Monday, February 28, 2022

Happy 5th Birthday to Clarkson!

My son, Clarkson, is 5 years old today! I love him and my wife (Samii) so much. It is wild to think Clarkson joined our family a whole half-decade ago. I continue to be thankful for him and the joy he brings to our lives every single day.

Sunday, February 27, 2022

ComiXology Apparently Really Sucks Now

I don't read many digital comics outside of some watermarked advance press PDFs I'll get sometimes for stuff if I ask nicely. That said, I know ComiXology was the place to go for (legal) digital comics. Now, it is a hot freaking mess. They changed the way the site/app/whatever functions (to my understanding they wanted to better integrate it with the owner, Amazon) and everyone is upset from regular folks to comedians such as Patton Oswalt. Updates are being made to address concerns, but my sympathies go out to anyone dealing with all this who just wants to read some damn comics.

Saturday, February 26, 2022

Reminder: Andre 3000 Owes Us Nothing

Andre 3000 has basically retired from rapping. He will be on the soundtrack for the new film, "Everything Everywhere All At Once," but he will be listed as Andre Benjamin and is not spitting any bars. He will be playing his flute on four different tracks. I know we want Andre to rap more, but as MIC put it, "ANDRE 3000 AND HIS FLUTE CAN DO WHATEVER THEY WANT." Andre is hip-hop royalty and a cool guy. If he wants to rap again, he can. If he wants to basically be done doing so, that's fine too. When he was in OutKast he gave us some amazing work (I've written about their stuff a lot) and he has been awesome in various movies and other projects as well. I'd love it if we ever got another OutKast album (by all accounts Big Boi is down to do another one), but it is okay if we don't. Andre 3000 owes us nothing.

Friday, February 25, 2022

"Kingjira," is a Hilarious and Gorgeous One-Shot

I enjoy a lot of publications from Scout Comics and their latest title I had a great time reading is, "Kingjira." A self-contained one-shot about a Godzilla-style Kaiju named Kingjira, this comic follows the terrifying creature as he looks for some pizza. Created, written, and illustrated by Marco Fontanili, the comic is basically wordless and uses little pictograms in speech bubbles to get across what Kingjira is thinking and what the humans trying to go against him are saying.

The art is absolutely gorgeous and Fontanili gives us a fantastically imposing Kaiju who is breathtaking to witness as he rampages through the city in an effort to get some grub. Even without any words the story told is clear, funny, and damn good looking (which I can't say enough). I had so much fun reading, "Kingjira," and would recommend you get it from your local comic establishment or on Scout's website.

5 out of 5 stars.

Thursday, February 24, 2022

"Human Target," Will Be Taking a Five Month Break For an Understandable/Joyous Reason

I have written about how much I loved the first issue of, "Human Target," and since that debut, every issue has been fantastic. Tom King's writing and Greg Smallwood's art have been perfectly in sync to give us an amazing read. Now, after the sixth issue comes out in March the book will be taking a five-month break. This will give Smallwood time to catch up on art. As his wife and himself had a child recently (per his social media posts). I understand if he has less time to work on comics as they care for their newborn. Fresh babies need a lot of love and attention so if Smallwood enjoying time with his new child means, "Human Target," needs to be delayed a bit that's perfectly fine. Better a delay than another artist coming on the book as I don't want anything to ruin the perfect chemistry King and Smallwood have going on.

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

The Amazing Johnathan Has Died

Those who know me are aware I adore a good stand-up routine and appreciate great magic as well. The Amazing Johnathan was a performer who married both in a manner that was often shocking, a bit gross, and always creative. I first saw his work on Comedy Central years ago and immediately loved it. His real name was John Edward Szeles, and I'm discussing him in the past tense as he has now passed after a long battle with a degenerative heart disease. It is a bummer and his family is in my thoughts. If you want to see some fantastic comedy and magic intertwined I highly encourage you to look up his stuff.

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

The, "Today Show," Informed Me About Hank the Tank and Man, That's a Big Bear

2/26/22 Update: Apparently, Hank the Tank is actually three bears!

I was watching the, "Today Show," this morning and learned of the hottest new internet sensation. Named, "Hank the Tank," he is a 500-pound bear that has been breaking into garbage bins, cars, and houses in order to feast on all the garbage and food he can. The AV Club has a post discussing what a majestic and chunky boy Hank is. Currently, folks are concerned he will be killed and the local bear-stopping agencies have assured everyone that is the last resort when Hank would most likely be better served in a sanctuary or somewhere else that will prevent him from busting into homes. All I know is his nickname cracks me up anytime I hear it.

Monday, February 21, 2022

So, When is Kendrick Lamar Releasing a New Album?

