Friday, April 30, 2021

They Went and Made, "Dee's Nuts."

I had a running joke with my wife. I told her that with my name being David, I should start selling nuts. I would call them, "D's nuts." I'd make dumb and silly ads where I'd say things like, "You love those nuts? Well, try D's nuts!" or, "D's nuts taste great in your mouth!" Just dumb juvenile humor. Well, it seems someone had a similar idea as I was at the gas station yesterday and saw the above display. The spelling is different than I imagined, but we've got, "Dee's Nuts."

Dee's Nuts had a variety of flavors that looked kind of odd from, "Banana pudding," to, "Pickle," a more normal, "Cool Ranch Siracha," and the one that sounded especially interesting to me, "Peanut butter and jelly." I will admit that Dee's Nuts were indeed tasty and I liked them. It's more than just a silly joke, it is some good stuff. The flavor wasn't overpowering, there was enough (but not too much) salt, and Dee's Nuts had a good crunch.

While I'm a little sad that I wasn't able to create and sell D's Nuts, I am happy to have tried and enjoyed Dee's Nuts. I'm still wary of the banana pudding flavor, but I may try the cool ranch siracha in the future. Dee's Nuts were indeed dee-licious! Find them at all quality stores or on their website.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

"All the Places in Between," is a Fantastic Comic About Mental Health as a Metaphor

John Cei Douglas' new original graphic novel, "All the Places in Between," is dedicated to exploring mental health as a metaphor. It imagines our mindscape as everything from a lighthouse to a strange crumbling city near a cliff hit by a tidal wave of depression. Published by Liminal 11, I found Douglas' book to be a stellar read as gorgeous to look at as it was meditative.

There is no dialogue throughout, "All the Places in Between." Just occasional text denoting a new chapter or section. Everything else wordless in a manner that assists in showing how hard it can be to communicate our struggles when dealing with anxiety, depression, and the like. A nameless heroine tries to navigate various difficult landscapes and finds that having a companion can really help to ease the stress--just as in life how having a solid support network is immensely useful.

Having the sequential narrative be silent means the art has to really, "Speak," for itself. Douglas is a fantastically skilled artist, however, and manages to impart so much emotion and meaning in his drawings without ever needing to have a word uttered by anyone. The black-and-white artwork hits with an eye-pleasing impact, whether it's a relaxing scene in a meadow or a moment of immense terror as the aforementioned tidal wave rolls in.

"All the Places in Between," is a stupendous book that excels in exploring mental health through artistic metaphor. I would encourage you to buy a copy for yourself from Liminal 11's website, at all finer bookstores, or you can always see if your library can get a copy! It's a marvelous book.

5 out of 5 stars.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Confession: NFTs Just Confuse Me

I've written posts critical of cryptocurrency before. People have made a lot of money from it, but I still worry it will turn into a house of cards that comes crumbling down at some point (I could be wrong and just look like an out-of-touch old fogey, but so is life). To complicate things further there are now NFTS (Non-fungible tokens), which are basically digital pieces of art that utilize blockchain technology (like crypto uses) to make a piece of art that has unique data making it valuable because...well, just because. This article by Mitchell Clark helps explain things a little bit but don't worry if you're still bewildered, I am too. It's basically jpegs worth thousands or sometimes millions of dollars because they contain unique coding, as I understand it. 

Blockchain mining is of course pretty bad for the environment and some think NFTs just sound like a big scam, but a lot of artists have found it helpful to them when it comes to making some money. Corporations, of course, are interested now too, be they a video-game studio such as Sega, make Magic cards like Hasbro, or comic companies thinking about making NFTs. The whole thing just confuses me even as I try to learn about it. I won't be, "Investing," in NFTs, but more power to those who do.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

My Post Critical of Comicsgate Attracted a Lot of Attention

Yesterday I made a post where I declared I would no longer talk about a certain comic publisher due to their support of the hate group known as Comicsgate. This resulted in lots of tweets arguing it wasn't a hate group between tweets calling me all kinds of terrible names. I deleted and then stopped allowing comments on my post without me moderating them as I didn't feel like being called terrible words on my own blog. This is my site, so my rules (Twitter is whatever, but this is my house, so to speak). For people who are so sure they aren't in a hate group, I sure got a lot of unpleasant tweets accusing me of everything from being an SJW (which I proudly am) to a furry (I am not, but no judgment) to a Nazi (which is hilarious for a number of reasons). Those were the more thought-out tweets between ones using your usual foul language or accusing me of being put up to saying negative things by other bogeymen of the Comicsgate community (yeah, Mark Waid has me on speed dial and asked me to talk smack about them, sure).

