Monday, April 22, 2019

Please Consider Donating to Assist With Bill Mantlo's Care

Michael and Bill Mantlo.
Bill Mantlo is the creator of fan-favorite character Rocket Raccoon as well as other great characters such as Cloak and Dagger. He worked on a number of quality comics including runs on, "ROM," and, "The Incredible Hulk." He earned his law degree and worked as public defender for The Legal Aid Society as he was that kind of caring person. In 1992 he was the victim of a hit-and-run driver while rollerblading. He was comatose for some time and upon waking was left with permanent brain-damage. His younger brother, Michael, assumed the role of being Bill's caretaker. Michael is been in charge of making sure Bill receives full-time care due to having cognitive damage severe enough he is, "unable to reason or understand his situation, and he struggles daily to maintain any control over his own mind." Considering how much money some of the properties Bill created have made you'd think there would be ample funds to give him top-notch care in a private residence. Sadly, in this field of comic-books where creators have so often been screwed-over, that is not the case.

Michael Mantlo has gone over 100,000 dollars into debt over these years making sure Bill is given not just passable care, but excellent care. Michael has stated, "I have been attempting to bring my brother home from the nursing home he has been placed in for the last 10 years.  It has been a difficult struggle, filled with numerous pitfalls and obstacles, but I gave my word to him that I would do everything in my power to make it happen so that he could live out the rest of his life with dignity, and peace.  It has become painfully obvious to me in the last few months that the powers that be will not let that happen." Michael has created a GoFundMe to assist with the costs of paying-off the debt he has gained working to get Bill stellar care and situated somewhere else besides his current nursing home.
Without Bill Mantlo there simply would be no Rocket Raccoon.

Michael is completely upfront in his GoFundMe with the fact that Bill is financially stable and thanks to the compensation he does get from Marvel/Disney and Bill is at no risk of being denied care where he is. Still, Michael wants Bill not to simply waste away, but actually get to live life to the best degree he can. I understand that Bill does receive royalties (which Michael is in charge of making sure are spent appropriately as Bill's caretaker) but it is depressing to think a man who worked hard to give the world such beloved characters and suffered this terrible injury still lacks enough funds to receive the kind of assistance that would prevent Michael from having to go so deep into debt. It is just disgusting how the comic-book industry has treated so many people, and Bill deserves better--the very, "Better," Michael is trying to provide for him. I would encourage anyone who is able to donate anything, even just a dollar, to do so for Bill and Michael. I'd also encourage you to make Marvel/Disney aware that if they can manage to make trillions off of the work of creators such as Bill, they could afford to give him more money to prevent such a situation as this one from occurring in the future.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Happy Passover and Easter!

As of today, April 21st, 2019, we are in the midst of Passover and today is Easter as well. If you celebrate both, either, or neither, I hope you have a great weekend. Whatever the case, be sure to slather your doorway in lamb's blood if you're the firstborn and also be on the lookout for zombie Jesus.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Being the Neighbor of Someone Trey Songz Has Sex With Sounds Very Annoying

I enjoy the music of Trey Songz AKA Tremaine Aldon Neverson, but one of his new jams makes me wonder if it would actually really suck to be a neighbor of someone he's seeing. The song, "Neighbors Know My Name," involves him singing about how he and a ladyfriend have such loud and rambunctious sex it results in the neighbors banging on the wall (I assume they are in an apartment or condominium) and even coming-over and pounding on the door to demand that Neverson and his partner quit having such loud relations.

Lyrics in the song discuss how they go, "So hard," they damage a new headboard on the bed, and she often shouts a number of things from obscenities to, of course, his name, "Tremaine/Trey." One verse involves Neverson outright stating that while the neighbors, "Be dreamin', you be screamin' now they bangin' on our door," which is Neverson essentially admitting that he and his female lover  chose to have sex late at night knowing full well based on past evidence it would be disruptive.
"Good morning! Sorry about all that noise last night."
Now, I don't want prevent Neverson from having sex as many of his quality songs involve the subject of love-making and I want him to continue having inspiration for his music. I also admire that he wants to make sure both he and his partner are satisfied as sex is of course something that should be enjoyed by all parties involved (too many heterosexual relationships involve men solely focused on their pleasure and not the lady being happy too). That said, I would maybe suggest that if he is going to be so thorough in his romantic encounters with this woman that perhaps they have sex during the day when it wouldn't wake people up, or maybe if he does not live with this woman (the song never specifies if he's a resident there or just visits often) maybe this ladyfriend can come over to his house/apartment/condo sometime and his own neighbors can put-up with the loud sex (I'd assume they are used to it).