I have often shared on this blog how much I enjoy the work of Kendrick Lamar. I am aware he was recently busy with the Super Bowl show (it was awesome) and is working on a movie with the guys from South Park. He has appeared on some great songs lately too such as, "Family Ties." That said...when is he coming out with a new album? Back in 2015 he had, "To Pimp a Butterfly," and I made it my album of the year. 2016 had, "Untitled, Unmastered," which served as a nice EP. Then in 2017 there was, 'DAMN." and it was a magnum opus and, of course, my album of the year. Now, I know Kendrick was heavily involved in the soundtrack for, "Black Panther," but that was way back in 2018. We've been sitting here waiting and waiting. I imagine he has been working hard, but can we at least get a taste of what's in store? A single or two? There are rumors of new stuff, but I want some solid confirmation! Maybe someday soon, I hope.

Sunday, February 20, 2022

"Suicide Squad: Blaze," Has a Fantastic First Issue

The debut issue of, "Suicide Squad: Blaze," is a fantastic new title from DC. It is part of the Black Label, meaning it is out of regular continuity and can be more violent/sweary/etc. It is written by Si Spurrier, a writer whose stuff I am a big fan of. He wrote one of my favorite X-Men series in the form of, "Legion," plus tons of other cool stuff. The comic is illustrated by Aaron Campbell who has done a variety of comics but I recognize for the incredibly creepy, "Infidel," from Image Comics. 

"Blaze," as I will call it for short, focuses on a variety of convicts who sign-up for an experimental Government program that will give them superpowers but also kill them in three months or less. These new characters then work with members of the ubiquitous Suicide Squad to help take down a new superhuman who has been causing a lot of trouble. Seemingly capable of Superman-level powers this person is operating on little more than a primal instinct to rip apart and eat people around 3 times a day. As is pointed out in one clever moment, this isn't that big a body count compared to a superhuman who could blow up a city, but the optics are the issue. If some super-person isn't trying to do something based in society--robbing a bank for money, threatening terrorism for political gain--and is instead behaving more like a wild animal, that's scary to people who look at superpowered folks as humans with gifts as opposed to violent forces of nature.

Spurrier brings insight and plenty of humor while Campbell provides fantastic artwork. His King Shark is massive and scary, his Harley looks demented, and Amanda Waller (the head of the Suicide Squad) is sufficiently imposing and scary. When a moment calls for some impressive imagery of things blowing up or bloodshed then Campbell provides that as well. The extra-large size of the comic (it is physically bigger like a treasury edition and has more pages than a regular issue) really lets Campbell's art breathe and impress.

"Suicide Squad: Blaze," #1 is a fantastic debut issue of this mini-series from Spurrier and Campbell. I really look forward to the mystery of this cannibal-style superhuman being further unwound and witnessing what other fantastic artwork Campbell will provide. Definitely worth picking up.

5 out of 5 stars.

Saturday, February 19, 2022

The Classic Comic Collector Gave Me a Shout-Out in His Latest Video!

I previously made a post about my friend Scott AKA The Classic Comic Collector. Well, we made a trade and he gave me a shout-out in his latest video discussing his newest comic deals. Look at the video below:

Thanks again to Scott for the deal and perhaps in future videos he'll discuss even more trades we'll see soon enough!

Friday, February 18, 2022

Film Friday: The New, "Chip and Dale," Movie Looks...Good?

There is going to be a new, "Chip and Dale," movie. It is going to stream on Disney+ and has the talents of John Mulaney as well as Andy Samberg and the Lonely Island crew. It actually looks pretty clever and dare I say good? It has a really meta vibe where, "Rescue Rangers," was a show but the characters live in the, "Real," World in a manner where this almost seems like a stealth sequel to, "Who Framed Roger Rabbit," more than a Chip and Dale movie--but I ain't mad about it. Give the trailer a watch to see what I mean:

It looks fun, right? There is some nostalgia and there are pop-culture references but it isn't spoon-feeding us references nonstop and seems to have an actual story to tell beyond shout-outs to other properties (although those are fun too). I'm optimistic that this could actually be quite entertaining. We'll know for sure when it comes to Disney+ on May 20th.

Thursday, February 17, 2022

"JLA/Avengers," to Get a Limited Reprint For a Great Cause

"JLA/Avengers," was a great mini-series written by Kurt Busiek and illustrated by George Perez. It also is the last time Marvel and DC officially crossed over way back in 2001. Since then there have been tons of acquisitions, changes, and so forth. It seems unlikely we'll ever see Marvel and DC cross-over again unless they at some point end up getting owned by the same company (in our current corporate dystopia that is possible). It also seemed very unlikely that the story would be collected again in a trade paperback due to the complex copyright rules. Well, something unexpected is happening, and it's good!

