"King in Black," is wrapping up with issue #5 and it was mediocre-at-best. It featured a, "God of the symbiotes," named Knull who had an interesting character design and little else going for him. Marvel was promoting Knull, hard, and now they have plans to do another event with more symbiotes? Yep! This July will mark the start of, "Extreme Carnage," and I'm just kind of going, "Really?" at this news. It isn't a mega-event, but still, maybe we should give the symbiotes a rest for a bit beside a solo Venom comic. For all I know it'll be a great read, but the optics, man, the optics are all off. Marvel is saying, "We know you're burned-out on symbiotes, but here's even more!" and I'll probably skim it but not bother buying it, to be honest. I guess we'll see what people say when, "Extreme Carnage," starts-up in July.
Wednesday, March 31, 2021
Tuesday, March 30, 2021
We are slowly getting back to normal thanks to vaccinations for COVID-19 (I just got my first one). By the Fall it is quite likely we will be able to safely gather with loved ones for holidays such as Thanksgiving after reasonable people didn't have big gatherings in 2020. With this in mind, it is kind of odd that Comic-Con International, the company behind the massive San Diego Comic-Con wants to have a convention the weekend of Thanksgiving. It won't be as huge as SDCC but is a way for them to kick the rust off, so to speak. Still, airports will already most likely be clogged and many folks might want to see family for the first time in a long while as opposed to doing a convention. I'm not saying it's a terrible idea, but it just sounds like an odd way to spend the first Thanksgiving after a pandemic. Why the week before or after Thanksgiving wouldn't work escapes me, but there you go.
Monday, March 29, 2021
I'm a kid at heart. At least, that's what I tell restaurants when I want to order from the kid's menu. I'm also a kid at heart because the thought of watching Godzilla and King Kong beat the snot out of each other gives that child within me a big thrill. For that reason, I am interested in, "Godzilla Vs. King Kong," and pleased to see some good reviews saying it delivers on the fun. There have been some movies that have slowly led-up to this fight, and I liked the first Godzilla one in 2014 as well as appreciating, "Kong: Skull Island," in 2017.
I haven't seen the, "Godzilla: King of Monsters," from 2019 but may give it a quick viewing before watching him and Kong punching each other--it doesn't seem like you have to have seen any of the other flicks to be ready for this one, however. After those movies, I am glad we are at the, "Main event," of sorts and that I can see it on HBO MAX if I'm not comfortable going to a movie theater (I am not yet wanting to do so). This is a pure, "Popcorn," movie with a focus on keeping things fun and I'm totally down for it. It'll be in theaters and streaming this Wednesday.
Sunday, March 28, 2021
While Bleeding Cool isn't exactly the most reliable website, they are better than the pure clickbait ones and sometimes their rumors pan out. I am hoping the, "Scoop," they claim they have about a new, "Moon Knight," comic in July is true! Apparently, it may be written by Jed Mackay with art by Alessandro Cappuccio. Whether it is good or terrible I'll read it, but I'm obviously hoping it'll be good.
I've liked Jed's stuff on the current, "Black Cat," comic and Cappuccio has done some cool stuff on an assortment of titles as well, so it sounds promising. I'm eager for anything new with Moon Knight after him not having a solo title for a while and his only recent thing being having that appearance in Jason Aaron's run on, "Avengers," that could be described as...odd. I look forward to an official announcement!
I got my first COVID-19 vaccine shot today. Even though I have been working at losing weight so that I'm not, "Very fat," I am still currently, "Kind of fat." Therefore, I was advised by my doctor to get vaccinated for COVID-19 as I was in a high-risk category of people. I also am quite phat with a, "PH," but that isn't a medical concern, it just means I'm cool. What? I am cool!
Anyways, I was able to register for the Pfizer vaccine at a local CVS pharmacy by being online at midnight and quickly getting an appointment booked some days ago. Then, I showed up and got my shot today. It actually didn't hurt much at all and was done fast, which pleased me as someone who hates needles. My arm is a little sore and some hours later I feel a bit more tired than usual, but otherwise, I'm doing alright. I get my second dose in April and hope that goes smoothly too. In the meantime, I will still be wearing a mask and practicing social distancing because it is important to be safe whether we are vaccinated or not. We need to achieve herd immunity before we can relax our rules. That said, I am pleased to have gotten my COVID-19 vaccine and encourage others to do so if they are able.
Friday, March 26, 2021
Wow, after this post I'll have done 10 of these? That's pretty cool. I've been enjoying spotlighting the interesting stuff I find on Bandcamp and I hope everyone had been liking my posts. As always, my reviews will have links to the albums so you can listen and then agree or disagree with my opinions. Without further delay...
