Sunday, July 31, 2022

My Review of, "Summer Fires," is Up Over at Forces of Geek

I read a really snazzy coming-of-age graphic novel titled, "Summer Fires," for my friends over at Forces of Geek. Written and illustrated by Giulia Sagramola, it was published in English for the first time by Dark Horse. You can read the review I wrote for FOG at this link.

Saturday, July 30, 2022

I Got My 2022 Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide!

I know some folks don't trust it due to how fast the comic market fluctuates, but I have a soft spot for the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide. The 52nd edition has been released, covering the year 2022-2023. It has great articles from retailers about how sales were in the last year, spotlights various creators, contains fun ads for multiple stores, and is a handy reference. I find the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide is quite useful for older comics that aren't necessarily sold that often on eBay, thereby lacking much of an immediate sales history there or on sites like Covrprice. 

It is true if something gets optioned or has big news break the price a comic featuring that character can suddenly be worth a lot more (or less if an option falls though). Still, I like being able to hold a weighty book in my hands that catalogs almost any comic published (besides really small-press stuff from Kickstarter or such). I may use Key Collector or Covrprice for immediate news, but Overstreet's book is something I have a special fondness towards.

Speaking of apps like Key Collector, it was interesting to see announced how Overstreet actually has their own site and app that has launched aiming at taking on Key Collector. Called, "Overstreet Access," I have not yet tried it out, but maybe should. If I like their book the app must be of use, I'd imagine. I'll let you all know if I give it a download.

Friday, July 29, 2022

Film Friday: That Sylvester Stallone, "Samaritan," Movie Looks Interesting

"Samaritan," is a movie about a city falling apart due to violence after its big hero, "Died," years ago. The thing is, he is still alive and well, just old and played by Sylvester Stallone. It reminds me a bit of Abraham Slam from the, "Black Hammer," comic mixed with the slightly humorous vibe of the good half of, "Hancock." I swear, I will forever argue there is the possibility of a great movie buried within, "Hancock." A young kid figures out how Stallone's hero is still alive and--I assume based on the trailer--gets him to come out of retirement to some degree and help fix the city. Here's that aforementioned preview:

See what I mean? It looks legitimately fun and a bit clever. It'll be on Amazon Prime this August so I'll give it a viewing!

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Funko Is Making an Action Video-Game

Funko Pop is teaming with 10:10 Games to make what is being described as a, "AAA action platformer." Apparently, that studio was founded by Jon Burton, who was involved in the creation of many popular, "Lego,"-themed video-games. I'm not sure how exactly this will work as the copyright could be a nightmare if Funko tries to have a bunch of different properties cross over. Then again, those Lego games pulled it off before (look at, "Lego Dimensions," for a prime example). Consider me intrigued but still quite cautious about all this.

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

"Grand Theft Auto VI," Has Some Information (Allegedly) Leaking

"Grand Theft Auto VI," has had some information about the game possibly leaking. It sounds like it might take place in a fictional location like Miami (Vice City, perhaps) and will have two lead characters, one being a Latina female. It will be like a modern-day, "Bonnie & Clyde," many reports on the leaked stuff say. The new game will try to be a bit more culturally sensitive but I assume that means it will still be satirical, just moreso punching-up than down, one thinks? I mean, it is hard to make parody of America right now when we are living in one big spoof of reality that seems more impossible than real (they can try, though). 

I just hope both main characters are still amoral monsters as lots of the characters in Grand Theft Auto (especially the ones you play) are essentially violent sociopaths--don't try to make the woman less evil, let her be terrible too! The game is still at least two years away from release, so we have plenty of time to speculate. In the meantime, I'm looking forward to the new, "Saint's Row," which is, of course, a franchise that has always been a bit similar yet quite different.

The, "Death of Superman," 30th Anniversary Special Has Been Announced

Superman, "Died," for the first time in 1992. It makes me feel old to admit that was 30 years ago, but it was. DC has announced a 30th anniversary special with the original creative team (and others) to commemorate the original death of Superman. That sounds fun, but my main takeaway is thinking about how an increasing chunk of the 1990s will now have been three decades ago and the way that makes me feel quite aged.

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Check Out the Grand Opening of Tatertot Comics & Collectibles This Saturday, July 30th!

Konnor Tate is the man behind Tatertot Comics & Collectibles. He's a friend of mine and the grand opening of his brick-and-mortar store is this Saturday! That's right, this July 30th the store will be open from 10AM-7PM with free food 11AM-2PM! Konnor told me how he started out doing business online before he outgrew the space in his house which led to expanding to a space in a flea market that his business then outgrew too. 

