Friday, April 28, 2017

"Life Ends on Mars #1" Review

While I do of course enjoy doing my capsule reviews I will sometimes spotlight a single issue of a comic that particularly tickles my fancy or perturbs me with its terrible quality. Well, I have a single issue of a new comic I want to discuss and it is for positive reasons of my really loving it! The comic is the debut issue of, "Life Ends on Mars."

Readers of the blog may recall I mentioned picking-up this comic from Aging Monsters Press and that I was eager to read it. The concept sounded really cool to me and it thankfully reads as well as the premise. Basically the idea is that it is the future and Earth is quite ruined. All the port cities have ended-up underwater because we as a planet couldn't stop our destructive tendencies and now it's up to big business conglomerates to save us all with an effort to terraform Mars. Yeah, it already sounds like we're doomed if the potential for salvation is in the hands of corporate stockholders.

Nova Mundi is the name of the corporation, and it has a number of astronauts and scientists who are working for it at making Mars habitable because Earth has maybe 30, 40 years at most left before the whole damn planet is an unlivable cesspool. After a prologue that takes place towards the end of the story and hints everything went terribly wrong, there is a cool scene where two scientists talk about how all the old movies take place in cities that no longer exist. It is a depressing and stark reminder that if we don't get our act together in the present day this sci-fi concept of trying to colonize another planet could very well end-up having to be considered.

From there on we see the scientists trying to make Mars friendly to human life arguing with corporate and struggling to get things working without the storms from their newly created atmospheres destroying the very tech making a potentially breathable air. After that we witness a conference call and start seeing hints of how something is horribly amiss on Mars as clearly some people wind up missing and probably dead.

The guys over at Aging Monsters Press know how to make a solid first issue of a comic. It establishes the setting, gives us plot, introduces an assortment of characters, and hints at lots of death and destruction commencing soon. Too often I have read a first issue of a book that fails to grab me because it lacks these elements or is horribly decompressed and slow to actually get going. "Life Ends on Mars," thankfully both gives us lots of information and moves the plot along at a good pace that kept me engaged. The artwork was great as well, showing a clear and clean design that matched the futuristic theme. and the coloring fits delightfully too.

"Life Ends on Mars #1" is a fantastic read and one I would recommend purchasing it! It was a good sci-fi story with a dash of horror and I'm eager to see just how bad things get for everyone on Mars!
5 out of 5 stars.

Note: A copy of, "Life Ends on Mars #1 was provided for the purposes of review with the understanding that if I hated it I would say so too (I always warn publishers I'll be blunt).

Monday, April 24, 2017

Some Cool Links As the End of April Approaches

April Showers...
April showers of course are supposed to bring May flowers and all that jazz. Well, we've had plenty of April showers where I live so I hope one of my favorite upcoming months (May) brings with it plenty of beautiful foliage, pleasant weather, and general good times. Before May arrives however how about I share some various links that I found interesting/worth showing to my readers.

If I may start with a political thought, fuck Donald Trump and his absurd claims that his (nearly) first 100 days has been anything but a mess and a shit-show.

I'm already a fan of Warren Ellis but this primer on his well-known work as well as lesser-read stuff is a solid read.

Apparently, "The Sims 4," can be made really, really raunchy if you have the right mods (note that the linked article contains computer-generated nudity).
I've been listening to Kendrick Lamar's latest album, "DAMN." and it illusrtates how he continues to be an artist that pretty much nobody living (outside of maybe Andre 3000) could hope to match in skill, lyricism, and general raw talent. He's announced concert dates too and that is a tour I'd be eager to go see.

Just what does, "Secret Emprie," have to say? Is it simply a mess or is there something concrete to take away from what has been released so far?

I haven't actually seen any since the very first, "Fast and the Furious," but there is something incredibly impressive about the eighth(!) movie in the franchise being a massive success. People debate and argue what the secret to its profitability is, but I think the movie just appeals to a wide-range of folk. There is a diverse cast, lots of action,and it is full of jokes and a bit self-aware. It has gorgeous women and incredibly attractive men for everyone to enjoy as eye-candy, and basically it is a box-office juggernaut of a franchise with the only thing to kinda compare being the Marvel Cinematic Universe and its flicks. I ought to catch-up on the series sometime, maybe.

