Monday, November 11, 2019

Happy Veterans' Day!

Veterans' Day is every year on November 11th. With that in mind I just wanted to thank all the Veteran's who helped keep our country safe and those currently serving as well! I have a number of friends and relatives who have served (or are serving) in the armed forces and they all deserve to be honored and thanked. While there is a lot to unwrap politically in regards to the those in power who control the military and sometimes misuse it horribly (a number of Presidents have gotten us embroiled in pointless conflicts), we always honor and support the troops who serve our country.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

I Feel a Mixture of Joy (For the Show) and Dread (Due to Some of the Fanbase) as, "Rick and Morty," Returns for Season 4

It has been a good year-and-a-half since there has been a new episode of the television show, "Rick and Morty." Tonight it returns to Cartoon Network's Adult Swim programming block at 11:30 PM Eastern, 10:30 PM Central. This new season will be 10 episodes and it is going to start-off with five straight weeks (I think) of the show and then there will be a break before the season finishes-out its second half in early 2020 or so, I imagine, with the show returning after the winter holidays. I am both excited and honestly dreading this a bit because while I personally love the show, it has a fan-base that can be pretty toxic.

Don't get me wrong, I have met some wonderful men and women via my love of, "Rick and Morty," who have as big a fondness for the show as me while also not totally misinterpreting the show as if Rick is someone to look up to as opposed to pity. I know lots of folk who love this show and don't threaten to throw a riot if a loosely-tied-in-to-the-show dipping sauce happens to run-out at McDonald's restaurants. Sadly, however, the internet and everyday life is full of people who are unpleasant and either act like they are the only people who, "Get it," in regards to the show or who otherwise are just big jerks towards everyone else because some fandoms just can sadly develop a nasty-but-loud contingent who try their hardest to poison the entire fandom with their venom (look at the newer, "Star Wars," movies for a good example of this).

I really do love, "Rick and Morty," and am eager to watch it. I just am not that pumped to witness some people insult and otherwise be mean towards others because they think they get to be gatekeepers of the fandom for, "Rick and Morty." The show's creators have outright disowned the haters, so hopefully they'll just shut-up and let the 99% of people who are kind and pleasant enjoy our time sitting down and going on some weird and often-dangerous adventures with Rick, Morty, and the rest of the family. Yes, even the eternal loser, Jerry.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

It is 2019 and Chicken Sandwiches Are Political

It is the year 2019, and chicken sandwiches are political. People who enjoy Popeye's chicken sandwich find it loaded with complex socio-political discussions about how some are engaging in Black shaming with it, saying racist things about Black people liking the sandwich and that they, "Should line-up to vote," which is hurtful and stupid because nobody said all the white folk lining-up for Pumpkin Spice Lattes needed to do the same thing--so yeah, some racism in there. Plus, liking fried chicken has never been a race thing.

White people love fried chicken, Black people love fried chicken, Asians love fried chicken, vegetarians love fried chicken so much there are vegetarians who make exceptions for eating chicken because it tastes so great. So yes, all races and demographics love fried chicken, making it a weird race thing is stupid when we should all join greasy-hands across the World regardless of race, belief-system, gender, etc. and sing the praises of fried chicken. Oh, but wait, belief systems are important for fried chicken too? Yep.
Back with a whole lot of debate...
That's right, apparently now if you're more liberal and progressive you should eat at Popeye's if you desire a chicken sandwich because Chick-Fil-A and their chicken sandwiches have a political and religious history that is...troublesome at best. There has always been a social, religious, and political element to food (from stereotypes of certain cultures eating certain things to religious objections to some kinds of foods), but in 2019 subtlety is dead and we're just now outright screaming at each other about chicken sandwiches being racist, being homophobic, and thinking the act of driving-through a particular establishment is making a huge statement...which it kind of is, I guess? It seems the only thing everyone can agree on is that the Spicy BBQ Chicken Sandwich from McDonald's is utterly forgettable, so I guess we've got some unity on one thing.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Happy Birthday to My Wonderful Wife!

Today was the birthday of my amazing wife, Samii. She is the love of my life and just plain awesome. She is loving, caring, and puts up with my never-ending jokes full of terrible puns. She is a fantastic Mother and all-around stupendous human being. I was honored to spend another of her birthdays with her. She's the best!

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

"Letters from Midia," is a Stellar Read!

I was on Reddit looking at the comic-related posts as I enjoy doing and indie comic-creator Boluwatife Oriowo was discussing a new comic he'd published, "Letters from Midia." Available on Amazon as a paperback or for reading on a Kindle, it follows the story of a mysterious knight trying to track-down his love, a young princess named Midia who has been kidnapped by some cruel folk who plan to use a mysterious black ichor on her to create a weapon (they want to take over the Kingdom, as villains tend to desire). A theme emerges as the knight keeps fighting new challenges in the hopes of getting closer, only to find yet another letter...and another letter...just letter after letter. There is a really cool part in the book that helps illustrate just how many letters there are and has us wondering if Midia will ever possibly be rescued. I won't spoil the ending, but I found it very satisfying and bittersweet.

Oriowo's artwork is fantastic, with it masterfully illustrating the range of fights the knight faces. Whether he's combating ogres, dueling mid-air with half-human half-bird alchemists, or jumping-around a stone giant in the hopes of finding a weak-spot, it all is kinetic and gorgeous. Between the great story and how wonderful the books looks I really enjoyed, "Letters from Midia," and appreciate that Oriowo was willing to send me a free digital copy for the purposes of review when I messaged him about my interest in the book. I rate it a stellar 5 out of 5 stars. You can buy a copy of, "Letters from Midia," for yourself on Amazon, and you can also see more of Oriowo's stuff by visiting his Tumblr page or dropping-by his Twitter.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Television Tuesday: Stop Torturing Your Kids With Cruel Halloween Candy, "Pranks," In the Hope You Get on T.V.

Normally the idea of a parent doing a cruel prank on their own children that results in the kids screaming and crying sounds like borderline child-abuse to anyone with common sense. However, when the host of a late-night comedy show asks people to lie to their kids about eating all of their Halloween candy--and then send-in a video of the kids having a meltdown so he can air it at the start of November--that's just apparently peachy-keen. People must be cool with its because this is the ninth year of this dumb shit being all the craze.

Doing this, "Prank," is cruel to kids who worked hard to get that candy so some grown adults who should know better can laugh at a child's expense. Don't purposely make your children cry or throw a fit for an idiotic, "Prank," in the hopes you'll be able to further embarrass your kids on television should their rage/tears make it on Kimmel's show. It is an awful way to kick-off November, a month with a holiday about treasuring family/friends and treating them well. This is just mean, pure and simple.

