Friday, May 31, 2024

Donald Trump is Now a Convicted Felon

Yesterday, Donald Trump was found guilty on all 34 criminal counts he was facing for a hush-money trial. It was a historical day. No matter what his loyalists say or the members of his cult of personality claim, he is now a convicted felon. I doubt he'll face any sort of jail time as even with 34 felonies it is the first time he's been found guilty of criminal offenses (he's faced plenty of civil suits over the years, however). The presumptive Republican nominee for President is a convicted felon in a nation where some states won't allow felons to vote or hold certain jobs. 

Trump is the only American President to ever be a convicted felon. Make all the excuses you want, but when a jury was provided ample evidence of Trump's crime as well as counter-arguments from Trump's defense team, it was decided Trump was a criminal. He will always have been a convicted felon, even if he somehow weasels his way into the Presidency again and pardons himself or gets a future President to offer up a pardon. Say it was rigged, say the jury wasn't impartial, blame the judge, do whatever you want. Trump committed a crime and finally faced some sort of consequences for his actions. Our founding Fathers never made it against the rules for someone who has been impeached (twice, in Trump's case) or convicted of a felony to be President as they probably didn't think our nation could be foolish enough to let such a person run for the highest office in the land. 

Here we are in 2024 with a solid chunk of the Nation under the spell of a madman, however. I'm not especially religious, but I genuinely pray for our Country lest it be further irreparably harmed by a second Trump Presidency. It isn't just prayer that will save us, though. We need to be sure to vote this November as if the survival of the United States as we know it depends upon such an action because it seems like it really does.

Thursday, May 30, 2024

Hot Comics Revue 17--Doomed I Say, Doomed!

Sometimes comics get hot due to movies or television shows. Thanks to, "X-Men '97," a lot of X-titles were getting buzz from the first appearance of Gambit to when Bastion debuted and so forth. I always find organic growth of a comic especially fascinating, however. When a book just seems to slowly gain attention and get hotter and hotter that is fun. I discussed such a case in my last installment of this segement with the newest iteration of, "Ultimate Spider-Man," and now have a really interesting comic for you, "Doom."

I honestly thought this was going to be a new series when I saw it solicited but, "Doom," is in fact a mega-sized one-shot written by Jonathan Hickman (same writer of, "Ultimate Spider-Man," actually) and illustrated by the amazing Sanford Greene. Hickman has clearly been on a roll lately with this being the second comic he's done this year to really blow up in popularity. Why is, "Doom," and its big one-shot so hot though? A chunk of reasons...

1. It's a Great Story. This comic is set in a future where all the Marvel heroes (and much of the rest of hte galaxy) have been wiped out by a superpowered Galactus and it falls to Valeria Richards (daughter of Reed and Sue) and Dr. Doom to attempt to save what they can of the Universe.

2. The Art is Amazing. Sandford Greene gives us some illustrations that are absolutely mind-blowing and this may be the best-looking comic we witness this year. His artwork is gorgeous and a feast for the eyes.

3. It's a One-Shot Set Outside of Continuity. In a time where we get these big epic series or events that are always advertised as changing the current Universe in wild ways forever, there is a charm to a relatively quick and self-contained story that realizes it can just be cool and do whatever it wants because it does not, "Count/matter," in the general comic continuity. Sometimes fans avoid a comic if it isn't a part of the big epic storylines, but the fact this is just a cool little yarn has touched a nerve with readers. You don't have to read anything before this or after (as of now unless we get a sequel story). It's just a damn good one-and-done comic.

4. Retailers May Have Under-Ordered. Even though I (and others I talked to) thought this was maybe the debut of a series, retailers probably saw it was a one-shot and giant-sized with a bigger price for the pages, seven bucks. That is a hefty price for a random one-shot set outside of continuity that comic readers may skip out on unless they really like Doctor Doom or the creators. The book is hot now but initially, it would make sense for retailers to be nervous and under-order the comic, resulting in fewer copies out in the public and the price going up in the secondary market.

5. The Opening Page References MF Doom. Seriously, the famous rapper who drew inspiration from Doctor Doom and sadly passed in October of 2020 gets a little homage/shout-out on the opening page with the text, "Living On Borrow Time...The Clock Ticks Faster..." which got a lot of people's attention and resulted in some fans of MF Doom seeking the comic out too. It's a nice little touch.

These factors have resulted in, "Doom," #1 selling for $30-$35 on eBay with the variant covers getting a little less scratch but still being hot. The fact it is a damn good comic all-around and was possibly under-ordered and has some extra buzz thanks to a musical homage all seem to have lit a fire under, "Doom," #1. A second printing is undoubtedly on the way if you want to read this awesome one-shot but would rather not pay too high above the cover price. Hickman keeps putting out hits in 2024 and Greene should be allowed to draw whatever he wants for Marvel because it is bound to be beautiful.

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

My Letter Was Published in the, "Missouri Conservationist," June Issue!

A recent issue of the, "Missouri Conservationist," discussed how if you see what seems to be an abandoned baby animal or injured adult one the best thing you can do is leave it alone. Messing with wildlife, no matter how good your intentions, is generally a bad idea as these creatures are rarely truly, "Alone," despite how things may appear. I enjoyed the article and it got me thinking about another time when people unfortunately can bug wildlife--when they want to take a picture for social media. It seems too often folks will think it is a good idea to walk up to a wild animal that could be hurt by them (or even attack them) for the sake of a good picture. I wrote to the magazine and they published my letter in the most recent June 2024 issue! Take a look:

You can read all issues of the, "Missouri Conservationist," for free online if you would like. I always enjoy the fun articles and great pictures. Plus, free virtual or in-person classes are always listed. I attended one via the internet previously about identifying wild mushrooms so you know which are safe to eat or not--it was fun! I am excited my letter is in this latest issue and thank the, "Missouri Conservationist," for publishing the thoughts I shared with them!