Dante Elephante--Mid-Century Modern Romance
I was introduced to the soulful R&B of Dante Elephante by my subscription to VNYL as some of his stuff just recently came in my second package. I saw he had a Bandcamp account and listened to, "Mid-Century Modern Romance," numerous times as it is a crackling record. The first two tracks, "Find Somebody to Love," and, "Jeni," are both full of breathless energy as Elephante plays the smoothest tracks you've heard in some time and croons about trying to locate a lover and then an affection for a girl named Jeni he worries he will scare-off if he comes on too strong. A track riffing on the television show, "90 Day Fiance," suitably titled, "90 Days," is welcome too, as catchy as it is hilariously clever. "Mid-Century Modern Romance," is a masterpiece, simply put. Find out for yourself how great it is here.
5 out of 5 stars.
Burn TV--How Did I Breathe
The artist behind Burn TV actually reached-out to me via email. They'd seen my reviews of artists on Bandcamp and wondered if I would mind checking them out. I did and I liked what I heard on their one-track EP! They had an awesome music video for the song, "How Did I Breathe," they linked to as well on their Youtube and I loved its grainy and underground VHS aesthetic. The music is a bit rock, a bit noise (but not overly abrasive like some noise genre stuff), and very engaging. It's fun! Find it here at this link.
4 out of 5 stars.
I Have Four Names--Spike It EP
I reviewed an album by I Have Four Names back in my fifth edition of this series, and they've only managed to get better since. This EP is short but sweet, with the initial track, "Capital A's," being the one I found myself returning to often. It's just good, solid indie rock that smacks you in the face with its pounding drum, great guitars, and insistent-but-thoughtful lyrics. You can listen to this latest EP here.
4.5 out of 5 stars.
Some quiet lo-fi alternative rock entertains your ears once you start playing, "Love/Hate." The track, "Everytime," was my favorite, but everything is solidly listenable. Every song kind of hums along without offending my ears or really standing out. It's good, but not great. See what you think here.
3 out of 5 stars.
Nanny--Can't Remember Can't Forget
I don't know a ton about punk music, but I do know I generally like it when it's done well. Nanny's album, "Can't Remember Can't Forget," is great punk, for sure. The first track, "Friday, bb," is full of enthusiasm out the gate and the song, "Timeline," with its powerful drums and speedy guitar riffs is a standout track. It never gets too heavy (I'm not a heavy metal fan, usually), but does sometimes get a bit of a thick grunge vibe. I dig it. Find it here.
4.5 out of 5 stars.
Thursday, March 25, 2021
Remember how big a deal it was when DC quit the monopolistic Diamond in a very messy manner during the pandemic (a pandemic that hopefully ends soon)? It made us wonder if Marvel would follow suit and how that would quite possibly signal a death knell for Diamond. Wellllll, Marvel just announced it is going to have Penguin Random House distribute its floppy comics and has some very favorable terms for retailers who go with that method (free freight). Stores will still be able to order via Diamond as a wholesaler if they want and trade paperbacks and hardcovers will remain with Hachette for distribution. This change happens in October and Diamond released a tersely-worded response that hides how they are probably panicking now that 50% of their business will quite possibly evaporate.
DC has its own distributor that was kind of thrown together in a slapdash manner (Lunar) but is kind of working after a shaky start. If it had failed maybe Marvel would've been more hesitant to go its own way too, but now Marvel is going with an established and powerful company to distribute their comics. A lot of smaller publishers that are currently with Diamond may start to explore other options. Some already have, with SCOUT Comics being distributed via Diamond as well as DC's Lunar. We may be seeing the birth of multiple distributors like in the olden days and seeing the beginning of the end for Diamond (or it undergoing a significant restructuring and shrinking). There will surely be more as this situation develops.
Wednesday, March 24, 2021
Disney Throws Arms Up in Air in Defeat, Plans to Release, "Black Widow," on Disney+ For an Extra Fee
Disney has dabbled some in releasing new stuff on Disney+ for an extra fee. They tried it with the live-action, "Mulan," as well as that new Dragon cartoon. Disney must be tired of delaying, "Black Widow," however, as it has pushed it back one more time to July 9th instead of May 7th and it will be released simultaneously in theaters and on Disney+ for an extra fee. They'll be doing this with that weird, "Cruella," movie too (I was very confused about who that movie is actually for by the trailer) with it streaming and in theaters on May 28th.
