Friday, December 31, 2021

Student of the Year: Clarkson--2021 in Review

Clarkson has been doing so great in school this year that he is my student of the year! His school has been working with him on a variety of skills and communication methods and they've helped him in his development quite a lot. Clarkson loves going to school and always eagerly runs in the door. He's truly the best little guy and Samii and I are so happy to have him as our son!

Food Item of the Year: Iced Coffee From Panera, Specifically--2021 in Review

Panera (also known as Saint Louis Bread Co.) has a coffee subscription (or as I call it, a coffee club) where for $8.99 you can get unlimited coffee. You can,  basically, get a free coffee every hour, every day. We did this and now I basically get at least one free iced coffee from Panera, usually more. Why iced? Because Panera's iced coffee tastes good, you don't have to wait for it to cool to enjoy it, and it has been so warm lately regardless of the season that iced coffee just hits the spot.

Now, this coffee club is, of course, supposed to be a loss-leader. Panera anticipates someone will come in for their free coffee and end-up buying a sandwich, a flatbread pizza, or the like. I won't deny that on occasion I might have grabbed a muffin to go with my iced coffee, but at least 90% of the time I just run into one of my favorite local locations, get my iced coffee, and take off to continue my day--in and out of the store in under 5 minutes like a boss. I loved getting my iced coffee for what is basically free after my first three or so visits in a month and plan to continue doing so into 2022 and as long as they still offer the club.

Thursday, December 30, 2021

Television Show of the Year: Anything That Served as Good Mental Junk Food--2021 in Review

This is me.

2020 was a terrible year and 2021 was better but still immensely stressful. During the year I didn't want to watch too many television shows that were stressful or required a ton of my attention. I did view some programs that were like that, but I really dug the stuff that served as mental junk food. I loved just chilling with trashy reality television that I could watch weekly on cable shows or stream on various platforms. When life is stressful and hard sometimes you just need a dose of, "The Bachelor/Bachelorette/Bachelor in Paradise," or a baking show with a detective theme, maybe some people who are 600 pounds losing weight, all of that stuff. I was eager to decompress with, "Big Brother," as opposed to watching an intense drama or thriller-type program. It just was pleasant to have something related to, "90 Day Fiance," and its myriad spin-offs sometimes as opposed to something that had me on the edge of my seat when I just wanted to lay back on the couch.

Embarrassment of the Year: The Response of Many to COVID-19--2021 in Review

This year so many people could get a vaccine for COVID-19, and a lot of folks did not. Why? Well, dumb reasons, primarily. There are some people with various health concerns who cannot be vaccinated for COVID-19, which is understandable. However, this virus has become so politicized that now even getting a vaccine that could save lives has become a political debate. It's idiotic that there are people who with their dying breath deny that they have COVID-19 and that a vaccine could have saved their lives. It's absurd this is a political debate when time and time again it has been shown vaccines save lives. It is the embarrassment of the year, in other words.

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Album of the Year: An Evening With Silk Sonic--2021 in Review

Those who read my post singing the praises of Silk Sonic back in November probably aren't surprised by this. From songs like the amazing, "Smoking out the Window," to, "Leave the Door Open," and plenty more, "An Evening With Silk Sonic," is just a bit longer than an EP at 30 minutes so let's call it an LP, and let's also declare it my album of the year. Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak made something that is both at once a throwback to classic soul, jazz, and R&B yet infused with modern little tweaks that make it just a delight. I look forward to hopefully many more evenings with Silk Sonic!

Song of the Year: Justified--2021 in Review

I love Kacey Musgraves and her new album is fire. It isn't my album of the year (that'll be revealed later), but it is great. On her latest LP, "Starcrossed," she has one song that is basically my favorite tune of the year. "Justified," is all about a relationship that sounds like it is in immense distress (unsurprising as Musgraves recorded this after her recent divorce), and it covers so many complex feelings. It's a great tune. Give it a listen below:

There is my song of the year!

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Comics of the Year Part 2--2021 in Review

Now for Part 2!

I now present the rest of my comics of the year from 2021! Again, in no specific order here they are...

The Other History of the DC Universe

Probably the best thing published by DC in years, "The Other History of the DC Universe," is an out-of-continuity take on various characters who are parts of underrepresented groups. John Ridley writes and Giuseppe Camuncoli provides some stellar art in this raw, deep, and emotional anthology of sorts with each character getting an issue.

