Are a Great Scapegoat in Any Year or Country

11 people killed simply for being Jewish.
I was raised Jewish but I will be the first to admit I am terrible at practicing my religion at all. That a madman murdered innocent people for being Jewish still hurts my soul. The question should not be the ignorant one our President asked—Why wasn’t the Synagogue armed?” as opposed to, “Why should we think a place of religion needs to be armed?” Is there that much hatred towards a religious group we need to arm their place of worship? I ask that question then see our country’s fear of any kind of Muslim and recall when they started blaming the Muslims for everything after 9/11. It was terrible and I figured it was only so long till they started blaming Jews again too. 

Jews always make great scapegoats throughout history—that’s why all my Jewish relatives who came to America were fleeing something. They were escaping the Pogroms, the Holocaust, etc. They came to America for safety for themselves and their children. It’s 2018 and people were shot in cold-blood for being the, “Wrong religion,” by a murderer convinced Jews were ruining the country and behind things like the, “Migrant caravan.” This was in the same weekend a man sending mail-bombs to people he thinks are enemies of the, “Real America,” was finally located along with his van plastered with pro-Trump, alt-right imagery plus pictures of liberals with cross-hairs over them (in addition to declarations that the media can't be trusted). Our so-called leader accepts no responsibility for his disgusting rhetoric inspiring a rise in hatred, blaming his foes and only stoking the rage-fires of his unquestioning followers—telling them only to trust his word and no one else’s claims. It’s 2018 in America, but the hateful past returns. Jews make great scapegoats, just look at Germany in the 1930’s for proof of that—or you can simply glance at America today.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Megyn Kelly Actually Got Fired From/Left the, "Today Show."

I was just discussing Wednesday how much I didn't care for Megyn Kelly as a person or as someone dragging-down the, "Today Show." I made that post as her ignorant comments on blackface being, "Okay for Halloween," in her mind astounded me. Well, it is now late Friday and as the past few days have shown I guess NBC was eager to have an excuse to get Megyn Kelly off the air as she's gone from the, "Today Show," and may very well have her 69 million dollar contract bought-out by NBC to simply go far, far away. I don't feel sorry for Kelly--after all, she'll possibly be getting 69 million smackers to simply not work anymore--but I do have some sympathy for the rest of the, "Today Show," staff that maybe will have to act a little sad she's departing even though all the scuttlebutt I ever read indicated nobody liked her much.

Personally, I think NBC needs to go and grovel to Tamron Hall to please come back, because man do I miss her (while they're at it, Ann Curry is still well overdue an apology as well). This article from the, "New York Times," helps sum-up what a wild week it was. I have fallen in love with, "Great Day Saint Louis," which runs at the same time so I'll most likely tape the 3rd hour when it starts-up Monday without Megyn Kelly--I am curious to see what it will be like for sure.

Funko Friday: Wackly Wobblers!

We all know Funko makes Funko Pops, but before they started doing those around 2011/2012 they actually had been around since 1998 and were known for their fun bobble-heads called, "Wacky Wobblers." I was able to acquire two of them thanks to Offerup and thought I would show them off. They are Count Chocula and Frankenberry! Funnily enough, the original Funko Pops of these two (and Boo Berry) are among some of the hardest to find. Funko actually just released new versions of them holding cereal bowls that collectors were eager to snatch-up considering the original Pops of the monster cereal fellows can trend for hundreds of dollars. I myself like how old-school these wobblers are and am happy Funko continues to make new ones even if there isn't nearly as much demand as for their Pops. They are just quite fun, and even really old ones like these were relatively inexpensive to acquire compared to what the old Pops of these guys run!

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Two Cool Things Are Released Tomorrow

Fun On the Horizon!
It is currently late Thursday night and I am excited about two cool things that are being released tomorrow. One is a television show on Netflix and the other is a highly anticipated video-game.

Cool Thing #1: "Castlevania," Season 2
The first season of the, "Castelvania," television show--which popped-up on Netflix--was written by Warren Ellis (crafter of stellar comics and books) and produced by Adi Shankar. It had a cool anime-look, was loaded with action as well as humor, and I quite liked it even if I felt at just four episodes it felt more like a taste/prologue than a full show. The latest season begins streaming on Netflix tomorrow, October 26th, and is now eight episodes which if my math is correct means we get double the number of episodes for this season! I've never been a huge fan of the games (I played some of them, they're alright), but I'm quite excited for more of this awesome show!

Cool Thing #2: "Red Dead Redemption #2"

This is the first new video-game to come out of the company Rockstar since, "Grand Theft Auto 5," in 2013, so you know they've been hard at work on this one. Despite the, "2," in its name this is actually a prequel to the first, "Red Dead Redemption," and sounds like massive game full of little details, fun adventures, and otherwise is jam-packed with goodness as lots of Rockstar's titles are. There was some controversy over just how hard the employees had to work (e.g. forced overtime) to get it done, but as of tomorrow here it will be for people to enjoy. I play video-games a lot less now that we have a son, but maybe at some point I'll be able to rent (or buy in the future once the price has gone down some or the inevitable, "Game of the Year," edition has come out), "Red Dead Redemption 2," for my PS4 and take-in what is apparently quite a marvelous game based on early buzz.

Reviews of "Thanos Wins," and, "The People Vs. The Justice League," Thanks to my Local Libraries!

Libraries are the Best!
I have written before about my fondness for the local libraries in our area. Since both have been renovated both the super-big Daniel Boone branch as well as the freshly-redone Grand Glaize location are spectacular. Saint Louis County seriously has some stellar libraries (and the City of Saint Louis itself has some superb spots too). I was able to check-out two trade paperbacks from the wonderful library system lately and thought I'd review them.