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

"A Last Goodbye," is a Fun and Exciting Sci-Fi Read

I previously reviewed, "Bro-D Can't be Broken," for my friends over at Forces of Geek.  Ben Humeniuk created that fun read and is the artist and co-creator of the new upcoming comic, "A Last Goodbye." Created with Travis B. Hill, it is due to come out this June 26th from the publisher Band of Bards and was, in fact, one of the, "Featured Picks," in the April 2024, "Previews," Catalog.  I had the chance to review an advance copy of, "A Last Goodbye," and enjoyed it a great deal!

"A Last Goodbye," is a nice beefy one-shot that is 40 pages (so like two regular-sized comics in terms of length). It follows a man and his dog as they make a journey across the post-apocalyptic United States in an effort to reach an unknown (at least until the story concludes) location. How the World ended or why isn't the focus, but this mysterious man and his dog on their journey. Obviously, obstacles pop up, some quite dangerous and scary!

Humeniuk is a fantastic artist whose style reminds me a bit of Daniel Warren Johnson's artwork while still fully standing on its own (they've both written stories set in ruined Earths too, funnily enough). There is a scribbly-yet-detailed look to everything that helps impart how messed-up this Earth is while having the art retain enough of a loose style it isn't outright terrifyingly gruesome to witness the ruins of cities and the occasional mutated humans. My discussion of the art is not meant to ignore Hill's writing, it just is intentionally minimalist, focused on moving our protagonist and his pet to the next cool set-piece, be it a creepy underground craven or an eerily quiet and threadbare forest.

"A Last Goodbye," is a fantastic read for anyone who enjoys sci-fi yarns and doesn't mind a splash of post-apocalypse horror mixed in (those mutated humans are not nice). It is a gorgeous read and moves at a quick pace, with the aforementioned 40 pages it clocks in at the perfect length. I'd recommend telling your comic shop to get you a copy before the comic's release, or you could always preorder an issue for yourself directly from the publisher (as I mentioned, Band of Bards). I look forward to more great works from Ben Humeniuk and/or Travis B. Hill in the future as this was a stupendous comic!

5 out of 5 stars.

Monday, May 27, 2024

I'm 36 Today!

Today I am 36. This is my first birthday as a father to Clarkson and now also Gibson. I am so thankful for them and my wife, Samii. The above picture is from the French Creperie in Chesterfield, Missouri. They have a great assortment of sweet and savory crepes, plus that special birthday one I had a couple days before my big day (they were okay with it as my birthday is Memorial Day this year). Yesterday, Samii and I had a nice breakfast outing at one of, "The Shack," locations and it was delicious too. I snapped a selfie of us with me wearing one of their birthday crowns! Observe:

I've turned 36 and am so joyous to have my loved ones and a great life. There have been some great times and some really rough times, but I and the people I care about have weathered those occasions to get where we are today, with me three years old...times 12. Cheers to hopefully many more years full of love and learning.

Sunday, May 26, 2024

Mary Jane (the Retro Candy) is a Fantastic Treat!

I like buying candy from other countries or that is retro at a specialty shop in the local Mall. I saw one called, "Mary Jane," and was intrigued by its sounding sort of like, "Bit O' Honey," but also being its own thing. With a mix of molasses and peanut butter, I bought it to try. I liked it a lot!

Mary Jane candy is incredibly chewy, like insanely so. Be careful to avoid chewing it on any side of your mouth that has had dental work as this could rip a filling clean out. Currently produced by the Atkinson Candy Company in Lufkin Texas, they've been around since 1932 but actually got the rights to Mary Jane in 2020 as it began in 1914 with Robert O. Lord's candy manufacturing company and shifted ownership every few decades before ending up with Atkinson where it is currently produced and just as tasty as ever. Should you be able to buy Mary Jane (again, the candy) at a local shop I'd recommend sampling it or you can always go straight to Atkinson's website and get some.

Saturday, May 25, 2024

Kid Cudi is Selling Tour Merchandise for His Cancelled Tour in a Clever Manner

It was April 21st, 2024. Kid Cudi performed at Coachella. He jumped off the stage and it was much higher than he had anticipated. He fell 8 feet and broke his foot. He had to undergo surgery and canceled his upcoming, "Insano," tour. Refunds were given out and Kid Cudi will go on tour sometime in the future when he's healed. The thing is...there was a lot of merchandise. In a clever twist, his website is selling the merch for, "The Tour that Never Was."

You can buy themed totes, knick-knacks, and clothes. In a bit of a dark joke some of the hoodies have tour dates with the word, "Cancelled," now sprawled across what had been planned. It is a bummer the shows couldn't happen but at least, "The Tour that Never Was," can still sell some cool merchandise. I wish Kid Cudi a full (and speedy) recovery.

Friday, May 24, 2024

"Watusi the Talking Dog," #43 Has a Little Contribution From Me!

Years ago I met Dale Martin at Project Comic-Con. He was the creator of, "Watsui the Talking Dog," and I've enjoyed his work ever since we met, having reviewed issue #30 of the series some time ago. Issue #43 has just been released and features a project Dale started back in 2012 and did through 2013 before now wrapping it up. He had folks contribute their own little panels for him to eventually create a, "Jam Comic," of sorts where he'd create a tale with his panels taking place around the contributions of various other folks. I, actually, drew a fun panel where with Watsui in Saint Louis he finds himself atop the Arch and finds it scary. I warned Dale my art skills were horribly lacking but he welcomed my contribution back in 2013. Now, I've got my little contribution in the 43rd issue of, "Watsui The Talking Dog," and you can buy a digital copy if you want to see the whole yarn! As for my entry, give it a look--I'm the panel on the top-left:

I know, I know, I should stick to writing as opposed to drawing. That said, I'm honored Dale wanted to include me in this collaborative comic and I enjoyed reading the rest of the issue when he provided me a free copy! I look forward to Watsui's future adventures and encourage you to check out all of Dale's work via his company, Smeary Soapbox Press!

