Friday, May 17, 2019

Grumpy Cat Has Died and This Makes Me Genuinely Sad

Viral internet sensation Tardar Sauce, or as she was better known, Grumpy Cat, has passed away at the age of seven due to complications from a urinary tract infection. Seven is a relatively young age for a cat to die, but she of course suffered from feline dwarfism which gave her that striking face that brought so much fame, and which can bring with it a variety of health problems as well. I always was amused by Grumpy Cat's shenanigans and actually owe her/her family a debt of gratitude. You see, the first comic to ever, "Blurb," me was the initial mini-series hardcover collection of, "Grumpy Cat and Pokey," that was published by Dynamite. On the back-cover none other than The Newest Rant is quoted as loving the first mini-series to feature the sour-faced feline (and I did enjoy it immensely). Even though Tardar Sauce/Grumpy Cat herself of course didn't pick me to be blurbed on the comic dedicated to her and Pokey's adventures (Pokey was her real-life brother/housemate), without Tardar Sauce/Grumpy Cat there never would have been a comic for me to review and be quoted by, and for that I thank her for existing and bringing us all joy.

I have since seen myself quoted on other published comics now and then, but Grumpy Cat always had a special place in my heart, and I also appreciated that she, "Followed," me on Twitter. Yes, she followed about 53,100 other people, but considering she had 1.5 million followers I still felt pretty honored. Tardar Sauce/Grumpy Cat was not on this Earth for long, but she touched many lives with her unique expression and all the memes, books, comics, and even movies inspired by her perturbed visage. I am sending her family good vibes and wish them the best during this stressful and mourning-filled time.

Film Friday: Robert Pattinson May Be the Next Batman and I Don't Get Why People Are Mad

It is being stated by many media outlets that even though it isn't 100% set in stone, Robert Pattinson may be the next person to play Batman/Bruce Wayne. This seems to have upset a chunk of the internet and I don't quite understand why. Yes, Pattinson was one of the leads in the awful, "Twilight," film series years ago, but even he hated his character of Edward and did the best he could with the miserable source material. In fact, many of the people who were associated with the, "Twilight," films have gone on to have careers showcasing their immense talent--Kirsten Steward, Anna Kendrick, and so forth, so don't blame the actor/actress, blame the script (in this case, at least). Pattinson has shown he is a damn fine actor in other less-mainstream fare such as, "Good Time," and if this upcoming Batman film directed by Matt Reeves is set earlier in Batman's career a younger (but not too young) actor such as Pattinson who brings a mixture of intensity, sadness, and freaky sex-vibes sounds perfect for a film about a man who dresses-up in BDSM gear to beat-up criminals as a bizarre way to mourn the death of his parents. 

This all is funny, because I distinctly recall how much people thought Heath Ledger would be a terrible Joker, and he was incredible. Hell, go back in time to the 1980's and folk were throwing a fit about Michael Keaton as Batman. Clearly when it comes to Batman and the characters associated with him, everyone has strong opinions, but clearly we need to let the work speak for itself before we pass judgement. After all, some people were really excited for a George Clooney Batman and we all see how that turned-out. Anyways, if you're that concerned but need a Bat-fix then just watch the new, "Batwoman," show coming to the CW soon, that looks pretty cool.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

One Sentence Summaries Rises From the Grave!

Been Long Time
That's my goal!
It's been a while since I did my, "One Sentence Summary," segment I sometimes engage in--even longer since I did it about comics specifically. Let's rectify that with a post that is sure to be as funny as it is informative (in other words, lacking both of those features)! Here we go...

Immortal Hulk #17
Al Ewing and Joe Bennett somehow knew turning Hulk comics into a bunch of body-horror imaery would work incredibly well, and we are forever indebted to them for it.

Metalshark Bro #1
Part of SCOUT Comics' clever idea to release a short issue of a comic and follow it up with a full trade paperback (they call it the BINGE! initiative) this would fail horribly if the comics they are doing a, "Sample," of were bad--but thankfully, this title and others continue to be great fun such as in this story of a shark who fight Satan and plays guitar.

Wyrd #3
I love what I have read of this title and find it interesting that for many of the same reasons I love the book (it is odd, off-kilter, and the narrative is purposely jumbled-up and messy) some folk hated it.

DCeased #1
Tom Taylor did a great job with his work on the, "Injustice," comic and he brings his immense skill to what is basically DC's take on/rip-off of, "Marvel Zombies," that surprisingly is a good time.

Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt #4
Kieron Gillen has written a lot of great stuff, but this mini-series riffing and commenting on super-hero tropes may be the best thing he's ever written, for me at least.

Black Hammer: Age of Doom #10
What started as an interestingly alternative take on super-heroes has morphed into an epic universe full of meta-aspects plus some wild subplots--I love it all.

I Think Our Friend Dan Might Be a Dolphin (One-Shot)
This one-shot makes it pretty clear that Dan isn't only a Dolphin, he's a bit of an alcoholic and sex-freak.

Deathstroke #43
Well damn, I am aware Christopher Priest is a creator who always knows what he's doing after decades in comics, but I'm quite curious how this comic will continue (spoiler warning) with the titular character suddenly killed at the end of this issue...did not see that coming.

Savage Avengers #1
Very little happens in terms of plot within this debut, but I can tell you Mike Deodato is a stellar artist when it comes to illustrating fighting and bloodshed!

Dark Red #2
Vampires living in the Midwest makes for a strangely compelling tale mixing politics and lots of blood.

Achilles Inc. #1
In a world where a small percent of the population suddenly gains powers this comic--which I found to be a great read--imagines what would most likely actually happen in a such a scenario, e.g. the people with powers use them to get rich in various fields of work instead of being vigilantes or whatever.

Captain America #10
Steve Rogers has been framed for murder and is stuck in a high-tech prison, but he still knows how to kick-ass when written-well (Ta-Nehisi Coates has done wonders to make-up for the mess Nick Spencer left with, "Secret Empire," I'd say).

Threshold: Allure #3
It's a title from the publisher Boundless, so you already know to expect lots of genitalia drawn in a very detailed manner along with some usually-stronger-than-you'd-anticipate storytelling, so depending on how raunchy you like comics to be your mileage may vary.

Atomic Robo and the Dawn of a New Era #5
I've been enjoying the adventures of Robo since his early years at another publisher (he started at Red5 and now is with IDW) thanks to the mixture of science, action, adventure, and a heaping dose of humor which makes this last issue of the most recent mini-series a delightful read.

