Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Happy Birthday to my Son, Clarkson!

A year ago today my son, Clarkson, was born. He now is a whole year old and the most awesome little baby ever! He came 10 weeks early, which necessitated some time in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. He received excellent care there and upon coming home on May 11th of 2017 has continued to grow and thrive. Clarkson loves listening to music, eating snack-puffs, and people-watching--he is always interested in looking at everyone in a room anytime we go anyplace busy like a restaurant or grocery store. He greatly enjoys playing, "Peek-a-boo," and has almost mastered standing at his activity tables, only needing someone to catch him occasionally when he leans too far left, right, or backwards.

Anytime he talks in his baby-babble it is fun to try and figure out what may be an intentional word--"Mama, " and, "Dada," seem to happen often, and what is just an accident--one time when he was watching us sort clothes and put things on hangars we could swear he intentionally said, "Hanger," even though it came out as, "" Clarkson is just an amazing guy and my wife and I love him so much. There was a lot of stress when he was born early, but any sadness or anxiety was worth the amazing child we have today. Clarkson was my baby of the year in 2017 and I know he will continue to amaze and impress as he grows into an awesome dude.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

I'm Excited for the STL Comics Winter 1 Day on Sunday!

If you were to walk up to me and ask, "Hey David, what's your favorite comic-con?" I would first say, "Who are you and what are you doing in my driveway?" and then say, "Well, that's a simple question with a complex answer." You see, I love the Toyman show which is a bit more toy-focused and does have comics, but it isn't officially a comic-con per-se however, it is more of a awesome and occasional show, so it can't be included in that question. Also, when it comes to my favorite show that happens once a year I adore the Saint Louis Comic-Con that occurs in June too. My favorite show that happens twice a year and where I actually end up doing the most buying of comics every time however? That is without a doubt both the Winter 1 Day and Summer 1 Day put on by STL Comics.

I think I get the most purchases done at the STL Comics cons because they manage to cram so many vendors of awesome merchandise into their events. STL Comics is a fully comic (and toy)-focused show that is proud of how unlike some cons out there you won't find yourself harassed by people trying to sell you Lasik surgery (I enjoyed Wizard World this year, but those people were pushy). It also is fantastic because the entry fee is an inexpensive 5 dollars (kids 10 and under are free) and parking is free--so you can focus your funds towards all the rad comics and toys!

The Winter 1 Day this year will have such special guests as Joe Staton, Mike DeCarlo and Rick Burchett plus more, and a ton of fantastic comics and toys for sale--seriously, I cannot emphasize enough how much good stuff I always find at the STL Comics shows. It is this upcoming Sunday, March 4th, and goes from 10AM-5PM at the Holiday Inn located at 10709 Watson Road, Saint Louis, MO, 63127. I plan to be there and hope you will be too!

Sunday, February 25, 2018

"Previews" Magazine is Gonna Make some Big Changes

The Joy of Ordering Comics
Diamond Comic Distributors publishes and distributes almost all comics, and "Previews," is the magazine published by Diamond every month that contains all the comics coming out in about 60 days for comic shops to pre-order. Due to a bunch of mergers and bankruptcies back in the late 1990's Diamond Comic Distributors essentially have a legal monopoly on the comic-book publishing and distribution business. Therefore, if you have a comic-book that you have any hope of being in comic-book stores, you gotta be in, "Previews." At a recent big retailer comic-event known as Comicspro a whole bunch of changes were announced to Previews that might have a big impact on a variety of things. Let's break down the four biggest changes:

Change is A-Coming
DC is getting its own mini-magazine
For some time Marvel has had their own dedicated mini-magazine for, "Previews," separate from the main book. Starting in May of 2018, DC is going to do this as well. This means if you want to look at everything coming-out in the near future you now will be juggling the main, "Previews," magazine, the Marvel booklet, and a DC booklet--and, "Image+," if you want to spring for that sampler-publication. It thankfully isn't wasting more paper ("Previews," can be the size of a small phone-book) because DC is essentially just shifting their pages from within the main magazine to their own booklet. Still, it does make me scratch my head as to how this really benefits anyone. After all, if you buy the main magazine you get the booklets for free, and many comic stores will give customers, "Previews," for free anyways if you order enough stuff. I suppose somebody thought DC going to its own booklet was smart however, so that is what shall occur.

BOOM! Studios and Dynamite will be Premier Publishers
Premier Publishers are comic-book companies that have enough sales and market-share to be in the front of, "Previews," magazine and get their own fancy sections. DC was one of these premier publishers along with Dark Horse, Image, and IDW, but now with their moving to a separate booklet the premier section shall look pretty light. At least, it would except for the fact that it will be getting not one, but two new premier publishers. BOOM! Studios has often been noted for getting a lot of market-share, at times even outselling other premier publishers. Therefore, it is a no-brainer that they will now be at the front of the magazine, which they proudly announced in a speech.

Dynamite is another strong force in the comic-field and will be gaining Premier status as well, which makes sense. Besides perhaps Fantagraphics and Valiant, that is essentially all the big-dogs in comic-book creation now at the front of the magazine or in their own booklet. If you already read books from these folk nothing will be affected besides their placement in the magazine, but theoretically it will help attract newer readers who skip flipping-through the back-end of the magazine.
One manga publisher who will most likely be moving sections.
Manga will have it own section (again)
Once upon a time manga-specific publishers had their own section in, "Previews," but that ended. With manga seeming to be very popular once more however it will yet again have its own special area within, "Previews," with, "Comics, Graphic Novels, and Print," being their own merged thing. Again, this isn't too big of a change for people who already read manga or completely ignore it, but theoretically (there's that word once more) it could increase those hypothetical and ever-so-hard-to-actually-find new readers.
Online Pull Lists
This isn't something that will affect the magazine directly, but is more of a concept that will grow out of the magazine. Basically, Diamond will have an online service call, "Pullbox," which will allow consumers to tell their comic shop exactly what they want through the internet and then the stores will have it ordered and sent to them, if I understand correctly. Many comic stores currently have their own methods of doing pull-lists, be it a website they run, having customers simply email them orders, and so forth. Supposedly this will streamline things and allow retailers to keep easier track of what customers want. It will be free for customers, but if retailers want to use it they have to cough-up the cash to Diamond for whatever prices are, "Announced later."

