Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Happy Halloween!

I hope everyone has a great Halloween. In the spirit of all the terrible jokes shared on this holiday I have one that I believe I made-up (for all I know I heard it years ago, but I'm taking credit):

Why couldn't the vampire be positive?

All he had in stock was B-negative!

Thanks to anyone who actually laughs at that. Be safe out there!

Monday, October 30, 2017

I Have a Moon Knight Funko Now!

As the above video illustrates, I am very excited (and Clarkson is happy for me as well) that there finally is in existence a Moon Knight Funko Pop. For a good long while I've said there needs to be a Funko of good ol' Marc Spector in his heroic getup, and finally we have at least one Pop of Moon Knight--in his, "Mr. Knight," getup. This Funko was for sale at Stan Lee's L.A. Comic-Con AKA Comikaze and is a shared exclusive with Hot Topic as well, where I was able to purchase it! There is a glow-in-the-dark version that was exclusively for sale at the con and perhaps someday I'll be able to get one. For now, I am so pleased to have my own Moon Knight Funko and shall proudly display it with all my comic-related wares.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

DC's New Comic, "The Terrifics," Looks Intriguing and is a Hilarious Jab at Marvel

A team of four adventurers who solve cosmic mysteries together. One is a genius, one is a wisecracking jokester, another has an off-putting form and there is a lady who can make herself invisible to the human eye. It sounds like I'm talking about Marvel's team, "The Fantastic Four," but I'm actually discussing DC's new book, "The Terrifics ," which not only looks like good fun but clearly is a hilarious jab at Marvel too.

It is well-known that Marvel has basically forbidden usage of The Fantastic Four as a team in comics due to Ike Pearlmutter (a man with a lot of power in the company) having a vendetta against Fox--who bought the movie rights long ago and which refuses to play-ball with Marvel's film studio the same way Sony did with Spider-Man. It is almost like DC saw this and went, "Marvel won't publish a comic that is Fantastic Four-esque? Shit, we'll do it!" Hence we now have the immensely talented Jeff Lemire (who worked for Marvel for a bit and is now back at DC) writing and the also stellar artist Ivan Reis (and Joe Prado) illustrating.
The team isn't an exact copy of the Fantastic Four, with Mr. Terrific being a genius (Mr. Fantastic-ish), Plastic Man being a prank-puller who stretches a lot (so the powers of Mr. Fantastic and Johnny Storm's jokes), Metamorpho altering his form as needed (he could be rocky or made of fire if he wanted like The Thing and with Johnny Storm's powers) and Phantom Girl who is essentially the Invisible Woman/Sue Storm if she wants to be. Together this team is lost in the Dark Multiverse and has to use science-knowledge whilst having zany adventures. So yeah, just think of this as, "DC Presents the kinda-sorta Fantastic Four."

Now, if the comic were just DC ripping-on Marvel and being snarky it would get old fast, but when you have a creative team like the one on-deck I feel pretty confident this book won't be DC simply mocking Marvel, it will be DC doing their own version of a, "Fantastic Four," comic and all the enjoyable aspects that can entail. "The Terrifics ," are currently on the cover of the latest edition of, "Previews," magazine (November 2017) and you can easily preorder yourself a copy at Things From Another World or your local comic shop. I'm excited to see what this book brings and will for sure be getting myself the debut issue!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Rant-Reviews: Cheesecake Appreciation

Why Not?
I have previously expressed an appreciation for publishers such as Boundless and other companies who put out cheesecake-styled comics (e.g. comic-books with sexy artwork) with a self-aware wink. We as a society (when we aren't being prudish) of course enjoy sexy illustrations of the human body and comic-books at times can provide that. With this in mind, I thought it might be fun to review some comics that don't hesitate to provide anything from a little pin-up art to ones that can be surprisingly detailed in their drawings of human genitalia. Oh, and note that it is hard to find much Cheesecake of men but it is out there, it just is less common so I don't really touch upon it in these reviews as I couldn't find any lately (whenever a, "Gambit," comic is coming out he seems to shower a lot though).

Sexy Reads
Amerikarate #7
This comic has been one big funny spoof of various 1970's and 1980's movies and all the over-the-top elements found within them. Whether riffing on, "Footloose," "Death Wish," or in this issue, "Robocop," the comic always manages to have immense bloodshed and usually at least one sex scene. Also, there are various covers each issue and there is always one variant (which also seem to be the more popular variants in terms of aftermarket sales) every month featuring adult film actress and known nerd April O'Neil (that Twitter is NOT safe for work) in various cosplay outfits that relate to the issue.

 These books are always good dumb fun, with the film references being subtle and well-incorporated enough that it isn't just an annoying game of, "Let's shout-out various things that make people nostalgic and act like that's funny!" Plus, I mean, this issue draws from the classic, "Robocop," so how can you wrong? "Amerikarate," isn't super cheesecakey outside of some of those April O'Neil variants and some suggestive scenes but it is hilarious so I would encourage anyone with a fondness for humorous titles check it out. Purchase issues on eBay, on MyComicShop, or from Things From Another World.
3.5 out of 5 stars.

