Monday, January 31, 2022

So, Now Sony Buys Bungie

Has anyone used the term, "Video-game Acquistion Wars," yet? If not, I'm going to start using it, as that has been what we've witnessed this month. First, Take-Two acquired Zynga for the seemingly hefty sum of 12.7 billion dollars. Then, Microsoft scooped-up the plauged-by-controversy Activision-Blizzard for an insanely massive 68.7 billion in bills. I reported on both those events and when Microsoft made its move I wondered what Sony might do in response. 

Well, I guess we have an answer sooner than I expected as Sony was already working on--and now officially can announce they are buying--Bungie (formerly of, "Halo," fame and now the company behind, "Destiny," and other allegedly in-development new games). For a relatively cheap--compared to the other deals--$3.6 billion, Sony will have Bungie be an independent subsidiary that does its own thing but basically gives profits to Sony. They can still be multiplatform at Bungie and put their games on other consoles, they just give Sony a cut. The video-game acquisition wars are undoubtedly not done and will probably only get more vicious. Now we wait and wonder, "Does Nintedo have anything up its sleeve like back in the day when it and Sega were brutal to each other?" We shall see.

Spotify is Having a Bad Couple of Weeks, Eh?

I enjoy Spotify. I don't use it for too many podcasts besides some comic-book-themed ones and the stellar horror movie podcast, The Carpenter Rants. I use it a ton for music, however. I still love cassettes, vinyl and CDs, but I find Spotify handy for finding random artists and songs I would not otherwise know of thanks to it finding stuff it thinks I'd enjoy after examining the utterly random tastes. I personally am not mad at Spotify, but a lot of people are and it has had a rough couple of weeks as a result.

Joe Rogan is one of the most popular podcast hosts around. I have not ever listened to him for an extended period of time so I don't really have an opinion about him beyond hearing from folks who really like him he's great and folks who really hate him he's terrible. From some clips I've heard he has said some stuff about COVID-19 and vaccines that come across a bit tone-deaf and incorrect without being absolutely abhorrent--walking a fine line, in other words. A number of people do not like Joe Rogan potentially spreading misinformation in their views and want Spotify to quit carrying him. The thing is, Spotify paid a ton of money for him and he continues to get something like 11 million listeners a show. They don't want to lose all that money. 

Joe Rogan and Neil Young

Some big names have told Spotify they don't want to be associated with it if they continue to support Rogan in any way, shape, or form, however. Therefore, Neil Young had his music pulled from the platform and Joni Mitchell is following suit. I like Neil Young, he's made some great songs, has a wicked sense of humor ("This Note's For You," is a hoot), and put his money where his mouth was getting his stuff taken off Spotify. He and the talented Ms. Mitchell are following their ideals and that deserves respect. It sure doesn't help Spotify though.

I don't have much interest in Joe Rogan so I don't listen to him. I feel those who don't want to listen to him can do so as well and those who enjoy his podcast can. If Neil Young doesn't like that he has every right to not associate with a platform that hosts Rogan. Joni Mitchell can pull her music along with other possible musicians who may follow suit. I think everyone is doing what they feel is best and I don't feel a need for us to boycott Spotify, boycott Young/Mitchell, or whatever. I just can see that Spotify is really not having a good time with this and imagine they wish all this controversy would go away (it isn't anytime soon). 

Joni Mitchell

Listen to Rogan if you want and listen to Young if you want, Spotify is a private business and can do what they want so anyone complaining about freedom of speech is missing the point as once you're on Spotify you're doing everything according to their rules. How they want to enforce or not enforce those rules is what has given them this PR headache and how will end is anyone's guess.

Sunday, January 30, 2022

That New Energizer Battery Ad is Kind of Dark and Pretty Funny

When you're watching an ad for batteries you don't really expect it to have a theme relating to murder. Hence, this Energizer lithium battery ad about crime scene investigators is a bit dark and funny because it's a bit creepy. Apparently, "Miss Cupcake," quit working due to shoddy batteries. She's laid out with chalk around her and, I guess, some new batteries will bring her back to life. Still, it is a bit off-putting in a darkly funny way to see her just on the ground in the ad--essentially dead--as investigators snap pics and inspect the scene. The Energizer bunny shows up to save the day, however, so I imagine Miss Cupcake is going to be okay even if she ain't looking too great at the start of the ad. The whole thing is strangely morbid and hilarious for that twisted reason. Give it a view below:

See what I mean? It's weird but kind of hilarious at the same time.