If this were utterly free to everyone from the kindness of Diamond's heart (heh, a corporation that cares about people, could you imagine?) I could see it being popular, but essentially forcing retailers to use your digital comic-ordering system that you're going to attempt to make customers all excited about in order to have them pressure shops just seems kind of extortionist in style--"Nice bunch of customers you have here, we made them really like this 'Pullbox' service we announced. It would be a real shame if they left your shop for one that's willing to pay us for it." Personally, it sounds like a lot of effort to me for a customer and retailer, so I'm going to continue just emailing my shop what I want or simply verbally telling them when I stop by their store or make an uninvited jaunt into their house to eat their porridge because if Goldilocks can break-and-enter without any consequences why can't I?

Unclear Outcomes
Will all of these changes be for better, for worse, or have relatively no impact on the market of comic-books? I don't know, and if I did I would probably be a pretty popular market-speculator. I'm not though, because I have zero clue how this could all turn out. I just hope things go well, because I want the comic-market to be successful as someone who obviously loves comics. That, or this monopoly will be the death of the comic-book industry eventually and it'll go down in mightily impressive flames as publishers scream, "Noooo, buy our lenticular variants, please!" I'm gonna try to be optimistic tho.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Film Friday: Black Panther

On Sunday my wife and I were able to go see, "Black Panther," in theaters as her Mother was kind enough to watch Clarkson for a bit. We had an amazing time and as the movie has been out for a week now I thought now would be a good time to post a spoiler-laden review, as most folk have by now seen it or don't mind spoilers at this point, I assume (otherwise, quickly look away from this post). Let's begin discussing the movie, shall we?

The first thing I want to get out of the way is that this is one of the best Marvel movies ever, but not the best Marvel flick. I'd say the title of, "Best Marvel Movie," is a tie between the original, "Avengers," and, "Captain America: Civil War," but this is damn near close to the top, living up to all the incredible hype and expectations that surrounded it. With such a huge opening weekend last week, a killer soundtrack that is selling well, and great reviews from critics and theater-goers alike, I don't want to ever hear anyone claim that a movie with a black lead and/or a predominantly minority cast can't make money. Director Ryan Coogler has made two other great films ("Fruitvale Station," and, "Creed,") but clearly the third time is a charm with this being his latest masterpiece.
Carefully plotted and full of wonderful imagery, characterization, and some genuinely surprising plot elements, "Black Panther," is as lush-looking as it is smart and clever. It is of course a Marvel film but besides covering some key elements of, "Civil War," and the fact that Andy Serkis' villainous character, Klaue, briefly was in the 2nd Avenger's film, this mostly stands quite alone nicely, with only the 2nd end credit scene with Bucky AKA the Winter Solider, obviously being in there to help set some foundation for how he'll most likely help defend Wakanda from Thanos in the upcoming, "Avengers: Infinity War." Also, as fun as it can be to have an Infinity Stone pop-up in nearly every Marvel film, I was honestly a little glad we didn't see one here.

"Black Panther," is an incredible film, but interestingly enough some of the supporting cast deserves much of the credit for this, with Chadwick Boseman doing a stellar job as King T'Challa/The Black Panther, but Michael B. Jordan basically stealing the show as the villainous-but-somewhat-understandably-so Erik Killmonger. Besides Loki the Marvel films have at times struggled to have good bad-guys, but Jordan's Killmonger fits the bill spectacularly. He does terrible things, but the scary part is some of what he says makes perfect sense. He sees a world where people of his skin color suffer under oppression and is disgusted at Wakanda isolating itself and hiding away technology that could make a stark difference. He is an awful person, but he had some atrocious things done to him which resulted in how he turned out. You really feel some sympathy for the guy when he has his vision from the heart-shaped herb and cries about the death of his Father due to his Uncle--e.g. T'Challa's papa, killing him (in defense of someone else, sure, but it still is a tragic scene when we witness it). Jordan is an amazing talent who needs to be considered an A-list actor as roles such as this prove.
M'Baku is also a wonderful addition to the movie, taking a long-troubling stereotypical Marvel character known as, "Man-Ape," and turning him into a introspective and complex person, as opposed the racially-troubling African super-villain in an ape-suit (no, seriously). Much of the credit for this is due to actor Winston Duke, who infuses the role with as much humanity as he does humor and impressive physicality--this man is tall and muscular for sure! Lupita Nyong'o is also astounding as a member of the King's royal guard who knows how to handle weaponry better than anyone else. Her mixture of stern statements and sly humor elevates the role of, "Bodyguard for the King," to something really special.

"Black Panther," is a stellar movie, has made a ton of money, and hopefully signifies a change in how studios often discount films that star mostly people of color as not being worth the effort due to the possibility of a supposedly low return on their investment. Marvel invested plenty into, "Black Panther," and is gonna get the money back to a huge degree. "Black Panther," may not be the best Marvel movie ever, but it is a damn fine one and required viewing for anyone who likes Marvel flicks, hero-movies, or masterful film-making in general.
5 out of 5 stars.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Many Thanks to Knowlan Photography for Our Awesome Family Pictures!

