Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Happy Sixth Birthday, Clarkson!

I want to wish a happy sixth birthday to my awesome child, Clarkson! He is the best little guy. One funny thing is when he was little he never had a, "Lovey," he wanted to sleep with but now that he's a bit older he likes to hold the Roku television remote when he's getting ready to snooze. The television doesn't even need to be on, but he likes to hold the remote. Clarkson is very sweet and loving--he gives great hugs and always wants to be tickled. I am so pleased with how much progress he has made as he keeps growing and learning. Happy birthday, Clarkson!

Monday, February 27, 2023

If You're Ever in Washington, Missouri You Should Visit These Two Places...

I've been over to Washington, Missouri on a number of occasions as my wife has some family living out that direction. With that in mind, I wanted to write about two places I enjoy stopping at any time we get over to Washington. I now present them alphabetically...

Aces & Eagles Disc Golf, Darts, Bar & Arcade + Comics & Gaming Supplies!

As the name of this location indicates, they've got a ton of fun stuff going on. Aces and Eagles is a store for disc golf and darts. It is an arcade. It has food and drink. There are comic books for sale, people play trading card games there, and basically, if there is something fun to do Aces and Eagles may very well have it for you to engage in! The staff are all incredibly nice so whether you want to play some arcade games, hang out with friends, eat a bit of grub, or do all of that, Aces and Eagles has you covered! Check out their website here.

underGROUNDS Espresso Bar

underGROUNDS actually had one location literally underground but moved to a nearby and more spacious spot which is quite lovely and spacious. They have a ton of cool coffee options here as well as a full menu of delicious hot food plus baked good (the snickerdoodle with some bourbon flavor is legit awesome). If you need a caffeine fix or some yummy breakfast while you're in Washington make sure to stop here. Explore the site for underGROUNDS at this link.

Sunday, February 26, 2023

I've Lost a Lot of Enthusiasm in "Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League," Hearing How It's Basically a Live Service Game

I loved the, "Arkham," games created by Rocksteady. I've been looking forward to, "Suicide Squad Kill the Justice League." However, as some new stuff about the game has been revealed, I have concerns.

The game will require you to always be online even if you're doing single-player mode because it will be a bit of a live service game. It will have updates with loot you can get killing baddies and there will be DLC new characters that--at least--won't cost money to my understanding, but there will be cosmetic upgrades you can purchase (I guess a bit like Fortnite). As Paul Tassi over at Forbes observes, it looks like live service Hell.

As some tweets have observed, it is, "Fun,"  to see Captain Boomerang
with what he is most known for, guns.

Look, I don't need a game I can supposedly play forever with little updates, different gear I collect over the months, and a cosmetic battle pass. I want something I can dive into, enjoy, and have fond memories of when I'm done. I haven't played a big online RPG since, "World of Warcraft," years ago and the last live service games I dabbled in were, the first, "Destiny," and, "Fortnite," although I guess Marvel Snap kind of counts as it has season passes, that's an online virtual card battler though so ehhhh. Live service silliness just is generally not for me.

I am completely open to trying out, "Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League," and seeing if it is in fact incredibly fun, inventive, compelling, and basically, all the stuff those, "Arkham," games Rocksteady did were. I just feel a lot more reserved and less excited than when the game first was announced and previewed. I guess we'll have a better idea this May.

Saturday, February 25, 2023

There Will be American Girl Dolls Themed for 1999 and I'm Clearly Old Now

American Girl Dolls exist to spotlight moments of history. They've had dolls address major periods of time. We've got dolls serving as historical nonfiction of history in living memory like civil rights to dolls featuring other times like immigration in the 1800s. American Girl Dolls feature the past and now we're going to have the first-ever set of twins...from 1999. God, I'm old enough now to have an American Girl Doll set when I was alive. Meet Isabel and Nicki. They're young adults living in 1999 who love the Pizza Hut Book-It program, playing with Tamagotchi toys, using computers, and worrying about Y2K.

It has slowly dawned on me over the years I'm getting old. I was by the comic shop one time and saw a kid with a shirt that read, "Straight out of 2005," hop in a car and drive it. I was startled at the thought they must be too young to be driving, but it was 2022 and if you subtract 2005 from that you've got someone who was 17 and (at least in the state of Missouri) can drive a car. I had a conversation with an employee at a store we frequent about OutKast and how their album, "Speakerboxxx/The Love Below," came out in 2003. She stated, "Oh yeah, I was three years old then." I'm just saying, I get that I'm old, I just did not realize I was, "American Girl Doll made a book about a time period I lived through," old.