Monday, November 4, 2019

I Had A Stellar Time at the November 2019 Toyman Show

By this point if you've been reading my blog much you'll know I am a huge fan of the Toyman Shows that happen multiple times a year (sometimes they fall monthly, sometimes every two months). Anytime I go to a show I bring stuff to trade or sell to my favorite vendors and I end-up with some awesome items of my own to take-home and treasure. This show was no different than any other in that it was jam-packed with amazing vendors, stellar creative guests, and was otherwise a splendid show. As I enjoy talking about all the people I saw and stuff I got I shall now discuss how much of a ball I had...

I started the show as I generally do, on the first floor where I walk around to all the numerous vendor tables and see what amazing goodies I can find. I saw the cool folk of Bigfoot Comics and Collectibles who were more than happy to cut a deal with me for some of my comics. I also saw Eric of STL Comics who has the Geeky Extravaganza coming up November 9th (which is sure to be awesome fun as well)! I was able to trade him some of my knick-knacks and comics for a cool old Atari cartridge of Pac-Man that I thought would make a good decoration on my bookshelf, perhaps. I also picked-up a cool old comic of, "The Flash," from a random table that just looked like a good issue. Observe:
As I continued exploring all the great wares on the the first floor I saw my friend Spike of Lost in Space Toys and Collectibles who had some impressive items this show. He had some incredible vintage, "Star Wars," stuff I imagine sold pretty quickly. As I looked around on the first floor I also was able to trade some of my older comics for a really cool, "Mickey Mouse Club Scrapbook," which is full of old Disney-related songs and pictures of retro Disney gear and clothing. I am always intrigued by old collectibles and this book is full of images of them! Check it out:
Before I went upstairs to the ,"Artists' Attic," I said hello to my friend, Steven, who sells a lot of toys. Last show when I saw him we talked about postcards and how he had an assortment. He was willing to trade a big collection of movie-themed postcards he had for some of my Funko Pops. I was excited to do this as I like sending my friends and family postcards, so having these cool ones celebrating famous movies is really neat and will allow me to send some snazzy postcards to my loved ones. Anyways, I went upstairs and one of the first folk I ran into was Jessica Mathews who had just released her latest cool children's book, "The Lazy Vampire." I eagerly bought a copy to read to my son! Here is a picture of the copy I bought:
The book's illustrator and talented artist Jennifer Stolzer was there too and always a pleasure to chat with! I next ran into my chum J.E. Nelson whom has her next book soon-to-release for her, "The Power Within," series that follows the story of a young girl with autism in a post-apocalypse. I asked her to keep me informed when the book is out and she said she would! I proceeded to walk around Artists' Attic and saw friend of the blog, Leigh Savage. We talked about the number of shows she had been at selling her erotica novels and spoke about some upcoming releases that collect her, "Quickie," short-stories into a big anthology book once she completes a couple more tales--it sounds like she'll be having a busy November of writing and I look forward to her upcoming books!
Leigh's author logo.
I also saw the always-awesome David Gorden who spoke with me about how his, "Inktober," had been crazy as he made a new drawing (pencils and inks) every day for the 31 in October. We discussed how he planned to release it as a collection sometime soon and I told him that sounded like it would be a fantastic book! In addition, my buddy Lorenzo Lizana was at the show where he was hard at work on a number of gorgeous commissions. One he had done for a client of Wonder Woman was phenomenal. I would've asked to take a picture, but generally it is rude to snap a pic of a commission someone else has paid for, I feel, so I did not request to do so. I ran into my friend Lonnie Johnson who was selling items to raise funds for the non-profit, Heroes for Kids. Heroes for Kids always does great things for the community and I'd encourage everyone to read-up on it!
A great group!
I also had the chance to meet famous sculptor/artist/super-creative guy Randy Bowen, who was a treat to speak with! Before heading downstairs I also met for the first time Kevin Kessler of Kazolf Comics, who had two copies of his comic, "Universilent," of which he is the writer and artist. The comic sounded really cool as it is set in a Sci-Fi Universe where a number of the characters are deaf and sound is nonexistent. Kevin was inspired to create the comic as he is deaf. I bought a copy of each issue and he told me he'd love for me to read them and review them on my website sometime, which I plan to do! Here are the two issues I purchased:
This Toyman show had an incredible array of vendors, a number of fantastic creators, and was just as much fun as I always expect--and I expect a lot of fun! I would encourage anyone who is able to attend the next Toyman Show on December 8th. Parking is free and it only costs $5 to get in, with anybody 16 years-old or younger free (there is early-bird admission at 8AM for $12 as well if you are the type to wake-up early). I just want to thank the man in charge, Chris McQuillen for without fail putting-on such great shows. I was literally just at Toyman yesterday and now I'm already counting-down for December 8th, that is how great a time I always have!

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Daylight Saving Time Ends Tomorrow

Tomorrow at 2AM Daylight Saving Time shall conclude. This means we all get an extra hour of sleep because we, "Fall back." even if its at the expense of throwing everyone within America (in States that do it) way off. Seriously, now it'll be darker a lot earlier and once Spring arrives we lose the hour anyway. Yeah, I'm not a big fan of DST and plenty of studies have proven it is a bad idea, but it seems to be going nowhere anytime soon, so let's just enjoy the bit of extra sleep for now, consequences be damned!

Friday, November 1, 2019

Reviews of, "Death Stranding," Make it Sound Weird and Interesting, Maybe Good

Hey, ya'll know that, "Death Stranding," game that's been getting a chunk of hype? Well, the reviews are starting to be posted and it is apparently really weird and interesting, maybe good. Some reviews are glowing, some are vaguely intrigued, some find the whole thing humdrum even if it looks really good and has some-off-the-wall ideas because at the end of day the game is mainly a bunch of walking around for fetch-quests (with big fancy cut-scenes thrown in too). Hideo Kojima founded his own studio, hired a bunch of people, got some famous friends, and made his game. Whether it becomes a huge hit or ends up falling-flat on its face will be seen when it is released November 8th, 2019.

"Death Stranding," is clearly good-looking, very odd, and has whole lot of ideas. We shall see if it is also fun or a success. I know I at least want to give it a try on my PS4 at some point, if for no other reason than I enjoy zany stuff, generally.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Have a Safe and Fun Halloween Today!

Today is the last day of October and therefore it is time for Halloween! I love October and consider it my favorite month--even if this year I was sick for a week of it. I've overall had a great 30 days and now that we are here, on the 31st day, I am ready to celebrate Halloween! I hope everyone has fun and is sure to stay safe (and warm if you are trick or treating where it is cold outside)! Now go get some candy!