I love, "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," and this video discussing one person's interpretation of how it has managed to stay funny all these years is pretty interesting.

This article on how Queer British artists would express concepts of desire through linguistic codes and other methods to avoid persecution is a great read.

This article discusses how Franklin from the famous and beloved comic-strip, "Peanuts," helped break the color-barrier in newspaper comics...but then unfortunately didn't do much else of note.

I loved the movie, "Brick," by director Rian Johnson (as well as his movie, "Looper!") and am always happy to see people talking about it, even if it is now in reference to the latest film he is directing, the upcoming, "Star Wars," film, which will probably get millions more viewers than, "Brick," despite its excellence.

Lastly, it is both reassuring and terrifying to think that an actual Doomsday device could have humanity's best interests at heart/designed into it, but one made by Russia in the 1980's has been created just that way, as this fascinating piece covers.

Eager For the May Flowers
As I said, I'm excited for May and all the good things it brings. I hope you enjoyed reading these links and that your April experience concludes smoothly as well!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

I Made a Fiverr Gig to Sell My Comics!

I of course have too many comics. I also have a baby (our little Clarkson) who hopefully will be coming home before too long. Selling stuff on eBay is a slog and if you take your old comics to a place like Half Price Books they'll give you maybe a nickel or dime per book if you're lucky. Therefore, I thought it made sense to offer to sell random comics to people via popular, "Gig," website Fiverr. I get to make a small profit and I know my comics are going to be enjoyed by someone!

You can check out my Fiverr gig here and if you want to have me mail you some random comics I'm more than happy to do so!

Friday, April 21, 2017

The Last 48 Hours of Actions by DC and Marvel Have Been Comically Offensive

Okay, seriously, what the fuck is going on with DC and Marvel? Right as I start thinking DC is looking peachy-keen compared to, "People don't care about diversity," comments from Marvel (now with additional hidden antisemitic and anti-Christian artwork that to their credit Marvel swiftly addressed), DC goes and announces, "Dark Matter." I know what you might be thinking, "Oh that sounds like a fun space-based event," but it actually is a move toward diversity--like, more characters of color...and it is called, "Dark Matter," which not only sounds vaguely offensive but also is referencing a theoretical matter that doesn't exist (possibly) so what does that even say as well?

Plus, the creators are all men, and about 10 of the 11 of them are Caucasian too, so we may be getting more diversity in regards to the characters we see but the spinners of these yarns will still be predominantly white dudes. Oh, and when someone brought up gender to a panel of DC creators at C2E2 John Romita Jr.  talked about how he wasn't working on, "any transgenders," as of yet in his stories. In regards to the transgender individuals I know and call a friend I'm 100% sure they do not appreciate being referred to as, "Transgenders," in the same way some other friends of mine feel it is derogatory to say something like, "Oh, he/she is a gay."

"Hail Hyrda, who totally are not Nazis, right?"
This would look bad for DC and probably usually get more headlines, but to their luck Marvel is asking comic-shop employees to dress-up like Nazis. Oh, wait, sorry, dress-up like Hyrda members, who are totally different from Nazi's despite for the history of Marvel comics usually being shown as exactly the same as Nazis and being led by a Nazi known as the Red Skull. Seriously though, it is cool guys, these are like a whole separate branch of Hyrda unrelated to the Nazis despite having Nazi-like ideals, oh and Captain America has been a secret member all along because the Allies actually lost World War II but used the cosmic cube to change history into the one we know now, but truthfully the Nazi's won World War II and Cap was a Nazi all along before any secret reality changes and I need to stop now because the stupidity of this is hurting my head.

