Thursday, December 3, 2020

The Newest Rant Turns 10 Years Old Today and I Have a Giveaway to Celebrate

10 years ago on this very day, I launched my blog. If you don't believe it has been that long, click this link to my original short post. Whether you've been reading my blog from the start, joined some years ago, or just started recently, I thank you and I appreciate you. Even if I changed the design a smidgen now a lot has stayed the same--although I'd argue my writing has gotten better just from the sheer amount of it over this decade. My focus at the start was to share my opinions on popular culture with a slight focus on comics, and so it has been since then. It is wild that some sites I linked to years ago don't even exist anymore and other sites that didn't even exist yet are now quite popular. The whole time I've been here, plugging away and growing to a surprisingly solid readership.

To celebrate my blog turning 10 I have a comic I am going to give away to you--my beloved readers--for free! It is a copy of, "Spider-Man Unlimited," #1 which has been graded as a 9.6 by CGC and is notable as the first appearance of the symbiote known as Shriek. I actually won this comic in a contest that was run by my good friends at Comics Heating Up. I won it a year or two ago, sent it to get graded, and now am going to give it to someone--so it is kind of a giveaway from both them and myself! They are helping to promote my free contest on their awesome website too, which I would recommend you read regularly if you don't already. Now then, as for the rules...

Giveaway Rules

1. Between now and when it has been a full week from this post--December 8th at 11:00 AM you can comment on this post with your name/preferred nickname, etc. That's all you have to do!

2. You can only comment/enter the giveaway once. Anyone who does it multiple times be disqualified from winning.

3. I will use a randomizer website where I will enter everyone's name and then, "Run," the program so it randomly selects a winner. I can record this too if folk would like.

4. The winner will be announced on December 9th in a post and have 48 hours from that time to email me and claim their prize--it will be shipped to them for free if they live in America. If the winner lives outside the United States they will be asked to help cover some of the shipping. 

5. If the winner doesn't respond within 48 hours then the randomizer will be run again with a new winner being selected who will then have 48 hours themselves to reach out to me.

That's it! Go ahead and comment if you'd like to be entered to win!

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Advance Review: "SH*TSHOW," #1

I was contacted the other day by Adam Barnhardt, who is the writer and creator of a new comic coming out this month. Published by SCOUT Comics, it is titled, "SH*TSHOW," and I had the opportunity to read the first issue that Barnhardt kindly provided. Between Barnhardt's writing and the art by  Samir Simao, I quite liked, "SH*TSHOW," and look forward to future issues!

The comic takes place a number of years after a World of heroes like you would find in mainstream comics has come to a sudden and violent end. A devil-creature came and basically destroyed all the heroes, with only a few escaping and some being born since. Earth is now not a post-apocalyptic wasteland so much as aimless and dull after the end of a bright and shining era of superpowers and all the excitement superbeings brought our lives. Now the few who do still have powers eke out a living as part of a traveling circus that does their once-impressive feats as little more than shows for a bored and depressed public. This may sound incredibly depressing, but, "SH*TSHOW," is actually pretty comedic--albeit in a dark way.

The most powerful being of all was once known as, "The Legend," but now just goes by Richard McCoy and is significantly less powerful enough that he can drink a lot of liquor and take a lot of drugs in order to at least feel something. He is still part of the traveling circus, however, and they care for him the best they can between shows with them showing off fire, ice, transforming, and other powers that remind the public of a time that once was. At the end of the issue, however, it seems the evil that almost wiped all the heroes out before might be coming back, so trouble is without a doubt on the horizon.

I enjoyed the bleak-but-funny humor in, "SH*TSHOW," and it reminded me--in a good way--of the comic, "Black Hammer." Both deal with heroes who are literally or figuratively removed from much of the rest of the World and hold nostalgia for the past that can never be reclaimed. While, "Black Hammer," is often more serious, however, "SH*TSHOW," gets some good laughs out of the reader along with making us feel a little sorry for the heroes who got left behind after their time essentially ended. I had a lot of fun reading this first issue of, "SH*TSHOW," and would encourage you to ask your preferred comic retailer to order you a copy before it comes out this month!