I will of course sometimes talk about local things I greatly enjoy, be they a stellar restaurant or our local toy and comic shows. Therefore, I wanted to take some time to sing the praises of Courtney Knowlan of Knowlan Photography who did an amazing job taking pictures of our family recently!
Originally our plan was to have newborn pictures, but of course Clarkson came 10 weeks prematurely. Therefore, as we near his first birthday we decided to do some pictures to celebrate his being almost a year old! Mrs. Knowlan was an absolute pleasure to work with and captured a number of stellar pictures of my wife, Clarkson, and myself.
Mrs. Knowlan was very easy to work with, giving clear directions about how to get the best possible picture, and came equipped with a variety of tools--as well as toys to keep Clarkson's attention while we took photos! She also was happy to utilize the props we brought such as the in the above picture where we have Clarkson posing with a cute toy cake.
I just wanted to thank Mrs. Knowlan again for being so incredible and encourage everyone else in the Saint-Louis/Eastern Missouri/Western Illinois region to consider hiring her for everything from wedding pictures, to family portraits, or whatever else you need! Knowlan Photography can be found at this website or contacted via Facebook.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Marvel is Re-Launching...Again. Meh.

Hey you, remember how not too long ago Marvel had that big, "Marvel Legacy," re-launch that was an utter mess to make sense of between confusing, "Legacy numbering," and stupid cover-ordering schemes? Well, Marvel feels it is time for yet another, "Fresh Start," and now Marvel will have basically done seven re-launches in the past five years. So, yeah, that's a thing that is now happening. Honestly, I'll probably just read the small number of Marvel titles I still enjoy as long as they aren't cancelled/too heavily retooled and completely ignore any supposed big-deal events or story-lines coming from this latest desperate attempt to boost sales. Right now details are minimal outside of how we will be getting more #1 issues such with, "Avengers," which will apparently be condensed down to one book as opposed to a whole bunch of Avengers-related titles like we've had at times.

The one thing about this news that pleases me? In the above promo image you clearly can see one of the Ghost Riders somewhat prominently featured, which adds fuel to the fire of the rumor I shared that Marvel has big plans for the character of Ghost Rider (and the various human avatars that have possessed it) in the near future. That just makes me happy to see that some scuttlebutt I was told could be truthful and not just empty bragging/drunken ranting from the people I harass for exciting news and rumors. Other than that however, this news just makes me shrug indifferently. It's funny to think how Marvel's movies are just doing gangbusters right now, and the comics are essentially stagnating. I mean, it's funny in a really depressing way, not ha-ha funny.

Monday, February 19, 2018

"Out of Nothing," and, "Dalston Monsterzz," Are Two Stellar New Titles from NoBrow

NoBrow's Got Good Stuff
I of course greatly enjoy the titles that come out from Nobrow. For a good deal of time their press person was none other than Tucker Stone, but he actually left the position a bit ago to take over running The Comics' Journal and further pursue his taxidermy business (their slogan is, "You shoot em' we stuff em'). Hannah Moushabeck took over the position of directing press after surviving the traps I assume Tucker left at Nobrow to decapitate anyone who dared to take over the job, and Geoffrey Lapid is now the marketing manager. Both were kind enough to send me some titles they thought I might like based on what I've reviewed before from Nobrow. This resulted in my reading of, the recently-released and soon-to-be-released books "Out of Nothing," and, "Dalston Monsterzz," which are both very different, but equally enjoyable reads. Let's review them, shall we?

Out of Nothing
Daniel Locke and David Blandy basically give us a snapshot view of the entirety of the universe's history in a bit under 250 pages. From the birth of said universe, to caveman times, the Manhattan Project, the discovery of DNA, and early instances of sampling in Hip-Hop, they really cover a lot of ground. The basic concept is to show how all throughout time amazing things have happened that seem to come, "Out of nothing." So much amazing stuff has formed as an idea, much as how the basest molecules link us all together. Whether we are remixing DNA or rap beats, we continue to alter and synthesize the world in fascinating ways, much how our Universe formed through its own changing and remixing of forms until life sprung into existence on Earth.

It sounds like a really heavy concept, but thanks to great illustrations and an optimistic narrative things don't get too crazy or complex, with the book never feeling like it is talking-down to readers so much as encouraging us to marvel at how even the seemingly simplest things are more intricate than we'd ever imagine. It is a great read and I appreciate the back-matter at the end of recommended reading to learn more about all the subjects briefly touched-upon at various points in the book.
5 out of 5 stars.

Dalston Monsterzz
Written and illustrated by Dilraj Mann, his art style is very unique, with the only other comic illustrator I can even think of him slightly resembling maybe being Jonny Negron in that they both excel at drawing fully-figured women with expressive faces. Otherwise, Mann stands completely alone in his art and that would be sad if he sucked, but as he's stellar that is an impressive thing indeed. "Dalston Monsterzz," is about East London as it is increasingly gentrified, and the impact this has on minority residents and disaffected youth. Also, the city literally has monsters running around--a fantastical element that actually compliments the serious and realistic stuff quite well.

Within the story it is clear the monsters are just another resource that the rich and powerful want to utilize whilst the youth want to keep them free and independent. The actual monsters of the story could be a metaphor for almost anything that starts out rebellious and cool before co-operated by commercial interests and corrupted beyond any recognizable form. The monsters within the story are gorgeously illustrated and while the story at first seems like a simple, "Rescue our kidnapped friend/boyfriend from the evil businessman," the socio-political aspects of the story and some intriguing last-minute twists keep things interesting--and as I said, Dilraj Mann has an amazing artistic style I could stare at all day.
5 out of 5 stars.

Exciting Upcoming Titles!
"Out of Nothing," came out on 2/2/18 and can be found in all quality book and comic shops; "Dalston Monsterzz," can be purchased as of 3/5/18, so not too far in the future! I myself loved both books and for sure would recommend picking them up. Over these years NoBrow has continued to create quite the catalog of excellent titles, and these two new books show that trend is only continuing!