Obviously, when you ask people to dress-up like, "Not-quite Nazis," to promote your comic such an idea is going to be met with a mixture of disgust, revulsion, and other synonyms for reactions to grossly stupid ideas that you think someone, anyone at Marvel would have realized sounds bad on paper and in practice as well--its a fail all-around. DC just made some questionable moves, but I think Marvel still took the cake for bringing upon itself another batch of bad press for an idea that just makes me do a facepalm, as the kids call it.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Admirable Workmanship of Fat Joe

When you ask people to talk about the greatest rappers of all time certain names are often thrown-out. We will doubtlessly hear, "Tupac," and when it comes to newer rappers, "Kendrick Lamar," gets name-dropped too. There is a subset of people who will argue without end, "Andre 3000," and I'm one of them (Big Boi is of course superb as well). One person who seems to often be forgotten in talks about great rappers is someone who has been around for decades and has an admirable work-ethic as proven by his illustrious discography. I'm talking about Fat Joe.

From the early 1990's on the protege of Big Pun has been an interesting presence. In the 90's and earlier 2000's he was around a lot, releasing a number of singles and getting into a high-profile rap-beef with then-newer rapper 50 Cent (they later resolved it). His 2001 album, "Jealous Ones Still Envy," was pure fire with hot track after hot track, but I'm one of maybe 10-ish people who bought, "Loyalty." Once 2010 hit however Joe kind of faded from the spotlight a bit, but not completely, instead doing something else.
Fat Joe does something I like to call, "Groundhogging." I think I've created this term, and it basically means everyone forgets about you for awhile, but suddenly every once in awhile a ton of attention comes your way because you do something important, and then you return to your burrow for a good amount of time to work on something else before emerging again to draw all the eyes. Since 2010 Joe seems to have been doing this, disappearing for awhile only to suddenly turn-up and fill the airwaves with stuff like, "All the Way Up," or a song currently dominating the radio, "Money Showers." He hasn't had his own solo album since the aforementioned year of 2010 but finally released a new LP titled, "Plata O Plomo," done in collaboration with fellow wordsmith Remy Ma.  Also, despite being known as, "Fat Joe," he has lost a lot of weight since at one point being 350 pounds, and as someone who has struggled with their own weight I admire his dedication to that too, because damn is it hard not eating all the delicious-but-bad-for-you foods.

Fat Joe may be overlooked by many when discussing the best rappers, but I feel that is a bit unfair. The man may not always be out there demanding attention, but that is because he is engaging in groundhogging--coming out when he has something to show us, but otherwise hiding away to create his sonic delights. Joe doesn't need your constant compliments because with his workmanship he knows that when he emerges from seclusion you'll doubtlessly want to admire his work. I know I do.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Unicorn Frappuccino Review Because If the World Is Ending At Least We Have Colorful Drinks

The Unicorn Frappuccino exists and people don't really care what it tastes like because the whole purpose of the drink is to take a picture of yourself holding it and looking like what kids call, "Basic," as in, "Look at that basic bitch with his/her Unicorn Frappuccino." Well, I must be basic because there I am above smiling like a doofus. It is very colorful, with its bright pink and light blue that mixes into a deep purple, but how does the thing actually taste? Well, "Sour birthday cake and shame," actually isn't too far off. If the world is ending (nuclear war seems uncomfortably possible lately) at least we have colorful drinks that taste weird.

Before you mix it the drink just tastes like sugary milk, honestly. The key is to mix it up at which point something interesting happens--it suddenly tastes a lot better. Once mixed into each other the sour blue syrup, pink powder, mango mix, and milk combined with the whipped cream gives everything a taste not too unlike an Orange Julius. It's frothy, sweet, and a bit tart. I wouldn't describe it as anything amazing flavor-wise, however (this is strictly just above-average) but I would still try it again maybe during this brief period of time you can even buy a Unicorn Frappuccino--after April 23rd it theoretically is gone forever or until public demand brings it back. In summary I would rate it as...
Visually/Aesthetically: 5 out of 5 stars.
Taste: 3 out of 5 stars.