4.5 out of 5 stars.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Elliot Page Has my Full Support

The actor formerly known as Ellen Page has announced he is transgender, goes by Elliot Page, and prefers he/him pronouns in addition to they/them pronouns. Page has always been a stellar actor, from when they were known by feminine pronouns to now when I imagine they will continue to make great flicks and shows. Page wrote in an open letter, “I love that I am trans. And I love that I am queer. And the more I hold myself close and fully embrace who I am, the more I dream, the more my heart grows and the more I thrive. To all the trans people who deal with harassment, self-loathing, abuse, and the threat of violence every day: I see you, I love you, and I will do everything I can to change this world for the better." 

As mentioned above, Page uses both he/him and they/them pronouns, and describes himself as transgender and non-binary, meaning that his gender identity is neither man nor woman. Page has my full support and I continue to love their work!

Monday, November 30, 2020

"Super Mario Odyssey," Thoughts/Not-Quite-a-Review

It came out some time ago, but I finally had the chance to play, "Super Mario Odyssey," for the Nintendo Switch. I didn't play it sooner because I saw I could request it from the library and just needed to be patient while other holds got copies for a couple weeks. Then it was my turn and I got to play the game without having to drop a stack of bills on a copy. I've liked the solid chunk of the game I played, but found myself getting a little bored of the formula as it appeared.

The, "Formula," in this Mario game is also the hook--Mario can throw a hat and possess other characters this way. You can take-over the bodies of assorted creatures and robots--and need to in order to solve many puzzles. As you travel to various zones you'll find an assortment of interesting things to possess in-between the usual jumping and running about. Over time, however, the routine becomes clear. 

You go someplace new, find some creatures to possess to get past obstacles or solve a puzzle, and you're on to the next World. It is fun, but after the big Metro level (New Donk City) I was getting way too used to this methodology. Occasionally something wonky and neat will happen like you suddenly going 2D and looking like an old-school Mario, and the graphics are very pretty. Still, I am glad I was able to check the game out from the library as opposed to spending my monies on it as while I'm having some fun, I feel myself getting a little tired of it and I probably won't finish the game. It is a fun little diversion for a bit, however.

Sunday, November 29, 2020

"The Other History of the DC Universe," is the Best thing DC has Released in Years

If you love comics and don't mind a slightly unorthodox format to them, you really ought to read, "The Other History of the DC Universe." Written by Oscar-award winning director John Ridley (who has written some other stellar comics too), it presents a prose-ish style of storytelling with illustrative additions that isn't quite a prose book with some pictures or a straight-up comic. This is also out of continuity as it dramatically ages our heroes in a manner the usual sliding-timeline of mainstream comics doesn't work with. The comic follows a young-to-older Jefferson Pierce from 1972 through 1995 as he realizes he has powers and uses them to fight crime as Black Lighting, all the while observing the, "Big name," heroes who happen to all be white (or a green alien) getting acclaim while his Black self receives scorn. It's really good writing and the illustrations by Giuseppe Camuncoli are gorgeous too. Seriously, this is the best thing DC has released in years.

"The Other History of the DC Universe," is going to be a series that sets out to examine the DC comic universe from the perspective of minority characters. It provides a unique take on people seeing these beings of amazing power in their World, but few of these people look like them or seem to care about everyday struggles. As Pierce remarks when Superman first confronts him, it seems the League is happy to fight interdimensional threats to reality, but cares little for stopping drug dealers or helping repair the deteriorating buildings of the inner-city.

Pierce is the protagonist of this comic, with his journal-style writings, but he has many flaws of his own. He lies to his wife about being a hero, and admits it is a bit of an addiction beating-up those who harm his city, almost as if he needed a way to target his rage lest someone innocent get hurt, and thankfully there were plenty of outlets. Pierce is all too human despite having powers, and he learns as the comic goes on many of the supposedly, "Perfect," beings people admire are flawed too.

"The Other History of the DC Universe," is not a, "Black," comic as I saw some remark online when they heard about it. It is a comic for everyone that happens to provide an interesting take on DC's heroes by giving a voice to often-overlooked characters. I loved what I read in this issue and eagerly await the upcoming ones.

5 out of 5 stars.

Saturday, November 28, 2020

The Main Street Creamery in Wildwood is Delicious!

Today is what folk know as, "Small Business Saturday." I actually went for the first time to a local small business and got some ice cream to go as Samii and I had a hankering for something sweet. I went to Main Street Creamery and it was wonderful!

I arrived around dinnertime so I was there before any post-dinner visitors. The employees there were very nice and I enjoyed examining the menu with the really cool specialty milkshakes as well as cones with decorations on them referred to as, "Unicorn horns," and used for certain shakes.