Note: NoBrow supplied copies of these books for the purposes of review, with it always understood I will express my honest opinion. They generally are wise enough to send me stuff they know I will like, however.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

I'm Sorry, but the Latest Run of, "Moon Knight," is Just Bad

I love the character Moon Knight. An alter-ego of Marc Spector (along with Steven Grant and Jake Lockely), when he is written well it can result in some stellar stories. When he is written poorly it can be pretty lame. Right now Max Bemis is writing the comic with Jacen Burrows on art, and sadly the comic is really letting me down.

First off, let me say that Jacen Burrows is supplying amazing artwork and should only receive praise for how great a job he is doing illustrating the current, "Moon Knight," comic. His drawing is as crisp, clear, and high-quality as ever. In other words, Bemis basically gets the full blame for this comic really being mediocre. It started-out pretty strong, with the debut issue #188 (yeah, Marvel's stupid Legacy renumbering is a pain), but has gone downhill from there. The comic seemed like it might be clever and moody, but then it just started doing weird little jokes, confusing plot-points, and otherwise just When I see Spector's arch-nemesis of Bushman I expect to be scared, not find him like comic-relief. The random introduction of Spector having a child with his longtime flame Marlene that he doesn't know about because it was his Jake Lockely side is just a weird plot twist as well that doesn't jell with how the concept of Spector, "Being," different people usually goes. It just all feels like a bad first draft of a, "Moon Knight," comic with some good bits but a whole lot of terrible stuff too.
The badly-hurt villain called himself, "The Truth," so I guess that's a pun...yah?
I know some people are enjoying Bemis' work on the book and I've liked stuff I've read by him before too ("Oh Killstrike," was stellar). I just would rather be reading something at the quality-level of the old Moench stuff, the decade-ago Huston stuff, or the really recent and great Warren Ellis stuff than what we are getting right now. At least the artwork is great.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Fuck the 2nd Amendment

I took some time and mulled over many ways to respond to the tragedy in Florida. Someone committed a mass-shooting at a school and everyone is doing the usual thing of offering thoughts and prayers while refusing to take any real action. When this exact same thing has happened before I post politely-worded posts about gun control, try to gently argue with people who foolishly think more guns will help, point-out how how politicians are in the pocket of the NRA, and basically use logic. I'm done doing that. Trying to be nice with people who value guns and this false ideal of,  "Firearms=Liberty," more than human life is pointless.

Therefore, I simply have one long sentence to say: Fuck the 2nd Amendment, fuck trying to be reasonable with these people who cling to how outdated and irrelevant it is now, and repeal it so cowards can't hide behind it when we want to implement even the simplest safety measures.

Oh, and before you accuse me of, "Politicizing a tragedy," try to claim you can magically guess what our forefathers were thinking before guns became as powerful as they are today, or otherwise argue with me via some other bullshit claim, fuck you too.

It's harsh language, but I'm done being nice, done trying to be reasonable, and if you motherfuckers are so scared the government is going to come take your guns that you buy 50 of them and start a militia (which is a fancy word for, "White-person terrorist group), than you probably should have the government come take your guns away. Look at every other nation and then look at us, we lag behind in healthcare, education, and all the good stuff, but boy-howdy do we lead in gun violence and mass-shootings. That isn't something to be proud of.

The constitution is a living document, it evolves and changes with our times, let's actually do something for once.

The Middle of February? This Calls For Some Assorted News and Links!

Halfway There
It's the middle of February, give or take a couple days in this shorter month. By this point I hope you've awakened from a sugar-coma relating to any candy you ingested on Valentine's Day and that you're ready for some quality news and links!

Interesting Stuff
The only good thing about Groundhog Day is the movie inspired from it.
At the start of February we have the moronic so-called holiday of Groundhog Day, where more people in America seem to believe a rodent can predict the weather than scientists warning us about global warming. Everytime it is Groundhog Day I feel sorry for those critters in various towns being harassed so that people can pull them out of a burrow and hold them high to check for a shadow. I always say how it would be funny if a Groundhog fought back, and this year one apparently did decide he was fed-up. In other words, the Groundhogs are rebelling. Be afraid.

Video-games of course have soundtracks, and sometimes they will license songs for them. This article claims that, "Grand Theft Auto: Vice City," had the best licensed soundtrack of all time, and you know what? I can get behind that statement 100%.

Newsarama has published one of their rare good articles, observing how the television/Netflix/Hulu-side of Marvel seem more and more removed from the movie-side in terms of supposedly existing in the same continuity.

Not pictured: When your house gains sentience and tries to kill you
Trying to make our homes, "Smart," just can make more work for us, as this articles discusses. It may be true, but I still kind of want an Amazon Echo/Alexa. I just hope things don't turn weird like in that old Disney movie, "Smart House," where the home goes crazy.

This piece perfectly summarizes why, "Jackass," had a weird charm to it and all of today's Youtube "pranksters," suck. On, "Jackass," the guys were the butt of the joke, but idiots like the Paul brothers just try to make everyone else the victim of their own so-called humor.

For those less familliar with Christopher Priest, this article serves a great primer for those wanting to learn more about him and get into his amazing body of work.

As this insightful editorial observes, North Korea could beat the United States in one way--they make
peace with South Korea.

You know, Netflix kind of shot itself in the foot in regards to, "Altered Carbon," with their latest stunt using a "Cloverfield," film as a surprise-release.

Matt Sigur has an argument I fully agree with, that, "Blade," doesn't get enough credit and respect for how it is a stellar movie, is arguably the first, "Marvel," flick (let's ignore the horrible, "Howard the Duck,"), and stars a black protagonist in the form of the great Wesley Snipes which these days still seems rare for a hero-flick--at least until, "Black Panther," hopefully makes a ton of money and inspires more diversity in hero flicks. Then again, if those rumors I talked about yesterday come true, we may see more, "Blade," in the near future.

