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 issue. 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.