I know this is just a song and I imagine Neverson is a thoughtful enough person he would make sure his sex is not actually disruptive to others. Still, anytime I hear this on the radio I can't help but wonder how enraging it might actually be to live next door to whomever Neverson is having sex with; at least, that's my general takeaway from this ditty. Laslty, I like the line where he says the woman's body is, "A Problem," and that, "They call me the problem-solver," which doesn't relate to the noise-issue, but is a very clever line.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

A Review of "Wulfborne," #2 and #3

A bit ago I had a review segment where I talked about an assortment of indie-titles I was enjoying, including the first issue of, "Wulfborne." Its creator, Brian Middleton Jr. liked my review so much he asked if I would be interested in reviewing the second issue that had recently been published (it came out 3/27/19) as well as the upcoming third and final issue, due for release 4/24/19. I told Mr. Middleton I'd be happy to review the other issues and was provided a digital copy of the other two issues. Having now read the rest of, "Wulfborne," I would say I enjoyed issue #2 and #3 immensely!

The first issue of, "Wulfborne," has a more minimalist plot as an adventurer named Branwulf travels to meet a mysterious witch who can possibly heal his heartache. The later issues flesh things out a bit more, showing that Branwulf and a young woman shared a deep love, but she had to leave him to be the Queen of her people and now he rarely is able to see her. This has made him angry and lonely, so he's been seeking out a mysterious witch with an ethereal voice that has been calling to him with promises of being able to heal his heartache. Even though Branwulf encounters others who warn him the witch is not someone to be trusted (as well as violent guards of the witch), he fights his way to her and in the third issue they finally meet. The ending (which I won't spoil) actually surprised me a bit as I expected one element (Branwulf is a pretty violent guy) but not another (he can be surprisingly caring too).
The art in issues #2 and #3 is stellar (as it was in the first issue), with Middleton illustrating everything in a style that is a bit abstract and cartoonish to some degree thanks to some very strange creatures, yet still has enough of a gritty, "Oomph," you really feel the damage done to Branwulf or his opponents during scenes of combat. The comic is in black-and white and Middleton uses this to great effect, with light from eyes or magical beams looking striking against the deep blacks, and other little touches (such as Branwulf gritting his teeth in the image above) creating gorgeous contrasts between the white, black, and mixture of grays.

The second and third issue of, "Wulfborne," were both a real treat to read, with my earlier criticism of the plot seeming a bit too minimal/lacking fully addressed--and the fantastic artwork continuing to impress. Brian Middleton Jr. has crafted a stellar read and it is yet another example of the amazing books put out by publisher, SCOUT Comics, who clearly should be proud Middleton has his comic being published with them. I rate these two issues both 5 out of 5 stars, and would encourage you to ask your store to pull the upcoming third issue. You could also ask your store to order the previous issues, and if you lack a comic store, SCOUT has a helpful web-store with copies of the first issue and the second issue for sale). I look forward to seeing what Middleton does next, be it a sequel to, "Wulfborne," or something entirely that will doubtlessly be awesome as well.

Note: As mentioned in the article, digital copies were provided for the purposes of an honest review.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

They Kept a, "City of Heroes," Private Game Server Secret for Six Years...What, How?

One of the first Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (or MMORPG) I ever played and enjoyed was, "City of Heroes," or, "COH," for short. I had tried, "Ultima Online," over dial-up but was miserable at it. However, when I later had broadband-speed internet and found myself in a colorful world of heroes and villains just like in my beloved comic-books, I adored it. I made a bizarre-looking character with a robotic face but a snazzy two-piece brown suit whose name I sadly am unable to recall. Rest assured though, he looked both imposing and classy when I'd hover him around, beating-up the underlings of assorted zany bad-guys.