I guess having a blog makes me a member of, "The media," who are out to, "Get," Comicsgate. I don't know what there is to, "Get," as they prove daily they are all the terrible things we think they are. I'm honestly just some random dude on the internet though. Yes, my blog pulls in some solid numbers now that I've done it for 10 years, but I'm not some huge website. If one random dude saying he doesn't like Comicsgate gets this much negative attention from them I can't imagine what it is like for the comic creators they've targeted and harassed. People like  Larry Hama, Alex de Campi, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Matt Fraction, Eve Ewing, Tess Fowler, and Ta-Nehisi Coates, to name just some individuals. I'm not a big media superstar. I'm just a guy on the internet who has written long enough I eventually built up an audience. The response of those who claim to be proud members of Comicsgate to my words however has only further proven they are everything I and others say they are.

Monday, April 26, 2021

Olivia Rodrigo's "Deja Vu," is a Catchy Tune

I have to confess that I did not really like, "Driver's License," by Olivia Rodrigo. I didn't hate it, but I found the song to walk the border between sweetly sad and outright melodramatic, with that over-the-top bridge being a bit much for me. That said, I thought she had some serious skill in singing and wondered what else she might have in store for us. Having heard her song, "Deja Vu," I can say I quite like the tune.

"Deja Vu," has a nice bit of snark and combative energy that the wallowing-in-self-pity, "Driver's License," lacked. It features Rodrigo talking about a boyfriend doing various fun things with his new girl, but Rodrigo points out maybe she should be informed that despite thinking she's special and unique, "'s all reused/That was our place, I found it first/I made the jokes you tell to her when she's with you." Basically, Rodrigo sees he is trying to recreate with his new lover what he had with Rodrigo--she wonders if he almost even says her name sometimes when he means to refer to his new gal. Plus, lyrics aside, the song really slaps. It has a cranking melody, Rodrigo singing energetically with her impressive pipes, and you just wanna chant along with it, "Do you get Deja Vu?" in the chorus. I dig it.

"Jimmy's Vendetta: Part One," Kicks-off a Supernatural Thriller With Style

Blue Fox Publishing will be launching a Kickstarter in late May or early June for their new comic, "Jimmy's Vendetta: Part One." I look forward to the campaign to help get it published as I quite enjoyed the first issue I was provided with a digital review copy of! It is written by Luca Palumbo with art by Christos Kyriacou and they make a phenomenal team.

The story centers on a mafia in the near future (2189) that suddenly finds itself losing members to a mysterious killer. That killer is in fact a former mobster named Jimmy who was killed by his own crew and has returned from the dead. Jimmy only vaguely remembers the faces of those who killed him and has no clue why he was killed or for what reason he's even back. What Jimmy does know is he wants revenge.

I really enjoyed, "Jimmy's Vendetta: Part One," with the futuristic setting being one aspect I loved as someone who adores sci-fi settings. Kyriacou's art expertly imparts the vibe of this city with its mixture of glitz and gutters, plus when Jimmy's half-alive corpse shows up it looks perfectly grotesque and terrifying. This isn't a man who has been brought back to life fully, he's a shambling pile of bones and flesh and looks it! Palumbo's writing gets across that the people Jimmy is hunting down are by no means good people, but also is careful to show Jimmy isn't a saint either. 

A lot of questions are raised as to why Jimmy may be back and whom it may benefit, but as this is the first issue its main focus is setting everything up and getting the story moving, which it does fantastically. I'd encourage you to check out the other works of Blue Fox Publishing on their site and keep an eye out in the meantime for when the Kickstarter campaign launches for, "Jimmy's Vendetta: Part One."

5 out of 5 stars.

I Can No Longer Support the Publisher Alterna Due to Their Comicsgate Association

I've written about how awful Comicsgate is. Comicsgate is a, "Movement," that is mostly gone, but pieces of it still kick around being hateful and awful. It basically is an attempt to make comics, "Good again," in the sense there are no politics (well, liberal politics), no inclusivity, and it imagines an era of comics that never existed. Comic books have always been political, had an agenda, and so forth. Comicsgate members often harass and insult others, doxx innocent comic creators, and otherwise are awful. Apparently, the publisher of Alterna, Peter Simeti, is close with Comicsgate and people who have done a lot with the, "Organization," such as Ethan Van Sciver. That is not good.