I guess Disney crunched the numbers and decided enough people will shell out $30(!) to watch these at home before a general release on the streaming platform that doesn't cost extra some month later. I mean, I can see lots of people coughing-up $30 for, "Black Widow," and maybe splitting the cost with some friends. "Cruella," is most likely going to bomb though, sorry (I'm not sorry).
|A gritty reboot-prequel about Cruella! That's what the kids will love?|
Whether this is a sign of things to come for all future releases even as the COVID-19 pandemic subsides or a temporary measure remains to be seen. I'm just happy after being delayed what seems like forever that, "Black Widow," will finally at least be out. It looks relatively entertaining between the mysterious Taskmaster and David Harbour being his entertaining self. I really ought to watch, "Stranger Things," if for no other reason than he's on it.
Oh, and one more notable thing was announced along with, "Black Widow," going to Disney+. The, "Shang-Chi," movie now has an official release date of September 3rd, 2021. I expect a trailer will drop for it sooner than later. Whether it will be exclusive to theaters or streamable as well is still a mystery. 2021 is shaping up to be pretty full of entertainment, no matter how you slice it. Is that an expression? I'm going to make it an expression.
Tuesday, March 23, 2021
When it was announced that Keanu Reeves would be co-writing a comic with Matt Kindt titled, "BRZRKR," I assumed before even the first issue came out it would have a media option announced. I was wrong, it took until after the first issue but before the second. Yep, "BRZRKR," a comic about a man who can't die and is working with the government as a violent secret agent in hopes of finally becoming mortal will be a movie and spin-off anime series on Netflix.
One thing that is being heavily overlooked in all this is how while the comic's story was perfectly fine and might make a decent flick, the artwork was actually stellar. Ron Garney did the illustrations for the first issue (and upcoming issues) or, "BRZRKR," and he's been around long enough (getting work published since the 90s) that he knows how to draw everything from the explosive and extremely violent action sequences to the quiet flashbacks as our protagonist remembers the day of his birth 80,000 years ago--he is basically immortal and is able to remember a lot, you see.
|Garney draws the (quite bloody) action fantastically.|
The media articles about, "BRZRKR," getting optioned maybe have somewhat ignored Garney's contributions, but they sure seem excited to see another Keanu Reeves project. This is fair as he is a great actor, but I will admit feeling a little cynical these days when a comic seems to be made as little more than a proof-of-concept pitch for a potential movie/television show/etc. I don't mind stuff being optioned and there are in fact things I wish would get optioned. This, however, was destined to get bought for the screen before a single word was written or pen was put to paper (or tablet, you know what I mean). The comic wasn't bad by any means--as I said, Garney's art is amazing--so I imagine the movie and anime series will be fun. It still doesn't make me any less cynical though.
Monday, March 22, 2021
Echo is the superhero name of Maya Lopez. She was first introduced in the, "Daredevil," comic series back in the 2000s. She is a Native American and deaf. She also is great at kicking ass and is apparently going to appear in the upcoming Disney+ show about, "Hawkeye," before getting her own spin-off show. This sounds cool as while Daredevil isn't in the Marvel Cinematic Universe yet, this means he may appear. Plus, Echo has hung-out with Hawkeye some and my favorite character, Moon Knight. Moon Knight has his own show coming, of course, so I wonder if she'll appear in that too?
A lot of this pure speculation at this point, but it seems quite likely she is actually getting a show. This makes me excited as she's always been a neat character and one of her co-creators, David Mack (he created her with Brian Michael Bendis), is one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet in comics. I'm glad a character he was involved in making is getting some MCU-spotlight. It'll be a while before we get these shows, but it is fun to hear what's in the works already!
I love the works of Grant Morrison. They've created some of my favorite comics be it original works like, "The Filth," or established properties such as their run on, "New X-Men," "Batman," and more. They've got a new original creation in the form of, "Proctor Valley Road," they've co-written with Alex Child and its a little messy, but it works out in the end. The messiness comes from how much is going on. We've got a big cast of teenage girls and boys--so many people I had trouble remembering names. The comic takes place during the Vietnam war and features these teens going to explore the (apparently real) Proctor Valley Road.
The opening of the comic is scary as we witness a man faced with a haunted being, then the comic gets a bit of a chill slice-of-life vibe until towards the end going full-tilt horror with some really scary and bloody imagery. It's a mish-mash of genres and a lot of credit needs to go to artist Naomi Franquiz for balancing the everyday banality with the mystical horror in a way that it all just manages to fit together.
The blend of being a bit of a period piece, a humorous tale of a bunch of friends, and something quite terrifying with monsters result in a careful balancing act for Morrison and Childs, but I was quite entertained. I came to the book because Morrison's name was attached, but while they and Childs do a great job telling the story I was most impressed by Franquiz, as I've made clear. Her artwork just wowed me, especially when the terror kicks-in.
