Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Television Tuesday (On a Wednesday): "Big Brother," is Back with Season 26!

I know my, "Television Tuesday," post is late, but I've got a kiddo who just turned a year old  (Gibson) going through an awful sleep regression and a seven-year-old (Clarkson) who ain't the best sleeper either (and he gets upset when his little bro screeches us all awake at 3 AM because he then struggles to doze back off). In other words, my sleep has been iffy and that makes it hard to get a post up sometimes. I still wanted to be sure to talk about how, "Big Brother," is back before tonight's episode, however, because a lot changes day-to-day in this game!

"Big Brother," is a reality competition show that is in its 26th season this year. A bunch of people are locked up in a house with no contact with the outside world (few exceptions aside). Then they compete in challenges until only 2 remain and contestants who got far enough in the game to be in the, "Jury," vote for a winner to get a nice lump sum of cash. The show is a mix of skill in competitions, social strategy, and a dose of trying to simply not go mad from boredom stuck in this house full of cameras and microphones watching your every move for the broadcast show or live internet feeds. It is a fascinating social experiment as some folks do great in isolation and others really crack/get mean/otherwise struggle. It just started last week and is already pretty intense.

Angela is on the bottom-right.

Every season of, "Big Brother," someone comes in and goes hard, too hard. The first week of this show is one where you should do as little as possible to make any waves and let someone act a fool and have the house make them the common enemy. The funny thing is the person doing that this week is the winner of the week's immunity/Head of Household, Angela. She can't be voted out right now, but she is causing so much drama on the feeds and in the episode that will be aired tonight that it reminds me why I love this silly show: It illustrates how we as humans are messy. There is a dumb, "A.I." theme this season where even though it is the humans in production creating twists we pretend it is a poorly rendered lady robot named Ainsley or such. She floats across monitors in the Big Brother house looking like graphics from a PlayStation 1 game, but it is okay as, "Big Brother," always has silly and cheesy elements mixed with the clever stuff.

I am excited that, "Big Brother," is back and will run for about 93 total days. It is bound to be funny at points, sad at others, and packed with chaos. It isn't as physically grueling as some shows or as mentally draining as others, but it is a delightful little monstrosity of reality television. Plus, my friend Tom Nguyen always helps with the production and art we see on the show and it is always fun to see his stuff pop up, so that's fun as well! The season is not even a full seven days old yet, so watch the first few episodes that have aired and buckle-up for a wild ride this Summer/early Fall!

Monday, July 22, 2024

Stephen Platt is Back With a Moon Knight Cover!

Back in the 1990s, we had the pleasure of Stephen Platt creating some awesome Moon Knight comics with stellar covers. He did other comic work as well, but then basically left the field for other jobs. Platt is back to give us a snazzy variant cover for the latest Moon Knight comic, however, creating the snazzy above piece for, "Moon Knight: Fist of Khonshu, "#1. The series of Moon Knight comics being done by Jed Mackady and Alessandro Cappuccio have been stellar these past few years and I feel truly spoiled as a Moon Knight fan to have them keep writing Moon Knight comics over various series and now to get Platt doing a variant cover. Moon Knight comics have had ups and downs, but it has been a good time lately.

Sunday, July 21, 2024

Joe Biden Drops out of the 2024 Presidential Race With Kamala Harris the Presumptive Democratic Nominee

For the past few weeks, more and more Democrats seemed concerned about if Joe Biden could win the Presidential election this Fall. After a debate that was awful all around, an increasing number of Biden's own allies wanted him to drop out. It really had the feel of when all the children and grandchildren confronted Grandpa about how he needed to give up the car keys and quit driving the nation. Biden insisted he was still perfectly healthy and able to drive, but was hounded enough that everyone convinced him to say he'd quit, "Driving," this January

Now, Kamala Harris is the presumed nominee (although at this point who can predict anything) and while I like her I have to say she hasn't really been present much the last 4 years. I mean, Mike Pence was awful but he was usually around doing stuff, have we seen Kamala much, and can she win? This is the weirdest election in my living memory considering we have a man convicted of 34 felonies who denies he even previously lost the last election running on the Republican ticket and now less than six months out from the election the person who thought might be the Democratic nominee has dropped out. In his place, we've got a Vice President who knows how to debate (look at Harris in the past) but if she can win is a big question mark. It looked likely Biden would lose despite how terrible Trump is, so are things going to be better or worse? That's the million-dollar question and there ain't an answer till this November.