Saturday, January 29, 2022

WorldBox is a Fun Sandbox-Style Game

I read some articles discussing WorldBox on Rock Paper Shotgun and it sounded quite fun. A sandbox videogame where you don't actually control any characters or what they build. You just set up the World, tweak it to your liking, plop humans/orcs/elves/dwarves down and witness as they build kingdoms and develop their cultures and tech. Farms and roads are discovered, kingdoms declare war, and in the meantime, you can add extra resources, or if you feel like a stinker plop a volcano in the middle of everything. 
It is pretty easy to learn, "Worldbox," but there is a depth you can explore as the World keeps developing and growing. Plus, watching the characters adapt to whatever mayhem you sometimes throw their way is a hoot. Check the site out and get it for your PC/Mac/Linux/Android/iPhone. I played it on my iPhone and really like it. The game is still in an earlier development stage so more features will be added over time as well--hence I don't want to offer an official review, but will say what already exists is good fun.

Friday, January 28, 2022

Banning a Book About the Dangers of Fascism Says a Lot About Yourself as a Person

A Tennessee school board removed, "Maus," from the eighth-grade language arts curriculum due to concerns over foul language and a panel of a naked mouse character in a non-sexual situation. They banned a book about the Holocaust because it contained words like, "God-damn," as apparently, eighth-graders are delicate flowers who never swear or witness nudity anywhere. "Maus," and, "Maus II," or the combined printing of, "The Complete Maus," are/is incredibly hard to read, but necessary cultural and historical text. They are comics about the holocaust by Art Spigelman that use cartoon imagery as a metaphor with Jews as mice and the Nazis as cats. It's the only graphic novel to ever win a Pulitzer Prize. One would wonder if perhaps people are more upset about a frank and honest portrayal of the horrors of the Holocaust than some swear words and nudity.

Over six million people died because they were Jewish, LGBTQ, Roma, Polish, Russian, disabled, and anything else besides the supposed Aryan ideal. When a school board votes 10-0 that a book with a frank, honest, and admittedly horrific portrayal of the Holocaust is, "Offensive," they are missing the point. The Holocaust was one of the biggest offenses in human history. It is one of the darkest chapters in humanity. We literally say, "Never forget," and just had Holocaust remembrance day yesterday, and some people are upset over a bit of cursing in a book about the evils of Nazis and fascism? Excuse my own language as I try not to get too sweary on the blog, but come the fuck on.

I Acquired Some Vaguely Notable $2.99 Newsstand Cover Price Variants

Lots of folks are aware how for many years there were comics sold in comic shops (direct market) and at newsstands, bookstores, and so forth (newsstand editions). The Rare Comics blog breaks them down pretty well. Newsstands used to not be especially rare but as the existence of...well, actual newsstands, faded, eventually, comics quit having the variation. One weird but interesting thing that occurred sometimes were rare (but not necessarily valuable) Marvel newsstands with a price difference. Back when comics would be $2.25 or $2.50 there were sometimes newsstands from Marvel between 2003-2006 that cost a bit more--$2.99. It happened on one really notable comic, "Amazing Spider-Man," #529, as well as plenty of random ones (it is the debut issue of the Iron Spider armor Peter Parker wore for a bit). It is such a footnote of a random occurrence only a handful of sites even mention it (here is The Rare Comics blog again with the only deep-dive I could find about this). Then during 2006, all the Marvel newsstand and direct market issues became $2.99.

I sometimes will buy small collections or find stuff in stores and recently happened to come across some newsstand cover price variants in different locations. I got, "Wolverine," and, "X-Men," ones as well as the aforementioned most notable of the cover price variant issues, "Amazing Spider-Man," #529. Again, these aren't worth a ton more than a regular issue, maybe like $10 each besides the Spidey book which in near-mint shape could pull $75 or so. My copy is a little worn and could fetch the $30 I paid for it on a good day as I didn't buy it to flip so much as I enjoy collecting a strange piece of history.

The $2.99 price.

If you like odd bits of trivia the fact that some newsstands had a higher price is a fun little random thing to know. CGC doesn't even acknowledge regular newsstands in their grading and barely makes note of the cover price variant ones. CBCS does make note of newsstands but I'm unaware if they point out simply if a comic is a newsstand or do a special note for those that are a cover price variant--perhaps someone can comment to let me know! Now, I should start looking into the $3.99 cover price variants of newsstands that occurred too, I suppose. That's another story for a different day, however.

Thursday, January 27, 2022

"Toxic," and, "Pony," Actually Make for a Good Mash-Up

The idea of taking two (or more) songs and literally smashing them together had been around forever--just look at the KLF. Known as, "Mash-ups," they increased in popularity and used to be all the rage some years ago. Then they faded away a bit even if they still existed, they just got less hype. Against all odds there is a mash-up of, "Toxic," and, "Pony," which is quite catchy and getting a bunch of attention now thanks to apps such as TikTok. It's called, "Toxic Pony," and it is a banger. Altego created it and I tip my hat to them for such a great blend of a jam:

Mash-ups are fun when they work (and atrocious when they fail). I'm glad that, "Toxic Pony," is so fun and catchy. I dig it. Perhaps mash-ups will continue to catch on again, I'd enjoy that.