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

John Witherspoon Has Died

I know that people die, it is basically one of the only things that all human beings have in common. That said, it sucks when really cool people leave us, and John Witherspoon was pretty damn rad. He did some serious roles, but was best known for his hilarity in flicks like, "Friday," or on television programs such as, "The Wayans Bros." His voice-over work for, "The Boondocks," was incredible as well, with his Granddad Freeman having a perfect mixture of caring, sarcasm, and world-weariness. Anytime Witherspoon appeared on the screen you knew it was going to be good, with his scenes in, "Soul Plane," making the movie at least bearable (it's a bad movie). He passed this week at age 77 and will be missed.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

One Easy Step to Avoid Having a Deadly Gender Reveal Party

Gender reveal parties have become a big thing where people are doing more and more over-the-top things to let folk know if their soon-to-be-born baby is a boy or girl. This resulted in the tragic death of someone when a reveal-device that was supposed to gently pop-open turned out to be an inadvertent pipe-bomb. In the interest of helping everyone I now present my simple one-step process to avoid having a deadly gender reveal party:

1. Don't have a gender reveal party because there is little point in having a celebration centered around what kind of genitals your baby has, and you're not even revealing the, "Gender," you're revealing the sex, gender is a social construct.

Seriously people, even the woman who is credited as pioneering the whole gender reveal trend now says, "Who cares?" about a boring detail like your baby's sex when the focus should just be on the joy of having a baby. Gender reveal parties just seem like a flimsy excuse to have cake and get presents considering how baby showers and baby sprinkles (the slang term for baby showers after a first child) seemed to serve everyone fine for quite some time.
Also, recall gender can easily be a spectrum.
There is the additional element that some people consider gender reveal parties to be transphobic to a degree as so much focus is being put on concepts of gender and, "Men," or, "Women." As I'm not trans I do not think I can offer an accurate comment on whether it is or is not transphobic to have a gender reveal party, but regardless of that debate I do agree it make more sense to just celebrate having a baby and not making a huge deal of whether its going to be packing a penis or vagina once it is born. Just throw a really big baby shower, have some cake, and forget the gender reveal stunts that could end-up causing eight million dollars worth of property damage.

Monday, October 28, 2019

The World Series Got Really Cool for a Minute

I am not a big fan of baseball, or sports in general. The one sport I do enjoy and follow to some degree is hockey, because the mixture of grace, brutality, and its fast-pace keep my interest. Baseball however bores me, which can cause people to gasp when I say that here in Saint Louis, where folk really love the Cardinals. Hence, while last May and June I was incredibly excited to see the Saint Louis Blues win the Stanley Cup I had a general disinterest in how the Cardinals were doing in their attempt to get to the World Series (they didn't make it) and I was unsure which teams were even playing. Well, I know now, because last night the World Series got really cool for a minute. The Washington Capitals are competing in the World Series against the Houston Astros and were playing a game in Washington D.C. last night. Donald Trump showed-up, and in Washington D.C. itself, in a stadium filled with a lot of middle-aged white-folk (his supposed bread-and-butter), the crowd spontaneously began chanting, "Lock him up," loudly. Trump looked displeased.

It was glorious, and I don't care what people say who think it was some kind of hoax, conspiracy, or whatever, I believe this was just proud members of our Country expressing their opinion about the worst President ever. As for anyone who insists we should at least respect office of the President and, "Be civil," or whatever, I find it interesting many of the folk saying this also were relentlessly negative about Barack Obama for reasons they didn't want to fully admit (he was black, and this made them never recognize him as a legitimate President with lame made-up ideas he was somehow not really American, was a secret Muslim Extremist, or other nonsense). Trump is an awful human being, which admittedly does not disqualify him from being President, but he also has been committing numerous crimes and abuses of power, which means those acts should lead to his impeachment. The man frankly belongs in prison, so he should be locked-up, honestly.. If it is petty to be giddy a crowd at a baseball game chanted, "Lock him up," then I guess I'm just petty. At least it made the World Series (and baseball) really cool, even if for a brief moment.

"Doomsday Clock," May Very Well End This Year

It'd be funny if after finishing this massive undertaking he viewed that new, "Watchmen," show on HBO.
Ya'll know that, "Doomsday Clock," comic, right? The 12-issue series that explains a lot of how the DC Universe itself functions, ties it in with, "Watchmen," to some degree and has been surprisingly really good (and reminded me of another comic recently, "The Fade-Out," of all things). Well, "Doomsday Clock," has also suffered horrible delays because while writer Geoff Johns and artist Gary Frank are making something cool, they also seem to be taking their sweet time. Supposedly however, the release date for the 12th issue of December 18th, 2019, is accurate and the issue is mega-sized at 47 pages that are officially illustrated (and hopefully will have a speedy colorist on them ASAP). Time will tell if, "Doomsday Clock," actually is released before an actual Doomsday, but things look promising at this moment.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Suddenly Marvel is Really Big on the Fantastic Four and X-Men, For Obvious Reasons

Remember when Marvel claimed they were cancelling, "Fantastic Four," because it was comic that supposedly nobody read--with the cancellation happening right when the most recent movie (which was owned by Fox which at the time was not owned by Disney) came-out? It bombed, but that was because it sucked, not due to a lack of the comic. Also you may remember when Marvel was desperate to make the Inhumans popular as a newer-and-better-X-Men and even had plans for movie before that got scrapped and any concepts were dumped into a television show that lasted a season (and was quietly forgotten about by everyone so I forgive you if don't recall that)? Well, ever since Marvel and its parent Disney got the film rights back to the Fantastic Four they sure have been giddy about doing that big relaunch of the comic with the characters and having them pop-up in other books at assorted points; plus now that the X-Men have their film right's under a tight grip with Marvel/Disney those books have been having a renaissance too. Well, as if to further the point that thanks to having the movie-rights Marvel is pumped-up about the Fantastic Four and X-Men here comes a cross-over comic bluntly titled, "Fantastic Four/X-Men."

Now, the Fantastic Four and X-Men do not interact too much in the comics, but there is one big thing that unifies them which came about in the 1990's if my memory of that era serves me correctly. Franklin Richards, the son of Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic) and Sue Storm (the Invisible Woman) is in fact a mutant, and an incredibly powerful one. While he is just a young child he has abilities that are almost God-like when he doesn't try to block-off his powers lest he destroy reality. Now, the X-Men have of course recently established their own Nation for mutants and prefer that anyone who is a mutant goes and lives there, so that's created some friction between the X-Men and the Fantastic Four (touched upon briefly during the recent, "House of X/Powers of X," series where the Fantastic Four popped-by briefly) as while Franklin's parents may have powers, they ain't mutants--it was some weird space-stuff that gave them abilities along with Sue's brother, Johnny Storm (the Human Touch) and friend Benjamin Grimm (the Thing).

The new comic, "Fantastic Four/X-Men," will be written by Chip Zdarsky and have art by Rachel and Terry Dodson, so it's a solid creative team for sure. It is a four-issue mini-series so it also will not wear-out its welcome and most likely there will be other little mini-series in the future tying-in the X-Men with other heroic teams they may butt-heads with. It makes sense as the main X-Men books may be busy telling the epic yarn kicked off by, "House of X/Powers of X," and now continuing in like 8 different comics because--as I said--Marvel is suddenly really big on the X-Men now thanks to getting the film rights back. The comics that have been coming out with all these hero-teams have been pretty good, so I guess even if Marvel/Disney acquiring Fox and the hero-teams it owned the rights to is another example of corporate monopolization to the point where eventually 3 or 4 mega-companies will own everything, at least we get some more good comics out of it and eventually some flicks...right?