I wasn't sure what to expect going into, "Proctor Valley Road," as I thought it was going to be more straight-up horror. The mixture of scary-with-funny-and-the-everyday was stellar though. Between Morrison and Childs' writing plus Franquiz's stellar art, I quite liked it.
4 out of 5 stars.
Sunday, March 21, 2021
|That $4.99 though...|
There was once a man who ran for mayor of New York City as well as Governor. His name was Jimmy McMillan. He was a third-party candidate for the, "Rent is Too Damn High Party," and he often would exclaim, "The rent is too damn high!" He was spoofed by Saturday Night Live's Kenan Thompson and was a bit of a meme for a while. Sometimes I feel like Mr. McMillan when I look at the price of comics. I see news reports that DC is thinking of trying to charge in the realm of $4.99 for a 30-page comic and $5.99 for a 40-page book and I want to scream, "The price of comics is too damn high!"
I already don't read a ton of DC as only a handful of titles have appealed to me lately--the more off-kilter ones such as, "Man-Bat," "Strange Adventures," and, "Far Sector." Seeing that they may very well keep their prices creeping up makes me want to read even less or basically none of DC, however. I remember when almost any comic was barely $2, then $2.99 was the standard. After that, we saw a slow creep to $3.99 for almost everything. Eventually, we may see comic-books price almost everyone out of reading them at this rate. I read a report once somehow about how the price of comics is multiple times above the regular inflation level, they're just getting absurdly costly. I'm lucky as someone with a long-running website to get press access to a number of titles from various publishers, but I still have to pay for a chunk of stuff I want to read. At this rate, I'll be buying less and less.
Saturday, March 20, 2021
For the longest time, you could find some quality, "Predator," comic from Dark Horse. They had a licensing agreement with Fox to publish the comics. Then Disney bought Fox, and let the rights expire so they could give them to their own comic company that they own (Disney has bought a lot), Marvel. It's been a bit since we had Predator comics, but now there will be a brand-new series with Ed Brisson writing and Kev Walker on art. Wait, did I just see that Kev Walker is doing the art? This is gonna be good!
The comic takes place, "In the near future," as a woman who saw her family slaughtered by a Predator goes on to try and find it and kill it herself for some good ol' fashioned revenge. That seems sufficiently straightforward enough to bring us some stellar Predator-fighting action that Kev Walker will surely illustrate majestically. I'm pumped!
Friday, March 19, 2021
"Busy Little Bees," is a new upcoming comic from Blue Fox Publishing. I'm on their press list and they keep me updated about titles, with the first issue preview I read of, "Busy Little Bees," being fantastic. Written by Marielle Bouleau with art by Emiliano Correa, the comic centers on a girl named Myna who lives in an institution with other patients that her rich family owns. Her brother, Sebastian, is the only one who still visits her as her violent outbursts alienated the rest of the family. One of the nights that Sebastian visits is unique, however, as a strange meteor shower is happening too and causing all kinds of strange things to happen--with Myna becoming quite different too throughout the night.
"Busy Little Bees," has a deliciously foreboding vibe, with Correa's artwork making the everyday and supernatural moments all work perfectly in sync whilst Bouleau's writing keeps us readers on our toes. I quite enjoyed reading this first issue and would encourage you to check out the Kickstarter for, "Busy Little Bees" when it launches sometime in April or May!
5 out of 5 stars.
Thursday, March 18, 2021
Free Comic Book Day is happening this year, albeit with a delay. Instead of the first Saturday in May, it'll be occurring on August 14th. A number of titles were just recently announced as being the free offerings from publishers--with some still kinda secret beyond a title (whatever the, "Hulk/Venom," one is has me curious). Out of the books that were revealed as being free this year, however, I was really intrigued to see, "Red Room," by Ed Piskor. Piskor did the incredible series, "Hip-Hop Family Tree," and now with, "Red Room," Piskor describes this comic as, "A cyberpunk, outlaw, splatterpunk comic that you can't unsee once you feast your eyes on the mayhem...think of, "Red Room," as modern day E.C. Comics, infused with the dream of Black Mirror. These are subversive, stand-alone stories that are all part of a larger, twisted narrative.”
Each issue will be its own tale--with the FCBD issue being a unique story as well--and all the future issues will slowly connect in little ways as a tale is told of cyber currency, murder, and mystery. I mean, Piskor could be writing about anything and as long as he's drawing it with his amazing skill I'd read it. Apparently, the FCBD issue is more PG-13, but the regular comic will be strictly for mature readers. I'm excited to grab a copy of the free issue and then buy the regular ones as well!