Friday, February 24, 2023

"Something is Killing the Children," Shall Be a Netflix Show

"Something is Killing the Children," has been a major hit comic and is probably the most popular series from BOOM! Studios (although they've had a number of great titles). It would have some news about an option on occasion but little would come from it. Well, Netflix has made it clear they're interested in making a show as, "Netflix has commissioned Baran Bo Adar and Jante Friese, acclaimed creators of Dark and 1899, to develop a TV series adaptation," of SIKTC. The comic's creative team James Tynion IV and Werther Dell’Edera will be co-executive producing. Assuming the show gets made this could be a hit as folks love horror series lately. Whether it can keep going as lots of streamers seem to give shows just a season or two before canceling them will remain to be seen. At least we might get a good 8-13 episodes or so based on the comic, though. That might be fun.

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Marvel Announces, "Ultimate Invasion," is Coming this Summer

Ever since Marvel's Ultimate Universe ended during the, 2015 "Secret Wars," event there have been hints of something brewing with its possible return. The Ultimate Universe's Reed Richards (who became an evil fellow named The Maker) popped up in the, "Venom," series while Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman worked on it, and Miles Morales originated in the Ultimate Universe before being folded into the main 616 continuity after, "Secret Wars," with issues arising at times for him due to that (the, "Other Miles," also called Ultimatum). Things are coming to a head, however, with, "Ultimate Invasion."

Writer Jonathan Hickman (who did a chunk of work with the Ultimate Universe when he came to Marvel) and illustrator Bryan Hitch (who was basically involved with the Ultimate Universe from the start back in the 2000s) will be doing, "Ultimate Invasion." It'll have The Maker and Miles Morales heavily involved along with heroes from both Universes seeming to face off with that troublemaking Illuminati that Bendis created in, "New Avengers," and Hickman also wrote having some involvement too --possibly an Ultimate Illuminati? The exact details of the event are scarce, but with a solid creative team and a fun concept, I'm already on board to at least try the event out. I just hope it doesn't have a ton of tie-ins as that gets tiring (although it is often easy to skip a chunk of those if needed). More of, "Ultimate Invasion," will apparently be revealed in a Free Comic Book Day offering from Marvel with the first issue following in June.

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

The, "Unexplained Prague," Kickstarter Looks Fun!

I will on occasion have the people behind a Kickstarter campaign reach out to me. They'll ask me to give their campaign a look and consider supporting it or writing about it. The folks at Skull and City sent over a message about their latest Kickstarter for, "Unexplained Prague." They previously made, "Unexplained London," and it is a series of pocket guides for cities that are also graphic novels telling the urban legends/stories of such locations. 

Prague is located in the Czech Republic and has a variety of ghost stories, rumored UFO sightings, and more. Author/investigator Mackenzie Peltz writes and illustrates, "Unexplained Prague," and as I am someone who enjoys fun little travel guides and comics their Kickstarter looks quite snazzy. I would encourage folks to check out the Kickstarter for, "Unexplained Prague," and to back it should they find the book cool!

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Oni Lion Forge Press Seems to Be Rebuilding and Recovering From Past Concerns

It's been a rough time for a lot of comic-book publishers. I'm worried about IDW based on their money issues, AfterShock is going through bankruptcy, and Heavy Metal was acquired by Whatnot's publishing division or else it might have folded. Oni Lion Forge seemed to be laying off a ton of people and there were rumblings about if that publisher was in danger of closing up shop. However, it seems to be recovering and rebuilding, interestingly enough. 

There was the merger some years ago between Oni Press and Lion Forge which caused some drama, and then 2022 had essentially a total staff change. However, in December of 2022, Hunter Gorinson joined as President and now it was announced today that Sierra Hahn will be the Editor-in-Chief. Hahn's been in comics for over a decade in various important roles and is a great addition to any comic company. I don't think Oni Lion Forge would be adding some cool folks if it were truly a sinking ship as opposed to one trying to adjust course. My sympathy extends to everyone who was impacted by the massive lay-offs Oni Press Lion Forge had and I hope Oni Press Lion Forge itself can continue to grow and succeed,