Moon Knight

There have been some runs on Moon Knight I loved and runs that made me shake my head in disappointment. After reading the issues of, "Moon Knight," that we've gotten this year from Jed Mackay and Alessandro Cappuccio, I am happy to say this is the best damn Moon Knight material I've read since the Charlie Huston & David Finch stuff that got me into the character in the first place. From the debut issue to now, Mackay takes everything in Moon Knight's confusing continuity and lets it all count, acknowledging just how messy a character Moonie can be. He lets this somewhat convoluted background bring us superb stories about a man struggling to come to terms with his personal life, religious views, and how he can help others when he can barely help himself. Plus, there's a dab of humor too so that everything avoids being a bit too dreary. I hope Mackay and Cappuccio get to write Moon Knight for a long time.

Jinx Freeze

When I reviewed, "Jinx Freeze," I put in the title how it was the weirdest comic I'd read in a while. It still is probably the strangest thing I read in 2021, and that's a good thing. Lord Hurk gives us the story of a town dealing with a heist, but it is so much more than that. An assortment of odd characters in seemingly unrelated vignettes begin to tell one epic story, and Hurk illustrates it all in an astonishing grotesqueness that results in this being one of the most striking comics I read this year.

Dead Dog's Bite

Tyler Boss did everything for this surreal little comic. He wrote it, drew it, lettered it, colored it, Hell, I wouldn't be surprised if he was at the printing press stapling the thing together. Now, someone can do everything for a comic and it still could suck, but Tyler Boss is a damn fine creator. "Dead Dog's Bite," was impressing me before it even finished and upon the conclusion of this four-issue series, I knew it was a real treat. A little dark, quite funny, and with a mystery that actually pays off at the end in a satisfying manner, this is an example of how a labor of love can be a masterpiece.

Comics of the Year Part 1--2021 in Review

The First Half

I've done posts before that break down a bunch of stuff relative to comics from writers, to artists, ongoing series, mini-series, and all that. I'm going to make it much more simple this year. I'm just going to tell you my favorite comics of the year that came out during 2021 in some capacity (so at least some issues/the book/etc. were released during this year). I'm splitting this into two parts so that I can adequately label everything (Google limits how many labels a post can have), but these are in no specific order. Now then, here is part 1!

Immortal Hulk

Al Ewing wrote an amazing comic and the illustrator, Joe Bennett was revealed to be an awful person (unfortunately) who knew how to draw spectacularly but not how to be a decent human. They will never work together again (Ewing has said as much), but for the 50 issues (and one-shot specials) that we got, "Immortal Hulk," it was a phenomenal read. Full of philosophy, political discussions, tons of body horror, and a lot of Hulk-doing-smashing, it was just a superb book that wrapped this year. Oh, and those Alex Ross covers were the bomb diggity.

Hollow Heart

A six-issue series published by Vault about a strange machine-human hybrid named El that was once a man and now is something less (and more) that falls in love. El is stuck in a lab and falls in love with someone working there named Mateo. Things go horribly wrong. This is,  "Hollow Heart," the tale of a jumble of organs in a biosuit that is capable of immense destruction as well as incredible tenderness. Other relationships are examined in the book too, and how the existence of El impacts them. This is a book about people and how we relate to one another in love and hate, plus it's a book about a huge cyborg that wrecks a lot of shit when it gets loose. It was a great read and I applaud Paul Allor and Paul Tucker for giving us such a human story about inhuman creations.

Crisis Zone

Simon Hanselmann is a genius skilled at drama and comedy. Enough said.

Beta Ray Bill: Argent Star

Daniel Warren Johnson gives us a tale of Thor's friend/occasional opponent Beta Ray Bill as he struggles with being stuck in his less-than-attractive superpowered state and fights to find a way to simply be a regular person when he desires even if it means going to extreme means. The real treat is seeing how amazing a storyteller Johnson is with his kinetic artwork, making even a game of table tennis as two characters chat an engaging and exciting moment. The oddest thing Marvel has released in a while. I dug it.

Monday, December 27, 2021

Video-Game of the Year: Fall Guys and Its More Recent Seasons--2021 in Review

Yes, I am aware that, "Fall Guys," did not come out in 2021. However, some of the most fun expansions/new seasons have been released during this year. I also probably played, "Fall Guys," more than any other game this year on my PlayStation 4 as Clarkson loves watching it. He laughs at the little characters as they run around and bump into each other, and will often request, "Fall Guys," on his PECs board (we have a PECs symbol for it).  Season 6-the latest one--has been a gas and, "Fall Guys," is a great game to play when you don't have a ton of time to dedicate to some massive adventure/crafting/whatever title. You can just join a game, play some rounds, and go on about your day. It's good fun!