Wednesday, March 17, 2021
I don't much like country music. I do adore Kacey Musgraves, like a solid chunk of the Chicks (formerly Dixie Chicks) discography, like Trace Adkins, and am fond of the works of Garth Brooks. That's about it though. I also, however, was a fan of Garth Brooks' secret alter-ego known as Chris Gaines. I think I may have been the World's only person who actually really dug Chris Gaines and his work. Garth Brooks being Chris Gaines was a bit of a failed experiment that seemed doomed to be a footnote in his works. Until now. We are inexplicably being teased with more Chris Gaines songs, and this pleases me. I don't know where Chris Gaines has been all these years (I mean, besides living life as Garth Brooks) but I'm excited to hear from him.
Throughout the first issue of, "Maria Llovet's Eros/Psyche," which is published by Ablaze, there is a major feeling of dread that creeps in. A girl named Sara joins a strange institution known as the, "Rose School," after passing an entry test. Within this all-girls school, she meets Silje. They become friends and have some stirrings of romance too. Sara keeps working hard at this strange school with its odd rules and customs, and the story proceeds with an almost dreamlike and otherworldly quality. Things feel strangely disconnected and off-kilter. Something is very clearly wrong. What exactly is going on is still a mystery as this is just the first issue, but it's an impactful debut.
Maria Llovet both writes and illustrates, with everything looking gorgeous. From creepy abandoned buildings in forests to groups of students sitting around discussing their cryptic homework, every page is a treat for the eyes. The art is what gives everything its, "Oomph," without a doubt.
"Maria Llovet's Eros/Psyche," #1 is a stellar beginning for this latest project by Llovet. Between the eerie vibe that the story imparts and the amazing artwork, I'd recommend getting a copy. It is on sale today at all finer comic shops!
5 out of 5 stars.
Tuesday, March 16, 2021
Monday, March 15, 2021
"Eniac," is the first official comic to be released by a new publisher I've followed with great interest, Bad Idea. They had that surprise limited release of, "The Hero Trade," but this is the, "True," debut for the company. There is lots of hype about their limited number of stores, the rarity of the comics, all of that. Is, "Eniac," good, however? Well, I've read it and can say that yes, it's fun! The comic centers on a computer named Eniac from World War II that basically gained a sentience of sorts and against America's own wishes ordered the 2nd atomic bomb be dropped on Nagasaki once it calculated that would surely end the war. After that point, it eventually was smuggled out of its secret military base, found its way online, and has impacted a lot of the world in secret since.
That's the setup, but the big problem is that Eniac now seems to be counting down to something so the Secretary of Defense has hired two of the best spec op agents around to kill the dang computer before it potentially obliterates humanity. The ladies hired to kill Eniac though are at a lot of risk because this supercomputer is linked-in to everything. So kicks-off the first issue of, "Eniac." I'd say the writer, Matt Kindt, does a great job setting-up the immense threat of Eniac and artist Doug Braithwaite is phenomenal. Braithwaite draws scenes with people simply sitting around talking or laying-out the plot so well it keeps our eyes as engaged as when there's explosions or gunfire--which he also portrays with aplomb.
The first issue of, "Eniac," is engrossing from its plot to its artwork. There has been so much press and controversy over the way Bad Idea is distributing their comics that the actual great content of this first (official) release has been a bit overlooked--and it's fantastic. While first-printing copies of, "Eniac," are fetching a pretty penny online, the, "Not first printing," copies shouldn't be too hard to find. Get yourself one and enjoy!
5 out of 5 stars.
Sunday, March 14, 2021
Today was Daylight Saving Time beginning. Anytime it happens I feel obligated to remind everyone how much I hate DST whether it is, "Giving," us an extra hour but plunging us into darkness in the early evenings or, "Taking," an hour and leaving us exhausted even if it stays brighter later. I've provided all the links before about how it harms us as a nation more than it helps. I've shared the articles about the way it makes everyone less productive and we all hate it. Despite the disdain for DST it seems to be stuck with us Americans unless we live in certain states that wisely abolished it. Perhaps someday it'll be gone, but for now, I just was exhausted today and needed a nap. What can ya do?
Saturday, March 13, 2021
Years ago I would do freestyle raps with friends. I came up with a rap for the Marry Poppin's phrase, "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious." My rap went, "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, you rhymes be atrocious, my rhymes be that dope ish," with me saying, "Ish," instead of, "Shit," to keep the rhymes family-friendly. I tried not to swear much in my own raps. Anyways, I never had heard anyone rap with that long word in my life, but now it has happened! It happens in the song, "Oops!!!," which does have three exclamation marks, that is not a typo. Listen to it here.