VS: Vamps Vs Wolves #2
My good friends at ComicsHeatingUp had a post about this cool self-published book and I eagerly bought it on the interwebs from creator Scott Blair. The story involves a long-running feud between Vampires and Werewolves who had an uneasy truce that has fallen apart--and to add to the complications there are hunters of the supernatural present to disrupt everything too! Blair's pin-up style artwork evokes a strong 1950's sensibility with his curvy women and the cheeky way he covers-up the naughtiest bits of characters to keep things PG-13-ish in terms of flesh shown (plenty of blood and swearing occurs, however). The comic reminds me of those classic cheeky horror-movies you would see at the drive-in full of innuendo and excessive blood-effects, and that my friends is a good thing. I would recommend picking-up the first two issues that have come out so far from Blair's store on eBay and I know I'm looking forward to issue #3!
5 out of 5 stars.

Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose #106
"Tarot," is of course the long-running book from creators Jim Balent and Holly Golightly they put out via their publisher, Broadsword comics. Featuring the adventures of titular witch, Tarot, the books often will jump around in theme and tones, sometimes being more about Wicca and the supernatural, other times joking about super-heroes, and always looking great thanks to Balent's decades of comic-experience making his artwork fantastic (with Golightly's lettering and fantastic color-work being the metaphorical cherry on top).

This issue follows Tarot, her sister Raven, friend-and-lover Boo Cat, and husband Jon as they fight against a Halloween spirit that is turning the residents of the town of Salem where they live into all kinds of monstrous creatures in an effort to spread the Halloween mood. It's a good yarn and works-in some funny jokes about the trials of Trick-or-Treating too that anyone who ever has gone door-to-door in an effort to get candy to relate to (we've all had the religious holy-rollers scold us about this evil holiday and make us wonder why they even leave their lights on if they're just going to be unpleasant).

The cheesecake element comes-in where Tarot and her friends often aren't especially clothed and even when they are various things occur that put them in states of undress. I mean, the comic has a half-naked witch fighting werewolves and works in a message about not making assumptions about people (like why do witches need to be green in many stories, seriously, why?), so what's not to like? Should you want to pick-up this or any other issue of, "Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose," Things From Another World, eBay, and MyComicShop all are stellar resources.
5 out of 5 stars.

Lookers: Ember #2
If some of these books have featured suggestive artwork or tasteful nudity, then "Lookers: Ember," is admittedly just straight-up raunch. As I've talked about in the past however, it is smart and self-aware raunch, so I can't help but like it. While the other comics maybe give us the equivalent of R-rated love-making scenes, "Lookers: Ember," flirts with being outright an outright porn-comic if it did't also have a good deal of plot, action scenes, and admittedly interesting ideas you wouldn't expect in a cheesecake comic. The general plot has meshed another property from the publisher (Boundless), incorporating their hero-esque character, "Ember," and having her seek out the private detectives known as, "Lookers," who work to help women victimized by men online--a topic that continues to be relevant.

It seems her cell-phone was stolen and features a sex-tape of her and a politician. Us readers see a group of Men's Right Activist-types have it and plan to sell it to embarrass Ember and show women they need to, "Respect their place," so yes, we are getting a comic that is a strange marriage of porny-sex and weirdly topical themes of feminism and how men troll women online. There are some drug dealers involved too who have an interest in the tape that may relate more to the politician than super-hero Ember and it is all interesting, well-illustrated, and to top it off features some really graphic sex-scenes just to ensure everyone is getting entertained. "Lookers: Ember," probably won't be winning any awards in the comic's biz but it is a damn well done book. It may be a guilty-pleasure styled read, but its good stuff, and I believe the third issue is released tomorrow! You can get yourself a copy on eBay, or Things From Another World.
5 out of 5 stars.

That Was Fun
Well, these books maybe aren't the most high-brown or fancy, but it sure was fun to read and review them!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Late-October Link Mini-List

A Little Less This Time
I just don't have quite as many links this month. That's okay though, because this mini-list of stuff worth reading is still plenty interesting!

A Handful of Quality Links
Halloween is a fun holiday and coming-up quick, but have you ever wondered about its history? Well, read this article from the History Chanel and wonder no more!

The AV Club did a solid write-up about how the game, "Hotline Miami," was violent, nihilistic, and interesting. I personally found it fascinatingly uncomfortable in how it would be so colorfully gruesome and then make you question what kind of person you were for liking the bloody action.

Also from the AV Club is this piece about Horrorcore--a rap subgenre that frankly sucks. The only thing vaguely horrocore-ish I've ever gotten into much is some of Kool Keith's weirder material which arguably flirts with some Horrorcore concepts.

If you're at all into virology or just want to read-up on microscopic pathogens (because personally I find them fascinating) then Paste has a stellar article recommending various books to try-out.
I previously expressed great joy at my winning a contest sponsored by ComicsHeatingUp and the creative team behind the previously self-published (and now upcoming from Scout Comics) title, "Stabbity Bunny." Well, they both are at it again with a contest to win those first four self-published issues with only the request that entrants share the link about how to order an issue of the comic's near-future release (which I'll happily provide too).

This article about the longest board game ever is fascinating. I can barely imagine the dedication required to even take a couple turns.

Sexual harassment needs to stop, in any industry. Oh, and saying you didn't know what was going on when all the warning signs were there is basically just another form of enabling.