As with many online games, "City of Heroes," was shut-down when there wasn't enough money to be made from it by its developer, NCSoft. It officially ceased to exist November 30th, 2012. I went on to play, "World of Warcraft," off and on for some years and haven't done much with MMORPGs since besides a short stint trying not to constantly die in, "EVE Online." There had been efforts by fans to make an approximation or some kind of private server of the game for years, but nothing had really come along especially well--it was all quite basic or got hit with a cease-and-desist letter from NCSoft who didn't want anyone messing with their intellectual property, even though they'd basically killed it. That was it then, right? Actually, there has been a fully-functional private server of the game kept secret for six years with all the original data so that you could actually get your old character and bring it back. Wait, what?
A screen-shot from the game's final day it existed...officially.
It is the 20-teens, as some folk call them. Nothing stays hidden. Top-secret political documents get leaked all the time, celebrities with high-tech encryption still get their phones hacked and nudes posted online against their will. Hell, if I even mumble out loud how I need a new frying pan, it seems like either my phone, Echo Dot, or some other device hears this and as if by magic within a day my Facebook feed is splattered with advertisements for frying pans. Nothing can be kept a secret now, and you're telling me there was a group of individuals who for six years (forming not too long after the game shut-down) were able to have thousands of people keep this huge secret? Everyone manged to keep their mouth shut that they had acquired numerous pieces of code and data through their own work and the assistance of people who had been employees at NCSoft developing the game? This is both fascinating in that these people should probably be put in charge of our Nation's secure documents and enraging in that I would have loved to know this and, you know, played the damn secret game. The mixture of shocked delight and anger about, "COH," having been secretly alive all these years with the code-name, "SCORE," has ripped the small community of people who fondly remember the game apart.
One fan of the game expressing their anger about the secret server;
there are many, many posts on Reddit and Twitter like this.
For all this time anyone who thought such as SCORE existed but weren't privy to the secret were called conspiracy theorists, making it darkly funny how all along this utterly insane theory was true. This is akin to finding out that Tupac has been alive all along and releasing music to a select group of fans who refused to share the news/music with anyone else--it is startling and it makes you mad for being left-out and called insane all these years you argued Tupac was alive (disclaimer: I do believe he is dead, no matter how sad that makes me). How did the truth come to light, however? As with most of the time when sensitive documents leak, someone had an ax to grind.

A Youtuber named Destoyer Stroyer who gained access to this invite-only server has stated he felt uneasy about all the secrecy, and was under the impression that if the people behind SCORE had access to old character data they might have their hands on other more-private information from people who used to play, "COH," such as names, addresses, and old credit-cards. Therefore, believing this whole thing felt wrong--and quite possibly realizing it would also get him a ton of viewers--Destroyer Stroyer made a video revealing the existence of SCORE to the world. Now the people behind SCORE are doing damage-control due to all these angry fans of the game upset they were left-out and for fear of getting hit with a big ol' lawsuit from NCSoft (the PC Gamer article I linked to earlier and will re-link right here goes into this further).
While I mourned the game others were making new characters in secret,
I'll admit I'm a bit jealous.
I am one of those players who would have appreciated even the chance to revisit, "City of Heroes," had I known about this huge secret server of the game that functioned perfectly whilst everyone else barely had their attempts at an emulation or server out of the early-planning stages. It makes me a bit sad, but it also is just fascinating this secret was kept for so long, with it thought around 3,000 people, "In," on this. Now as everyone gets over their surprise about this server existing, I only wonder what the fallout of such a wild reveal will be. Now if only Tupac would reveal he's been alive all along and this will be the most shocking week ever.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

I Don't Know if I'd Use a PlayStation 5 Much at All

The company behind the PlayStation consoles, Sony, has begun revealing some specs for a potential PlayStation 5. It has been emphasized how much of anything definite materializing is still at least a year away, but some stuff has been revealed, namely it will be faster and better (kind of what one expects a new console to be). There are folk who have said this sounds a bit boring, but I myself don't need a game console to have all kinds of fancy bells and whistles (I recall how nobody wanted a Kinect with their Xbox One), I'm just happy for it to run without crashing/bugs and play fun games. That said, would I even use a PlayStation 5 much for the actual purpose of playing games? I mean, in our household we often use my PlayStation 4. It is great for watching the occasional DVD or Blu-Ray, it streams Youtube, Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime wonderfully, and oh yeah, it can play games. The thing is, I rarely have much opportunity to play games on my PS4 now, often using the bits of available time I do have for other endeavors.

The last game I actually played on my PS4 was, "Red Dead Redemption 2," and it has been months since I booted that game up. There are other games that sound kind of fun, but frankly the one titles I'd give-up my available time for to play are maybe, "Cyberpunk 2077," and, "Vampire: The Masquerade--Bloodlines 2." Otherwise when I'm not busy with Clarkson as a stay-at-home-Dad, spending time with Clarkson and Samii, or doing some part-time work, I really would rather use my free time to read, watch something, or work on this ol' blog. I don't have time to spend hours learning a so-so game, it has gotta be amazing, and preferably not too time-consuming. Therefore, do I really need a potential PlayStation 5? If I can use the PS4 to stream everything we need and barely play games, it is not especially pressing, is it? Perhaps once in a blue moon when a title I really want to play comes out it'd be handy, but the idea of eagerly buying a PlayStation 5 is low on my list until it has been out a good long while with some price-cuts, most likely.