Thursday, May 23, 2024

The "Riverfront Times," has been Sold with all the Editorial Staff Laid Off

I recently wrote about a website I liked announcing it was folding (Multiversity). It isn't just websites that have faced issues off and on, of course. Print journalism has had a ton of turmoil and after nearly half a century one local publication, the Riverfront Times, has been sold with the entire editorial staff laid off. The new owner isn't immediately apparent, but the RFT has been gutted and an era has ended. It was a bit of a tabloid-style paper, but it was a Saint Louis staple! Founded in 1977, it prided itself on being an, "Alternative Newspaper," with articles about food, music, local politics, and more. Now it still ostensibly exists but is going to become something quite different seeing as it laid off everyone who worked there writing stories from the usual to the quirky. One worries about the future of journalism if smaller entities keep getting bought up and folded into big conglomerates.

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Doesn't a Scary Version of, "The Munsters," Defeat the Whole Point of the Show?

"The Munsters," was a show I enjoyed watching on Nick at Nite as a kid. It showed how even with a family that looked scary, everyone could actually be sweet and loving. Just because Herman was a Frankenstein's Monster-looking fellow he actually was sweet. The wife was a vampire, the son was a wolf-boy and the daughter was seemingly average, yes, but they all were swell folks. Even the Rob Zombie movie that got a critical drubbing kept things lighthearted and didn't lose sight of the humorous and positive aspects. Now, it has been announced we're getting a Munsters-themed reboot that is dark and scary...doesn't that defeat the whole point?

Titled, "1313," which is the number of their house on Mockingbird Lane, this new Munsters show that has just been announced will, apparently, be in the Universal Monsterverse that died a horrible death in one form but is slowly making its way back into existence in a new iteration. Okay, but why? The Munsters are a sweet family, making them grim and horrifying defies the whole message of the first show. It would be like making another take on Hannibal Lecter, but in this version, he's a vegetarian. This is all in the very early stages so I'm not going to make some snap judgment about this upcoming show's quality, but I do have concerns.

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

"Wolverine: Revenge," Sounds Like a Comic I Want to Read

Jonathan Hickman is a fantastic writer who has worked on a bunch of comics I have loved. Greg Capullo is an amazing artist from his time on, "Spawn," to an incredible, "Batman," run and more. They are teaming up to bring us a five-issue mini-series titled, "Wolverine: Revenge," which will--for at least one issue--have him fighting Dinosaurs in the Savage Land. In the words of that, "Futurama," clip that became a meme, "Shut up and take my money!" It is going to have one of those stupid, "Red Band," editions that feature extra pages of bloody artwork for more money (and have confusing continuity), but it is Capullo's art so no matter what it is going to be delightful to see.

The overall plot of the comic is a bit of a mystery beyond how it will, "pit Wolverine against a cadre of foes who will turn his world upside down! He’s been beaten! He’s been bloodied! And Logan only has one thought on his mind: Revenge!” With Hickman scripting, I imagine the artwork won't be the only thing to draw folks in, but a nice piece of a metaphorical tasty pie. I mean--again--Hickan, Capullo, Wolverine, and dinosaurs? I'd be shocked if Marvel found a way to mess this up and make it anything but a grand time! The first issue (regular and silly polybagged red band edition) debuts on August 21st of this year, so I know what I'm picking up at the shop without a doubt that day!

Monday, May 20, 2024

Music Mondays: Too Sweet, Feuds, and Ranking SNL Acts

 Back Again!

Hey, three times! This truly is a recurring segment and I should revisit some of my other segments that haven't popped up for a bit as this one is doing pretty well!

Music Info and Opinions

Hozier's song, "Take Me to Church," was alright but kind of grated on my nerves after awhile because of how dramatic and over-the-top it could get. That said, his new hit single, "Too Sweet," is really catchy and I like hearing it anytime the ditty pops on the radio.

Billie Eilish dropped her newest LP, "Hit Me Hard and Soft," to a lot of positive reviews. I used to not like her music then came around on it a good deal. I'll give the newest album a listen.

Vince Staples just announced a new album titled, "Dark Times," is on the way. Staples is a talented guy so I'm excited!

Kendrick Lamar and Drake had quite the feud, but I think we can all agree after songs like, "Euphoria," "Meet the Garhams," and, "Not Like Us," that Kendrick won. It seems apparent Drake is ready to move on from this (understandably after the licks he ended up taking) and Lamar has some top streaming hits from the whole fiasco.

I previously mentioned enjoying some K-Pop tunes, and another that's been in heavy rotation on my playlist is, "Magnetic," by the group, "Illit." It's extremely fast-paced, poppy, and catchy.

Lastly, "Saturday Night Live," just finished its 49th season. NPR has rated all the music acts from worst to best. I mostly agree with the list but would have ranked Bad Bunny a bit higher and not had Boygenuis as the best (they were solid, but not amazing).

Sunday, May 19, 2024

We Tried Chuck's Hot Chicken

Chuck's Hot Chicken is a brand that has been opening multiple locations around Saint Louis and with one not too far from our house we decided to give it a shot. We tried some jumbo wings, tenders, and I got a sandwich with the absolute lowest level of heat (there is zero heat then one through six and I tried level one). The chicken was all delicious and the lowest-heat sandwich definitely had some kick but was tasty. The fries were tasty as well. Samii and I both loved the corn nuggets as they had the perfect mix of crispness and creaminess. I can see why the Chuck's Hot Chicken restaurants keep opening up new places as they make some really tasty food. That said, I doubt I'll ever try a spice level above the first and can't imagine how people stomach however hot level six must be!