"Thanos Wins"
I wrote about this comic when it was first coming-out and getting a whole lot of buzz thanks to being expertly penned by Donny Cates and fantastically illustrated by Geoff Shaw. It also featured the introduction of the fantastically bizarre Cosmic Ghost Rider--which resulted in a lot of demand for the comic--with the character being a version of Frank Castle (the Punisher) from the future that also happened to be an intergalactic spirit of vengeance. "Thanos Wins," basically was Cates finishing the, "Thanos," series that had started-out written by Jeff Lemire and upon the conclusion of this series Thanos started popping-up in other Marvel books, with the Cosmic Ghost Rider getting his own mini-series and about to appear in other books too (a new, "Guardians of the Galaxy," is the latest buzz). 

It's a fun little arc, following Thanos as he is ripped to the future only to find that he in fact, "Won," and destroyed basically all life in the Universe only to realize he was stuck alive at the end of the world unable to be with his true love, Death. This future-Thanos has the old one come to help him fight off the few remaining threats in the Universe and we get a bunch of background on how Thanos managed to kill so much of the cosmos (along with a ton of back-story for the Cosmic Ghost Rider). I liked, "Thanos Wins," thanks to its mixture of dark humor and fantastic artwork, but wouldn't say it does anything especially memorable outside of being a cool, "Hey, let's do some time-travel," yarn and introducing what appears to be the, "New," fan-favorite character of a space-Punisher-Ghost Rider, which admittedly is a wildly fun idea.
4 out of 5 stars.

"Justice League Volume 6: The People Vs. The Justice League"
I read reviews of how before its recent re-launch a writer whose work I always talk about adoring--Christopher Priest--took over the, "Justice League," comic. I also read that despite this being, "Volume 6," in the story you don't need to know much as it is a story wholly unto itself that focuses on the Justice League as they face the challenge of public opinion turning against them (as it sometimes does) whilst also combating a deranged, "Fan," who has access to a lot of their tech. Priest is of course an amazing writer so watching as he lays-out a clever plot full of mysteries, has all the characters engage in fun dialogue, and otherwise make some damn fine comics as always is just delightful. 

Priest writes the characters in a way that just feels authentic. Batman is a genius but also has a human body that is running itself ragged, Superman is a wonderful idealist, but sometimes thinking the best of people can be its own flaw, Cyborg is skilled and powerful enough to run the team yet has his own fears of that much responsibility, and Wonder Woman is strong and regal, yet also sees how the team has numerous flaws. It goes on like that, with other team members such as Aquaman and two separate Green Lanterns (Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz) dealing with their own complications in regards to the team as well. There are heroes who know they do more good as a team than separate, but also are aware being a team brings with it many complications. It's a comic by Christopher Priest, so you basically can be guaranteed it is outstanding.There is one more volume that finished-out this most recent run, "Justice League," that I for sure need to seek-out so I can read the conclusion of Priest's run on this book. Hopefully my library already has, "Volume 7: Justice Lost," or else I'll be sure to request it!
5 out of 5 stars.

Thanks Again to My Local Libraries!
An exterior view of the Daniel Boone branch Clarkson and I frequent.
I just want to say thanks again to my local libraries of Grand Glaize and Daniel Boone where I was able to acquire these great reads. Whether I'm at the library to get books for our family, for all the fun story-time and play-times Clarkson enjoys, or any other reason, going to the library is always a treat.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Megyn Kelly Continues to Harm the, "Today Show," Image

In, "Oh yeah, that still exists," news, there is the toxic 3rd hour of the, "Today Show," I continue to avoid like the plague thanks to its insistence that Megyn Kelly somehow is a worthwhile person to have host a pseudo-daytime talk-show (it still sucks). Kelly continues to host it and during the brief times I've forgotten to turn to the channel to the much-better and quite fun, "Great Day Saint Louis," that runs at the same time I've just loved seeing Kelly try to hide the fact that even if she's on NBC now she's still deeply Fox News in her actual views (like apparently women want to be fat-shamed, or, "The wrong kind of people," shouldn't be allowed in Starbucks' bathrooms). For the latest example, Kelly said how she didn't think Blackface was a big deal for Halloween and had to promptly apologize not too long after saying this when it was pointed out how that is some ignorant B.S. she's spouting. As I've posted about before, Blackface has a uniquely painful and racist history within the United States that makes it mean a lot more than Kelly seems to think it does.

Megyn Kelly continues to harm the, "Today Show," image as a mixture of news and fun delivered by objective and likeable hosts. She isn't objective, fun, likeable, and her shows seems unsure if it wants to be a soft-news program or tackle hard issues. It isn't really surprising she is shunted off to her own hour (usually) by herself as host, as it seems it is difficult to have anyone to even want to work with her. I look forward to when Kelly's time hosting the 3rd hour finally ends and something better replaces it (although I may have to watch it on DVR as, "Great Day Saint Louis," has really grown on me). Then, when someone sits down and writes a big history of the, "Today Show," over the decades I'm sure both her time on the show and the whole Matt Lauer fiasco will probably be some of the darkest moments in the program's history. She's about to come on here at 9AM central time and I'm sure she will have some half-baked apology today. I won't bother watching it.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

"XTC69," By Jessica Campbell is Hilarious and Insightful

"XTC69," is a short graphic novel written and illustrated by creator Jessica Campbell and published by Koyama Press. It chronicles a group of three female space-adventurers who are searching for men to breed with ever since men quit existing for assorted social and scientific reasons--basically nobody wants to be a man in the future. Cloning has only been able to do so much and results in little genetic variation, so the adventurers have been searching the cosmos.