Friday, October 25, 2019

"Dog Man," By Dav Pilkey is Fun For All Ages!

From when I was a young and over-energetic child to now as an old and over-tired adult I have always loved book fairs. With my wife being a teacher it is always fun to swing by her school's book fair when it happens and get quality titles for our son, Clarkson, and anything else I think looks interesting and might be worth reviewing. This led to me purchasing the first book of, "Dog Man," which is done by Dav Pilkey. Pilkey has made many works, including his famous, "Captain Underpants," series which I read a lot of growing-up. "Dog Man," is actually kind of set in that Universe, a comic-within-a-story focused on how the two young kids in the, "Captain Underpants," stories, George and Harold, create a comic about a policeman and police-dog who due to an explosion that wrecks some of each of their bodies find themselves combined into Dog Man. It is very silly and quite fun.

"Dog Man," has assorted chapters that follow the creation of Dog Man and his tackling of assorted cases. Whether he's revealing how the mayor is corrupt or trying to encourage people to read so that they don't get too stupid from a lack of books (an evil cat named Petey tries to erase all books) Dog Man is a funny and sweet character, even if his tendency to jump-on and lick the police chief can get him yelled at (he does have the head of a dog after all). While the, "Captain Underpants," books would be a mixture of prose and images, "Dog Man," is a full-on graphic novel and works well in that format. It is quite often hilarious and a good mixture of clever jokes and outright potty-humor. It has a good message too for kids (being true to yourself, reading helps you be smart, stuff like that), but avoids being overly preachy thanks to its ample supply of giggles it provides readers. Dav Pilkey has spent decades making great books that all ages can enjoy and as, "Dog Man," and its (apparently numerous) follow-up books show, he ain't slowing down with his quality anytime soon.
5 out of 5 stars.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

October 2019 Links

Insert Clever Title Here About October
I'm sick, so I am struggling to think of anything clever to write. Therefore, here is good writing from other people I will supply in the form of links. My title for this post is, "October 2019 Links," because as I said, I'm sick and thinking up a smart title is beyond my capabilities right now. Shut-up and enjoy your links.

The Links
Weaponizing Man-Thing and renaming him, "Man-Slaughter," for an event is the best mixture of clever and stupid I've heard all day.

Hearing that Jimi Hendrix was an amazing player of, "Risk," especially when he was high on acid makes perfect sense considering Hendrix had been in the Military earlier in his life and was a fan of psychedelics.

I have not watched a, "Star Wars," film in some time. I enjoy them, but just am in no rush with so much other stuff I need to view taking priority whenever I do have a rare moment to view a movie I want to catch-up on. With that said, the trailer for the latest movie, "Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker," seems to have people excited.

Everyone seems to love the new, "Watchmen," show who has seen it on HBO...besides right-wing Trolls who can't fathom white supremacy being questioned in any manner.

The idea of rats being able to drive little cars is both adorable and terrifying. Just imagine the highway clogged with humans and rats who refuse to use their turn signal when changing lanes. It's a common-courtesy, people!

A video-game all about hunting for and collecting mushrooms sounds enjoyably chill. Reading about a gamer playing it with her Father who is a professional Mycologist was also fun!

There is going to be an LGBTQ-themed graphic novel for young adults which features Aqualad getting a boyfriend. I'm just happy to be getting any comics with Aqualad ever since it seemed like DC forgot about him after the stellar, "Brightest Day," series.

Finally, the new, "Terminator: Dark Fate," movie apparently is not that great, but is still decent fun (and Linda Hamilton is awesome in her return as Sarah Connor). Considering I'm one of those rare people who defend some of the worse productions in the series such as, "Salvation," I imagine I'd have a good time viewing this flick which ignores all but the first two (and best) movies.

Those Were Your Links I Need a Nap Now
Let's pretend I look this handsome when I nap as opposed to appearing like a drooling and snoring monster.
I hope you enjoyed those links. I'm going to lay-down for a nap now as long as my son is willing to rest his head too. Perhaps my cough will subside enough I be able to snooze for a bit without waking-up gasping for air. We can pray.

I'm Sick

Me, basically.

So...I'm sick. At first I thought my allergies were just a little bad, but by Wednesday the fact my stomach was so upset, my throat was killing me, and I could not breathe made it apparent I must have caught a bug. Clarkson has been feeling pretty poorly too, coughing a whole bunch which is no fun for him. Samii is currently healthy and I am refraining from kissing or hugging her which is really hard as I love her a lot, but part of love is knowing that smooching your spouse could make them sick and therefore fighting the urge to show them affection that way. Whenever it gets cold this seems to happen to some degree, but it is especially nasty this year. At least when I get a sinus infection (which seems to happen every two years or so) antibiotics can help. This however seems to be purely viral, so I shall just relax, drink liquids, and sound like Darth Vader when I breathe until this stupid illness is done.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Television Tuesday: "Zombie," Seasons AKA When A Show Should've Ended, But Did Not

When a Show Should've Ended, Yet it Kept Going

We all have a show we look-back on fondly that we feel was unfairly canceled. Considering how many amazing shows end before they should have (I still mourn, "The Mick," often) it is interesting when the opposite happens. When a show just keeps going, which happens with a number of programs, yes, but what is arguably really odd is when a program reaches its logical endpoint for a certain reason, but it just continues to shamble along. I call these, "Zombie," seasons and will discuss three now.

3 Shows That Wouldn't Stay Dead
Program: That 70's Show
Zombie Season: Eight
Why It's a Zombie: Topher Grace (Eric Forman) Left

"That 70's Show," was a generally decent program with a number of actors who went on to either achieve further success in acting (Mila Kunis, Laura Prepon, Topher Grace), became surprisingly successful entrepreneurs (Ashton Kutcher), or had things end badly when they were revealed to be creeps (Danny Masterson) or drug addiction ended their life (Lisa Robin Kelly). It was one of those shows that was a decent way to pass the time and Kurtwood Smith as Red Forman could always be relied upon to get some laughs by calling someone a, "Dumbass." 

At the end of season 7 Eric Forman (Topher Grace) left town to teach in Africa and a show that already was starting to admittedly peter-out should have been wrap as he was arguably the main character who served as a focal point for much of the show. Then we got season 8 and things felt quite adrift. Eric was gone yet everyone still hung-out at his house for no apparent reason (I think Masterson's character maybe was crashing there which provided some excuse), Kutcher actually left after the first four or five episodes until the series finale, some new guy named Randy was introduced as a shoddy replacement for Eric, it was drab.

