Monday, August 31, 2020

Who Went and Saw, "New Mutants," This Weekend Despite All Logic Saying Not To Do So?

Last weekend, "New Mutants," made 7 million dollars at the box office. This would be chump change for a major release, normally, but we are in a pandemic with a small number of theaters open and people avoiding tight indoor spaces. That makes 7 million first place. Still, how the Hell did, "New Mutants," place first with anyone who wants to be safe only possibly seeing it a drive-in theater as it wasn't available on-demand? International box offices in regions with less COVID-19 concerns make sense, but that money is the domestic take. Who actually thought, "I'm willing to brave a deadly virus to see what is by all accounts one of the crappier mutant-focused movies," and then went and did it without anyone talking sense into them?

We need to not be opening movie theaters (drive-ins aside) and we really should avoid encouraging people to put themselves at risk of COVID-19 for a movie that was in development Hell for years and could've waited another year or so to come out instead of baiting people to go out and be in danger of illness because some morons out there think COVID-19 is, "A hoax," and that wearing a mask makes them a sheep or some B.S. Despite all of this, "New Mutants," made 7 million bucks. Good for it, I hope anyone who gets ill from COVID-19 after going to a theater to see it is mocked for risking their life to--again--see a really crappy X-Men movie. I mean, at least risk your safety for something decent of the X-flicks like, "Logan," or, "Deadpool 2," you know?

Sunday, August 30, 2020

"Avengers By Jonathan Hickman: The Complete Collection," Volume 1 Kicks-Off a Great Way to Revisit His Amazing Run

When Jonathan Hickman was writing, "Avengers," and, "New Avengers," the books tied-together quite closely, to a point where you practically needed to alternate between issues of each series towards the end of their runs as they led into the epic 2015 event, "Secret Wars." Some collections of the comics took this into account and there have been some huge omnibus collections that are now out of print and extremely costly. Thankfully, Marvel is starting to release these, "Complete Collection," trade paperbacks which gather anything Hickman did relating to his, "Avengers," run and puts them in a snazzy chronological order.  Hence this book with a mouthful of a title, "Avengers By Jonathan Hickman: The Complete Collection," volume 1.

This first edition collects an initial chunk of, "Avengers," "New Avengers," and oddly enough a mini-series focused on Sunspot and Havok, "Astonishing Tales: Mojoworld," Hickman wrote and which kinda related to his Avengers work when Sunspot and Havok began playing a role what with how eventually Sunspot gains control of former terrorist group A.I.M. and uses it to assist his fellow Avengers. Future complete collections will gather the main runs as well as useful side-items as well, which helps to present a truly full and, "Complete," look at the mega-run Hickman did that astounded so many of us (with him now doing some cool and complex stuff on the X-Men books that will undoubtedly need a complete collection in a decade or so). This is a great book to give to anyone who wants to get into Hickman's run on the Avenger books but is unsure where to start, with each follow-up book undoubtedly being great as well until everything has been collected in a number of nice thick books.
5 out of 5 stars.

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Chadwick Boseman Has Passed

In news that surprised us all, Chadwick Boseman had been battling colon cancer for four years and passed away yesterday at the age of 43. He clearly kept it private--which he had every right to do, it just makes this feel so sudden and shocking for many of us. My family has been impacted by colon cancer as well, with it taking the life of my Aunt Jenifer when she was 43 as well--much younger than people normally associate with colon cancer.

There are sometimes mutations that can make one more at risk for colon cancer so all I can say is if you have that mutation, make sure to get a colonoscopy and if you don't have the mutation, still get a colonoscopy as soon as you are old enough for your doctor to recommend one. Chadwick Boseman was a stellar actor known for everything from playing Black Panther, to James Brown, and basically being great in any role. He will be missed.

Friday, August 28, 2020

The, "Untold Tales of Chex Quest Anthology," Comic Is Legitimately Impressive

"Chex Quest," was a computer game from 1996 that promoted--what else--Chex. It has apparently been remastered and can be played for free if you have a computer. There is a free, "Untold Tales of Chex Quest Anthology," comic that came out recently and can be found at comic shops that got it randomly with their shipments. For a comic that ties-in with Chex this thing is astoundingly cool.

It is a thick comic, with a spine like a little book, and it has some great talents involved. There are folk I don't know, but then some names that are incredible creators such as Tom Scioli. I have a soft spot for commercial tie-in comics, having loved the, "Mighty Bubble," comic I talked about some years ago, but even if you aren't a big follower of random comic tie-ins this is a wildly cool book. The, "Untold Tales of Chex Quest Anthology," is worth seeking out a physical copy of or reading online. It's fun, creative, and makes me want some Chex mix or cereal, so cross-promotion mission accomplished, I suppose.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

"Three Jokers," #1 is an Intriguing Start

Ever since a strange mention of, "Three Jokers," some years ago in some, "Justice League," comics the idea of a project exploring this idea has been slowly cooking. The, "Meal," is finally served in the form of a Black Label mini-series of three issues that kind of is in continuity and kinda isn't, depending on whom you ask. Written by Geoff Johns and illustrated by Jason Fabok, this thing has taken forever to come out, but here's the first issue, finally. The plot is interesting, but the art is what makes this worth the wait.