Speaking of harassers, is it any surprise Donald Trump lied about a painting in his art collection? At this point isn't it more of a surprise when he tells the truth?

Have a Great Rest of October!

I hope everyone has a stellar rest of the month and a happy Halloween. I for one have greatly enjoyed this month and was pleased a punch to celebrate my 2nd anniversary of wedded bliss with my wife, Samii.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

I Attempted to Read Two Graphic Novels Inspired by Minecraft and Was Hopelessly Confused

That Minecraft Sure is Popular, Eh?
Okay, so, "Minecraft." The worldwide phenomenon beloved by countless adults and children has many official things that tie-in with it from books to toys, and so forth. Apparently there is a bit of a cottage industry of people making stuff using, "Minecraft," as a springboard for their storytelling as well. Whether they are one of those Youtube streamers who kids love and they use their love of the game and the fame brought about by it to make a comic or it is a book that uses actual screenshots from, "Minecraft," people love to utilize the popularity of, "Minecraft," to create things whilst also very, very, carefully emphasizing their stories are in no way licensed by or affiliated with the brand. This is cool and I wanted to review some comics that were vaguely-related-yet-legally-distinct-enough-to-avoid-getting-sued with, "Minecraft," but encountered one big problem. You see, I know basically nothing about the game having never played it.

I love video-games, but haven't been as able to play them since the birth of my son, Clarkson, with his needs taking priority over entertainment. He often needs assistance as he is a baby and therefore can't feed, bathe, or wipe himself yet. This results in my wife and I finding our recreational time impacted a bit and therefore a need arises to decide what things are priorities when our time is free. Blogging, watching entertainment, and reading comics has usually come first so I've been playing games a lot less. "Minecraft," of course has been out for a loooooonnng time but I just never got around to playing it and having the opportunity to do so anytime soon seems unlikely. I know a little about the game, however. I've heard all about, "Redstone," and, "Creepers," so I thought I might as well give two comics I encountered at a book fair a try. I was very, very lost.
My wife is a teacher and the school bookfair is always a treat. I saw two comics there dealing with, "Minecraft," (in an unofficial context,) and bought one there I was unable to reserve at the library and put the other on hold to get next time I stopped by the book depository. The books were, "Trayaurus and the Enchanted Crystal," and, "Chasing Herobrine."

"Trayaurus and the Enchanted Crystal," is written by the popular Youtube streamer DanTDM who plays, "Minecraft," a lot and will apparently concoct stories with characters such as the ones we see in the comic. Dan apparently has over 10 million followers on Youtube and is a huge deal if you're a fan of streamers (especially to kids). I personally would have be unable to tell him from anyone else up until I read this comic. That said, "Trayaurus," is indeed cute and has some solid artwork that looks Minecraft-esque while also standing on its own. "Chasing Herobrine," was written by Cara J. Stevens actually uses screenshots from, "Minecraft," and little captions. It actually is the continuation of a previous story it seems so that didn't do me any favors in following along with plot. From what I could gather it was basically a way to tell people how being a griefer/negative to other gamers is bad. It was pretty ugly though as screenshots from a a blocky game like, "Minecraft," don't exactly make the best art.
Both of the stories drew from, "Minecraft," in different ways, with DanTDM's story working a lot better in terms of entertaining me than, "Chasing Herobrine," did. I don't think more familiarity with, "Minecraft," would have impacted my enjoyment of the stories, but it is hard to say for sure (maybe I would have gotten more in-jokes). I mean, I didn't know who DanTDM was before his book and I still liked it plenty. Anyways, I won't give the books an exact rating as I don't feel especially qualified to do so. That said, I will state that I'd read more from DanTDM and would pass on comics that use, "Minecraft," screen-shots as, "Chasing Herobrine," did--it was just too fugly for me. 

Anyhoo, it seems that, "Minecraft," didn't just make its creator who sold it to Microsoft for 2.5 billion dollars rich, plenty of people smart enough to use it as a tool for streaming or storytelling are benefiting too. I'm not sure if there is a lesson to be learned here or if I just wasted all of our respective time, but maybe, just maybe, I'm inspired enough to try, "Minecraft," sometime during a free moment. Maybe. Probably not. We'll see.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Rant-Reviews: Beginnings and Conclusions

The Start and End
I like to read the first issue of comics and also enjoy the satisfaction of following a story to its conclusion. With that in mind I shall review three books that are just starting and three that have recently wrapped.

Let's Begin (and Finish)
Batman: White Knight #1
Sean Murphy both writes and illustrates this interesting start to his take on the whole Batman Versus Joker mythos. The twist here is that he plays-up the aspects of Batman as a dangerous vigilante the police basically condone and support and argues, "Well, what if the Joker seemingly was cured and used his amazing intellect for good instead of mayhem?" That leads us to a fascinating comic that with Murhpy's stellar artwork shows Batman as something akin to a hulking and scary monster and the Joker--or Mr. Napier as he prefers once cured with some mysterious pills--as a man who is possibly more dangerous to Batman when he's helping Gotham than when he's harming it. After all, if the Joker can, "Fix," Gotham doesn't he arguably end any need for Batman?