Monday, April 17, 2017

I Do Love Those Shiny Retailer-Appreciation Variant Covers from Image Comics

Shiny text? Yah!
I've at times both been critical of marketing-gimmicks (DC's 3-D covers continue to just seem lame to me and Villain's Month was a fiasco) and found them fun too. That said, even though novelty covers sometimes make cynical ol' me all cranky, I must confess I really love those shiny retailer-appreciation variant covers Image has been doing. Generally limited to one-per-store, I've always asked my local comic shop nicely if it would be possible to have a shiny variant whenever one comes out if no one else requests it. Some stores sell those shiny-variants for extra money but my folk always sell it at cover-price to me because they are awesome.

I don't know what it is about these shiny-covers that I fancy so much, but they just look really cool. I mean, not even the entire cover has a gloss to it with these variants, just the title of the comic. Still, something about it just super-appeals to me and having all the covers with their gorgeous shimmer sitting on my shelf just looks delightful. I hope to continue to get shiny covers so that I can display them proudly/find a way to harness their power and take over the world (whichever is easier). It may be a gimmick, but its a gimmick that is good-looking and classy enough that I quite like it.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Flashback Friday: Mr. Green Soda

Back in Junior-High I drank a soda that was only around for a short time, basically one Summer. It tasted kind of like Dr. Pepper but advertised how it had Ginseng and was green--like, dark green. If you drank enough and then pooped later it looked like you were expelling toxic waste (sorry if that is TMI). It was advertised in the, "EXTREME!" method that at times gains popularity and actually didn't taste too bad, but lacked anything that made it amazing. It was called, "Mr. Green," so it basically was ripping-off Mr. Pibb, who copied Dr. Pepper. It was a rip-off of a rip-off.

Mr. Green is the only soda to ever be released by Sobe, a sub-company of Pepsi which at various times has made juices, energy drinks, and sold milk. I honestly thought I was the only person in the world who remembered this soda but you can find the occasional Facebook post, forum comment, and other stuff like that with people going, "Remember Mr. Green? I kinda miss it." I too kind of miss Mr. Green and would drink some if I could, perhaps. A new bottle or can hasn't been made since 2003 however, so it would be very, very expired. I don't even know what had me thinking about this soda today, but it popped into my noggin so I decided to share my recollections as an article for Flashback Friday. Anyone else remember Mr. Green and hold fond-ish memories about it?

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Overall Thoughts--Wizard World Saint Louis 2017 in Review

A Strange First Five Minutes
Get it? The Arch and, "Gateway?"
I've been inside the main convention-center of Wizard World for all of 5 minutes and Kato Kaelin is jokingly yelling at me not to answer the trivia question he just posed to a clearly flustered older-gentleman in a Saint Louis Blues hat. I'm evidently clearly struggling to not yell, "The Baxter Building," to the query of where the Fantastic Four live and neither the older guy or the young kid dressed as the television-version of Barry Allen from, "The Flash," know the answer. I don't really want the t-shirt that they'll win, but it is just getting awkward to see these two guys get all these questions of varying difficulty that they don't know the answer to (and it doesn't help the man dressed as a DC character gets all the Marvel questions and the older guy probably was just coming with some grand-kids who like this stuff and got roped into doing trivia). So yeah, Kato is playfully yelling at me to be quiet and this Wizard World is clearly going to be weird.

For those of you unaware, Kato is most famous for being a small-time actor who was friends with OJ Simpson and staying in OJ's guest-house the night OJ left town/possibly murdered his ex-wife Nicole and Ron Goldman beforehand. So yes, Kato is arguably famous for not being murdered by OJ Simpson. This pop-culture relevance apparently made him the perfect MC for Wizard World Saint Louis and to his credit he was very nice and unlike most celebrities/"celebrities" at the show did not want to charge me to take a photo. Observe:
I was at Wizard World for a bit Late Friday and a good Chunk of Saturday, but my first five minutes of Wizard World Saint Louis 2017 encapsulated everything in itself as it was a mixture of fun, weird, and off-putting. Hey, let's use that for a header!

