Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Check Out the, "Hornets," Kickstarter!

Not too long ago the illustrator of a new graphic novel reached out to me. It was Ben Edwards and he sent me a bunch of information about, "Hornets." It was getting ready to launch on Kickstarter and I said I'd happily make a post about it once the campaign started. Well, now here we are! Written by Jordan Sam Adams with lettering by Rachel Ordway, "Hornets," is a sci-fi comic that follows an elite team of female soldiers who end up captured by the enemy force. 

I gave it a read and enjoyed the G.I. Joe vibe mixed with, futuristic war themes we've seen in titles like, "Metal Gear Solid." Edwards is a great artist and whether he's drawing giant robots or soldiers stuck in a dingy prison, the comic looks fantastic. I'd encourage you to check the Kickstarter campaign out and you can back it if my description and the preview pages strike your fancy.

Monday, March 20, 2023

The, "Shazam," Sequel Had a Rough First Weekend

"Shazam: Fury of the Gods," opened in first place at the domestic box office. That would sound impressive, but it actually made less than was projected--and the projections weren't that high. The latest Shazam flick is a flop, in other words.

Apparently, it is an okay film, if not as fun as the first according to reviews. Why did it falter? Are James Gunn and Peter Safran to blame with the big DC reboot coming and making this movie feel utterly inconsequential? Is Dwayne, "The Rock," Johnson the big culprit? Will people break out that old refrain that, "Hey, maybe folks are tired of superhero films?" even though that keeps being said anytime a movie stumbles and then gets dropped when another one does gangbusters? 

I don't know why the Shazam sequel clearly struggled with its debut and if it even really matters for DC's plans going forward. I just feel a bit bad for director David F. Sandberg who was bummed by the critical reviews and is, "...definitely done with superheroes for now." Ouch. Anways, I liked the first movie and will probably stream this when it comes to HBO MAX or whatever, but I'm not in a rush to see it in theaters. Wait, maybe people like me were the problem? Eh, who knows?

Sunday, March 19, 2023

I'm Excited for the Saint Charles Quad Con Next Sunday!

Next Sunday is the Saint Charles Quad Con. Put on by Quad City Con, their events are always great fun! The mixture of comics, toys, games, cosplay, and a stellar assortment of vendors and creators results in a superb show. It is always packed to the gills with awesome stuff to buy and cool folks to meet. This show will be at the same location as previous ones--49 Lawrence Street in Saint Charles--the name of the location has simply changed and it is now known as Steel Shop Athletics and Events. I would encourage anyone in the Saint Louis and Saint Charles region to attend the show a week from today. The doors open at 10AM--see you there!

Saturday, March 18, 2023

"Superman: Lost," #1 Kicks off Quite the Superpowered Mystery

Christopher Priest is a writer who can take a character I generally don't read the stories of and get me extremely engaged in a yarn about them. Priest gave us a superb run on, "Deathstroke," which made me care about the character for the first time ever (and when it ended I honestly went back to having zero interest in Deathstroke, so is life). Now, Priest is doing an out-of-continuity 10-issue series about Superman titled, "Superman: Lost." With artist Carlo Pagulayan, this creative team has already knocked it out of the park with the first issue. 

Basically, Superman leaves for a mission and then seems to be back quickly...but he proclaims it has actually been 20 years. How did he go missing, how did he get back, what impact will this have on the relationship with Lois, and what was up with the mysterious political scandal the comic mentioned in the first half and how it might relate to all this? These are some of the questions Priest and Pagulayan raise for us and I am excited to watch as the complex twists and turns being set up see answers. Between some fantastic writing and gorgeous artwork, this comic was a treat--and that's coming from someone who doesn't usually read many Superman-centric stories. I'm eager to read more and already feel like this series is going to be quite the treat!

5 out of 5 stars.

Friday, March 17, 2023

Flashback Friday: "Spring Breakers," Was a Beautiful Mess That Predicted More Than We Could've Expected

The AV Club's Hattie Lindert wrote an article for the AV Club titled, "Spring Breakers Predicted Everything." I felt like the article didn't quite say what, "Everything," was and at the same time stated it perfectly. The movie created such a weird, warm, colorful vibe that when you look at it now seems like a ton of the Instagram pictures and videos so-called influencers upload full of sandy beaches, barely-there bikinis, and ample bottles of liquor reflecting neon lights. Over at Rolling Stone, David Fear has similar observations of how the movie predicted the chaos that was to come in America. "Spring Breakers," accomplished a lot considering it kind of sucks in terms of being a coherent movie.

Seriously, this a flick about some young women who go on Spring Break, and team up with a drug-peddling and money-obsessed rapper named Alien so as to be on vacation forever. Alien is played with insane delight by a James Franco who must've actually been on drugs and not just pretending because he seems too authentically high on weed, cocaine, and other stuff to be acting. The women consist of former Disney stars who 2013 were trying to break free of their squeaky-clean image (Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens), the wife of the movie's director, Harmony Korine (Rachel Korine), and Ashely Benson who was known for, "Pretty Little Liars," at the time if I remember the dates of everything correctly. A solid cast that somewhat aimlessly roams around Florida drinking and doing drugs, breaking the law, and giving us a film that is phenomenally strange and twistedly entertaining even if it's a total mess.

