Thursday, May 13, 2021

eBay Keeps Doing Dumb Stuff This Week

This week eBay has been really batting a thousand, or however that expression goes (I don't follow baseball). First, they changed the way comics are listed and sorted by doing away with a lot of subcategories in a manner that makes finding comic listings a lot less intuitive and more tedious. Many listings that were already up found themselves changed in ways that made it hard to get any eyes on the posts. It was pretty bad. Oh, and then eBay announced today it will be doing away with adult-only listings for no logical reason. It'll be gone by the end of the Summer. I doubt any minors are getting on eBay and using it to buy porn when they have, you know, the entire internet. 

Don't expect to find the old raunchy underground comics on eBay as easily.

No, eBay's adult section has been handy for people like me when it comes to finding weird old underground comics (which could at times be quite sexual) or selling modern comics with the really risque covers that people love (folk like boobs on their comic covers for sure). People like my friend Robin Bougie (who wrote Cinema Sewer) have used eBay to find old and vintage erotica, stuff like that. eBay is getting rid of adult listings though and the only possible reason seems to be it isn't compatible with their stupid new managed payments and they want to put everything under that umbrella sooner than later

eBay has changed the way we find a comic listing in a manner that is confusing and stupid. eBay also plans to get rid of adult listings which a move that is purely stupid and puritanical. It has been quite a week for eBay and if it keeps being idiotic like this I may start shifting away from eBay to other selling sites that are a lot less of a pain. It's all so dumb.

Adult Swim is Bringing Some Shows Back With Feature-Length Movies

There are shows on Adult Swim that either ended before reaching a conclusion or finished but have more stories to tell. Two shows that stopped too early--" Metalocalypse," and, "The Venture Brothers," will be getting a full-length movie on Blu-Ray and on-demand before then streaming on HBO Max. "Aqua Teen Hunger Force," did have a true final season, but it's back too! I enjoyed all the shows so I welcome their return. I will admit to falling behind on, "Metalocalypse," and, "The Venture Brothers," so I maybe need to catch up, but I think I've seen every, "Aqua Teen Hunger Force," episode there was--the good and bad--so I'll be quite eager for that.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Target No Longer Will Cary Trading Cards Soon

Because this is a World where we can't have nice things without people messing it up, Target will be halting its sales of trading cards (in-store) as of May 14th. This seems like it will for sure apply to Pokemon cards and sports cards, maybe Magic and other stuff too. This comes on the heels of Walmart planning on stopping selling these trading cards in-store due to how it has just caused a lot of arguments, fights, and disruptions. A Wisconsin Target had an incident recently in the store's parking lot where a man pulled out a gun and threatened others over sports cards. Now, people can still buy cards online or at dedicated comic and game stores, but some regions lack these kinds of physical locations (with buying via the internet sometimes being a battle against bots too).

I'm not actively involved in collecting trading cards associated with any games or sports but have friends who are and when they can't get to a store dedicated to cards Walmart or Target was useful for them. Now they'll lack that option due to people being extra stupid lately about cards and trading card games. It is such a shame.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

The First Issue of the New, "Heroes Reborn," Shows Promise

A bit ago Marvel announced they were doing a new, "Heroes Reborn," event. Unlike the one in the 1990s that featured an alternate Earth, this one had it apparently be the regular reality but rewritten where the Avengers never formed and that altered a lot of history--resulting in the Squadron Supreme being the big-name team. It sounded like a fun mini-event, but a big chunk of tie-ins were announced. That made it sound possibly a bit bloated for a weekly thing. Still, I tried the first issue and I thought it showed some promise. The idea is that the Avengers never formed for some mysterious reason and it seems like only Blade realizes that the World is wrong. Agent Coulson is President and seems to maybe be evil, supposedly Mephisto is involved in all this I read, and there is a lot going on in this different-but-vaguely-familiar World. There is still a Hulk, but he's locked up, Dr. Doom lost his political power and becomes the Juggernaut. Captain America was never found after he crashed into the ocean during World War II, and so forth.