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Movie of the Year: Flicks I Could Stream From Home Instead of Having to Go to the Theater--2021 in Review

Do you know what was nice during 2021? Being able to see a lot of new movies at home. Whether they streamed for free right away or after a little bit exclusive to theaters (or cost a little to stream at home immediately), it was pleasant and saved us the stress of theaters when we didn't want to brave them yet earlier in the year, or even now when it just sounds like a lot. I did go to the theater a few times when I knew it would not be too full (even if I'm vaxxed and wearing a mask I get concerned), but having the ability to stream movies from home was really nice. Lord knows there was not a shortage of options from HBO MAX, Disney+, Netflix, and more!

Saturday, December 25, 2021

Merry (Weirdly Warm) Christmas!

Merry Christmas! If you live in the United States or certain other parts of the World the temperate might be weirdly warm or downright toasty. We are wearing short sleeves and our air conditioner is running as it's been in the mid-to-high 60s these past few days. It's bizarre and makes me worried about the climate even if it is nice in the short term. Anyways, I hope everyone is having a good Christmas if they celebrate the holiday. I enjoy it with my family but still honor my Jewish heritage by getting Chinese food for dinner--I've always gotta have my sweet and sour chicken. In closing, may you all get your desired presents and enjoy time with your loved ones.

Friday, December 24, 2021

Christmas Eve, the Worst Time to Stop by the Store

Not my Walmart, but a good approximation.

Unless you really need something, Christmas Eve is not a good time to stop by the store. I ran to Walmart today to get some last-minute items and thankfully didn't have to go inside as we had car pick-up, but things were still crazy. Swarms of folks were running into all the stores in the plaza with Walmart especially being a mess. Cars were darting around too, running stop signs, and I'm surprised nobody was hurt during the time I was pulling in and out of the area. Anyways, look out if you go to any stores on Christmas Eve. If you don't watch out you might get run over by someone or possibly a car. Be safe, in other words!

Thursday, December 23, 2021

The First Two Issues of, "Newburn," Are Really Good

I guess I'm on a Chip Zdarsky kick as I recently reviewed his, "Devil's Reign," comic. I suppose Chip Zdarsky being a skilled writer of comics makes me like his work a lot. Also, Jacob Phillips is a great comic artist whose work on, "That Texas Blood," has been phenomenal. Now, they have begun working together on the comic, "Newburn." Published by Image, it is just a twisty little read. It focuses on a private detective named Easton Newburn. 

Newburn used to be a cop and now he works for all the different mafias to solve their problems without involving the police. At one point he's described as being like a U.N. inspector in a battlefield of crime families. With his past police connections they respect him, nobody criminal touches him thanks to his unique helpful skills and neutrality, he's a bit of a scary legend. He's also cold and calculating and by issue #2 has taken on a new employee of sorts named Emily because she observes he needs someone who can talk to people as that's his own skill that's lacking. The first issue is basically designed to show how smart Newburn is and the second introduces an interesting, "The Odd Couple,"-styled dynamic with Newburn and Emily. Both issues are great between Zdarsky's skill with dialogue and Phillips's ability to set a scene--pages drip with a dreary and ominous tone.

I read somewhere the main idea with, "Newburn," is that a mystery is solved each issue while an overall story starts to form that examines the strange man that is Easton Newburn. That is indeed what has occurred in these two issues and I'm interested in seeing the further cases Newburn and Emily will be tackling--or if Emily will even keep working for Newburn as more of his potentially awful secrets that are hinted at emerge. A great read.

5 out of 5 stars (for both issues).

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Yep, Dark Horse Comics Has Been Sold

At the start of the month, I discussed the rumors swirling around that Dark Horse (their comics divisions as well as their entertainment branch and comic selling website, Things From Another World) wanted to be sold and acquired by another company. Well, someone indeed wanted that sweet, sweet intellectual property--a video-game company known as Embracer. It sounds like Embracer is going to be relatively hands-off when it comes to how Dark Horse is run. The founder of the company, Mike Richardson, will remain in his head position. Richardson used to own it Dark Horse outright but now is simply selling his remaining 20% of shares--Embracer bought the other 80% from a company described as, “a seller based in Hong Kong and China," AKA Vanguard Visionary Associates. 

