Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Television Tuesday: "Love Has Won: The Cult of Mother God," is Incredibly Messed Up

I've been on a cult-kick for my documentaries, I won't deny it. I watched both docuseries about the, "Twin Flames," cult/pyramid scheme and now I have viewed all three episodes of, "Love Has Won: The Cult of Mother God." If I may be blunt, this show had me saying, "What. The. Fuck," several times as things just got too strange to comprehend. The three-episode series chronicles the life of Amy Carlson by opening with her death. The woman created a cult full of new-age ramblings, theories about dead celebrities providing guidance, spaceships, and a mish-mash of conspiracy theories. 

At its heart, one can see Amy Carlson had a lot of mental issues and during the brief times she thought about getting help, others who were benefiting from her financially thanks to her followers made sure the gravy train kept running and Amy/Mother God continued to think she was a deity upon Earth who needed to raise funds so afford a metric ton of drugs and alcohol that everyone subsisted on nearly constantly to the point food was practically an afterthought. Amy was charismatic enough and had others in her orbit who were smart enough to ensure money was made and the good times kept rolling until, of course, they didn't. 

The problem with every commune, utopia, or cult that has ever existed would be that in the end they don't work and it all crumbles spectacularly. I got to the point I was both aghast and cracking up at the sheer absurdity of this, "Love has Won," cult when--spoiler if you want to go into this mostly unaware of the twists and turns--we got to the part of the story where they are transporting Amy's dead and blue body (she took so much colloidal silver she turned blue) across state lines and putting sunglasses on her so it just looks like she's passed out in the back. Yes, they pulled a, "Weekend at Bernie's," with their cult leader's corpse and that's just one of many surreal moments in this documentary. If you can handle an incredibly disturbing and sad docuseries I would recommend giving, "Love Has Won: The Cult of Mother God," a viewing on HBO/MAX. It's so, so weird and just as fascinating.

5 out of 5 stars.

2 Interesting Bits of Comic News From Today: A New, "Nacelleverse," and Millarworld Moves Publishers

Two things in the realm of comics caught my eye today and I thought I'd discuss them in one big combo post. Let's begin...

First, I got a press release from my friend Hanna Bahedry which discussed a new comic universe being launched by Oni/Lion Forge. Called the, "Nacelleverse," it will feature an assortment of series all taking place in the same universe with past characters being brought back in a new form such as Biker Mice From Mars, the Great Galoo, and more. This will tie in with the animated series, "Robo Force," as well which is being worked on by Seven Bucks Production--the company with the rights to all these IPs that has partnered with Oni/Lion Forge. Bleedingcool wrote a bit about this too and with some pretty big names attached in some fashion--Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds--my interest is piqued. The #0 issue reintroducing all the characters drops in early 2024 and will be followed by individual series.

The other interesting comic news I saw today is about Mark Millar and his Millarworld imprint. For quite a while it has been a part of Image comics, but Millar announced today it is moving to Dark Horse. It will remain creator-owned (mainly by him as the big creator) and be an imprint at Dark Horse as well. I honestly haven't liked much of anything Millar's written lately (the last thing he did I genuinely liked was, "Superior,) but adaptations of his works seem to happen a lot and some make serious bank even if others falter. He's had more hits than misses when his work gets optioned, I suppose, so Millarworld moving to Dark Horse is a nice feather in the cap of a company that for a while was unfortunately hemorrhaging many good series to other publishers. I imagine Image is none too pleased, however. That's what was intriguing to me today, I hope you thought it was useful information too!