There was a wide array of ice cream and other sweet treats to pick and I got a pint of vanilla ice cream for us as well as a piece of apple pie for Samii. I also purchased the Cowboy Milkshake which was a Butterfinger ice cream with caramel and donut mixed in. It was delicious! If you ever happen to be in Wildwood or near their original location in Washington, Missouri, then I would recommend going to the Main Street Creamery for sure!

Friday, November 27, 2020

A Handful of Black Friday Deals for 2020

We are mostly staying home this Black Friday. The big shopping event has turned more into a monthlong event and any deals on the day itself are often online-only much like, "Cyber Monday." Being homebound doesn't mean we're lacking some cool deals, however. I thought I would share about some offerings that caught my eye. In alphabetical-ish order...

Black Friday Deals

Antarctic Press is offering 50% off sitewide if you use the code, "BLCKWKND," when you check-out from their website.

Funko is providing a free holiday-themed Freddy Funko with any purchase of $75 or more.


IDW is advertising up to 50% off limited edition collections and general comics.


SCOUT Comics has a 50% coupon code of BF2020 on their site.

Things From Another World's Black Friday event offers between 30%-70% off an assortment of comic-related goodies.


Home to unique cult and exploration cinema, Vinegar Syndrome is doing their annual massive Black Friday sale. It offers around 50% off almost everything on their site from preorders to limited edition slipcases.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Thanks for Being Safe This Thanksgiving/I Rip Into People Who Are Not Being Safe

Today is Thanksgiving in America and if you're being safe and staying home, I am proud of you. You can stop reading this post and go relax until the last paragraph. The rest of you assholes, however, can proceed to the next paragraph for a verbal thrashing. Don't click away, you scroll down now!

How dare you think that COVID-19 is not a big enough deal to keep socially distant. You are so eager to be with your loved ones--some who may be older or immunocompromised--that you'd risk their lives just to have a, "Regular," Thanksgiving this year. Well, guess what, knucklehead? This isn't a, "Regular," year and things are not normal. If you just waited a year for vaccines that are on the horizon you could celebrate Thanksgiving safely in 2021, but no, you had to be that dune who rode planes, traveled around the United States, had a mini super-spreader meal today, and now will be heading back home exposing everyone else in the general public on your merry way. Speaking of, "Merry," you do realize when cases spike in 2 weeks or so due to all the morons having a big Thanksgiving that is going to basically make Christmas even more dangerous to have with loved ones--not that you should even have a big Christmas event but knowing the choices you've already made I bet that's planned too, COVID-be-damned, eh? I'm ashamed of you, embarrassed for you, and hope you don't get sick or even worse, die (or lose a loved one) due to your selfish actions.

Alright, everyone's back? Okay then, let's have a great Thanksgiving and enjoy kicking-back! The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade looked a lot different, but we can still enjoy it, and the food you've made or ordered will surely be tasty. Happy Thanksgiving, my friends!

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

The Grammys Continue to (Possibly) Be Corrupt and Rigged, Still (Undoubtedly) Pretty Lame

The Weeknd is/was set to perform at the upcoming Grammys. However, he was not nominated for any awards for his latest album. Considering how much buzz and love it has gotten this upset him and resulted in accusations of the Grammys being, "Corrupt." As The Weeknd tells it, due to tense negotiations about how he was performing at the Super Bowl a week after the Grammys and how that impacted certain things, the Grammys purposely shut him out of having a chance to win any awards. Now, one could accuse the Weeknd of just being petty...but, he may have a point. Remember early this year when tons of accusations were being lobbed at the Grammys for being a rigged sham

Yes, I know 2020 has been a long year, but that did in fact happen way back in January. I am of course not a big fan of the Grammys usually, with their constant snubbing of rap albums winning awards outside of set rap categories often rubbing me the wrong way. I was pleased in 2019 when Kacey Musgraves won album of the year, however. All of that said, I thought the running gag has always been that nobody cares about the Grammys?