I basically thought Alterna was just a fun indie publisher who sometimes reached out to me so I could review their works. I didn't really follow their social media, but when Peter would email me about their stuff to review in the past I would. I followed him on Twitter a bit ago and saw odd little things that gave me pause, but nothing outright supporting Comicsgate. Then this Twitter exchange happened:

I wasn't going to argue with him on his Twitter page as that is his own little place. I just told him I couldn't support him anymore. He called me hateful, which is ironic. We're on my blog now, though, so this is my house and you know full damn well I'm going to drop some knowledge. Comicsgate is unquestionably a hate group, Ethan Van Sciver is a huge garbage person, and I will never, ever support Alterna again having seen this full-throated endorsement of Comicsgate from them. I don't know how Peter became so misled as to want to have his, "Fans," be members of a hate group, but that's his choice. My choice is to never support Alterna ever again with my dollars or ever review any of their works if they reach out to beg for some exposure for their books. I don't support hate.

Sunday, April 25, 2021

I Might Watch the 2021 Oscars Tonight for ONE Reason: Steven Soderbergh

I've mostly quit watching award shows. I find them to often be dull events in self-congratulatory navel-gazing that are best enjoyed by watching the few highlights people talk about the next day. There are sometimes great moments sprinkled in these three or four-hour events, but again, watching the highlights saves you a lot of time. That said, I am actually a little bit interested in the 2021 Oscars for one reason and one reason alone--the involvement of Steven Soderbergh.

Steven Soderbergh is producing the 2021 Oscars with Stacey Sher and Jesse Collins. They want to make it, "Cinematic." I'm not sure what exactly that means, but Soderbergh makes damn good movies. Whether he's creating a flick about a pandemic that uncomfortably predicted a lot--"Contagion,"--bringing us a movie about dudes gyrating for dollar bills--"Magic Mike,"--or doing any of his other great works, Soderbergh is a skilled creator of entertaining stuff. Lord knows the Oscars need more entertaining stuff, so why not let Soderbergh make it a little different and weird? I always say I'll take weird over boring any day. I'm not really a fan of award shows, but I am a fan of projects Soderbergh is involved with. I guess I might as well give the show a shot, or at least DVR it and watch tomorrow with the ability to fast-forward through the many, many ads.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

The 2021 Big River Comic Convention Was Amazing Fun!

On Friday I attended the Big River Comic Convention. It occurred today as well, but I was only able to stop by Friday. The hours I did spend there on Friday were wonderful, however! There were a bunch of great vendors, awesome celebrity guests, almost everyone was wearing masks appropriately, people kept their distance, and it was just all-around a fantastic time. In a kinda-sorta alphabetical order, I will now discuss a chunk of the coolness I encountered...

Alex the Comic Hoarder

Alex is a self-described comic hoarder, hence his name. He was at the show willing to sell a ton of great books and we were able to make some snazzy trades. You can find his extremely entertaining YouTube channel on the interwebs and you should subscribe to it!

All Things Lauren

Lauren Schweer is a cosplayer and also does professional photography. She was at the show in some stupendous outfits!

Carey Means

I got to meet the voice of Frylock from, "Aqua Teen Hunger Force," as well as other popular animated characters, but I'll always know Carey Means as Frylock. Mr. Means was a joy to speak with between his clever insights and hilarious jokes. He was kind enough to pose with an original piece of art he made. You can watch him in action on his YouTube channel.

Eric Scott Hawkins

Mr. Hawkins is the creator of, "The Zombieful World of Oz," which is a zombie-filled steampunk take on, "The Wizard of Oz." It's as wild as it sounds and soon he'll be launching a Kickstarter campaign for the 3rd issue of his comic!

Fortress Comics

Fortress Comics had a stellar assortment of books to browse at the show.

John L. Davis IV

I chatted with author John L. Davis IV at the con and bought his collection of horror-themed short stories as I love a good anthology.

Monroe St. Press

The folk at Monroe St. Press take vintage reading and republish it for everyone to enjoy. I bought a neat repressing of an old children's book, "The Magic Pudding."