It sounds like nobody is going to be laid-off, so that's good. I don't think any divisions will be merged, or any big changes of that nature. Little will be altered beyond Embracer will now own all the properties created outright (that aren't creator-owned, at least). Embracer can make games with them, license them for movies, or whatever else suits their fancy. I'm unable to find any exact numbers on what Dark Horse sold for, but I'd imagine it was a nice chunk of change.

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Marvel Went and Changed the Punisher's Logo for Obvious Reasons

The Punisher and his logo have had a problematic history as of late. It used to just be a cool-looking skull symbol worn by someone everyone agreed was basically a bad guy who killed even worse people (in his mind, at least). If folks had a Punisher logo they just maybe liked the comics. Then the logo started being sported by people like military members, police, and others who you would hope don't draw inspiration from a murderous vigilante. In an effort to be able to use the Punisher in comics and essentially reclaim the character, Marvel is going to be doing a new Punisher comic with a different logo going upon his chest. Frank Castle will be working with the assassin's guild known as The Hand (for some reason) and his insignia will morph into something a bit devilish in appearance. It's gonna be a 13 issue maxi-series simply called, "Punisher."

I'm a little wary of Marvel trying to reinvent the Punisher in any drastic way because that's been done before and we got a Punisher who shot heavenly bullets at demons (it was weird). That said, the writer of the upcoming maxi-series is Jason Aaron. I either love or hate a lot of Aaron's stuff, but his work on Punisher under the Max label was really solid--and he had the unenviable task of doing it after a long Garth Ennis run but still managed to create something quite good. Art will be done by Jesús Saiz and Paul Azaceta--they'll be alternating duties depending on if a scene is set in the present or past.

I'm cautiously optimistic this might be an interesting run on, "Punisher," especially if it doesn't hesitate to lean into all the controversy surrounding Frank Castle and his skull insignia. As this is a corporate comic from the House of Mouse (Disney, of course, owns Marvel) I won't hold my breath for anything too edgy, but we shall see!

Monday, December 20, 2021

More Thoughts on Whatnot Now That I've Been Using it Awhile

As readers of my blog know, I offered my thoughts on the Whatnot app when I started using it to buy collectibles (specifically comics). Then, I got approved to sell on Whatnot and had a good first show. Since then I've used it a lot for watching shows (mostly comic ones as that's what I know best) and I've used it to sell comics too. Now that I have used it for a while I will say I like it quite a lot.

Whatnot is an app that anyone can buy on but you have to be approved to sell with. Often sellers are folks who have physical stores, did online shows on other apps, or are, "influencers," whatever that exactly means. I got approved thanks to my great selling history on sites like eBay and having this blog that I suppose makes me an important and respected media figure--at least, that's what I whisper at night while I snuggle the award for great writing I made myself out of glue and macaroni. 

The way Whatnot itself works is people in various categories of neat collectibles (they can vary quite a lot from my beloved comics to Funko Pops, vintage clothes, and more) do live shows where they have stuff for sale that others can bid on or sometimes buy it outright. It's a bit like if eBay and Home Shopping Network had a baby what with the auctions and interesting personalities that sell stuff (myself included). I have found all kinds of cool comics for super great deals on Whatnot and love buying on it. The fact sellers get vetted before they sell ensures my comics are always packed with expert care--unlike when I've bought something from a random person on a website and it's shipped horribly or not at all like its description (too many times a comic in, "Amazing shape!" looks like a dog ripped into it). What about selling, though, if you are curious about that aspect? I can tell you what I think when it comes to selling comics at least.

I was excited to be approved as I usually have cool comics laying around (I'm always buying/selling/trading). Since my approval, I've generally done shows on Monday that I call my, "Monday Mayhem," shows although I did do a Superb Saturday once and a Terrific Tuesday recently. I usually like doing shows Monday around 11:00 AM Central as there aren't too many other comic shows around then and I avoid getting overshadowed by really popular sellers who draw lots of eyes on weekends or such. I find the Whatnot app is really easy to use to sell whether you're doing auctions in live shows or listing some items as a buy it now. I've used eBay/Mercari/etc. a lot less as oftentimes it makes more sense to put something neat I have on one of my Whatnot shows--even more lately as I've gained regular viewers who like the stuff I generally have. 