The astronauts land on Earth and find frozen in a hibernation chamber none other than Jessica Campbell herself, who volunteered to be frozen for a medical experiment that was supposed to be relatively brief and make her 50 bucks--she was warned she could be forgotten and not thawed-out until 700 years after all human life on Earth has died however, which is what in fact occurred. Campbell leaves with the adventurers (one who funnily enough shares her name through a wacky coincidence) and a planet with men is in fact discovered. Things do not go well, with the planet that is entirely guys being full of misogynistic jerks who basically remind the women why men essentially went extinct in the first place.
A lot of mayhem occurs, but there is a happy ending, with it seeming Campbell might very well end up having a relationship with the space explorer who shares her name (a lot to unpack there in terms of how potentially narcissistic that is and the joke Campbell is telling about it by inserting a version of herself into the story in the first place) and a funny end-bit strip where when Campbell is asked if her comic might be taken as anti-man she responds how she doesn't think it will be, plus, "Some of my best friends are men," a clever little swipe at people who claim to not be sexist or racist thanks to their friendships with others. Campbell's comic is quite quirky and her art-style is perfect for the book, making the futuristic space-ships and planet of men perfectly over-the-top but then drawing everyday objects like Campbell's abandoned house with a nice familiar and homey feel.

Campbell's stellar artwork and fantastic wit results in a book I loved reading, with its feminist message carrying all the more strength in today's strongly anti-woman political climate. I rate it 5 out of 5 stars. You can request your library order a copy or buy yourself one on Amazon, at other bookstores, or via a quality comic-book retailer, which is how I ordered and purchased it.

Monday, October 22, 2018

I Tried the, "Blackout," Batle Royale Mode in, "Black Ops 4," and I Was Really Bad at It

I was going to throw a fit about them represented four as IIII instead of IV,
 but apparently both can be acceptable.

I've written about my enjoyment of Fortnite is some posts before, even though lately I've been playing it a lot less due to October being a really busy month. I have never played the other big-name game with a Battle Royale mode, "Playerunknown's Battlegrounds," as I lack a computer with enough tech to play it or an Xbox One. I did hear that the new game from the makers of assorted, "Call of Duty," titles would have a Battle Royale mode called, "Blackout," however. So when, "Black Ops 4," was released I rented it for my PS4 and thought I'd at least give that mode a try. I was terrible at it.

Look, I'm by no means especially stellar at, "Fortnite." I'm mediocre in regards to building-stuff quickly and have rarely won a match solo (and only sometimes with squads). That said, I'm not bad by any means, but hoo boy was I miserable in, "Black Ops 4." I was able to kill one person over a number of rounds and otherwise was always getting shot in the back, shot in the face, or one time somebody just ran-up and punched me a bunch before I was able to react and do anything to escape. I never found a vehicle to drive although I know there are some, but I did pick-up a grappling hook at one point and swung around a bit on that for fun. I figured-out how to tweak weapons to make them work better with items scavenged in the field, but it usually didn't help me because--as I've said--I died really often and really fast. When I was alive I had some fun, but when you're miserable at a video-game there is only so much enjoyment you can glean if you still suck after working at it for awhile. It was really polished and good-looking though, so that's cool.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

My Wife and I Have Been Married Three Years Now!

Today my wife, Samii, and I have been married for three years! We met October 8th of 2011 and, "Tied the knot," on October 21st of 2015. Ever since I met my wife seven years ago my life has felt the happiest I could have ever imagined, with the birth of our awesome son, Clarkson, on February 28th of 2017 bringing even more joy. Everyday I think about how wonderful it is to have Samii in my life and everyday I tell her how much I love her. I look forward to spending our lives together and watching our beautiful son grow!

Saturday, October 20, 2018

The First Two Issues of Invasion From Planet Wrestletopia Are Great Fun!

I'm always pleased when independent or small-press creators of comic-books send me a message, tweet, or piece of pineapple with a message carved into it. There are so many comic-books out there that even I--a person who spends too much time on the internet reading about comics--don't know about, and if somebody has the time to pop-up in my DM's with something other than a dick-pic or hate-mail I'm always eager to receive it. Therefore, when Ed Kuehnel from Suspicious Behavior Productions sent me a message asking if I'd like to read the first two issues of his comic, "Invasion From Planet Wrestletopia," I told him I'd be glad to do so. Having checked the first two entries in his series out now, I'm glad he messaged me because its a great read!

"Invasion From Planet Wrestletopia," is a mixture of action, comedy, and science-fiction written by Ed Kuehnel and Matt Entin, with art by Dan Schkade, and colors produced by Marissa Louise. It follows a struggling wrestler named Rory Landell who basically as a gag when he quits professional wrestling due to being fed-up with the politics of it says he doesn't need a world championship because he is the, "Galactic Champion of the Universe." This attracts the attention of space aliens who don't take kindly to having their wrestling supremacy challenged and leads to a whole mess of trouble. It's a humorous idea and the writing by Kuehnel and Entin play-up how there is a silly element but they also ensure we see how Landell is struggling as someone who loves the sport/art of wrestling despite all the difficulties and hardship pursing his dreams of pro-wrestling has brought him.
Schkade's art and Louise's color-work are both phenomenal, at the kind of professional-level you'd expect from a comic sitting on the stands with other releases from big-name publishers. The stereotype at times goes that indie-comics have lower-quality/more abstract artwork, but Schkade is stellar from the elaborate wrestling get-ups to showing folk battling it out the ring with a feeling of frentic energy matched by Louise's effectively bright and striking colors. Between the great mix of humor and heart-felt sentiment with the fantastic artwork I can say the first two issues of, "Invasion from Planet Wrestletopia," are stellar. You can find out for yourself via following links from their website for the e-reading format of your choice. I rate both issues 5 out of 5 stars and can't wait for more!