The song features a gentleman named, "Yung Gravy," and features Lil Wayne. The first lyric is in fact, "Ayy, Supercalifragilisticexpiali dope shit. Supercalifragilis, my ex be on some ho shit." Yung Gravy and I must be on the same wavelength because we both took an old song Julie Andrews gifted the World with as Marry Poppins and made it a rap. I tip my hat to you, Yung Gravy, for your creativity.
Friday, March 12, 2021
"Cinema Sewer," has been a yearly-ish magazine written by Robin Bougie chock-full of articles about old adult movies, trashy sci-fi cinema, and generally interesting stuff. I've reviewed a, "Cinema Sewer," collection before and during 2020 reached-out to Robin about an idea I had for an article. The article discusses an artsy adult movie, "Malice in La La Land," that had a ton of money poured into it only for the thing to get critical plaudits but fail to make a profit. He was happy to collaborate with me on it and now I've got a piece in what has been revealed to be the last issue of, "Cinema Sewer." This 34th issue is the final one as Robin is going to move on to other projects. I had no clue this would be the magazine's conclusion when I pitched him my article, but I'm honored to be a part of the last chapter in, "Cinema Sewer." Be forewarned he writes about lots of mature subjects so, "Cinema Sewer," is not for the prudish! That said, it makes for some fascinating reading! You can buy a copy of, "Cinema Sewer," #34 at this link and browse other works by Robin and friends too.
Mike Wolfer is a creator whose work I really enjoy. I've backed a number of his Kickstarters over the years and some were delayed for a period of time. He kept everyone updated throughout delays, however, and was always willing to provide refunds if requested. I was happy to be patient though, and a bunch of goodness arrived the other day! From cool editions of, "Daikazu," and the, "Widow Archies," to other Widow comics and, "The Crypt of Screams," in addition to fun little bonus items, I was pumped to receive my package. I can't wait for other projects Mike has been talking about (a new Widow comic, for one) to be worked on and released so I can continue to support his stuff!
Thursday, March 11, 2021
I got a press email from Image and then saw other sites started reporting it too as it sounded really cool. What is it? The amazing comic-master Shaky Kane is teaming up with the skilled Krent Able to give us, "Kane & Able." What is, "Kane & Able," pray tell? A collaboration designed to give us a two-man anthology packed to gills with genre comics.
That means stuff that evokes classic sci-fi, horror, and the like from eras gone by. I'll basically read anything Shaky Kane does so if he's involved with this, I'm all in. This original graphic novel is due to come out in June and I'm pumped to read it.
I contribute to the website Cinemaways every once in a while and they just published a new piece by me! It is about, "10 Great Movies Critics Hated," and you can read it here. You might be surprised what flicks that are now considered classics got a critical drubbing at the time, and if you like the post or want to suggest another movie you can always comment with your thoughts there. I thank Cinemaways for liking my writing enough to have me keep coming back and doing pieces for them.
Wednesday, March 10, 2021
I vaguely remember Coca-Cola doing it before, but the latest attempt to launch Coke with coffee is now for sale in stores. There is a dark blend, vanilla, and caramel flavor. I've mostly stopped drinking soda in an effort to lose weight, but I felt like I needed to try this and share my thoughts on it as someone who loves coffee and used to drink a ton of coke before I worked at cutting it mostly out of my diet. I gave this a drink and it was decent, but not amazing.
I drink my coffee black with no cream or sugar. I sampled the dark blend of Coke with coffee and it tasted a lot like sweetened coffee that had coke poured over it. It wasn't so much a seamless blend of flavors as it was two different ones seeming to be combatting each other. I would taste some coffee, then I'd taste some coke, but they didn't synergize too wonderfully. The overall taste profile was okay, but this is nowhere near as good as alternative Coke flavors like Cherry Coke or even Vanilla Coke. I'm in no rush to try the coffee with vanilla or caramel, but they might have a bit more zing to them. As it is, I was mostly let down by two things I like coming together to make something this average.
2.5 out of 5 stars.
Tuesday, March 9, 2021
This hasn't been the worst season of, "The Bachelor," ever because Colton's season was wretched and Pilot Pete's was--as I said in a previous article--"A smoldering crater of bad decisions." This season, though, it's been something. We had the first Bachelor of color, Matt James. This took almost two decades, but it finally happened. He was a perfectly nice fellow, but so many ladies in the house were unbelievably toxic to one another, like alarmingly so. Then some questionable actions in the past by one contestant, Rachael Kirkconnell, were defended in a tone-deaf manner by Chris Harrison and this caused enough hubbub that he's taking a break from the show to, "Educate," himself. It's been an odd season. It hasn't been awful, but it ain't been especially great.