Now, We Conclude
I hope you found my one-sentence summaries worth reading. If you did not it is too late now anyways. Therefore, I guess I just want to say you're welcome and I'm sorry.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Television Tuesday: At Least ABC Didn't Cancel Two of My Favorite Shows

Usually around the time Summer hits television and cable networks announces which shows are getting renewed or unceremoniously kicked to the curb. I am happy that two shows I love and which both happen to be on ABC survived the, "Bloodbath," this year. They are my much-beloved, "American Housewife," which will be getting a fourth season and the new series, "Single Parents," which I thought started with some strong potential and now can confirm has only has gotten to be stellar over this first season.

Considering that, "American Housewife," was one of my favorite T.V. shows of 2018 and, "Single Parents," has an incredible cast that makes me laugh often, I'm extremely thankful with all the cancellations going on they get at least another year to delight everyone. I don't have to mourn these shows as I still do to this day for, "The Mick," which was genius and didn't deserve to be axed by Fox. Seriously, that still stings a year later.

Monday, May 13, 2019

2 Live Crew and City Girls Both Rap Raunchy and Face Similar Criticisms

If you remember the 1980's and 1990's or have at least read about them you probably are aware of 2 Live Crew. They were a rap group that often had lyrics about enjoying sex and how they were always horny. Their 1989 album, "As Nasty as They Want to Be," resulted in all kinds of legal fiascoes and Governmental debate when it was accused of being obscene and the group became outspoken pioneers about freedom of speech, with group member Luther Campbell spending the years after as an activist for numerous causes afterwards. In retrospect it all is kind of funny as now in 2019 we have a group such as City Girls with their own raunchy raps outraging critics. The more things change the more they stay the same.

I have no problem with sexy music and enjoy it when it is done well--just as I like, "Clean," songs done with skill. I also have zero issues with groups like City Girls being two ladies (Yung Miami and JT) outspoken about their sexuality--if a man can sing and rap about loving sex so can a woman. It just makes me giggle a little to think how in 1989 people were up in arms over, "I'm like a dog in heat, a freak without warning/I have an appetite for sex, 'cause me so horny," and now everyone continues to be mad at sex-lyrics with City Girls going, "Move it, baby, lick it, baby (do it)/Suck up on that clit until that pussy got a hickey, baby." Just as 2 Live Crew incurred some wrath I bet if City Girls were spitting these verses 30 years ago it probably would've made Tipper Gore (of the Parent's Music Resource Center) go mad with rage to the same degree.

City Girls
One irony in this would be how much of the same forces that were so outraged at 2 Live Crew are mad at City Girls, yes, but now they are using different phrasing in an attempt to achieve the same goal of trying to shame the artists/cause outrage. With 2 Live Crew the refrain was, "How dare they objectify women and expose our children to this unmoral garbage?" and with City Girls it is, "How dare they present their sexuality so loosely and expose our children to this unmoral garbage?" When 2 Live Crew was saying how much they liked sex they were debasing women, when City Girls  are eager to say how they like sex, they are bad examples for women (who are supposed to be pure and virginal)--basically, no matter who is doing the rapping it is all about a weird patriarchy where women should never be expected to enjoy sex unless it is in a heterosexual marriage.

With the art-form of music sometimes there is content for all ages and other times the lyrics can be decidedly adult. It is up the musician making the tunes how clean or raunchy they want to sound, and even if vivid dirty-talk upsets some critics prone to, "Moral panic," both 2 Live Crew and City Girls have the right to discuss their love of sex over fun beats regardless of if they're men or women. After all, if you really don't like the song you are quite capable of changing the radio dial/pressing next on Spotify.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Happy Mother's Day 2019!

I want to wish a Happy Mother's Day to everyone with human-babies, fur-babies, children they birthed, children they adopted, and anyone who thinks of themselves as a Mother to the people they care about! I especially want to wish a Happy Mother's Day to my wife, Samii, who is the best mom I ever could have hoped to have for our son, Clarkson. Have a great day, everyone!

Friday, May 10, 2019

Three Topics I Maybe Should Keep My Mouth Shut About, But...

Three Things
If you've read my blog for any length of time, you know I generally can't keep my mouth shut and want to offer an opinion--hopefully a well-informed one. Well, three topics seem to be in discussion as of late that maybe I should keep my mouth shut about and leave well enough alone, but...well, here we go.

1. Black Lightning and the Outsiders
The creator of Black Lightning, Tony Isabella, has expressed publicly (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, etc.) he is not a fan of how the character is now being utilized in the series, "Batman and the Outsiders," where Batman asks Black Lightning to run a super-hero team. Isabella feels this diminishes the character to being a, "Support negro," for Batman and otherwise is against this comic. Isabella created Black Lightning so his opinion is indeed an important one, but that said the creative team on the comic--Bryan Edward Hill as well as Dexter Soy--are both incredibly talented creators, and Hill is in fact a Black Man himself and Soy is of Asian descent. I don't think they would work on a book that involves a minority character serving as subservient to a White man--Batman or anyone else.

Both Isabella and Hill are friends of mine (as in we've spoken online and follow each other on social media) so I refuse to choose a, "Side," in this matter and simply will say if Hill is making such as incredible comics as, "American Carnage," which deals heavily with race and politics, I think he'll do a stellar job writing a comic with Black Lightning just as Isabella as the creator can state if he does not like such a comic occurring.

2. Feminism and Anti-Trans Sentiment
This article about how some far-left Feminists have found an, "Unholy union," with far-right conservatives in their anti-Trans sentiment is both depressing and not surprising. Feminism and the LGBTQ movement has always seemed to struggle with often being about more than the L(esbian) and G(ay) with less effort spent in making sure to include Bi and Trans voices (with the addition of Q AKA Queer and/or Questioning being a newer addition to the term and carrying with it further complexity). I find an immense irony in Trans-exclusionary radical Feminists, or TERFs, partnering with groups that would rob women of their right to abortion, right to same-sex marriage, or otherwise refuse to ever listen to them were it not for a strangely shared anti-Trans view. I am not a Woman or Trans, but I 100% feel that Trans Women are Women. From the first time I read an article for a sexuality class about the (now-defunct) Michigan's Womyn's festival excluding Trans-Women I knew that was wrong.

Again, I am not Trans, a Woman, or attracted to the same Sex. I am however a staunch ally of the LGBTQ movement and everyone who is a member of it. The idea that Trans-Women and Trans-Men could face rejection and scorn from others in regards to their gender when those insulting them have experienced immense discrimination and judgement for their sexuality is just mind-boggling and upsetting. I can say without a doubt I fully disagree with anyone who is anti-Trans, be they Gay or Straight.