Monday, April 15, 2019

My Proposal for the, "Game of Thrones," Finale

Yesterday was the premiere episode of the final season of, "Game of Thrones." There are six episodes making up this eighth season and people are going wild with excitement, theories, and many debates about who will end up claiming the Iron Throne. I have not really watched much of the show and only have some passing familiarity with it as someone who tries to keep-up with all of popular-culture in order to discuss with some knowledge (or an attempt at knowledge). Yes, I am not a huge fan like some people who are annoying in how all they talk about is the show, but I also am not one of those almost equally annoying people who like to make a huge deal out of how they don't watch the show--you know the type, they've been on Facebook making passive-aggressive jokes about how, "I must be the only one who doesn't care about the, 'GOT,' premiere, LOL!" We get it, Karen, you don't have HBO. With all of this said, I have an idea for how to make a, "GOT," finale that would be both ingenious and enrage probably everyone, or least almost as many people who threw a fit over the, "Lost," finale.

My proposal for the, "Game of Thrones," finale is simple and an idea I've seen some people mention before as well with rumors of it even happening in the past: Reveal that the entirety of, "GOT," has taken place in one of the previously-unseen theme parks from  another HBO show, "Westworld." It can be revealed how basically everyone is a host who started doing their own crazy thing once the park, "Broke," at the end of season 1 and the entire series has been a show-within-a-show. Yes, "Game of Thrones," started running long before the, "Westworld," premiered, but the concept of, "Westworld," actually is far older than, "GOT." "Westworld," was originally a film directed by author and occasional filmmaker, Michael Crichton, way back in 1973. George R.R. Martin did not release the first book until August of 1996, and the show started in April of 2011. Therefore, "Westworld," quite officially did come first in terms of existing.
Inhabitants of the Fantasy World of Westeros, or malfunctioning hosts within Westworld?
Why not tie together two great shows inspired by the works of two amazing creators and simultaneously look clever while pissing everyone off? It isn't like it will ruin the still-unfinished books as Martin has stated the show has always had a bit of its own path. It will probably result in a barrage of angry tweets at HBO, but is there really anyway whatsoever that, "Game of Thrones," can have a finale that lives-up to the immense hype?

Let's be honest, how many shows have actually had a satisfying series' finale that pleased almost everyone (I can think of maybe just one show, "Breaking Bad," and then I go blank)? Why not tie, "Game of Thrones," and, "Westworld," together in a bit of a meta-wink/middle-finger at viewers. If nothing else, it'll allow HBO to maybe dip back into the show a smidgen in future seasons of, "Westworld," as it explores the ruined park of Westeros and essentially forces fans of either show to watch both in order to fully understand everything. It would be clever and a a bit of an evil-genius move. I know with 99.9% certainty this isn't going to happen, but if it somehow did, I'd admire the chutzpah of HBO for sure--it would quite possibly utterly break Twitter. I've written this article with my tongue firmly in my cheek, but a little piece of me does fully believe this would be awesome in a really twisted and messed-up way. That, and I just really like, "Westworld."

Sunday, April 14, 2019

The Big River Comic Convention Was a Blast!

An Awesome Time Was Had!
Yesterday the Big River Comic Convention was held for the first time and it was a spectacularly fun time. I arrived early in the morning with a friend who joined me shortly before the show started at 9AM. The location had been changed due to flooding concerns a couple weeks earlier to the Tabernacle of Praise Recreational Complex, but even with that shift in location everything was still very impressively organized--especially considering this was Hannibal's first comic-convention! I left in the early afternoon (it ran until 5PM)  but there was already a line before the show started (see the below picture) and as the day went on it got very busy, with tons of fans and families in attendance.

There was a line to start and people kept coming!
I enjoyed chatting with guests at a variety of booths, got some great comics from an assortment of vendors, and saw some stellar cosplay! In alphabetical-ish order here are some highlights of the day:

The Folk I Met and Stuff I Bought!
Alex the Comic Hoarder 
I met YouTuber and vendor Alex the Comic Hoarder. He has been doing Youtube videos for about three years discussing comic-books he told me, and was at the show selling some of his collection to make some more space. I was happy to assist him in his efforts through purchasing an assortment of great books including a handful of, "Avengers," comics, in addition to an older, "Ms. Marvel," a, "Batman," issue from Grant Morrison's run, and some other stellar books. I'd encourage you to visit his Youtube page and subscribe, I already have done so myself!

Amy Hale
Author and my friend Amy Hale was at the BRCC and excited to discuss her books for sale as well as ones she was in the process of working on with attendees. She is always great to see and you can visit her site here.

Better Together Creations
The good folk of BTC had a variety of cool stuff, from magical wands to wood-burned items, and their original comic, "Lame Brains." It was great chatting with them and I'd recommend visiting their Facebook page!