Fabok's art is not overly realistic or cartoony, it just is solid, detailed, and gorgeous. Fabok's art is the biggest selling point of this comic for me, with the mystery of how there could have been three Jokers this whole time sounding a little intriguing, but not worrying me that much. This isn't to dismiss the plot idea that multiple Jokers would explain his personality being different at various points, or cover why he seems to pop-up some many places so often, but I feel like no answer could truly be satisfying. Is it a chemical thing? A weird trick? Who knows, let's just enjoy the ride and admire the gorgeous artwork.
The bit of the comic where we do see these three different Jokers interact is interesting, with a criminal-minded one clearly being the leader and two that are more alike with slight differences--a comedian and clown following orders. Even if I think the answer about why we have three Jokers will be unsatisfying, I can still have fun seeing how they all function. Plus, as I said, every page is a treat for the eyes thanks to Fabok. I may still be concerned where the story could be going, but as of right now I'm entertained by the writing and amazed by the illustrations.
5 out of 5 stars.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Some August 2020 Links and News

August = Hot

Alright, I live in Missouri. Right now we've got smokey haze coming from Calfornia wildfires, a bunch of rain moving-up due to the hurricanes in the South, and it is hot as Hell right now in general. In other words, it is a good time to stay indoors even if there weren't a pandemic and just enjoy some links.

News, Links, and Such

"New Mutants," is finally coming to theaters, but it won't be on-demand. Special digital review versions are not even being provided to reviewers either, which has resulted in many news outlets refusing to review the flick. If their reviewers can't see it safely and have to go to a theater and risk COVID-19, they ain't gonna have any part of it. There is a certain irony to a movie that was delayed for years now not even getting reviewed.

Speaking of stuff that's been in the works for years, that, "Batman: Three Jokers," comic finally is being released. I've seen one review that compliments the art by Jason Fabok but finds the story by Geoff Johns lacking. I saw an absolutely glowing review as well. Plus, a review that said it is risky and might work or fall apart. Basically, everyone can agree the art is stellar, but that's about it. I clearly need to read it and post my own review to contribute to the debate!

John Carpenter has essentially retired from filmmaking. He prefers to play video-games and make music for fun now, which when you have a career as impressive as his, he has every right to do. That said, I did get excited thinking he might be involved in any way with an apparent new reboot of, "The Thing."

I hate flying. It stresses me out, makes me nauseous, and otherwise isn't very fun. Perhaps a video-game titled, "Airplane Mode," that simulates you riding as a passenger on a flight from New York to Iceland will help give me some exposure-therapy and get me over my issues. That, or I'll just get sick to my stomach at home instead of on an actual plane. It's a 50-50 odds.

The Democratic National Convention was last week and struck a positive, hopeful chord with an amazing line-up of speakers. This week is the Republican National Convention and it has a more apocalyptic and fearful tone with such speakers, the MyPillow guy?

There has been a random theory that DC will have Superman lead, "The Authority," even though that group works better in its own comic-universe than mashed-up in the mainstream DC one (look at the New52 failure of the series for proof). Bleedingcool seems eager to throw fire to this rumor which seems far-fetched, but with Grifter suddenly showing-up in, "Batman," and DC going through so many changes, who knows what is reasonable or outlandish anymore?

"Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout," is a fun and hilarious game. It has become extremely popular and now people are modding Fall Guy characters into other games for fun too.

I thought DC's Fandome event went pretty well, and apparently, WB agrees with me. News is that WB execs are, "Giddy," at how well it went. It was actually split into two days, so we will see if the September edition goes swimmingly as well.

Let's close on something absurd. I heard that a video-game tournament had the organizers dub-over fart noises whenever they thought it would be funny, which is incredibly crass, irresponsible, and admittedly kinda humorous. Apologies have been made.

Avoid the Sun
Stay cool, stay calm, and avoid the Sun until September when things hopefully cool off.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

There is Going to be a, "Metal Gear Solid," Board Game Someday, If It Quits Getting Delayed

Today I was intrigued to learn there is a fun-looking board game in the works themed for, "Metal Gear Solid." I was disheartened, however, to learn it keeps getting delayed. It is being made by IDW's games division, and considering how much money-trouble IDW keeps having I worry if the game will ever even be able to come out. Still, it looks pretty cool, even if it'll apparently cost a whopping $125, meaning I may pass on playing it as that's a significant chunk of change and I dunno who even would want to play it with me. If it ever comes out it looks spiffy, though.

Monday, August 24, 2020

Boss Fight Books' Examination of, "Majora's Mask," is a Treat to Read

Boss Fight Books publishes little books with writing by authors examining various video-games of note. I've enjoyed reading their books that delve into games I remember. One game I recall quite fondly is, "The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask," which is now 20 years old. I saw Boss Fight Books would be doing a book on, "Majora's Mask," and eagerly backed their Kickstarter campaign to fund that book along with some others. This particular edition is written by Gabe Durham, who uses the pages to explore the unique development this game faced--it was quickly made within a year using a lot of assets from the previous game, "Ocarina of Time," as well as the impact the game had on us all, with countless fan theories now existing arguing about what the game, "Really means."