This leads us to now, where he has an awesome shop debuting in Arnold. Konnor said he was excited to have his comics and collectibles shop now opening in Jefferson County, providing the area with a great place to get comics, toys, trading cards, Funko Pops, and more! His shop buys items too so if you have some extra comics, Funko Pops, or so forth don't hesitate to swing by his store and cut a deal with him.

Tatertot Comics & Collectibles can be found at 19 Village Plaza in Arnold, Missouri, 63010. The regular store hours after the 30th will be Tuesday-Saturday, 10AM-7PM. They'll be closed on Sundays and open by appointment only on Mondays. Even if you can't make the grand opening be sure to visit sometime soon and check out all the great goods for sale!

Monday, July 25, 2022

My Favorite, "World of Warcraft," Expansion is Coming to the, "Classic," Version Soon

I haven't played, "World of Warcraft," in years. If I even attempted to revisit my Tauren Shaman, Shine, I would most likely find myself quite confused by everything. That said, there has been the, "World of Warcraft Classic," which started up in the original, "Vanilla," game and has been slowly advancing in time through the past expansions. This September will mark the, "Release," of the 2nd expansion into the classic timeline, "Wrath of the Lich King." Also known as my favorite expansion because it was just so much fun, a part of me gets an itch to play the old-school WOW as I would at least not be totally out of my element. Then another part of me remembers how much of a time-sink the game was back in the day and how I barely have time to play any games now. Still, it is nice to know that a somewhat vintage version of, "World of Warcraft," is out there ready for a player of the older versions of the game such as me.

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Well, Marvel Pretty Much, "Won," CCI/SDCC This Year

Marvel had its big Hall H panel last night at Comic-Con International/Sand Diego Comic-Con. They announced what felt like everything and the kitchen sink whilst also making it clear some more announcements would come later. We are currently in phase 4 of the cinematic universe and phase 5 was wholly laid out along with a big chunk of phase 6 basically making it known that by the end of 2025 we would see the entirety of, "The Multiverse Saga," with everything basically culminating in two Avengers flicks during 2025, "Avengers: The Kang Dynasty," and, "Avengers: Secret Wars." A lot of us saw that, "Secret Wars," coming (myself included in a recent post), but it is appreciated for Marvel to make it clear what the over-arching plan is after lots of folks had been wondering what precisely the flicks and Disney+ shows were leading up to--if anything specific. 

Basically, Marvel showed up and said, "You want to know our plans? Well, here's an overview of what the first half of this decade is going to look like, MOFOS! We've got Daredevil coming back, Kang is gonna cause trouble, we've got a Fantastic Four flick, we'll be doing wild Multiverse stuff, and before all that phase four is going to close strong with, 'Black Panther 2,' looking absolutely awesome. Open wide for this loaded cocktail of content, suckas!" The MCU's guiding hand, Kevin Feige, showed up and made it clear Marvel has a plan, one that will probably rake in the dough too. I have gotten to a point where there is just so much stuff coming out from Marvel I don't always have time to see it all, but I watch what appeals to me and some of these announcements are quite promising ("Blade," finally has a release date, which I like and a, "Thunderbolts," movie was confirmed). 

Marvel essentially stole the show this year at CCI/SDCC. You almost feel a little bad for DC as, "Black Adam," and the new Shazam movie both look fun, but one company showed up with a metaphorical lunchbox that had some snacks in it and the other arrived with a fully catered meal, so to speak. It's going to be an interesting next few years for Marvel when it comes to their movies and shows, that much is very clear.

Saturday, July 23, 2022

I Picked Up Some of The New Page Punchers Toys/Comics!

Some months ago it was announced McFarlane toys would be doing something called, "Page Punchers," where you get a fun 3-inch figure and a reprint of a popular comic. The concept art looked really cool so I was excited when I heard the Page Punchers were starting to show up in stores. I found some at my local Target and got a few! I haven't been able to buy the Batman one yet, but I got the others (as you can see above) and they are quite fun. The plastic packaging isn't too hard to undo and then you can pop out the comic and toy or just leave everything in place if you're that kind of collector too.  I really like these Page Punchers and am pleased to have the Flash, Black Adam, and Superman. Now to just find that Batman...

Friday, July 22, 2022

Beyonce's New Song, "Break My Soul," is a Rare Misstep

I like Beyonce. I enjoy a lot of her music from the old, "Destiny's Child," hits to her newer jams. That said, her latest tune, "Break My Soul," is getting all this positive press and I feel like just a handful of people and myself are here thinking it just sounds kind of lame. The whole thing sounds like it is a big rip-off of 1980s/90s house music with a bit of record scratching and DJ shouting. The first time I heard the beat and old-school piano riffs I thought I was listening to something from decades ago. Now, she can say it is an homage to house music as opposed to stealing wholesale, but if you're honoring something you usually ought to contribute something new too, and this does very little of that. The lyrics are just drab and uninspiring. 