Murphy's writing is strong but dear God is his artwork amazing. Whether presenting gorgeous splash-pages of the Batmoblie darting about the city, giving us a montage-image of times from the characters' lives, or simply showing Batman as a large and intimidating creature, Murphy is an illustrator who continues to be at the top of his game and always impresses. The story has piqued my interest and Murphy's art will always keep me paying close attention. This is stellar start and I am excited to see what comes next. You can buy, "Batman: White Knight," at Things From Another World, MyComicShop, or on eBay.
5 out of 5 stars.

4 Kids Walk Into a Bank #5
This book was delayed to high-heavens for months upon months as issues trickled out and with its conclusion we finally get to the part where the kids rob the bank only for it to basically fizzle-out into a huge anticlimax. A part of me gets an anticlimax is kind of the point, but another bit of me felt like going, "Wait, that's it?" This was a fun comic but after all the delays and how much the story seemed to stretch things out and build the excitement up only to just kind of shrug at the end just left a super-bitter taste in my mouth and resulted in my making a huge sigh at its end. Oh well. Should you want a copy you can alway use MyComicShop and eBay, or you can pre-order the trade paperback at Things From Another World.
2.5 out of 5 stars.

Black Hammer #13
This comic has garnered more and more buzz whilst winning awards and all for good reason--this is one of the best books with a super-hero theme around. Whether being a bit meta with its riffing on changes in trends, or taking the time to make us truly care about this assortment of heroes stuck in a strange otherworldly place, "Black Hammer," has been a delight to read. This issue is kinda the end of the series, but it ends on a huge cliff-hanger and it has already been announced that a follow-up series is coming before too long and a spin-off series is beginning as well, so clearly these characters aren't going anywhere. It is weird to read a conclusion that isn't really the end, but, "Black Hammer," has been fantastic enough that won't be protesting us getting more of it. Grab yourself this issue at Things From Another World, eBay, or MyComicShop.
4.5 out of 5 stars.

Graveland #1
I mentioned this in The Hot Comics Revue and was finally able to read it as well! Anways, in the past I've complained in the past about comics that seem to move too slowly, and this comic is as far away from that concern as possible. This book throws-out ideas and story-elements almost too fast, but the assortment of concepts somehow manage to mesh together in a way that results in something pretty cool. Basically, giants exist and have been wrecking the planet recently. The Government has a secret program to make super-humans and sends them to fight the giants. That happens and all kinds of stuff blows-up. As I said and you can see, there are some ideas that could stand alone as their own story but this comic laughs at the idea of taking things slow. I was entertained a good deal by this book and its desire to throw things at the wall and see what sticks. I'll be checking out the next issue for sure which I believe comes out soon. You can purchase, "Graveland," at Things From Another World, on eBay or at MyComicshop.
3.5 out of 5 stars.

Punisher: The Platoon #1
I would say this book shows a lot of potential. I'd read in interview that Garth Ennis joked he tricked Marvel into letting him write one of his usual war-comics by making it about Frank Castle in Vietnam before he became the Punisher. It's funny, but also arguably quite true as outside of a framing sequence where an unseen person talks to the men who went to war with Castle this is basically the story about a Platoon of men struggling to survive in the Hell of war. That isn't to say this lacks quality however, because Ennis is one of the best writers around and his oft-collaborator Goran Parlov is an artist who excels at portraying the grit and grime of war, with the restrictive heat of the jungle practically steaming off the page. This isn't an amazing first issue, but it without a doubt was a good read and Ennis has all kinds of story-telling tricks up his sleeve for this mini-series, I would bet. You can buy a copy on eBay, at MyComicShop, or via Things From Another World.
4 out of 5 stars.

Infamous Iron Man #12
Well that was a huge let-down. I just said how the new, "Punisher: The Platoon," comic shows a lot of potential, and I kind-of recall saying that about, "Infamous Iron Man," when it first started. I perhaps should be careful when I use those words as this has turned out to be basically be 12-issues of time wasted as a Mephisto talks to us readers for a bunch of pages about how he just wanted to fuck with Dr. Doom because he thinks Doom acting like a hero is stupid. Therefore, writer Brian Michael Bendis is saying, "Oh the devil did it," to close the series. The seeming alternate-reality Reed Richard kicking-around from the Ultimate Universe? The Devil was faking that. Doom's Mother apparently coming back to life? That was the devil as well.

We basically end the series with a few cliffhangers indicating that Doom might have a child on the way and that a bunch of villians are mad at him before being told we can see what happens next with Doom apparently as a supporting character in the re-launching and re-numbered, "Invincible Iron Man #593." Were it not for the fact I really like Alex Maleev's artwork I would call this issue a complete failure, but at least it looks good. I feel like this clunker of an ending just makes the whole series feel like a big, "Gotcha," to readers, and as I just said, this was a massive let-down. You can buy a copy and see for yourself with MyComicShop, Things From Another World, or eBay.
2 out of 5 stars (thanks to the artwork).