Spinner racks returning to comic stores sounds fun, with them used in combination with shelves and because they look cool. The thing is I've actually already seen them still used at comic stores in other states and here in Saint Louis at such quality establishments as Dark Side Comics and Games, so I guess it isn't so much spinner racks, "Coming back," as it is being spotlighted?

I do love video-games, even if I haven't been able to play them as much lately. That said, they really do often demonize overweight/"Fat," people a lot, don't they?

I am sorry to end on a depressing note, but it bears pointing-out that our President, Donald Trump, wants to end student loan forgiveness and turn nutrition-aid programs into a low-budget version of, "Blue Apron," to supposedly save money whilst also spending millions on planning a military parade--plus, he is totally in the pocket of the NRA as his response to the recent Florida high school mass-shooting illustrates. That is a sentence I never would have imagined writing some years ago, and it saddens me immensely that the world is like that now. Clearly, we need to fight this monstrosity of an administration through everything from using our voice, to contacting our politicians, and of course voting.

Enjoy The Rest of the Month
I won't miss this kind of weather.
As February continues and draws to a close hopefully the weather will warm up as our days get longer. I hope anyone going to see, "Black Panther," for its premiere weekend has a great time--I'll be going with my wife on Sunday!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

3 Completely Unfounded Rumors/Pieces of Speculation I've Heard About Disney and Marvel

The Olde Rumor Mill
I am not a huge name in the world of blogging about popular culture. That said, I have been around for over six years and have enough connections/acquaintances that I sometimes hear scuttlebutt which occasionally turns out to be true--but also a lot of the time was just a baseless rumor. With that said, I've been told certain things by certain people often enough that I thought I would share three things I've had mentioned to me. I have zero evidence to back-up any of this as being truthful besides that the people who shared this info claimed it was golden. Interestingly, all of these involve Disney/Marvel, which may be because lately Disney and Marvel have had a lot of people leaving or joining amongst various departments with loose lips helping spring some leaks of the metaphorical Disney ship!

Disney is Quitting Funko to Do Their Own Thing
Disney Wants to Buy-Out Funko
I've heard both of these, with the first one being talked-about a lot more but also the one I feel is less likely. The story goes that Disney of course hates having to share profits, and that is why they sometime create their own thing (like how they'll be making a streaming service). Disney therefore would rather just have their own line of stuff that they make a pure profit from instead of licensing the rights to Funko. I personally think the less-discussed but more likely second option makes more sense. After all, Disney will make their own stuff, but they also are great at buying things, such as their recent acquisition of Fox to get back more Marvel properties and other useful IPs

Seriously, Disney loves to buy-out people (just ask George Lucas) and Funko is currently a publicly-traded company. I could picture Disney trying to get a majority share in Funko seeing as there are currently so many deals in place for everything from Disney's main catalog, to Pixar, Marvel, etc. that outright pulling-out of Funko would be horrifically messy. Buying majority-control of Funko though? Yeah, that sounds plausible.

Ghost Rider is Coming Back in a Big Way
This is one of those things where I could see pieces of this being true, all of it, or none of it. Essentially, Marvel and its owner, Disney, have been working hard at possibly creating a line of supernatural-themed projects which could either become a part of Netflix, Disney's upcoming streaming service, or more Marvel Cinematic Universe films. Picture a team like the Avengers with more horror-styled characters such as Ghost Rider, Werewolf By Night, and the like.

There was that whole, "Dark Universe," idea that Universal had with horror properties that now is dead on arrival so Marvel senses an opening thanks to all the blood in the water after the Tom Cruise-led "Mummy," movie flopped. Seeing as Marvel got the rights to Ghost Rider back some time ago and is doing so well with their more sci-fi properties such as, "Guardians of the Galaxy," they figure the soil is ripe to extend their heroics more into the field of horror now that Universal clearly ain't gonna do it and Ghost Rider could very well lead the way. Speaking of supernatural heroes...
Blade is Tentatively Getting Rebooted
Back when Marvel got their Ghost Rider rights returned they also acquired Blade again. What I've been told is that all this popular buzz for, "Black Panther," and how it clearly is going to be a smash-hit has Marvel thinking about other black heroes they could utlize, and considering how the original, "Blade," movies were big why not reboot it and use that as a way to get some diversity in a potential supernatural-heroes grouping? They already supposedly have Ghost Rider stuff in motion and it would be easy to tack-on a Blade stinger to whatever gets made and go from there growing the Marvel-horror brand. Sadly, I was unable to get any confirmation if Wesley Snipes would have a role or even maybe get a cameo, but I personally would like that.

That's the Possible Scoop...or Total Poop
The three things I just shared are what I've overheard, been told in confidence, gotten out of liquored-up creators and vendors at cons, etc. All of this could turn out to be 100% true, or everything could be one big falsehood. I just thought it would be fun to tell you all some of the rumors. Take this article with a huge grain of salt, but feel free to daydream about what a Disney-owned Funko might do, or how cool a supernatural Avengers-ish team could be with Ghost Rider, Blade, and all the other horror characters from Marvel.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Happy Valentine's Day/A Short List of Three Sex-Positive Comics

About the Love
Valentine's Day may have become more of an excuse for companies to make money off cards, flowers, chocolate, and other stuff, but at its heart it is about the love we feel for each other. It doesn't have to be the love of two romantic partners, but it can be the love between friends, the love we have for our pets, etc. That said, a lot of the focus of Valentine's Day is on romance and what medical doctors describe as, "Boning." When it comes to comic-books however they often can struggle with the idea of romance and physical intimacy, with violence being something we often see in our funnybooks (a comic could be rated as suitable for all-ages and have arms being ripped-off) but the act of making love only hinted at in all but the most, "Mature-reader," type books. There are some sex-positive titles out there however, with some more informational and others more porny. Here is a really brief list of three sex-positive comics now...