Where's the Beyonce of, "Single Ladies," "Formation," or, "Crazy in Love," on this track where the attempt at poetic words are bland when I want intriguing? Give me some humorous, "Drunk in Love," or intense, "Irreplaceable," as opposed to this generic dance tune lacking in much of any insight! Am I expecting too much from Beyonce considering her impressive discography? Perhaps, but let's not act like, "Break My Soul," is some masterpiece when it sounds more like an afterthought of a B-side.

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Comic-Con International/San Diego Comic-Con is Back in Full Form

Comic-Con International AKA San Diego Comic-Con had that awkward Thanksgiving mini-event to test out how a pandemic-era show might look when getting ready for a large scale. Now, the show is back in full form however and is properly massive as usual. CCI/SDCC started today and will run through the weekend with tons of creators, fans, panels, announcements, and the like. I imagine some interesting stuff will come out from the show in regards to comics, movies, television, etc. I'll be quite busy checking my favorite news sites for the next couple of days, I'd say!

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

"Reanimator Incorporated," Has a Fantastic First Chapter and Now Is Kickstarting the Second!

Andrew Perry is the writer of the comic, "Reanimator Incorporated," and reached out to me asking if I'd be interested in reading and reviewing the first chapter. He also supplied some preview pages for the second chapter which he told me would have a Kickstarter campaign. Drawing from the HP Lovecraft story, "Herbert West: Reanimator," but bringing its own unique vision and twists, I really enjoyed the first chapter and was excited by what I read in the second one! 

"Reanimator Incorporated," takes place in a near-ish future where a large corporation is attempting to figure out how to bring the dead back to life but struggling to do so--much to the chagrin of shareholders. Herbert West and Dan Cain try to tweak the machine while West's home life is a wreck between an unhappy wife and son--Michael West--who feels ignored and desires help with his own projects. When the reanimation seems to start working but has some horrific results I had my attention quite captured! 

I've mentioned the writer as that is who reached out first, but I need to discuss Lyndon White, who provides the art and lettering. White does a fantastic job showing regular day-to-day life and then contrasting it with surreal and bizarre imagery when we see glimpses of weird spirit worlds and afterlives. It creates a great dichotomy. Things get even stranger in the second chapter I had a chance to see a preview of as we spend even more time in some Lovecraftian netherworlds while asking questions about if a body is reanimated what of the soul?

I give the first chapter of, "Reanimator Incorporated," 5 out of 5 stars and would encourage everyone to check out the Kickstarter that just started for chapter 2 (and which provides an opportunity to get both chapters). I had a lot of fun reading the first chapter and from what I've seen of the second things will only get even wilder!

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Television Tuesday: The Newest Iteration of, "Love Island USA," Begins Tonight

"Love Island," is an immensely popular franchise in the UK and it has had three solid seasons of an American version. It aired on CBS but due to a lot of money exchanging hands, it is now a Peacock exclusive. I guess NBC wanted to put it on their streaming service to lure more people over to it. Thankfully, we can get a year free (yah!) of the service as long as we don't mind ads (boo!) thanks to our cable provider having a deal with Peacock/NBC. Now, "Love Island," will premiere today at 9PM Eastern on Peacock and has been retooled a bit. The host is Sarah Hyland of, "Modern Family," fame instead of Arielle Vandenberg and the announcer is no longer Matt Hoffman--whom I enjoyed--but the voice of the British version (now doing America too), Iain Stirling. 

A bit has been changed but as long as we get some messy drama in the form of people hooking up and catching feelings way too fast I'm in. Plus, if we're on Peacock we don't have to bleep as many bad words or edit as much, I assume? Perhaps Peacock is smart in snatching this up in the hopes of drawing us reality television junkies. I've downloaded it and eagerly await this evening. We shall see how fun this slightly-altered version is when the show keeps giving us new episodes six (yes six) days a week!

Monday, July 18, 2022

"The Creep," is a Fantastic Republishing of Great Comics

John Arcudi and Jonathan Case did a mini-series about a detective with Acromegaly named Oxel Karnhus back in the early 2010s. It was fantastic but actually was not the first appearance of the character. He appeared in a number of shorter stories within, "Dark Horse Presents," years earlier that have long been out of print. Done with Dale Eaglesham and Brian Kalin O'Connell, these tales told interesting yarns about Karnhus. Now being republished by Image in the form of a snazzy trade paperback, this collection of, "The Creep," has remastered artwork, tweaked dialogue, and is a superb read. 