It was all quite miserable except for maybe episode 7 where the gang steals a big ugly Ronald McDonald-esque mascot from Fatso Burger which I vaguely recall made me chuckle when I watched it years ago. After season eight Fox finally realized its cash-cow had run dry (ratings were terrible, in other words) and axed, "That 70's Show," for good. You can still often find it in reruns on an assortment of channels, however, so no need to panic if you ever feel a need to check-in with the gang...just avoid season eight.


Program: Scrubs
Zombie Season: Nine
Why It's a Zombie: Zach Braff (Dr. John Dorian) Left
When it was on the air, "Scrubs," bounced around to assorted networks enough that a number of times it would seem to be cancelled before bounding-back as funny as ever. It followed an assortment of doctors as they grew in their careers with Dr. John Dorian (played by Zach Braff) being the main one without a doubt. There was a huge supporting cast, but J.D. was our guide through the World (both real and in his fantasy scenes). Season eight literally concluded with the title, "My Finale," and seemed so final...then inexplicably its final network it was at (ABC) decided to do a ninth season which was kind-of a reboot, kinda, "Scrubs 2.0," and fully a failure.

I never watched the ninth season of, "Scrubs," as I only ever actually caught much of the show in reruns on channels like, "Comedy Central," which seems to have in its infinite wisdom avoided ever showing the ninth season. Basically it tried to retool a bunch of characters, bring-in a bunch of new ones nobody liked, and when that failed desperately shoved J.D. back-in to the show for a chunk of episodes. It was either tepidly received or reviled and ABC let the show finally die a season later than would have allowed it to end with dignity as opposed to whatever season nine was.

Program: The Boondocks
Zombie Season: Four
Why It's a Zombie: Creator and Showrunner Aaron McGruder Left

Aaron McGruder was the creator of the stellar, "The Boondocks," comic strip. It was a shot in the arm of energy, social awareness, and hilarity that caused a lot of controversy. When he turned, "The Boondocks," into a cartoon for Adult Swim it resulted in two amazing seasons, a solid third season...and a fourth season that was made with zero involvement by McGruder and which as a result everyone likes to forget existed.

Here is the weird thing, I could swear I saw season four of, "The Boondocks," but I for the life of me can not remember any episodes. Even the later ones I recall fondly were in the third season. McGruder was for all intents and purposes done with, "The Boondocks," as a show but Cartoon Network wanted to bring it back for fourth and final season when they should have just let it be. There is one more twist, however, and that is that, "The Boondocks," is going to return yet again, but with McGruder at the helm in manner that makes this more of a welcome revitalization than yet another one of a zombie season. 

"The Boondocks," is going to be on HBO Max as a retooled program--McGruder describes it as doing it over again so this is not so much a new couple of seasons as it is a kinda-sorta reboot. Considering what is going on in the World currently McGruder has a lot to work with and even if I'm sick of all these new streaming services, I'm glad to be getting more of, "The Boondocks," in a format that is full-formed and living as opposed to a dreaded zombie season. I guess it is nice to at least end on a positive note!

Monday, October 21, 2019

The Trailer For, "Bloodshot," Has Me Cautiously Optimistic



As can be seen above there is a new trailer for the movie, "Bloodshot," which features Vin Diesel as the titular nano-cyborg hero. Fuss about what it might end up being rated aside, it looks like a flick that is not ground-breaking, but seems kind of interesting. It has Vin Diesel as the hero who is killed and brought-back from the dead to be a super-soldier, but first he wants to avenge his family. The thing is, he maybe is not actually disobeying orders to kill the people who murdered his family, his memories are being fiddled with so that he actually does whatever a clearly evil corporation wants him to do.

This all has a bit of a, "Memento," style-vibe (which the Director, David Wilson, wholly owns up-to) which is funny as none other than Guy Pearce is here as the man who most likely is going to turn-out to be a big villain. I always think movies benefit from having more Guy Pearce so I'm pleased he's in this, and I also have no strong feelings about Vin Diesel whom is a man people seem to either love or absolutely despise (he's perfectly okay, is my opinion). Basically with, "Bloodshot," we get a wild action movie full of crazy special effects and big explosions plus some potentially interesting and trippy memory-alteration scenes. This is either going to inexplicably be a big hit or absolutely bomb, there is probably no in-between. Should it do well however, expect more movies featuring characters owned by the comic Publisher Valiant, I'm sure they're chomping at the bit to make a crazy martial arts movie with Ninjak.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Guys, it Really Wasn't Shaggy This Time!


This news story made me laugh more than it should've. Basically, the singer Shaggy had someone impersonate him on various websites and apps in an effort to get fans to give him (the scammer, not Shaggy) money. Now, Shaggy has had a number of hits, but one of his most famous ones features him advising a friend who is caught cheating in the middle of the act by his girlfriend to simply claim, "It wasn't me." Even though, "We were both butt naked, banging on the bathroom floor," he just has to swear up-and-down it somehow wasn't him, according to Shaggy, and everything will work-out. Well, considering how much Shaggy endorses lying to get out of trouble I do honestly want to believe him when he says, "It wasn't me," but I have to admit I have my suspicions of a man known for rapping, "Never admit to a word," of any sleazy accusations.

I'm being silly of course, Shaggy is a successfully wealthy man and actually quite honorable (he served as a Marine during the Gulf War), so in the song, "It Wasn't Me," he was just playing a character as opposed to actually endorsing cheating, lying, or scamming. That said, there is something outright hilarious to this whole ordeal where someone has literally posed as Shaggy to trick people into giving away money and Shaggy himself has to say, "It wasn't me, for real!"

Friday, October 18, 2019

Flashback Friday/Film Friday: There is a Good Movie Somehwere in, "Hancock."

People liked my post looking-back at, "13 Going on 30," so lets do another combination Flashback Friday/Film Friday, shall we? For this one, let's look back to 2008, a simpler time when the iPhone was barely a year old and more of a luxury-item to own (as opposed to how now everybody wants one), our President was a man named Barack Obama who did not hurl grade-school insults at people on Twitter unlike our President in 2019, and the movie, "Hancock," was released. It has just been a decade but the World has changed indeed.