A digital copy of both issue #1 and #2 of, "Invasion from Planet Wrestletopia," were provided for the purpose of review.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Film Friday: The New, "Halloween," Movie That Actually Looks Good Comes Out Today

The new, "Halloween," movie that actually looks like it won't suck is coming out today. It ignores every movie except the first (which is the only great one, although the 3rd which is basically wholly removed from the series has its charms) and the director of the original (along with other classic films) John Carpenter was impressed enough by it he was willing to serve as a producer and make some music for it. He's not directing as he doesn't want to direct anymore he has said, stating he'd rather spend his 70's jamming at concerts, watching basketball and playing video-games like, "Fallout 4." Most buzz has been positive and Jamie Lee Curtis reprises the role she played 40 years ago for the series (she's come back other times too, but again, those don't count this go-around) which is snazzy as she is a stellar actress. I hope to check it out at some point while its in theaters or to be sure to rent it on DVD/streaming/whatever technology we all use these days. If anyone sees it do please tell me what you think so I know how excited to be/not be for when I view it.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Someone Gave Bill Jemas a Lot of Money and I'm Eager to See What He'll Create With It

Ya'll know Bill Jemas, right? He helped raise Marvel out of bankruptcy in the early 2000's with some quality ideas (and had some bad ones along the way too, but it clearly worked out) then did a variety of other projects. Most recently he was the head of Double Take Comics. He actually reached-out to me when I posted a mostly-negative review of the first issues of a lot of the books and offered to send me more thinking I might like the books if I delved in deeper. He was right, and it made me sad when Double Take was dissolved. I like Bill Jemas, after all he was quite kind as opposed to trying to murder me in my sleep when I at first hated on his comics and then thanks to his gambit of giving me more to read I discovered I enjoyed what he had published.

Clearly Jemas loves comics and isn't afraid of taking risks. Well, those two things have combined with him getting a fat 5 million dollar check from a venture capital firm, "Lightspeed Venture Partners," a company with its hands in various stuff (for example, they were an early investor in that Snapchat all the kids love). With this money he has founded Artists, Writers and Artisans, Inc. which is going to of course make comics. I imagine with that kind of seed-money there are ideas to do various multi-media things such as get television shows, movies, or whatever made, but time will tell. One other interesting nugget in all this is that Marvel's recent former Editor-in-Cheif Axel Alonso--who either left Marvel of his own volition or was ousted depending on whom you ask--might be a part of this too. Jemas is smart and after how he was possibly hamstrung from doing the comics it was rumored he wanted to do at Double Take it seems like he's been sure to get his ducks in a row for this business venture, ensuring he's in charge and has plenty of time to put-out whatever he's got cooking, stating not to expect anything until, "2019 or later." I'm very curious what ol' Billy as I call him against his wishes might be up to, and I'm eager to eventually find out.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Television Tuesday: Single Parents

The channel ABC has a mixture of comedy programs that are still relatively young and fresh ("American Housewife," just started its 3rd season) and ones that used to be great but now have long since worn out their welcome ("Modern Family," lost its spark about 4 or 5 seasons ago). In its effort to keep introducing new stuff to replace whatever gets cancelled or finally ends ("Modern Family," might actually wrap this year, I've heard), ABC has brought us, "Single Parents," and it is suitably funny thanks primarily to the strength of its cast injecting some life into what might otherwise be dull stock characters.

"Single Parents," focuses on  its titular group of single parents at an elementary school who take turns handling various responsibilities so as to have somewhat balanced lives. The characters might feel mostly like cliches if it weren't for the talent portraying them. Brad Garrett plays an old somewhat-conservative white guy who had to raise his two twin daughters when his young wife suddenly passed away. Taran Killam (I always loved him on, "Saturday Night Live," and am happy he has a new gig) appears as a very high-strung former weatherman who has made so much of his life about raising his daughter he struggles to have his own personality. We've also got Jake Choi as a very young dad to a new baby who still has a lot of growing-up to do himself and Kimrie Lewis plays a mother who is also a wine bar owner and a strong feminist (yes, she and Garrett's character argue a lot as you would've predicted).
Leighton Meester
Leighton Meester's character is probably the only one that isn't too exaggerated a stereotype. Meester is instead shown as a younger mom dealing with a somewhat over-clingy son, a work-romance she is both excited and hesitant about, and no particular overly-zany qualities like the other parents, so with her talent she excels even without a crutch of some over-the-top personality aspect to fall back on. She and everyone else have great chemistry, and the actors who portray their kids all do a solid job even if at times the show seems unsure if it wants the kids to get equal-billing with their parents as main characters or if they are more secondary to the various shenanigans the grown-up cast gets into.

There have been three episodes so far and each one feels stronger than the last. The premiere/pilot had the usual problem of having to nail-down all the main plot points and introduce everyone within a single episode, but after that things have been able to breathe more and allow us to get to know the characters and how they handle various scenarios from dating to helping their kids deal with the death of a pet. "Single Parents," isn't perfect, but it is quite funny more often than not and the cast makes even the silliest situations worth watching. I'd give what I've seen so far of, "Single Parents," 4 out of 5 stars, and I'm eager to keep tuning in!