I do find that when it comes to the comic-book community that my Whatnot viewers are usually after newer stuff or things that are popular thanks to movie/television options. My older comics do generally sell better on sites like eBay (which have more older users, I'd wager), but any, "Key," issues I have from the Bronze age or more recent are generally a hit. It's good fun chatting with folks as they type comments whilst I do shows and my friend Anthony from Comics Heating Up has been doing shows around when I do mine so that we can cross-promote each other. He's a cool guy. Oh, and once stuff is sold it is really easy to weigh it and have Whatnot do all the work of making the label I print out. Then, after the comic is delivered I get paid. Easy as pie. It's quite straightforward and I like that. Whatnot is a really handy and fun app, I'd recommend checking it out.

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Kickstarter Wants to do Stuff with Crypto/Blockchain for...Reasons?

Blockchain/ Cryptocurrency (like Bitcoin) is stupid. NFTs are even more stupid. When you ask a lover of these pyramid schemes for an actual valid reason why they are a good idea they offer reasons. Not good reasons, but reasons nonetheless that involve empty catchphrases like, "Web 3.0," and, "Metaverse." The only honest answer is its a scam to make money (before the scheme collapses under its own weight), but other empty reasons are given too. Some game companies have CEOs getting into NFTs and Crypto and to the disappointment of many it seems that the biggest crowdfunding platform around, Kickstarter, is getting in on the grift too.

Lots of folks don't want Kickstarter to mess around with the Blockchain, they are against it. Kickstarter heard their statements and has said, "Too bad, shut up because we are doing this." Kickstarter has made it clear they don't care what people think because they believe there's a way to turn a profit before this whole house of cards comes crashing down. It is all so idiotic.

Saturday, December 18, 2021

"Spider-Man: No Way Home," is a Box-Office Home Run...That Pun is Awful

Excuse my awful pun in the title, but based on sales from Thursday night alone and then even more ticket sales Friday (plus internationally), the newest Spider-Man movie is making a ton of money. The COVID-19 Omnicron variant and the worries it brings has not stopped people from going to theaters as some theorized. One would hope theaters implementing some social distancing or encouraging/requiring vaccines will help us avoid any spike in rates from this movie--let alone the holiday season in general. I haven't seen, "Spider-Man: No Way Home," but was I am fine with spoilers I read a bunch of them and it sounds pretty wild and fun. I think I'll see it sometime sooner than later, maybe when the theaters are just a little less packed for a midweek matinee.

Thursday, December 16, 2021

A Review of, "Devil's Reign," From Someone Way Behind on, "Daredevil," Comics

Chip Zdarsky did a phenomenal job writing the current, "Daredevil," series...or so I've been told. I have to add that caveat as I'm admittedly extremely behind on reading that series which just ended so that it could lead into, "Devil's Reign." I read the first issue of Zdarksy's run on, "Daredevil," and plan to read all the other issues, I just have so much stuff I'm already behind on reading you can add it to the list of stuff I need to catch up on (I haven't even read Soule's run on the character and I like his stuff too). With that said, the idea of, "Devil's Reign," sounded neat with (now mayor of New York City) Wilson Fisk basically allowing superhumans to live in NYC but outlawing them from using their powers unless officially employed by the city. Plus, I saw that Moon Knight appeared in the first issue and the events of, "Devil's Reign," would impact his current (and very great) series. Hence, I read this new, "Devil's Reign," comic despite being in the dark about a lot of what is going on with Daredevil currently. I still quite enjoyed it.

I'll be honest, a lot of, "Devil's Reign," has characters mentioning things that apparently have happened (and some have little notes about what issues we need to read to understand the references), but I was totally in the dark about what folks were talking about. Apparently, Purple Man had kids who made everyone forget that Matt Murdock is Daredevil. Plus, Daredevil was in prison for murder but was allowed to stay masked and got out somehow recently. Also, Wilson Fisk's son (who is alive?) is currently the Kingpin of NYC and is working with Murdock's brother--yes, Matt Murdock has a brother now that looks just like him (when he got a brother I do not know but I'll roll with it). Fisk married a currently level-headed Typhoid Mary at some point too, so okay? There is a lot here I have no foreknowledge of because even though I write a blog that often covers comics I can't stay up to date on every single publication. Even with my ignorance regarding Daredevil, I found, "Devil's Reign," to be a good time.

"Devil's Reign," is a good comic because Chip Zdarksy is a great writer and Marco Checchetto is a superb illustrator. For example, during a scene where Fisk's Government-sanctioned thugs attack the Fantastic Four, you can feel the absolute heft of The Thing as he fights them off and gets the Fantastic Four's kids to safety. Anytime we witness Mayor Fisk in a quiet scene you can see the intensity and seething hatred in his eyes for superheroes--Daredevil especially. It's gorgeous stuff as Zdarksy and Checchetto give us a quality first issue to this event. 