"Grand Theft Auto VI," Has an Official Trailer

If you're online much at all you have probably seen it, and yes, they are indeed calling it, "Grand Theft Auto VI," as I expected but wasn't absolutely sure about. The trailer for what might be the most anticipated video-game ever in history so far was supposed to drop today in the morning, as Rockstar had teased, but it was leaking everywhere so it is out as of yesterday evening

Featuring a B-side by Florida native Tom Petty, the GTA VI trailer appears to confirm two main characters, the location being Vice City, and a whole lot of Florida-Man style satire coming this way. We're over a decade out since the last, "Grand Theft Auto," and the World it often parodies has changed immensely. It looks like the idea of internet streaming will play a pivotal role in the plot, however, with much of the trailer taking place over faux apps showing their video clips and streams. I've seen more and more discussion about how the developer, Rockstar, doesn't want to be seen as, "Punching down," in the humor while still mocking stuff and being funny. We will see how that goes without a doubt. Here is the trailer:

What really caught my eye--and maybe yours now that you've watched the trailer in case you'd somehow not seen it yet--was just how alive everything looked for being computer graphics. It's not quite in that uncanny valley realm of discomfort, but the way characters moved around just seemed eerily natural. The way characters walked, ran, sashayed, flipped their hair, or twerked--yes, even that--was astonishing within these brief 90 seconds or so we witness what will be GTA VI. There are plenty of vehicles too as this is a GTA, but random silly touches like alligators in swimming pools, a mudding event full of self-proclaimed hillbillies, or humorous billboards make this World really look lived-in and vividly real even if at its heart his is a spoof of America and amplifies what we would call, "Reality," to absurd and hilarious levels.

The trailer states how, "Grand Theft Auto VI," will be out in 2025--and when exactly in that year is unclear. This means we are due for a lot more to be revealed about the latest GTA over a lot of months. Will there be annoying microtransactions? How will online play work? Can we catch those alligators with nets ourselves? These questions and many more remain, but at least now GTA VI is official. Now we wait, and wait, and wait.

Monday, December 4, 2023

Comixology Has Been Dismantled/Killed/Turned into Parts

The 2014 version of myself was right about a lot of things and wrong about a lot of things, that much I can say looking back to then from 2023. I knew back then I loved my now-wife and wanted to be with her forever--that was a smart assessment. I also thought that it wasn't a big deal Amazon acquired Comixology and the platform would be just fine. Anyways, as of today, December 4th, 2023, what remained of Comixology's already heavily dismantled form was buried in a shallow grave out back with other popular apps big corporations acquired and destroyed--I believe its plot is next to, "Vine." 

Yes, over a long period of time, Amazon slowly took apart anything that made Comixology good to the point where the app/site sucked to use and then was little more than a shuffling shell/zombie of itself. Now, Amazon has completely killed Comixology and folded it into their Kindle stuff--confusing many. Comixology was a bit of a monopoly that another pseudo-monopoly acquired so this isn't necessarily a tale of the, "Little guy," being hurt by big business. It's just big business all around doing what large corporations do best, consume and destroy in the name of profit. Still, it is a bummer and I request you imagine a collage of virtual comic panels flashing by in an, "In Memoriam," segment as Sarah McLachlan sings, "I will remember you," and a single solitary tear streams down our cheek. Just please hold your applause until the end, it's awkward when some things get louder claps than others.

Jay-Z's 54th Birthday is Today and it Got Me Thinking About Rap Growing Older

Shawn Carter, or as he is also known, Jay-Z, turns 54 years old today. Hip-Hop was considered by many to turn 50 this year. A lot of rappers who once were young and edgy to the degree that parents protested them now are grandfathers who hang out with Martha Stewart (Snoop Dogg), popular mainstream movie or television stars (Ludacris, Ice Cube, Queen Latifah, Ice-T and more), or releasing instrumental albums dedicated to playing the flute and other woodwinds (Andre 3000, who outright has said he doesn't know what a 40-something man might rap about). 

There are plenty of young(er) rappers out there who are immensely talented, without a doubt. We've got Kendrick Lamar amazing listeners still. Drake is hugely popular too. That said, you see a stark generational divide in Hip-Hop between the new young folks rapping about the go-to subjects of partying and sex versus older rappers who either have quit for other passions or seem past their prime (Eminem belongs on a metaphorical rap Mount Rushmore but his newer stuff has been lacking). Dr. Dre is about a billionaire thanks to headphones. Uncle Luke of the 2 Live Crew maybe once was as nasty as he wanted to be, but now he's a high school football coach--and actually quite a good one! Rap isn't just young folks anymore, it has older talent too and arguably is a genre in a bit of a aged-up/midlife crisis.