Last night we had the Fantasy Suites AKA, "The episodes where they bone," and I'm glad all the toxic gals who were ripping into other contestants have been gone a smidgen (the, "Women Tell All," special was a nightmare to sit through, however). Before the suites, however, we actually got a really heartfelt moment where Matt talked with his Father. They talked about him not being present while he was growing-up really impacted him and has made it hard for him to form relationships. It was a strangely serious moment for the season that pulled back the curtain on, "Attractive and laid-back Matt," and showed us how he's a real human with some serious internal pain he's been working at dealing with. I appreciated the show giving us an honest moment of healing between Matt and his Dad.
|They literally rubbed sticks of butter on each other.|
In case you were worried, "The Bachelor," was done being silly, however, the dates then featured oatmeal footbaths, sticks of butter being smeared on bodies and other bits of the usual random weirdness--and that was just the first date! We also had Bri almost get fooled into thinking she was gonna sleep in a tent, on the ground, in the cold (before a swanky cabin was revealed). Rachael was...there too. She...um...pouted a lot about the idea Matt was going on dates with these other women. I get it, everyone knows that if you get to the final 3 you have to put-up with your potential future spouse banging some other folk, but it still can really hit home once you actually get to the final 3. That said, you've got Michelle literally apologizing for having a nice date with Matt to the other gals and Rachael just sobbed about how miserable this week was until she finally got to complain to Matt about it whilst doing a pottery class that had the teacher hilarious saying to, "Put your fingers in the hole," at the same time Rachael gave us a voice-over monologue about Matt hooking-up with other chicks. That's some clever editing.
Besides a very personal moment with Matt and his Father at the start of the show (maybe too personal for broadcast, but it was aired anyway), the rest of this episode was a bit quirky, a bit dramatic, and good junk food for the brain. We're barreling towards the finale and then that, "After the Rose," special that will have been filmed after everything blew-up with the racism scandals, criticism of the toxicity in the house, and we'll probably get an official announcement who the next, "Bachelorette," will be too. When it comes to this franchise it always seems on the edge of doing something progressive or having a breakthrough (when we had a same-sex couple on, "Bachelor in Paradise," when we've had more diversity in the leads), but then it just takes two steps back often for every step forward. I still watch it though, often with a mixture of hope and amused embarrassment.
Monday, March 8, 2021
What if everything the right thought about liberals were true? They were part of some highly orchestrated conspiracy with Antifa being dedicated to warping everyone's minds with chemtrails and Hollywood propaganda? Matt Lubchansky has written a beautiful piece of satire dedicated to this, with their sharp insight and great illustrations providing a hilarious and thoughtful read. Throughout, "The Antifa Supdersoldier Cookbook," published by Silver Sprocket, we witness as those awful left-wingers protest a statue of a slave-owning politician from the past with their tools of disruption as only a police force that can do zero wrong stands between chaos and order--which is why they need military equipment to fight the leftist protestors, of course.
The best kind of satire reflects what some people actually think, and the deadpan presentation never, "Breaks," even as the absurdity rachets up--of course the police need a space station that lets them monitor all phone calls, it's for public safety! Lubchanksy's art has just the right amount of exaggeration as we watch an Antifa footsoldier be given high-tech surgery to aid in their destruction of a peaceful and happy society. Things are just a touch cartoony enough that the outlandish stuff sits alongside everyday reality (a toothless media dedicated to giving, "Both sides," a voice) perfectly.
"The Antifa Supersoldier Cookbook," is hilarious but also makes you think, as at the end of the book it lays-out how some things it presents as dark jokes are all too real--"Qualified immunity," anyone? It will be in comic and bookstores soon or if your shop doesn't have a copy you can always buy it directly from Silver Sprocket's website. I was provided a digital copy for the purposes of review and am glad I was because this was such a great comic!
5 out of 5 stars.
Sunday, March 7, 2021
Gerardo Zaffino makes great covers. I'm not sure what I have with his interior art, but some variant covers he has done in the past are among my favorites and proudly on display with my favorite comics. They sit upon my bookshelves, with the Thanos variant as seen above looking awesome, and this Hawkman one below being stellar too:
I didn't really have a point to this post beyond wanting to share how much I enjoy Zaffino's artwork. Many of his regular covers or variant covers aren't too hard to find or absurdly expensive as some ratio covers can get. I'd recommend seeking his stuff out.
The final episode of, "Wandavision," has been out more than two days so it's cool to talk about spoilers, right? It was a fantastic finale and set-up future movies with skill. The thing that got me though, was the shocking reveal of Evan Peters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Wanda's brother Pietro being...well, a real Bohner. Everyone thought it maybe was a crossover between cinematic universes as Peters played the speedster in the X-Men flicks.