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

I Mean, Peter Dinklage Isn't Necessarily Wrong

I like Peter Dinklage. He's been in a lot of great movies and folks loved him in, "Game of Thrones," which I did not watch but heard was good (I prefer sci-fi to fantasy, as everyone knows). Dinklage has a form of dwarfism and has been an advocate for the fair and nonstereotypical treatment of little people. While recently promoting a new flick he's in, "Cyrano," he discussed how Disney is going to be making a new live-action, "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves," and how he has concerns.

During a podcast--Marc Maron's WTF-- Dinlage pointed out that Disney is proud of how they're being progressive with the casting of a Latina as Snow White (Rachel Zegler) but a problem remains. He stated “You’re progressive in one way but you’re still making that fucking backward story of seven dwarfs living in the cave. What the fuck are you doing, man? Have I done nothing to advance the cause from my soapbox? I guess I’m not loud enough. They were so proud of that, and all love and respect to the actress and the people who thought they were doing the right thing, but I’m just like ... what are you doing?”

I mean, Peter Dinklage has a bit of a point. We need to look at the old versions of, "Snow White and Seven Dwarves," as products of their time, but some stuff just doesn't translate that well into the modern-day without a lot of changes--if at all. I've seen suggestions that if the dwarves are portrayed as a fantasy race as opposed to people with dwarfism it might be okay, and I have no clue how accurate or inaccurate that is, I've just seen it suggested. There are people saying Dinklage is being too sensitive or, "Woke," as if that were a negative thing, but I do see his concern. I'm not sure what the solution is, the whole thing is messy. 

This isn't a case where you can cut one problematic element from a story (get rid of the, "Red Man," song in, "Peter Pan," or the racist crows in a remake of, "Dumbo," to give two big examples), the problematic element is the story. I'm not sure what the answer is here, but I imagine something's gotta give. For what it is worth, Disney responded to him with a short statement that they've been, "Consulting with members of the dwarfism community." What exactly that means is unclear, but again, something's gotta give.

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

"Far Cry 6," Has Guapo the Crocodile, and I Appreciate That

"Far Cry 6," is basically more, "Far Cry," with the addition of a fantastic actor as the big baddie--Giancarlo Esposito. Besides that, you fight an evil force that is in power, hunt some animals, fiddle with your weapons & such at workbenches, and drive around. I was playing it and found myself relatively unimpressed by the samey style until quite early in the game I met my first--and the best--animal companion, Guapo. 

Guapo is the pet crocodile of another character you recruit to the rebel cause and he is as adorable as he is deadly. He has a gold tooth, a snazzy windbreaker, and a lot of energy regardless of his cold blood. Guapo will follow you around and sic any enemy troops you point him at. He also will let you pet him and when you give him some affection he hisses with glee. Guapo is a treat and made me want to play, "Far Cry 6," longer than just a smidgen of time. I still didn't play the game a ton ("Far Cry," games have gotten pretty samey over time), but I played it a lot more than I would have without Guapo. We all love Guapo, we are him and he is us.

Guapo needs a spin-off. If they make, "Far Cry: Guapo," it will sell so many copies and be the game of the year. Heck, give him a prequel movie too. Guapo is amazing and our World is richer for having him in it.

Monday, January 24, 2022

"Clodagh," #2 Review

Blue Fox Publishing consistently puts out great horror-influenced comics. With the second issue of, "Clodagh," they continue that trend! After a solid first issue that sets up the story of an evil witch stealing the child (named Aine) of a woman named Clodagh and a man named Fillin to give chase. This issue follows Fillin as he faces various challenges in pursuit of the witch and Clodagh as she prepares to join in the search for Aine. 

There are all kinds of creepy and hideous creatures under the influence of the witch and Willi Roberts illustrates and colors them with skill. The comic's writer, Simon Birks, gives everything a suitably eerie tone as well, with various supernatural occurrences building us readers unease throughout this issue.

I quite enjoyed the second issue of, "Clodagh," and would encourage folks to watch for when its Kickstarter campaign starts in February (which will bring opportunities to read the first issue as well so you can enjoy the whole story). Now, we just need to await issue #3 to resolve some cliffhangers at the end of this issue!

5 out of 5 stars.

Sunday, January 23, 2022

M&Ms are Getting an Advertising Revamp and People are Genuinely Upset

Mars Inc. announced they were tweaking the designs and attitudes of their M&M candies. People went absolutely berserk at this news. The fact that the green M&M was going to be less sexualized, the red M&M would be less mean, and other changes would occur led to more tweets and news stories than I would have expected. The thing is, I am pretty sure Mars knew they would get a ton of press and I--along with some others--think this is a ploy to get attention

Maybe Mars genuinely wants to be more inclusive as they say, but I think they just wanted clicks and to cause a hubbub. Why we care what an advertisement for candy looks like is beyond me (some people really do want to bang that M&M though). I myself think people who are outraged that Mars is trying to be, "Woke," as well as people angered that it is an, "Empty gesture," are missing the point. The point is Mars wanted to troll us all and get attention. Mission accomplished. Snickers are the best Mars Inc. candy anyways.