Saturday, May 18, 2024

Don Perlin, Co-Creator of Moon Knight, Has Passed

Don Perlin passed on May 14th, 2024. He was 94 years old and responsible for contributing to the creation of characters as recent as Bloodshot, but he actually broke into the comic-boo biz in the 1940s! The thing that I most appreciated Perlin for, however, was how he co-created Moon Knight. He was working at Marvel and drew a big chunk of, "Werewolf by Night," including the issues that introduced Moon Knight which he did with writer  Doug Moench. Thanks to these two gentlemen we have my favorite comic-book character and without their initial work, we wouldn't have all the people who built off of it and made Moon Knight even more popular. Another amazing talent gone; he will be missed.

Friday, May 17, 2024

Flashback/Film Friday: "My Super Ex-Girlfriend," is Better Than You'd Expect

Do you have a movie/show/book/whatever that you really like even though everyone seems to hate it and you know you shouldn't even enjoy it necessarily? That is me with, "My Super Ex-Girlfriend." Released in 2006, The overall messaging of the movie is incredibly problematic with the clunker of an ending (if I may spoil it) basically being the over-the-top crazy superlady who eventually ends up falling in love with the villain who has been trying to steal her powers out of a weird toxic obsession. Still, this movie actually works somewhat thanks to an incredible cast who elevate the so-so material to an enjoyable level.

Luke Wilson falls in love with a woman (Uma Thurman) who reveals to him she's the popular superhero G-Girl. The movie takes forever to get there, but they break up and she does not take it well. G-Girl comes across as a mean-spirited shrew, but Uma Thurman makes you actually like her even when she's hurling a live shark through a window at Wilson in a rage. Anna Faris is a co-worker of Wilson's whom he always ogles to the point their boss (Wanda Skyes) keeps threatening him with HR. Again, this is played for laughs because Faris actually likes Wilson's character a lot, but if she didn't, he would, in fact, come across as kind of creepy, with Skyes' concerns being played for laughs not that humorous. BUT YET! Skyes is so damn funny she makes a boss being concerned about her employee's safety somehow worth yukking at and Faris is hilarious too. 

Also, Rainn Wilson plays Wilson's best friend (this is before, "The Office," made him super famous) and his character is supposed to be an insufferable bragging-prone super-horndog asshole...but Wilson makes him weirdly likable. I didn't even mention how Eddie Izzard (back before she started going exclusively by feminine pronouns and at times presented as Male) is the villain and so absurdly dry and sincere you almost forget how freakishly toxic this character's obsession with G-Girl is! I swear, "My Super Ex-Girlfriend," is proof that if you give a D- script to an A+ cast you can somehow, against all odds, get a solid B of a movie.

"My Super Ex-Girlfriend bombed in theaters, hard. The AV Club back in 2020 when they did a retrospective on it described it as, "Hacky," with the nicest thing writer Caroline Siede could say about it being, "...there’s so much potential in its premise," that it fails to execute. I wouldn't argue with that at all because, as I said, the message the movie imparts is basically, "Women, right? They're either horny, crazy, or a little of both!" BUT STILL! This cast was given the barest of ingredients and managed to whip up a metaphorically tasty dish as if they got a stinker of a basket on a cooking competition show. I will never argue that, "My Super Ex-Girlfriend," is a good movie, but I will argue it is funny despite itself. All of the credit for that goes to the stupendous cast turning a lemon into a relatively enjoyable lemonade (I'm sorry, I love food metaphors). If you get the chance to watch, "My Super Ex-Girlfriend," and don't mind spending 90-ish minutes on a heavily flawed but fun flick, maybe give it a chance? I'm glad I did, if for no other reason than I'll watch basically anything with Eddie Izzard.

3.5 out of Stars.

Thursday, May 16, 2024

Official, "Sesame Street," Comics Have Been Announced

"Sesame Street," has been around for decades, but has never had an official comic. There have been plenty of picture books, but not a real issue of a floppy. Therefore, hearing there will be a four-issue mini-series to kick off a collaboration between the brand and publisher Oni Press is pretty cool! Written by Joey Esposito and having art by Austin Baechle, it'll hit the stands in late August. Comicsbeat wrote about the announcement and provided the full press release which you can find at this link

The initial mini set in the World of Sesame Street will be fully titled, "Sesame Street: Grover Lends a Hand," and will follow the city's Grover as he tries to help his friends (such as Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch, etc.) out with their various problems through cooperation and teamwork. It sounds fun and like it will have a positive message--so you know, "Sesame Street," type stuff. I loved the show as a kid and still appreciate it as an adult who can show it to my own kiddos now. A variety of comics telling Sesame Street-related stories sounds like a fun idea and I look forward to this Grover-centric tale and many more that I imagine are to come!

Rant-Reviews: Debut Issues and a Conclusion

 Starting and Stopping

I've read a handful of comics I wanted to discuss that I also realized were all first issues or in one case, the final issue of a mini-series. Let's discuss some beginnings and an ending!

Start & Stop

Deadpool/Wolverine: WWIII #1

Deadpool and Wolverine seem to team up as often as they fight. Thanks to a writer who nails Deadpool perfectly (Joe Kelly, who has done some stellar Deadpool yarns before) as well as Wolverine, the tone is a nice mix of serious and silly--some seem to really struggle getting Deadpool's, "Voice," right. Adam Kubert is an astounding artist as well, doing some creative tricks in this issue that necessitate turning the pages horizontally, then vertically, and back. It isn't a problem though, as everything just looks amazing. When it is Deadpool and Wolverine in a comic there is bound to be violence, and this has some wildly good-looking bloody effects. I'm a little confused about exactly where the plot is going with Deadpool seemingly acting in quite an antagonistic manner toward the end of the issue, but perhaps it'll become clearer in future issues. That quibble aside, I had fun.