The first mystery about a woman looking for her birth mother had some twists that actually shocked me and the more straightforward tales were entertaining as well. The artwork by Eaglesham and O'Connell is just gorgeous with Eaglesham's pencils emphasizing how imposing Oxel can look yet also how vulnerable and sensitive he is too. I wonder if maybe we could get new stories with, "The Creep," sometime in the future if these classic chronicles are coming back out now. One can hope!

5 out of  5 stars.

Sunday, July 17, 2022

I Had a Dream About a New Outkast and Kendrick Lamar Collaboration/You Ever Have a Dream so Cool You're Mad When You Wake Up?

I've written before about having a dream concerning something cool that I wish existed but doesn't. In the past, it was a sequel to, "Wednesday Comics," with impossible creative teams. Well, I had another dream that was really cool and I was mad when I woke up because I'd say it's about a 99.9% chance it'll never happen. I dreamt I was watching television and OutKast were on stage with Kendrick Lamar doing a press conference. Andre 3000 was there saying how Kendrick made him believe in rap again and he as well as Big Boi would be doing a collaborative album with Kendrick in addition to their own new OutKast album after all these years. 

Big Boi then got on the mic and said he was always willing to do more music as OutKast but wanted to let Andre have as much time as needed, followed by Kendrick talking and saying how honored he was to be working with OutKast. A reporter in the audience then asked if any songs had been recorded yet. All three broke into a sly grin and said, "Yes," and that they would be premiering it right now. Then they pulled out a CD player (it's a dream, don't question it) and hooked it up to a big stereo speaker. Kendrick pushed play on it...and I woke up. Yeah, I was mad waking up from that. 

The odds of a new OutKast album are slim-to-none but maybe Big Boi or Andre 3000 will appear on a track with Kendrick Lamar sometime. That said, I'd really like a brand new OutKast album at some point, whether it be in a team-up with Kendrick Lamar or their own rad LP. Maybe I can at least hope some of that tenth of a percent can happen?

Saturday, July 16, 2022

I Did Not Make to the Heroes for Kids Convention in Perryville Today

After an exhausting week and some sort of food issue keeping my tummy upset much of the day, I was unable to go to the Heroes for Kids Convention in Perryville. I hope everyone who was able to attend had a great time and I plan to try and go next year!

Friday, July 15, 2022

Film Friday: What Exactly Do We Want From the Marvel Cinematic Universe?

It used to be people complained that the Marvel movies were annoying because someone had to watch them all to be able to follow the big, "Avengers," event movies. Then we had the climax of all the flicks in the form of, "Avengers: Infinity War," and its sequel, "Avengers: Endgame." After that big flick we entered what is known as, "Phase 4," of the franchise and folks now are concerned about an opposite issue--how does everything connect and what is it leading to? Folks, what exactly do we want from the Marvel Cinematic Universe?

Would people prefer that all the Marvel movies (and now Disney+ shows) were closely linked in a way where everything, "Matters," and they're leading some insane mega-event? Is it better if each property stands a little bit alone to where you can skip some movies or shows and they just tie in loosely with the big cinematic tapestry? When it comes to reading the comics you don't have to pick up every Marvel title--and it would be silly to do so with all the stuff they publish as it would take a ton of money and time. You follow the characters you like or creators who make good stuff and don't worry about the properties you have less interest in. Maybe you read an event sometimes and don't get the entirety of it because you skipped on some comics, but you're still happy and entertained. Perhaps the MCU is entering that kind of era now. I mean, ever since Disney bought Marvel it should've been obvious they'd want to make as much money as possible from it.

Should you want a more horror-influenced experience you can watch the new Doctor Strange flick. Into teenage drama and comedy? Check out, "Ms. Marvel," which I've heard is fun. Love Hawkeye? Well, they even made a show for you. If you want to watch a show that combines heroics and legal cases, "She-Hulk," is on the way too. There is just so much coming out from Marvel that it can feel overwhelming if you want to try to watch absolutely everything as opposed to just things that really hold your interest. Plus, I think it is clear Marvel is building up to something big for those who want a major event. 