3. Marvel's Queerbaiting for Their Movies is Extremely Tacky
Marvel be like, "It could be anyone, perhaps Captain Marvel?"
While we're on the subject of LGBTQ representation let's discuss Queerbaiting and how Marvel's engaging in doing it which is super tacky, cynical, and calculated. Queerbaiting is when a movie/show/book/etc. hint that a character (or characters) might be gay or engage in a same-sex relationship in order to draw-in LGBTQ fans. Its a ploy and oftentimes these hints are not even followed-up upon or evident in the text (e.g. claiming Dumbledore is gay as some grand gesture to fans without it being evident anywhere in, "Harry Potter," he could be). Now, we have the Russo brothers who directed the most recent, "Avengers," films stating how one already-introduced Marvel Cinematic Universe character is, "Canonically Gay," and saying how we'll find out eventually whom it is.

Hyping-up the reveal a character is Gay as if it were some exciting special effect as opposed to just simply an aspect of full-developed and interesting character is contemptuous of so many LGBTQ fans of Marvel who would appreciate actual representation. As fun as the Marvel movies can be they aren't exactly progressive (it took plenty to get one with a Black Male as a lead and over twenty to get one with a Female lead) and while they might be trying, its better to just admit you're working at inclusion instead of treating gayness as some kind of selling-point for a future movie--one is working towards Queer representation and the other is flagrant Queerbaiting.

I've Commented on Controversy
There we go. I have commented on some controversial things. Sometimes it is easier to write about stuff everyone agrees on--e.g. how Steve Harvey is a terrible person or, "Glee," never achieved its full potential due to Rachel Berry being an awful character (no shade at Lea Michele, she's fine)--but even if I should've maybe kept my mouth shut about the three subjects I discussed...I didn't, because if there is one thing you can count on with this blog, I'm gonna speak my mind, and hopefully sound more educated than ignorant when I do so!

Thursday, May 9, 2019

The Comic Book Presser Does Great Work!

Awhile ago I said how I had complicated feelings about CGC and comic grading/encapsulation in general. As I've gotten older and wiser I see how it has its uses and for some rarer comics or ones in really good condition it can be a good idea to keep them from falling apart over time. I had two comics I wanted to get graded but my hope was to make sure they were in stellar condition before I submitted them. I've heard about comic-book pressing and dry-cleaning in regards to how it can assist comics with some assorted issues (aging defects, spine roll, and so forth), but if I wanted pressing done I had zero idea whom to get help from. Should one look around online there are services that range widely in price, speed, and reviews, so it can be hard to know who to turn to for pressing. With this in mind, I asked some of my assorted comic-selling friends who have a lot more knowledge about comic-pressing and CGC grading than I do. My chum Justin of Wayne Kent Comics had plenty of glowing things to say about Chris, "The Comic Book Presser."

I reached out to Chris and he walked me through the form on his website you fill-out to be sent an invoice for his services. I then mailed him two comics. I sent him a Mexico variant of, "Amazing Spider-Man #11," featuring a J. Scott Campbell cover of the Black Cat that also appeared on a, hard-to-find, "Superior Spider-Man," cover in America (I got this as a present from my awesome friend who lives in Mexico and I trade comics with, Oziel). I also sent-in a copy of, "Avengers #196," which features the first full appearance of Taskmaster. The above pictures are from before the press. As you can see the Spider-Man comic is in mostly great condition but has some spine issues from my own occasional rough-handling, while the Taskmaster appearance has a number of concerns here and there that were evident when I bought it. It took about 4 weeks (I didn't pay for a rush-order which is an option, but I was good with the standard time) and my books came back as such:

The Spider-Man cover looks even more gorgeous and has nary a defect I can spot, and my, "Avengers," comic looks incredibly better--especially in regards to the extensive spine-roll it earlier suffered from. I look forward to submitting these to CGC for sure--I have no intention of selling the awesome Black Cat variant but think it would display wonderfully in a CGC case with a high grade. I may sell the, "Avengers," once it is graded as Taskmaster is getting more and more speculation heat lately. I found Chris' prices extremely reasonable compared to some quotes I'd seen online from other pressing services and am extremely pleased with the result of his work. I also was happy he kept in touch during the pressing-process, letting me know the books had arrived, when he was shipping them back, and so forth.

I took this today before getting them prepped to be sent-out to CGC.
I'd eagerly recommend The Comic Book Presser to anyone who is interested in having their books pressed/dry-cleaned/otherwise fixed-up before getting them graded, or simply if they want them to look snazzier. I want to thank Justin for his recommendation and Chris for doing such a superb job with my books. I look forward to getting them back graded and am excited to know they'll without a doubt grade much better thanks to Chris' hard work.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

The Lion Forge and Oni Press Merger News Inspires Mixed Emotions

Lion Forge was a small publisher that grew impressively. Based here in Saint Louis it at first focused mostly on digital content but then expanded into all kinds of cool and exciting published works that gave it a great, "Voice," of not quite being a super artsy-publisher or simply another offshoot super-hero label, it was just full of great stuff. Back in 2015 I was writing about my enjoyment of the publisher and since then have often said glowing things. I mean, it is a highly-respected comic publisher based here in Saint Louis, how awesome is that? Well, I read the news today which seemed to be reported all over with slightly differing tones how Lion Forge was going to be merging with another popular publisher of comics--Oni Press. As a result of this a number of employees may be let-go from each company and Lion Forge is going to move much (if not all) of their resources to Portland, Oregon (a city that is known for having a chunk of publishers).

I'm happy for Lion Forge and Oni Press, it is great they have been able to reach a deal that will hopefully assist both soon-to-be-merged publishers in generating further success with their great comics. That said, I am sad that this Saint Louis-based publisher is going to be leaving as it was something I felt very proud we had. I also have some friends/associates who have worked for Lion Forge in the past or actively are working for it and some may be impacted by this merger while others will have their positions be less affected. They all are in my thoughts as a merger is stressful for everyone involved in the numerous complicated aspects. I am clearly feeling a mixture of emotions, but in the end I just want everyone from both companies have everything work out for the best--and even more splendid comics to be made.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Television Tuesday: We're Seriously Doing This XFL Thing Again?