I am a big fan of alternate-reality stories and have a soft spot for the Marvel version of the Justice League known as the Squadron Supreme so that maybe helped me enjoy this odd first issue. Written by Jason Aaron with lovely art by Ed McGuinness, this first issue is dedicated to basically laying out how things are all warped and that Blade isn't pleased by it. Not a ton happens beyond Blade saying, "This is wrong, this is wrong, that's wrong too!" but it is still fun to witness our Marvel heroes all changed about. McGuinness really does a fantastic job illustrating certain scenes, such as when the Juggernaut-powered Dr. Doom fights Hyperion or when some speedsters (one being a clever amalgamation of Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver) fight. It looks good even if not a lot happens beyond place-setting.

I suppose the tie-ins are kind of necessary to help flesh out this strange World whilst the main weekly comic will focus on Blade and anyone he can recruit to his cause of fixing the World. The second main issue and the first of the tie-in issues will be released tomorrow. I may give them a browse as this first issue had me cautiously optimistic about, "Heroes Reborn." It could all fall apart and suck by the end, but right now it's a fun alternate-reality jaunt.

Monday, May 10, 2021

"Venom: Let There Be Carnage," Has a Trailer Out

 The pandemic delayed its release a ton, but now that it is due in September the hype machine is starting to creak to life and promote the new Venom movie. Titled, "Venom: Let There Be Carnage," it features a suitably over-the-top Woody Harrelson as Cletus Cassady AKA Carnage. Tom Hardy returns as Venom--which is good as he was the key feature to making the first movie somewhat enjoyable as I noted in my review. This new Venom movie looks like it will have a decent balance of action and wonky humor as the trailer literally opens with the symbiote singing as it makes breakfast. The whole thing is so silly I almost got, "Deadpool,"-level vibes, but that's kind of how the first, "Venom," movie was too. There's some action, some really odd humor, and a little darkness. Somehow it manages to kinda work. I don't think I'll rush to theaters for this, but I shall watch it at some point.

Sunday, May 9, 2021

I Hope Everyone Had a Nice Mother's Day

Samii, my wife, and the Mother to our son.

I hope everyone had a nice Mother's Day. I enjoyed spending it with my wife and the mother of my child, Samii--pictured above. She is a fantastic lady and the best person I could have asked for to have a child with.

My mom, Ellen.

I also want to wish a happy Mother's Day to my momma, Ellen. I am eternally grateful to have someone as patient as her as my mom--she had to put up with a lot from my sister and myself. I love her a lot!

Kim and Clarkson when he was tiny.

Even though she is no longer with us, Kim deserves a shout-out too. She was Samii's mom and I've written about missing her. She was an amazing Mother-in-Law and a truly awesome lady. This was our first Mother's Day without her.

There are so many amazing Mothers I've had the pleasure of knowing. I appreciate them all!

Saturday, May 8, 2021

The Republican Party Seems to be Eating Itself Alive

The Republican party of late had an uneasy truce between two groups. There were the old-school Republicans who to their credit would sometimes work with Democrats and often held views I disagreed with but could be moderate enough they were usually not awful. Folks like John Boehner, or the Republican who represented my district for a time when I lived in New York, Richard Hanna--the first Republican who actually said he wouldn't vote for Trump in the 2016 election. Then there was the more extreme far-right element that seemed to always exist but really emerged out of the shadows around 2008 when you saw folk like Sarah Palin gaining power and even being given a VP nomination by another old school Republican who had his moments, John McCain (McCain later admitted deep regret choosing her and she was told to stay away from his funeral). 

After that the, "Tea Party," and so forth elements clawed more and more into the public consciousness with their xenophobia and extremism. It all came to head with the election of Donald Trump to the presidency in 2016--a terrible time for sure. The moderate Republicans I named either all retired or have died and the few left found themselves stuck with Trump, refusing to actually stand up for what's right and making them as bad as the extremists in my opinion. One wondered if when Trump was gone they'd wrangle some control back and maybe at least apologize for trying to destroy democracy.

Donald Trump lost the election in 2020. What's left of the more moderate Republicans has been trying to come to terms with this and move forward with a Nation that clearly offered a rebuke to Trump and his hateful politics. The huge amount of extreme and terrible Republicans refuse to admit Trump lost fair and square, keep trying to rewrite election laws to make it harder to vote in the hopes that cheating others out of voting will assist them in winning, and otherwise are terrible. Now the party is eating itself alive as people such as Liz Cheney--the House Republican Conference Chair and the third-highest position in the House Republican leadership--finds herself labeled an enemy of the party for...admitting Donald Trump lost and wanting to impeach him for his crimes against democracy during that time he goaded his followers into literally attacking the Capitol (not that I'm saying Liz Cheney or the Presidential Administration of Bush and her Dad are innocent because they aren't at all). The Republican party may very well schism into two parties or find itself becoming more and more extreme until moderate Republicans end up becoming somewhat unwilling Democrats who hope they can morph that party a bit more to reflect their views than the ungodly monster their party has now become.