Monday, February 20, 2023

247 Comics Could Be an Cool New Publisher Except it has an Interest in NFTs

Cryptocurrency is a stupid idea, as I've repeated on this site many times regardless of whether it is supposedly going up or engaging in an inevitable crash. NFTs are a horrible idea as well, serving as a piece of code that you have showing you, "Own," a picture/comic/dumb digital asset. When I heard about a new comic publisher called 247 Comics that would have some cool talent I was intrigued...until I saw those dreaded three letters in a row, NFT. Creators will be able to make more money from their works via the blockchain--somehow. Plus the people reading the comics will be vital (I mean, obviously) as they are apparently thinking about, "...collectors, who can directly participate in the growth and expansion of each franchise, as well 247’s impact on the overall world of entertainment in all its forms from the blockchain to the bookshelf." Apparently, buying-up big pieces of the blockchain for a comic will show it is popular. How inventive and not at all just like how if people buy a bunch of issues of a comic it does well and more volumes get made.

The whole press release that Comicsbeat presents with surprisingly little criticism in their article just reads like the usual, "Web 3.0," bluster of catchphrases and inventing things that already exist. When you throw out empty sentences like calling blockchain, "...a paradigm shift towards decentralization and democratization of entertainment and commerce," my eyes just glaze over. I mean, you've got Justin Jordan of, "Luther Strode," fame among other stuff, talented creator Priscilla Petraites (she was amazing on the, "Chariot," mini-series), and plenty of other cool folks at your new publisher and you want to talk to me about, "...a decentralized community ownership model made possible by emerging technology," when you could be selling me on comics? 

Cryptocurrency and NFTs are quite possibly the dumbest inventions of this century (and we're early in this century which I doubt I'll live to see the end of, but I'm pretty sure by 2100 the history books will discuss how awful Crytpo-anything was). You can check 247 Comics out online, and while I might read their actual comics, I won't touch any of the blockchain junk they're so eager to dabble in.

Sunday, February 19, 2023

Clarkson and I Met Spidey Today!

Today we went to one of Clarkson's favorite places to play, the We Rock the Spectrum Kid's Gym in Fenton. There are many WRTS locations that are all individually owned as part of the franchise, and our favorite one to visit is located in--as I said--Fenton. They had the, "Hero Hangout," event and a couple of superheroes appeared. We were most excited to see Spidey though. Samii, Clarkson, and I all wore clothes in the theme of Spidey and it was cute when Clarkson had Spidey help push him on the swing. I was able to get a selfie too, as can be seen above. We love WRTS in Fenton and I'd encourage you to visit the website I linked up above or to check out their oft-updated Facebook page as well. If you live in the Saint Louis region it is a fantastic place to go play whether your child is neurotypical or has special needs. I'd highly recommend going for an event or open play sometime. I also want to thank Enchanted Events, the agency that sent over Spidey, or as he is called on their page, Spidey Guy, so as to avoid anyone confusing him with any other Spider-characters, just to throw that disclaimer out there for them.

Saturday, February 18, 2023

"Hogwarts Legacy," is What Happens When Your Game is Controversial and Generic at the Same Time

"Hogwarts Legacy," was bound to be a lightning rod of a game. It takes place in a World created by J.K. Rowling, an author who in recent years made it quite evident she holds extremely transphobic views. People often discuss separating art from the artist, and I talked about this back in 2020 when her opinions became evident. Some folks absolutely love the Harry Potter Universe and choose to separate Rowling's hate from their adoration of the property (that or they don't care/actually share her views). Other people enjoyed Harry Potter in the past but have stepped away from it with Rowling's beliefs now being apparent. What about me? Well, I am totally open about having only seen the first movie and struggling to get through the fourth book as a teen--before seeing how big the fifth was and just giving up on the franchise entirely. I don't hate the Harry Potter franchise. I also am not enamored with it. I was already disinterested in the game because I just don't want to support Rowling. It isn't like Lovecraft being long gone, she's still actively tweeting venom at folks (imagine if Lovecraft could tweet). However, I did consider renting the game to play it and offering a review of sorts about how the actual title itself was, you know, doing some journalism. That said, the game sounds like every other bland open-world title lately with some magical window-dressing and little else.