Saturday, January 22, 2022

My Review of, "Falconspeare," is Up at Forces of Geek

I wrote a review of the new original graphic novel, "Falconspeare," over at the website known as Forces of Geek. My chums there thought it might appeal to me. Did I enjoy it? Well, why don't you click on over to read my review and find out!

Friday, January 21, 2022

Film Friday: That Upcoming, "The Batman," Movie is Almost 3 Hours Long

I don't mind short movies. I also don't mind shows that have fewer episodes. Sometimes you can have all killer and no filler. Now, long movies or shows with tons of hour-long episodes can be fine as well, but I appreciate stuff that doesn't require a huge time commitment. "Venom: Let There Be Carnage," was a breezey 97 minutes with credits, and that was just long enough! Hence, when I hear, "The Batman," is two hours and 47 minutes--without counting the credits--that just sounds like a big commitment of time. I mean, the Zack Snyder cut of, "Justice League," being a smidgen over four hours has scared me away from it, to be honest. 

I don't mind long stuff, I just appreciate it when something is less stuffed. The same thing stands with video-games. I don't need a 100-hour epic journey, just give me something tight, focused, and fun. For all I know, "The Batman," needs every minute of its runtime to give us the best experience possible, so don't think I'm complaining (just a tiny bit, maybe). Whether it's long or short, "The Batman," looks promising so I'll want to check it out at some point, regardless of runtime.

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Advance Review: "Big Gorgeous Jazz Machine," is a Fantastic Blend of Art and Poetry

Nick Francis Potter is the author behind, "Big Gorgeous Jazz Machine," which will be published by Driftwood press this March. It's a collection of Potter's works of comics-meets-poetry. Some of his pieces read a bit like a poem that has had art added ("Vacationing," for example), and others incorporate the poetry and art in fascinating ways such as, "Look Stop Have Haircut My Hair Maybe." One poetic comic piece is quite political and funny, "After the President," which clearly riffs on how terrible a Commander in Chief Donald Trump was.

"Big Gorgeous Jazz Machine," is a fantastic read and I would recommend it to fans of indie comics as well as poetry. It melds the art forms via increasingly interesting ways throughout the book and I enjoyed it immensely. When it comes out in March of this year I'd encourage folks to check it out!

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Microsoft to Buy Actvision-Blizzard for a Bucket of Money

Remember last week when I talked about how Take-Two acquiring Zynga was a big deal in terms of video-game acquisitions? Well, now that pales to how Microsoft is going to buy Activision-Blizzard for $68.7 billion. That's a bucketful of money. Activision-Blizzard had been going through a ton of made-public struggles and apparently the fact it is a bit weakened prompted Microsoft to want to swoop in, buy it, and most likely kick beleaguered CEO Bobby Kotick to the curb. Sony takes a hit here, with Microsoft's buying spree really giving it more power in its effort to create a, "Netflix/Metaverse/whatever," of games. 

With this acquisition, the largest gaming company is still China-based Tencent, then Sony, and now Microsoft in third. All these mergers and acquisitions make me think the big dogs are going to keep gobbling-up smaller properties and I do wonder what Sony may do in response. Looking at all this I just simply think, "Trouble brewing," and how much trouble will remain to be seen.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Television Tuesday: The Clayton Echard Season of, "The Bachelor," Has Me Wondering What We Did to Deserve Such Punishment

"The Bachelor," and, "The Bachelorette," have good seasons and bad seasons. Oftentimes a season rises and falls based on who the actual bachelor/bachelorette is. Sometimes we get a fantastic personality who we root for to actually find love and other times it is a total slog of a season. We are two episodes into the Clayton Echard season of, "The Bachelor," and all I can do is hope things improve.

Clayton finished eighth in the most recent season where Michelle sent him home before a whole chunk of other men. Do you know who would've been a better bachelor than Clayton? Basically any of her top 4 (besides who she picked, Nayte, as they're still happily together). We have Rodney just sitting here being sweet, amazing, caring, and actually sporting a personality and now we just have to hope he's on Bachelor in Paradise this Summer. Seriously, look at who we could've had:

Why couldn't we get Rodney?

Now know that we got Clayton, someone whose entire personality seems to be that new host Jesse Palmer refers to him as, "Genuine." Oh, and he played football in the past and wants kids. He's bland, like if you sat down to a meal and started chewing cardboard. Thank God the ladies are interesting, with the usual mix of sweet and vicious (that should be a hot sauce flavor). I wish Clayton were more interesting as his hometown of Eureka is just 20 minutes from where I live, so I should support someone local, but he's just kind of...there. He listlessly wanders around the room like an abandoned spaceship floating through nothingness and all the women in this metaphor are space bandits swarming him as if he were holding a big treasure. Anything at all intriguing on this show comes from the contestants and I kind of get what one who got sent home the first night for talking smack about Clayton was getting at, he's just a bit boring.