Why Are the Nation's Biggest Comic and Card Shows the Same Weekend?

I was looking at the schedule for various conventions and noticed something that stuck me as odd. The biggest comic convention in North America is generally agreed upon as Comic-Con International/San Diego Comic-Con. The biggest card show around is the National Sports Card Convention--which includes lots of non-sport cards too despite the name so it covers a lot of popular culture. In 2024 CCI runs from July 25th-28th with a preview night on the 24th. The NSCC takes place the 24th-28th...also in July. The comic show is in San Diego and the card show is over in Cleaveland, Ohio. How did this happen?

I understand when smaller shows overlap. It isn't a big deal if two smaller comic/card/whatever shows were happening even a state apart, but the massive, famous shows? Why would that happen? Perhaps there isn't a ton of crossover between card collectors and comic-book fans, but there is enough that you'd want to appeal to as many people as possible for a huge convention. This hasn't even been discussed much, although I found a tweet from nine months ago where someone observed the upcoming scheduling conflict. I just hope there is nobody whom absolutely loves both shows and has to struggle to pick one or juggle a bunch of flights to visit both, somehow. I also wish that in the future the biggest shows make more of an effort not to overlap for the sake of everyone attending or writing about the news that comes out of them.

Saturday, July 20, 2024

PSA Plans to Expand into Grading Comic-Books

PSA is extremely well known for its grading of sports cards and non-sport trading cards/game cards too. They are arguably the, "Big dog," of card grading although other companies do it too from Beckett to CGC--although CGC is best known for being the top company in comic-book grading. Well, now CGC has some more competition as PSA plans to get into grading comics in early 2025.

CGC has had a number of professional crises in late 2023/early 2024. It didn't seem to hurt their business too badly as besides CBCS they have little competition when it comes to grading comics (I mean, PGX exists, but nobody uses it). One thing CBCS had over CGC was offering the grading of signatures that were not directly witnessed, but CGC acquired James Spence Authentication and now does that as well. CGC is the reigning champ, but here comes PSA, and one wonders if they could pose a real challenge to CGC's comic-grading supremacy. I see three ways this can shake out:

1. PSA starts grading comics, and takes up a chunk of the market but CGC maintains a, "Majority," of its control. This seems most likely.

2. PSA starts grading comics, it goes horribly and they either quit or keep doing it but having barely any market presence in regards to assign comics grades. This is less likely but possible.

3. PSA makes a huge splash with comic grading and puts CGC on the metaphorical ropes. This is the least likely occurrence but would be the most interesting to witness with CGC having been relatively unbothered by all the fiascos they've been a part of. After all, if you, "Own," the market who care if you have a scandal or two?

Whatever happens during 2025 with comic grading, I am intrigued to see how it all shakes out.

Friday, July 19, 2024

Go to the Heroes for Kids Comic Con in Perryville This Weekend!

We are busy this weekend throwing a birthday party for Gibson (he just turned 1) so I may not be able to get to a fun comic convention, but I would encourage all of you reading to go! It is the Heroes for Kids Comic Con and it is happening in Perryville, Missouri. There will be a bunch of vendors, some cool guests, and it is bound to be a fun time. Should you be able to get out to Perryville tomorrow or Sunday please do go to the show--and then tell me how great it was afterward!

Thursday, July 18, 2024

After All That Merging, Warner Brothers Discovery Might Split Split Itself Up

Warner Brothers Discovery was formed when Warner Brothers bought up Discovery--obviously. The company has slashed and burned everything from a mostly complete, "Batgirl," movie to video-games, and so forth in an effort to save money and not run at a loss. A lot of the, "Thanks," for this goes to David Zaslav and the company still finds itself struggling. The latest idea? Split everything back up because why the Hell not?