4 out of 5 stars.

Love Me: A Romance Story #1

My last Rant-Review segment I did a while ago actually discussed another comic with art by Stefano Cardoselli. This series is written by Francesca Perillo and published by Mad Cave, who have carved out a solid niche of releasing cool books (like their recent reboot of, "Dick Tracy," to name another title). "Love Me: A Romance Story," is focused on a robot and his pet cat--and then the robot falls in love with rider in their taxi. It seems like a sweet little meet-cute and Cardoselli's artwork is always superb in its abstract and complex nature. I really enjoyed this debut issue and hope JoJo (that's the robot) manages to find love!

5 out of 5 Stars.

Hack/Slash: Back to School #4

This final issue of the latest, "Hack/Slash," mini-series is set earlier on in Cassie Hack's career of killing seemingly unstoppable monsters. For those wondering how it fits into everything continuity-wise that becomes clear at the issue's shocking conclusion and there is a handy chart breaking down all the, "Hack/Slash," comics and collections up to the present day as well. Zoe Thorogood was fantastic in the first two issues as I discussed in a previous review and sticks the landing here, unquestionably. If you're a fan of Thorogood, the, "Hack/Slash," series, or just good comics, you ought to check this series out!

5 out of 5 Stars.

Creature From the Black Lagoon Lives! #1

This sequel comic of sorts is another one of the Universal Monster comics that Skybound is publishing (they have a, "Dracula," one currently too). Hearing this series was coming had me excited and having read the first issue I am intrigued but it did take a much different thematic angle than I expected. Without spoiling too much, the focus of the comic is much more so a journalist trying to prove someone who fled the United States is a serial killer who drowns victims and in the process of her working on this case it becomes apparent that the famous/infamous Creature will be getting involved. I think I will need to read the next issue for sure to get a better idea of what role our titular Creature will play, but the fact I want to read the next issue shows this debut issue did something very right!

5 out of 5 Stars.

Roboforce #1

I last saw this new iteration of the Roboforce in that, "Nacelleverse," #0 comic which I quite liked. Out of all the entities introduced in the zero issue, I was especially curious about, "Roboforce," so I picked up the first issue. The story centers on a team of robots who were supposed to be heroic rescue bots but were already obsolete by the time they debuted and ended up doing odd jobs to get by. This first issue stands alone without any trouble even if you didn't read the previous zero issue, with the setting up of the Roboforce having to fight a new threat being pretty entertaining. However, there is such a huge cast and they are all introduced so quickly I had a little trouble keeping track of what exactly was going on at some points. Still, I had a good time and look forward to more from the Nacelleverse!

4.5 out of 5 stars.

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

"Superman: The Warworld Saga," is an Epic Read!

"Superman: The Warworld Saga," is a hefty trade paperback that collects the entire big yarn of Superman going to Warworld to fight Mongul. That makes the story sound simple, but there is a lot to it. There are offshoot Kryptonians, Superman's powers seeming to be on the fritz, an alternate Universe trip, some characters from The Authority, and a deep dive into exploring just what makes the horrific conqueror Mongul function the way he does. The main thrust of the book is how no matter the odds, Superman is going to try to help people/aliens/etc.. Even if those very entities try to drain him of his powers, take advantage of his kindness, and so forth. He'll be there, inspiring hope.

A lot of comics leading up to Superman's time on Warworld and then fighting against Mongul while low on his usual abilities are collected in this big tome, and it is a saga for sure. I will say the, "Future State," issues at the end of the book read like slightly overlong epilogues to the main juicy entree of sorts, but everything before that is quite engaging and even those handful of issues make a nice little closer to this massive book. Seriously, I set this down on my bed one night while reading it and shifted my leg having forgotten it was there. It fell onto the floor with the loudest thump that my wife was worried I had fallen out of bed for a second.

There are a metric ton of skilled artists collected in, "Superman: The Warworld Saga," as this story encompasses multiple comics. Everyone does a great job despite a variety of styles appearing whether it's David Lapham, Ben Templesmith, Ian Churchhill, Dale Eaglesham, or a bunch of other folks. The almost sole writer (besides a little smidgen by Simon Spurrier) is Phillip Kennedy Johnson, crafting this epic tale across a bunch of series. Having one writer for almost the entirety of this saga helps give it a strong thematic voice that stays present throughout the whole TPB even as the art can change quite a bit across various collected books. Johnson and the many artists result in this being a stellar read I greatly enjoyed across the multiple days it took to finish this big ol' book. I would highly recommend checking out, "Superman: The Warworld Saga," whether you get it from your local comic shop, bookstore, or library. It's a fantastic collection!

5 out of 5 stars.

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Television Tuesday: "Love Undercover," Succeeds via it's Charm

"Love Undercover," is a new dating reality show on Peacock (an underrated streaming service) that follows a group of extremely popular soccer players going to the one country where they can be (generally) unnoticed so that they can date a variety of women as just regular international guys on a show that the gals think it just about dating international men. That nation is, of course, America. Hence, we've got footballers who would be swarmed by crowds in any other country able to be, "Undercover," and claim they work in ad sales, construction, or manage restaurants. It's a clever hook but these shows live and die by the protagonists being interesting. Thankfully, the guys and gals (plus announcer Jared Freid) are all a hoot.

Jamie, Ryan, Lloyd, Marco, Fabián, and Sebastián are the international bachelors who have to hide their fame and get by on their personalities---or in the case of the younger ones whom the older guys admit being a bit jealous of as they attract a lot of women speedily, their looks a bit too. Jamie is absolutely hilarious and I can see why he is a commentator on soccer too as the guy is clever. Lloyd and Sebastián are both kind of F-boys (but fun) and Ryan has an incredibly dry sense of humor that makes him pretty easy to like. Marco, meanwhile, is probably the most famous of them all but a bit older and in the first four episodes that have been released is struggling to make a connection. There is an irony in that when he's Marco the famous footballer he has to beat the women away with a metaphorical stick. 