Watch old episodes of shows like, "The Simpsons," and there are multiple jokes about how the Grammys are lame, with my favorite being when Homer remarks in one episode, "Oh, why won't anyone give me an award?" To this, Marge says, "You won a grammy," and Homer responds, "I mean an award that's worth something." Then some 4th-wall-breaking text appears that says, "Mr. Simpson's opinions do not reflect those of the producers, who don't consider the Grammy an award at all," which is just a lovely double-burn. It is silly but reflective of how people often are dismissive of the Grammys. Eminem famously rapped about how stupid they were years ago (but still was willing to accept some, for what that's worth), they try to say how one album is better than another even though we all have different tastes. 

I mean, you could argue that makes all award shows kind of pointless due to everyone liking different stuff, but at least with stuff like an Oscar there are some awards that make sense, like ones remarking on great editing or cool special effects (I quit caring about who wins the supposed movie of the year a long time ago). If award shows, in general, are mocked, and the Grammys are the most heckled of all shows, plus they might be the most corrupt of the big awards, who cares about them? Yeah, it can look impressive on your resume to say, "Grammy winner," but if you hate the event so much, why even want an award from it? That's just my two cents on all this, although now I really do hope The Weeknd performs at the show because an anti-Grammys act at the Grammys itself would be pretty wild.

They Found a Weird Monolith in the Deserts of Utah

A weird metal monolith was found in the middle of the deserts of Utah. I understand this is probably a unique piece of art, someone making a statement, that sort of thing. I know some people want to say it is aliens, but I doubt that. However, is 2020 really the year to be plopping down mysterious sleek metallic structures inspired by, "2001: A Space Odyssey," out of all years? 2020 has been an absolute shitshow of COVID-19, murder hornets, a war nearly starting being America and Iran, a political election that Trump refused to concede, the government releasing videos of UFOs when the former singer of Blink-182 forced their hand, people getting mystery seeds in the mail, and strangeness upon strangeness in the World. I don't think this is the appropriate time for a mysterious monolith. Maybe in 2021, but not now.

That said, the monolith is kind of cool-looking and it does remind me how that movie it is likely indirectly related to was pretty dope. That scene with HAL admitting that despite a computer it was scared to be turned off (even if it was homicidal) was weirdly touching and scary. Anyway, this isn't the year!

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Reminder: Local Comic Shop Day is Tomorrow

Local Comic Shop Day is when the retailer organization ComicsPro works with member stores (and as of this year, any store interested) to release special comics and variants of comics in stores. In past years it was on Saturday, but this year--with the World so different--it is on Wednesday, November 25th. There are a variety of comics with fun variant covers and one exclusive graphic novel this year, so it is a smaller offering, but in a year like 2020 it is nice to have it happen at all. Give your comic shop a call and see if they'll be taking part in LCSD tomorrow--if they are, grab some exclusives!

Monday, November 23, 2020

"Cyberpunk 2077," Copies Have Leaked

The game, "Cyberpunk 2077," has been repeatedly delayed. It was officially done and discs were being printed a bit ago, but it got delayed again for a massive day-one patch. That said, some copies seem to have leaked out into the general public by accident. Now, we've got people occasionally streaming short clips, and the developer, CD Projekt Red is not pleased. This is the unpatched version of the game, of course, so it is a final-but-not-final product. I'm still cautiously optimistic it'll be a fun game, and it is nice in a way to know it does exist as an actual product that is about to be (officially) for sale. That said, I hope anyone who does get their hands on a copy in advance looks out for any lawyers CD Projekt Red might be sending their way if they reveal too much.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

A "Secret," Predator Move is in the Works

I like the movies featuring the, "Predator." Some of the movies with the alien are not that great, some are amazing. The most recent one, "The Predator," was a huge mess, but at least it was a fun mess. In an interesting twist, a film has been in the works with the title, "Skulls," that is secretly a predator film. The director of that is Dan Trachtenberg--a man who directed another surprise sorta-sequel, "10 Cloverfield Lane." That was a weird but interesting flick, so if we can get a, "Predator," movie that is strange but good, I'll take it. 