Yes, "JLA/Avengers," is getting a limited reprint. There will be 7,000 copies that stores can order (so allocations will almost surely occur). It is happening through the nonprofit known as the Hero Initiative. They are a, " dedicated to helping comic book creators in medical or financial need. With only 7000 copies being printed, Hero Initiative is honoring one of George Perez's seminal bodies of work and his long-time support of Hero." It is saddening that one major reason it seems Marvel and DC were willing to let this be reprinted is that Mr. Perez has disclosed he has a limited time left with us. I suppose because this is for charity (all profits will be going to the Hero Initiative) the companies were okay with having this reprint happen and it has Mr. Perez quite happy. The only negative here is that the copies are limited, but I hope all the books find great homes!

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

"Justice Warriors," Looks Like a Wild Piece of Satire

I noted back in April of 2021 that I was saddened by (but understanding of) how Matt Bors was retiring from his weekly political cartooning work. I was excited to hear, however, that he and filmmaker & illustrator Ben Clarkson are teaming up for a satirical comic titled, "Justice Warriors." It'll be published by Ahoy, a slightly newer publisher who put out a ton of great reads. "Justice Warriors," has a press release that goes as such...

"Justice Warriors," follows two police officers, Swamp Cop and Schitt, stationed in the world's first perfect city. A bustling metropolis flourishes inside the protective shell of Bubble City. It is a city of equality, diversity, and prosperity with no crime whatsoever. But outside of the Bubble lies the Uninhabited Zone, a densely populated and vast slum where the majority of the mutant population actually lives. 

In the series, the veteran Swamp Cop is paired with a rookie partner, Schitt, after Swamp’s partner is killed in the line of duty (when he was run over by a self-driving city bus). The increasingly cynical Swamp Cop becomes obsessed with arresting or killing the bus, as he begins to suffer PTSD. Haunted by hallucinations of his dead partner, Swamp Cop is determined to show the naive rookie Schitt that you can only police the UZ by bending every rule that’s left.

Each issue, Swamp and Schitt must contend with new forms of crime as the Bubble’s boom-and-bust economy creates waves of market panic, bailouts, and austerity. Amid the instability, a new cyberpunk gang rises to prominence using social media, good vibes, and anti-Bubble sentiment to wage war on the Prince, the mayor who is also a pop star.

It sounds utterly wild and I look forward to reading what is sure to be quite a clever & funny comic!

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Television Tuesday: Adults Adopting Adults

TLC normally is home to some of the strangest and wild reality shows (as I've often discussed), but A&E is throwing its hat into the ring for, "Craziest program," with their series, "Adults Adopting Adults." It's one of the hottest messes I've ever witnessed.

There have been times in history adults turned to adoption as a legal workaround, such as same-sex couples that couldn't legally marry using adoption to find a way to share estates and make medical decisions for one another. This show isn't about that. There are times when people who were basically raised from childhood by someone else are then adopted as adults to make things official in the eyes of the law. This show has a tiny bit of that with two sisters ( Tawny and Felicia) being adopted as adults. Everyone else is a situation that either is a little odd but kind of makes sense or the whole thing is batshit insane.

The least strange story.

As I mentioned a moment ago, Tawny and Felicia are being adopted--by a couple named Jenny and Michael. They had the same Mom and two different dads. Due to parents being deceased or struggling with substance abuse at various points they ended up spending the majority of their childhood and teenage years with Jenny and Michael as parental figures. That all makes perfect sense. We also have Bianca who is being adopted by Derek and Carol. Bianca is a student who Carol has taught in college. Derek and Carol never had biological children, although Carol has a step-daughter with whom she has a strained relationship named Brittany. Bianca wants stability and they are happy to provide it to her. Not too odd a case, either. Then things get a bit stranger.

Frédéric Prinz von Anhalt is one of the last living members of a German monarchy (officially dissolved almost a century ago) and is famous for having been one of the husbands of Zsa Zsa Gábor. He wants a son to carry on the family lineage and run the royal trust and such which will be dissolved without a family member. Then we have a drama-filled situation with Kim and her future adoptive parents, Vickie and Joe. Kim hadn't spoken with her Mother (who adopted her from South Korea when she was an infant) in years when she began talking with Vickie and Joe about adopting her and serving as Grandparents to Kim's children as well. Kim's first Mom is back in the picture now, however, and this has resulted in a lot of mayhem. Then to top all this off we've got Danny.

Not every person appears in each episode. Three episodes have aired and some folks have only popped up once. We still haven't even met one person being adopted. Danny and Christy with their adoptee, Illeana, have been in every episode. This is because their situation is bonkers. Illeana is a pregnant 20 year old whom Danny met online and insisted they adopt to help care for. Christy is hesitant about all this because Danny has cheated on her multiple times and is otherwise self-absorbed and only does what he wants when he wants it. Christy is going through Hell and Danny doesn't care, with Illeana basically stuck in the middle of this. It is abhorrent to witness and I hope Christy leaves him ASAP.