Nope, he was just a dude named Ralph Bohner who Agnes/Agatha was controlling with dark magic to try and manipulate Wanda. Casting Peters for the role was basically a little easter egg, not some massive continuity-reshaping event. Men's Health of all people summed it up pretty well. Perhaps this isn't the last we will hear of Ralph, maybe there are more twists coming with him. It would be kind of a waste of a talent like Evan Peters to have that be the last we see of him in the MCU, after all. For now, though, he's just a Bohner that Marvel fooled us with.
Friday, March 5, 2021
It started out as a bit of a, "Point Blank," rip-off with car racing, then it grew into a mega-franchise full of some great (and some mediocre) actors all doing crazy stunts among over-the-top special effects. Yes, I am talking about the, "Fast the Furious," Franchise. The ninth flick has been delayed time upon time due to how COVID-19 basically wrecked everyone's lives. It was maybe set to come out this May, but it's been pushed back one more month this time with it shifting from May 28th to June 25th. That is the, "For real," release date. Seriously, it'll happen this time! Right?
As I understand it, this month-long delay relates to it being thought even more vaccines will be distributed and people will feel ready to return to theaters. I've got to be honest, I'm in no rush to return to seeing movies in a theater until I know we've achieved a nationwide herd immunity and myself and my loved ones are vaccinated. Between this and that James Bond movie, "No Time to Die," some stuff has been quite pushed-back. It's been working pretty well for HBO MAX just putting stuff out for streaming, so maybe that should be considered even though it causes controversy? I dunno, maybe once June 25th is here we'll finally be able to see Vin Diesel talk about, "Family," and blow stuff up again...that or there'll be another delay. Time will tell.
Thursday, March 4, 2021
I'm on assorted press lists and received an email from AK Press about their upcoming book, "We Move Together." Due to release on April 6th, I was intrigued as someone who has worked and volunteered in positions that were dedicated to fostering inclusivity and diversity. I also have a child, my son Clarkson, who has Autism Spectrum Disorder, and I want him to grow up in a World that values and includes him. Written by Kelly Fritsch and Anne McGuire with illustrations by Eduardo Trejos, I loved my advance review copy I requested!
"We Move Together," is geared towards those in 1st-3rd grade with educational materials in the back parents or teachers can use to foster discussion with their kiddos. The book features a diverse cast of kids and adults, with numerous races, sexual orientations, and disabilities shown. We follow everyone as they tackle obstacles such as inaccessibility into businesses, disagreement on certain issues (the controversy of straws as environmentally harmful versus needed for those with disabilities), learning about differences, and focusing on fostering community building.
Trejos presents the World as it is--diverse--without exaggeration but puts in little touches that add whimsy such as a page where a group of children imaging being in a carnival starts-out with them in their regular clothes on the left side of the page (where our eyes start) and morphing into colorful outfits as we see their creativity on display.
Between the great writing, lovely illustrations, and discussion-points at the end of the book, everything combines wonderfully in, "We Move Together." This book is a stupendous way to provide readers with a method to spark discussions about inclusivity and diversity. I'd recommend it to anyone who works with or is raising young children. You can pre-order the book at AK Press's website, at all finer bookstores, or request your library buys a copy!
5 out of 5 stars.
Wednesday, March 3, 2021
We've made it to March. It's been a year since COVID-19 really started shutting things down and a surprisingly nasty Winter is hopefully wrapping-up. How about some news and links to read?
News and Interesting Stuff
People rarely remember Olympic mascots as often they are dull. The 1996 Olympics had Izzy, however, who was so terrible he kind of sticks out in your mind. The man who kinda-sorta created it shared how everything went wrong in a neat article.
I don't really follow heavy metal music at all, but apparently, sometimes bands can have questionable links to Nazi-ideology. This article breaks down how to avoid those kinds of bands.
Joe Jurado has been looking at, "The Rise of the Black Superhero," in a great series over at The Root.
In news that we all saw coming, Comic-Con International/San Diego Comic-Con is not going to happen as an in-person event. This is the responsible choice. There will be virtual events, so that's cool.
Transwomen are women, transmen are men. Trying to act like you're just dedicated to, "Fairness," when you try to ban them from sports is just a cover for being transphobic. This article by Esther Wang at Jezebel delves into that.
Lastly, the fact a big expensive omnibus collecting the Superman work of Grant Morrison couldn't even consistently spell their name right and has pages missing text is just embarrassing.
Enjoy the Warming Weather
It should keep getting warmer--barring any sudden snowstorms--so I hope you can relax on the nice Spring days that should be coming1