Again, Clayton is a perfectly nice guy and he is extremely...genuine. He just is kind of boring for, "The Bachelor," and it hasn't been this drab a season since Colton was on, and Colton's season only became retroactively more interesting when he came out as gay (and it gave us Demi, one of my favorite participants on the franchise ever). Maybe these two episodes have not set the tone for the season and it will, in fact, be the most dramatic season ever as we are always promised with every new lead. I have concerns right now, however. We'll see next week (this week there wasn't a show due to football) if things can turn around.

2 out of 5 stars (for the first two episodes).

Monday, January 17, 2022

Television Tuesday a Day in Advance: That Moon Knight Trailer Was Cool

Just a bit ago today the full trailer for the upcoming Disney+ show, "Moon Knight," dropped. I have been very excited about this show as Moon Knight is my favorite character. Having watched the trailer, it looks promising! They seem to be keeping the elements of his personality disorder but are bringing in issues with sleep as well. There is a bit of humor but it is a little serious and mysterious too--not super quippy like some Marvel stuff. The outfit has a nice look as a bit of a twist on the classic getup (no Mr. Knight style for now). Here's the trailer so you can watch it:

See what I mean? Oscar Issac is a great actor so I know he'll do a fantastic job, and I'm a fan of Ethan Hawke so his presence is definitely appreciated too. I look forward to when the first episode comes out on March 30th!

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day!

MLK's dream of equality isn't dead, but it has been through a lot these past years, especially. Our nation is horrifically divided, a bigot former President continues to be awful, the GOP acts like trying to pass voting rights bills is a terrible idea (which it is for them as if more people can legally vote then they'll lose). America is struggling a lot, and things can look quite awful at times, but there are those who continue to work to improve things against all the obstacles faced. We only can strive to make the World a better place and work our hardest to fight injustice.

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Happy 74th Birthday, John Carpenter!

When you're making a list of the best directors of films one name that should always be on that list is John Carpenter. "Halloween," "The Thing," "Escape From New York," "They Live," and I'm even a fan of his, "Vampires," too. He has so many great movies he has made and he's skilled at producing music too. John Carpenter turns 74 years old today and I wanted to wish him a happy birthday! He's somewhat retired from making movies but has been playing video-games since the 1990s and still enjoys them--so that and still releasing music has been a focus of his lately it seems. Happy birthday, John!

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Oh Bleeding Cool, Bless Your Heart

Bleeding Cool is a comic news site that has at times broken major stories and some articles there are quite good, I will admit that. That said, the site has some of the most annoying ads you'll ever see on the internet and they at times go with the most insanely clickbait articles that you can only just sigh. Hence, I am proud to announce Bleeding Cool just made the hard-hitting expose of a piece titled "Did Harley Quinn #4 Feature First Appearance Of Poison Ivy's… Bush?" I've linked to the article if you really want to know, but the answer is obviously, "No." Also, they forget a, "The," in the headline. 

Clearly, there is some shading in the comic, it's not anything related to pubic hair (it is a shadow or some underwear). I enjoy cheesecake or erotic comics, I also enjoy comics that want to be taken seriously as deep and introspective works of art. However, when a comic has some innocent shading, it is just dumb to assume it is anything else. I'd tell Bleeding Cool, "Come on, you're better than this," but they actually aren't. They're little scamps for better or worse.

Friday, January 14, 2022

Kendrick Lamar's Next Project is a Comedy Movie

Kendrick Lamar is an amazing rapper with verses that offer political, social, and personal insights that astound while also being infinitely listenable. Matt Stone and Trey Parker are the duo behind, "South Park," and can be quite funny if often lacking in much subtly. They are all going to be working together with writer Vernon Chatman to craft a comedic movie. It sounds random, but why not? I'm not sure of the title this movie will have but the plot is summarized as such, "Past and present come to a head when a young Black man who is interning as a slave re-enactor at a living history museum discovers that his white girlfriend’s ancestors once owned his."

Okay, so that sounds incredibly weird and will probably be extremely over-the-top. I could see Lamar's razor wit mixed with the, "Give no F's," attitude of Stone and Parker possibly resulting in something solid. As they all work with the skilled Chatman to craft this flick it hopefully won't just be offensive for the sake of offense but make us think too. I could see this being a hot mess if Stone and Parker don't check their privilege, but the involvement of Lamar gives me a healthy dose of optimism this could work out into something thoughtful as well as funny.

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Juni Ba's New Comic, "Monkey Meat," is a Surreal Trip

Creator Juni Ba gives us something very weird with, "Monkey Meat." A new comic being published by Image about an island owned by a company up to all kinds of nefarious activities, it is a bit of a satire of heartless corporations, a smidgen of an adventure comic, full of wild artwork, and a good time. The mysterious Monkey Meat Company with its redacted owner does more than sell cans of monkey meat, it seems interested in destroying anything that stands in its way of making a buck on anything from the aforementioned meats to human souls. 