I (and others online) think we are heading towards a, "Secret Wars," similar to the 2015 event, featuring various Universes in the Multiverse going against one another. Whether the, "Baddie," will be the previously introduced (in, "Loki,") Kang, a rumored Doctor Doom, or someone else remains to be seen, but I get the feeling that is what's coming--and it should be fun! I'd probably watch a big epic fight between the Multiverse, but I don't feel obligated to tune into every Marvel property leading up to it. We as fans need to figure out what we want from Marvel. Some people want a highly interconnected yarn and others just want to be entertained by the stuff they choose to watch. Marvel needs to figure out how to balance the two, I suppose, and then it can continue enjoying immense monetary success.

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Gail Simon and Phil Noto's New Comic, "The Variants," is a Fantastic Debut of a Jessica Jones Story

One of my favorite comic runs is when Brian Michael Bendis wrote, "Alias." It served as a bedrock of sorts for the Netflix show about Jessica Jones and she has since appeared in other comics ("The Pulse," various, "Avengers," titles where she and Luke Cage got married, some sequel-ish series penned by Bendis and others). Nothing has quite scratched my itch for that classic, "Alias," vibe (although when Bendis revisited Jones for a chunk of issues in her self-titled series it felt close thanks to Michael Gaydos doing art on that one like he did on, "Alias," back in the day) until I read this new debut issue of, "The Variants." 

Written by the immensely talented Gail Simone with great art by Phil Noto, this issue excels at marrying the grounded detective story vibe I love with Jessica Jones while throwing in a unique wrench in the form of some possible multiversial shenanigans. Even though Jones and Cage have a lot going on in their lives in Marvel's comics (Luke actually was elected mayor in the, "Devil's Reign," event), this comic avoids touching upon any of that beyond mentioning how Jessica's old foe, the Purple Man, is currently in a coma (as also happened during, "Devil's Reign," but that is unnecessary to know). It seems there may be a trap in Jessica's brain, but before she can really worry about it other versions of her seem to be appearing, variants, if you will (the term recently used in the, "Loki," show and now popping-up in the comics). The issue ends on a cliffhanger with it unclear what exactly the deal is with these variants, but I'm eager to learn more. Between Simone's stellar writing and Noto's amazing art this is a great read!

5 out of 5 stars.

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Whoever Invented this Shark Week Slush for Sonic is a Genuis

I enjoy the occasional slush from Sonic. They will do limited-time ones now and then. Apparently, we have been around television's beloved, "Shark Week." To celebrate, Sonic has a slush theme for the event and it is ingenious. It is a blue coconut drink with shredded strawberry fruit on top and shark gummies. The result looks like the ocean filled with chum floating atop and sharks swimming around in it. Seriously, just gander at my photo atop this text, isn't that awesome as well as a bit gross? If you're wondering how it tastes, I liked it. The coconut and strawberry melded nicely together and the gummies were nice and chewy. The visual aesthetic is what sold me on it, though. Sonic needs to give whoever thought of this a raise.

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

"Irredeemable," and its Tie-ins are Getting Republished With Special Editions! Through Kickstarter, For Some Reason

Update: As I suspected might be confirmed, the series will be back in 2023. That could be cool!

In news that had me equally intrigued and confused, BOOM! Studios is republishing the fantastic comic series, "Irredeemable," as well as its spin-off, "Incorruptible," and the spiritual sequel to the duo of comics, "Insufferable." This is cool, yet it is strange how they are doing it. You see, I don't get why they are using Kickstarter to fund these reprintings seeing as BOOM! is a big publisher and Kickstarter is...well, not really meant for that. It is an excellent site for indie creators and smaller publishers, but BOOM! is pretty sizable, so I'm a bit befuddled. 

I like BOOM! as they were one of the first larger publishers to add me to their press list as my blog grew in size back in the day, but just because I like someone doesn't mean they are above me asking questions. So yes, I see that the Kickstarter campaign has fun levels and rewards, but I still ask, why Kickstarter? I mean, if this eventually leads to new comics that could be cool (although considering the way, "Irredeemable," ended I'm not sure how they would even do that), but I'm still just a bit confused. It's already made a ton of money in less than a day of existing, however, so what do I know, anyway?

Monday, July 11, 2022

Rant-Reviews: The #1 Issue of New Indie Series

Smaller Publishers, Still Big Fun
There are some significant publishers out there. You've got Marvel and DC as the big two, then other sizable but-sometimes-considered indie companies such as IDW, Dark Horse, and (obviously) Image. What about the smaller, "Indie," publishers, however? They are always putting out cool stuff and I will be sure and give some titles dedicated articles, but why not do some capsule reviews of debut issues from an assortment of companies? "Why not," indeed as I shall do some now!