Back in 2018 a businessman who has worked extensively within and led the WWF (now WWE) and is known for making a lot of money off of treating his employees terribly, Vince McMahon, announced he was actually going to try and do the XFL again, despite all logic. Details were sparse other than it would be football that is rougher, faster, and players would have to stand for the Pledge because I guess the idea is, "Fuck these men and their politics who are damaging their bodies for our entertainment." Should you have been born anytime before 2001 or so you might be getting a bit of deja-vu recalling how the XFL was already a thing that happened and failed spectacularly. I'd highly recommend the ESPN documentary, "This Was the XFL," so you can see just how badly things went. Well, this whole thing is still happening with deals apparently struck to get the games aired on television and the cities set to host teams are still all-in (including Saint Louis, which if our experience with the Rams shows anything we don't need a Football when we have a perfectly great Hockey and Baseball teams)

The, "New," XFL is working its hardest to have an image of competence and respectability with a commissioner named Oliver Luck who actually seems quite smart and hard-working (also, they gave him a lot of money to toss common-sense to the side and do this). The XFL is set to start again in the spring of 2020, so with nine or so months left a whole lot still seems up in the air (team names, the exact differences in rules from the NFL, who is even playing) and I'm wondering if this will simply be a failure or an incredible failure--e.g. it crashes and burns after a couple drab seasons or implodes almost right way like the first time. I guess once the games start airing in the Spring of 2020 we'll see what happens. I'm not holding my breath for any wild success stories.

Monday, May 6, 2019

In, "Stranger Things," Lawsuit News, Somebody Got Paid (I Bet)

I don't watch, "Stranger Things." When I clear-out my Netflix que some of many other programs awaiting my time I might get to it, but I've not yet seen it. I'm not saying this shamefully or to brag--in the same manner I hate people who only talk about how much they love some show I despise people who like to state, "I'm in the 1% of the population that doesn't watch this show, I'm special!" I am merely saying I don't watch, "Stranger Things," to make it clear I lacked strong feelings on a big lawsuit regarding the series that had some fans really concerned/angry. I followed this case as it was really zany and its final conclusion is weird as well. You see, a man named Charles Kessler had a lawsuit against the Duffer brothers ("Stranger Things," showrunners) and Netflix. He claimed that years previously he had shown the Duffer bros his script for a show about a secret government facility in a small town that dealt with wacky sci-fi stuff. Then, years later the Duffers went and made that show, "Stranger Things," with no credit to Kessler. This resulted in a meaty lawsuit.

Now, it can be hard to prove this kind of stuff (plagiarism isn't always as obvious as a copied term paper), but enough evidence was present it looked like Kessler could have a case. There was a paper trail of his project and it being shown to people (including, apparently, the Duffers). Also, his script was titled, "Montauk," and guess what the working-title for, "Stranger Things,"was early in development? Yep, "Montauk." Despite numerous attempts by the Duffers and Netflix to get the case dismissed it was set to go to court in a number of days and you know plenty of risk existed that upcoming seasons could have to get plot points spoiled to argue how the show was different from Kessler's script. Then, yesterday, he suddenly dropped the case. This leads me to one conclusion: Somebody got paid.

The Duffer brothers.
Kessler released this statement about why he had suddenly decided to drop his case against Netflix after a good year of fighting to get it to court, "After hearing the deposition testimony this week of the legal expert I hired, it is now apparent to me that, whatever I may have believed in the past, my work had nothing to do with the creation of. 'Stranger Things.' Documents from 2010 and 2013 prove that the Duffers independently created their show. As a result, I have withdrawn my claim and I will be making no further comment on this matter." I'm betting he doesn't need to make any further comments because he's too busy bathing in the money he's been promised to make this case go away. That, or maybe he got a sweet deal to get a different movie/television show he was working on made with some helpful Netflix funding as long as everyone casually winked at each other when he said he'd drop the case and Netflix then for completely unrelated reasons ordered a series-pilot from him.

This is not unheard of in the entertainment industry. When a big company sees a threat to lose billions they decide to settle for millions. Recall how long things dragged on between Marvel and the estate of Jack Kirby regarding ownership of characters he worked on? If so, you probably also recall that once there was the slightest hint Marvel could go to court and potentially lose that they then settled for an undisclosed amount that could have very well been a billion dollars (a billion to save trillions when you're Marvel/Disney, I suppose). As I said at the start of this article, I have no dog in this fight as someone who has yet to watch, "Stranger Things," but I have found the whole case fascinating in just how many twists-and-turns it has had--apparently a lot like the show that was being argued over.

"Good news, kids, you can keep fighting weird monsters!"
I only hope that with this sudden resolution of the case being dropped Charles Kessler is happy with whatever money/deal I'm assuming he got and the Duffer brothers can breathe a sigh of relief knowing their show's secrets are safe. Whether Kessler actually was ripped off or if the Duffer brothers can claim full credit for making, "Stranger Things," now apparently is officially resolved, regardless of if in truth it was their wholly original idea or they drew some inspiration from others. At the end of the day I'm assuming there was enough money to turn the truth into, "The truth," with big ol' quotation marks to leave us wondering.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Free Comic Book Day 2019 Was Fantastic!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Free Comic Book Day this year! Samii and Clarkson went with me to a few stores and it was great. We got an assortment of free books and bought some things too. Free Comic Book Day is always superb fun and I feel so happy to have my wife and son to spend it with me. Now to look forward to next year!

Thursday, May 2, 2019

"Meet the Skrulls," Has Been a Weird (and Good) Little Comic

There is currently a mini-series of five issues that Marvel has been putting-out titled, "Meet the Skrulls." It doesn't tie into any big event going on and features basically no, "Known," Marvel heroes outside of a short Tony Stark/Iron Man appearance here-and-there as the comic takes place at one of his industry-labs. It also has an art-style that is a lot more abstract and different from most Marvel stuff. Written by Robbie Thompson and featuring the aforementioned artwork of Niko Henrichon, "Meet the Skrulls," follows a seemingly normal family known as The Warners who actually are all deep-cover Skrulls, or as one friend of mine put it, "It's kind of like that show, 'The Americans,' but with space-aliens." It is a weird little comic, and very, very good.

While, "Meet the Skrulls," takes place in big hero-filled Marvel Universe it has a very grounded feel (for a comic about aliens posing as humans, at least). The Warners are in a fact an actual family, and they are doing a mission to stop something Earth has been developing known as, "Project Blossom," which will allow humans to detect Skrulls with ease--something it seems Earth started working on after the, "Secret Invasion," some years previous (it very loosely spins out of the event from awhile ago, but still doesn't really tie into anything as I wrote earlier). The Warners are dealing with a lot of stress from a mysterious man going around killing Skrulls, their mission having assorted complications, and one of the daughters seeming more interested in trying to actually live as a human than working for the Skrull empire. It has one issue left and I'm incredibly curious to see what happens and if there will be a follow-up (or if the characters appear in other series somehow). I am eager to see how everything reads once it finishes!

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

It's Finally May, Have Some News and Links

We Ma(y)de It!
It was a long and busy April, but we've made it to May! April is that month which feels like it will never end, but it finally did. How about we celebrate the arrival of one of my favorite months with some news and links?

Things to Read

Apparently 15 years since is release, "The Sims 2," still has die-hard fans. I understand why, it was the best one in the series, without any question.