"Majora's Mask," is a weird little Zelda game. It throws link into an alternate dimension called, "Termina," and has him repeating the same three days over and over due to the fact a very angry moon crashes into the land at the end of that cycle, destroying everything. As you repeat these days you help all the residents of the town while also exploring some dungeons. It has classic Zelda elements (those dungeons), but also carries a weird melancholy vibe as everyone in Termina deals with the fact that a moon is quite clearly going to obliterate everything. Oh, and the element of how masks transform Link into other forms was awesome too, to somewhat bury the lede of how incredible the many in-game masks were that morphed link or simply resulted in changing people's perceptions of him.
That ever-present and quite angry Moon.
Durham examines a number of old interviews and articles while doing some interviewing of his own, digging into how this unique, "Zelda," game really stuck with people and made their imaginations run wild with theories about the surreal World of Termina. It's a fun read and I was ecstatic to get the book a bit earlier than its official release date in October thanks to backing the Kickstarter campaign. I'd highly recommend preordering the book here so you too can enjoy reading about what I argue is one of the best, "Zelda," games ever thanks to being so unique and wild.
5 out of 5 stars.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Takeaways From DC's Fandome

DC did their Fandome yesterday, a digital event full of announcements and movie trailers. Considering DC has been kind of rocky lately, it is good that it went so well. A lot was announced or confirmed, from the return of Milestone to a new, "Wonder Woman 1984," trailer, and the first footage of, "The Batman," which looks promising and very grim. It has a great cast with Robert Pattinson and Jeffery Wright among others and Director Matt Reeves looks to be making something snazzy. The, "Flash," movie was talked about a bit too, basically confirming the Multiverse of films idea--hence multiple Batmen.

Some video-games were confirmed too, with Rocksteady making that hinted-out, "Suicide Squad Kills the Justice League," video-game where they fight a Brainiac-controlled assortment of heroes. That isn't due out till 2022, however, so get ready for a wait. Another Batman game was announced too, "Gotham Knights," but without Batman as he apparently is dead for this game. That game is being spearheaded by WB Montreal and has all of Batman's allies teaming-up to fight the Court of Owls. That's due next year, so less of a wait.
Looks good, but it ain't due till 2022.
For those who have eagerly awaited news, Zack Snyder shared some footage of his director's cut of, "Justice League," and it looked like a Snyder film without a doubt for better or worse. In news that interested me a bit more, John Ridley will be writing a Batman comic that isn't part of DC's now-scrapped 5G plan, but still features some rumored elements such as someone else taking up the mantle of Batman who happens to be Black. Ridley is a great director and comic-writer, so it'll be fun.

DC's Fandome was split into two days, so there will be more stuff in September. For now, though, this was a pretty neat way for DC to show-off stuff to everyone stuck at home in a safe and enjoyable manner. It was like a Zoom call that was actually entertaining, which as we all know is a rare thing.

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Christopher Priest Will be Writing U.S. Agent

Christopher Priest is an amazing writer, and he excels at taking characters I have never really read comics about and making me love them. He did it with Deathstroke, he did it with Vampirella, and now he's going to do it with a mini-series for U.S. Agent of all characters. Yes, Christopher Priest is going to be bringing us five issues of, "U.S. Agent," from Marvel and I'm totally here for it. John Walker is U.S. Agent, and kind of a jerk--a lesser version of Captain America. I find the character often is grating when he appears in assorted comics and I don't care for him much. I'm sure Priest is gonna make me love reading about him though.

Priest himself knows Walker is pretty awful, saying in the official announcement, "I was thrilled to be invited back to Captain America...until I realized it was this guy, Cap’s scowling, emotionally damaged misfit cousin. Cousin America. But USAGENT presents an exciting writer’s challenge to explore the myriad expressions and aspirations of the American dream, how that dream is fulfilled or not, through the eyes and voices of a nation often at war with itself. John Walker is a man often at war with HIMself, so Marvel knows no better a protagonist for this journey, this stumble, this Parkour carom through the many visions of the greatest nation on Earth.” Yeah, I'll be buying this, even if I'm not super familiar with the artist, Stefano Landini, I'm sure he'll do great too.

Friday, August 21, 2020

Film Friday: Ben Affleck Actually Back as Batman? What a World We Live In

Ben Affleck was done as Batman, he hated it....right? Well, in the upcoming, "Flash," movie that apparently will riff on the event, "Flashpoint," Ben Affleck will be one of the Batmen back for the role (Michael Keaton is confirmed and who knows if anyone else will pop-up). "Flashpointt," was all about time-travel and multi-dimensional shenanigans so this is a way for Warner Brothers/DC to basically say all their movies are, "True," in some manner. From the Zack Snyder stuff to, "Joker," to the upcoming Robert Pattinson Batman movie to the television shows which the movie-Flash, Ezra Miller--actually had a cameo in too.