Seriously though, I have to give credit to a flick that has James Franco play a grand piano on the beach as he belts out, "Everytime," by Britney Spears before it segues into a violent montage of criminal activity with Spear's song playing over it. It's weird and nonsensical, but I dig it. As for the cast these days. Gomez and Hudgens have achieved a lot of success, Rachel Korine and Harmony seem to be happily married still, and Benson has continued with a fruitful career acting and singing. Franco seemed to drop off the face of the Earth when a lot of sexual misconduct allegations arose relating to extremely barely legal (like the age of consent in his state but not-even-able-to-vote) women. He seems to be slowly creeping back into showbiz, for better or worse.

"Spring Breakers," landed in our midst like a huge comet crashing into the social psyche. It left an impact even if folks weren't sure quite what the impact was for a number of years. "Spring Breakers," predicted the messy and excessive era we live in now. Forget being responsible, post some pics of yourself practically naked in a g-string with a glass of the current popular beverage and try to live as luxuriously as possible before everything comes crashing down due to your own financial irresponsibility--or the economy simply collapsing on its own(look at all those banks recently, after all). It doesn't matter if you're actually rich and successful, just give off that image because it's all about appearances and the vibe, baby. To quote Alien when he names all the stuff he owns, "Look at my shit," and consider how that could basically be the slogan of many Instagram accounts these days. "Spring Break forever," indeed.

Happy Saint Patrick's Day 2023!

Today is Saint Patrick's Day. My Grandma Burton was as Irish as they come and loved the holiday and celebrating it. I think of her whenever it is Saint Patrick's Day and hope everyone has a good time celebrating (and celebrating safely if they are drinking). Now go out there and find some gold at the end of a rainbow or such!

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Sinus Infections Aren't Fun

Last week, Clarkson was sick with a cold. He's better, but now I'm dealing with a sinus infection and so is my wife, Samii. Plus, she has an ear infection at the same time with a ruptured eardrum. Everyone in the household has been sick or is sick, in other words. Antibiotics are helping Samii and me but they don't magically make you better in a day--it takes time. I'm not announcing all this to fish for sympathy or anything, I just wanted to share that if you know anyone going through a sinus infection you should please be patient with them as they always, always, suck. Samii feels even worse than me with her ear issues added on to everything so send her some good vibes.

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Happy Pi Day and 314 Day!

Today is the international holiday known as Pi day and in Saint Louis, we also celebrate 314 day (pronounced, "three-one-four day,"). Pi day is because the first digits in Pi are 3.14 before it trails on potentially forever. 314 day is because a common Saint Louis area code is 314. People celebrate Pi day with pie (a bit of a pun) and folks celebrate 314 day by enjoying Saint Louis attractions or foods considered staples of Saint Louis cuisine--provel cheese pizza, toasted ravioli, gooey butter cake, and the like. Whether you're around the World celebrating Pi day or here in Saint Louis celebrating 314 day, I hope you have a great time!

Monday, March 13, 2023

I Enjoyed the First Issue of, "Local Man," From Image

Image comics put out some really zany comics when they emerged on the scene in the 1990s. They were over-the-top and drawn in an, "Extreme," manner. Big guns, a lot of pouches, extremely sexy women, extremely muscular men, and the like. "Local Man," is a new comic by Tim Seely and Tony Fleecs that riffs on some of those ideas via a clever flip-comic format that focuses on a hero named Crossjack back when he was on a wild team a lot like Image's early days and follows him in a much more subdued modern day story that has a slice-of-life vibe as Jack (his real name) finds himself back in his hometown and kicked-off the hero team with a bunch of pending lawsuits. It's a cleverly meta idea to both pay tribute to the excesses of the 90s and make some fun of them while also telling a story about what a hero might do when their glory days are behind them.

It isn't quite clear what Jack did, but from reading between the lines it seems he maybe had an affair with someone on the superhero team who was with someone else and it turned into a huge scandal. I wouldn't be surprised if there is more to the story, however, as the end of the issue also introduces some kind of murder mystery that piques my interest too. Seely and Fleecs are both skilled writers and artists and watching them collaborate results in a fantastic debut issue. I really enjoyed the start of, "Local Man," and am curious about where things could go. If you like your superhero stories a little more off-kilter or have a mixture of pride and embarrassment about loving comics in the 90s this is worth picking up.

5 out of 5 stars.

Sunday, March 12, 2023

Oh, It's Daylight Saving Time

I have written on many occasions about disliking Daylight Saving Time. It seemed to creep up on us this time, with many people I talked with being surprised when I mentioned it was this Sunday--and I only knew as the radio mentioned it a couple times. We gain an extra hour of daylight in the evening, which is nice, but at the expense of an hour of sleep and everyone feeling exhausted...so yah? Anyways, make sure you set your clock ahead an hour today if you live in a location that observes DST. You don't want to be late for anything!