From what people know, "Skulls," is about a “Comanche woman who goes against gender norms and traditions to become a warrior," so a movie set in the past with Predators sounds just delightful, in my opinion. Strip away all the complicated lore or too many of the Predator-gadgets and just give us an intense battle between warriors and a mysterious somewhat-invisible monster and I'm good.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Season 4 of, "Black Lightning," Will Be the Last

I get good news one day, like a, "Painkiller," spin-off of, "Black Lighting," and get bad news the next day. "Black Lightning," will be ending after its upcoming fourth season. This was, as readers know, the only CW super-hero show I watched as it was so tonally different than the others and amazingly well done. It had an older hero, a Black lead (and diverse support cast) and tackled issues such as police brutality, income inequality, and was just a damn fine show. Now, don't get me wrong, I am happy the show is getting this last season to set-up the, "Painkiller," spin-off and wrap everything up nicely as opposed to suddenly getting axed, but I'm still a bit bummed.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Rant Reviews: Thoughts on Stuff I Read Recently

Because I'm Always Reading Something New

I love doing little capsule reviews when I have enough comics I've read recently to share some thoughts upon. This is a scenario where that very thing has occurred and I want to state my opinions on some recent releases. There isn't really an exact theme beyond that, to be honest. I just wanted to ramble. Shall we?

Stuff I Have Read and Such

Taskmaster #1

I have a bit of a soft spot for Taskmaster, a surreal villain-ish character who has the power to copy the skills of anyone he sees whilst wearing an absurd skull mask and generally acting like a pompous jerk. He's had some great mini-series at various points but never has been popular enough for an ongoing series. That trend continues with his latest mini-series that finds him accused of murdering a high-up member of S.H.I.E.L.D. but the twist is he didn't actually do it. Between a villain-themed golfing event that leads to a shoot-out and learning he has to confront some powerful people to prove his innocence, this is a fun little comic that managed to amuse me quite well. I mean, Taskmaster's ringtone is, "Working 9 to 5," which just makes this comic a winner off the bat.

4 out of 5 stars.

Hot Valley Days and Cocaine Nights #1

A new release from Antarctic Press, this comic follows a woman named Janie who has become a drug kingpin in LA. but now faces immense danger due to her desire to get out of the drug game. The comic switches between this 1980's present and a late-70's past to help us see just how Janie got to the point she has and what it might take for her to break free. I was entertained by the story and little artistic touches such as making it look like a VCR skipping with a tape anytime the timeline changes was pretty clever to witness in the comic. Highly recommended.

4.5 out of 5 stars.

Money Shot #10

My favorite new series of 2019 has just wrapped its second arc as the end of 2020 approaches. A comic about space explorers who make porn with aliens to fund their research--while not being a porn-comic itself--this book manages to continuously be hilarious while working in little heart-touching moments and some political commentary as well about sexual freedom and reproductive rights. I really hope we get a third story arc as this series is too great to end--occasional exclusive shorts for, "Playboy," magazine aside giving us at least a little more content to enjoy.

5 out of 5 stars.

Rorschach #2

I found the first issue of, "Rorschach," to be full of interesting elements but lacking in much panache. It was perfectly, "Okay," but I hoped future issues would flesh-out the characters more and give the story a little gas after being a somewhat pedestrian start. Now that I've read the second issue, I am a bit more intrigued, but still feel a whole lot needs to be fleshed out before the overall focus of this story becomes clear. There's a liberal version of Steve Ditko in this universe (kinda) who is thought to possibly have tried to murder a conservative President and this issue explores that character more, but little else happens. Is this a comic about comic-books? A comic about the cult of celebrity? A sequel of sorts to, "Watchmen," or what? I'm still not sure, but I'm still at least a little more intrigued.

3 out of 5 stars.

Savage Circus #1

I really liked the first issue of, "Savage Circus," as its various plotlines all started to come together at the issue's climax. The thing is, the back of the comic describes how all these story points will result in something happening that doesn't even occur to issue #2--that all the monstrous creatures in this unique circus will be let loose in a quiet town. That makes this admittedly highly entertaining issue all build-up and that honestly annoys me a bit. I'm excited enough to pick-up the next issue that will have some payoff, but what can ya do?

4 out of 5 stars.


Frank at Home on the Farm #1

SCOUT Comics has been on fire lately with their great releases and, "Frank at Home on the Farm," is their latest debut and quite the eerie little read. Frank has returned home from WWI yet his entire family is missing from the farm. Pretty much nobody in the nearby town has a clue about their disappearance and strange sounds, as well as some twisted nightmares, are making Frank worry something is either wrong or he's gone crazy. This first issue keeps raising the tension as clearly something is quite off about this farm--whether it is real or in Frank's head remains to be seen. Definitely worth following to see what happens next.