NSB Dorkphorya

NSB Dorkphyorya was selling a bunch of great comics at the show and I was able to do some dealing with them!

The Whole Show Was Great

It was a Stupendous show and I am honored Big River Comic-Con let me come to cover it again this year. I can't wait for 2022!

Thursday, April 22, 2021

The Big River Comic Convention is Tomorrow!

It was so much fun two years ago and had to be canceled last year due to the pandemic, but now it is back! That's right, I talking about the Big River Comic-Con in Hannibal, Missouri! It kicks off tomorrow and goes through Saturday. There will be events, cosplay, celebrity guests, and plenty of vendors. I know going to a comic convention right now is a complicated personal choice, but I feel comfortable going as I'm fully vaccinated, will be double-masked, practice social distancing, and it isn't too massive an event compared to some really big cons with huge numbers of people. I look forward to attending and will surely do a report on all the fun I had afterward. If you're able to attend and feel comfortable doing so, make sure to go this Friday and/or Saturday!

Happy Earth Day!

We only get one Earth--barring the discovery of an alternate universe we can easily travel to--so let's treat it right! Today is Earth Day, but try and be good to our planet every day. Reduce, reuse, recycle, try to not pollute, you know the drill. Basically, don't be a jerk to our planet.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Back Dave Ebersole and Vinnie Rico's New Kickstarter for the Comic, "Tommy Dakota!"

Dave Ebersole is a friend of the blog who wrote the comic, "Dash," which I thought was stellar--I was actually blurbed on the back cover when it was collected. He's worked a lot with artist Vinnie Rico and now they have a Kickstarter campaign for a brand-new comic! Titled, "Tommy Dakota and the Shootout at the Burgundy Ten," it is described in the Kickstarter listing as a, "Queer Western Romance." 

It's a 70-page original graphic novel about, "An infamous robber meeting the love of his life on his final heist." Tommy is the robber and Jep Walker is a bartender who falls in love with the troublemaking Tommy--complications abound to make things interesting, of course. You can pledge for a digital or physical copy and the comic actually has a theme song you can get the audio file of sung by, "Songwriter/ punk rock piano player Mike Maimone." The song is an exclusive feature of the campaign and as someone who has always been intrigued by comics combining with music, I find it really fascinating this comic has incorporated a tune!

I encourage you to check out the Kickstarter for, "Tommy Dakota," at this link and back it if it sounds appealing to you. I know with how stellar a writer Dave is and with the art skills of Vinnie Rico, it is bound to be stellar.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

It's 4/20 AKA National Cold Brew Coffee Day!

Today is April 20th, or as it is also known, 4/20. It is a very popular time as it is National cold brew coffee day. Stores such as Dunkin have special deals to commemorate this awesome holiday and I'm excited! I've been telling people all week how I can't wait to celebrate 4/20. Folks have said to me, "David, you partake in 4/20? I didn't think you did that stuff?" and I simply respond, "Of course I do,  all the time! Generally at least once a day while I'm out or I keep some at home," which isn't an exaggeration as I love having cold brew coffee I pick-up from the store or drink at home as you can buy some bottles of it at the grocery store. Yes, I've been singing the praises of 4/20 to anyone who will listen, and hope everyone has some cold brew coffee today!

What's that? 4/20 is better known as a holiday for what? Cannabis? Oh. Oh. Well, I look silly and now understand why that guy with a, "Phish," t-shirt was so eager for me to hang out with him today.

Monday, April 19, 2021

The, "Shang-Chi," Trailer Has Dropped

 "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings," was going to be a Summer release but a shuffling of when movies will be coming out resulted in it being set for September of this year. As that date is creeping closer the first trailer for the movie has been released and it looks pretty cool! It has the look of taking a classic martial arts movie and infusing it with the Marvel Cinematic Universe's special effects, humor, and whatnot. 

I've said before I prefer Marvel movies/shows that focus on just an individual character or small group as opposed to the mega-movies with everyone teaming up which results in little room for characters to really breathe. This looks like it'll be able to flesh out the character of Shang-Chi (played by  Simu Liu) quite well and as someone who enjoys Awkwafina I'm pleased to see her in the movie too. Even the Marvel movies I don't love are generally great as Marvel hasn't made an unwatchable movie yet ("Thor: The Dark World," drags but isn't awful). This may be simply, "Good," but I'm hoping it is awesome!