When it comes to books, movies, video-games, comics, or quite frankly anything, I hate boring. I'll take, "Weird," over, "Decent but dull," any day of the week. When it came to a game set in the universe of Harry Potter (albeit in the 1890s before he existed) I wouldn't think the main problem it could have besides its associations with the person who birthed its Universe is to be bland. Then I read how you wander around an open world doing quests, collecting gear/herbs/ and so forth for crafting, fire off a wand like a third-person shooter when you're not doing stealth kills (without actually killing) and this sounds like all those, "Assasin's Creed," games I played. That or, "Far Cry." Oh, maybe, "Read Dead Redemption 2," with the past setting, or the, "Dragon Age," games with all the magic (or "The Witcher," franchise and many other fantasy titles). Hell, "Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild," is arguably the best open-world fantasy game ever, with little to match it in sheer enjoyment.

What I'm saying is there are tons of open-world games and, "Hogwarts Legacy," seems to draw from a ton of them without doing anything new, based on what I've read and seen from viewing gameplay videos online. I'm not sure I want to drop eight bucks to play the same game I've dabbled in before with little to make it unique besides the Harry Potter license. I can fight against evil goblins as Link. I can sneak around as one of many different eras of assassins. I can enjoy magic in plenty of games (I love casting magic in Elder Scrolls titles). What is the twist, "Hogwarts Legacy," gives us besides, "You know those books you loved before the author became problematic? Now you can explore that World in a generic action RPG set a century before the stuff you loved reading about!" 

According to the folks who have actually reviewed the game's actual gamey aspects, there is little of note there. Folks are just buying the game in droves because they love Harry Potter or perhaps want to own the, "Woke liberals." If any of these people have played an open-world title in the last decade or so however, they've seen this done, and by all accounts done much better--seriously, "Red Dead Redemption 2," and, "Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild," are the only two open-world games you really need from the last 10 years with, "Grand Theft Auto V," meriting a mention as well although it first came out in September of 2013 so it is the most long-in-the-tooth.

I understand how if this were the best game ever people who want to support trans rights could struggle with their desire to play it and try to argue there isn't, "Ethical consumption in capitalism," or some B.S.  In this case, however, ya'll ain't missing much by refusing to give Rowling's estate your cash. It is bizarre how people seem willing to excuse transphobia and overlook dull and uninspiring gameplay in the name of getting to wear a sorting hat and floating on a broom. Perhaps a day will come when Rowling sells the rights to the HP franchise and the idea of her profiting from new creations within the World is gone and allows people to feel better about being a student at Hogwarts. For now though, the, "Legacy," is tainted and apparently not even that fun.

Friday, February 17, 2023

My Review of Dr. Pepper's New Strawberries and Cream Flavor

I'm drinking less soda overall but I do like to try various flavors. I've had some recently that are good, some have been awful, and some are perfectly fine but unremarkable (looking at you, Starry). I was able to sample the new Dr. Pepper Strawberries and Cream flavor, and I will say that it is actually quite good. Keep in mind this is coming from someone who was so lukewarm on the regular cream flavor I don't even think I wrote a review of it, I just shrugged and found it tasted so much like regular Dr. Pepper with a slight bit of creaminess it didn't warrant a post. Strawberries and Cream, though? This stuff's pretty snazzy.

There is definitely a strong taste of strawberry, but it does not overpower the Dr. Pepper itself, which I appreciate. The creaminess is pretty subtle but balances with everything in a way that simply works. Any hesitations I had about a somewhat complex-sounding flavor for Dr. Pepper disappeared once I started drinking this blend. My wife, Samii, tried the zero sugar version and was less impressed than I was, but found it okay. I, however, really enjoyed the Strawberries and Cream flavor. It by no means will replace my affection for the regular flavor (the only spin-off soda to ever do that is Mountain Dew Code Red), but it definitely is quite yummy. If you spot it at the store it is definitely worth purchasing and trying out.

4 out of 5 stars.

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Can Someone Explain Mr. Beast to Me?

Mr. Beast

I am online a lot so I've heard of Mr. Beast. I have seen some of his videos. He is quite possibly the most popular, "Influencer," in existence, worth nearly a billion dollars. I don't get why because I don't get it. His videos are perfectly fine. He usually has some silly contest or gimmick where he gives money to people if they do a challenge. To his credit, I've never seen a nasty/gross/otherwise mean-spirited challenge. I know he has faced criticism for, "Public altruism," like when he did a video paying for surgery to help people with vision issues see better. Mr. Beast, or Jimmy Donaldson if we're using his real name, seems like a pleasant enough dude. Why is he so popular though? Why do I not find myself entertained by his videos like other folks who comment with the affection of a borderline cultish love? What am I not getting?