It's a wild idea to just bring everything and the kitchen sink together, but DC seems to be considering this idea as opposed to trying to have a tightly-knit cinematic Universe as Marvel does. They were able to convince Ben Affleck to come back, so clearly he agrees with the idea to some degree. I look forward to seeing more as this all develops.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

"Bear & Breakfast," Sounds Like a Lovely Videogame

One of my weirder (non-sexual) fantasies is wanting to run a Bed and Breakfast. It is a strange desire as I lack the business acumen to do so, can't cook well, and generally hate the idea of strangers sleeping in my house. Still, a surreal desire is there, so hearing a game with be coming to the Nintendo Switch and PC titled, "Bear & Breakfast," where you play a bear who runs a B&B sounds absolutely delightful. A game where I play a bear who decorates a cute house and makes meals for visitors while exploring the mysteries of the forest my B&B is located in? Yes, please!

"Bear and Breakfast," isn't due to be released until 2021, so I'll need to wait for a while. In the meantime, I'll just imagine creating perfectly themed rooms for tourists while I do quests in the woods for additional fun. Just knowing someday soon I can fulfill my weird dream of running a bed and breakfast is filling me with joy for sure.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Big Names, Bigger Kickstaters, Massive Controversy?

Way back in...let me check my notes, 2015, I made a post evaluating the idea of Kickstarter and having it compete with or compliment retail. The main idea was looking at how appropriate or inappropriate it is to run a Kickstarter if you're also releasing your comic for retail--e.g. in comic stores. My overall conclusion was I was pretty much okay with bigger name creators making a comic, putting it on Kickstarter, and having special versions of that comic be exclusive to Kickstarter. I reasoned it was a way to test the waters for a comic idea so you could see if it was viable. It is now...let me check my notes again, 2020, the worst year so far in recent memory, and I still feel that way. A new Kickstarter by Scott Snyder and Tony Daniel has the opinions of others split, however.

Scott Snyder is a big name who has done some great comics for Image and some mega-books for DC. Tony Daniel is a longtime comic artist who appears on a number of notable books. They are established, successful guys and are teaming-up for, "Nocternal." It is a sci-fi comic about Earth being stuck in permanent darkness and how people react to that kind of situation. There is a deluxe edition that will be available solely through Kickstarter, but "Nocternal," is also going to have a conventional release from Image. Again, I'm okay with this, but some are not. There are folk out there saying big names like Snyder and Daniel don't really need Kickstarter--just mill around Twitter for some choice words. Then again, some would argue with how volatile comic-books have become, this is the new way to have some sense of stability in a very unstable business.

It stands to reason as the comic-book industry only gets rockier we will see even more, "Established," creators turning to methods like Kickstarter or a surge of self-publishing again. How the fanbase of these creators will respond to such a thing--with enthusiasm or trepidation/outright anger remains to be seen and will be a big factor in the success of these increasingly popular alternative methods of selling comics and making a living.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Television Tuesday: There Can Never Be Enough, "90 Day Fiance," Content

"90 Day Fiance," is a show on TLC about couples with a unique dating situation. Namely, one is coming to America to be with their partner and they'll have 90 days to decide if they want to get married, or the foreign partner has to leave. This is how the K-1 Visa the show is centered on works. It sounds simple, but it has resulted in some very dramatic T.V. It also led to a ton of spin-offs.

There are now programs following past couples title, "What Now?" shows about people going, "The other way," where an American moves, shows where we watch past participants watch an episode of the program and riff on it, and other random spin-offs focused on the most interesting/messy people the show has ever had. Oh, and a short series that checked-in how everyone was doing in quarantine. I also realize now I forgot, "Before the 90 Days," where Americans go to meet their possible future spouse they want to bring over for the first time in-person if they've communicated solely online or such. I'm probably forgetting another version of the show too, but I'll stop for the sake of your sanity if you're bewildered by all this.
Darcey Silva and her many failed relationships with foreign men has resulted in hours of programming.
All these, "90 Day Fiance," programs may sound excessive, but Samii and I can't get enough. They are like nice relaxing junk food for your brain to unwind with, and after all the stress this year has held for us that is something to seek-out and savor. The countless, "90 Day Fiance," programs are a treat for people who love trashy reality television, and hope to maybe learn something too (they are on, "The Learning Channel, after all). It's good stuff.