Sunday, April 18, 2021

The Comic Book Presser Does it Again!

I don't hesitate to share my great experiences with The Comic Book Presser, AKA Chris. Well, I have a new one to share. I got a killer deal on this, "Adam: Legend of the Blue Marvel," #1 comic. It looked amazing when I got it but wasn't exactly perfect. I wanted to ensure I'd get the best grade possible, so I sent it to Chris and let him and his team work their magic. Then, my comic went to CGC and sure enough, it got the stellar grade of 9.8! I am so pleased with this grade and just, as always, want to thank Chris and the rest of his staff at The Comic Book Presser! As many of you know, if you're going to get a comic graded you should almost always get it pressed and cleaned beforehand. If you need a quality presser, go with Chris! His prices are stellar, his turnaround time is solid, and the results speak for themselves. Thanks, Chris!

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Nashville Hot Chicken Chips are Delicious and Burn My Mouth so Much

I was at Aldi the other day and something caught my eye. Nashville hot chicken chips. They are the Clancy brand, which is exclusive to Aldi, and man they are delicious! Oh, and painful. They burn my mouth so, so much. When you put a Nashville hot chicken chip in your mouth it has a nice crisp flavor and then the heat smacks you upside your head and is almost too much, but you want to keep eating it because it is so tasty. Get yourself some at Aldi the next time you go there or order some on Instacart and strap in for the heat.

Friday, April 16, 2021

A Legal Fight is Brewing over, "Predator."

Marvel was going to do a big launch of a, "Predator," comic this Summer and have lots of variant covers on their comics that tied in with the Predator. This was because Disney recently acquired the rights back to the franchise when they bought 20th Century Fox and had the licensing deal Fox used to have with Dark Horse expire. Disney owns Marvel, so Marvel was going to publish all, "Predator," stuff from this point forward. However, all the comics were suddenly canceled and it was said they'd be solicited at a later date. People thought this was maybe because Marvel would have a new distributor later in the year and wanted a big new comic to go through that. Now, however, with some recent news that there is a fight brewing over the rights to, "Predator," perhaps it was a preemptive move due to a lawsuit.

Yes, John Thomas and John McTiernan wrote the original script for, "Predator," and the initial draft--then titled, "Hunter," is now 35 years old. This is important as there are certain copyright clauses that may allow them to regain the rights to the original movie--and therefore the bedrock of the Predator franchise. Disney doesn't plan to let, "Predator," go without a fight, obviously, so let's all gear up for a big copyright dispute. They seem to happen every few years when people try to fight a big corporation to regain control of their works. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn't, often settlements are made with the exact amount of money exchanged kept secret. We will see what happens in this situation, but it's bound to get ugly.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

"The Tankies," Review

Garth Ennis is a comic creator who loves to write war comics. He excels at them and while some of his superhero work is where a lot of his fame has come from, I think if he were allowed he'd do nothing but write war comics. Carlos Ezquerra was a fantastic artist who collaborated with Ennis for a war comic known as, "The Tankies," which followed an assortment of characters who piloted tanks in WWII as well as the Korean War, with the link between the stories being Corporal Stiles, then Seagrant Stiles, as he tried his darndest to get his tank crews alive out of some seriously nasty battles. "The Tankies," has been collected in one big and impressive trade paperback by publisher Dead Reckoning and I was fortunate enough to acquire a copy for the purpose of review.

What else is there to say about a Garth Ennis war comic besides that with his immense knowledge of past wars and ability to write compelling characters that Ennis does a fantastic job making us care about all the Allied characters we meet--especially the link between all the story arcs, Stiles.  Ezquerra was a skilled illustrator too, with his drawing of the other main characters besides the humans--the tanks, being impressive in their detail and how imposing the metal machines of death look. "The Tankies," is a phenomenal read for fans of Ennis, war comics, or those who simply want an intense tale of battle that is blunt and honest about the brutality of war. Get yourself a copy at Dead Reckoning's website or all finer bookstores!