Getting Indie With It--Have I Made That Joke Before? Nah, I'm Good

Agent of W.O.R.L.D.E. #1
A man named Phillip Blank protects the World(e) from things that threaten reality in this incredibly weird comic. When I say something reminds me of, "The Filth," I mean that as an utmost compliment as that is one of my favorite comics of all time. This gives me, "The Filth," vibes and I like that. Secret societies, talking apes, and strange concepts like a jetpack that runs on sexual urges along with other zaniness make this some good stuff. The fantastically detailed and busy artwork contributes to the sense of excitable confusion readers are sure to have. Published by Scout Comics, this is a great comic to pick up if you like twisty and turny sci-fi yarns mixed with spy-hijinks.
5 out of 5 stars.

The Oblivion Trials #1
Brought to use by Source Point Press, a young man named Kiko ends up dead trying to do a good deed. He can find himself judged as worthy of a happy afterlife or being condemned to Oblivion. He also has a choice where he can go through the Oblivion Trials and be guaranteed a spot in paradise or a single wish. Kiko worries past mistakes have him in trouble so he chooses the trials and the comic wraps as they kick off. I quite enjoyed this first issue of, "The Oblivion Trials," between its fantastic otherworldly artwork after Kiko dies and the fun prospect of seeing him face inventive challenges. I wish the comic didn't end before things get started in earnest, however, but I understand the need for a good cliffhanger.
4.5 out of 5 stars.

Redman #1
Brought to us by Behemoth, "Redman," follows the broadcast of a mysterious figure (Redman) fighting Kaiju in a desolate wasteland. We see his fights are being broadcast but aren't really told for what purpose yet--that remains a mystery. The comic is a bit minimalist, focusing on Redman fighting a Kaiju with just some hints of a larger and sinister purpose. I had fun and am curious just where things could be going.
4 out of 5 stars.

The Lonesome Hunters
This comic is published by Dark Horse (a somewhat bigger publisher in some views) but a single person writes, illustrates, and letters it, which is pretty darn indie-styled in my opinion, so let's count it. Tyler Crook is the aforementioned creator, and he gives us an interesting yarn about a magic sword, other fantastical objects, twisted magic, and how it all exists in a seemingly drab and boring World. Crook's mix of grounded everyday imagery and the clash the strange and mystical stuff makes with it is impressive and intriguing. It's a great debut issue.
5 out of 5 stars.

Sunday, July 10, 2022

Today's Toyman Show Was Full of Fun!

Anytime there is a ToyMan show I try to attend as it is guaranteed I will find a ton of stuff and see a bunch of great folks! ToyMan shows are packed to the gills with toys, Lego, die-cast cars, Funko Pops, movies, games, comics, and more. Anytime I go I find something cool I wanted, and that happened today too with a variety of neat stuff! I kicked off the show as I often do, by saying hello to my friend John Chaffee of Bigfoot Comics and Collectibles. I saw my chum, Tim Metzger, as well while he was selling stuff. I ran into Tom from Alliance Comics, Toys, and Games too. Spike of Lost in Space Toys and Collectibles had stepped away from his booth, but I was impressed with the cool stuff he had when I was browsing. Larry from Bug's Comics and Games was selling a ton of cool stuff as well. I saw Vince of VK Toys and we were able to cut a deal on a great copy of, "She-Hulk," #1 that I was enthusiastic to get. Here's a picture of it:

Konnor Tate of Tatertot Comics & Collectibles was at the show and we discussed how I'm excited for the rapidly-approaching grand opening of his store--expect an article on that as July 30th nears. I chatted with my friend Brian Lan too, who was selling wares and at other shows is often there representing the Hero Initiative! I went upstairs and saw my friend Jessica Mathews had her latest book for sale! Titled, "Roar," I got a copy for Clarkson to read and he eagerly flipped through it once I brought it home:

I continued to walk about in the upstairs area, chatting with Lonnie of Heroes for Kids Perryville. They have their show coming up this Saturday the 16th. I am excited to go and write about it! I also saw Lindsay Hornsby of Mega Giganto comics. She had her latest book available which was a, "Princess Pups," coloring and activity book. I bought it as we've loved her previous, "Princess Pups," works! Check it out:

ToyMan was a ton of fun today--just as it is anytime I visit the show! Between all the goods for sale, the lovely vendors, and the general positive energy every show has, I love going to ToyMan anytime it occurs. The next one will be on August 28th, so visit the site and plan your visit!