Monday, October 15, 2018

I Really Like That, "Drew Barrymore," Song by Bryce Vine for Some Reason

Bryce Vine is not a music artist I am particularly familiar with. He apparently was briefly on a reality show for teen-singers where they competed to be on, "Glee," titled, "The Glee Project," which I did watch years ago, but as he was the first eliminated it doesn't surprise me I have zero recollection of his time on the program. That said, hes been working for some years making singles and EPs, with one he debuted in 2017 titled, "Drew Barrymore," starting to get a lot of play now in mid-to-late 2018.

His story is interesting, going from almost giving-up at music after struggling to get signed with a label to finally finding some success, and shows how hard he has had to work to get some recognition unlike various tweens who get found by record labels thanks to their videos on YouTube and then are groomed for mass consumption with bland pop-releases (Justin Bieber, Austin Mahone, etc.). Vine has been working and has a debut album coming out in 2019 that may be titled, "Carnival." I'm interested in hearing it because I like, "Drew Barrymore," so much. What makes it as enjoyable as it is, though?

"Drew Barrymore," is basically a song about Vine finding a woman attractive and having sex with her, one of the most basic song-concepts ever. The thing is, he works in so damn many clever metaphors, uses his sing-song raps expertly, and otherwise makes the whole thing weirdly entrancing that I can't help but want to listen to the song repeatedly. He paints a surreal picture of the room they are making love in, talking about a television that doesn't work, describing her as a hurricane sweeping through a desert like a "Hot Americana rain."

It is a strangely poetic song even as it admits that it is mainly about, "Fucking on the counter or the coffee table." The mixture of concepts and Vine's deep voice reminds me a bit of another talented lyricist, Mike Ladd, and that is meant as the utmost compliment to Vine. "Drew Barrymore," is a song I can say I really like thanks to being so intriguing as well as catchy. I look forward to hopefully hearing a lot more from Vine in 2019!

Sunday, October 14, 2018

This Weekend in Comics and Politics, The World and America in Particular Burned as Usual

America is of course metaphorically burning, with all the terrible people who shouldn't be listened to somehow gaining more and more power (Alt-Right, Neo-Nazis) in this surreal alternate Universe where Donald Trump is President, the hateful people claim we should engage in bad-faith debates with them, and Taylor Swift may inexplicably be America's last hope for democracy. This weekend was just one where things kept burning as usual, with two events helping to illustrate this.

First off, the folk over at Bleeding Cool (you know, that website with some good articles but which is slathered in annoying ads) apparently had an interview with super-troll and known hateful-idiot, Vox Day. The article talked about how terrible Day was as a self-described White Supremacist and fact-checked his absurd claims (Holocaust denial, etc.), but why even interview the moron and give him a voice? Nazi's don't deserve a kind debate, they need a punch in the face and someone as far-left as Warren Ellis agrees with me on that. People got mad at Bleeding Cool and they took the article down, apologizing and saying there would be some changes to who was in charge...which resulted in people asking, "Wait, just who is in charge there?" People stood-up against the terrible alt-right jackasses and good won the day though, showing we should fight-back against these intolerant assholes, right? It's not like reasonable people will be upset we fought against hate after all. Read my next paragraph and find out...
Comic-book writer Chuck Wendig was fired from his, "Star Wars," books for Marvel for actually fighting-back at hateful trolls who disliked that he dared did things like have LGTBQ characters in his, "Star Wars," comics. Apparently Wendig needed to be more, "Civil," towards the people spewing threats at him. This is one big gift/capitulation to the morons over at, "Comicsgate," as they continue to seek-out any way they can cause damage to folk who don't agree with their blind worship of Donald Trump, what do they believe besides that diversity is bad and the Cheeto-in-office is good? Now we've had James Gunn negatively impacted by right-wing trolls for old crass jokes (don't worry, he's doing okay now), and Chuck Wendig fired for doing nothing beyond calling-out stupid and hateful people.

I just love how the same people who want to be able to refuse to bake a cake for a gay couple, force women to take an unwanted pregnancy to term as some kind of walking incubator, march in the streets declaring how they won't be replaced by minorities, and insist that Jews run the media are the same ones declaring how we need to be, "Civil," towards them as they turn back the clock on any social progress made the last half-century and strip everyone of their rights whilst running the nation into the ground. Bleeding Cool fucked-up giving one of those people a platform and Chuck Wendig got fucked-over for refusing to treat the trolls with their desired but undeserved civility. You don't have a polite conversation with a Nazi, you punch it--and I'm saying this as a very polite and reasonable person. As Wendig said in one of his tweets, things are going to get worse before they get better and we need to make sure we vote (while we're still able). America is burning, and those who lit it on fire are chastising us for not speaking to them with civility.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Funko Friday: A Website Was Hacked for Exclusive Funko Pops and Dear God That is Silly

A Recipe for Trouble
Update: It went live for real today at 2PM and everything sold-out within 10 minutes. At least it was supposed to go live this time.

I've discussed before (I think) how with Funko Pops sometimes there will be ones that come out for big comic-conventions and if you're not at the show other retailers will sell them--a, "Shared Exclusive." For example, New York Comic-Con just wrapped and there were many Funko Pops produced to be sold at it or partner-retailer stores. If you couldn't get a, "Gearhead," at the show, Target had some, or if you needed the newest Pop of Supergirl, Barnes and Noble should've stocked her. One company that was given shared exclusives was Toy Tokyo, which has a web-shop but otherwise just has a retail store in New York City. Lately what they have done for their shared exclusives is make a webpage with a password and shortly after that page is created tweet the code out randomly a bit after the convention is done and they know what they still have in stock to sell. Some days ago they put up the latest page and kept telling people little hints about when it might, "Go live," trying to use cutesy metaphors about when Hobbits have meals or such. It was obvious that it would be a simple word however based on past occasions, and the page was up for awhile sitting there. People could even try and type in a password, and everyone was getting annoyed with the arcane clues being occasionally posted online, so that was a recipe for trouble. You can guess what happened next.