Bishop Stevens
I always enjoy seeing former pro-wrestler and current actor Bishop Stevens at shows. He is very friendly and loves talking about the art of acting. You can say hi to him on Facebook here!
Blonde Bombshell Cosplay
BB Cosplay was at the show and led the cosplay contests. She was dressed as a really neat Elsa from, "Frozen," at the show. She is on Instagram here.

Bob Hall
Famous writer and artist of comics Bob Hall was present with a wide range of his work. He was extremely friendly and had an assortment of cool stories. It was really cool to meet him and chat about our shared birthplace of Lincoln, Nebraska (its a cool place)! His website is here.

Comic Grind (The)
I always love seeing The Comic Grind at conventions and shows! A bus that has been changed into a mobile comic store that also serves coffee and treats, it is both ingenious and just plain fun to be in (or buy from). I encourage you to visit its website so you can stay updated on all its future, "Stops."

Costumers for Christ
The non-profit Costumers for Christ had a free comic about Jesus as world's original and greatest hero and were very pleasant to speak with. Their website is here (here is the Facebook) and has some unique interpretations about a variety of comic-book subjects that are interesting to think about from a religious standpoint (e.g. how nobody stays dead in comics/all the resurrections).

David Gorden
My good friend and comic creator David Gorden was at the show with his fantastic comic, "Kwame Hightower and the Man With No Name." He was a pleasure to see as always! He's on Facebook here.

Geek Chic
David and Dawn of Geek Chic had a ton of comics, toys, and other awesome stuff for fellow geeks. I was able to purchase some great old Moon Knight comics from them, so that made me very happy. Their Facebook page can be found here.

Graflex Shop (The)
The Graflex Shop had super-cool replica lightsabers that were really impressive to look at. Their website can be found here.

Heroes for Kids
Heroes for Kids is a non-profit dedicated to, "Bringing together Law Enforcement, Firefighters, EMS, Military, and costumed heroes to bring smiles to people while bolstering community relations and raising money for different charitable organizations." They were at the show with a variety of cool comic and movie items (many signed by notable celebrities) and were raising funds at this particular show for Backstoppers. They also let me take a picture with their booth's Superman, which I appreciated! Check out their Facebook here.

Jacob Bouvet
Jacob Bouvet is an indie comic-maker who had some cool comics, mini-comics, and zines. I was eager to buy some of them and they are really good! Visit his website here and get some for yourself too!

J.E. Nelson
I met Ms. Nelson previously at a Toyman show and was happy to see her here at BRCC too! She is an author whose book, "Daphne's Adventures," follows the adventures of a young girl with ASD as she survives a zombie apocalypse. You can visit J.E. Nelson's site here!

Legendary Rose Cosplay
Cosplayer Legendary Rose was at the show and very friendly and excited to chat about the art of cosplaying. I greatly enjoyed meeting her. You can find her on Instagram via this link.

Lorenzo Lizana
Lorenzo Lizana is another awesome comic creator I am honored to call my friend. He was hard at work drawing and chatting with attendees. He's on Facebook here.

Monroe Street Press
MSP sells reprints of 20th and 19th century books covering a wide-range of subjects. Their books were really high-quality and a great way to see old texts in format that you can read without worrying about old pages crumbling into pieces! Their site is here.

National Fire Safety Council
Members of the local National Fire Safety Council were at the show handing out fire-safety information (check those smoke detectors, people), and letting folk take pictures with Firepup.  As you can see I was eager to get a snapshot taken!

Poison Ivy
This cosplayer's take on Poison Ivy was neat, I loved the little plant as an extra element!

Raven's Loft
A store located in Lebanon, Missouri, Raven's Loft had a booth full of comics (new as well as old) plus other goodies such as Funko Pops. Their Facebook page is found here.

Steampunk Robot
This cosplayer dressed as a wild steampunk robot had a really cool outfit.

Tech-Outreach
The good folk from Tech-Outreach had some stupendous stuff that they 3-D printed--even their business card was made on a 3-D printer! Check-out their site here.

Closing Thoughts
A great future for the show ahead!
The first-ever Big River Comic-Con was a smashing success in my opinion. Others seemed to agree with me too,there was stellar attendance with rave reviews, and I both overheard in-person and read online people saying how this was a much needed event for Hannibal that allowed everyone to have a stellar time. Now I can only excitedly wait for the show next year!

Friday, April 12, 2019

The Big River Comic-Con in Hannibal is Tomorrow!

I just wanted to remind everyone that the Big River Comic-Con taking place in Hannibal is being held tomorrow, April 13th! As I discussed in an earlier post, the location for the show had to be changed to a new spot due to concerns with floodwaters--it is now at the Tabernacle of Praise Recreational Complex (6400 Co Rd 445, Hannibal, MO 63401). There will be great guests, awesome vendors, fun programming, and of course there's gonna be cosplay!