4 out of 5 stars.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

I've Got a New Article Up at Cinemaways

Readers of my blog may recall I've at times contributed to the movie website known as Cinemaways. Well, I've got a new piece I wrote there, go read it now! The article deals with 10 remakes that are better than the original. Some of my choices may be controversial, but I stand by them! Thanks as always to Cinemaways for liking my writing enough to have me contribute to them.

"Wonder Woman: 1984," to Debut on HBO Max

After numerous delays, it seems Warner Brothers has decided, "No more!" and shall be releasing, "Wonder Woman: 1984," on HBO MAX this December 25th/Christmas. Gal Gadot shall be gracing our televisions before the year is done! There are some caveats with that, however. It'll only be streaming America (other countries have a theatrical release on December 16th) and only be on HBO MAX for a month, apparently. There have been constant rumors about big movies being released on streaming services to draw more subscribers and recoup some costs, but now it is actually happening with this, Pixar's flick, "Soul," and possibly in the near future the latest constantly-delayed James Bond movie (no word yet on Marvel's plans for, "Black Widow," but one wonders). 

The big question in all this is if these blockbusters coming to streaming services is merely a temporary side-effect of the pandemic or signifies a big change coming in the near future to how movies are released. Could we see more simultaneous streaming and theatrical debuts in the coming years, or much shorter runs in theaters before things start to stream? Many questions are being raised, but we can't really expect answers until COVID-19 is (I pray soon) eradicated. Whatever the case, tune in to the latest Wonder Woman flick this Christmas if you've got HBO MAX, or plan to get it soon!

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

A Comic Where the Orcs are Good Guys Sounds Interesting

 

Today I received a press release from BOOM! Studios that caught my eye. It was about a comic titled, "ORCS!" where the Orcs are actually the protagonists. This sounded unique to me as in basically any media orcs are the baddies. From, "Lord of the Rings," to, "Warhammer," and any other fantasy type stuff, orcs are usually portrayed as monstrous creatures. Hence, hearing that the all-ages imprint, kaboom, is bringing us a comic where the Orcs mean well sounded intriguing to me. I've got the written release pasted below here so you can read about it too. I"ll be checking it out this February 2021 for sure!

Press Release:

LOS ANGELES, CA (November 18, 2020) –  BOOM! Studios today announced an all-new original six-issue comic book series, ORCS! by cartoonist Christine Larsen (Adventure Time, By Night), about a band of misfit Orcs who set off into the great, wide Known World in search of glory and gold but find that the real treasures were the friends they made along the way.

The Adventure Starts Here! Join Bog and his crew, who were banished from their Orcish village by King Hrograhgah (it was a simple misunderstanding, involving an acorn-related prank!) and must now venture out into the world to seek their fortune and hopefully, one day, find their way back home again! Bog, Zep, Pez, Utzu and Gurh’s many adventures will find them entering the dreaded Eerieasallhel Forest, facing off against Trolls, Gnomes, squirrels and more, and even following in the footsteps of the legendary Orc hero, Dod One-Eye!


Christine Larsen is a Harvey Award-nominated cartoonist and Illustrator from Philadelphia, PA,  who creates art for comics, book covers, stories, posters and albums. She has worked with clients such as Dark Horse, Image Comics, IDW, BOOM! Studios, DC Online, and Simon & Schuster. In addition to numerous self published ventures, she is co-creator with John Allison on By Night! from Boom! Studios and has illustrated many licensed stories, including Samurai Jack from IDW and Adventure Time from BOOM! Studios. Larsen is also an adjunct instructor at the University of the Arts Philadelphia where she teaches illustration and comics.

“ORCS! is dedicated to everyone who’s taken an arrow from the hero, who wasn’t more than a nameless menace in the story, who didn’t have the looks for the main role—the quirky sidekicks, goofy henchmen, and army of lackeys,” said Larsen. “Goons are heroes, too!”

ORCS! is the latest release from BOOM! Studios’ award-winning KaBOOM! imprint, home to comics for middle grade and younger readers including original series Just Beyond by R.L. Stine and Kelly & Nichole Matthews, Hex Vet by Sam Davies, Drew and Jot by Art Baltazar, Hotel Dare by Terry Blas and Claudia Aguirre, RuinWorld by Derek Laufman,  and Pandora’s Legacy by Kara Leopard and Kelly & Nichole Matthews.