We Learned Something
I think from these reviews we can see we maybe learned something. Namely, it is often easier to start a story than end it. There are good conclusions out there, but sometimes we get endings that feel like more of an anti-climax than anything else ("5 Kids Walk Into a Bank,") horribly disappoint us ("Infamous Iron Man #12,") or are good, but not even really endings as follow-up stories are coming soon after ("Black Hammer #13"). Oh well, perhaps the point is that sometimes its about the journey of a story than it is how it finishes? That, or just that endings are hard.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Film Friday: Terrible Reviews of Great Movies

A Fun Writing Exercise
I try to be a good writer who expresses opinions that make sense. With that in mind, how about I do the opposite and write awful reviews of good movies, absolutely trashing classics new and old--with everyone fully aware I'm doing this tongue-in-cheek? Let's begin.

The Movies
The Wizard of Oz
Goodness, where do I start with the problems with this movie? The entire plot involves this girl named Dorthy meeting a bunch of fellows with severe problems and they all hope that the titular Wizard can help them. Then, when they actually reach the macguffin that is driving the whole movie he turns out to be a big fraud and can't actually help anyone. It's a huge anticlimax and don't get me started on how the supposedly, "Good Witch," reveals to Dorthy at the end how our protagonist could have gone back home all along but was tricked into helping murder an evil ruler of a part of Oz (the Wicked Witch of the West) first. Sheer idiocy.

Jurassic Park
I really liked the opening of the movie, actually, and was excited when it looked like we would get to see how the park operated and functioned. Then they had to go and add this whole plot of an evil programmer sabotaging the park and causing it to begin descending into chaos. I personally would have been more interested in learning about everyday life in the park as opposed to dinosaurs rampaging around. At least, "Jurassic World," shows us a bit of that before it too falls into the same tropes as this stinker.
Toy Story 3
Okay, so in the first movie it was a huge struggle for some of these characters to just get across the street and now they're using the internet and just traveling all about? Also, what happened to those fun faux-outtakes Pixar used to do in their earlier films? I loved those and miss them. Epic fail.
The Godfather
Jeez, this movie is long. By the time we spend what feels like forever in Italy I was just zoning-out. Yeah, Marlon Brando is great, but when your movie feels like it is decades long even superb acting can only do so much. Also, the movie's pacing seems off at times being really dull with scene after scene of conversations before suddenly tons of overwhelming violence occurs. If this could shave an hour off its run-time maybe it would be watchable.
Citizen Kane
Almost the entirety of the movie is told in a series of flashbacks, which is so incredibly trite. Charles Foster Kane is a very difficult-to-like man and the more we learn about him the worse he sounds. Some of the supporting individuals are so much more interesting and Kane is just a bad man who desperately wants to be happy but fails at it, basically self-sabotaging so much it almost is darkly funny. At least, it would be humorous if this movie weren't so bleak and depressing.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Okay, now this is just fucking awesome. Shia LaBeouf is arguably the best young actor of our generation, the countless plot holes keep audiences guessing, and its got robots smashing stuff! Best movie ever.

Thanks Everyone!
Thank-you everybody for joining me in this little fun experiment. I hope everyone enjoys as the weather gets progressively more Fall-like!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The Abuse of Power is Never Okay AKA Harvey Weinstein is the One of the Worst Kinds of Humans

When it comes to humanity there are certain aspects of it I consider horrible, reprehensible, and otherwise among the worst kind of people. Those who murder/take the lives of others are number one on my, "Awful humans," list. Not too far removed from that however would be, "People who use their power to abuse and hurt others." It seems far, far too often that if an individual is able to acquire a lot of wealth, influence, etc. they can get away with doing terrible things either indefinitely or for a disturbingly long period of time. So, when you have someone with an incredible amount of power who is also a terrible human being a whole lot of disgusting shit can happen. Hence, Harvey Weinstein.

It has been dominating the news for about a week now, but a number of publications (which were careful to verify all their sources lest they be sued) have spent a great deal of time investigating Harvey Weinstein and good God has some shocking material come to light. Harassment of actresses such as Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow, a lot of money paid-out to silence anyone he inappropriately spoke to or touched, and audio of him that makes my skin crawl pressuring model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez to watch him take a shower whilst he claims he won't touch her and if she refuses it will ruin their friendship. He outright says he is powerful when making that request, seriously. I myself needed a shower after hearing that just to wash off the gross sensation all over my body. Oh, and he's quite possibly also a rapist.

Rose Mcgowan accused Ben Affleck on Twitter of knowing full-well that Weinstein was a sexual predator, recounting the time she told Affleck of Weintsein assaulting her.
Weinstein got away with all this for God knows how many years thanks to having a lot money, a lot of power, and a lot of men whom he worked with being willing to look the other way. A variety of male celebrities have been quick to distance themselves from this fiasco and claim they knew little-to-nothing of Weinstein's ways, but it sounds like it was an open secret in Hollywood that the man was reprehensible as opposed to some masterfully-kept secret that he was into groping and propositioning women in exchange for promises of fame and/or threats of a ruined career. The accusations that he may have outright raped a number of women when his come-ons were refused is just a logical next-step in his clear trajectory of getting sex however he could with what he had (e.g. the ability to abuse all this power).