Monday, August 17, 2020

The Return of Milestone Is (This Time) Imminent

Milestone was a line of comics full of diverse and cool characters such as Static Shock, Icon, and many more. It was acquired by DC years ago, kind of put into its Universe, forgotten, got stuck in lawsuits, etc. Well, after some false starts, it supposedly is due to return--for real this time--with an announcement coming at DC's Fandome digital event this weekend. Now, DC is of course in a massive flux right now, so some good news about the company would be encouraging. Right now DC has one of their few remaining executives, Jim Lee, trying to encourage us with phrases like, "Hey, I promise we still publish some comics, for real, sure," so let's get something encouraging out there besides a fun-sounding, "Suicide Squad," game--which is neat but not a comic. Anyways, Milestone will be back, that's snazzy.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Forget Everyone, I Like Imagine Dragons

There are two bands that people seem to relentlessly love to hate on. One is Nickleback--who is admittedly awful. The other is Imagine Dragons, who is a group that I actually kinda like. I'm a fan of some of their hit songs and they have a great cover of, "Blank Space," that segues into, "Stand by Me," expertly. I don't know their whole discography that well, but whatever I've heard I have managed to enjoy. I'm not exactly certain why the band is mocked so much, but it is. I think they are quite alright, however. Ignore the haters, Imagine Dragons, you're cool by me.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

"Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout," is a Hoot

"Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout," or as most people simply call it, "Fall Guys," is an absolute hoot of a game. It is bright, colorful, and competitive in a manner that is more joyous than stressful. Plus, my son loves watching it on the television (it makes him laugh a lot). "Fall Guys," is kind of like those battle royale games that have taken over in that you start with 60 players and it is whittled down to one winner. That's about where the comparisons end, however.

"Fall Guys," takes your wobbly and colorful avatars and puts them in various rounds (sometimes in small teams, sometimes as a free-for-all). Within these rounds, a certain number of players need to make it through a course to qualify for the next round, knock beachballs around, or avoid falling into slime before enough people have lost that you're golden. It is super fun.
When I put on, "Fall Guys," it got Clarkson's attention with its peppy music, bright colors, and hilarious ways all the little fall guys trip over each other and obstacles as they race about. Seeing him giggle at the cartoonish graphics and funny action made Samii and I all warm and fuzzy for sure. Clearly, whether you're an adult or a young child it is easy to see how, "Fall Guys," is stellar.

I played,"Fall Guys," on my PlayStation 4 but you can also give it a whirl on STEAM. Now, it does have some dreaded in-game currency, but that is only for buying, "Kudos," to customize your character. You can also earn kudos in-game and they don't give you any sort of advantage when playing beyond looking snazzy. That slight gripe aside, "Fall Guys," is adorable, exciting, and worth trying out.
5 out of 5 stars.

Friday, August 14, 2020

Film Friday: I'll Probably Watch, "Project Power."

I'm a fan of both Jamie Foxx and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. I also like somewhat unique takes on superheroes and superpowers. I also am mostly immobile besides walking to the kitchen or outside to check the mail. For these three reasons, I'll probably watch the new Netflix release, "Project Power," at some point. It follows two guys--Foxx and Levitt--investigating a new drug that gives people a short-term burst of superpowers. The problem is for everyone who can run fast or do something cool other folks catch fire or simply blow-up. It is getting everywhere from average to quite positive reviews, so it seems like a fine way to pass a bit under two hours.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

I Like a Biden-Harris Presidential Ticket

Joe Biden was not my first choice for a Presidential candidate. I will not deny he is pretty cenrist and I'm a lot more left-leaning. Elizabeth Warren matched-up with a lot of my opinions and went a lot farther on issues than Biden did. That said, he is the Presidential nominee and I support any Democrat who wants to remove the trash fire that is Trump. Biden can be a bit wacky/off-kilter at times however, so his choice of Kamala Harris for Vice President is smart. She excels at debate, is cool-headed, and basically balances out Biden's tendency to say the first thing that comes to his mind. I think it is a solid ticket, and I sincerely hope we can get Trump and Pence out of power this November before they manage to run this country any worse.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

The New Issue of, "LAAB," Has Launched its Kickstarter

Beehive Books is a smaller publisher that has created a number of cool things. They did that unique take on, "Dracula," last year and have been running a comic-focused newspaper that's been getting a lot of buzz  called, "LAAB." It's third annual issue (which is issue #2 as there was a zero issue) has launched its Kickstarter and you can check it out now. This issue's theme concerns food, waste, soil, and sustainability. It has a who's who of creators such as Paul Pope, Michael DeForge, Olivia Fields, and more.

There are comics, articles, and you can back it for digital copies of past and present issues as well as physical copies. Beehive Books always makes good stuff and, "LAAB," has gotten tons of critical acclaim. I look forward to this latest issue being funded (I assume) and entertaining everyone! Here's the link to it again should you want to take a look and possibly back it!

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

I Take a Day for Surgery and a Comic Company Implodes

I can't even with this planet. I take a day off from the internet/being updated on the going-on's of everything so that I can have some surgery and a major comic company has a, "Bloodbath," of layoffs. Everything went well and I was recovering from my hernia surgery in the, "Get your bearings," room. I had messaged some friends I was okay. One mentions, "So did you hear about DC?" and I wonder what they are talking about. Well, during the 90 minutes I was being operated on, all this mayhem occurs. I can't even take 90 minutes after a bunch of days of zero interesting news for something crazy to happen when I'm passed-out for less than the running time of most movies. And boy, did the shit go down.