Ba's artwork is amazing, with his loose and cartoony style giving a bit of pep to the admittedly depressing story of a big business doing what they do best--being evil. Apparently, every issue will be standalone to a degree, as this is a bit of a one-person anthology where every tale focuses on a different aspect of this Monkey Meat Company. The whole thing is bizarre. I quite liked it.

5 out of 5 stars. 

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Check Out the Classic Comic Collector on YouTube!

I've written about awesome YouTubers before such as my friend Alex the Comic Hoarder, and now I have another cool person to discuss. Scott AKA The Classic Comic Collector. He does all kinds of neat comic videos and I have been especially interested in his quest to go from a bunch of dollar bin books to an, "All-Star Comics," #8 via solely doing trades. He recently posted a video about his 4th/5th rounds of trading-up to hopefully eventually get his grail. It's neat to think he'll go from some dollar bins titles to something so big, and he's been doing pretty well so far. I actually just did a trade with him that he'll talk about in a future video when he discusses later rounds! I'd recommend giving Scott's videos a view and subscribing!

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Television Tuesday: The New, "Joe Millionaire: For Richer or Poorer," is a Hot Mess and I'm Here for It

Ya'll remember, "Joe Millionaire," back in 2003 (if you were born then)? It had all these ladies vying for the love of a millionaire but the twist was that he lacked anywhere near that many digits in his bank account? It had a sequel season nobody cared about and then was put in the franchise graveyard. Well, you can't keep a (good?) idea dead, so now we have, "Joe Millionaire: For Richer or Poorer." This time things are different, however. There are two men and the ladies competing for their love are informed one is worth more than 10 million while the other is not. We viewers know the guy with the cattle ranch is rich and the other guy who has a construction company just is financially stable (so it's not like one is flat-broke), but the ladies have to keep guessing and determine if they're after love, money, or maybe a bit of both. It's disgusting. I love it.

Let's start with the biggest flaw this season, the actual contestants. When you watch, "The Bachelor," or other shows there was always standout personalities who grab your attention from the beginning. The women on, "Joe Millionaire," are basically not young enough for, "Love Island," or interesting enough for, "The Bachelor." Some hint they might just be after money in a sly way, others seem genuinely sweet, but we lack any big, "Oh, I love her/oh she's a villain," participants. Frankly, the two guys are actually more interesting, and just watching them interact and be friendly bros is a highlight. Steven (the rich rancher) and Kurt (the less wealthy construction guy) are both quite funny, laid-back, pleasant, and handsome (Kurt may not be rich but I am comfortable enough with my sexuality to admit he is fine). The lack of much of a pulse from the females at first was concerning and I didn't know if I'd be into this show. Then the dates happened.

Kurt and Steven.

Oh man, the dates in the final third of the 2-hour premiere are what sealed the deal for me with liking this show. I wasn't sure if this version of, "Joe Millionaire," was trying to be a serious meditation on love versus money or a hilarious mess. It was failing at being the former but then it did a lovely job being the latter when the ladies were split into two groups--one that went hokny-tonk dancing at a bar and another assortment who attended a cotillion of sorts. Steven did the honky-tonk date and everyone had a fantastic time dancing, drinking, and then swimming in the pool back at the mansion. Meanwhile, Kurt headed the cotillion which dissolved into crying, screaming, and name-calling as the ladies seemed to be seeing who could get more sloppy drunk than the other. 

I realized what, "Joe Millionaire: For Richer or Poorer," wanted to be when it did a split-screen between one date being full of laughter and fun and the other having tears and screaming--it wants to be a hot mess, and God bless it for that. The basically-simultaneous exclamations of, "Best date ever!" and, "I hate it here!" were just a hoot and the melodramatic televised junk food my brain needs after a long day. It's on Thursdays on Fox. I'd recommend it based on how delightfully trashy it was when the first episode finally got into gear.

4 out of 5 stars for the first episode.

Monday, January 10, 2022

Take-Two Has Acquired Mobile Game Developer Zynga and I Have Questions


In news that will likely have large ramifications down the road, big ol' game company Take-Two has acquired the mobile game company Zynga. The deal is for 12.7 billion and is the biggest acquisition in video-game history. Take-Two is known for publishing everything from Grand Theft Auto games, to sports titles, "Borderlands," the upcoming, "Marvel's Midnight Suns," and more. Zynga is famous for the once hugely popular, "Farmville," as well as other titles and gambling games that they run outside the United States and which have made them a chunk of money in nations that allow those titles. I have some questions:

  • Does this show Take-Two has plans to expand into mobile gaming having mostly been involved in PC and console titles?
  • Will we see more attempts to sync-up console/PC games with mobile apps as was attempted before and kind of failed but could be worth another shot?
  • Will there be mobile spin-offs of popular games from Take-Two on phones now, like an iPhone/Andriod-exclusive, "Grand Theft Auto," title?