I'm 34 and nearing 35. Am I just too old to get it? Do the younger folks adore Mr. Beast because they find his videos really entertaining in some fashion? Is he hyped up a lot because folks like to fantasize about Mr. Beast giving them a ton of money somehow or some way (kind of like how when you buy a lottery ticket you're paying a couple bucks to get to imagine what it would be like to have a windfall)? His earlier videos were fun little viral stunts that he did, I see some charm in those. Maybe kids love him because he used to be a teenager making silly little videos and now he's stinking rich--is it a, "If he can do it anyone can," type of thing?

I don't like Mr. Beast. I don't dislike Mr. Beast. I simply don't get Mr. Beast. Can someone explain him to me? Anyone is welcome to do so. A fan can do so. A hater can offer an opinion. Hell, Mr. Beast can call me up and explain what his deal is to me if he feels like it in-between making videos or apparently doing branded food delivery among other projects. I just want to get it, whatever it is. That, or maybe I am too old and should go back to remembering the 2000s and our viral-video stars of that era. Whatever happened to that kid who bit Charlie's finger?

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Time for the Best Valentine's Day Song in the Year it Turns 20!

OutKast's Instagram had some fun little Valentines today.

It is Valentine's Day, therefore it is now time for the best song about the holiday. "Happy Valentine's Day," was on OutKast's superb double LP, "Speakerboxxx/The Love Below). Both a pro-love and anti-love song, it works whether you've got a sweetheart or are single. It's just a great tune and is 20 years old in 2023. Here ya go:

Happy Valentine's Day and/or Fuck That Valentine's Day indeed.

Monday, February 13, 2023

Domino's Loaded Tots Are Quite Tasty


For the Super Bowl yesterday we stayed home and picked up some Domino's items, including their new loaded tots. Samii and I sampled the cheddar bacon ones and they were delicious. The mixture of tots, cheese, bacon, and ranch worked perfectly. I always am a fan of tater tots and these hit the spot. I'll definitely have them again as a side next time I order some Domino's pizza. My only criticism would be that a little more cheese might make them even better. That quibble aside, these are definitely worth trying out.

4.5 out of 5 stars.

Sunday, February 12, 2023

I Really Dug That First Issue of, "A Vicious Circle," and Look Forward to the Next

In December of last year, the first issue was released of, "A Vicious Circle." A treasury-sized comic from BOOM! Studios, it is set to be three sizeable issues overall. Featuring the writing of Mattson Tomlin (known for his work on various movies and comics) and the artwork of Lee Bermejo (known for being an amazing artist on a variety of comics, many of them featuring Batman), this series focuses on two time-travelers who are locked in a big fight to stop or enable some kind of doomsday machine. They jump around together anytime one of them kills someone, possibly ending up in the 1950s, far-future, or even before humans existed if a cliffhanger at the end of the first issue is any indicator.

It's a clever concept, as we witness Shawn Thacker (who we assume is the good guy), trying to carve out a quiet life and avoid any trouble while his evil foe, a man named Ferris, eagerly wants to cause as much mayhem and violence as possible. Bermejo's art really struck me, changing dramatically with every, "Jump," through time as if a whole new artist had taken over for a handful of panels, but it is all Bermejo. He's practically showing off on a double-page spread loaded with jumps in time that is as disorienting as it is gorgeous to witness. The story takes enough time to situate us with Shawn before a lot of crazy time travel starts, however, so the relatively chill first third of the comic gets us caring about Shawn and then the zany other 2/3 takes us on a mind-bending trip to various periods of time.

I believe the second issue of, "A Vicious Circle," is due this February or March. The debut issue clearly has stuck with me and that's why I wanted to write about it and turn others onto this mini-series. Go find yourself a copy of the first issue so you can be as excited for the next one as I am!

5 out of 5 stars.

Saturday, February 11, 2023

It's Always Interesting When a Comic Gets More Issues Instead of Less

Often a comic will supposedly launch as an ongoing series but end up lasting all of 6-12 issues and become a, "Stealth mini-series/maxi-series." Not too often, a comic starts as a mini/maxi and is so popular that it becomes ongoing. It happened with the old, "Transformers," comic and was a recent occurrence with the smash-hit, "Something is Killing the Children," but again, it is rare. Hence, it is interesting to see, "Poison Ivy," and her self-titled series went from being launched as six issues, to twelve, to now being a full ongoing.