The cast of ladies ranges from the usual younger influencers to some who are actually in their late 30s and have normal jobs like being a teacher or TSA agent, so I appreciate the variety. Jacklyn is incredibly sarcastic and has some good jokes, Gabby is incredibly sweet, and nobody seems to be behaving in a manner that is absolutely awful yet besides one girl seeming to possibly be leading Marco on in order to stay in the penthouse where the show takes place...and date the other guys.

Another aspect of the show that interests me is once the initial dating is done in the Penthouse and the men and women pick to be together, the program is going to actually continue with after the ladies learn the truth and move with the guys to their home countries. A lot of reality shows end with a, "We pick each other and we're happy!" kind of finale even if not too long after everything falls apart. Having a show continue and show us what happens after the initial gimmick is an interesting premise that I feel doesn't happen a ton with reality television shows involving folks, "Competing," for love (I think, "Love is Blind," does it, but nothing else comes to mind). I am quite intrigued to see what happens after the penthouse dates are done, the truth is revealed, and the ladies and men go back to real life and it is time to deal with the ramifications of dating a soccer superstar.

"Love Undercover," and its first four episodes are pretty darn fun. By having a good mix of, "Undercover," guys, women who don't all immediately fit the reality show archetype, and clever conceit of continuing past the so-called undercover part it has me wanting to keep watching. Episodes are released every Thursday and I'm eager for more!

5 out of 5 Stars.

Monday, May 13, 2024

The "Marvel Rivals," Developer is Getting Roasted For Attempting to Require No Negative Press

"Marvel Rivals," is being developed by NetEase, and from what I've seen it looks fun! It is an arena battle game that reminds me a bit of, "Overwatch," as a variety of heroes work together and combat one another with their skills complimenting/counteracting one another. Apparently, those who have played the game quite like it, making it all the more head-scratchingly odd that NetEase had some extreme requirements for anyone who wanted to try the Alpha (an early version) of the game and talk about it/stream themselves playing it/etc. Basically, you were forbidden from saying anything negative.

NetEase is getting ripped a new figurative rear end online for a, "Contract," that says anyone playing this early version of, "Marvel Rivals," cannot disparage it in the manner of comparing it to other games unfavorably (e.g. don't mention, "Overwatch,") or just outright saying you don't enjoy a particular aspect from the art, to gameplay, or anything. NetEase is now saying they didn't mean to cause, "Confusion," with their contract and apologize for any overly restrictive terms. NetEase has made it clear they are of course open to criticism, at least now that everyone has called them out, I suppose. Now, I haven't played, "Marvel Rivals," and even though I'd enjoy trying it if the chance arose, I wouldn't agree to only say nice things about it, because that's just absurd. No game/movie/show/comic/book or so forth is perfect. Being willing to accept positive feedback and comments about what to fix can only improve a product. I hope NetEase learns that from this fiasco.

Sunday, May 12, 2024

Happy Mother's Day 2024!

Today is Mother's Day! We've loved celebrating this holiday with Clarkson and now it is Samii's first Mother's Day with Gibson here too! Samii is an awesome Mother to our boys and I love her a lot. Whether you're a Mother, Aunt, Mom-like figure, or so forth, I hope you have a fantastic Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 11, 2024

"Garfield Minus Garfield," Always Was a Hoot

Dan Walsh was a fan of the comic strip, "Garfield," who happened to notice if you went and simply removed the titular character from the comic you got something fascinating and vaguely disconcerting. The result was Jon Arbuckle seemingly ranting and raving to himself, looking a little extra unhinged than in the strips with Garfield and the gang present. The whole thing gave off a vibe of existential dread. This gave rise to, "Garfield Minus Garfield," which had a ton of fans--including Jim Davis himself, Garfield's creator/daddy. For years the strip was produced and a fun book even came out featuring Walsh's edits and Jim Davis himself getting in on the fun while pointing out that as Garfield is always thinking in his response to Jon, in a way subtracting Garfield only emphasizes how Jon behaves--he'd be acting the same way whether the fat cat were there or not, arguably!

"Garfield Minus Garfield," has pretty much wrapped, but its many strips stand as a testament to how weird and uncomfortable a seemingly happy cartoon about a chunky orange cat can be if you just go and remove that character. The fact Jim Davis saw how Walsh was a fan and then sought to work with him so they could both benefit as opposed to trying to sue Walsh or otherwise acting in a manner that could be mean also shows some kindness and smart thinking on Davis' part.

Friday, May 10, 2024

Variety Highlighted Clarkson on Their Site!

When Clarkson got his Novachat device AKA his talker, our insurance only covered so much. However, the nonprofit known as Variety was available to help cover the remaining costs. Variety has a bunch of awesome programs that benefit those with disabilities. We filled out a survey saying how we appreciated Variety's assistance and they enjoyed hearing how Clarkson's Novachat had been helpful! They asked if he could be highlighted on their blog and we said that sounded great! They just put up the post discussing Clarkson and how useful his Novachat has been on their site today. Thanks again to Variety for being a stellar organization! I would encourage anyone who has a child with disabilities to look into the local organizations they may have in their region, there are always so many resources people don't realize can be utilized!

Thursday, May 9, 2024

Multiversity Comics is Sadly Shutting Down; it is a Bit of a Trend

Multiversity Comics is one of those comic and culture sites I've enjoyed reading for years. It is actually a bit older than my own site, having started in May 2009 (The Newest Rant as we know it didn't exist until December 2010). Sadly, however, Multiversity Comics is shutting down this month, meaning it went 15 years and then wrapped. The official post announcing the closure gives a variety of reasons from a decline in staff, to financial concerns, to just everyone involved frankly being exhausted. My blog costs me about ten bucks a year to keep running and is mostly held together through outdated code I barely understand, metaphorical elbow grease, and my sheer determination to keep sharing my random opinions online. That said, if it were really expensive to run a site and the passion just wasn't there, I'd totally understand someone closing the, "Show," down.