Twitter is hesitant to use an algorithm that can identify and ban hateful white supremacists because it might, "Tag," a chunk of Republican politicians. Well, that isn't surprising as many of them are. Then again, it continues to astound me how someone like Donald Trump gets to spew hate-speech and not have his Twitter shut-down his account just because he lied and cheated his way to an office of power.

I've seen the concept discussed before of how memes are in a way styled like  comic strips, often having a, "Flow," or format that are similar in ways. They oftentimes have a set-up, punchline, use concepts of timing and draw from popular-culture, etc. This review of, "3D Sweeties," by Matt Seneca explores this connection.

Taylor Swift is up to all kinds of weird shit with her latest song and music-video, but I have decided she gets a, "Pass," from me after all the time I previously spent railing against her resulting in me eating my words when it turned out she and I shared more beliefs than I did with someone I once looked up to, Kanye West. Therefore, I have nothing positive or negative to say about, "ME!" and will let outlets such as The Atlantic simply share their views.

It has been observed that since the release of, "Avengers: Endgame," and the fact that, "Spider-Man: Far From Home," apparently takes place after it, that adds a whole new bunch of elements to the original trailer and raises more questions too (that link contains big, "Endgame," spoilers).

While we're on the subject of Marvel movies, I quite agree with this article about how Captain Marvel was a good movie, but it just wasn't quite a great one.

In regards to myself, I've not had particularly strong feelings for or against Power Girl's assorted costumes (and the most famous/infamous, "Boob window," one), seeing as how a lot of female super-heroes will oftentimes have their outfits heavily sexualized for one reason or another. That said, this article by Jessica Plummer of BookRiot is hilarious in examining just how hard DC has worked to at times cover-up the outfit, or bend-over backwards trying to give a plot reason for boob window. There are men and women who like a good degree of cleavage with their heroes, its okay, DC, just admit it. When you try and give a complicated story-reason for cheesecake you're just embarrassing everyone.

I loved the, "Sonic the Hedgehog," games as a kid (I know, later on they all got pretty bad), and everyone was saying how awful the trailer for his movie looked. I watched it and I actually thought it was...okay? I mean, I like James Marsden as well as Jim Carrey, there were some decent jokes, and while Sonic is a bit off-putting in his appearance I'm not utterly disgusted. Considering how negative the internet's reaction has been however, I am clearly in the minority.

Lastly, let's close on something that I am embarrassed to admit I like. That song, "Sweet but Pyscho," by the artist Ava Max should be something I despise. It is an over-the-top piece with insipid lyrics, Max putting way too much effort into sounding dramatic, and an sickly sweet  and peppy electronic vibe. Yet, I find the song strangely listenable despite all my criticisms of it and Max's stupid gimmick of having one side of her hair grown-out long and the other cut short. It's inexplicable, but I'm pretty fond of the jam.

Enjoy the Month!
October is probably my favorite month, but May is a close second. I am very happy it has begun and I look forward to enjoying the hopefully pleasant weather and all the great things May brings (Free Comic Book Day, my birthday, and so forth).

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

"It Had To Be You," by Nick Edwards is a Wonderfully Dark and Trippy Read

I love a lot of what Germany-based publisher Rotopol puts out (they publish internationally so much of their work is also in English, which I appreciate as my German is nicth gut). One of the newest comics to be published by them (it officially comes-out May 11th, 2019) is the delightfully dark and equally psychedelic book, "It Had to Be You," by creator Nick Edwards. The comic follows an assortment of vaguely human-shaped characters who are, "Friends," in arguably the loosest sense of the word. Much of the comic is focused on Ob, a very nice circular gent who considers a noodle-like fellow named, "Eck," a great friend along with the melon-sized, "Alm." The problem is that Eck is prone to fits of rage and just as likely to attack someone who offends him...or if he's in a better mood he might just steal a supposed chum's car. Alm means well but is a habitual loser himself too. Oh, and there is  a pet named Ubu who Ob acquires later in the comic that seems nice at first but is honestly just plain mean too. This may sound depressing, but within this comic it is actually all quite hilarious.

Edward's has worked on numerous cartoon programs according to his bio-page I read for the comic, so he clearly knows that the tonal clash between cute-and-nasty is one that can be quite funny. The world of, "It Had To Be You," is full of adorable and squishy people, animals, and objects, but is actually a pretty brutal place. It has great technology that makes life better, but everyone is just nasty no matter how swell life is and how cute they look. Yes, some people try to be nice, like Alm, but it usually ends up failing--such as when Alm bakes a cake for Ob upon learning Ob is ill and needs to go to the hospital, Alm ends up getting the cake smashed in his face via an accident both equally tragic and humorous.
Eck is not a good friend to Ob.
Another interesting thing about this world is even if everyone is kind of awful, some residents are pretty optimistic. Ob can only smile and remind himself how he considers Eck a friend whenever Eck treats him terribly, and Alm doesn't let any awful incident that occurs to him stop his positive thoughts. It is both sweet and kind of tragic to witness these hopeless happy characters stuck in a world that's cute at first glance, but full of sucky people.

As I mentioned, Edward's gives us some incredible art in this comic. His creations are cute and fun-looking but have that glimmer of mischief in their eyes that is made quite evident upon one's reading of the book. His characters look just humanoid enough to be recognizable as living beings but still have all kinds of abstract shapes and features that make them incredibly striking. The mixture of recognizable-and-avant-garde works perfectly and gives the art a perfect abstract touch whilst still being easy to follow for readers. It's fantastic stuff.
When Alm tries to tell someone they were rude he gets stabbed for his trouble,
it's par for the course as Alm never seems to have things go his way.
Between the extremely funny (and dark) story and some stupendous art I loved, "It Had to Be You." Nick Edward's has spent a lot of years in the field of animation/drawing/artwork and it shows through his skillful creation. I unquestionably rate this comic 5 out of 5 stars. I want to thank Rotopol for providing an issue for the purpose of review and would encourage you to get yourself a copy to read and enjoy via pre-ordering it on the Rotopol website or from any other fine book and comic retailer.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Brad Simpson is Out Here Coloring Like a Boss

I recently read two trade paperbacks written by Joe Casey that were each quite good if very different tonally (interestingly enough, both are also from the great publisher Image). They also each had two different (and stellar) artists. One thing that took the comics over-the-top however is how they shared in colorist Brad Simpson doing his thing on them. I've said that colorists don't get enough recognition in the field of comics because often if a colorist is doing a good job you (the reader) don't notice. However, when a colorist does a stellar job, that makes an impact you take note of. Joe Casey works with an assortment of great artists, but he's wise to usually have Brad Simpson present for his color-work as it fits so many books so well.