Hack Attack!
Yes, someone either was able to guess the password or programmed some bots to simply try a bunch of words as quickly as possible until somehow it was found-out that of all things, 'Nuclear," could get you into the web-page and able to purchase the Toy Tokyo pops in a bundle. It got tweeted, shared on Facebook, posted on Reddit, and so forth. Word spread fast. Once Toy Tokyo saw all these orders they shut the page down, declared any purchases would be cancelled, and said the official release date was going to be pushed-back, to which many people wondered, "Pushed-back from what? You never even told us a date or time!"

Now, I am disgusted that people were so desperate for Funko Pops that they actually dedicated time and effort to hacking the Toy Tokyo website. You must have gone a little crazy with this hobby if you're actually trying to break-into a website for a fun toy product. I also understand that Toy Tokyo acted in a  foolish manner in regards to having proper website security, plus they were making a lot of people angry with their daily vauge-as-Hell hints about when they'd finally sell their damn Pops. The hackers are in the wrong, but Toy Tokyo sure could have done a lot more to prevent what occurred. The whole thing is a mess and now I don't know when people will be able to get their Orange Chrome Batman or any of the other Pops. I just hope it is sooner than later and Toy Tokyo drops the whole cheeky-hints bit.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

The Hot Comics Revue: Getting Our Kicks with the Sixth

It's Been Awhile
I am aware that it has been a bit since I did an installment of, "The Hot Comics Revue," as the last one was in, let me see here...March of this year. There are consistently titles that are quite, "Hot," or showing potential though, so I thought I would do a new entry! Oh, and as always, I'd encourage you to visit my chums at Comics Heating Up for speculation on comics that haven't been released yet and could become highly desired.

A Comic That is Warming Up
Riptide (The Series So Far)
A snazzy title from independent publisher Red 5 Comics, this mini-series tackles the idea of an absurdly large tidal wave forming that pulls the ocean miles away from land, giving everyone only a limited amount of time to flee to safety if they are on the coast, and putting anyone currently within the ocean (such as on a cruise ship) in immense danger. It's a quite clever concept and I've read two of what I believe will be four issues. It's had some buzz and not many copies at all were published as this is a smaller publisher. If this idea were to get optioned for some kind of big-budget blockbuster however this title could become quite the gem. As for right now, first-print copies of the early issues trend for $10-$20.

A Red-Hot Title
Batman: Damned #1 (either cover)
We all have Batman's penis to thank for this one. I mean, I would've imagined a barely-visible outline of Bruce Waynes wiener would've caused some buzz, but dear God, who saw this coming (no pun intended, get your mind out of the gutter)? Apparently it has actually made some of the people in DC who hold a lot of power upset, and it could very well result in the Black Label line as we know it basically being dead upon arrival. If some nudity really causes DC to panic and move away from mature-reader books--which was the whole damn point of the Black Label--that's just spineless. We all know comics aren't just for kids anymore (as hacky news articles like to declare every couple of months) and you can have a Batman who sells toys coexist with the kind who brutally beats-up the Joker in, "The Dark Knight," or gets nude in the Batcave within, "Batman: Damned." The hilarious thing is that because all future editions of the comic will have the offending genitalia edited-out its caused more hubbub and everybody wants a copy of this book now (either cover) resulting in it easily selling for an easy $40 and up.

A Comic With Steamy Potential
Dark Avengers #1 (Regular Cover or Variants)
This title actually came out back in 2009, arguably serving as one of the main books during Norman Osborn's so-called, "Dark Reign," where he gained a whole bunch of political power thanks to helping save the day at the end of, "Secret Invasion." It was essentially a team of evil Avengers and due to a rumor that we may be getting a, "Dark Avengers," movie everyone is eager to grab a copy in the hopes it'll go from a former dollar-bin book to something super-sought after (kind of like how nobody once cared about Groot, and now we all want his early books). This could all be one big pile of lies, could simply be a title that actually doesn't draw from the comics at all (like, "Age of Ultron,") or is possibly an indicator of what the future holds for Marvel's films. Whatever the case, dig through your short-boxes for the copy of the first issue you put away and forgot about, it is starting to trend for at least 20 bucks.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Taylor Swift Now Reflects My Politics More Than Kanye West Does. What Happened?

Wait, I'm not mad at you?
I have to ask, what happened? Kanye West was outspoken and radical, speaking truth-to-power, being a bit over-the-top and full of himself, but still amazing and insightful. Then he let us all down, seemed to get red-pilled, drink the Trump kool-aid, etc. Meanwhile, I was always anti-Taylor Swift. I declared as recently as 2017 how she was bully, loved to play the victim, was the worst kind of white-privilege-having-Becky. Now though, in October of 2018, the whole damn world has gone topsy-turvy.

Taylor Swift posted on Instagram how she supported a number of Democratic candidates in her state of Tennessee. She wrote about how she wanted candidates to be elected who would represent all Americans regardless of race, gender, and sexuality. She discussed her support for making sure women receive equal pay, fighting against businesses denying services to gay couples (e.g. refusals to bake a wedding cake), she even said how the systemic racism sweeping this nation disgusted her. I agree with every damn thing she said in her post, and meanwhile Kanye West is rocking a, "MAGA," hat and otherwise makes me feel immense embarrassment that I once supported him so unquestionably.
This is the picture that accompanies Swift's now-famous post.
Some of Swift's fans were mad about her post, as folk assumed she must be a Republican and for some bizarre reason a chunk of the alt-right on the web thought she was secretly a white supremacist for assorted crazy reasons.  Now, a whole bunch of young people registered to vote while there was still time and it looks like a lot of that can be attributed to Swift. Has the world come to the point where Taylor Swift turns into the shining beacon of hope for the Democratic party as an outspoken supporter who does what so many others have failed to do--get young people to actually go to the polls and vote? Seriously, when did our reality get to a point where I was nodding my head in agreement with Taylor Swift and burying my face in my hands with disgust at Kanye West?