If you've been reading, "Daredevil," comics you almost obviously are going to read, "Devil's Reign," but even if you haven't checked out a Daredevil-related book as of late you should pick-up, "Devil's Reign," if you simply want a quality event. I followed it quite well and just maybe need someone to explain to me why Elektra is dressed like a version of Daredevil too and then I think I'll be set. You know what, it's cool, I'll Google it.

5 out of 5 stars.

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Mixed Feelings--A Post/Kind of Poem

I started writing an article that morphed into a sorta-poem utilizing various scribblings and thoughts I’ve noted down before privately. It’s messy but grief is messy so I’ve elected to be open about how I’m feeling today and share it. Here is, “Mixed Feelings.”

Today is the second anniversary of when we lost our baby, Shalom Avalon Bitterbaum. Today is also the birthday of my Mother, Ellen. Plus, today is the day my Bubbie is being buried, but a memorial service won’t come till later that I and my family will attend. A day with so much going on in the present and when you consider the past gives one mixed feelings. I miss our son we couldn’t have. I miss my Bubbie even if she lived a long life. I love my Mother and wish she could have a happy birthday without it sandwiched between metaphorical bread loaves of sadness. 

Then I look out over a World on fire. Our nation especially seems to be refusing to douse its own flames, instead seeking out to only add fuel to its blaze. I can turn my television off to dull the roar of madness in the outside World to a faint growl, but I still just have worries for the future be it large-scale or small and personal. 

I want my Wife and Son to be safe and happy in that big scary world of COVID-19, unrest, and general dangers. I want everyone to be okay. It’s hard they can’t always be that way. My Bubbie was 96 and her mind was sharp, but her body was simply frail and tired. I peer out at a World full of conflict, a World interconnected more than ever yet so divided over even the least controversial facts, I see all this and realize how isolating grief is. We witness others posting sorrow about mass shootings, pandemics, and we struggle to grasp the true enormity of losing someone we love until it happens to us. Be it a parent, grandparent, sibling, friend, or a child you didn’t even get to have. 

I smell the cinders of our Country reducing itself to ashes to prove some kind of point and it is all so loud as we scream in the hope the loudest person is proven correct. Then suddenly my mind is somewhere quiet. Back by itself in recollecting so much loss. So many loved ones lost. With every new death or anniversary it’s like you think of them all anytime you think of one. I miss my Mother in law, Kim. I miss my Father in law, Matt. I miss my Aunt Martha. I miss my Bubbie, I miss Shalom and never got to even truly know him, that hurts so much. All that in less than two years, it’s just a lot.

Meanwhile, we just hunker down in our metaphorical and sometimes all-too-real bunkers. Things get worse, then they get better, then they just get messy. I’m sorry my thoughts seem to wander so far and wide here. I’m tackling far too many aspects of grief at once sometimes, processing it all the best I can through written words, meditation, mindfulness, and tackling the sensations of malaise as best one can. I think at least sharing all these thoughts helps me feel better. 

Love is scary, love is hard, love leaves us feeling empty sometimes when those we love leave at any age or even before we get to fully enjoy their existence. I’m just trying to make it America. I’m just trying to make it as a good parent and husband. I just want to make myself proud, frankly. To close, I don’t know how much I believe in a God but I really hope God believes in me. Somebody’s got to.

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

David Michelinie is Returning For a Venom Mini-Series With a Familiar Title

Lately, Marvel has been doing this thing where they tell generally in-continuity stories about their heroes at earlier points in time. They've done it with the, "Symbiote Spider-Man," minis, the, "X-Men Legends," ongoing series, and so forth. Now, one of the co-creators of Venom, David Michelinie (Todd McFarlane being the other main creator, but he's not involved this time), is returning to Marvel to write a mini-series about Venom's early days causing a ruckus. It has a familiar title as it is the same as the first Venom solo book--"Lethal Protector."

I'm intrigued about this series but have to admit it is a little confusing that Marvel wants to use, "Lethal Protector," again as the title, making this basically have to be noted as, "Lethal Protector (Volume 2)," even though it ostensibly takes place before even the first, "Lethal Protector," mini-series as its a prequel (before Venom even started sporting his infamous big tongue) and oh dear my brain hurts now. Anyways, as long as we don't think about the naming logistics too hard this should be fun as Michelinie revisits his co-creation with increasingly-popular artist Ivan Fiorelli as the illustrator (Paulo Siqueira is doing the cover). I'll be checking this out in late March when it hits the stands.