A Mixture of Fun, Weird, and Off-Putting
There were five actual vendors of comic-books at this Wizard World, which is ostensibly a comic-con but really more like a popular-culture convention. I'm not saying that to be negative, it just is worth observing that if you came to the show planning to look through long and short-boxes as well as shelves for cool comics, there wasn't much in the way of retail. I of course had the majority of my fun hanging-out in, "Artist's Alley," where the lot of stuff that appeals to me is found. Most of cool people I met or stuff I got occurred thanks to Artists' Alley or one of the few retailers.

It's not like I hate having random celebrities at this convention--it is par for the course that Wizard World gets random folk to come and sign autographs, but for every person who made sense--Kevin Conroy, the voice of Batman--there was someone random like Butch Patrick who played Eddie on, "The Munsters." I liked that show and his booth looked lonely so I went over to say hi and tell him about my enjoyment when it was on, "Nick at Nite." He thanked me and then some assistant insistently said, "This guy looks like he wants an autograph!" I had zero intention of paying Butch Patrick 40 dollars to give me a signed t-shirt so I politely worked my way out of that situation.

Butch, tell your assistant to cool it with pressuring folk to buy autographs. 
As that awkward moment illustrates, Wizard World had a weird assortment of folk who had next-to-nothing to do with comics and there weren't really any, "Celebrities," known specifically for comic-book work. Yes, we had plenty of cool creators of stuff in Artist's Alley, but what does Gene Simmons have to do with comic-books besides how sometimes comics have been made about KISS? Again though, I know that Wizard World is billing itself as less of a comic-book covention and more of a popular-culture convention. That said, if you can't manage to go as press like me it can be horrifically expensive, so get ready to shell out the cash to get parked, get in, and then buy an autograph from a random celebrity.

This sounds negative, and I don't mean to sound that way, it is just that some of the convention was off-putting as I mention in my header. I still had a great time talking with an assortment of vendors, all the cool folk in Artists' Alley, and I spent some time with friends from my comic-club enjoying the show. It was a fun time even if it was full of weird and off-putting moments as well. I would for sure go again, but with basically every year since the first one the focal point is less-and-less comics and more just a general celebration of popular culture.
I'm okay with Wizard World not being about comics as much though, because there is a show like the upcoming, "Saint Louis Comic-Con," which has me really excited to go to a con with an actual comic-book specificity. It'll be in its 2nd year now, was a ton of fun last time, and is very well-priced. I'm not throwing shade at Wizard World, but I do know a number of people who didn't go to it this year, forgoing attendance instead for Saint Louis Comic-Con. Both are very different shows with separate identities and concepts, but if you want something centered on comics this is a great place to go. This year they actually have Chris Claremont coming, so that is rad!

Honestly, if you can afford it you should continue to go to the Wizard World shows and the more comic-based ones like Saint Louis Comic-Con. Both are fun in different ways, and while in all honesty the comic-loving part of me gets a lot more excited for this Summer, the aspect of me that enjoys general popular-culture had a great time at Wizard World too. In summary, "Fun, weird, and off-putting," is both a sentence I am overusing for this article, and extremely apt. I hope to get to go as press again next year and if I do I'll make sure to write extensively about it!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Cosplay I Liked--Wizard World Saint Louis 2017 In Review

Fun In Costume
During my time at Wizard World Saint Louis 2017 I saw a lot of cosplay. I estimate about 50% of it was the Suicide-Squad Harley Quinn getup featuring a baseball bat and, "Daddy's Little Monster," jacket. I don't begrudge people for liking that outfit, but it isn't exactly creative (except for the middle-aged man fully decked-out in that clothing, that was fun). I myself don't cosplay but always enjoy seeing it. I am weird about what really grabs my attention as there isn't much of a rhyme or reason outside of, "That looks really cool to me." I have here for you to examine the cosplay that struck me enough I asked to take a photo and put it on the blog.

The Cosplay
Let's start off with someone dressed as my favorite character, Moon Knight! Such a great hero and such a great costume!