The two trade paperbacks with Casey and Simpson involved are, "Sex, Volume 6: World Hunger," and, "Jesusfreak." "Sex," was a monthly comic that wasn't cancelled so much as put on a hiatus to then have it be attempted to release it in trade-paperback installments. Featuring the art of Piotr Kowlalski this is the first of those new straight-to-trade editions. "Sex," involves a man named Simon Cooke who made a pledge to quit being a superhero within his home of Saturn City and all the fallout that has resulted from that years later. "Jesusfreak," involves Joe Casey telling a 1970's exploitation-film styled tale of Jesus Christ and has the artwork of Benjamin Marra which fits the tone perfectly. Marra is not someone who usually collaborates with a writer, generally writing and drawing his own work, but he and Casey meld together well for this original graphic novel. Two very different tones tackled by a great writer and amazing colorist, and man does Simpson color like a boss.
"Sex," and its sixth volume involves former masked hero Simon Cooke leaving Saturn City to explore a mysterious group with Illuminati-esque intentions. Meanwhile his former sidekick, Keenan Wade, and other associates try to keep their lives together as Saturn city is falling apart without Cooke's alter-ego, "The Iron Saint," present to help fight assorted super-villains there. Saturn City itself looks like a cross between Las Vegas and New York City with its towering buildings and neon-drenched streets. Simpson portrays it all with a wondrous and sickening glow, one which is expertly countered by when Simon ends-up in a cold and quiet resort in a foreign country where the colors shift to a much more muted tone except for the occasional brilliant burst of light from a fire or such.

With, "Jesusfreak," we get a psychedelic tint to the early Common Era that is excellent at furthering the surreal vibe of how the story takes place thousands of years ago but has a sensation as if it were a 1970's exploration film (as I earlier mentioned). Marra's artwork often has a stark and imposing form, and Simpson's colors mesh with it indelibly. Simpson is able to go from coloring the sleek and modern, "Sex," to the strange mish-mash of ancient times and modern vibes in, "Jesusfreak," with ease. He's just that good.
I love much of Brad Simpson's work and have been a fan of his for some time. He continues to do amazing stuff whether it is with a writer such as Joe Casey on these two books or the many other titles he colors. Between Casey's great writing, Simpson's incredible colors, and some damn fine artwork from Piotr Kowlalski and Benjamin Marra, I loved these books. Brad Simpson is one of my favorite colorists, and anytime I see he did his magical skills applied to a comic I know its time to get extra-excited to read it!

Saturday, April 27, 2019

"Master," is Another Stellar Comic by Dale Forward

Back in February I reviewed the comic, "Warlock," by Dale Forward and enjoyed it a great deal. In that work Foreward utilized an included pair of 3-D glasses not to present the comic in 3-D, but to have it so that looking through the same page via the different lenses would result in different imagery appearing. I was extremely impressed with this clever element in Forward's art and was eager to review the book, "Master," when he told me it was completed and available for sale. Having now read, "Master," I am pleased to say it is yet another stellar comic by Mr. Forward.

"Master," uses the same storytelling element of the 3-D glasses, but instead of giving an in-story reason for it (within Warlock it involved enchanted eyes) it simply serves as a tool to allow the story to move ahead in clever ways. If, "Warlock," had the 3-D glasses and their as the star of the show then, "Master," is more designed to use them in the service of its story--both methods work great in the end, of course. Master takes place in a fantasy world quite like the one in, "Warlock," and they may even share the same universe (it is unclear) and follows a character known as the, "Master," who has tired of fighting countless foes and always winning. He wants to finally be defeated and die after years of conquering daemons, goblins, serpents and other monsters.
We witness as the Master eventually learns some deep philosophical truths about the World I won't fully spoil in case you read the book, and I was pleased to see the book go in this introspective direction as opposed to simply having the climax being the Master having some huge bloody fight (although he does have a few earlier in the story). Forward's artwork continues to be incredible, with the mixture of red, blue, and black resulting in the 3-D glasses making pages fascinating whether it is a cool trick where we peer through one lens and see a closed door only  to then check the other lens and witness it flung open, or the lenses being used in other clever ways such as the world swirling around the Master whilst he, drawn in black-and-white ink, remains immovable no matter what challenge comes his way.

"Master," by Dale Forward is another fantastic comic that illustrates how Forward is a stellar creator. I enthusiastically rate it 5 out of 5 stars. You can get yourself a copy of, "Master," via his Bigcartel store, and check his work out on his Facebook page, Instagram Page, or say hi on Twitter.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Film Friday: In Case You Somehow Forgot, "Avengers: Endgame," is Officially Out

On the off chance you've been living under a rock, deep within a nuclear bunker, with your eyes closed, fingers in your ears, and loudly yelling, you might be unaware of, "Avengers: Endgame." It has been hyped relentlessly, been getting mostly glowing reviews, and is going to make record-breaking amounts of money now that it is in a theater near you. I have not seen it yet but did read some spoilers as I don't mind them (sometimes I even enjoy a flick more knowing some of what might happen) and it sounds pretty cool. I hope to see it sooner than later and wish everyone who does go to see it a fun time--also, it's like 3 hours long so make sure you pee before the film if you're worried about missing anything.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Mini-Run Review: "Immortal Days," Episodes 1-8

As my blog continues to gain more and more awareness from folk all over the world (hooray for slowly gaining relevancy over these almost-nine years shouting into the void of the internet) I get contacted by various people about their comics and if I'd like to read them. Sometimes it is indie creators and other times various small publishers. One interesting thing that occurred was a man named Michael Song who works for the digital comic platform, "Lezhin," emailed me to ask if I was interested in reading the initial issues/episodes of an English translation of a Korean Manhwa (in Japan it would be called Manga, Korean-based is Manhwa, if you wondered) titled, "Immortal Days." The overall sci-fi concept appealed to me so I eagerly dove-in and read the first eight issues, or, "Episodes."

"Immortal Days," is a story about a world where immortality was discovered. People found way to live forever and now basically everyone never dies. You get older but don't get ill. You can be shot, stabbed, blown into pieces, or anything else drastic but your body will eventually heal and you'll be good as new (although you might need assistance gathering body-parts if you are blown-up). In a clever twist this hasn't ushered in some golden-age of prosperity and enlightenment--no, people are continuously self-centered and focused on their own well-being. There is still crime, with the comic casually mentioning it actually got worse because with murder no longer being a concern thieves have to basically give a person what would in the past have been deadly wound to be able to rob them. The world gained immortality and now that people can live forever they're just extra big jerks knowing there aren't consequences for being violent at one another. It is a plot element that is both darkly hilarious and kind of depressing. There is a twist however, in that with any drastic changes in biology there are bound to be mutations.