5 out of 5 stars.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Colton Underwood from, "The Bachelor," Has Come Out as Gay

I have been extremely critical of Colton Underwood in the past and didn't like his term as, "The Bachelor," very much. I also expressed concern when it came to light that after he and the woman he chose on, "The Bachelor," Cassie Randolph, broke up, he began stalking her to the point she took out a restraining order against him (it was later dropped). All of that said, I only want to offer my support towards him for having the strength and courage to come out as gay. He gave an interview to, "Good Morning America," where he said he wanted to speak his truth, and he did so. 

He attributed a lot of his past behavior to trying to deny who he was and, "Hating," himself. He admitted to dealing with dark thoughts and even contemplating suicide. Now, sharing he's gay doesn't excuse bad behavior towards others such as Cassie, but it does put a lot in context. To his credit, Colton said on GMA he wanted to specifically apologize to her for, "Any pain and emotional stress," she had during their time together and after breaking up. I am happy that Colton is willing to live as his true self and congratulate him on being open and honest about it. Plus, straight or gay he will always reliably be a media whore as in the very same day he came out (today) it was announced he'll be doing a reality show for Netflix about being out of the closet. No matter who we love sexually, it seems we all love the dollar equally.

Stealing is Almost Always Wrong, but When it's a Confederate Monument You Threaten to Turn Into a Toilet that's Just Funny

Excuse my extremely long post title, but I wanted to get my point across. My point being, it was pretty funny some pranksters stole a Confederate monument from the racist organization, The United Daughters of the Confederacy, and because it was a stone chair owned by Jefferson Davis they had the clever idea to threaten to make a hole in it and use it as a toilet. For those of you still unsure what I'm getting at, they were going to poop through it. This is tacky, childish, and just freaking hilarious. The organization in question was, "White Lies Matter," and they said they'd do this if the UDC didn't display a banner outside their headquarters with a quote by Assata Shakur. That quote? "“The rulers of this country have always considered their property more important than our lives."

The Confederacy lost the Civil War, but the way some people carry on about that centuries-ago saga in American history you'd think Jefferson Davis' traitorous, "Nation," was still alive and well. I don't think we should outright hide or get rid of Confederate monuments, but we shouldn't celebrate them either. Put them in museums, give them context, and then maybe you won't have to deal with people threatening to turn them into a toilet. This chair didn't suffer that fate as the police tracked down the chair after being given coordinates and finding it unharmed--some of the prank-loving thieves were found too. The chair has been returned unharmed to the UDC. I'm not sure what the lesson is here beyond how we shouldn't honor the traitorous Confederacy, but that was a lesson everyone should've known before a chair was stolen and threatened with being used for a dump session.

Monday, April 12, 2021

The Promise and Problem of, "Tomorrowland," at Disney's Parks

Disneyland and Disney World's Magic Kingdom both feature a Tomorrowland. It is both a neat theme for a park and one filled with issues. All the other lands are mystical and magical places that don't really exist while Tomorrowland is ostensibly our reality, just in the future. As someone who likes science-fiction and thinking about the future, I've always really liked Tomorrowland. It features Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe, my favorite park restaurant. It has, "Space Mountain," the whole area contains a neat design, it's just fun! As this fascinating article by SFGate's Katie Dowd points out, tomorrow always comes and can make a place dedicated to the future actually start to seem dated.

Tomorrowland promises us a glimpse into the future, but every decade our idea of what the future looks like changes. We used to imagine a World like, "The Jetsons," with flying cars, meals in pill form, and so forth. Now it's more about how we are always connected to the internet and constantly streaming and watching one another in a World with no privacy. The, "Future," keeps changing and makes the way, "Tomorrowland," pictured the future look weirdly retro for a vision of an upcoming time. It still holds an optimistic promise of a hopeful and happy future compared to how nowadays the upcoming decades look like they'll be trying between climate change, political unrest, a still-raging pandemic that could give rise to other problems, and so forth. There is no easy answer on what to do with the current Tomorrowland setups. I just hope if changes are made over time they keep Cosmic Ray.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

April 2021 Links and News

 April--a Month and a Popular Name

It's April, the weather is (mostly) nice lately, and I've got some news and links to share.

Get to Readin'

"The Falcon and the Winter Soldier," had quite the intense fourth episode. This article by Matt Patches at Polygon points out how the show keeps raising question after question about ethical and philosophical questions but seems to be overloading itself with ideas that lack much follow-through. We'll see how the last two episodes work out, maybe?

I've actually interviewed comic-creator Charles Forsman before and always love reading other interviews with him such as this one at NeoText.