DC is having major layoffs, seems to be cutting back on collected editions (trades and hardcovers), eliminating the department for collectibles such as statues, and might be trimming a large number of their monthly releases. Exclusivity contracts with big-name creators are going to expire, it is crazy. I take a day off and DC comics as we know it collapses. What a World. Now then, I'm incredibly sore so I'm going to end this whine-fest and go back to relaxing with trashy reality television whilst I make sure not to bend or lift anything heavy.

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Reminder: I Have Hernia Surgery Tomorrow

I discussed it a bit ago and wanted to remind everyone, my hernia surgery is tomorrow. It is an outpatient procedure for my tummy and I've been reassured how it is, "Minor." That said, I will probably need a bit to recover so if I don't post for a couple days, please understand why. That, or I might make some posts should there be a juicy story to write about--but there could be (even more) spelling and grammar errors than usual if I'm still sore and groggy/drugged-up on painkillers. Wish me well!

Saturday, August 8, 2020

A, "Suicide Squad," Video-Game by Rocksteady, You Say?

Rocksteady Studios is a video-game studio that in 2006 made a so-so video-game known as, 'Urban Chaos: Riot Response." It was a forgettable first-person shooter. Nobody expected much from them. Then they made a Batman video-game, with it known that Batman video-games at that point were always terrible. The game was, "Batman: Arkham Asylum," and it was somehow absolutely incredible, defying what everyone knew about Batman games and taking Rocksteady from a barely-known studio to a company held in high esteem. They proceeded to make more Batman games that were a delight to play and their last title as a smaller-scale VR Batman game for the PS4. Then silence. Well, some artwork has been revealed that shows Rocksteady is making a, "Suicide Squad," game--where they may take on Superman. This sounds quite nice.

Seeing as how good the Batman games Rocksteady has created are, and how they've featured Batman as well as his friends and sidekicks, I am pretty optimistic Rocksteady can give us a good time with a team-based Suicide Squad game. For those not aware, "Suicide Squad," is the nickname for Task Force X. This team is made up of villains in the DC Universe who have been imprisoned, but by going on extremely dangerous deniable ops for the United States Government can get time shaved off their massive sentences and--theoretically-eventually be freed. Again though, the team is known as the, "Suicide Squad," so missions ain't exactly a cakewalk. A video-game of this sounds delightful and I am eager for more to be revealed in the near future--apparently the DC Fandome virtual event on August 22 will spill the beans.

Friday, August 7, 2020

What a COVID-19 Test Feels Like

I have hernia surgery coming-up on August 10th, as I posted about. As a part of getting surgery, you have to get a COVID-19 test a number of days before the procedure. After that, you essentially quarantine yourself so that once a (hopefully) negative test result comes back you stay negative and then get surgery a few days later. Well, I just recently got my COVID-19 test and thought I'd share what it feels like for those curious.

It began with me driving-up to a special spot in the hospital's parking garage like the World's least pleasurable drive-through where you get poked in the nose instead of a bag of french fries. After I checked-in a nurse came out with a huge swab and explained it goes up my nose for 5-7 seconds. I was told my nose might run and I may cough. I tilted my head back and got as mentally ready as I could. She proceeded to stick that thing up my right nostril and I could swear I felt her poking my brain. It didn't hurt, but it was extremely uncomfortable feeling all that pressure. It didn't trigger my gag reflex as it was up higher in the back of my throat, but I did start getting watery eyes and coughing a little bit. She took the swab out and I was happy it was done. Then she said it was now going to go in my other nostril. Yeah.
This is not an exaggeration, it is exactly what it felt like.
The swab went in my other nostril and this time I really started coughing and my eyes were watering as if I were watching my go-to movie to cry, "A Little Princess." After what felt like an eternity she pulled the swab out and I began rubbing my eyes and wiping my nose for dear life. It was explained if they don't call me that means the result was negative and I'll be good to go for my surgery on Monday the 10th. As I haven't heard from the hospital and am always careful when in public (wear a mask, people), I'm going to guess my results were negative and I get the pleasure of having hernia surgery this Monday. In the meantime, I have a good story about how I got my nose thoroughly swabbed in a parking garage by a stranger--but unlike that one time in college, this was for science!

Thursday, August 6, 2020

"Atlas At War," Provides a Fascinating Look at War Comics of the Past

The lengthy introduction to, "Atlas At War," by the book's editor, Dr. Michael J. Vassallo, is careful to point out that so many war comics were produced during the '40s and '50s (before somewhat fading away) that there is enough material for arguably 4 more think books after this impressive tome. I don't doubt it, but what is contained within, "Atlas At War," is a fantastic overview of war comics in the past. A joint publishing venture between Marvel and Dead Reckoning, "Atlas At War," is full of war stories from WWII as well as the Korean War, some pre-code and more visceral, others from the post-comic-code era that resulted in stories being a bit more watered-down (in all comics, frankly, not just war). It's a big and stellar read.