We truly are living in a strange alternate universe. I never thought I'd say this, but thank you, Taylor Swift, I appreciate what you did to further democracy in America and fight injustice. While we're clearing the air, I will also admit my dirty secret that I do like the song, "Blank Space," by Swift. Imagine Dragons actually does a cool cover of it that meshes into, "Stand by Me," that you can find on Spotify, I think.

"In Winter," is a Beautiful and Twisted Tale

People know I enjoy comics from the mainstream to independent, USA-based to International, and I'm always on the lookout for something cool to read. Therefore, whenever I hear from the good folk at the publisher Rotopol about any art or comics they have coming out, I'm eager to learn more. I previously discussed my enjoyment of, "I Hate You, You Just Don't Know it Yet," and was excited to learn about their latest work which is currently out in Germany and being released in the United States (in English) this November. Titled, "In Winter," it is reminiscent of one of those old classic children's fables--with all the twisted darkness such a thing includes!

Written and illustrated by Rita Fürstenau, I have to immediately say that, "In Winter," is absolutely a gorgeous comic. Fürstenau has an art style that is a mixture of detailed and abstract, with her tale of a starving cat that meets a cruel hawk featuring impressive illustration that makes your jaw drop it is so amazing. The mixture of black, white, and gray gives everything a suitably somber tone as well. As I mentioned, the story opens with a starving cat asking a hawk for help, finding itself dismissed by the rude and prideful hawk, and sadly dying. However, death takes pity on the cat and brings it back as a beautiful owl--an owl so beautiful the hawk that once ignored the cat now finds itself obsessed with the owl. Needless to say, the hawk learns a brutal lesson, but as for if the owl finds some kind of happiness or peace, to know that you'll need to read the comic!

"In Winter," is as beautiful in its illustration as it is cleverly twisted in its story. It is the kind of fable that carries with it a wise lesson and I could spend hours admiring Rita Fürstenau's artwork. Should you want to order a copy for yourself to be shipped when the book has its official release in America during the Comic Arts Brooklyn Festival (in the aforementioned month of November) you can pre-order it here at this link. I enthusiastically rate this book 5 out of 5 stars and look forward to reading more work from Fürstenau and all the talented folk published by Rotopol!

Note: A digital review copy was provided in advance of the comic's release in America for the purposes of review.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

"Tha Carter V," is a Solid, if Over-Stuffed, Return to Form for Lil' Wayne

After taking what feels like forever since, "Tha Carter IV," due to assorted legal disputes over what label would have ownership of it, "Tha Carter V," has dropped and is a massive hit. While it goes a little long, with a run-time of nearly 90 minutes, there is enough great stuff that the album never feels bloated so much as super-sized. We get a mixture of introspective Wayne ("Took His Time") and hyper-Wayne ("Uproar,") with an assortment of guest artists assisting him at times too. For example on the catchy, "Dope Niggaz,") he teams with Snoop Dogg for a jam that has a sample of the classic, "Xxplosive," mixed in, and on, "Mona Lisa," We get some verses from Wayne telling a story about a woman helping him rob men through her seductive abilities before he himself is fooled, and then at the end Kendrick Lamar appears on the track and just launches it into outer-space with a mixture of suddenly-changing melodies, altering his own voice, and generally being his amazing Kendrick-self.

The album isn't perfect, with some tracks seeming just muddled ("Dark Side of the Moon,") or decent but a little low-energy for me as someone who prefers Wayne's manic-raps as opposed to when he slowly drawls ("Famous,"). Still, there is enough quality material on this album absolutely stuffed with tracks that the quality content is much more plentiful than the lacking aspects. "Tha Carter V," is a very enjoyable listen, and one I'd rate...
4 out of 5 stars.

The Juiciest News I Heard Today: James Gunn to work for DC/Warner Brothers

Once Upon a Time There Was a Joke Told
As everyone may recall, James Gunn has been the director of an assortment of films during his career, including the loaded-with-charm, "Guardians of the Galaxy," 1 and 2, AKA the only Marvel movies besides, "Black Panther," and the first, "Iron Man," to also clearly have a director's, "Voice," seep thoroughly into the movie besides the general Marvel-house-style. People may also recall that when people who were mad at Gunn for his speaking-out against Trump dug-up old Tweets made by Gunn telling crass jokes, Disney fired the man. For old--admittedly tasteless jokes--that Gunn himself said he realized a decade later weren't funny then or now.

Despite various efforts to have Disney reverse the decision via actions taken by fans, the cast of the movies, and maybe even Marvel executives, Disney stood firm, and Gunn was gone as Director even if they would utilize his script for the 3rd movie--which is now permanently on hold. It was a mess and the one slightly funny thing about it was hearing people joke how now this freed Gunn up to go work for Warner Brothers/DC at fixing their cinematic universe. Well...