How many times do we need to go over this, people of Earth? If you are someone who acquires a lot of money/power/influence you should under no circumstance use it in a manner that is clearly wrong. It seems obvious but also is apparently lost upon many. It isn't just men harming women too, of course. Terry Crews has shared that another man--a powerful Hollywood executive whom he declined to name--grabbed his genitals against Crews' wishes and Crews' felt powerless to do anything lest it hurt his career or he get in legal trouble for physically fighting back as he knew, "'240 lbs. Black Man stomps out Hollywood Honcho’ would be the headline the next day." I applaud Crews and all the other men and women out there for speaking-out when victimized by others trying to abuse their power.
Terry Crews has bravely shared he was a victim of sexual assault.
Everything coming to light about Harvey Weinstein shouldn't be taken to mean it was one bad apple or that this is exclusive to show business. This is a larger problem than that which afflicts countless workplaces, be they film sets, office cubicles, construction sites, or anywhere else. The sooner we realize having power doesn't mean you can take advantage of others the soon the world will be a lot better a place. Then again, when the very nation I live in will elect to the Presidency Donald Trump, a man who also admitted on tape to sexual assault, perhaps we are just doomed.-

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Marvel Teaming-Up With a Weapons-Manufacturer Was Not a Good Idea

Marvel, you done fucked-up again.

No, I'm not talking about how the company refuses to quit trying to shove the Inhumans down our throats, this is even more moronic than the beating of that dead horse. Now, as we all know Marvel will team-up with random companies sometimes (and has been doing so for a quite awhile) to promote everything from Hostess snacks to health insurance. This can mean Marvel characters appearing in television, internet, or print ads, and sometimes Marvel will even have a full-on comic that advertises a campaign, company, or product--remember when various Marvel heroes fought against cigarettes and the villainous, "Smokescreen?" Seriously, does anyone remember that? It is clear Marvel likes to partner with other companies to make money/raise awareness of issues/slowly take over all media as an arm of Disney's empire, but there is one recent partnership that raised eyebrows and a lot of ire--Marvel partnered with a company that basically makes money from selling wares of death.

I hadn't ever heard of Northrop Grumman, but apparently they are one of the largest arms-makers around, making billions on stuff like parts for Nuclear ICBMs, you know like anyone who would partner with a comic-book company does. They had a sponsorship deal with Marvel that featured a free comic where the company's superheroes teamed-up with some scientists at Northrop Grumman to fight villains, with there being some rich irony considering the heroes are working with a folk from a company that literally sells weapons of mass destruction. The idea was to promote learning science and math, Marvel claims, and also they didn't know what the sponsorship department was doing so somehow that removes any blame from the main company in this case of the left-hand needing to meet the right-hand; clearly Marvel is missing the point that it's all attached to the same metaphorical body so maybe taking some actual responsibility and just admitting this was a big mistake would be wise (that won't happen though).

As soon as people realized what Northrop Grumman was and expressed concerns to Marvel about how this was a bad look, a previously-announced panel at NYCC got itself promptly cancelled, all links to the digital comic promoting the partnership were shut-down, and I assume any physical copies of the comic were burned in a mad-panic with any that possibly escaped destruction now suddenly to become sought-after rarities. The usual bickering between people who don't think this was a big deal, people who are mad this happened in the first place, and other people just curious how to even pronounce, "Northrop Grumman," has been taking place on the good ol' Twitter and I would encourage you to not bother to look it up because when has reading Tweets ever changed your mind on an issue as opposed to just making you further entrenched in your viewpoint and enraged at all hateful people in the world? Yeah, exactly.

I personally don't care if Marvel wants to partner with a private company that makes weapons, they are a business and can work with any other business they want. The optics of it just don't look that great to so many people you would have thought in this era of strong opinions and even stronger (and louder) expressing of said opinions that someone would have thought this through. Considering the rough time Marvel has been having with, "Secret Empire," failing in an epic manner and, "Legacy," failing to excite basically anyone this was probably the last thing they needed. Therefore--as I already said--Marvel, you done fucked-up again. Plus, NYCC isn't even over--it just now is past Midnight on Sunday--Marvel has one more day to do something even more horrifically stupid if they want. Time will tell.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Almost All My Favorite Rappers Are Dead, Retired, or Having Babies with Kardashians and Jenners

Three Troubling Categories
I have talked about how I can be a whiny old man when it comes to today's popular music, hating a lot of the new stuff. That said, I still keep-up on what's hot and what's not, because I feel if you're going to talk smack about something, you should at least know it pretty well--otherwise you're just an ignorant asshole as opposed to...a know-it-all-asshole, I guess? Anyways, I was thinking about my favorite rappers from the past and present, with it occurring to me almost all of them fell into three categories, all troubling in different ways. Let's review.

Tragically Deceased

Tupac Shakur was a musical genius. Ol Dirty Bastard was probably the weirdest and wildest member of the Wu Tang Clan. Jam Master Jay was a key element of the success of Run DMC. Adam Yauch's voice always stuck-out the most to me (in a good way) on Beastie Boys Records. So many talented voices all silenced by terminal illness, drugs, or violence. It brings me so much sorrow that when I think about a lot of my favorite rap-groups that the member I liked best has passed, or that we've gone more than two decades now without Tupac on this planet. It sucks, but there really isn't anything we can do about it, is there?