America is horrifically divided and even within our own political parties, there is division. It's just that Democrats have smaller quibbles compared to Republicans who either accept reality or live in a fantasy World where Trump won the 2020 election. I don't know what the future holds for the Republican party, but as it seems to be getting more extreme and alt-right I can only imagine any vaguely moderate Republicans will find themselves retiring soon and then writing books about how much they hate what their party has become (the aforementioned Boehner did that) or pushed out. We shall see.

To close with a fun random aside, I actually met John Boehner once. When I lived in Cortland, NY, I would volunteer at the political office for whoever was our state Representative to get community service hours we needed for high school, college, Americorps, etc. Sometimes it was a Democrat in power and sometimes a moderate Republican. When Boehner came out to help garner support for one Republican I chatted with him and saw him speak. He is a pretty likable guy even if I disagree with him on a chunk of issues and his skin is as surreally tan and leathery as it looks on television. The man must spend 18 hours a day in a tanning bed.

Friday, May 7, 2021

In News We All Predicted, Nintendo is Swimming in Money

Last year was the most profitable for Nintendo, ever. 2020 was good to Nintendo for a variety of reasons, but everyone being cooped up at home wanting a Nintendo Switch to play games on was undoubtedly a major factor. I mean, I bought a Switch before the market for them went utterly bonkers (thank God I got it from a store for a good price and not for some absurd mark-up, and everyone else did too. How much money was made? Well, "Nintendo saw a 34.4 percent increase in sales to 1.76 trillion yen ($16.1 billion) and an 85.7 percent spike in net profit, reaching 480 billion yen ($4.39 billion)." Oh, and, "The company had thirty-six games selling a million copies on its hardware, with twenty-two of them being Nintendo titles," so they made bank on the game titles too.

2020 was an awful year for many people, this household included. I'm happy for Nintendo though and hope they keep making fun games and quality consoles (occasional misstep like the WII-U aside). I've been a bit busy so I haven't had time to play my Switch as much, but I continue to enjoy having it. I've come a long way from my vaguely aggressive confusion about the thing some years ago, to sort of wanting one, to now being a fan.

Thursday, May 6, 2021

This Multicolored Boba Fett Toy is Pretty Cool

I'm woefully behind on watching, "Star Wars," movies or shows. I like the franchise perfectly fine, it just isn't my favorite property of them all and I only have so much time to read/watch/play stuff. That said, this recent May 4th  (which has become a bit of a holiday for the brand) it was revealed there would be a retro-looking and rainbow-colored Boba Fett toy, and damn, I want that. The idea behind the color mix is that it is meant to look like a prototype toy. I just think it looks really neat. This snazzy figure will be for sale at Target this Summer and hopefully, I'll be able to snag one.

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Yeah, I"ll Gladly Take a New Modest Mouse Album

Modest Mouse has made great music but has taken big breaks between albums. I adored, "We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank," which came out in 2007. Then it wasn't until 2015 they released, "Strangers To Ourselves," and now it's taken until 2021 for, "The Golden Casket." We're finally getting something new though, so I can't look a gift horse in the mouth. "The Golden Casket," will release in full on June 25th and you can listen to a song from it, "We Are Between," at this link. I look forward to the full album!

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

"Dead Dog's Bite," Has Been a Great Comic

"Dead Dog's Bite," is a comic published by Dark Horse about a strange small town where a girl named Mac Guffin (note the clever name) has gone missing for a while. Her best friend, Josephine/"Joe," Bradley refuses to give up trying to figure out what happened and she'll have to put up with a very odd and quirky town in the hopes of figuring out what's going on. The book hasn't been getting a ton of buzz and I don't know why because it is amazing It's halfway done as it is going to be a four-issue mini-series and while there hasn't been a lot of talk, I did enjoy this article by Tom Murphy where he expresses how much he likes the series too.