Back in the day, we had shareware, demo discs, and such for our video-games. Kotaku examined the fascinating history of this method of marketing which with the rise of the internet basically disappeared.

Kyle Lukeoff shared in an article for Jezebel how he wrote the children's book, "Call Me Max," with the goal of writing a tale about a transgender kid so inoffensive and, "Basic," that it couldn't be protested on the grounds of questionable content for any reason unless the protestors were just outright complaining about it featuring inclusivity. People still protested.

I wasn't really digging Marvel's event, "King in Black," and felt they were forcing the big new bad-guy, Knull, on us way too hard. The comic has wrapped and you can find plenty of articles saying the whole event was basically a dud with a weak ending (I won't spoil it as the comic has been out less than a week, but it was pretty meh).

In closing, vaccine rates are increasing at a stellar rate in America, but the danger of COVID-19 variants is on the rise too. Anyone who can safely take the vaccine needs to do so.

Enjoy the Rest of April

We're halfway through April and working hard to get life back to a semblance of normalcy as the pandemic hopefully resides. Remember to occasionally take time for yourself. Take a deep breath now and then, focus, and get that bread AKA money.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Starbucks Debuts a Cup Borrowing Program

Starbucks is testing a program where you can, "Borrow a cup." You get a cup, pay a dollar deposit, and then when you return it that dollar is given back. So...kind of like mugs or tumblers? Five Seattle stores are testing this out and it sounds like it is going well. The cups are returned, sterilized, clean, and then sent back out with the coffee order of the next person to use them. So yeah, like using mugs or tumblers, how revolutionary! I'm being silly, but anything good for the environment is obviously a smart thing to try out. I applaud Starbucks for trying to cut down on waste.

Friday, April 9, 2021

DMX Has Died

Earl Simmons, better known as DMX, has passed. He was 50 and suffered a heart attack due to a drug overdose that put him in a, "Vegetative state," before his unfortunate passing. This has made me sad as I was a fan. I remember being a teen in the 2000s when so much great rap by artists such as DMX was coming out. I would play his debut album, "It's Dark and Hell is Hot," (which came out in 1998 but I discovered a bit later) a great deal, along with his later LPs like, "Grand Champ." His first album was always my favorite, however. 

Always a controversial figure who at times quarreled with other rappers I liked (he and Ja Rule would beef a lot), DMX made some stellar songs and was, in fact, a solid actor too. He was very great in, "Romeo Must Die," as well as, "Cradle 2 the Grave." As the AV Club points out, 2012's, "Undisputed," is now his last album released while he was alive, although DMX was apparently working on new material as of late. Sadly he won't be us to see how much we enjoy it when it hopefully comes out.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Matt Bors Retires From Political Cartooning

Matt Bors is a cartoonist who has put out some of the most clever, incisive, cutting political commentary in comic form I've ever read. However, he is now done. He recently announced, “After 18 years and more than 1,600 political cartoons, I’ve decided to retire my weekly comic. This is a decision long in the making, one I’ve slowly walked myself up to over the years, and have recently decided is time to commit to. My last cartoon was two weeks ago.” He isn't done with comics and may very well comment on politics in future works, he just won't be dealing with weekly pressures and the grind to get a submission done on time. I understand if after all these years Bors wants some breathing room. I imagine whatever he does make now that he can focus on new projects will be excellent.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Moon Knight is Indeed Getting a New Comic!

After reading some rumors I had my hopes up we were getting a Moon Knight comic. It has confirmed by Marvel that starting in July a new solo title is indeed starting up for the character! It'll somewhat acknowledge the really iffy Avengers arc Moon Knight recently appeared in but be its own cool thing with Marc Spector being a street-level hero as he normally is as opposed to how in that recent Avengers arc he channeled the Phoenix space-force briefly. It was weird.

The new, "Moon Knight," comic will have Jed Mackay writing (he's been good on other books I've read such as, "Black Cat,") and Alessandro Cappuccio doing the artwork (he's done some assorted comics like, "Power Rangers," and this is his Marvel debut). I'm excited and hopeful that this is a great run with the character!