“Christine Larsen brings a wicked sense of humor and incredibly fun illustrations to this series about the misunderstood characters from your typical fantasy quest finally getting a chance to step up and be the heroes of their own story,” said Shannon Watters, Senior Editor, BOOM! Studios. “If you’ve ever played Dungeons & Dragons, read a fantasy novel, or played an online quest and wondered about all the characters left in the dust, ORCS! is the story you’ve been waiting for.”

Print copies of ORCS! #1 will be available for sale in February 2021 at local comic book shops (use comicshoplocator.com to find the nearest one) or at the BOOM! Studios webstore. Digital copies can be purchased from content providers, including comiXology, iBooks, Google Play, and Madefire.

For more on ORCS! and other projects from BOOM! Studios, stay tuned to boom-studios.com and follow @boomstudios on Twitter.

Spike Lee Will be Co-Writing and Directing a Musical? About Viagra?

In 2020 pretty much nothing surprises me. So many terrible things have happened along with some good and plenty of weird, I am almost incapable of being shocked. Then I hear the amazingly talented Spike Lee is co-writing a musical. About the creation of Viagra as a heart pill and the surprising discovery that it caused erections. Lee has never made a musical before and he's doing one about boner pilis. I mean, this is Spike Lee we are talking about so it is bound to be good, but of all the random stuff in 2020 I did not see this coming. You surprised me, 2020, I guess that's another point for you.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Dove Shows Support for Breast Cancer Survivors in a New Ad

I recently saw a Dove ad that apparently started airing over the Summer. It was about, "Skin stories," and had a variety of women with different body types featured as Dove talked about its body wash. Then one thing caught my eye, a woman appeared in the ad who opened her robe and had a double mastectomy scar. The ad did not try to blur this out or act like it was shameful, it was just simply her skin story. I did some Googling and that woman was named Juliet and a cancer survivor. I found articles by those who appreciated the ad, and as with anything, people perturbed for one reason or another. I just applaud Dove for partnering with Juliet and her being comfortable with her body after everything she has gone through to share her story with us.

Monday, November 16, 2020

November 2020 Links, News, Other Goodness

The Weather is Cooling and the Turkey is Warming

It's November and the month started out weirdly hot here in Missouri and then got quite chilly. I was wearing shorts and it felt like Summer one day and the next I needed some thick jeans and my fleece coat. Thanksgiving is approaching and hopefully, everyone is going to be safe as opposed to having risky big gatherings due to COVID-19. While we are being safe and getting used to the imminent arrival of Winter here are some interesting links and bits of news to enjoy!

Pass the Links (and Gravy)

This piece by Emily Alford expresses both her and society's complex views on Britney Spears and how the media both molded and exploited her before tossing her aside.

Donny Cates's newest comic, "Crossover," has had a lot of hype (some of which I inadvertently contributed to). The first issue came out and was surprisingly...okay but lacking oomph? Cates normally gives us great stuff and I see potential but I was a bit underwhelmed. I won't offer a review until the comic has had more time to develop as it is an ongoing and could really grow into its intriguing possibilities.

As it slowly became apparent that Joe Biden was our next President and that Trump was being kicked out of office (thank God), all those MAGA-lovers really melted down online.

My Grandpa Raymond Burton worked for NASA in its heyday so seeing launches happen again on American soil  (now via a partnership with NASA and the private company SpaceX) is really neat. The launch yesterday made for some good television!

Over at TCJ, Simon Abrams examined the wildly odd comics of Glenn Danzig as well as his new, "Verotika," movie in a very NSFW post.

I remember how excited everyone was for, "Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace," and then how horribly let down we all were, as Tom Breihan recounts for the AV Club. Episode II was ever worse and Episode III was at least passable. Then George Lucas sold it all to Disney for a cool billion, so in the end, he had the last laugh, I guess?

COVID-19 rates are rising at extremely alarming rates. We are heading straight for new lockdowns and some Governors are finally issuing mask mandates even if at this point it is like closing a barn door after all the animals have escaped. Meanwhile, morons continue to say they are going to rise-up against efforts to keep people from dying, because...freedom?

The original game, "XIII," on the PlayStation 2 was loosely based on a comic and had a great soundtrack as well as cool cel-shaded artwork. A remake just came out and is apparently terrible. Like, terrible enough the developer and publisher have outright apologized.

In closing, I was deeply saddened by the passing of Sean Connery and not too long after Alex Trebeck--both men oddly enough linked via that classic, "Saturday Night Live," skit about, "Celebrity Jeopardy." They will be missed.