Monday, December 13, 2021

Oh No, Peter Molyneux is Getting Into NFTs and That Kind of Makes Perfect Sense

This is weird. On Saturday I randomly had the thought, "I wonder what Peter Molyneux is up to? I hope he's happy and not doing anything stupid like he has in the past." By that thought, I was referring to how he would often overpromise wild things with his games and horrifically underdeliver. Then, on Sunday I saw his current game studio is making a game that involves NFTs--the definition of an overpromise that delivers basically nothing and continues to confuse me. Yes, Peter Molyneux's next game is a blockchain-based business simulator and goodness no that sounds awful. I wish those who take part in this the best and that they don't get fleeced by this NFT madness, but we shall see.

Sunday, December 12, 2021

The Last Toyman Show of 2021 Was a Blast!

I attended the final Toyman show of 2021 today, and it was so much fun! I got there earlier this time and had to head out a little earlier, but still saw plenty of folks and got some awesome comics! Before doing anything I sold some Spider-Man comics to my friend, John, of Bigfoot Comics and Collectibles. I then talked with my friend Tim and saw Dustin at his booth. Dustin had an assortment of cool comics and I was especially excited to get a copy of, "Daredevil," #10, the first cover appearance of Maya Lopez/Echo. Give it a look:

I then saw my buddy Tom of Alliance Comics, Toys, and Games. We talked about the app Whatnot and how I've been enjoying it--he'll be selling on it himself soon! I saw my buddy Brian Lan as well and we grabbed about how life has been. My friends from Perryville's Heroes for Kids were present and we discussed how excited I was for when their next show happens. I also saw Spike of Lost in Space Toys and Collectibles who was kind enough to sell me an awesome pin used to promote Dick Tracy comics decades ago. I have a small collection of interesting pins and I'm pleased to add this to it:

In the upstairs area I was happy to see such awesome friends as Jessica Mathews and Jennifer Stolzer. We talked about how they had a new book that should be out by the Springtime of 2022 as long as the printers are fully on time. Lindsay Hornsby of Princess Pups/Mega Giganto comics was there with some awesome stuff as well. I also ran into my buddy Vince of VK Toys. We were able to make a trade where I acquired this awesome issue of, "Batman," with art by Todd McFarlane. It is issue #423, and it is gorgeous! Here it is:

This Toyman show was a lovely way to close out the year. I always need to thank Chris, "Toyman," McQuillen for having such a fantastic show. I would encourage everyone to check out the website for the Toyman show and note how the next one is on January 9th of 2022. It'll be where it always is, the Machinist Hall at 12365 Saint Charles Rock Road in Bridgeton. I'll try and be there and suggest you go too!

Saturday, December 11, 2021

"Hulk: Grand Design," Sounds Right Up My Alley

The, "Grand Design," comics have had fantastic creators retell the origins of famous Marvel superheroes in superb ways. Ed Piskor gave us the amazing X-Men version and then Tom Scioli crafted a beautiful take on the Fantastic Four. Now, Jim Rugg will be doing a retelling of the origin of the Hulk. Rugg has made some awesome works from, "Street Angel," to, "Afrodisiac," and plenty of other neat stuff. I'm excited at the thought of him giving us, "Hulk: Grand Design," in the near future!

Friday, December 10, 2021

They Announced a Lot of Interesting Video-Games at the 2021 Game Awards

The 2021 Game Awards were held yesterday. They honored a bunch of video-games and a slew of new ones were announced. This link discusses basically everything from the show, but I thought I'd mention what specifically caught my eye of things that were discussed.

Quantic Dream has made some notable games (I liked, "Heavy Rain," a lot) and is known for its founder/head, David Cage, having some PR fiascos and really going heavy on the melodrama in his titles. Quantic Dream will be making a Star Wars-themed game that will doubtlessly look pretty--whether it is good or awful will remain to be seen. It shall be named, "Star Wars: Eclipse."

I've always loved Sonic the Hedgehog video-games, from the classics to more modern, "Sonic Adventure," interpretations. Hearing there will be an open-world Sonic game titled, "Sonic Frontiers," where you can run around beautiful vistas makes me cautiously optimistic. If we could get something like, "Breath of the Wild," but with the speed of Sonic, well, I'd love that.