"Hancock," was the Will Smith movie where he played a super-hero and the previews made it look like a very different movie compared to what was released. If you watched the previews you saw how Hancock was a bit of a loser. He had superpowers but he was always drunk (somehow, even though he was invincible) and caused a lot of damage in the city of Los Angeles where he was seemingly homeless but would stop crime in between eating, sleeping, or drinking. Also in the previews we see how he ends-up becoming friends with an advertising professional played by Jason Bateman and agrees to actually go to prison for all the property damage he has done (even though no prison could hold him) in an effort to fix his image and show the city needs him.Then in previews we are shown how he then is let out of prison to stop a dangerous bank robbery and now is beloved by the city and confused by actually being hailed as a hero. Sounds interesting, right? Unfortunately even though that is what all the previews for the movie indicated we would be in for, that is actually maybe the first 30 minutes of this flick that then morphs into a wreck.
Oh, and is the kid half-immortal then? Are we going to ignore that question?
We learn that Hancock has been alive for at least centuries but has no memory after the 1920's as he doesn't age but something happened that made him forget the past. Apparently he's been a hero for decades, something the movie does not mention until pretty far in. Due to his lack of memory he literally just goes by John Hancock. Wait, it gets weirder! Jason Bateman's wife, played by Charlize Theron, has powers too and she and Will Smith apparently were these special ancient beings who were immortal unless they are in close proximity to each other at which point they would slowly become more human and eventually age and die. Smith and Theron were a special couple and even though they would always get separated he would find his way to her over a century or two, which he had now done after they were attacked outside of a movie theater in the 1920's and that attack caused him brain trauma or something. BUT WAIT THIS SHIT GETS CRAZIER!

Theron has weather-powers and can make weird little tornadoes, the bank robbers Will Smith arrested break-out of jail and for some reason think they can attack Smith's character because they realize he is slowly getting mortal, although they apparently don't know why, they just want to kill him and notice he can be hurt (due to his spending more time around Theron). Eventually Smith solves all these problems by simply...getting some distance from Theron after barely being able to fight the bank-robbers which lets his and her powers come back, so he goes to New York City in order to keep them both safe.
When Theron summons the weather-powers is about when this film lost me.
What the fuck is this film? I'll tell you what it is, a mess with a really good movie buried in their somewhere if we just carefully take the first 45 minutes or so, build off of that and slice everything else away with magical immortal, weather powers, or that other shit. There are some incredibly smart ideas buried in here that illustrated so many other good directions the movie could have gone. For example...

1. The movie follows Hancock as he deals with suddenly being liked and how he struggles to adjust to celebrity life at fancy dinners or shows while also fighting crime. It would be a bit of a meta-commentary on the idolization of celebrities through the metaphor of a super-hero.

2. Hancock gains fame, but then blows it, becomes a loser again, and the movie is more of the comedy it was advertised as of a lovable loser who has powers getting up to shenanigans. It wouldn't be that deep, but it would at least be funny.

3. The movie builds-up one of the bank robbers named Kenneth, "Red," Parker Jr. (played by Eddie Marsan) who Hancock rips the arm off of to stop a bomb connected to a, "Dead man's switch," as a criminal mastermind, but we never really see that. Maybe have Red plot revenge when in prison by realizing he can't hurt Hancock but can hurt the people Hancock suddenly cares about (Bateman and an version of Theron without powers). They are kidnapped, Hancock is told he has to do evil stuff for Red lest they be killed and the rest of movie is about Hancock engaging in all kinds of villainous stuff  (like stealing, blowing stuff up, and whatever else would make for a cool montage) before he eventually finds a way to save his friends...but then has to deal with the fallout of his actions showing how even if he didn't want to be bad, he was, and now the city fears him knowing what he is capable of doing. You know, this also sets up a great idea for a sequel with Hancock as a hated and feared Superman-type of character and Red Parker as a Lex Luthor-styled baddie of sorts.

Could've been a much better villain with a decent script...
These are just three ideas I thought of off the top of my own head and all three are a Hell of a lot better than the movie we got. Still, there is a good movie somewhere in, "Hancock," especially in those first 30-45 minutes before it turns into a confusing mess. Sometimes there is nothing more disappointing than a movie that is 2 out of 5 stars which you see the potential to be so much more. At least in 2008 when Hancock was released another super-hero movie came out as well which was much better and happened to kick off the biggest cinematic franchise ever. Yes, I'm talking about, "Iron Man." Thankfully those movies didn't introduce immortal Gods until it made sense with, "Thor."

Thursday, October 17, 2019

So, is This Comic Cancelled, a Mini-Series, or Morphing Into an Event?

I have really liked multiple versions of the comic, "Agents of Atlas." The Jeff Parker series, the stuff being done Greg Pak currently (there was a mini-series for, "War of the Realms," and that led into the series coming out now), it is all good stuff. Well, apparently the current, "Agents of Atlas," comic I could have sworn was an ongoing title was solicited recently as just being a mini-series that is going to go for five issues. That is a bummer, but the good news is the series is actually kinda-sorta continuing with the five-issue mini-event, "Atlantis Attacks," where the Agents of Atlas fight Namor (because he's always causing a hubbub). This event will be written by Greg Pak and drawn by Ario Anindito, the current creative team on, "Agents of Atlas," so this seems to basically be, "Agents of Atlas," #6 in everything but name.

All of this leads me to wonder if, "Agents of Atlas," was cancelled, actually was supposed to always be a mini-series, or what the deal is that has it morphing into an event. The whole thing is as confusing as how in the 1990's instead of making an ongoing, "Venom," comic Marvel just released mini-series after mini-series that kept a kind of over-arching plot going. I'm not upset about this at all, as it means we keep getting more Agents of Atlas in our comics, just now a different name as some kind of event and with Namor also popping-by (and he's fun when written well). I'm quite pleased to get more Agents of Atlas, I just wish Marvel would have the book be an ongoing one as opposed to made-up of a jumble of mini-series, if for no reason other than it makes stuff a lot less confusing.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

This, "Dracula: The Evidence," Kickstarter Campaign by Beehive Books Looks Fascinating

I am on a number of press email lists due to being a hoity-toity big-name journalist (not really, basically most press lists I get on I begged for access to). One of them is the snazzy boutique publisher Beehive Books whom have published some neat comics, books, and so forth thanks to the financial support Kickstarter backers can offer to ensure funds from pre-order sales. One current project they have is a clever take on Bram Stoker's classic book, 'Dracula," which they are calling, "Dracula: The Evidence." Basically, they've taken the book and turned it into a creative multimedia experience. With faux-journal entries, tools, phonograph records, and an assortment of clever, "Artifacts," that tell the story of the book in a wholly unique way. I'm a big fan of this kind of stuff, having always loved when publications such as, "McSweeney's Quarterly Concern," would switch things up and instead of simply doing a book release their latest edition as a fake batch of some stranger's mail, or a pretend newspaper.

Beehive Books actually teamed-up with the great grand-nephew of Bram Stoker, Dacre Stoker so as to get his family's blessing as well as their assistance and has been working with Paul Kepple, a designer known for his wild work on the also uniquely-designed book, "S." which was done by J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst. So yeah, some great people have been involved in making this really cool interpretation of, "Dracula." Now, it is pretty expensive to get one of the full, "Experience," versions--$350 for early-bird backers and $400 for everyone after, with the price going-up for even cooler cases and such. Still, if you've got the scratch to spare or want to back it at lower levels that still get you snazzy items ($25 for an all digital-version is quite reasonable). Check the Kickstarter campaign out and back it if you want. I know if I had the money I'd be shelling it out for an, "Immortal Edition," to dive into the classic story over again in a wholly unique way.