Saturday, July 9, 2022

The First Two Issues of, "Justice Warriors," Are Satirical Gold

Back In February, it was announced how Matt Bors and Ben Clarkson were teaming up for a satirical sci-fi comic focused on the police of a sci-fi World. There is a bubble and it is full of rich people and safe. Everything outside the bubble is basically a barely policed and barely cared-for place of mayhem. The series follows Swamp Cop and his new partner, Officer Schitt (who has a piece of poop for his head) as they try to keep the peace, and mostly fail at it. In these two first issues we see record buyback plans that sound Ponzi-scheme-ish result in riots, people treating bread like a currency leading to even more craziness, and all the meanwhile a quite rebellion seems to be forming among the citizens most horribly impacted by this dystopia. It sounds a bit dreary, but this comic is hilarious. It is one big piece of parody that is not anti-cop by any means but clearly mocking those who think of the police as an infallible force.

"Justice Warriors," is an absolute hoot in its clever commentary on society presented through a slightly askew and twisted lens. You can buy the first issue as all finer comic shops now and the second one will be in shops on Wednesday, July 13th. If you like a good mix of smart and gross humor (most of us do) then you'll appreciate this series immensely.

5 out of 5 stars.

Note: An advance digital copy of the second issue of, "Justice Warriors," was provided to me for the purposes of review.

Friday, July 8, 2022

CGC to add QR Codes for Easier Access to Grading Information

 

CGC and CBCS are always competing against one another for better or worse. One adds a feature and the other does it, one raises prices and the other sees how they can get away with it too. In a move that apparently CBCS had done but now CGC will be doing too, their graded comics and magazines will have QR codes. These QR codes will provide a link to grader notes and other information about the comic/magazine, provided for free (this is nice as grader notes used to be behind a paywall in the old days). I myself have never found QR codes that useful, but this is a clever way to utilize them and I am interested to see how this impacts the whole CGC versus CBCS debate everyone always has. Oh yeah, and PGX exists too. They still struggle to gain respect in the marketplace though so c'mon, it is more of a two-horse race. 

Anyways, comics that were slabbed before this new addition can still have information gathered about them by folks going to CGCcomics.com/certlookup and typing in the certification number, so this isn't just a benefit for new comics, thankfully. I am pleased with this new development and hope CGC (and CBCS) keep innovating.

Thursday, July 7, 2022

Flamin' Hot Mountain Dew is Awful

I like to tell you, my readers, about various flavors of soda. Some are decent, some are terrible. Mountain Dew has released a new, "Flamin' Hot," flavor. I tried it and found myself sufficiently grossed out after a few sips. It tastes like Mountain Dew but then you get a weird and uncomfortable tingle in the back of your throat like you need to cough and your nose maybe runs a little. I guess that's the, "Flamin' Hot," magic at work? It just made me feel icky and I poured the rest of the soda down the drain after experiencing what the latest Mountain Dew flavor had to offer. I guess nothing will ever top the deliciousness that is Code Red.

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

"Batman," #125 Kicks off the Zdarsky and Jiménez Run With a Jolt of Energy

With issue #125 we have a new creative team on, "Batman," and I'm eager for more! Writer Chip Zdarsky is the only person I know of who has ever been scripting a Daredevil and Batman comic at the same time (some folks have tackled each at different points in their career). Jorge Jiménez is a fantastic artist and has partnered with Zdarsky for this new era of Batman, and they give us something pretty cool. Oswald Cobblepot AKA the Penguin is killing off anyone who is rich and refuses to donate their money, which puts Bruce Wayne and other people in his sights. Plus, Bruce is having nightmares--something that rarely occurs. 

Throughout the issue we have some new mysteries arise (something called, "Failsafe," activates), a villain's death I shan't spoil that actually surprised me a little (I don't know how long it will stick, but it did manage to shock a bit), and callbacks to past trauma's Batman has faced as new ones occur. It's the first issue of Zdarsky and Jiménez's run so they have to quickly and carefully lay out a bunch of stuff to build upon, but they're both pros and excel at doing so. The story has my attention and the art is gorgeous beyond belief (a rain-slicked Batman is always an impressively illustrated Batman). I'm a fan of both creators and if this first issue of their run is any indication we should be in for a great time while they're doing, "Batman."

I would be remiss if I didn't mention the back-up story in this issue that is also written by Zdarsky but features the artistic talents of Belén Ortega. It focuses on Catwoman as she deals with the social and financial fallout of the aforementioned villain who died. It ties together with the main story nicely while doing its own thing and zipping along delightfully with a bit more humor than the main Batman story. Should you be a fan of Batman you'll find the main and back-up story both great at scratching your fandom-itch and if you're a new/newer reader to the character you can follow along quite easily too. I'd say this is a fantastic...

5 out of 5 stars.