Besides Moon Knight there are some more Marvel heroes you are sure to find out patrolling the streets. Heroes such as Daredevil and Luke Cage.

Taking a break from comics, this D.VA getup was great! I saw other people dressed as D.VA when she is out of her mech, but this was the only cosplayer in a mech. As she said when I told her this, "Well, I think the mech is the best part!"

Deathstroke was on-site representing the mercenary life.

I almost got cut by Wolverine!

As someone who loves the, "Rick and Morty," television show I loved this duo. I saw other Ricks at the show, but nobody else had Rick and Morty so mad props there.

These two cosplayers made a stellar Spider-Gwen and Venom--love his fangs!

Last but not least, my good friend Greg from my Comic Book Club went as Doctor Strange!

Great Getups!
There were so many cosplayers decked-out wonderfully in addition to the handful of folk I'm spotlighting here. Whether your costume is elaborate or simple, revealing or conservative, expensive or cheap, the important thing is to have fun, and all these cosplayers were for sure doing so!

Wizard World Recollection-Posts Incoming!

Over these couple of days I will have some posts recollecting my Wizard World experience. Expect a posts today and tomorrow (see my update below) about cosplay, the cool stuff I got, neat people I met, and then a piece breaking-down how it all went.

UPDATE: Expect posts over three days, including Wednesday. I've been busy with life and my plan to post my thoughts on Wizard World is now going to happen over a bit more of an extended period of time.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Image Is Having A Good Week in Terms of Brisk Sales of New Books

I started getting press releases from Image not too long ago and they are having a good week, I've deduced. You see, a lot of stuff is selling out! Some of you need to be honest and admit that you probably pick-up at least the first issue of every new Image series  in the hope that it becomes the next, "The Walking Dead." Other folk probably just like to try new series, and I bet plenty of readers just enjoy the quality books put out by Image (the majority of books I read are from them at this point).

Anyways, a lot of their new stuff is indeed quite popular. This week alone Image announced that on the day of its release, the new series, "Black Cloud," already had its first issue being rushed back to print thanks to demand, the comic, "Extremity," is going to have a 3rd printing of its first issue (and a 2nd printing of its second), and, "The Old Guard," is also getting a 3rd printing and 2nd printing for its first and second issues, respectively.
A really good read!
I have said before that instead of calling Marvel and DC, "The Big Two," people should include Image in that description and say, "The Big Three," because Image is by no means some small little independent publisher. Oh, and please know I say that with absolutely zero malice--I'm happy to see the once little-publisher-that-could becoming as big and successful as it is. It boggles the mind to think a bunch of people who left Marvel and DC to found their own company have over time made something as large, successful, and respected as Image Comics. They support creator rights, they put out good books, and (as this week clearly shows) get some solid sales as well.

I see companies whining about how their sales are bad because of diversity or some B.S. (Marvel really is going to have a black-eye P.R.-wise for awhile) and Image just keeps hitting it out of the park. It almost makes you think that maybe the sales of other big publishers would be better if their books were great and not drowning under the weight of dumb events, you know? Every company has its ups and downs, and right now Image is for sure doing quite great. Now then, someone please option, "Extremity," so my regular copy of the first issue and gold-foil variant become worth a bunch of money and because it is a really good comic. Please?

Thursday, April 6, 2017

The First Event-Comic To Sound Intriguing to Me In a Long While Isn't Even Necessarily an, "Event."

I was on the internet and in-between reading news about how the Senate is devolving into, "Nuclear option," madness or getting further reassurance I was wise to be leery of the new, "Mass Effect," game I saw a report about a comic-event that actually sounded cool. Called, "The War of Jokes and Riddles," It seems Tom King is going to be doing a story set a bit in the past about a bunch of Batman's villains going to war with one another under the leadership of either the Joker or the Riddler (who are the main aggressors causing all the fighting). I personally feel Batman has most of the best villains in comic-books and such a concept actually makes sense--something many events lack. I mean, Gotham is full of baddies, why wouldn't two of the bigger ones try to wipe each other out so that they can have more power and just worry about Batman as opposed to Batman and other crooks? Plus, unlike all those comics lately where heroes go to war with one another for a dumb reason this is quite logical--evil folk trying to destroy other evil folk.