Tuesday, October 15, 2019

I Made a Meme to Get a Song Out of My Head

Everyone at this point knows the song, "Truth Hurts," by Lizzo. It came out over 2 years ago and slowly seeped into our World's consciousnesses to the point we all can't help but sing along when it comes on the radio. There also are countless memes for the song that tweak the lyrics and a version occurred to me the other day. It rooted itself into my thoughts to the point anytime I hear, "Truth Hurts," the lyrics are switched-out in my head.

To help cure myself of being unable to hear the song any other way I took the unique lyrics I thought of and made a meme, as can be seen above. The lyric generally goes, "I just took a DNA test, turns out I'm 100% that bitch!" yet I could not stop hearing the words, "Catfish," at the end. It makes almost no sense and is not even especially funny, but it is the only thing I can hear. Hopefully by creating this meme and putting my thoughts into the ether that'll fix my old noggin.

Monday, October 14, 2019

The First Collection of, "Nancy," as Done by Olivia Jaimes is a Treat to Read

Back in April of 2018 the comic, "Nancy," had a new creator take over the long-running strip. Her name was Olivia Jaimes (although nobody knows her real name or much of anything about her besides she apparently has experience in comics before this). Jaimes take on, "Nancy," introduced more technology (Nancy got a smart-phone) and worked-in a number of clever 4th-wall-breaking meta-jokes, but despite being newer and edgier honestly still had the heart of, "Nancy," AKA that she is a little girl who is smart, enjoys sweets, and loves to make trouble. The collection of Jaimes initial, "Nancy," strips through her start in 2018 to Christmas of that year is full of hilarity, taking a decades-old comic and injecting it with new life while still being authentically, "Nancy," in all her precocious glee.
When Jaimes first took-over, "Nancy," there was some outcry from people who saw the comic in their newspapers or read it online at GoComics. There were folk who did not like, "Nancy," changing at all, but considering how Jaimes coming-on the strip reinvigorated the comic to the point it did please a number of longtime fans and brought-in a smorgasbord of new readers I'd say Jaimes was a stellar choice. I myself have loved reading, "Nancy," when it comes-out daily and this book is like a concentrated dose of all that, "Nancy," goodness just pumped straight into the pleasure-center of your brain.

"Nancy," as done by Olivia Jaimes is a stellar comic--not merely an amazing comic-strip, a fantastic comic, period. I loved reading this collection which besides the strips includes an introduction by the strip's editor, Shena Wolf, as well as some back-matter ranging from a reprinted interview with Jaimes to fan-art of Nancy herself. Should you not yet have had the pleasure of reading, "Nancy," under the pen of Olivia Jaimes I would advise you to get yourself a copy of this book post-haste from your local bookstore/library/comic-shop. It is a simply fantastic way to immerse yourself in the genius of Jaimes and her version of, "Nancy."
5 out of 5 stars.

Apparently, "Fortnite," Got Sucked Into a Black Hole?

Ya'll know that game, "Fortnite," right? It is quite popular with folk. I've played it at times but it's been a good year since I've logged-in. I still follow news about the latest, "Season," and changes to the map, however. Apparently, right now if you wanted to play the Battle Royal version of, "Fortnite," which is the most popular mode, you would be unable to do so (the other mode about saving the world full of leveling-up and stuff that nobody plays is down too, but whatever). This is because after some in-game event full of missiles flying-about and blowing-up stuff a black hole formed that sucked the map and everyone running around upon it into nothingness. Now, everyone is just staring at a black hole. It is a wild and gutsy thing to basically just shut your massively popular game off temporarily (we all know this ain't permanent) and have everyone asking, "What now and what's next?"

There are some rumors of a, "Fortnite Chapter 2," being imminent, but right now the game is just a black hole and people are alternatively freaking-out, impressed, and a little upset about their inability to do anything besides play a version of, "Space Invaders," if they enter a version of the Konami code whilst staring at the black hole. Whatever the final result is, the game's developer, Epic, sure has succeeded at getting people's attention with this zany stunt.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Rant Reviews: All Marvel and DC

The Two Big-Shots
When it comes to comic-books there are companies making quite a place for themselves in the market with the, "Big Two," arguably being the, "Big Three," with Image around (plus other sizable publishers making a solid dent in the market). That said, Marvel and DC generally have the most books coming out and are generally the best known companies. I often discuss a wide-range of books from mainstream to more independent when I do my capsule-style reviews, but today I thought I'd change things up and go all commercial for ya'll, making all my reviews about books from the two big-shots.

And Now, Reviews!
Powers of X #6
Jonathan Hickman's big lead-up combo mini-series to the relaunch of the X-Men officially concludes by...starting the relaunch. I loved, "House of X," and, "Powers of X," and all the ideas introduced that will surely be explored in the new X-books, but I know some people online read all this and said, "That's it?" Well, yes, the whole point of these books was to kick-off all the new X-men titles, so expecting a mega last-minuted twist of everything taking place in an alternate universe or something would have undermined what Marvel told you was the plan all along. As it is, the books were great and this final issue of the two series did its job of telling some cool stories and generating excitement for new X-books (some written by Hickman and all of them curated/overseen by him to some degree) so I'm pleased, even if some folk online seemed underwhelmed.
4 out of 5 stars.

DCeased #5
You would think DC having their own take on, "Marvel Zombies," would seem derivative, but, "DCeased," has been very good, with a lot of thanks probably due to writer Tom Taylor who previously took the relatively barren, "Injustice," game's plot and fleshed it out heavily in the initial mini-series some years ago. Taylor gives us mutated version of Darkseid's anti-life equation that turns anyone who sees it or is attacked by someone infected with it into a zombie yet injects a good deal of heart and humor into the proceedings as well, amplifying just how, "Human," our superhuman heroes are in the face of such an unstoppable threat. This issue has things looking a little bit more hopeful as the remaining living folk work together to make a plan to escape Earth, but by the issue's end things have gone from bad to worse. I'm thinking we will not be getting a very happy ending to this series when it does conclude, but I'm cool with that as long as Taylor is working his magic.
4 out of 5 stars.

Contagion #2
This is kind of like Marvel Zombies except its a weird fungus and this story is a 5-issue mini that takes place in the regular Marvel Universe so you know everything will be alright in the end. Writer Ed Brisson said in the back-matter of the first issue the idea here is to do a horror-style story with street-level heroes (the heavy-hitters have been advised to stay away as this fungus seems to steal powers and have a hive-mind of sorts). It's perfectly fine, but there is nothing that remarkable to it beyond, "The heroes have to stop this fungal virus with punching and their smarts!" It is not especially horrifying so much as its a little gross at times, although a big mutation-monster that appears at this issue's end is a bit scary-looking. My feeling is once this mini-series concludes it will be considered decent but forgettable.
3 out of 5 stars.