"Atlas at War," tries to identify creative teams as best it can, but credits weren't always the most detailed in comics decades ago. Therefore, while some amazing creators are noted (Kirby, Ditko, Heath, Colan, and so forth), a number of comics are left a mystery who may have been involved in their creation. The tales are all impressive in their mixture of pro-war propaganda, tales of the horrors of war, and some tales that are pretty politically incorrect by today's standards--as also noted by Dr. Vassallo as these are of course products of their time. One reason everything looks incredible is due to the amazing art restoration done by Allan Harvey, who deserves immense praise.

These are comics from more than half a century ago. Heck, in another 20 years it will have been a whole century. That means many of these original comics are torn-up, weathered, faded, and otherwise past their prime in appearance. However, everything within, "Atlas at War," is fantastic thanks to some amazing art restoration done by Allan Harvey, as can be seen above. There is a certain charm to reading these old comics in their original form, warts and all, yes, but being able to see the skill and hard work of the creative teams in crystal-clear detail is glorious and Harvey's restoration is arguably what makes these reprinted tales of a war a must-have for anyone with an interest in old war comics, or comics in general.

"Atlas at War," is a phenomenal look into the past at how the once-booming business of war comics resulted in some amazing talents writing and illustrating tales of combat. It contains stories that still strike a nerve today in their messaging and the restoration by Allan Harvey drives-home every panel of explosions, whizzing bullets, and muddy battlefields. This isn't just an amazing collection of comics, it is a fantastic piece of comic history.
5 out of 5 stars.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Kim Would Have Been 58 Today

My mother-in-law, Kim, died suddenly on June 13th, as I previously have written about. She had a sudden heart attack and was just gone. Today, August 5th, she would have been 58--that is how young she was. For her 57th birthday, I took her to Thunder From Down Under, as my humorous post that got a lot of views talked about. This year I don't even get to wish her a happy birthday. I have been sad today as I was close with her and miss her very much. Samii misses her Mom too and if Clarkson could see Kim even one more time I know he'd give her a big hug. In honor of her birthday, a bit earlier in the week I bought a fun Troll doll at Target. It was part of an in-joke we had about her frizzy hair making her reminiscent of Troll dolls. It is now proudly displayed upon my bookshelf so I can always look at it and smile thinking of Kim.

Kim and I had lots of funny jokes and comments we would say to one another. I miss poking-fun at how much she hated mash potatoes and making faux-threats that every Thanksgiving I would bring over a big tub of them and cold gravy. She would hear that and give a big laugh. I miss making these jokes with Kim, and I miss her.

I Tried Subway's BBQ Rib Sandwich and Have Thoughts

Subway recently called-out McDonald's a little bit with its own new BBQ Rib sandwich designed to look like and basically be a competitor to the famous McRib. The McRib, of course, is only available at certain points, so it isn't a direct competition right now. Still, shots fired on Subway's part. I decided to give it a try, but I got it the same way I do a McRib--no pickles or anything. I did leave the lettuce on it Subway offers, as it is important to get your veggies in. Having tried Subway's BBQ Rib sandwich, I can say I liked it.

Subway's sandwich tastes a lot like a McRib, which I think is the point. It is bigger than a McRib (if you get a foot-long) and decently filling. I found it not overly saucy, but well-balanced and just quite solid all-around. I'm not going to say it is better than the McRib, but it is comparably tasty. If you have a hankering for a McRib it fills that void handily, and it good judged on its own merits as well. A good sandwich, all-around, in other words.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

"Pimo & Rex: The Interdimensional Wedding," Is a Fun and Gorgeous Book!

I wrote previously about how snazzy the upcoming comic, "Pimo & Rex: The Interdimensional Wedding," looked. I asked its publisher, Rotopol, for a review copy and they were kind enough to provide one! It follows Rex as he gets married to Leo and best man Pimo is there too as things proceed to get crazy. Like, creatures from other dimensions that prey upon our doubts kind of weird. Between that and a mystical sword that causes even more havoc its one of the zaniest weddings ever witnessed.

Thomas Wellmann writes and illustrates this stellar book, and his background in animation and design is readily apparent. Scenes of action move with fluid grace, the colors pop, and everything is just gorgeous to look at. Between the fun story, great humor, and amazing art, "Pimo & Rex: The Interdimensional Wedding," is a book I loved reading. I'd recommend checking it out for sure via having your comic-store, bookstore, or library ordering it. That, or you can always visit Rotopol's website for a copy. It's a great time!
5 out of 5 stars.

Monday, August 3, 2020

I Have Hernia Surgery in a Week

I wanted to share with all my readers and friends (because if you read my blog I consider you a friend) that I am having hernia surgery next Monday, August 10th. I have had a hernia in my stomach--known as an, "Umbilical hernia," for some years now, and it was small and not an issue. The past number of months it has caused me more and more discomfort however, so I saw a doctor who advised me it would only get worse and needed to be corrected with surgery.

The surgery is outpatient and should be, "Minor," although I've never been put under for surgery (I was concious-but-numb in high school when my wisdom teeth were removed) so minor seems a little like an understatement, but perhaps I worry too much. They said to expect a week or two of being unable to do too much as I am recovering and after 4 weeks I should feel about normal again. I want to thank everyone in advance for their support and ask for your patience if my posting is sporadic for a bit after August 10th as I recover from surgery.