A Tale of Two Ariana Grande Songs

I like the music of Ariana Grande. I've been a fan for some time. I first wrote about, "The Way," back in 2013 and discussed my fondness for such jams as, "Thank U, Next." There have been two songs by Grande that have become very popular lately and one is great while the other is pretty bad--in my opinion, at least. We've got, "Switching Positions," which has catchy strings, a killer beat, Grande singing and rhyming with expertise, and it's just stellar. Then there is, "34+35," which doesn't have metaphors so much as just outright dirty requests, a flimsy beat, and it's just drab. I don't mind dirty songs by any means--"WAP," is catchy as hell and extremely raunchy.

It's a tale of two Ariana Grande songs where one is amazing and the other is just lame and I'm surprised the same person who sings, "Switchin' the positions for you/Cookin' in the kitchen and I'm in the bedroom/I'm in the Olympics, way I'm jumpin' through hoops/Know my love infinite, nothin' I wouldn't do/That I won't do, switchin' for you," then has such snore-worthy lyrics as, "Can you stay up all night?/Fuck me 'til the daylight/Thirty-four, thirty-five (Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah)/Can you stay up all night? (All night)/Fuck mе 'til the daylight/Thirty-four, thirty-five (Yeah, yеah, yeah, yeah). For those unclear, 34 and 35 make 69. Yes, she made a goddamn joke about 69'ing and that's the whole point of the song. Again, I love a good dirty ditty, but make it interesting and have a solid beat or melody to match it.

All I'm saying is that I hope Grande continues to make more, "Switching Positions," kinds of songs than she does, "34+35," pieces. In the meantime, I'll be listening to, "Switching Positions," on repeat as that is a banger of a track. I'll skip the other song though.

Monday, April 5, 2021

Mountain Dew Major Melon is a Pretty Subpar Soda

I've mostly given up drinking soda for weight-loss purposes. The last time I had some was to review the mediocre coke with coffee. I'd seen the new Mountain Dew with watermelon flavor and thought it was worth a try, however. I absolutely have loved Mountain Dew Code Red, think the regular flavor is fine, and have tried plenty of odd flavors that didn't impress me. Sadly, "Major Melon," is a Mountain Dew flavor that's simply dull. The watermelon flavor isn't overpowering, which is good. It just kind of sits there, making itself known without being particularly tasty or's just there. When the whole selling point of your Mountain Dew flavor is a yummy watermelon, have it actually be more than a passing vibe of, "Oh, I taste some crappy watermelon." This is a misfire when it comes to Mountain Dew flavors and I won't be drinking it again if I get an uncontrollable craving for some Mountain Dew. If that strikes, I'll just have some Code Red.

Sunday, April 4, 2021

"VHS Collecting: The Modern Relevance of Home Video," is a Fantastic Book about the Love of Tapes

In a Reddit group about VHS tapes, folks had been posting about enjoying a book by Cory J. Gorski. Titled, "VHS Collecting: The Modern Relevance of Home Video," I got a copy off of the internet and took the time to read it. It was a fantastic book! Clearly written by a fan of VHS tapes, the book breaks down the answers to the questions of, 'Why?" Namely, why do we want to collect a dead media? Why are some tapes worth a lot and others worth basically nothing? Why is VHS special and gets more attention than other formats such as Betamax or CED? Gorski expertly talks about why VHS is such a fun format and doesn't pull punches in admitting a lot of the appeal lies in nostalgia as well as how some stuff just can't be found on DVD or easily online, making a VHS tape a necessity for viewing some mostly-forgotten flicks.

"VHS Collecting," is a lovely introduction for those who are curious about VHS tapes and how to even go about starting a collection of them. It also is a good read even if you already collect VHS tapes sometimes and just want to read the thoughts of a fellow lover of the format. It's just a lovely and enthusiastic book! I'd encourage you to give it a gander if you have any interest in VHS.

5 out of 5 stars

Saturday, April 3, 2021

The Upcoming Big River Comic Convention Looks Exciting!

In April of 2019, I attended the first-ever comic convention in Hannibal, Missouri It was the Big River Comic-Con and it was a blast. There was going to be another one in 2020, but then the pandemic happened and that shut down basically everything. However, now in 2021, the COVID-19 infection rate is dropping in many states, people are getting vaccinated (including yours truly) and the Big River Comic Convention will be happening this April 23rd and 24th! You can find more details here about the show. I hopefully plan to attend and It'll be the first comic convention I'll have been to in over a year. I'm excited about the show and encourage anyone who feels they can safely attend it to do so!