Batman's Grave #1
Warren Ellis is not writing as many comics lately due to being so busy with big-deal multi-media projects like his delightful, "Castlevania," show, and artist Bryan Hitch seems to only do comics sometimes as he is really talented but not exactly able to turn-in projects at great speed. Hence, the long-rumored and apparently long-in-development (so as to avoid delays) comic, "The Batman's Grave," by Ellis and Hitch is a very welcome sight indeed. A 12-issue maxi-series I will tell you it is beautifully illustrated, with busy-and-full cities drawn by Hitch looking gorgeous and a decomposing dead body being suitably gross. Also, Ellis has Batman/Bruce Wayne actually do some solid detective work--something we seem to not see that often considering how Batman is the World's greatest detective. I'm not sure where things are going beyond Batman solving a weird serial-killer's latest murder, but with Ellis and Hitch at the writing-and-drawing helm (respectively) I know it is gonna be entertaining!
5 out of 5 stars.

Runaways #25
While there are big-deal Marvel titles coming out (such as the above-discussed X-Men book revitalization) it is also worth being aware of some lesser-known books that keep being stellar month-in-month-out as well. "Runaways," has frankly not been this good since the original stuff by Brian K. Vaughn and I say a lot of that is down to writer Rainbow Rowell (she's been one of my writers of the year for this title before) and some damn good artists too. With this issue not a lot actually happens, with it being more transitional as the Runaways realize they need to relocate out of their latest hiding-spot and may be heading-towards an attempt to be more traditional heroes. I'm eager to see where it goes! Yes, simply focusing-in on some former teen heroes as they come to terms with now being young-adult heroes has resulted in some stupendous storytelling and, "Ruanways," is a treat I hope does not end anytime soon. 
4 out of 5 stars.

Deathstroke #48
Speaking of amazing books that are ending soon, here we are as, "Deathstroke," approaches its 50th and final issue. The entire series has been written by Christopher Priest and has taken a character I used to never care about and given us one amazing run. It is not surprising considering just how much experience and skill Priest has, but I sincerely hope he has something else awesome lined-up with DC in the near future. As it is, Priest is still introducing weird twists as he nears the end of his time with Slade Wilson (the real name of Deathstroke) as a strange doppelganger emerges, DC's big, "Year of the Villain," event plays a bit of a role without feeling too intrusive to what Priest is up to, and basically everything keeps going deliciously wrong in shocking ways as soon as us reader think we've figured everything out. I'm gonna miss this book.
5 out of 5 stars.

Closing Thoughts
While Marvel and DC put-out some books that are not too great, they also thankfully release some really solid titles too and I quite liked the majority of these titles I reviewed. Just as some indie books are amazing and some are mediocre, the same can apply with these big-dogs as well, I suppose.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Flashback Friday/Film Friday: "13 Going on 30," and Its Clever Twist

Here is one of those occasional combo posts--a Flashback Friday looking at the past and a Film Friday all smashed together like a delicious sandwich...or something. Anyways, I was reading an article on, "The A.V. Club," where they've been examining romantic comedies and talked about, "13 Going on 30." I agree it a solid flick with a lot of the praise for its quality being due to the casting of Jennifer Garner and Mark Ruffalo as the main characters and other stellar supporting folk such as Judy Greer and Andy Serkis (as a human, not a green-screen creature).

The overall idea is how Garner's teenager character wishes to be an adult then wakes-up in 2004 suddenly 30 years old with no memory of the years between in her life. She seeks out her old Junior High friend (Ruffalo) whom she lost touch with and it is sweet and touching, but one thing that stuck with me with but which people seem to not discuss that much (and the A.V. Club only touches on briefly in their post) is how the real bad-guy turns out to be Garner herself. Judy Greer is portrayed as a friend who is conniving but Greer herself reveals that Garner (before her young-self awoke in a grown body) has been leaking secrets from her magazine to a competitor, has been a mean terrible person, and otherwise is an awful human being.

Greer seems like the bad-guy, but Garner has actually set herself up for failure pre-waking-up-in-the-future.
It is an impressively dark twist for Garner to learn the person who arguably thwarted her attempt to be a happy and successful adult was her own damn self. It is harsh already and then Garner even gets shut down by Ruffalo when she tries to win his heart as a last-ditch effort to be happy in this bleak future for herself she's awoken in. Now, of course she is able to go back in time and do stuff right (the movie avoids commenting on if she uses her knowledge of the future to get rich or anything, that'd be interesting) for a happy ending, but that little twist there is pretty killer. It is one reason, "13 Going on 30," is one of those movies for me that elevates itself beyond, "Good but Forgettable," into, "Quite Clever,"," kind of like that one scene I wrote about previously in, "The Wedding Ringer," an otherwise unremarkable movie with one shockingly smart moment.

"13 Going on 30," is not the best romantic comedy ever (that is eternally up for debate, but I vote, "Bridesmaids," myself) but it is a solid one with that awesome little miserable twist at the end before it undoes everything bad for a happy ending (which is understandable as this is a rom-com). Between the stellar cast and solid plotting it elevates itself beyond other romantic comedies that are just kind of, "There," and completely unmemorable--I'm looking at you, "27 Dresses."

Thursday, October 10, 2019

This, "Toy Story 4," Cereal is Shockingly Delicious

One thing that big media properties like to do is have random tie-in products. Some things make sense, like having action figures for the latest, "Avengers," movie of everyone's favorite heroes. Also, when a movie is called, "Toy Story 4," you obviously are going to have toys that tie-in with it seeing as you're on the fourth entry of a very successful franchise, but then you get the aforementioned random stuff, like cereal. My wife and I were at the Schnucks grocery store and say this, "Toy Story 4," cereal was on sale and had a coupon that made it a dollar a box to buy two. We figured we would try it out and if we hated it give the other box to a friend. Imagine my surprise upon discovering this cereal was incredibly tasty.

Seriously, a lazy tie-in cereal for a movie has logical reason to taste this good. It is advertised as, "Carnival berry," and is shaped a bit like a Fruit Loop, but unlike Fruit Loops tastes good (yeah, I said it, come at me Toucan Sam fans). The berry taste is not at all overpowering or artificial, as you'd expect. It is mild but clearly present enough to feel welcoming yet not insistent. The cereal itself also stays pretty firm even upon sitting in milk/almond milk/your preferred cereal liquid for a decent number of minutes (some cereals get absurdly soggy really fast). I don't know why, "Toy Story 4," cereal tastes so good, but it does and now I'm tempted to stock-up on a bunch before it vanishes from shelves to make space for the next tie-in cereal that is bound to be released in the near future. Should you have a chance to try this out do not hesitate, you will be amazed at how delicious it is.