I am excited to attend tomorrow and will be sure and report on all the fun. If you want to go but have yet to buy tickets you can get them at the entrance to the show tomorrow or there's still time to purchase a ticket online. I'll see everyone then!

The New, "Hellboy," Movie Sounds Bad, but I'd See it for One Reason/Actor I Heard About

If you've been following the reviews of the latest, "Hellboy," movie I've seen thoughts ranging from that it isn't especially entertaining, to folk stating it is just plain bad. However, one thing stuck-out to me in reviews that mentioned a surprise cameo. Should you be wary of spoilers quit reading this post. Everyone still here as nobody really cares about spoilers for this crappy movie? Okay, good. Anyways, it seems that during a zany post-credits scene we see the arrival of fan-favorite character from the comics, Lobster Johnson AKA The Lobster, played by none other than an actor I quite like, Thomas Haden Church! Church has been in super-hero flicks before (he was the only good element of, "Spider-Man 3," compared to the rest of that train-wreck) and it seems his little stinger segment is designed to set-up a potential sequel to the, "Hellboy," movie coming out today.

Depending on if abysmal reviews sink the flick (and destroy the chances for another installment) or it succeeds despite criticism remains to be seen, but I now kind of want it to do well just so that we get more of Church as Lobster Johnson in a future movie. The idea of a Thomas Haden Church playing a wacky pulp-hero alongside David Harbour's valiant attempt at portraying Hellboy (that still apparently is pretty weak) almost makes me forgive how we'll never get a, "Hellboy 3," with Guillermo Del Toro directing and Ron Perlman effortlessly doing his version of the lovable big red demon. Almost, but not in actuality. I will never forgive whoever/whomever is to blame for the lack of a, "Hellboy 3."

Thursday, April 11, 2019

I Worried This Would Happen: "The Black Monday Murders," Further Delayed

When it was first being teased how Jonathan Hickman was returning to Marvel (later it was revealed he is doing two mini-series about the X-Men) I was intrigued but also had one overriding concern. Namely, I was worried this could delay, "The Black Monday Murders," even further. Sure enough, it has been reported that the supposed release date for issue #9 of the Image series--the start of the final story-arc, suddenly has disappeared into the ether. Diamond, the main/basically only distributor of comics had the book listed with a tentative release date, but now...nothing.

This is exactly what I was worried would happen seeing as Hickman already is notorious for delays regarding his books. Now I just have to wait even longer to see what he and illustrator Tomm Coker have waiting for us. Perhaps this series will eventually conclude, but for now the waiting game resumes.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

I Annoyed Gamergate and Comicsgate Members for Fun on Twitter

Let's be real, Twitter was a mistake.
If you spend much time online you may have heard about Gamergate and Comicsgate. They are both internet hate-groups that claim to hold lofty and idealistic goals, but in actuality are made-up of an assortment of racists, homophobes, conspiracy theorists, alt-right members, and the like. They claim they want, "Ethics in journalism," or desire to get rid of, "Identity politics," in comic-books but all these groups truly desire is to silence voices that aren't white and straight men. I've talked about my hatred for Gamergate before and if you want an overview of what a mess Comicsgate is I'd recommend this stellar piece by Leonard Pitts Jr. of, "The Miami Herald," as well as Noah Berlatsky's article for, "The Washington Post."

The members of these groups love to harass others that they think don't, "Belong," and if you call them out generally like to claim they have nothing to do with the, "Bad," members of their group and otherwise tell anyone questioning them how the questioners are the hateful bigots. It sickens me when I read about video-game makers I am a fan of or comic-makers I support being harassed by these fools so I thought to help take some heat off these innocent victims and to get a chuckle that during last weekend when I wasn't busy at Wizard World Saint Louis I'd wade into the toxic regions of Twitter, cast-out my fishing lure, and see whom I could, "Hook," the attention of.

One of of my comments at an especially ignorant tweet by EVS he actually later deleted.
Notice how when I insult his ilk I actually get more, "Likes," than angry responses.
Besides tweeting at Ethan Van Sciver (a darling of the Comicsgate members) to tell him to stop his spewing of bile and lies I also did some tweets basically summing-up my views of Gamergate and Comicsgate. I got plenty of, "Likes," and, "Follows," out this, but before long some bottom-feeders in ol' Twitter-lake took my bait and started telling me how Social Justice Warriors were actually the racist ones, how their movements were based in good faith and they can't help some bad apples, the usual bullshit.