In news that really excites me, "Alan Wake 2," is coming and will be a bit less action-focused and more of a survival-horror game. I loved the first, "Alan Wake," and suppose the recent remastering was a clue of a future game, so all I can say to this is, "Yes, please!"

Lastly, the, "Suicide Squad," video-game is still coming and a, "Wonder Woman," video-game was announced. That could be pretty cool and I really hope we get to fly the invisible jet.

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Image Won't Publish the Fourth Issue of, "Second Chances," and Just is Gonna Release the Trade

Update: I posted about this on Twitter and my friend (who is also a comic creator), Larime Taylor, pointed out how sales are probably low enough that the creators would end up owing money if the fourth issue came out, which would result in getting trade profits deducted from them. They make a good point as I don't want the creators to be at a disadvantage.

Something that annoys me is when a comic is coming out with individual issues and then suddenly we learn some of the last issues will not be coming out. Instead, the series will be resolved with a trade paperback which will require anyone interested in the comic to buy the whole TPB. Image is kind of doing this with the series, "Second Chances." The fourth issue will be digital-only and if you want a physical copy of it you will have to buy the trade paperback collecting all four issues. There will be no printed fourth issue. The only thing worse than this is when a comic is outright canceled and we just don't get the final issues because a company doesn't want to bother releasing them. I vaguely recall this happening with a Marvel series that didn't get its fifth or sixth issue but I can't recall the exact name--this happened with the recent, "Gwen Stacy," comic too, I believe, but I digress. I only read the first issue of, "Second Chances," and found it decent, but those who have been picking up every issue are surely annoyed.

When you're told a comic is going to be a certain number of issues you either expect those issues to come out or maybe if a comic is really popular it goes from a mini-series to an ongoing series. You don't expect something to suddenly not come out anymore, however. This is lame.

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

I've Got Another Post Up on Cinemaways About 10 Movies That Are Secretly Holiday Movies

I occasionally contribute to other sites and I have a new post up on Cinemaways. It was a fun one to write where I discussed 10 movies that are first blush don't seem like holiday movies, but totally are once you think about it. Give the article a read and let me know what you think in the comment section over there or you can always comment here.

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

My Bubbie Has Passed

Evelyn Bitterbaum AKA Bubbie

Evelyn Bitterbaum died yesterday at the age of 96. I called her Bubbie. She was my last living grandparent. Her mind was still very sharp but he body was just tired at nearly a century old. Bubbie was a wonderful woman who had tons of stories, wisdom, and was very funny too. I recall her in some of my earliest memories as a toddler and it was surreal in a way to think she raised my Dad as a baby, saw me as an infant, and then back in 2017 met her great-grandson, Clarkson.

Bubbie and a young David Bitterbaum

Bubbie lived a long and wonderful life, which doesn't make it any easier for her to be gone. It is hard anytime someone we love leaves us. I loved my Bubbie very much. She will be missed.

Monday, December 6, 2021

"Fall Guys," Season 6--My Initial Thoughts

I've written previously about how our household enjoys the game, "Fall Guys." Clarkson always laughs when I play it and the little players run around. The game just launched is sixth season. The last one was a jungle theme which was fantastic. Before the jungle theme, some other seasons happened that involved medieval vibes (it was okay) a weird electric sci-fi style (it was decent), and a snow theme (that was one cool). The sixth season is all about parties. It is a celebration theme and it's full of wild see-saws, water balloons, and tubes straight out of a Mario game. It's pretty cool.

With any new season, it takes a bit to adjust to little tweaks in the gameplay. That's part of the fun, however. "Fall Guys," always manages to keep players on their toes and throws little twists into the game that allows everything to stay just a smidgen unpredictable. This new party theme is good fun and I quite like it so far.

Sunday, December 5, 2021

Oh Dear, the Chicken Tender Shortage is Coming

I've discussed how much I love chicken tenders/fingers on this blog. Back in 2014, they were my food item of the year. I have continued in the time since to still be a big fan of these breaded pieces of heaven. Therefore, you can imagine my concern upon reading that chicken tenders are in increasingly short supply worldwide. Previously, I reported on paper shortages impacting comics. Now, this happens. 

It looks as if it will be increasingly difficult for me to enjoy a platter of chicken tenders while I read a comic (I'm careful not to put my greasy fingers from the tender-touching hand on the comic). In the relative scheme of how awful things can be (and have been at points), this is a minor inconvenience. Still, I and all the other adults who love tenders (as well as the countless children) are a bit annoyed at the thought of no tenders on the menu at our favorite restaurants.