Three Sex-Positive Comics
Chester 500 XYV
I actually discussed the first book that was published in this series and loved it. Another book has come out since of this title that originally began as a web-comic by the talented Jess Fink. The first volume follows a couple where the scientist-husband invents a robot to be physical with his wife as he is busying doing science-work. He however gets jealous once the robot becomes sentient and falls in love with his wife, but things do work out, so don't worry. It sounds really dry and technical but Fink's wonderful illustrations make the story extremely fun. I own the second volume but haven't read it--I am excited for when I find the time to do so, however!

Small Favors
For quite some time if someone wanted to seek-out this great comic by Colleen Coover they had to scour eBay or shortboxes at comic shops. Thankfully, Oni Press republished the whole series under their Limerence line and now everyone can enjoy this all-female story of mystical powers, great humor, and lots of erotic sex. I've spoken with Ms. Coover before about how enjoyable this comic is, so you know I'd recommend it!

Oh Joy Sex Toy
This series by a couple Matthew Nolan and Erika Moen began as a web-comic before it too was picked-up by the Limerence line and has had multiple books published about sex, relationships, and how a couple can optimize their happiness in and out of the bedroom. Again, it all sounds kind of dry but the awesome artwork and stellar humor make it a fun series!

Have a Great Day!
I know there are many, many other sex-positive comics out there on the stands or found online, but I thought a short list of three titles was a good place to start. I encourage you to have a wonderful Valentine's Day, whether you are celebrating romantic love, the love of friendship, or self-love (take that statement however you want). Whatever the case, the day after today is always a great time to get some highly-discounted chocolates!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Television Tuesday: Celebrity Big Brother is Watchable but Lacks the Regular Show's Addictive Spark

I love the regular, "Big Brother," program that runs on CBS every Summer. I have made a blog post basically every season about how while there are silly challenges and dumb bits, the social experiment of all these strangers stuck in a house isolated from the outside world almost always is fascinating. It makes people's true nature come out and that can result in seasons where everyone is actually weirdly calm, nice, and understanding, as well as seasons where people are complete and total monsters to one another.

When you're stuck in the Big Brother house for up to three months it isn't uncommon for paranoia to become the number one emotion in the house. There is a lot of money up for grabs (half a million dollars) and these are ordinary people who could really use that kind of scratch. It makes for good television. Unfortunately, the first-ever season of, "Celebrity Big Brother," in America (they've had versions in other countries) loses much of the best elements of regular, "Big Brother," and becomes something watchable, but far less entertaining than you would hope.

Ross is hilarious!
A friend of mine said about, "Celebrity Big Brother," how, "I think it's pretty boring...but I still want to watch." We discussed how this was probably out of our habit of enjoying, "Big Brother," and it's true. Even though it isn't as interesting right now, it still is kind of fun and like a nice junk food for the mind in-between watching the Olympics. Why is it like this though? Well, the things that made, "Big Brother," so intriguing are basically made moot by the celebrity version. The money is only $250,000 because the celebrities don't really need it, and most would probably donate it to a charity unless they're a jerk. They are in the house for just three weeks instead of three months, so we can't expect them to get too stir-crazy as well. Lastly, they aren't going to act too much of a fool because bad press is the last thing some of them want.

To the credit of CBS and, "Big Brother," these actually are celebrities on, "Big Brother," for the most part in that I've heard of them and/or follow their work. We've got Mark McGrath from Sugar Ray, Ross Matthews who is known for his appearances on comedy programs, Metta World Peace (the man formerly known as Ron Artest who had that infamous NBA event when...well, you know. Shannon Elizabeth is there, some other folk, and the wringer-guest, Omarosa (yes, that Omarosa). Then there are people I never heard of like a guy named James from an old teenage boy-band. Everyone is getting along pretty well but there is still some strategy and backstabbing, hence it being watchable. Plus, Mark and Ross are hilarious and Omarosa makes a good villain even if she seems more mellow since whatever horrors she witnessed at the Trump White House. Still, so much of the usual elements that make it, "Big Brother," are missing.

Omarosa has been spilling a lot of interesting tidbits about the White House.
She's still a terrible person though.
One thing that is superior to the usual show is how with this being an expedited season there are more episodes more often and things actually happen quickly. We had the premiere Wednesday, an episode Thursday, a two-hour show Friday, one Sunday, and now yesterday. As opposed to the usual, "Big Brother," which can have some days that feel like filler, lots of stuff is always happening in this sped-up run. I almost wish that in the Summer CBS just did a bunch of different, "Big Brother," households in quick succession so things stayed interesting. You may be saying, "Wait, David, haven't you spent most of this article bitching about how longer seasons result in more drama and now you say you like it shorter? Aren't you being hypocritical?" My answer to that is yes, yes I am, because I want my cake and to eat it too.

"Celebrity Big Brother," is not as fascinating to watch as the regular, "Big Brother," but still is worth consuming. I'm enjoying it to a reasonable degree, and the speedy pace is good. If you've never watched, "Big Brother," and the celebrities have caught your attention, it's a good way to dip your toe into the series. If you do normally watch, "Big Brother," it is different for sure, but still decent. I'm more and more excited for when the regular version returns this Summer however.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Rant-Reviews--Stuff I Wanted to Write About

Spurred Some Writing
Sometimes I will read a comic and not have much to say besides if I enjoyed it or not. Other times I have a number of thoughts I feel like sharing. I recently read these books and found they all made me want to at least say a chunk of something about them, so let's roll with it and do a batch of reviews!