Myeol, or, "Fall," as his friends call him is a mortal. A relatively young guy, he has had to train his body to withstand all kinds of danger because he can die. In this world where people will fall from the top of a building or can be hit with a bunch of bullets and shrug them off Myeol can be bruised, scarred, and killed. He meets a private detective or, "Troubleshooter," as they called named Phil who is astounded to learn he and Myeol both share their unique gift/curse of mortality. This results in Phil hiring Myeol as an assistant both because Myeol's physical skills are impressive and because Phil admits as much of a removed and tough-guy act he puts on he's lonely and a bit fearful being able to die. These initial issues set-up much of this plot and then have the two embarking on a case to figure out what kind of trouble a cult focused on bringing about the extinction of humanity (e.g. making everyone no longer immortal) could be trying to cause.

Creator of the series, Heo Gin Gae, gives readers some fantastic artwork in the comic, with moments of violence especially being both comic and a bit grotesque. People get blown-up after all, but as nobody (besides our main characters at least) can die, it results in some strikingly silly imagery such as a torso with just a head hollering to an EMT how an arm with a star tattoo belongs to them. The scenes of action and fighting are delightfully frantic, and the comic's mixture of heart, humor, and a dash of sadness result in a stellar plot to go with the great art. My only real complaint might be how I would love to see more of this kind of world where people are now immortal, and get some details about that. I mean, if people can't die but still get hungry, will you never starve to death but just be miserable? Has immortality resulted in a lot of crowding in the world? It is such a clever concept that I want to know more about it! As this web-comic is an ongoing that will be updated weekly (it launched with the initial eight episodes/issues I was able to review) I bet this plot-point will be explored further, and I'm excited for that.
The first case Myeol and Phil investigate.
I really enjoyed, "Immortal Days," and eagerly rate it 4.5 out of 5 stars for the eight episodes/issues I have read. I would encourage people to try out the comic-website Lezhin (it can be utilized in Korean, Japanese, or English) and buy some issues of, "Immortal Days," in addition to checking-out the wide-range of titles this website and its web-reader provide (I did not know of Lezhin till recently, but know of some other Manga and Manhwa sites and am aware these can be pretty popular). I'm pleased to have been reached-out to by Michael Song and look forward to reading upcoming episodes/issues of, "Immortal Days," as well as other cool-looking comics on the Lezhin site!

Note: The ability to access and read, "Immortal Days," on Lezhin was provided for the purposes of review.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Some Ignorant People Are Mad about the Plot of a Mortal Kombat Game...Yeah

You know a game series that has never been especially known for its plot as opposed to lots of tongue-in-cheek jokes and violence? If you said, "Mortal Kombat," with its infamous, "Fatalities," you would be right. Through its decades (yeah, I know, I feel old too) of existence the games have often been very bloody and utilized silly jokes. It is an extremely self-aware series. The latest game, "Mortal Kombat 11," has made some people angry due to an alternate ending for the character Jax (who is black). You see, he gets the ability to travel through time and uses it to prevent the trans-Atlantic slave-trade before it can begin, sparing millions of people from the horrors of slavery. Jax wants to keep his ancestors from suffering and uses time-travel to stop slavery in a sweet alternate ending for a silly fighting game, and this is making some ignorant people mad for...reasons?

Apparently some people think it is racist for a black man to stop African slavery because of that old chestnut, "Irish were slaves too!" as if Jax just ignored that (we can assume he stopped all slavery based on the ending). Also, some people think it is unrealistic and historically inaccurate to have Jax travel through time and do this. Yes, people are complaining about the historical accuracy of a fighting series where people summon magical bolts of lighting or fight multi-armed monsters in-between ripping each others' spines out. I'm just going to put it out there that anyone who wants to argue that, "Slavery wasn't that bad," or wants to nit-pick the realism of, "Mortal Kombat," is probably someone you should avoid associating with for the sake of your sanity. Oh, some people are angry that the female characters are now dressed more like actual fighters than strippers in this latest game, but that is a whole 'nother subject for a different time because we can only handle so much idiocy in one day.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

I Like Matt Leblanc but Hate His Character Joey

I like Matt Leblanc. The bits I've seen of his latest work, "Man With a Plan," are pretty funny, he was one of the small shining moments (besides Bernie Mac) in the movie, "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle," which was otherwise a garbage fire, and some may remember from early in his career when we was a recurring character on the zany sitcom, "Married...With Children." The thing is, I like Matt Leblanc in these roles as well as others, and anything I have read about him as a human being paints him as a very pleasant and friendly guy, but I hate what is arguably his most famous role, Joey Tribbiani, on, "Friends."

I have watched a chunk of, "Friends," to the point where I would never win a trivia contest dedicated to the show, but I have a general idea about the characters and their struggles/successes. With that said, Joey generally annoys the Hell out of me. He's always trying to impress everyone and craving affirmation for his crappy attempts to become a famous actor. He's dumb as a door-nail but thinks he knows better than everyone else, often to a degree where it gets him in trouble. He's a shallow, vain, narcissist and the rest of his friends seem to not so much like him as put-up with the guy and/or pity him. I just don't like Joey.

"How you doing?"
Perhaps this is a credit to Matt Leblanc and how much I've liked him in other roles that he's doing a stellar job making Joey so unbearable. I think the more upsetting thing about Joey is how much some fans of the show seem to like him, to the degree a spin-off starring Joey was attempted after, "Friends," wrapped (it was cancelled in the middle of its second season, so apparently a plenty of people dislike or are indifferent to the character of Joey as well). I may hate Joey, but I continue to enjoy the work of Matt Leblanc and hope he continues to enjoy entertaining us with further episodes of, "Man With a Plan," and any other creative endeavors he embarks on.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Please Consider Donating to Assist With Bill Mantlo's Care

Michael and Bill Mantlo.
Bill Mantlo is the creator of fan-favorite character Rocket Raccoon as well as other great characters such as Cloak and Dagger. He worked on a number of quality comics including runs on, "ROM," and, "The Incredible Hulk." He earned his law degree and worked as public defender for The Legal Aid Society as he was that kind of caring person. In 1992 he was the victim of a hit-and-run driver while rollerblading. He was comatose for some time and upon waking was left with permanent brain-damage. His younger brother, Michael, assumed the role of being Bill's caretaker. Michael is been in charge of making sure Bill receives full-time care due to having cognitive damage severe enough he is, "unable to reason or understand his situation, and he struggles daily to maintain any control over his own mind." Considering how much money some of the properties Bill created have made you'd think there would be ample funds to give him top-notch care in a private residence. Sadly, in this field of comic-books where creators have so often been screwed-over, that is not the case.