"Adults Adopting Adults," has stories that are informative and warm your heart as you watch and see people celebrate making their family bond legally official. Then it has some folks who just cause you to cringe as you watch the slow-motion trainwreck that is their lives. I've enjoyed the first three episodes and am curious to see which situations work out well and which seem to not so much conclude as they crash to the Earth like a fiery comet of bad decisions.

5 out of 5 stars.

Monday, February 14, 2022

It is Valentine's day, You Know What Song We Have Got to Enjoy Now...

Happy Valentine's Day to everyone. Whether you are celebrating with a romantic partner, friends, or just chilling by yourself I hope you have a solid time. As it is Valentine's Day I feel that it is always necessary to play the best song about the holiday ever. Take it away, Andre 3000 of OutKast...

Good stuff.

Sunday, February 13, 2022

The Super Bowl LVI Halftime Show Was a Treat

Update 2/14/22: It has been brought to attention that was indeed Anderson .Paak on the drums as well. Very cool!

I'm not a huge football fan, but I almost always watch the Super Bowl to enjoy some fun ads and see what kind of spectacle the halftime show turns out to be--sometimes for better and sometimes for worse. When the lineup for this show was announced I was pumped. The kiddos in GenZ maybe didn't get what the big deal was but us Millenials, the GenXers and cool Baby Boomers (like my Mom) were all excited. I mean, in alphabetical order we had: Dr. Dre, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, Mary J. Blige, and Snoop Dogg sounded like some quality rap and R&B from some GOAT artists and one of the few new ones I really dig (Lamar). Then the show happened and it delivered the goods along with giving us a surprise appearance from 50 Cent as some icing on the cake.

It was fun, well-choreographed, and had a bunch of songs that took me right back to my Junior High years. There ain't nothing wrong with a little nostalgia, and this halftime spectacle illustrated that beautifully. Now we just need Dr. Dre to release a new album considering that, "Detox," is basically forever shelved. Oh, and the actual football game was fun too, although I was hoping for the Bengals to win basically out of spite for the Rams. It goes back to how they treated Saint Louis some years ago (when they abandoned the city), but that's a whole digression we don't need to go into. The halftime show was where the fun was at, for sure.

Saturday, February 12, 2022

My Thoughts on the First Missouricon!

I was able to attend the inaugural Missouricon today and shall offer my thoughts on what I liked and what was less than pleasing. Overall, I had a good time and the con shows a lot of promise for future events!

I will start by saying the location of the event was quite nice! The Holiday Inn Downtown was fresh, spiffy, and the event rooms and show floor were lovely. I should also say that the show was significantly smaller in terms of the number of vendors/creators/guests than a chunk of other shows I've been to. I could understand if someone went to Missourcon expecting something really big and was a bit let down. That said, the sellers, creators, and special guests who were present were all delightful. I kicked off the show chatting with Geoff and another young woman there with him. Here they are:

I was able to get some cool comics from them too. Check out what I bought for some very fair prices:

I proceeded to chat with my friend Vince of VK Toys who was at the show selling a bunch of awesome stuff. He always brings snazzy comics. The neatest stuff he had I currently was not in need, but at a future show I see him at I imagine we'd cut some more deals. After I hung out with Vince I walked over to the table of Dwayne Cameron and met him. Here he is:

Dwyane is an actor, writer, director, and visual artist who is known for a variety of rules including being a Power Ranger and starring in, "211," with Nicholas Cage. You can find his site (with links to all his social media) at this link. He was lovely to talk with and I hope to see him at future shows!

After talking about movies and comics with Dwayne it was about Noon and the crowd was really picking up and having fun! I visited another vendor's booth, Absolute Comics. Here are the gentlemen:

They had the more expensive, "Wall books," and also brought my favorite thing to root though, discount bins of (in this case) 50 cent comics. How can you say no to 50 cents for a comic? I got some that way and paid a bit more for a fun Gwnenpool variant cover. Here's what I purchased from them:

I had the pleasure of meeting Coffee Allen who was showing off their artwork and had a sign saying they could do sketches. I love getting folks to draw Moon Knight for me and was happy they said they'd do so! The final result was quite cool:

Next up in my walking about the show I ran into a vendor known as Dark and Weird. They were selling everything from knick-knacky items, to books, VHS tapes, trading cards, and more. I bought a cool old weird tape from them and some, "Batman Returns," trading cards. Observe:

There were other snazzy guests at the show but Sam De La Rosa's table was always so busy it was hard to say hello! I left the convention in the afternoon and having spoken with some friends who went we all would say Missouricon had a good first year. It was definitely a little smaller but has a ton of potential to keep growing and get even more cool guests, vendors, and creators. I thank Missouricon for letting me come as press and look forward to future shows which I'd be excited to write about!