I will not state names as unlike members of Gamergate and Comicsgate I don't believe in doxxing, but I would like to talk about one person whom I'll simply call, "Lester." If I was reeling in some fish on Twitter-lake then Lester was a prize-winning catch. With a mixture of neigh-incoherent grammar and awful spelling he rambled at me in regards to false-flag operations, QAnon, called me an NPC, insisted transgender people only made-up, ".01%," of the world's population, and alternated between referring to me as, "Farmboy," or, "Bro,"when he wasn't belligerently stating I was playing assorted, "Cards." I assume he meant things like, "The race card," or, "The trans card," but reading his garbled tweets made it a little tricky to understand what his exact point was other than that I was wrong and he didn't, "Hate me, I just hate your kind." When I asked for clarification of what my kind was, he cheekily just said, "SJWs," and refused to elaborate on if there were any other demographics he was coyly trying to admit hating.
Eventually Lester got fed-up, sent me a direct message about how awful I was, and blocked me, as the above image shows with any identifying info cropped-out. Apparently because I called his beloved movements hate groups I was in fact the racist and bigoted person in our conversation. I interacted with others on Twitter too, but they were a little less fiery, simply repeating their assertions how they truly felt they meant well, disavowed anyone who harassed/threatened others, and used the usual circular logic to take anything I said as proving I was the actual hateful person in their eyes and/or simply, "Willfully dense," and that I should, "Seek help."

Eventually the flow of responses to my initial tweets stopped and the weekend was over. I could only hope my actions made some Gamergate and Comicsgate dummies stop harassing others for even a brief moment, and also was pleased at the increase in follows and readers from the many people who agree with me that Gamergate and Comicsgate are terrible. Anyways, it kept me entertained off-and-on over the weekend and gave me enough material to write this article, so all-in-all I'd say I was productive. Plus, I managed to piss off someone in Gamergate and Comicsgate so much they actually blocked me, which gives me a twisted feeling of pride to think I was able to annoy someone so toxic. I'm weird, I know.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Wizard World Saint Louis 2019 In Review Part 2: People I Met, Stuff I Acquired

My Favorite Reasons to Attend a Con
When I go to a comic-con I am always excited about the people I'm going to meet. I don't really mean the celebrities, as while they are the big draw for some of the attendees I lack the desire to pay $100+ for a quick picture with Jason Momoa (no offense to him, he is a cool guy). No, I get excited about the creators, vendors, and all that stuff. Although, I did say hi to Lou Ferrigno and Chris Kattan--they both were very pleasant and Mr. Kattan mentioned he had an autobiography coming-out in May which sounds really cool. Anyways, here in sorta-kinda alphabetical order are the cool people I met and the things I acquired.

People and Things, Thing and People
Anime Senpai
Anime Senpai is a 3-day con held at the Collinsville Gateway Center in Illinois dedicated to celebrating the arts and culture of Japanese anime, manga, and cosplay. It will be held this October 11th-13th and sounds like a fun time! You can visit their website here.

Arvell Jones
Arvell Jones is a longtime creator of comics and has contributed to many great books and characters--including being a co-creator of Misty Knight. I brought my copy of the issue where she is introduced, "Marvel Premiere #21," and Mr. Jones was kind enough to sign it for me as well as share some stories about working at Marvel back then. He can be found on Facebook.

Butcher Queen
I met the creative team behind, "Butcher Queen," and bought a copy of the one-shot preview issue for the series. It is a sci-fi and horror comic set in the future and looks quite fun. It actually has a Kickstarter that just recently started to help fund the costs of getting it made and you can learn more about it via this link.

Chocolate Moonshine Co.
The great folk of Chocolate Moonshine Company had tons of samples of their fudge and flavored chocolates. One really cool element was how they incorporate alcohol into some of the candies but the booze content cooks out, resulting in a great taste but no risk of getting drunk off their chocolate! I tried some coffee-related flavors and loved the great taste and smooth finish. You can visit their website here.

Crumbly Art
Natalia Roman and Andrea Metzger of Crumbly Art Bakehouse & Cakery had some delicious cookies and other baked goods for sale. Their enthusiasm and excitement when it came to discussing their, "Small-batch, 100% scratch bakery," located in the Milwaukee region of Wisconsin made me want to go visit sometime or at the very least get some tasty treats mailed to me! Check out their delicious wares on their website.

Dave and Adam's Card World
A number of nice gentlemen from Dave and Adam's Card World were at the show both buying and selling comic-books. They had some stellar books for sale from an assortment of eras that if I had the budget I would've bought! Check-out their website here if you like.