As Mary Kate Carr over at the AV Club tells it, "WBD is apparently considering splitting itself up, so that the movie studio and streaming service (Max) would be one company and the linear networks (CNN, TBS, TNT, Discovery Channel, etc.) would be another." Warner Brothers Discovery was recently considering acquiring more stuff with Paramount but now the plan is to do the opposite, it appears. I really feel like WBD is at the point where they spin a wheel with random ideas and do whatever it says. Sometimes the wheel declares, "Shelve a movie," and other times it says, "Reboot the DC Universe." Now it says, "Maybe try splitting up stuff?" Between the aforementioned Paramount having woes (they ended up getting bought by Skydance) and Warner Brothers Discovery struggling, things are rough. Perhaps having a handful of merged megacorporations that try to run everything but fail miserably at it isn't a smart idea after all? Who would've thought an economic dystopia would be bad--besides everyone?

Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Chip Zdarsky Published a Comic Newsletter/Mini-Magazine ONLY About His Comics and It's Hilarious

Chip Zdarsky writes (and sometimes draws) damn good comics ranging from funny to surprisingly serious. I say it is startling they are sincere as in his personal life he seems to be a pretty wacky guy. Everyone describes him as pretty chill, funny, and wacky. The guy once was a reporter in Canada, struck up a friendship with the Facebook page of an Applebees and now has done something both hilarious, clever, and self-aware in its vanity. Chip Zdarsky has put out his own version of a comic-book newsletter/zine/whatever that stores get, but it only is about comics he works on. It is, "Zdarsky Comic News." It is completely free to pick up and stores got this batch at no cost. There will be future issues and they'll be cheap for stores to get, apparently. Zdarsky's internet newsletter (so he's got two forms now, basically) discusses how he did it out of a love of comic shops, print, and self-promotion.

I'm all for this as I literally just posted yesterday about how I miss print publications focused on comic-books with things like, "Wizard," gone and, "The Comics Journal," making one huge issue every year or two. A little weird mini-magazine created by Chip Zdarsky is entertaining and I support him doing it. If more creators, publishers, fans, or whatever start making small comic-focused magazines I will support them too. Pick up your copy of ZCN at a local shop just like how I did, there should be some free.

Tuesday, July 16, 2024

"American Nature Presents," #1 is a Lovely Blend of Comics and Articles

Floating World Comics is a stellar publisher and I try to read almost anything they release. One new publication is, "American Nature Presents." A nice comic/magazine it only costs $6 but is full of, "All killer, no filler," content. There are some awesome comics by talents such as Joss Pettinger (of, "Tedward," fame) and more. There is a big interview with various folks from the comic-book biz, articles exploring everything from anime to back in the day when we had Winamp skins (ask someone born in the 1900s), and it is just an incredibly fun read--and positively a steal at six bucks. There are reviews, a fun classified section, and just lots of cool stuff.

As someone who loves print magazines and sometimes is sad they aren't nearly as popular as back in the day, having something such as, "American Nature Presents," is wonderful. We just don't really have magazine publications anymore focused on discussing comics besides how once every year or so, "The Comics Journal," does a mega-tome. Something that mixes journalism with some comics is fun and nowadays quite rare. I'd highly recommend buying a copy of, "American Nature Presents," #1, and I hope that a bunch more issues get made!

5 out of 5 stars.

Monday, July 15, 2024

The ToyMan Show Yesterday Was a Hoot!

Yesterday, July 14th, I had the chance to attend the latest ToyMan Show. It was great fun, as always, and so many cool vendors and creators were there. There was the usual assortment of vintage toys, comics, Funko Pops, Lego, Barbie, Hot Wheels, VHS tapes, original art, and more. I started the show by visiting with my friend, Spike of Lost in Space Toys and Collectibles. I then chatted with Joh from the awesome store Bigfoot Comics and Collectibles. Jack Thomas of Fortress Comics was selling great books, as was my chum Tim Metzger. I picked up some cool comics for cheap from my friends Dustin and Tammy too:

I also enjoyed catching up with Bruce Reynolds and Vince of VK Toys on the main show floor while shopping. Tom from Alliance Comics, Toys, & Games was at ToyMan too! Here is a cool picture of the show floor from the morning while things were being set up:

In the upstairs area, I had fun talking with my friend Jack AKA Storyboardlad who had his usual cool art prints for sale. I also saw my buddies who are authors, Jessica Mathews and Lindsay Hornsby. Lindsay had an awesome new coloring book I bought for Clarkson to enjoy of the Princess Pups:

This ToyMan show was incredibly fun just like every ToyMan show is. I always get so excited anytime its the day for ToyMan and now eagerly await August 25th for the next one!