I heard about this event though and as soon as I got excited I let out a sigh, because I just knew this was going to be some kind of absurdly long mini-series with a ton of spin-offs and comics tying-in needlessly, right? So, I go and see just how bloated this event will be is just an epic-length story-line in the standard, "Batman," comic written by the aforementioned talented man known as Tom King? What? Seriously, this will simply take up issues #25-#32 of the Batman comic and not feature any extraneous tie-in comics, which just seems wild--I mean, can comic companies actually do an event in a regular comic legally still? I thought anything that was an, "Event," had to be put in its own special comic with the mark-ups in price that usually includes.
I am often pretty harsh on comic companies (Marvel and DC especially) for their never-ending stream of events that encompass nearly the whole line of comics and do a better job making me want to quit a book than put-up with it suddenly being a part of some, "Epic, world-ending," story I have zero interest in. This though, this actually sounds cool and like something to seek-out. I couldn't care less about, "Secret Empire," and DC's upcoming, "Metal," comic (also about Batman, actaully) has a great creative team but I'll be skipping it too in order to save money. "The War of Jokes and Riddles," sounds completely affordable and interesting compared to everything else though. This is the first event-comic in a long time that sounds interesting to me and it isn't even a true, "Event," in the sense of how that word has been used lately with comics. That's kinda funny, isn't it?

Seriously though, I tip my hat to DC and the creators behind this for making it an event in the way many older stories in comics used to be--it is within the main comic and isn't bogged-down with tons of extra filler. You done did good this time, DC, you done did good.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

In The Words of The Young People Pepsi Was Trying to Market To With Their Ad About Protesting, "Epic Fail!"

Even the headline about this sounds absurd.
Pepsi made an advertisement that upon watching I think is giving us the message that next time people want to protest something they should offer the police Pepsi and that'll resolve all the World's ills, I guess? Really, it's a horrendously stupid advertisement and the words, "Tone deaf," have been used extensively to describe it. I won't bother embedding it here because Pepsi is working hard to pull the ad and--I assume--try and burn it out from our collective consciousness as quickly as possible. Wired talks about the video and has a copy of it though, and I bet they will stay pretty up-to-date on making sure it doesn't disappear from the web.

Basically, if you haven't heard, the ad features a diverse group of young people (A Muslim lady, an Asian man, rich people like Kendall Jenner) joining a protest about...something, and marching proudly to show how they are hip and proud millennials in-between taking short breaks to drink Pepsi and engage in break-dancing (I'm not making this up). It all comes to a head however when the protesters encounter some cops and Kendall Jenner hands a Pepsi to the police officer who cracks it open and drinks it to the loud cheers of the crowd. Racism/Sexism/Homophobia/Xenophobia solved everyone, we can go home now!
What the dickens are they even protesting?
Shit, when counting all the times I've been happy to prefer Coca-Cola over the rancid taste of Pepsi this is easily one of those moments. It seems like everyone is either enraged by the video, mocking it, or is asking, "Who the Hell is Kendall Jenner? Is she like a less-famous version of the Kardashians?" Pepsi, when it comes to marketing soda-products you done fucked up at a level I didn't even realize was possible outside of that time Mountain Dew made an ad with a police line-up making light of institutional racism.

How the Hell could Pepsi make a video about protesting where a bunch of people mad (although they don't even look upset) about nothing in particular are able to make the world a happier place by simply sharing a Pepsi with a Police Officer? Is that all everyone who ever protested had to do--offer the police a Pepsi? I think Bernice King, one of the daughters of Martin Luther King Jr. summarized it best in this actual Tweet she sent out today:
That is without a doubt my sarcastic comment of the day (trademark pending) and one fiery burn against Pepsi. It is a burn they are surely due, however, because the most insulting thing in my opinion is that Pepsi isn't actually making any kind of statement here. The young people aren't protesting for a cause Pepsi does or does not support, they just are out and about, looking like attractive millennials and drinking some sugary sludge. If Pepsi at least had made this about a real issue they would be saying something, anything. The only thing they are saying here is that in their theoretical world everyone can just drink Pepsi and get along (which as a lover of Coke sounds less like a utopia and more like a nightmare--the Pepsi part, not everyone getting along).