Retired or Mostly Retired
Andre 3000.
Andre 3000 is a Goddamn genius but he only seems to pop-up on a record here-or-there to show it. The man knows he is the greatest rapper currently alive and realizes he doesn't have to do anything to prove it. He got bored with rapping and quit. Then we have talents like Queen Latifah and Will Smith who discovered they could make even more money just acting than doing much of any rapping.  The two men behind Clipse--No Malice and Pusha T--dissolved the group and do solo work but it just doesn't feel the same, Childish Gambino is moving more into singing than rapping as his most recent album illustrated, and Lil Wayne has threatened to quit (multiple times), which kinda sucks as he sometimes spits some solid bars.

Rappers threaten to retire to all the time without doing so, but ironically the ones I actually really like either made good on their claims of finding rap boring (Andre 3000 said it a lot before mostly stopping his raps) or just kinda stopped one day. We can't do anything about dead rappers (outside of creepy holograms) but retired ones can get back in the game...they just have to actually want to do so, and clearly lack that urge.

Having Babies with Kardashians or Jenners
Kanye West (Left) and Travis Scott (Right).
Seriously, what the fuck is going on here? I love Kanye West basically no matter what because, "The College Dropout," is a sheer masterpiece and, "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy," is ingenious as well with plenty of his other works impressing. That said, I still can't believe he married and has continued to have kids with Kim Kardashian--AKA the biggest waste of publicity I've ever seen in the world. I figured one rapper having a baby with someone in the Kardashian and Jenner crew was fluke, but now I read that Travis Scott (AKA Travi$ Scott), one of the few newer rappers I like, is having a baby with Kylie Jenner?

If something happens once it is by chance, if it happens twice it is a coincidence, three times and we have a pattern. So, if a third rapper of the increasingly small number of them I enjoy gets another one of these women pregnant (or a female rapper has a child by one of the male Kardashians or Jenners) I'll have to put my tinfoil hat on and start babbling about a conspiracy. I'm already halfway there, as this article illustrates--especially seeing as I have three categories!

The One Glorious Exception: King Kendrick
All hail King Kendrick!
Kendrick Lamar is a rapper I can't quit singing the praises of and he is without a doubt the best rapper currently alive who is willing to--you know--actually rap. As long as he stays alive, chooses to keep rapping, and doesn't knock-up Kendall or any other of those girls he will get to be my glorious exception to this troubling trend of all the rappers I love the work of being dead, retiring, or having a child with the celebrity family that to this day makes me marvel at how loosely we define, "Celebrity." I'm begging you, Kendrick, please stay healthy, stay motivated, and stay away from those Jenner and Kardashian girls!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Television Tuesday: "American Horror Story: Cult," and the Power of Fear

I previously talked about, "American Horror Story," when I had gotten into it with, "Hotel," and began watching older seasons to catch-up. It feels like it has been forever since that most recent season, (what's that? "Roanoke?" I don't recall such a miserable season ever existing) but later tonight the fifth episode will air of what has been an interesting program so far. "Cult," has focused immensely on politics, with the 2016 election serving as a backdrop for much of the season, the fear and anger that election inspired and continues to foster playing a large role. Clowns have also been involved, because if you want to scare a large number of people using clowns generally seems to do the trick.

"Cult," started out a little so-so, honestly. It was unclear how certain characters seemed to know each other and what their motivations were, the amazing Sarah Paulson was playing a shrieking stereotype of liberals and Evan Peters seemed to be up to something, but just looked like an annoying Men's Right's Activist-boosting Trump-lover. Thankfully, around the 3rd episode of the four that have aired so far it started to become apparent that the whole point of Paulson's character was that for all her liberal posturing it didn't take much effort for her to start morphing into the kind of people she claimed to despise and the fourth episode was amazing as a ton of question marks became answered and Evan Peters' character of Kai was revealed to be something much more terrifying than a bland caricature of a Trump supporter (with Peters' stellar acting help sell the role too).
Evan Peters as Kai.
Kai is someone who isn't a Trump fan per-se. He is a man who sees people have fear, and he wants to use that fear. At first it was confusing why Kai was assembling a group of people who seemed to have little in common in regards to their views, but it has grown obvious. He wants people who are afraid. Billy Eichner is always a treat in any show and his character of a gym- rainer tired of being picked-on by his boss for being gay and suffering from bankruptcy is feeling terrified at the thought he is a failure. Kai sees this and uses it to turn Eichner into a murderer. A black female reporter sick of being judged for her race and gender, full of rage and scared she will never advance at her news station becomes a follower of Kai after he removes an obstacle to her advancement (a younger, cuter, and crueler reporter). A Trump-loving Good ol' boy played by Chaz Bono of all people (whom I did not know was actually such a good actor) is horrified that as a white male who, "Loves pussy," and guns will be told he's the problem with a country he no longer thinks is going the right direction until Kai steps-in to help him, and so on and so on in a stellar fourth episode where flashing-back to the election itself puts a lot in perspective with Kai. It is only a matter of time before his little group clearly becomes the cult promised by this season's title.

The main characters were at first presented as being a married lesbian couple named Ivy and Ally (Paulson plays Ally) but with the focus being put on Kai in last week's episode it is clear that none of these people are the protagonist--the main character is fear. Whether we are witnessing how fear can paralyze us, motivate us, or be twisted by others for nefarious means, fear is the driving force of almost every character we have seen this season on, "American Horror Story," and it is a fitting focal point with just how scary the world seems right now. I'm hesitant to assign a rating to, "American Horror Story: Cult," just yet as for all I know the upcoming fifth episode tonight could continue the positive trend of quality or very well suck. I think once the season wraps I'll post an update to this article with some final thoughts, but for now I'll simply say as long as things continue getting more and more interesting this may be quite the stellar season!