Friday, February 11, 2022

A New, "Thunderbolts," Comic is Coming and it Looks Fun!

True story: Thursday  I was having lunch with a friend and while we chatted about comics I mentioned it had been a while since a, "Thunderbolts," comic was being released. We agreed it wouldn't be long until the series was revived because Marvel usually doesn't let a title (or most characters) stay dead for long. Later that day a teaser was released for a new, "Thunderbolts," and when I messaged my friend about it we laughed. Today, all the details were revealed and it does look pretty snazzy.

Spinning out of that, "Devil's Reign," event that is going on, the latest, "Thunderbolts," series will be written by Jim Zub and have art by Sean Izaakse. Zub actually has a solid previous run on, "Thunderbolts," and while I am not very familiar with Izaakse, what I've seen of their work looks good. Hawkeye is leading the team (so it's a little reminiscent of the West Coast Avengers in that way), and other characters I enjoy are present too such as Monica Rambeau (who has had many nicknames), America Chavez AKA Miss America, Persuasion, Power Man (the younger iteration, not Luke Cage), and plus a new character with the admittedly silly name Gutsen Glory.

I've seen some irritation online that the team isn't villainous (the original incarnation of the Thunderbolts were baddies pretending to be heroes), but that version of the team was just the debut and many versions have been quite different since then--so I'm fine with it. I'm just excited to see a writer I enjoy, an artist whose stuff looks good, and characters I like all present for my reading pleasure in this newest series.

Thursday, February 10, 2022

"Jurassic World: Dominion," Had a New Trailer Drop With Lots of Original Cast Members


"Jurassic World: Dominion," is the third, "Jurassic World," movie, and the sixth, "Jurassic Park," flick if you count them as one big six-movie arch. I really liked, "Jurassic World," and found, "Fallen Kingdom," to be good even if it felt like two different flicks smashed together--a return to the island movie and then a monster movie with a big raptor instead of a monster in a mansion. At the end of that movie, a bunch of Dinosaurs escaped into the wild to breed, thrive (etc.), and now it's essentially Human Vs Dino. Give the trailer a look:

I'll admit seeing so many of the OG cast gives me a nostalgic rush. I mean, "Jurassic Park," is one of my favorite movies ever (and I enjoy many of the hit-or-miss sequels), and seeing Sam Neil, Laura Dern, plus Jeff Goldblum is rad. We just need Samuel L. Jackson's character to somehow not be dead (maybe he's simply missing that arm) or Wayne Knight's character to also have survived against all odds (perhaps the Dilophosauruses just nibbled him) and that would rock. As long as this is better than, "Jurassic Park III," I think I'll enjoy this, "Conclusion," to the franchise even if it obviously is going to have more movies though I don't know where things can go now that we've taken the Dinosaurs out of the park and into the rest of society. Wait! I'm calling it now, before long we will have space travel involved! "Jurassic Space Park," by 2025 or bust!

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

DC Comics Announces, "Dark Crisis," is Coming

DC has announced a new event known as, "Dark Crisis." It will begin with a Free Comic Book Day #0 issue, then a Justice League comic comes out in late May titled, "Justice League: Road to Dark Crisis," which takes place after the regular series has #75, which apparently kills a bunch of them. At that point, "Dark Crissi," begins properly with #1 in June. It is a tad confusing, kind of like how, "Secret Empire," has a first issue that wasn't really a first issue (this will hopefully be better than that event, however). Joshua Williamson will be writing, "Dark Crisis," and Daniel Sampere is doing the art on at least the zero issue. As for what the event is about, it is the usual, "Multiverses will die!" type stuff. We get a, "New generation of heroes," and it all sounds suitably epic as events generally tend to be.

DC has had a number of events--many with, "Crisis," in the title. Some have been great, some have been awful. Bleeding Cool has noted all the interesting little pieces that might be involved in, "Dark Crisis," and I now know better than to predict if an event will be good or bad ("Fear Itself," sucking and, "Flashpoint," being a treat illustrated that). All I can say is, "Dark Crisis," sounds like an interesting tale with its question of what happens when the Justice League is gone but a new crisis arises. Plus, at least it isn't being advertised as yet another reboot of the Universe! I'll check out the FCBD issue at least because--obviously--it is free!

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Television Tuesday: More Thoughts on the Latest, "Joe Millionaire," as it is so Fun

I wrote about how much I enjoyed the debut episode of, "Joe Millionaire." I also wrote about how much I am not enjoying, 'The Bachelor," recently. That still stands with, "The Bachelor," having a slog of a season and, "Joe Millionaire," being an absolute gem of a show with my earliest minor complaints being addressed and what I liked being even more apparent as the episodes have continued.