Michael Mantlo has gone over 100,000 dollars into debt over these years making sure Bill is given not just passable care, but excellent care. Michael has stated, "I have been attempting to bring my brother home from the nursing home he has been placed in for the last 10 years.  It has been a difficult struggle, filled with numerous pitfalls and obstacles, but I gave my word to him that I would do everything in my power to make it happen so that he could live out the rest of his life with dignity, and peace.  It has become painfully obvious to me in the last few months that the powers that be will not let that happen." Michael has created a GoFundMe to assist with the costs of paying-off the debt he has gained working to get Bill stellar care and situated somewhere else besides his current nursing home.
Without Bill Mantlo there simply would be no Rocket Raccoon.

Michael is completely upfront in his GoFundMe with the fact that Bill is financially stable and thanks to the compensation he does get from Marvel/Disney and Bill is at no risk of being denied care where he is. Still, Michael wants Bill not to simply waste away, but actually get to live life to the best degree he can. I understand that Bill does receive royalties (which Michael is in charge of making sure are spent appropriately as Bill's caretaker) but it is depressing to think a man who worked hard to give the world such beloved characters and suffered this terrible injury still lacks enough funds to receive the kind of assistance that would prevent Michael from having to go so deep into debt. It is just disgusting how the comic-book industry has treated so many people, and Bill deserves better--the very, "Better," Michael is trying to provide for him. I would encourage anyone who is able to donate anything, even just a dollar, to do so for Bill and Michael. I'd also encourage you to make Marvel/Disney aware that if they can manage to make trillions off of the work of creators such as Bill, they could afford to give him more money to prevent such a situation as this one from occurring in the future.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Happy Passover and Easter!

As of today, April 21st, 2019, we are in the midst of Passover and today is Easter as well. If you celebrate both, either, or neither, I hope you have a great weekend. Whatever the case, be sure to slather your doorway in lamb's blood if you're the firstborn and also be on the lookout for zombie Jesus.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Being the Neighbor of Someone Trey Songz Has Sex With Sounds Very Annoying

I enjoy the music of Trey Songz AKA Tremaine Aldon Neverson, but one of his new jams makes me wonder if it would actually really suck to be a neighbor of someone he's seeing. The song, "Neighbors Know My Name," involves him singing about how he and a ladyfriend have such loud and rambunctious sex it results in the neighbors banging on the wall (I assume they are in an apartment or condominium) and even coming-over and pounding on the door to demand that Neverson and his partner quit having such loud relations.

Lyrics in the song discuss how they go, "So hard," they damage a new headboard on the bed, and she often shouts a number of things from obscenities to, of course, his name, "Tremaine/Trey." One verse involves Neverson outright stating that while the neighbors, "Be dreamin', you be screamin' now they bangin' on our door," which is Neverson essentially admitting that he and his female lover  chose to have sex late at night knowing full well based on past evidence it would be disruptive.
"Good morning! Sorry about all that noise last night."
Now, I don't want prevent Neverson from having sex as many of his quality songs involve the subject of love-making and I want him to continue having inspiration for his music. I also admire that he wants to make sure both he and his partner are satisfied as sex is of course something that should be enjoyed by all parties involved (too many heterosexual relationships involve men solely focused on their pleasure and not the lady being happy too). That said, I would maybe suggest that if he is going to be so thorough in his romantic encounters with this woman that perhaps they have sex during the day when it wouldn't wake people up, or maybe if he does not live with this woman (the song never specifies if he's a resident there or just visits often) maybe this ladyfriend can come over to his house/apartment/condo sometime and his own neighbors can put-up with the loud sex (I'd assume they are used to it).

I know this is just a song and I imagine Neverson is a thoughtful enough person he would make sure his sex is not actually disruptive to others. Still, anytime I hear this on the radio I can't help but wonder how enraging it might actually be to live next door to whomever Neverson is having sex with; at least, that's my general takeaway from this ditty. Laslty, I like the line where he says the woman's body is, "A Problem," and that, "They call me the problem-solver," which doesn't relate to the noise-issue, but is a very clever line.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

A Review of "Wulfborne," #2 and #3

A bit ago I had a review segment where I talked about an assortment of indie-titles I was enjoying, including the first issue of, "Wulfborne." Its creator, Brian Middleton Jr. liked my review so much he asked if I would be interested in reviewing the second issue that had recently been published (it came out 3/27/19) as well as the upcoming third and final issue, due for release 4/24/19. I told Mr. Middleton I'd be happy to review the other issues and was provided a digital copy of the other two issues. Having now read the rest of, "Wulfborne," I would say I enjoyed issue #2 and #3 immensely!

The first issue of, "Wulfborne," has a more minimalist plot as an adventurer named Branwulf travels to meet a mysterious witch who can possibly heal his heartache. The later issues flesh things out a bit more, showing that Branwulf and a young woman shared a deep love, but she had to leave him to be the Queen of her people and now he rarely is able to see her. This has made him angry and lonely, so he's been seeking out a mysterious witch with an ethereal voice that has been calling to him with promises of being able to heal his heartache. Even though Branwulf encounters others who warn him the witch is not someone to be trusted (as well as violent guards of the witch), he fights his way to her and in the third issue they finally meet. The ending (which I won't spoil) actually surprised me a bit as I expected one element (Branwulf is a pretty violent guy) but not another (he can be surprisingly caring too).
The art in issues #2 and #3 is stellar (as it was in the first issue), with Middleton illustrating everything in a style that is a bit abstract and cartoonish to some degree thanks to some very strange creatures, yet still has enough of a gritty, "Oomph," you really feel the damage done to Branwulf or his opponents during scenes of combat. The comic is in black-and white and Middleton uses this to great effect, with light from eyes or magical beams looking striking against the deep blacks, and other little touches (such as Branwulf gritting his teeth in the image above) creating gorgeous contrasts between the white, black, and mixture of grays.

The second and third issue of, "Wulfborne," were both a real treat to read, with my earlier criticism of the plot seeming a bit too minimal/lacking fully addressed--and the fantastic artwork continuing to impress. Brian Middleton Jr. has crafted a stellar read and it is yet another example of the amazing books put out by publisher, SCOUT Comics, who clearly should be proud Middleton has his comic being published with them. I rate these two issues both 5 out of 5 stars, and would encourage you to ask your store to pull the upcoming third issue. You could also ask your store to order the previous issues, and if you lack a comic store, SCOUT has a helpful web-store with copies of the first issue and the second issue for sale). I look forward to seeing what Middleton does next, be it a sequel to, "Wulfborne," or something entirely that will doubtlessly be awesome as well.

Note: As mentioned in the article, digital copies were provided for the purposes of an honest review.