David Gorden and Lorenzo Lizana
Two comic-makers I love the work of were at a booth for the con, showing off their comics and playing great jams thanks to some DJ-equipment they had set-up too! Gorden is on Facebook here and Lizana can be found on Facebook as well at this link.

Geek Inc. Comics
My friends from Geek Inc. Comics were at the show buying, selling, and trading. They of course are also the people behind the Saint Louis Comic-Con in June which I will be excited to attend! Their website can be found here.

Handbook for Mortals
I met and spoke with the author of, "Handbook for Mortals," Lani Sarem. I felt like I'd heard of the book somewhere but wasn't sure. She gave me a free copy and I thanked her. Later I Googled the book and realized it rang a bell as it had some controversy a bit ago in regards to if it, "Bought," its way onto the New York Times Bestseller List. It seems to have very mixed reviews in regards to the book itself separate from any controversy, but I'll give a read (or at least skim it) and form my own opinion for sure. The book's website is here.

Jaime Coker Creations
Jaime Coker was at Wizard World with a variety of awesome art-pieces. He was extremely friendly and that always makes me want to spend more time at someone's booth--when they are nice. You can see more of his stuff on Facebook.

Kato Kaelin
Ah Kato. A man famous for being a struggling actor who testified at the O.J. Simpson trial and went on to do a variety of gigs afterwards in acting, reality television, and being an MC at the Wizard World shows. I quite like Kato as he is both very nice, extremely self-aware, and he was  hoot recently on, "Celebrity Big Brother." When I saw him last year I told him I had a little indie-comic he actually appeared within. Titled, "Television," it collected the works of a cartoonist who got a Xeric grant to publish their works--with one piece being an illustrated interview with Kato Kaelin from 2005 (the comic came out in 2007). I brought it this year and Kato remarked he vaguely recalled the interview as most people film or record him and this person was sketching the whole time. He was happy to sign the book and I greatly appreciated it. Send him a tweet here.

Kinetic
The independent comic publisher Y Comics was at the show to promote their ongoing series, "Kinetic." It focuses on a young man who gains superpowers and wants to be a hero, but faces an obstacle in the form of how the city already has a hero protecting it--and the guy is a huge jerk! It sounds like a super-fun read and you learn more about it at the Y Comics website.

Lost in Space Toys and Collectibles
I am friends with Spike, the man behind Lost in Space Toys and Collectibles. He was at the show selling a spectacular assortment of comic-books and he was a pleasure to speak with (and browse the wares of) as always! I encourage you to visit his store's website here.

Missing Link
Everyone at the booth for the upcoming, "Missing Link," movie was a delight to interact with. I got some free swag and was honored to have my picture taken with two of the film's stars. You can learn more about, "Missing Link," and buy tickets for an upcoming showing at its website.

Oh My Sophii
Sophii of, "Oh My Sophii," was at the show as a guest thanks to her talent as a professional cosplayer. She talked with me about how much she enjoys getting into the role of a character such as her creation pictured above, Warrior Barbie, and was very fun to speak with! Visit her on Facebook and say hello.
Ryan Kincaid
Ryan Kincaid is a great illustrator whom I always enjoy seeing at shows. Some time ago I purchased, "Volume 1," of a collection of his artwork and at this show bought a copy of, "Volume 2." He is known for a variety of styles but his cheesecakey artwork often garners many fans, so the cover for this volume leans heavily in that direction for sure!

Sally Quinn Cosplay
Rachael Havey of Sally Quinn Cosplay was at the show in her stellar cosplay and showcasing her incredible body-painting skills as well. It was quite impressive! Her Facebook page is here.

STL Rebelcon 2020
Set to be the first Saint Louis-based con dedicated to the Starz show, "Spartacus," it is currently on-track to occur March 21st and 22nd at the Sheldon Concert Hall and Art Galleries. You can learn more at the official website.
Super Kayce Cosplay
Another cosplayer I enjoyed chatting with, her outfit that involved contacts that whited-out her eyes was quite scary! She is on Facebook here.

Another Great Show in the Books
Wizard World this year was really fun. Some years I have honestly stated how I felt the show was lacking, but this year I was impressed with the variety of vendors (comics, toys, Funko Pops, artwork) the sizable artists' alley, and the good variety of programming that occurred. There were not too many, "Huge," celebrity guests, with show headliner Jason Momoa even only unable to attend Sunday. That isn't a major concern for me, however, as the stars at a convention are usually quite secondary to what I've already said I enjoy most--meeting various cool people/cosplayers and getting cool stuff to read/eat/enjoy! Wizard World 2019 was fantastic fun and I hope there is a show in 2020 to enjoy as well. Now then, I need to get some rest as I already have the Big River Comic Convention coming up in under a week at Hannibal and I'm super-pumped!