When I first wrote about, "Joe Millionaire," I complained the women were boring. I will now adjust my statement to say some were boring, as the gals who are still on the show competing for love (or money) are pretty entertaining compared to the women who went home early in the process. Steven has money, Kurt possibly does not (I still theorize he's actually even richer than the one we were told is rich) and they have developed a bromance that is possibly the strongest relationship on the show. They support each other, laugh together, and even when they are both interested in one woman they understand this is a gameshow somewhat and that's okay they both have eyes for a lady. Most of the women on the show have all gotten along well too (after some who really stirred the pot went home early) and understand they are there to have fun and date--note, this statement does not fully apply to Carolyn who gives off a slight, "I will murder Kurt if I can't have him," vibe anytime another woman goes near him. That said, most of the gals are lovely now. Suzan is hilarious and hopefully continues to go far.

Hell, even the host, a man named Martin, is better than Chris Harrison ever was or Jesse Palmer currently is. This became apparent in one episode where a contestant named Breanna had way too much to drink during a camping-themed group date. While everyone else was doing various camping activities she sat in the tent and when Maritn did his host duties and checked on her as she wasn't taking part in stuff she drunkenly asked Martin if she was ugly. In a genuine moment, he seems taken aback and tells her she isn't ugly and to never talk ill of herself. He then helps her up and encourages her to maybe just relax the rest of the night and not interact with the guys too much (she was quite tipsy). In the most recent episode, she discussed how she has some insecurities and they came out while she was intoxicated, and both guys reassured her at the end of the show they wanted her to stay because they liked her and even if she were sent home at some point in the future she's still an awesome person. 

This whole thing is a, "Breath of fresh air," compared to how toxic another big dating show is lately and this season especially--it is a bit of a mess on, "The Bachelor," between a dull lead and absolutely abhorrent behavior from some of the women. At this point the supposed hook of how one guy is rich and one guy is less wealthy isn't even the main thing drawing me to this new, "Joe Millionaire." The stuff I love is that people are just having a good time and enjoying dating without obsessing over some big forced engagement at the end or being so competitive in an effort to, "Win," they resort to insulting someone for being neurodivergent--again, looking at, "The Bachelor." I would not have predicted a tweaked reboot of an old reality show nobody really liked the first time would be my new favorite program, but here we are. Thank you for having some drama but also remembering the fun, "Joe Millionaire," as I appreciate you not taking yourself too seriously. You're a treat.

 5 out of 5 stars for the latest episodes.

Monday, February 7, 2022

Action Lab Entertainment Faces a Class Action Lawsuit

Action Lab Entertainment AKA Action Lab Comics has faced a lot of scrutiny for not treating the creative teams behind various comics it puts out with any respect. Delayed payments, no payments, comics being delayed or just unpublished, and more has occurred. Now, nearly 40 individuals have started a class action lawsuit. There is a 46-page complaint breaking down all the problems with Action Lab and wanting any contracts with the company made null and void. If even a quarter of what is alleged is true then Action Lab has basically been committing large-scale fraud and anyone who wants to cut ties with them should be fully entitled to do so.

Sunday, February 6, 2022

A Prediction About, "Star Citizen," As It Gets More and More Delayed

"Star Citizen," is a game (kind of multiple games that form one mega-one in theory) which continues to be in development...well, not necessarily Hell as that is an actual place and I am unsure how much of an actual place, "Star Citizen," can say it is in with the goalposts always in flux. I wrote about what a mess it is previously and nothing has gotten better. Now any exact development roadmap is becoming even vaguer as the game enters a decade or so of unfulfilled promises and being a barely playable alpha-state mess. Thankfully, the real villain is clear: The upset fanbase? Yep, the developer of, "Star Citizen," has said a certain contingent of loudly perturbed fans is the true problem. Okay, sure. Anyway, I have a theory about this game that actually popped into my head after news about a different game.

"Star Citizen," started development properly in 2011 according to my Googling. "Grand Theft Auto V," came out on the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 in 2013. It has been re-released on multiple generations of consoles (as well as the PC) and people have been waiting what feels like forever to hear an announcement about, "Grant Theft Auto Six/6/VI," or however it is written. People wondered if it would ever be made. Well, Rockstar actually announced this week that yes, they are working in earnest on GTA6 but can't give an exact release date or anything yet. It is a ways off, in other words. That said, I still predict we will get GTA6 before, "Star Citizen," is in anything resembling a complete state.