Stay Warm and Stay Safe

It's getting colder and all the upcoming holidays will be hard with us having to social distance. That said, if we are safe now we can enjoy many more years of seeing our loved-ones up close and personal without the risk of spreading a dangerous pathogen. Ya'll stay warm and stay safe the rest of this November and as we head into December.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

I'm Here for a, "Painkiller," Spin-off of, "Black Lightning," For Sure

I don't really watch any of the CW superhero-focused shows with one big exception in the form of the incredible, "Black Lightning." The character, created by Tony Isabella (and originally drawn by Trevor Von Eeden), has made for some incredible television thanks to great writing and a stellar cast. I can't get enough, "Black Lightning," so hearing there may be a spin-off focused on the character of Painkiller (also created by Isabella with Eddie Newell) via what's called a, "Backdoor pilot," gets me very excited! Plus, Tony and Trevor are great guys (full disclosure: I'm friends with both on Facebook) so anything that helps them get more royalty checks is rad. Now I just have to wait a bit longer for the next season of, "Black Lightning," to actually kick-off, what with everything being delayed currently due to the--you know--COVID-19 pandemic ravaging the planet.

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Nobody Can Agree On What the Lyrics to, "Watermelon Sugar," Mean

I like Harry Styles. He has a good singing voice, was funny when he hosted and sang on Saturday Night Live, and otherwise seems pleasant. Everyone is a little mad at him, however, for refusing to share what the Hell the lyrics to, "Watermelon Sugar," are about. The most Styles has revealed is that it is about the initial euphoria of dating someone, but that's it. This has led to all kinds of theories. There are the usual ideas that it is all about sex and that the whole song is raunchy. This is a popular go-to theory with unclear lyrics, just look at, "Louie Louie." Some are convinced the lyrics are drug references coded as being about a watermelon sugar high. Perhaps it is just about kissing? There is no right or wrong answer, just conjecture. I myself don't mind the mystery. As someone who enjoys eating actual watermelon, I'll just assume it is literally about enjoying some watermelon on a nice day in a perfectly innocent manner.

Friday, November 13, 2020

The, "Grumpy Cat Awful-ly-Big Comics Collection," is a Delightful Omnibus of Fun!

I was always a big fan of Tardar Sauce, or as she was better known, Grumpy Cat. Even if she actually wasn't that grumpy and it was just her facial composition, she was a great little kitty. Her first comic collection was the first book to ever, "Blurb," me, and I was genuinely sad when she passed. Well, comic publisher Abalze is now set to release an omnibus collecting all of Grumpy Cat's wonderful comics due in January of 2021 as well as a tribute book about GC later next year as well. Due to my being a huge lover of all things Grumpy Cat I requested and was able to acquire a digital copy of the omnibus for the purposes of review. I'm pleased I was able to get it, as this was a delight to read!

I loved revisiting the, "Grumpy Cat," comics I had read in the past as well as tales which I'd missed when I happened to forget to pick up some later mini-series with GC. There is an assortment of stories starring GC as well as her brother, Pokey, and other fun characters. There isn't an over-arching plot so much as a series of vignettes focused on how Grumpy tackles challenges from a mysterious treasure map, to being a superhero, visiting a comic-convention, or dealing with the concept of--shudder--love!

An assortment of stellar writers contribute tales, with some doing multiple stories such as some great yarns by Ben McCool and Ben Fisher standing-out anytime they tackle a tale--and as this is an omnibus, there is a ton of great GC content to indulge in! The artwork in every story with a wide range of artists is gorgeous as well, with Ken Haeser being one artist who pops-up multiple times in the omnibus and always gives us a perfect GC with that mixture of disdain and vague bemusement at the World. Between the fantastic writing and amazing art, this omnibus is jam-packed with Grumpy Cat goodness, in other words!

When it comes out in January the, "Grumpy Cat Awful-ly-Big Comics Collection," will be required reading for anyone who loves fun comics, adorable kitties, or still holds Grumpy Cat in their heart. Rereading the stories I recalled and discovering the ones that were new to me was a real treat. I thank Ablaze for being willing to provide me with an advance digital copy for the purposes of review and encourage you to preorder a copy of the omnibus from your comic shop/bookstore/request your library get it. Grumpy Cat may no longer be with us, but through these wonderful comics, she will live on forever!

5 out of 5 stars.