Rap can be about drinking, smoking weed, having sex, and being a troublemaker. Rap can be about politics, life's struggles, religion, and being true to oneself. For a long time outside of some gimmick rappers, however, I don't think rap ever really thought about dealing with the subject of getting old. The idea was to live fast and die young, and that tragically did happen with a number of Hip-Hop stars. That said, Lil Kim arguably paved the road for today's raunchy lady rappers who proudly will discuss sexual subjects, but she's now almost 50 and while older folks surely have sex, she's dealing with other aspects of life like (unfortunately) trouble with the IRS

Rappers are getting older and so are their fans. Can someone in their 30s relate to Sexyy Red as much as the younger folks or do we need the older rappers to touch on subjects relating to us being older? I'm not saying Andre 3000 should finally release a rap album with a track about getting a prostate exam, but just as rap has covered a wide range of subjects, why not touch upon what it is like being middle-aged? Jay-Z once rapped about selling drugs to get by, now he can rap about being a parent. He's grown and parts of rap have grown too. There will always be space for the younger rappers and the subjects the teens/20-somethings want covered. Let's give some space to the older folks too.

Sunday, December 3, 2023

Rebel Rolls Bakery's Goods Are Absurdly Delicious!

My wife and I had the chance to order some cinnamon rolls from Rebel Rolls Bakery and we absolutely loved them! They offer handcrafted small-batch cinnamon rolls that can vary from a standard style to cool seasonal flavors and various styles/sizes! If you are fond of cinnamon rolls then you should know these are amazing. If you live in the Saint Louis region, you should order something delicious from Rebel Rolls Bakery. I know I'm going to need to order more soon at the rate we are going through our cinnamon rolls! Shoot them a message on Facebook or send an email and tell 'em David sent ya!

Friday, December 1, 2023

World AIDS Day 2023

It is World AIDS Day. We continue as a World to fight HIV/AIDS and I sincerely hope that in my lifetime I can see this illness eliminated via a cure/vaccine/etc. As readers of the blog are aware, I worked for a nonprofit that helped spread knowledge about sexually transmitted infections and assisted those with HIV/AIDS at acquiring their medications for cheap or free. Besides being a stay-at-home parent (which is a job for sure) it is the work I am proudest of having done in my lifetime so far. Even if it doesn't get as many headlines these days as it used to, HIV/AIDS is still an epidemic, and still deserves our attention. Efforts are always being made to help combat this illness and help those with it. Between education, prevention, and treatment I'm sure much progress can be made in fighting HIV/AIDS. That's my hope, at least.

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Nightcrawler's Origin Changed Again, but this Time to the Original Plan From Decades Ago; It's Complicated!

Nightcrawler and his parentage has always been a complex subject. Chris Claremont originally wanted it to be the case that Mystique/Raven Darkholme changed into a man and because of the ability to alter themselves so completely, got another mutant named Destiny pregnant as a man. Nightcrawler would have two mothers--albeit one who can transform into a dude when wanted. Marvel thought this was too edgy many years ago and shut it down, making Mystique the Mother of Nightcrawler with a mystery Dad. Then in the 2000's, it was revealed during the mostly-hated Chuck Austen run (it had some decent moments) how a demonic dude named Azazel was Nightcraweler's Papa. This made people upset as Nightcrawler's whole thing is he looks like a Demon but is just as sweet mutant who practices a liberal version of Catholicism. That was the origin, however, and people just kind of put up with it. Well, because the X-Men and mutants have some of the most convoluted continuity possible, things have been changed, again!

"X-Men Origins: Blue," has just been released. Written by Si Spurrier with art by Wilton Santos, it gives us the latest, "True," origin of Nightcrawler. It explains that Mystique turned into a dude and got Destiny pregnant, but to keep everyone safe Mystique faked a pregnancy and it fooled basically everyone who has ever been assumed to be Nigthcrawler's Dad. Considering this was going to be the original origin that creative folks behind the X-Men wanted, I am 100% fine with this. Some people online have complained, however, because the internet is a bottomless pit of rage.