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

A, "Web 3.0," Console Sounds Sufficiently Scammy and Dystopic

In news that had Kotaku absolutely cracking up at how obvious a scam it is, a supposed new console has been announced that will be focused on Cryptocurrency, NFTs, and otherwise is fake and stupid. Called the Polium One, it has no announced games, zero detailed specs, and is supposedly coming as soon as 2023 or as late as 2024 for an unclear amount of money/digital imaginary dollars. The logo also looks like they ripped off the Gamecube logo. My opinions on Crytpo/NFTs are well-known whether they are doing, "Well," or outright crashing. A video-game console designed with that grift in mind that is itself a scam is a bit of a perfect metaphor for all of this.

Monday, July 4, 2022

It's Independence Day...For What That's Worth This Year

Today is July 4th, Independence Day. I don't feel like there is much to celebrate in America this year, unfortunately. The Supreme Court is doing its best to destroy any progress our Nation has made in the last half-century (look at abortion, the environment, and so forth) with a fascism-obsessed GOP cheering it on. The Democrats seem more interested in discussing civility and compromise than actually realizing Republicans want to end any semblance of democracy, separation of church and state, and basically ban being LGBTQ+. The economy is a mess, gas prices are bad, COVID-19 still is a concern as much as folks want to pretend it isn't, and gun violence continues to run rampant (in case anyone forgot about that). Meanwhile, we have a former President who clearly encouraged the January 6th insurrection but somehow is still walking around free instead of in Prison for treason (Donald Trump was the worst President ever, I don't know how anyone could beat how horrific he was). Things are bad in America, yet despite all odds, I still have some hope.

I'm not proud of what my country is, but I'm hopeful about what it could someday be. If we can build off of the foundation we were given to make something great our Nation could be amazing. Right now it feels like the good ship America is going down in flames, sinking at a shocking rate. We are definitely at a low point as Nation, but I believe that stuff can get better. Some of the most awful people in power need to be voted out or they'll cling to power until they die of old age (seriously, look at some of the GOP and how decrepit, ancient, and hateful they are). We also clearly need to consider packing the Supreme Court, Biden needs to actually exercise some Executive privilege to fix a chunk of the messes going on, and basically, something has got to give as shit needs to change. But yeah, happy July 4th of 2022, maybe 2023 can be an improvement.

Sunday, July 3, 2022

Oni Press--We All Seem to Have Questions With No Answers

Oni Press puts out some cool comics. I remember when they acquired Lion Forge and seemed to be doing well. Now, there seem to be some troubled waters. Multiple sites are asking what is going on with Oni Press? We've got multiple executives leaving, accusations of not paying creators their full royalties, and statements that titles weren't adequately advertised. At least, things weren't promoted beyond the inadvertent help provided to the title, "Genderqueer," when Republicans in Virginia complained it was obscene (because discussing anything beyond cisgender hetero lives is horrific in their eyes). Oni Press has remained relatively tight-lipped about any inner drama and it is worrisome. Oni Press/Lion Forge has given us some great comics. I hope everything gets worked out.

Saturday, July 2, 2022

When R&B Goes Country and Vice-Versa

When I was in the car coming back from Colorado my sister-in-law was playing various country songs, as she is a fan of the genre. I honestly don't listen to much country outside of some Johnny Cash, Garth Brooks, The (formerly Dixie) Chicks, and Trace Adkins. Hence, I was surprised to hear a very familiar song being sung by an unfamiliar voice. It was a man named John Michael Montgomery singing, "I Swear." I knew all the lyrics as apparently after he sang it the song became a smash hit with the cover version by the gentlemen of All-4-One. I had no clue it was even a cover as oftentimes people don't think about R&B and Country intersecting in such a manner. It has happened with some great songs that started as one genre and then became the other, however.

"Back At One," is a smash-hit song by the immensely talented Brian McKnight. However, some may actually know also as a country ballad by Mark Wills. Both are loaded with emotion, but they do indeed have a different vibe. Then you've got, "I Will Always Love You." Originally sung by Dolly Parton, it was later covered by Whitney Houston and went from a bit of a quiet song of love to an absolute epic when Whitney hits those high notes. Interestingly enough, Reba McEntire has a cover of Beyonce's hit, "If  I Were a Boy," but she has discussed she felt it didn't do the original justice and only released it due to pressure from her record label.

I didn't have much of a point to this post besides using it to show how a great song sometimes works wonderfully in multiple genres! Sometimes a good tune can work in all kinds of ways, and I like that. To bring us full circle I present a duet of John Michael Montgomery and All-4-One singing the song that gave me the idea for this post as a live duet to celebrate the success of both their versions:

 Wild to see both versions mashed up in a duet of sorts.