Some people may say I'm comparing apples to oranges as these are different games, different studios, and all that jazz. I don't care. "Star Citizen," at this point has taken in such absurd amounts of money (over 400 million dollars and GTAV cost a comparatively tidy 265 million to make), has such a supposedly big team, and been so relentlessly delayed that I actually feel comfortable comparing this title that barely has anything playable to another game that people thought could very well be a vaporware rumor until this week--and I'm putting my money on the game we all know nothing about as I have that little faith in, "Star Citizen," ever being considered as existing in an actual, "Ready for release," state where you could buy it on STEAM or something without an, "Early Access," disclaimer. 

I would bet someone $60 (what a big-name finished game usually costs these days) that I can put my eager mitts on GTA6 before, "Star Citizen," comes out--I trust my prediction that much. If you want to take that bet I'll give you my PayPal/Venmo/Cashapp/whatever and you can just send me $60 now because you'd be a fool to even accept my wager. In closing, it would be smarter to invest in actual space travel to other planets right now than it would be the fictional ones of, "Star Citizen." You have a better chance of concrete results attempting to get to Mars, I think. It might very well end up costing less if estimates I read online are to be trusted as it would be a little under 3 billion to reach Mars safely with humans, it is thought. "Star Citizen," already has 13% or so of that covered already, so there you go.

Saturday, February 5, 2022

"Narrative Device," is a Fun Little Internet Gizmo

I was on the website Rockpapershotgun and they shared how they'd discovered a website called, "Narrative Device." Created by a Ph.D. student named Rodolfo Ocampo who is researching human-AI co-creativity, it is fun, simple, and silly. You enter two subjects, themes, whatever and it generates a paragraph. It has place guards to avoid anything raunchy or offensive but you can enter information and see what it comes up with. Sometimes it is spot on and other times it is a little wonky. Still, it is impressive to witness. For example, I entered how I wanted a story about an elephant and bacon and got this:

"Elephant and bacon were both having a great day. The elephant was eating lots of bacon, and the bacon was tasting so good that the elephant was smiling from ear to ear. The bacon even made the elephant's trunk look so happy."

Not too shabby. It has flaws though as shoes and cupcakes resulted in a story with nary a mention of cupcakes:

"Maggie had always been a shoe lover. She could never go a day without wearing a new pair, and she especially loved high heels. But one day, Maggie's feet began to hurt so badly that she couldn't even walk. She went to the doctor, who told her that she needed to stop wearing shoes. Maggie was devastated. She loved shoes so much. But, after trying different shoes and walking around without them, Maggie found that her feet felt better. She was able to wear shoes again, but she always made sure to bring a pair of sneakers with her, just in case her feet started to hurt again."

All was not lost, however. I did a prompt with joy and farts which gave me this gem:

"Joy was all around her as she walked through the park. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, and the smell of fresh grass was in the air. Farts, on the other hand, were not so joyous. They were smelly, and they made her feel nauseous. But she knew that they were necessary, and she hoped that they would stay in her stomach for as long as possible."

So yeah, it is a fun little tool and arguably a handy writing tool as well. You can use more than a single word in prompts as well, I just kept it simple until my final attempt. I proudly present what happened with an evil rock and a platypus:

"The evil rock was a menace to all who crossed its path. It was a dark, jagged shape, and it always seemed to be waiting to pounce on its unsuspecting victims. No one knew where the rock had come from, or how it had become so deadly. But no one was afraid of the rock. In fact, many people considered it to be a bit of a curiosity. They would stop and take pictures of it, or try to touch it, just to feel its sharp edges. One day, however, the rock met its match. A platypus was walking along the river when it came across the rock. The platypus was a powerful creature, and it didn't take long to destroy the evil rock."

In closing, I'd recommend checking out, "Narrative Device," as it is free (but accepts donations). When a lot of people are trying to access the site it can crash, so be patient. Try out all kinds of fun combinations and see what you get!

Friday, February 4, 2022

"Jurassic League," Features the Justice League as Dinosaurs and That's So Silly it Could Work

I'm a big fan of Daniel Warren Johson, considering his recent Beta Ray Bill comic to be among my favorite reads of 2021. I also have some familiarity with Juan Gedeon and know they've got great skills too. Apparently, these two gents are quite the mad scientists as they'll be bringing us, "Jurassic League," a take on the Justice League where they are all dinosaurs. That sounds so stupid and I love it.

I'm not sure what exactly the plot will entail besides turning the Justice League into dinosaurs, but there isn't too much I need to know as long as it will be silly and look cool! It seems, "Jurassic League," will be out in May and I look forward to it.

Thursday, February 3, 2022

215 Ink Has Relaunched as INVADER and Has a Cool Kickstarter Going On

I've read some stuff from indie publisher 215 Ink before and enjoyed their stuff. Now, however, they have rebranded as INVADER. They still are going to be making cool comics, however, with a new Kickstarter campaign for, "Freaks & Gods: Vol. 2 #1," having recently launched.