My guess for those three, in order, is: 100% yes, maybe, and who knows? Clearly, big PC and console gaming companies have ideas for mobile gaming, something that seems to wax and wane as a trend (mobile gamers often seem to be their own kind of gamer compared to consoles and PCs, but there is a degree of crossover). Right now money is merely exchanging hands, but before long I'm sure big moves will be made. Down the road, this could be looked at as something major that marked the beginning of a seismic shift in mobile gaming. That, or it could all fall flat on its face and seem like a huge waste of billions. The fun part is waiting and seeing!

Sunday, January 9, 2022

ToyMan's Debut Show of 2022 Was a Delight

I was able to briefly swing by ToyMan early in the show today and enjoyed seeing a lot of great vendors and creators. It was a superb event--as always--and I picked up some snazzy comics. There is a lot more than comics as you all know (toys, Funko, video-games, records, Lego, etc.) so if you come to a show you're bound to find something in your niche. As for what I did, I kicked off the show chatting with Spike of Lost in Space Toys and Collectibles before saying hello to my friend Tim Metzger--he had a bunch of cool comics, DVDs, and more. I chatted with John Chaffe from Bigfoot Comics and Collectibles, as he's always lovely to interact with. I cut a deal with Vince from VK Toys and had the pleasure of acquiring a, "Thunderbolts," comic from a past run I enjoyed, a polybagged, "X-Force," #1 and a sixth issue of, "Captain America," which is the first full appearance of Bucky as the Winter Soldier. Here's a pic:

Upstairs I saw my two friends Jessica Mathews and Jennifer Stolzer selling their awesome books and other snazzy wares. I also chatted with the folks behind Heroes for Kids of Perryville, Missouri about all the great work their nonprofit continues to do. I continued browsing around and also ran into my friend Eric of PJ Comics and Collectibles for whom this was his first ToyMan as a vendor! He had some awesome comics I acquired via some trading that you can see here:

The ToyMan show today was a hoot. I saw so many awesome vendors and friends, enjoyed checking out all the goodies, and got some awesome comics for myself. There is always just so much at ToyMan to see and I'd encourage you to go to the next show on March 13th to observe all the awesome stuff for yourself!

Saturday, January 8, 2022

"The Thing on the Doorstep Part One," Advance Review

I have enjoyed a number of titles from Blue Fox Publishing so when they asked me if I'd be interested in reviewing, "The Thing on the Doorstep Part One," I eagerly accepted the opportunity to post my thoughts. Having now read this first issue, I can say I quite enjoyed it and am intrigued to see what happens next.

The comic opens in the, "Present," as it were of 1933 with Daniel Upton shooting his (clearly former) friend, Edward Derby, who is currently in a mental institution. From there we jump back to the true start of the story as two adolescents become big friends even as one (Derby) seems to become increasingly off and fall in with a crowd interested in seemingly dangerous magical-type arts. A slow sense of horror creeps in throughout the comic with little moments of terrifying imagery keeping us readers on our toes and delightfully ill-at-ease. Simon Briks writes the tale and Willi Roberts does a fantastic job at illustrating it with Rob Jones lettering. They all make a fantastic team.

I found myself enjoying, "The Thing on the Doorstep Part One," very much and was drawn into its eerie World by the superb writing and art. I would recommend checking it out as the Kickstarter for it actually just started a smidgen ago and is already fully funded. You can add your support and get a copy to enjoy by following this link!

5 out of 5 stars.

Friday, January 7, 2022

Don't Forget the ToyMan Show Coming Up This Sunday

I just wanted to remind everyone that the next Toyman show is this Sunday, January 9th. I have friends who say they always love reading my articles about the show but forget to attend it when it is actually about to happen. Therefore, this is me telling you to make a note and be sure to attend! It will run from 9:00 AM-3:00 PM with the early bird entry at 8:00 AM. 

As always, the location is the Machinist Hall found at 12365 Saint Charles Rock Road, Bridgeton, MO, 63044. It is sure to be a fun show and I'm pleased to read they will be requiring masks be worn this time and (as always) they will have ample hand sanitizer and masks available for free to give to folks. See you there Sunday!

Thursday, January 6, 2022

January 6th of a Year Ago

A year ago today I made a post that simply asked, "America, What the Hell?" I, of course, wasn't referring to all of America, but a certain demographic that refused to accept reality. I was talking about the people who were so blind to the truth that Trump lost the 2020 election they literally attempted a coup with the insurrection at our Nation's capital, the Capitol (I know, the spelling gets confusing depending on how you're saying it). A lot has been written about this awful day a year ago by myself and plenty of others. What astounds me--even though I shouldn't be surprised by anything at this point--is how many people try to act like what happened on January 6th, 2021 was not a big deal. 

I see some individuals and media outlets attempting to claim a violent riot of treasonous fools did not happen--it was just some rowdy tourists or some equally bewildering absurd statements. I guess conservatives are embarrassed that their actual end goal happened in the same way Dr. Frankenstein kinda regretted what he did when his monster started murdering folks (although in the monster's defense it was not trying to hurt people, the MAGA-morons at the Capitol were clearly intentionally violent).