The New Stuff
Michael Cray #4
Spinning-out of the first arc of "The Wild Storm," I have been really enjoying, "Michael Cray," so far. It seems to be following a bit of a routine of taking popular DC heroes and presenting them in a more twisted and evil version that Cray and his team have to confront. It's been clever and fascinating to see such wild designs of folk like Oliver Queen, Barry Allen, and Arthur Curry, with the book taking full advantage of how this is based in the new Wildstorm-verse and is of course removed from the main DCU (the whole merging of the worlds basically fell apart, didn't it?), allowing weird stuff like what we've witnessed.

It hasn't been too clear how some of these plot elements will relate back into, "The Wild Storm," but I don't mind as since this split-off from the main title it has been its own stellar little story. Michael Cray is a fascinating fellow who isn't just a skilled agent, but very sad and empathetic. He carries a solo title well and I'm eager to see what other murderous and imposing versions of DC heroes he comes up against in future issues!
5 out of 5 stars.

Motherlands #1
Look, I usually love Si Spurrier as a writer, but this new title from Vertigo (yes, that line does still exist) is a confusing mess. It has something to do with alternate universes, bounty-hunters, the entertainment industry, long-lost brothers, and I was just completely lost. I imagine Spurrier has some idea of where he's taking this, but I was just left scratching my head at the majority of this book. It still had some decent jokes and I understood a tiny bit, so it wasn't all bad. Still, talk about a really underwhelming start.
2 out of 5 stars.

Blind Justice #2
I feel like this book was delayed forever, as it is the last of the first, "Season," of the All-Time Comics that Fantagraphics put out. That said, it is a well-written and gorgeous book. I know some people didn't really like the whole throwback theme Fantagraphics had going with these books but I loved them and personally am immensely excited for when more issues come out in, "Late 2018," as the back of the book promises. This issue follows the titular, "Blind Justice," as he dons his heavy protective equipment to go fight a serial killer. It also furthers the overall, "All-Time Comics," plot with this being I believe the sixth issue released under that banner. It's more pulpy fun, which sums-up what these comics have been overall too.
3.5 out of 5 stars,

Twisted Romance #1
A four-part weekly anthology from Image Comics coming out in honor of how February is a month of love in all kinds of wild forms, this series of, "Twisted Romance," lives up to its name in the contents of the first issue already. Alex de Campi writes and Katie Skelly illustrates a stellar short piece about literally heartless people who basically make a business out of their ability to siphon life from people. It's delightfully strange and Skelly's stellar art abilities mesh perfectly with de Campi's darkly humorous writing. There also is a solid prose piece about supernatural creatures and a super-abstract comic on the opposite side of the book (you flip it around and upside-down). Alex and Katie's story is for sure the main attraction here, however, and boy is it a great star for the first issue to get people interested in future ones!
4.5 out of 5 stars.

Jessica Jones #16
Brian Michael Bendis is of course leaving Marvel for DC, but has to wrap-up some stories he's been doing before some of the books end and others are handed-over to other writers. Jessica Jones has always arguably been his baby (besides his, "Ultimate Spider-Man," works), a character he created for the first-ever comic under Marvel's line of, "MAX," comics with the title, "Alias." It was an amazing comic and Jones popped-up in other books afterwards, getting married to Luke Cage and having a child with him named Danielle, but the book truly recently returned when Bendis did this series with original,"Alias," artist Michael Gaydos. The title was of course changed as since the, "Alias," comic existed there was that television show with Jessica Garner of the same name, and the Netflix show which drew from the comics was simply titled, "Jessica Jones," as well. Anyways, all this lead-up is basically to establish that I'm sad to see Bendis leaving this character, but boy is he doing it with a bang.

Jessica Jones biggest archenemy is arguably The Purple Man. A sociopathic villain with the ability to make people do whatever he says, the original, "Alias," comic established why Jones hates him so much (he basically abducted her when she was an active super-hero and nobody noticed) and he's returned for what seems to be the climax of Bendis' run on this book. What at first seemed like it would be a standard, "Beat-up the bad guy," story has spiraled into something much weirder, with Purple Man not exactly wanting to be a good guy, but basically so exhausted of being evil he's willing to try the opposite. It's a bizarre twist and could very well be a ploy, but I'm genuinely off-put by it (in a good way) and curious where this could be going. We're about at the end of Bendis' time on the book so I hope he sticks the landing--this is one of his shining jewels of his time at Marvel so I imagine he will.
4 out 5 stars.

Check Your Local Comic-Shop!
As these books all just recently came-out (besides, "Michael Cray #4," which is a few weeks old) and you can most likely buy them at your comic shop without much of any trouble. Therefore, I encourage you to visit your local comic store and buy whatever of these titles appeal to you, or anything else there you want, I'm not trying to boss you around or anything!

Friday, February 9, 2018

Film Friday: Three Marvel Comic-Related Movie Trailers/Teasers

A variety of trailers and teasers for comic-book movies that involve Marvel properties have been coming out lately. I thought I would highlight three specific ones that stuck-out in my mind for one reason or another...

Ant-Man and the Wasp

I guess because Scott Lang sided with the losers in, "Captain America: Civil War," he now is in some big trouble with the Government. I say that because he and everyone else are on the run in this trailer. I honestly love Paul Rudd so just watching him do his thing through these movies makes me happy and that we get new strong female hero in the form of Evangeline Lilly officially becoming The Wasp is just stellar as well considering how much of a boys' club the MCU has been for the most part. This ad gets me pretty excited!


This short teaser looked like a really competent action-thriller movie with weird medical labs, car chases, and Tom Hardy making serious faces. That said, if it weren't for the glimpse of some black goo and the fact that the movie is called, "Venom," I wouldn't have had any clue this movie was about Spider-Man's infamous foe. I understand this thing isn't out until October so they have a ton of post-production to do, but maybe they could've waited until they had enough tech completed to give us at least one shot venom looking all imposing and scary? If the idea of this teaser is to make us want more, it succeeded, but in the wrong way. I do want to see more, because honestly I kind of feel like I saw nothing. Assuming the Sony and Marvel deal allows the MCU to at least be mentioned in flicks outside of the main, "Spider-Man," I would definitely appreciate at least a hint of something, anything, that makes it clear this is a Marvel-adjacent flick.