Sunday, August 2, 2020

What Is Going On With This New Season of, "The Bachelorette," Pray Tell?

As readers of this blog know, trashy reality television is my guilty pleasure. I am a lover of all things, "Big Brother," "90 Day Fiance," "Mama June," and of course the series that never hesitates to ask if someone is here for the right reasons, "The Bachelor/Bachelorette." The show has been having a difficult time lately, however, what with COVID-19 delaying production of Clare Crawley's season, her season finally kicking-off in a, "Bubble," of sorts, and now...Clarie is gonna be fired? Some people say there is no way this is gonna happen, others say it already has and fan-favorite Tayshia Adams is ready to take-over. The truth is a mystery, but everyone has an opinion on what could be happening even if we don't know what actually is.

This is sounding like the craziest season of, "The Bachelorette," yet and it hasn't even aired a single episode. I'm pleased we are even getting a season considering the current state of the World, but whether things are going swimmingly or a huge mess seems to be the hotly debated topic right now.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Going (Band)Camping: Edition 3

One, two, three times a segment! My occasional musings on the music you can find and buy on Bandcamp has returned for its third edition. As I always state, there is no specific theme or link between what I review other than everything can be found on the website that treats artists a lot better than other sites, Bandcamp. Let's proceed with some reviews!

Pizza Hotline--dealswithawesterconglomerate
I talked about vaporwave in my last edition of this segment, and this is a bit in that mold with its wild techno and obsession regarding anything 80s. This is less of an album full of dancing as it is a terrifying acid trip into lo-fi corporate Hell of angry beats, however. I like it. Sometimes Pizza Hotline's album is more quiet and thoughtful such as with, "Tokyo Intermission," while other times it really cranks-up its noise. It is consistently interesting, however, even when it gets a bit on the edge of being a bit too staticky and harsh for my tastes (before then calming back down and being a bit more mellow and intriguing). Worth a listen if you like out-there techno or vaporware that is a bit on the more severe side.
3.5 out of 5 stars.

Frank Hurricane and the Hurricanes of Love--Life is Spiritual

Frank Hurricane and his friends have concocted an assortment of Appalachian blues and I'm here for it! With a sound that reminds me of decades ago but clever lyrics that touch upon modern concerns, Frank Hurricane and his band give us a stellar LP of guitar-picking, singing, and making feeling melancholy weirdly fun. On the tracks with vocals, Frank tells us some strange tales he engages listeners with both his deep and howling voice as well as some fantastical events he informs us about. My favorite track, "Lonely Love," has mentions of forlornly eating Taco Bell, "Sneedville Blues," warns us of characters who smoke cannabis laced with PCP, and, "Susquehanna River Blues," has Frank encountering some excitable Juggalos as he explores the town, with them sharing a meal of Burger King.

The lyrics are all a bit psychedelic and have a feeling of slight detachment from reality, but they compliment the straight-up blues of the instrumentation wonderfully. Frank Hurricane goes on some wild adventures, I'm pleased he was willing to share about them on, "Life is Spiritual." You can buy a copy in various formats here.
5 out of 5 stars.

The V.I.C.--Defcon 1!

You like beats? Well, The V.I.C. has beats so grimy he'd argue they could cause a riot at a missle base resulting in Defcon one. It's a clever story-concept for the album and now that I have listened to it I'd be tempted to say this beat tape is wild enough to kick-off a nuclear war if put in the wrong/right hands. With a thick bassline on most tracks and some cool samples popping off here-and-there, the whole LP is a pleasure to listen to, with standout tracks such as, "MvsMG," and, "Ring Rang the Phone Goin Bang," making things extra thermonuclear, if I may stick with the album's theme. I'm a sucker for a good beat tape, and, "Defcon 1!" is a treat for the ears. You can check out the album at this link and buy a digital copy or a cassette.
5 out of 5 stars.

LUME--Now and Then / Built a Home
LUME's music has a strong moody and ominous vibe. While listening to them rock-out you just get this feeling of impending doom that washes over you--but you like it. This four-track EP has three original tunes by LUME and a stellar cover of, "I Put a Spell On You," originally, of course, by Screamin' Jay Hawkins. Each track is pretty good, but the last cover tune is my favorite as they put a stellar spin upon it. The EP sometimes gets a little loud, but it all works out in the end for a solid listen. Get the digital download here.
4 out of 5 stars

Gray Worry--Trace Amounts
If you're after an atmospheric album that isn't so much dreamy as it is ethereal-yet-hinting at intensity, this is the album you're after! "Trace Amounts," is six tracks total and I personally quite liked the shorter ones such as, "Breaking Protocol," and, "Often Enough," as they emerge quickly, offer some impressive soundscapes, and then conclude. The longer tracks are solid as well with the concluding song, "Between The Earth And The Sun Is What We Become," serving as a fantastic closer. I loved this LP and feel it is perfect to put on when you're chilling but want to be too relaxed. Find yourself a copy here.
5 out of 5 stars.