I've seen observations that this isn't scientifically possible, as if having mutants who can heal from any injury, control the weather, or shoot laser beams from their eyes is based on observable data. Plus, some animals change their sex to reproduce (frogs do it often, as the movie, "Jurassic Park," discussed). There are complaints this is, "Progressive/woke," and an effort to appeal to liberals these days, which is laughable because for decades tons of us comic nerds have known Mystique was originally supposed to be Nightcrawler's Dad before the word, "Woke," was even thrown around as meaning anything besides the opposite of sleeping. I honestly would think comic fans would love this as it is going back to an, "Original," planned continuity from long ago and some self-proclaimed, "Comic nerds," always say comics were better years ago. Perhaps this just shows there really is no pleasing some people--something I touched upon in an earlier post.

Nightcrawler now has the parents that he was intended to have from the start. This is his definitive origin and I'm all for it...at least until someone else decides to change it yet again. The only thing that is consistent with the X-Men is how inconsistent their backgrounds are. I mean, how many Summers siblings are we up to now? Seriously, I lost count.

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

The First Two Issues of, "Justice League Vs. Godzilla Vs. Kong," Are Wild

Back when, "Justice League Vs. Godzilla Vs. Kong," was announced I said it sounded like, "My kind of silly fun." Having read the first two issues of the series written by Brian Buccellato, with artist Christian Duce, and colorist Luis Guerrero I can say this is indeed a wild and good time. The first issue is a lot of setup with a group of villains inadvertently bringing a number of gigantic monsters/kaiju to the DC Universe. Things get going in the second issue, however, with Superman fighting Godzilla, Batman fighting a huge bat (go figure) and King Kong appears in the first issue but has yet to pop back up. I imagine we are building up to an epic fight between the two biggest fellas (Zilla' and Kong) and seeing the Justice League attempting to take them on while a bunch of villains debate if this is a win or possibly could backfire resulting in a great time. 

The little touches are what really make this a fun yarn. Whether it is Gorilla Grodd reacting to King Kong with a mixture of awe and fear as if he's a God or a joke about Oliver Queen/Green Arrow not facing his first abandoned isle when the heroes discover a mysterious new one that seems to have been transported to their realm (Skull Island, to be precise). Duce's artwork really helps sell the imposing nature of these big ol' creatures, with Godzilla towering over Metropolis in a terrifying manner for sure! These first two issues are great and I am quite excited to see more knock-down drag-out fights between our heroes and the kaiju--I just hope the Justice League can survive these encounters.

5 out of 5 stars.

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

"Avengers Inc." OR When a Good Series Get Canceled Way Too Quickly

Far too often Marvel will launch a series as an ongoing and then stealth-cancel it and pretend it was a mini-series all along. There were the eight issues we got of, "Nighthawk," and, "Mockingbird," in 2016. The 2019, "Loki," series went all of five issues. The list goes on and on with a really cool comic that just started-up sadly joining this grouping. Yep, "Avengers Inc." is canceled with issue #5. The series ends this January as quickly as it began.

A cool detective story featuring Janet Van Dyne AKA the Wasp and Vic Shade (the Vision but not) there were plenty of mysteries including a seemingly resurrected Hank Pym sans fused-with-Ultron body. From the first issue on I loved it. Unforuntaely, in his Substack it was revealed by Tom Breevort (an editor at Marvel) that low sales have resulted in the series crashing to a sudden stop with the fifth issue. Marvel didn't even give the title time to breathe and pick up readers! Imagine if this series--written by Al Ewing--was his, "Immortal Hulk," run and Marvel shut it down after a mere five issues? We wouldn't have that magnum opus of a work to admire. When a book is planned as an ongoing and has its metaphorical legs cut out from under it everyone suffers. The creative team, the readers, and so forth. I mean, why should people try out new series if they might get canceled? This means readers will skip a book and then it will end up canceled, it is a vicious cycle. At least we'll have five cool issues of Ewing and Leonard Kirk's series...I guess that's better than nothing?