It Ain't a Joke No More!
What at first seemed like simple gossip is now being reported on multiple news sites that James Gunn is in fact going to be writing a brand-new, "Suicide Squad," movie for DC. Not, "Suicide Squad 2," but basically his own thing being allowed to do whatever he wants because Warner Brothers obviously realized by reaching out to Gunn with a friendly invitation he'd sign with them and we'd have articles expressing surprise and mine, I suppose. Now, right now he's just writing the script, but dollars to doughnuts I bet DC is more than eager to have him hop in the director's chair. I mean, "Suicide Squad," is a movie about a rag-tag group of heroes and villains who go on zany adventures--is it me or does that sound a little bit like his other movies for Marvel he had massive success doing?

This is some of the juiciest news I've heard today and in some ways it is both utterly shocking, and in other ways I'm surprised it took DC this long to snatch-up Gunn once they had the chance. I'm just hopeful this means we'll actually get a good, "Suicide Squad," movie if nothing else. It's possible, right?

Television Tuesday: Just Wanted to Remind You, "Black Lightning," is Back!

I just wanted to remind everyone that, "Black Lightning," returns with season 2 today and based on how good season 1 was, I am very excited. It is a damn good show with its mixture of super-powers, politics, family drama, and stellar acting from the entire cast. Make sure to tune into the CW at 9PM Eastern, 8PM Central (or set your DVRs, whatever works), and fun will be had!

Monday, October 8, 2018

Stuff from NYCC 2018 I Found Noteworthy

The Day After the Con
It is the Monday after New York Comic-Con. It also is Columbus' Day, but fuck him, I'm calling it Indigenous People's Day because there were people here before he, "Discovered," America in 1492. Anyways, NYCC 2018 had a variety of things that occurred or were announced. I by no means have a detailed list of all of them, just the things that I felt were noteworthy enough to discuss or I at least had a snarky comment to share about. Shall we?

News and Such
I really feel bad for Dark Horse. They lost the, "Star Wars," license shortly after Disney bought Marvel, they also had, "Conan the Barbarian," snatched-up by Marvel, and now they don't even have Buffy, with BOOM! getting the rights and planning to reboot the series for the modern day. I enjoy the stuff that comes out of BOOM! and am sure it'll be great with a creative team including the stellar Jordie Bellaire, but ouch.

Speaking of Conan and Marvel, apparently he will be getting a second ongoing comic from the publisher. Oh, and the, "Avengers," book is going to be weekly again. That is seriously the only thing regarding Marvel I found interesting--I think some other stuff was announced like a, "Cloak and Dagger," digital series, but I don't even care enough to look for a link. Okay fine, here, don't say I never gave you anything.

Lobo is going to be appearing on the second season of the television show, "Krypton." Also, apparently, "Krypton," had a first season?

I said above how I felt bad for Dark Horse, but things are still going relatively okay for them. They've got that, "Umbrella Academy," show coming to Netflix based on the beloved comic and the newest cinematic version of, "Hellboy," is getting some positive early buzz.

That DC streaming service is chugging along, with some talented folk involved in their, "Doom Patrol," show that I quite like, such as Brendan Fraser along with Matt Bomer. Also, their animated Harley Quinn show will star that Kaley Cuoco lady from, “The Big Bang,” theory show as Harley's voice. In case you aren't sure what, "The Big Bang," theory is, its that show that seems to always be on in the background at your relative's house. Oh, and it isn't coming-out on the streaming service until well after its theatrical run, but  DC released a whole five minutes of new footage from the upcoming, “Aquaman,” film, which I think means they are relatively confident to give people that big of a, “Taste,” of the flick.

Image had a great show, with plenty of goodies for sale, creator signings, and a panel about horror in comics that sounds like it was a treat for all in attendance.

Brian Michael Bendis will be continuing his many, many tasks at DC with the launch of yet another imprint from the company, "Wonder Comics." As this line isn't geared specifically toward mature readers the odds of us getting to see Batman's wang again are sadly quite minimal.

European publisher Humanoids had been gathering an assortment of talented creators for awhile in regards to some kind of unannounced project, with the exact reason just as unclear. At NYCC they declared they are actually going to be doing their own unique super-hero universe. I wish them luck, as it is possible, but surely going to be hard to do in a market already full of this content. At least, as I said, they've got some great creators on-board.

Lastly, here is something not at all shocking, we will be getting another war comic from writer Garth Ennis. It will probably be very well-written as most things by Ennis are, I just find it interesting how much this guy loves to make war comics.

That Does it for Now
That's everything from NYCC 2018 I can recall as being worth posting about. There may have been something else, but if I can't recall it right now perhaps that illustrates how actually interesting it was. I'd love to get out to NYCC someday and visit the vendor booths, artist alley, and perhaps take in a panel where stuff like the above news gets announced, but for now I'm content to just read about what occurred.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

To My Immense Surprise, "Venom," is a Box-Office Hit

I'm still working at gathering my thoughts about NYCC, but have something else immediately bugging me. It is just...I honestly did not expect this. I read reviews that declared, "Venom," was plainly terrible, and even positive reviews basically went, "It's not that bad." I had talked about how a Sony film universe featuring characters whose main defining trait is their relationship with Spider-Man could not work with that element removed. Then Venom goes to make more than $80 million domestically and top-out over $200 total with International sales put in the mix too. Wow. Perhaps there are lessons to take from this, but I'm frankly stunned.

Tom Hardy, the star of the movie, himself didn't seem that enthused about it during his press-tour, but I guess he'll be eager to get another check to do an assured sequel now (and from what I've heard about the mid-credits scene, there is at least some potential there). I just want to restate how utterly shocked I am that, "Venom," made as much money as it did, thanks I guess to a mixture of people with fond memories of his comics in the 1990's, young fans who thought it looked at least passably entertaining, and individuals who inexplicably find Venom super-sexy.