Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Marvel to Destroy its History, But We All Know it Won't Actually Do That

Hey you, do you like when it is revealed how, "Everything you think you knew is wrong?" and thanks to a big ol' retcon the past, present, and future is forever changed--at least until they retcon the recton? Well then, I suppose you're interested in Marvel's upcoming event that will reveal how the Fantastic Four really got their powers, who found Captain America before the Avengers, and other surprise reveals that will leave you so shocked you'll be grabbing your junk on the floor screaming in joyful agony from the kick it is going to take...I guess? Look, I haven't bothered with these big events for years at Marvel or DC. I just struggle to get into an overpriced mini-series with tons of tie-ins that could end up sucking. The last one I thought was kind of cool was Hickman's big, "Secret Wars," because I love alternate-reality stories and even as someone who liked it I'll tell you it was way too overstuffed. Therefore, I struggle to get that excited at Marvel supposedly destroying its history as I struggle with event-itits and I know they aren't really tearing-down anything.

Why isn't Marvel actually destroying its history? Because that is its biggest selling-point to comic-readers. Talking about how they have a rich and complex mythology full of decades of stories is a huge element for Marvel (and DC). Fans often discuss what stories in-continuity and will at times brush-off the ones that, "Don't count." Telling readers, "Nothing we've ever done counts, we are obliterating our history!" just sounds like a silly exaggeration bordering on a slap in the face of the die-hard fans who care a lot about continuity. Hence, perhaps there will be some changes here and there, but it probably won't be too drastic, and anything that is really over-the-top will most likely get undone at some point in the future (like when almost all the mutants lost their powers at the end of, "House of M,", but then didn't, or when Spider-Man revealed his identity during, "Civil War," but had that undone, and so forth). Perhaps the event will be well-written and cool, but we know too little to get especially excited or wary. I just am amused that Marvel is trying to act like doing some most likely minor retcons is this Earth-shattering big deal.

Monday, December 10, 2018

That, "Umbrella Academy," Trailer was Pretty Cool

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

Saturday, December 8, 2018

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

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

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

Friday, December 7, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, December 6, 2018

"Fallout 76," Sounds Like Big Ol' Mess

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

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

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 3, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, December 2, 2018

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

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

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

Saturday, December 1, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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