The, "Freaks & Gods," series is, "...a love letter to Silver Age comics, blending original creations and stories with public domain characters to revive the forgotten treasures of the comics of yesteryear. Within its pages, you’ll find the familiar footnotes that peppered the pages of our favorite books growing up. But this is no stylistic choice! Every footnote is an actual record of the public domain characters we’ve utilized to bring you Freaks & Gods!" The first volume was a big success so this new volume is being Kickstarted  to continue the story. You can find the campaign here and check it out!

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Conventions Coming in the Next Three Months I Am Excited About

From February through April there are a number of fun conventions coming up. I am excited for a number of them and thought I'd give each a spotlight. I hope to attend all of these conventions and would encourage you to check out their pages and make plans to go yourself if you'd be able to do so! Now then, in chronological order...

Missouricon, February 12th
I mentioned back in January how I was pumped for the first-ever Missouricon. It is going to be held at the Holiday Inn Downtown (in the city region of Saint Louis) from 10:00 AM-5:00 PM and features a number of fun guests, cosplay contests, plenty of vendors, and a big, "Super Smash Brothers," tournament at this big pop-culture event! I'm excited to attend this con's debut!

ToyMan Show, March 13th
Every single time I go to a ToyMan show I know two things are going to happen. First, I'm going to have fun. Second, I'm going to find some awesome comics/toys/other neat stuff. Always held at the Machinist Hall (12356 Saint Charles Rock Road in Bridgeton) from 9AM-3PM with 8AM early bird entry, ToyMan is always a hoot.

I really enjoyed the Quad Con when I went for the first time to the October show. Therefore, I am ecstatic about the one in late March! Held at Olympia Events Center at 49 Lawrence Street in Saint Charles, the show likes to declare it is, "25% toys, 25% games, 25% comics, 25% cosplay, 100% fun!" I eagerly look forward to meeting more awesome people at this show and, of course, getting some good comics.

Big River Comic Convention, April 8th and 9th
An amazing convention held a little under two hours away from Saint Louis in Hannibal, Missouri, the Big River Comic Convention will be celebrating its third show this year! The previous two events were superb fun and this year has some pretty impressive guests in the form of such folks as Matt Hughes, Michael Biehn, Austin Tindle, and plenty of superb vendors and creators! Held at the Tabernacle of Praise Recreational Complex (6400 Co. Rd in Hannibal), I need to double-check the times for each day, as the show nears I'll surely post about it some more!

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Television Tuesday: "Celebrity Big Brother," Returns Tomorrow

I am outspoken about my love of wild reality television shows and, "Big Brother," is a great one. The United States version of the celebrity edition can be as hit-or-miss as the regular series, however. Sometimes we get some fun contestants who are a hoot to witness or play the game expertly. Other times we get a big bucket of bland. This is the third time a celebrity edition of the show is happening (at least in America, it has happened a lot in other countries) and cast looks okay. You can see it here and note it is a lot of vaguely-known actors, some sports stars, and a chunk of reality mainstays. There is not a random minor political figure desperate for relevance this year and I am happy about that.

"Celebrity Big Brother," always goes a lot faster than a normal season and from what I've read this edition starts tomorrow (the 2nd) and wraps the 23rd. Short and hopefully sweet. I don't have anyone specific I'm cheering for, but I will say met Chris Kattan at a Wizard World once and he was perfectly pleasant. Also, Carson Kressley is hilarious on anything he appears in so that'll be fun too at least.

"Land of the Living Gods," #1 is a Fantastic Debut Issue

Update: There was a delay and the comic comes out 2/9/22!

"Land of the Living Gods," is a new comic being published by Aftershock. It is written by Issac Mogajane and illustrated by Santtos. It takes place in the far future as Earth is basically dying and a young woman named Naledi struggles to keep herself safe and alive (along with her mysterious pet plant, Buyo). Naledi lives in South Africa and Mogajane brings his own heritage into the comic, pulling from various African cultures, traditions, and phrases. The future we witness is one with some advanced technology but also ghostly spirits and old traditions that blend together in the narrative. It's a mix of old and new.

We get a lot of world-building in this first issue, and what a World it is! Mogajane gives us characters that feel alive and three-dimensional with Santtos' artwork working to give us a gorgeously ruined World. Sand and decay is everywhere with little hints of energy and life. Also, Naledi has albinism (which becomes important as the first issue reaches some conflicts) and her bright white skin stands out amongst the shadowy ruins in an eye-catching manner so props to Santtos for some expert work drawing and being the colorist for the comic.

"Land of the Living Gods," puts a fresh spin on the dystopic future tale and succeeds greatly at it. I really enjoyed this first issue and look forward to upcoming ones. I was able to get an advance digital copy for the purpose of review and would encourage everyone to seek out this debut issue when it hits shops tomorrow, 2/2/22.

5 out of 5 stars.