"Dead Dog's Bite," is by Tyler Boss. Literally, it is entirely by him. He wrote it, drew it, colored it, lettered it, everything. He did so much for this comic I wouldn't be surprised if he was at the printing press overseeing as it was manufactured and the pages were stapled together. The mixture of humor, off-kilter tone, and the strange mystery of what happened to Mac makes for a damn fine read. I can't wait for issue #3 to come out this Wednesday and it'll probably be one of the first comics I read in my stack once I grab a copy. Read this book, now!

5 out of 5 stars.

Monday, May 3, 2021

"Heroineburgh," is a Fun Comic AND Live Action Web Series

Creators of indie comics will sometimes reach out to me and ask me to check out their works. I was intrigued when, "Heroineburgh," contacted me as they weren't only a comic, but also a long-running web series. They found me when I was trending on comics-twitter due to certain posts I'd made on a subject I have now said I'm done discussing. They didn't care about that controversy, they just saw I was trending, read my blog, and noticed when reading my site how I often wrote about cool indie comics. Therefore, they told me about their comic and show then asked if I was interested in learning more. I thought such a thing made a lot of sense as with so many big-name superhero characters getting shows and movies it sounded pretty smart for indie creators to do a similar brand synergy of, "If you like the comic, check out the show (and vice-versa)." I read the first two issues of, "Heroineburgh," and watched some of the latest episodes of the show. I will say I enjoyed both!

The plot of, "Heroineburgh," is that the city of Pittsburgh (where the comic takes place and the show is filmed) had a mysterious meteor explode overhead one night and it bestowed a number of people (mostly those with XX chromosomes) with superpowers. Now, many superheroines are officially recognized by the city as being a public safety force. There are a number of women who have become criminals with their powers and that has resulted in trouble at points. The two issues of the comic that have been released so far all follow different heroines who also appear in the show. The issues tell different fun stories about the diverse cast. I especially liked a story in the first issue which features a genetically modified lizard turning into a Kaiju that the cleverly-named, "X-Machina," fights. What makes all this even more fun is then seeing the characters from the comics come alive on your screen.

The, "Heroineburgh," web series is currently in its second season with 19 episodes total. Some episodes are split into two parts, but whether a full episode or a, "Part," they generally are a bit less or more than 30 minutes. The shows are fun and while not by any means high-budget, do have enough funds put into them that they manage some charming special effects--the costuming is always on point too. The acting tends to be pretty good and the whole show just has a nice fun vibe. Watching it reminded me of the shot-on-video (SOV) horror movies of years past not because things were by any means scary, but because back in the day people would get together with a cool idea, film it, and get it released as a VHS tape that sometimes became a cult hit movie. 

Now we have the internet so instead of SOV we're doing things digitally, but that has allowed even more people to take their ideas and create fun shows. "Heroineburgh," has the same, "We're going to try a bunch of stuff and see what works and what doesn't and we're gonna enjoy ourselves along with way," feeling as SOV movies from the past did and I think that is a major element of why I found it so fun. It is incredibly enthusiastic and eager to share its stories with us via a mixture of seriousness and just the right dose of self-awareness. Another thing that a viewer can appreciate about, "Heroineburgh," is that unlike basically any other hero movies or television shows, there are a ton of female heroes. 

If I may complain a bit, Marvel took more than 10 films to give a female lead-billing ("Captain Marvel,") and DC has been good to, "Wonder Woman," and gave us a movie with Harley Quinn, but female-led properties seem to be the exception rather than a regular thing with some of the big properties these past years. Marvel will be debuting their second female-led movie with, "Black Widow," this Summer, even though they already kind of did her dirty with the way the character was treated in, "Endgame," in my opinion, but I digress. My point is outside of team movies that at least include a female or two and some of the superhero television shows there isn't much with female characters--especially female characters of color, various religions, gay/bi characters, etc.

To much credit of, "Heroineburgh," it is focused on diverse female characters in a way that doesn't seem like it's fishing for compliments for being progressive, it simply has a story to tell that involves a lot of superpowered females and it tells it well. Whether they're dealing with corrupt police mad that funding has been cut due to the superheroines becoming an official branch of the Government, fighting evil business tycoons out to make them look bad, or combatting super-villains, there is a big focus on women. 