I'm a one-man production besides a few guest posts over the years, so the only, "Staff," I have to worry about is myself. Picturing having employees sounds like a bunch of variables to wrangle so these bigger sites folding makes sense if it gets untenable--that doesn't make such an occurrence any less sad, however. It isn't lost on me the internet is a lot different in 2024 than when I started this site at the end of 2010. We've seen a lot of comic/television/movie/book/culture sites disappear with the rise of YouTube, social media, and podcasts becoming a huge thing too. I love all of those formats, but I also just really enjoy reading a site. Personal blogs have mostly faded away, replaced with TikTok channels or such. I'm here though, and I'll keep plugging away as long as it's fun and--honestly--doesn't cost me much or makes me a couple bucks if anybody besides MyComicShop ever wants to throw a little ad/affiliate link up on the site. As of now, I'm still enjoying blogging just as much as ever, so I don't anticipate running out of viewpoints to share anytime soon. I mean, the World seems to be getting even crazier every year, so there is usually something to have a hot take on, for better or worse! I'll miss Multiversity Comics and nothing can replace them, I just hope those of us who are still plugging away can live up to the legacy of their site and all the others we've seen end operations over the years.

Wednesday, May 8, 2024

"Get Fury," #1 Kicks Off a Grisly and Riveting Tale

Garth Ennis wants to write war comics. The man seems like he'd rather tell a story about WWII or Vietnam than write anything about superheroes (unless he's having fun mocking them like in, "The Boys," or such). Marvel doesn't really do war comics, but it seems as long as Garth Ennis is willing to work Frank Castle (pre-Punisher) or Nick Fury into a book Marvel will let him do his thing. Hence, we get a rare Marvel MAX book, the R-rated line that seems to have stopped existing compared to when it put out a lot of comics except for when Garth Ennis wants to write a war comic and is willing to have Nick or Frank involved. I don't mind that at all, however, because Garth Ennis is a stellar writer and the artists he collaborates with are always top-notch as well. This leads us to the latest Ennis tale, "Get Fury," with the amazing Jacen Burrows supplying beautifully hideous artwork.

"Get Fury," seems to take place in the mini thematic Universe Ennis created that involves his MAX run on, "Punisher," as well as, "Punisher: Born," "Fury: My War Gone By," and that utterly insane, "Barracuda," mini-series to name some books in World he crafted. I say that as some characters pop-up and while we open in the present day with an old foe discussing Fury and Castle, we then pop back in time to Vietnam as Frank finds himself assigned a unique and off-the-books mission. A plane Nick Fury was on has crashed and he knows a ton of intel that Vietnamese soldiers could try and torture out of him. Rescuing him seems to be impossible so the U.S. has decided he needs to be taken out by a soldier skilled enough to take the shot and keep it quiet he did so. Enter into the scene Frank Castle as a man tasked with a very questionable job.

Jacen Burrows has been around for some time illustrating a wide range of comics, and he excels at war comics and violent art, as his earlier years at Avatar Press show up to his newer stuff that is a bit more refined but still reflects the raw talent Burrows had long ago and has sharpened up to today. Whether it is a quiet but tense moment of soldiers threatening to get into a firefight with a comrade due to a policy about exterminating dogs in the base camp or an incredibly bloody moment at the end of the first issue where some of Fury's fellow soldiers meet a violent end, Burrows draws it all with skill.

Much of, "Get Fury," #1 is spent setting up the general plot of Frank Castle being assigned to go kill Nick Fury in the interest of National security. As this seems to be in the continuity of Ennis' other tales I doubt Castle will actually kill Fury as opposed to ending up helping save him. Regardless of what happens in the story, it will be exciting to witness thanks to Ennis and Burrows both firing on all their writing and artistic cylinders.

5 out of 5 Stars.

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

JK Rowling Has Made Being Transphobic Her Entire Personality and It's Dull to Witness

I often see online, and unfortunately, in everyday life people who are transphobic. I also witness folks who would not consider themselves transphobic but express concerns about gender in sports and such (I have stated I don't mind Trans athletes at all, but have seen others approach the argument at least in good faith). That said, even people who sometimes ponder trans issues or might even be transphobic don't only focus on that. I've seen big ol' transphobes have at least a handful of other hobbies and not have their entire personality be obsessing over transgender concerns. I mean, even transgender individuals worry about other things than being trans, believe it or not! They're just like cisgender folks in that they sometimes consider what they need at the grocery store, or if they remembered to turn the living room light off before they left the house to run errands (I'm being a little sarcastic here, but you see my point). All of this said, why does J.K. Rowling seem to talk about nothing lately besides her transphobia?

In a time that seems long ago, J.K. Rowling was actually best known for writing some decently entertaining books about a boy wizard named Harry Potter. The, "Harry Potter," books were not the best literature around, but they were fine and I enjoyed the first four before seeing how massive the fifth book was as a high schooler and deciding, "Nah, I don't like these books that much to read all that." Those books were then made into movies that I would argue are better than they should be thanks to an insanely talented cast. At some point, however, weird little things happened hinting at Rowling possibly not being a fan of transgender people. Random tweets getting liked by her before being unliked and attributed to accidentally clicking them. Around 2020--amid the pandemic when there was nothing better for a lot of us to do than be online--Rowling made it apparent she was quite opposed to transgender folks with a variety of internet comments that only kept snowballing into an avalanche of TERF behavior.

When you're so transphobic it is a bit much for the other transphobes.