I haven't read the comic yet, but I've heard good things about it. Written by G. Willow Wilson with art done by Marcio Takara, I have noticed a ton of great covers for the series and as I said, I've been told the plotting and art within the comic are superb. A collection of the first six issues will be released as, "Volume 1," when the 12th issue hits stands and then the 13th issue will roll out after that, with more to come!

Friday, February 10, 2023

It is Odd How They Air Big Super Bowl Ads BEFORE the Super Bowl

Imagine you have a big television show or movie coming out. Then, a few days before it is set to release in theaters/on a streaming platform/etc. you just plop it on YouTube for everyone to see the highlights. I know an advertisement is different than a movie or show, but that's how I feel about Super Bowl ads being put online a number of days before the actual Super Bowl.

A part of me understands. Companies spend a ton of money to get these ads on the air and want to get their full monies' worth. If you spent 7 million just to broadcast your ad and even more on producing it and promoting it ya gotta squeeze that orange for all the juice you can. That said, the ads have always been a big selling point of the Super Bowl--especially for those who could care less about Football (you can't see this, but I'm raising my hand to identify myself). A person can avoid being spoiled, but I have never been especially upset about having something spoiled in a movie or television show, let alone an ad. Still, if there aren't cool new 30-second spots to get excited about because the Today show is already showcasing them or they're everywhere online, what's the point of shelling out all that money or watching the Super Bowl itself? 

There is the halftime show, I guess, but even though last year it was amazing it is a bummer this year we have Rhianna. I'm sorry but when you've got 50 Cent, Dr. Dre, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, Mary J. Blige, and Snoop Dogg (along with Anderson .Paak on the drums) and then give me Rhianna, that's a downgrade. I've never been a fan of her yodeling in most of her songs and hearing Rhianna was making new music again served to remind me how much I don't like her music.

We've got a bunch of spoiled advertisements, a mediocre halftime performer, and a sport I don't follow much at all. I'm still going to watch it because it's the Super Bowl and there is fun to be had in viewing it. I just find some decisions about showcasing the ads in advance or having Rhianna do the halftime show to be baffling choices.

Thursday, February 9, 2023

This Comic Sales Report From Silver Sprocket is Interesting

Silver Sprocket is a comic-book publisher with a lot of great reads to the company's name. They also have a bookstore that sells a ton of independent comics from themselves and other companies. Avi Ehrlich is the head person of all things Silver Sprocket and shared with Comicsbeat what 2022 looked like in terms of sales at the bookstore. It is a fascinating peek at how indie comics and books do at a bookstore specifically tailored to those titles. I look forward to more great comics being published by Silver Sprocket and wish their store the best too!

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

HBO MAX and Discovery+ Will Not Be Merged After All

The big news for awhile was how HBO MAX would just go by, "Max," and was going to absorb Discovery+, turning them into one big service. Well, somebody crunched the numbers and even though HBO MAX/Max subscribers might like having some Discovery+ content, the folks who use Discovery+ have little interest in paying more money for a merged service (HBO MAX/Max costs a lot more than Discovery+). The plan to combine everything is officially scrapped. I guess there isn't a ton of crossover in people who watch prestige cable or DC superhero movie and junky reality television. I mean, I do that, but I'm a uniquely strange person.

HBO MAX/Max will still gain most or all of the content on Discovery+ but there will still be Discovery+ for people too if they're more interested in, "1,000 Pound Sisters," and, "MILF Manor," than scripted programming. Yes, those are actual reality shows I watch. Perhaps this is for the best. People who get Max can dip their toes into trashy reality T.V. and users of Discovery+ won't have to pay extra for movies or shows they have little interest in as opposed to the latest 90 Day Fiancé episode. Everyone wins, I suppose?

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

This IHOP Movie Ticket Promotion is Actually a Really Good Deal

I enjoy IHOP as I am a fan of breakfast foods. I am someone who will eat breakfast-related items any time of the day because no clock is going to control when I get some pancakes. To IHOP's credit, they are doing a movie ticket promotion that is actually a pretty good deal when you crunch the numbers.