Yes, it isn't giving us over-the-top special effects that cost millions of dollars, but it's fun and earnest. You can see everyone making it had just as much fun making an episode as we do when we watch it. Plus, thanks to there being so many heroines featured in different episodes you can basically watch any episode from the first or second season and not be lost or confused as you might be if you tried to watch a later episode of a hero show on the CW or Disney+ (I mean, I don't know who would watch, "Wandavision," without having watched at least some Marvel movies, but if they did they'd be confused).

I feel like I've rambled a bit in this post, but the summary of all this is that I found, "Heroineburgh," to be a very enjoyable comic and fun web series that succeeds thanks to how charming and genuine it is. While it was stressful when I angered certain parts of the internet expressing my opinions, I was happy to see it got me trending and it helped even more folks discover my blog and reach out about their own works. I always love hearing from indie creators and thank Heroineburgh for getting me into their show and comic! You can buy the comics and episodes of the web series on their site, and I'd encourage you to check them out!

5 out of 5 stars for the comic and show.

Note: Issue one and two of, "Heroineburgh," as well as episodes 17 and 18 of the show were provided to me for the purpose of review; you all know the drill by now about me getting press copies of stuff, but I always like to make sure I mention it somewhere.

John Paul Leon has Died

John Paul Leon has died at 49. This sucks. He made some damn fine comic art and was known for being a really nice guy. He did a ton of incredible stuff, but my favorite thing by him has to be the series, "The Winter Men," as well as issue #127 of, "New X-Men," which were about a Soviet superhuman program and a Xorn spotlight issue, respectively. Leon really made a lot of great comics though, and you couldn't go wrong with anything he illustrated.

Sunday, May 2, 2021

My Friend Eric S. Hawkins is Doing a Kickstarter for, "The Zombieful World of Oz," #3

I chatted with Eric Scott Hawkins at the recent Big River Comic-Con and he told me there about how he would soon be launching a Kickstarter campaign. Well, that Kickstarter has started and it is for the third issue of, "The Zombieful World of Oz." It's a steampunk and horror-influenced take on, "The Wizard of Oz," with a grown-up Dorthory Gale dealing with a whole bunch of mayhem now occurring in the magical land. It looks really fun and there are backer levels to catch up any readers who have missed earlier issues--something I always appreciate seeing as it is awkward when you see a Kickstarter campaign for the later issues of a series with no way to read earlier ones! I'd encourage you to check out the Kickstarter for, "The Zombieful World of Oz," #3, and to consider giving it your support!

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Start of May of 2021 Links, News, Etc.

Welcome to the Month of May!

May is among my favorite months for a variety of reasons. The weather is generally wonderful and it features my birthday, which is pretty snazzy. Let's celebrate May with some interesting news and links!

Reading and Learning

Wyatt Russel is such a great actor he got hate for playing the fictional character of John Walker on, "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier," because he was so amazing. He doesn't let it phase him though.

Daniel Schroeder revisited Colton Underwood's season of, "The Bachelor," now that he's come out as gay and found a lot of extra cringeworthy content now that we know more.

"Wonder Showzen," was one of the most surreal programs to ever be broadcasted and its segment with kids acting like reporters, "Beat Kids," was the icing on the cake of edgy weirdness. This oral history explains how it all came to be.

"Mortal Kombat," was an immensely popular and controversial game in the 1990s, so of course there were many (mostly terrible) imitators. Owen S. Good of Polygon has a list. I need to watch the movie still, I heard mixed things.

Mike Rowe is an apologist for the oil industry and quite unquestionably in their pocket when it comes to who is cutting him so big checks to say nice things. He's almost charming and likable enough to make you forget he's a sleazeball.

Funnyman Ron Funches is deadly serious when he says OutKast was better than the Beatles. I mean, he isn't wrong. The Beatles are great and all, but OutKast is just amazing.

This past Earth Day, Susana Polo over at Polygon ranked all of the known DC Earths that exist in the multiverse/omniverse. It was a good read.

Alex Trebek can never be replicated as the host of Jeopardy, but we can hopefully find someone who is good at hosting. What the exact secret recipe is for success, nobody knows.

Finally, Andrew Spiess has a great article examining the recent run of, "The Immortal Hulk," by Al Ewing, Joe Bennett, et al. He delves into its fantastic horror vibe.

Relax, it's May!

I hope this month treats everyone well!