So, Rowling said some shitty things about trans people on occasion and as I wrote about this back in 2020, it becomes a question of separating the author from their art. The problem, however, seems to be that Rowling would rather everyone know her feelings on transgender people constantly, to the point she is more known now as a person who says hateful things online and occasionally writes a book than she is as an author who sometimes says sketchy things--the, "Author," aspect of Rowling has turned into more of an afterthought with her focus seeming to almost entirely be on ranting and raving about trans people to the point even Elon Musk (himself no ally to LGBTQ people) pretty much asked her to tone it down a notch.

The confusing thing here is that Rowling is the creator is one of the most popular brands around and the mind behind the World of, "Harry Potter," so why not just make some more books with zero trans characters if you really are that upset by trans people? You are the sole authority on the Wizarding World you created and could write more books set in that World--and people would buy them whether they like your opinions on trans folks or not because you've got a lot of diehard fans despite everything!

What Rowling used to be known best for.

Seriously, write some more books about your magical World that lack any notable people of color or any gender diversity if that is what you want to do--you own the rights and can have it reflect your views for better or worse, J.K. Rowling, why are you wasting time tweeting hateful thoughts on trans folk? Just make your happy little wizard world a safe space for yourself and let those who want to dip their toes into it do so and others avoid it due to not liking your views. That way we don't have to see your nonsense on Twitter and you can make your perfect little world of cisgender and mostly white wizards! You've got a whole magical Universe you can expand upon, so why not do that? Are you just out of ideas to the point all you can find the energy to do is say hateful things on Twitter and redo the Harry Potter franchise as a television series as opposed to movies that were made so recently that the whole thing seems like an empty cash-grab?

I have a wide array of friends. Some are cisgender, some are trans, and some are nonbinary/genderqueer. Some of my cisgender friends have opinions on transgender issues I disagree with and we talk about it sometimes--but here's the thing--that isn't the only thing we talk about! There are things we agree on as well as stuff we don't agree on and we cover a lot of subjects as most human beings do in conversations. My trans friends and I talk about things other than how they are trans as well because they are multifaceted people who are trans, yes, but also have other things they consider in everyday life. J.K. Rowling seems to only want to talk about trans people and seems to have such a poor understanding of trans folk that she believes they spend 100% of their time focused on how they are trans. No, Joanne, the only person who has made trans issues their entire personality is yourself. You need a new subject to harp on because at this point your metaphorical fingers must be bleeding from plucking that metaphorical instrument non-stop these last four or so years. Play a new song, Rowling, this one got old quite a while ago.

Monday, May 6, 2024

Oh Yeah, "Starfield," is Still Kind of a Thing

An expansion pack of sorts is on the way for, "Starfield." Yes, remember? The game that was in development for nearly a decade that was supposed to launch the next huge franchise for Bethesda like their Elder Scrolls series or the Fallout games (which they took over with upon the third title in that series)? Fallout is actually having quite a moment thanks to the television show and supposedly a new Elder Scrolls-related series is in the works. Meanwhile, "Starfield," is just kind of there after tons of build-up/hype and landing with a bit of a thud all things considered.

This isn't to say Bethesda should necessarily totally abandon, "Starfield," and just focus on Fallout games or Elder Scrolls-related stuff even if that's been suggested by some. I think the sad truth of the matter is that, "Starfield," is a well-designed and decent game that unfortunately just takes place in a really boring World/Universe compared to such properties as Fallout and Elder Scrolls titles. It's a relatively drab space game that failed to wow me in the same way as other Bethesda games. You can have an extremely competently designed game with lots of great mechanics, but if I don't want to explore that game's World or enjoy the story, what is the point? From what I played of, "Starfield," it was just fine, and I need more than fine these days if I'm going to sink any significant time into a game with a busy life. It is nice that, "Starfield," is getting an expansion that might improve the map or add a little space dune buggy, but do enough people even care anymore? I guess that's up to Bethesda.

Sunday, May 5, 2024

Kicking Off The First Weekend of May With a Toyman Show!

I always love going to the ToyMan show. The sheer amount of stuff on offer always amazes me. Vintage toys, new toys, comics, Legos, Funko Pops, Hot Wheels, bead creations, vinyl, VHS, creators with their books or original art, and the list just goes on! They cram more cool things into the Machinists Hall for ToyMan than you'd think is possible. For this first weekend of May, there was a ToyMan show and I was only able to be there for a bit due to some other obligations, but while I was there I had a ton of fun as I always do!

I started the show off by visiting with my good friend Jack Thomas of Fortress Comics. The incredibly old comics he always has on offer never fail to astound me. If you need something Golden Age in your collection the odds are good that Jack can find it. I then saw another awesome fellow, Spike Forester of Lost in Space Toys and Collectibles, and admired his assortment of toys and comics. I had a chance to talk with Tim Metzger about life lately as well, and admired some awesome wares that my chum Marcus Mosley had brought. Bruce Reynolds had some stellar newer and old books too, and the fellows from Tatertots Comic and Collectibles were showcasing some awesome wares! Vince/VK Toys had some cool comics and I managed to get a great vintage issue of, "G.I. Joe." Check it out:

As I continued exploring the show I chatted with my insightful buddy Brian Lan about Superman comics he would recommend I continue reading (having read some good ones recently). In the upstairs area, I saw the great people from Heroes for Kids as well as my awesome author friends, Jessica MathewsDebbie Manbe Kupfer, and Lindsay Hornsby. They all were showcasing their superb works! I continued to browse all the awesome wares for sale until I had to get going. Every ToyMan Show has so much to browse you definitely need to try and get there early to get all your potential shopping done, however!

With another stellar ToyMan finished I am pleased to have attended and look forward to the next show on July 14th. I hope to see you, my dear reader, there as well if you'd be able to go to the next show. You're bound to find something in your realm of interests whenever you go to a ToyMan show!