Movie tickets are often expensive, running anywhere from at least $10 to often $15 or even more. If you spend $30 or more at IHOP in a single meal/transaction (not counting the tip, but you should treat your server well) and they'll give you up to $15 in Fandango credit to see the new, "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania," flick. Spending $30 shouldn't be too hard if you've got two or three hungry diners (or perhaps if you're just ravenous for a bunch of Rooty Tooty pancakes a solo person could spend that much). Then, you get basically half the meal covered in the form of a movie ticket to a highly-anticipated film.

Yes, you'll probably shell out some of your own funds due to convenience fees and such, but considering IHOP honestly doesn't owe you anything for your $30 besides a tasty meal, getting $15 in Quantum credit (as I'm now calling it) is pretty cool. Forget dinner and a movie, it's time for breakfast and a film.

Note: IHOP did not pay me to write this article or anything. I just like pancakes and movies.

Monday, February 6, 2023

"Where Monsters Lie," #1 is a Clever Take on the Mythology of Horror

Occasionally someone will jokingly ask a question along the lines of, "What does Jason do when it isn't a Friday the 13th?" or, "Wouldn't someone be suspicious of Jigsaw when he buys all the zany supplies for his deathtraps or needs help setting them up? Well, "Where Monsters Lie," takes that question head-on, bringing us the story of a gated community for serial killers, supernaturally powerful slashers, and there is obviously at least one murderous clown. Welcome to Wilmhurst.

It isn't clear exactly why this community exists and why it helps the killers stay shielded from society, plan their sprees, and buy the occasional snacks at the supermarket so they don't spook the locals, but hints are dropped about serving evil/Satan and plenty of ground is covered in this debut issue so I imagine future ones will lay things out even further. Whether arguing about messy trash cans being an HOA violation or who gets to go slaughter a local fair, there is a dark humor to the comic as it both lovingly alludes to horror tropes (the community is who helps sneak the seemingly-dead killers away anytime they're caught and allegedly killed) and deconstructs them--can a monster lose its edge and find more joy in gardening than slicing-up teenagers at a Summer camp?

Kyle Starks writes the comic and balances the macabre and silly with skilled ease. Piotr Kowalski's artwork is something I have been a big fan of since I first discovered his work on the seemingly-on-an-eternal-hiatus series, "Sex," with Joe Casey, and he continues to impress here. The colors by Vladimir Popov are a treat too, giving the seemingly serene setting of Wilmhurst a calm and muted tone while the killers seem to, "Pop," more against their seemingly benign homesteads. Everyone makes for a fantastic creative team and based on a surprising cliffhanger at the end of the issue which hints Wilmhurst might find its quiet days already coming to an end, I'm curious where the comic might be going as Starks could've spent tons of issues just exploring the day-to-day at Wilmhurst. However, after the debut issue, he seems to already be blowing up any hinted-at status quo. I would say, "Where Monsters Lie," is required reading for anyone who enjoys horror movies or clever explorations of them.

5 out of 5 stars.

Sunday, February 5, 2023

I Tried Warheads Sour Green Apple Soda and it Was...Yummy?

I always enjoy sharing my thoughts on soda flavors. I continue to try and drink less soda, but occasionally the urge for sweetened and bubbly water strikes, so what can ya do? We spotted a soda made by Warheads (of sour candy fame) and of the flavors, green apple sounded like it might be the best. We bought it, I tried it, and I actually quite liked it.

To get the first thing out of the way, it is sour, but not to an overpowering degree. You definitely taste the apple flavor and have some sweetness before a slightly sour aftertaste hits and maybe makes you pucker your lips some. The apple sensation is pleasant and hits you more than the sour tang, resulting in a good balance overall. I was quite pleased with this Warheads Sour Green Apple soda and I'd drink it again or give the other flavors a shot. Should you see it in your grocery store and you're in the mood for a different kind of soda, try it out!

4 out of 5 stars.

Saturday, February 4, 2023

The Grammy's 50th Anniversary of Hip-Hop Tribute Makes Me Tempted to Tune In

I have been critical of the Grammy's to a relentless degree on my blog. After all, the chances are surprisingly good they are corrupt, rigged, and generally repellent. Besides that time OutKast essentially took over the awards it has rarely been that fun to watch, an occasional fantastic performance by Kendrick Lamar or Kacey Musgraves winning a significant award aside. All of that said, I believe I want to watch it this Sunday due to a big tribute to Hip-Hop being planned.