This day last year something terrible happened and trying to pretend an insurrection was no big deal because the people who did share some of your political beliefs is atrocious. I'm not a fan of people like Liz Cheney, but to her credit, she's called bullshit on many other members of her party who like to rewrite history as if they weren't barricading doorways and running in fear for their lives a year ago as the crowd threatened them and chanted such delightful phrases as, "Hang Mike Pence." A year ago today should be remembered as something infamous, terrible, and embarrassing. Let's not pretend otherwise.

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Hot Comics Revue 12--Wait, I Haven't Done One of These Since 2020?

 It's Been a Bit

I know, I know, I haven't really talked about the comics that are hot for a while, at least not in this format of, "The Hot Comics Revue." Let's rectify that by talking about a comic that is warming up, one that is red hot, and a comic with some steamy potential.

A Comic That is Warming Up

Remember how for years, "Sleepwalker," was basically a joke? He was a character with potential who had a so-so initial series, popped up in other comics, but nobody really cared. Folk's would crack wise about how if all these random comics are getting popular for all we know Darkhawk and Sleepwalker comics would become popular commodities. Well, thanks to more and more rumors he'll appear in some fashion in the upcoming, "Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness," movie or even have his own property, "Sleepwalker," #1 is getting a little heat. A dollar bin book now easily goes for $20 or so and seems to keep increasing in popularity.

A Red Hot Comic

More marvel and be aware of a spoiler alert before you read on for the finale episode of, "Hakweye," and hte recent Spider-Man movie. Basically, the Kingpin appears, the very same one from the, "Daredevil," Netflix show played by Vincent D'Onofrio. It was thought that the Netflix shows had no direct tie to the MCU but his appearance and (here's another spoiler) good ol' Matt Murdock (AKA Daredevil) recently appearing in Spidey's newest flick blew all that we thought we knew about MCU continuity out of the water. Hence, the first appearance of the Kingpin has become a blazing-hot book. He makes his debut in, "Amazing Spider-Man #50," of the first volume of the series. One can theorize even if he seemingly was killed in, "Hawkeye," that's not the last we'll be seeing of the Kingpin and if he's back sooner than later this book can only get more popular.

A Comic With Steamy Potential

Yes, it is another Marvel comic (don't blame me DC spec is so cold lately). Anyways, "All-New Ghost Rider #1," keeps popping up every now and then. We saw this iteration of the Robbie Reye's Ghost Rider on that, "Agents of SHIELD," show and whether those shows, "Count," in the regular Marvel Cinematic Universe's continuity is an ongoing debate--clearly, the Netflix shows are a part to some degree with the aforementioned Kingping appearance. There continues to be scuttlebutt that something new with Ghost Rider is in the works at Marvel, but whether it is Robbie Reyes, Johnny Blaze, or even Danny Ketch is one big question mark. Depending on whom you ask perhaps Robbie Reyes will be Ghost Rider in some fashion, or maybe Norman Reedus, who knows? Depending on what happens though, this smoldering potential could ignite.

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

"Morbius," Has Been Delayed Yet Again

Sympathy is due for, "Morbius," which has been delayed yet again from a release date later this month of January to--I'm not kidding--April 1st 2022. It'll be more than two years late by the time it theoretically hits theaters with the latest delay being attributed to concerns about the Omicron variant of COVID-19 (which is admittedly spreading at an alarming rate). The most recent trailer in November of 2021 looked promising and now we have another three months (maybe more) to mull over if, "Moribus," will be worth this extended wait to some degree. At least Sony and Marvel/Disney got to enjoy a surplus of funds from the most recent, "Spider-Man," movie before this latest pandemic surge, eh?

Monday, January 3, 2022

Wordle is a Fun Internet Game That's Getting Quite Popular

Wordle is a free game on the internet and it is getting to be quite a hit. Every day there is a puzzle and everyone gets the same puzzle. A five-letter word is presented and you have to solve it within six tries. If your letter is correct but in the wrong place you'll be told as well as if it is correct and in the right location. It's a fun little game and it is enjoyable to compare yourself to others posting how they did. It is free and you don't download anything, you just go to the website. Wordle is good fun and I'd recommend giving it a try!

Sunday, January 2, 2022

I'm Looking Forward to Missouricon on February 12th of 2022!

Now that we are in a New Year there are some upcoming comic conventions I am eager to attend! One that will be occurring this February is Missouricon! On Saturday, February 12th from 10:00 AM-5:00 PM it will be held at the Holiday Inn, Downtown. There will be comic-books, toys, video-games, wrestling items, cosplay, and some cool guests such as Sam De La Rosa, Brett Breeding, and Paris Cullins (all great comic creators). I look forward to attending in a little over a month and will be sure to remind everyone as it nears--plus I'll be sure to write about it after I attend!