Deadpool 2, Untitled Deadpool Sequel, Whatever it is?

Clearly for the new Deadpool movie we aren't going to be dropping the meta-elements of breaking the fourth wall with reckless abandon or the cutting of countless jokes. What at first seems like a super-serious glimpse of a depressing sci-fi movie with a ruined future not too unlike, "The Terminator," morphs into Deadpool being...well, Deadpool, as Ryan Reynolds shows why this is the role he was born to play via smashing literal action figures together. Then, we get brief glimpses of a bunch of clips from the movie with what looks like a potential X-Force and plenty of returning faces from the first flick. It's a pitch-perfect way to promote...whatever name this movie is going to end-up having, and Josh Brolin makes a great-looking Cable whose serious sour-face will clearly have some conflicts with risible ol' Deadpool.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

The Website for Bleeding Cool is Overwhelmed with Terrible Ads

I enjoy visiting the popular comic-book gossip website, "Bleeding Cool." Run by Rich Johnston, it can be a good source of rumors. I even once asked long ago about writing for them and they requested I send a writing sample--I never heard back, but that didn't leave any hard feelings as I know my writing-style can at times be barely legible and full of odd opinions and statements. Anyway, I say all of this to make it clear that Bleeding Cool can have some good content...however, the website is an absolute fucking mess of ads.

At first advertisements on Bleeding Cool seemed to sneak-in. There would be little banners here-and-there but nothing too awful. Then it started to get those faux-article links at the bottom about, "Cheap insurance in your area," or, "The secret casinos don't want you to know," and of course, "This woman looks 10 years younger thanks to this crazy tip!" Annoying stuff like that was appearing. Then the auto-playing videos of various shit Bleeding Cool wants to discuss to, "Inform," us about AKA advertise something. It has gotten so bad I tried to navigate the site on my phone and a Goddamn ad for Splenda appeared and took-up half my screen for a good 5 seconds. Seriously, look:

It is to the point where if I want to even visit Bleeding Cool I have to make sure my ad-blocker is on so that I can bear browsing their pages. I know ad-blockers can seriously hurt quality websites that provide free content for view to us consumers and they simply request we put-up with some banner ads, but what Bleeding Cool has done with all their advertising was a step too far many steps ago. It is sad because the site does have some good stuff buried within all the junk. Maybe a balance will eventually be found, but for now keep your ad-blocker software at the ready.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Television Tuesday: Is it Weird I Would Watch an Actual, "Web of Fries," Movie?

There is an ad on the television currently for how Taco Bell now does their own unique french fries. This is not an ordinary advertisement however, with it in fact seemingly like a thriller movie covering a conspiracy to prevent french fries from being interesting and having any kind of condiment besides ketchup. It sounds silly, and it is, but it works. It ticks all the standard thriller-movie trailer boxes, and that is the self-aware point. Even if it is meant to be a bit of a parody however, it is so good at being a joking imitation of something, it feels real. Watch below:

Josh Duhamel does a really good job acting as he finds himself increasingly enmeshed in a shadowy plot complete with an evil organization, mysterious info-provider, and car chases. It is so straight-faced that is what actually makes it kind of funny, but it also is just so competently done that it seems more professional than half the actual flicks that have come out lately. I mean, watch the trailer for a stinker like, "Paranoia," which had a great cast but was terrible and looked stupid, and then view, "Web of Fries," and tell me which one looks better (and yes, "Paranoia," bombed at the box office due to looking so lame, if you're curious).

The ad maybe isn't getting a ton of buzz, but I'm not alone in finding it smart and subtle, or wishing it we could somehow see the whole flick. I haven't actually tried the fries yet and early reviews are middling at best or call them a, "Chemical Hellbeast," at worst. Even if the fries themselves suck however, the trailer for the faux-movie about them is advertainment at its finest

Monday, February 5, 2018

My Favorite Cosplay--Wizard World Saint Louis 2018

So Much Cosplay!
Cons are always full of cosplayers, and this year's Wizard World was no exception. I saw outfit upon outfit. Certain ones really struck me however and the follow images are of cosplayers who were kind enough to allow me to take a photo and gave me their permission to post the pics!

Awesome Outfits
As I entered the show I ran into Captain America and the Winter Soldier:
Shortly after I got on the floor I was awestruck by this Mr. Freeze and how detailed his clothing looked:
Link and Black Canary were having a great time, with Link's friend Navi glowing bright. Also, Black Canary was kind enough to give me her card which had her Instagram name of, "@jesskcosplay," so you can tag her in your pics or you can email her here. Check them out:

Doctor Strange was casting some spells:

Batman Beyond was repping the future-Batman:
While I usually see a fair assortment of Punishers at cons, I did not this year. That is, besides this snazzy female Punisher:

Starlord and Rocket were happy to pose for me:
The Blues Brothers were drawing a lot of attention thanks to their awesome look:

I'm always happy to see a Moon Knight:

Negan was eager to bash in some brains:

There were a ton of people dressed as the newer-style Harley Quinn, so seeing someone in her classic costume was fun:

To conclude, toward the end of the show I ran into a couple cosplaying as Batman and Catwoman:

Cosplay = Cosyah!
I was super-impressed with the getups I saw this year at the show, and thank everyone who was kind enough to let me snap a picture and post it. This concludes my posts about Wizard World Saint Louis 2018 and I want to thank them again for allowing me to come and cover the show as press. It was a stellar time!