Many agree this year is the 50th anniversary of Hip-Hop. There may be some disagreement, but exact date you want to say rap music started aside, a big special segment is going to happen dedicated to Hip-Hop during the Grammys--the line-up is totally stacked too. From older artists to newer ones you've got everyone from Big Boi (of OutKast), to Nelly, Lil Wayne, Missy Elliot, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Rakim, Queen Latifah, Eminem, De La Soul, and so many more. LL Cool J is going to introduce the segment and Questlove is the musical director/producer for it. I am legitimately interested in seeing this segment so I may need to watch the show as it is broadcast from the Crypto.com arena (yes, that is the actual arena's name for now until cryptocurrency finishes cratering and it changes names again). 

Even if I don't want to watch the rest of the show, I can always DVR it and view the tribute segment, I suppose. The Grammys will be on tomorrow, February 5th (at various times depending on your time zone, so check your local listings). I can't speak to the quality of the whole show, but this special part will at least be full of great artists!

Thursday, February 2, 2023

"Tim Seeley's Lucky," is a Fun Combination of Horror and Heroics

"Tim Seeley's Lucky," features the writing of Tim Seeley and art by Troy Dongarra & Billy Parker. As I am a fan of much of what Tim Seeley has crafted I was curious about his superhero, "Lucky." Having read this one-shot that leads into a series this Summer, I found myself quite entertained! "Lucky," is the superhero moniker of a  young woman who was a part of the Superbeasts before they disbanded. They all lived in a World full of horror-styled creatures and were themselves monsters mixed with heroes (like a Shazam-styled Dracula). 

There actually is a free link/QR code in the back of the issue to a, "Superbeasts," comic that appeared in another collection but now can be read on the web to get some further background on this series if readers desire. I followed this issue of, "Tim Seeley's Lucky" before I ever read the prequel and understood everything fine, however. Dongarra and Parker give everything a cartoony and fun look full of pep, creating a zany contrast to the more monstrous designs. It works really well. Seeley's writing of Lucky, a now-retired hero reduced to food delivery, balances humor and humanity with ease. Seeley's a fantastic writer and his horror-inspired hero is good fun as she finds herself drawn back into crime-fighting over this issue.

I really enjoyed, "Tim Seeley's Lucky," and would encourage anyone who likes off-kilter tales of superheroes as opposed to more mainstream yarns to check this issue out. I look forward to the upcoming mini-series this Summer!

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

James Gunn and Peter Safran Announced Their Plans for DC's Film and Television/Streaming

James Gunn and Peter Safran were hired to basically scrap the majority of what the DC film and television division was doing and rebuild it from scratch. They are doing so, with only a few, "Elseworlds,"-style projects happening still and everything else to be a part of a new continuity that mostly ignores all the previous films and the ones still coming out soon and wrapping up what DC has done so far. A big announcement yesterday occurred laying it all out. Let's discuss it.  

Tentatively titled as, "Chapter One: Gods and Monsters," the upcoming slate of movies and shows will include a Superman flick, a horror-styled Swamp Thing, the Authority, a streaming show with Viola Davis as Amanda Waller, Booster Gold show, Batman with his son Damian, Supergirl, Creature Commandos (an animated project) a Green Lantern series, and I think I'm named everything. A lot was announced. Oh, I forgot a Wonder Woman show about her home, Themyscira, because it was said to be like, "Game of Thrones." I've always had zero interest in GoT or stuff inspired by it--this could very well be good though, my eyes just glaze over when someone says anything is like GoT.

Gunn and Safran will keep some previous actors and their characters, but a ton of stuff is getting tossed aside, and some fans think it is for the best and others are screaming on Twitter about their precious, "Snyderverse," being decimated. I honestly was indifferent to much of what DC was putting out (besides Gunn's take on the, "Suicide Squad,"), finding all that stuff fine but not amazing. With this new material I am intrigued in a Swamp Thing flick that is scary and The Authority could be cool--plus Viola Davis is awesome so more Amanda Waller is snazzy. Otherwise, I'm not exactly pumped about what's coming, but do enjoy much of Gunn's work so I'd imagine the more he is involved in a project the more I'll want to check it out. A lot of this stuff is a ways off so as these projects actually come to fruition it'll be a lot more apparent if we're in a new golden age of great DC films and shows, or if Gunn's new start turns out to be a false start. I'm thinking/hoping it will all be cool tho. At least, as long as WB's management isn't going to meddle too much, lest something else get the, "Batgirl," treatment.