Pepsi wanted to seem cool and hip by talking about protesting and having a blasé celebrity appear, but instead just came off as even more removed from reality. Pepsi's ad is as much an example of talking to the youth-culture of today as that joke where Steve Buscemi pulls a, "21 Jump Street." We clearly see what you're trying to do, and it ain't working.
This whole fiasco is as hilarious as it is depressing and can teach, what does it teach us? Perhaps there isn't an actual lesson to be gained from this outside of, "Fire your marketing team, Pepsi." Oh, also, "Don't try to co-opt a cause without actually co-opting anything." Now, if you'll excuse me I'm going to grow drink some water because even if I admit preferring Coke I should really drink more H2O as opposed to carbonated chemicals, no matter how good (or bad, in Pepsi's case) some of them taste.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Television Tuesday: Legion

Is This Real?
From the first buzz about a, "Legion," television show, to the intriguing teasers, and now its release and immensely positive critical reception I've been excited. I am a fan of the character, having sought-out some of his older appearances and I absolutely adored the most recent series to featuring Legion/David Haller, "X-Men Legacy." I thought about writing a, "Television Tuesday," post at various points while the show has been coming out, but decided it would be best to wait until this first season concluded because dear God has it be a wild ride that needs to be looked at in full to begin making any sense of its wonderful madness. Anyone who has pieces of media about superheroes are stale/have no place to go needs to shut-up, because this truly is the best piece of, "Superhero," entertainment I've ingested in some time. God bless creator and show-runner Noah Hawley, is all I can say.

"Legion," and its first season packs more into eight episodes than some shows do into a whole series, and that's a good thing. If you described this show in a bare-bones manner it wouldn't sound too special,--a young man who thinks he is ill actually has powers and meets other people with powers who help him fight members of a shadowy organization whilst he struggles with his own inner-demons--but the flourishes, designs, imagery, how we learn facts, etc. make it magical. Plus, there is some damn fun acting from Dan Stevens as David Haller (affecting a great American accent) and Aubrey Plaza in a single surreal role shows more range than two regular-actors could probably muster.
There have been articles written about how, "Legion," is another example of the rise of, "Surreality Television," which basically are shows that make not just the characters, but also the viewer question what is in fact, "Real," in the world of the show. After all, when your program alternates between regular action scenes, silent-movie bits, a Bollywood dance routine, and deep discussions about the nature of reality, clearly a lot of stuff is going on--and some of it may be fabrication of the main character's mind.

"Legion," is a show that draws from the X-Men comics a little bit and has made it apparent that there are clear ties (The Shadow King, hints of David's birth-Father being Professor Xavier, although if his Dad ever showed-up who would play him is a good question) but this program is for sure its own beast and extremely unique, different, amazing, and other words for, "Great." The debut season of, "Legion," was amazing and I encourage you to view it as soon as you possibly can. It is easily...
5 out of 5 stars.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

I'll Be At Wizard World This Week!

Wizard World is a convention I have both said very kind and very critical  (but fair) things about. I was unable to go last year due to family matters (like actual family stuff, not the television show) but will be there this year ready to have some fun! I will be hanging-out with some chums from my comic-book discussion club, browsing all the good stuff for sale, meeting comic-makers, and enjoying some good panels/programming events. I don't normally worry much about big-name celebrities at shows but seeing the man I consider the voice of Batman, Kevin Conroy, and the talented Evan Peters will be in attendance does get me pretty pumped.

If you would like to buy tickets for the show you can do so at this link or always pay at the door (it is cheaper to buy entry in advance, however).