Monday, October 2, 2017

Tragedy In Las Vegas--The Worst Mass-Shooting in America Ever

I am so tired of all these mass-shootings that keep happening, and it alarms me that I'm actually at the point where I'm tired of seeing news about them. Yesterday night in Last Vegas the worst mass-shooting in American history occurred when a gunman (I won't even give him the dignity of stating his name) used the large number of rifles he had acquired to shoot-out the window of his hotel room and proceed to fire upon a crowd of 20,000+ people who just wanted to enjoy a big country-music concert. More than 50 people will killed, hundreds were injured, and it is disgusting.

The shooter by all accounts was not the radar of any law enforcement agencies, had plenty of money, no affiliation with any terrorist or hate groups, and basically everyone is just dumbfounded. It is awful, terrible, and I am just so, so tired of this happening. We woke up to news about the worst mass-shooting in our nation's history and I find myself asking a question I already know the answer to, "What is going to happen?"

Nothing, nothing is going to happen.

Our politicians will offer their, "Hopes and prayers," but then far too many will prevent even the slightest efforts to explore how this could have been prevented--be it gun control, background checks, or maybe just making it so a single U.S. citizen can't legally own more deadly assault rifles than fingers we have on our hands. Meanwhile most of us will mourn all this death and injury with speeches and candlelight vigils, urging our leaders to do something while forces such as the NRA and gun-manufactures fight tooth-and-nail to stop even the most common-sense gun control. Plus, a handful of jackasses will concoct conspiracy theories blaming gay people, immigrants, saying it is a Government plot, or other idiocy. A year later we will look back at this tragedy, feel sad, and most likely despite our best efforts to the contrary, nothing will have changed barring some miraculous change in our political leaders.

The depression I feel at knowing I can cynically predict almost beat-for-beat what will occur in the coming days, weeks, and months brings me more sorrow than you can imagine. When I see the news of another mass-shooting I just feel defeated. So many of us try to argue for the most basic kinds of ways to try and prevent what happened yesterday from occurring, but as is clear from mass-shooting after mass-shooting, nothing seems to ever change. We have to work to make things better, it can't go on this way, but right now it looks like it will. Let's do what we can to change that because if we can prevent even one more mass-shooting with a few simple changes then I would hope most of us are reasonable enough to want something, anything done.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

The First Two Issues of "Mech Cadet Yu," Are A Treat to Read

I'm a fan of Greg Pak, he is a solid writer whom did a number of Marvel titles I quite enjoyed. I had not read much of his work outside of Marvel, but he and artist and oft-collaborator Takeshi Miyazawa has a new book from BOOM! titled, "Mech Cadet Yu," which has been getting so much buzz and selling well enough that it went from being a mini-series to now officially an ongoing title. In a time when many books seem to be announced as ongoing and end-up as little more than minis, it is great to see something go the other way, where the ideas of the creators strike such a nerve they are encouraged to keep going with their creation! Having now read the first two of the issues of, "Mech Cadet Yu," that have come out, I can see why people love it.

The general idea we see established in the first issue is that many years ago mechs started coming to Earth, finding humans they liked, and, "Bonded," with them in the sense they would only let those humans assist in piloting them. Decades later this process has continued to assist in the fighting of otherworldly aliens that the mechs seem to dislike as much as humans. There is a school set-up to assist promising youngsters in bonding and working with mechs. Standford Yu is not one of those students. He is a janitor with his mother and works at the school where some of the students are quite unpleasant towards him. Therefore, when a robot lands off-course and decides it wants to bond with Yu. It's an effective first issue in that is clearly lays-out the world, the characters, and makes it evident much fun is on the way.
After the first issue we follow the cadets in issue #2 as they train--and a mean cadet whose Father is also a general and whom has a human-made mech available for her usage. It is a fun read as well and at the end makes it clear that space-alien threat from long ago may be imminently returning. The issues read briskly and very entertaining, with Miyazawa's artwork doing a stellar job giving the mechs a look that is familiar yet also pleasantly otherworldly. The mechs are drawn with a fantastic fluidity when they move and the art is a stellar meshing of a somewhat manga-esque look with a Western-style as well. As I mentioned, two issues have come out of what was going to be a mini-series with four issues but which is going to be expanded, so it is still the perfect time to jump-on the book and start reading!

Also of interest, is that, "Mech Cadet Yu," will have the trade paperback collecting its first four issues released to comic-shops in January of 2018 but bookstores will have to wait until May to get copies to sell--with BOOM! saying this is a way to show appreciation to comic shops for helping make MCY a big enough hit it is now an ongoing series and such. An intriguing gesture of kindness to retailers for sure! Should you not want to wait for the trade however, as I mentioned only two issues are currently out and I would encourage you to give this book a read as I rate it a stupendous 5 out of 5 stars for each of the first two issues. You can currently buy and pre-order issues of, "Mech Cadet Yu," at Things From Another World, from MyComicShop, or via eBay.