Friday, March 31, 2023

"Heimdall," is a Fascinating and Gorgeous Graphic Novel

Max Baitinger created the original graphic novel for one of my favorite indie publishers, Rotopol. Originally published in German, an English language edition is just now out. Many people are familiar with Norse mythology and the characters it contains thanks to assorted pieces of popular culture ranging from children's books to retellings to versions geared more towards grown-up and even popular Marvel comics and movies. Many yarns seem to focus on Thor and his father Odin, but Baitinger realizes that one Norse character deserving of some spotlight is the all-seeling Heimdall.

In the book titled for Heimdall, it focuses on what he sees and why he's important. Heimdall is there to warn everyone about the wolf that will eat the sun and kick off Ragnarok. He watches as humans learn from Odin or benefit from Thor's control of the weather. He witnesses as warriors practice battling and feast in the halls of Valhalla. He waits and observes how cyclical everything is with life ending and restarting anew. Repetition is a big part of, "Heimdall," as he reiterates everything happening and then happening again, the only constant seeming to be Heimdall sitting there, waiting and watching for the wolf to eat the sun. It results in a thoughtful tale where we don't pity or envy Heimdall. He just is.

Baitinger's artwork is intriguingly minimalist. He draws Odin as a bit of an imperceptible blob and Thor as a big and eagerly grinning force. Physical things such as actual clouds or forests intermingle with more ethereal forces like the mythological wolf that is due to eat the sun which Heimdall often discusses his looking out for. The book is entirely black-and-white, with the sharp black shapes standing out from the bright white space in a striking fashion. In a segment where the book discusses what could go wrong if Hemidall fails to warn everyone of the wolf eating the sun switching to a ton of dark inking really captures one's attention.

Between the clever wordplay and plotting of, "Heimdall," along with the intriguing artwork I really enjoyed reading about him in his self-titled book. As a character that doesn't always get as much discussion as the heroic Thor or such I appreciated a book making Heimdall the focal point. I'd highly recommend you have your comic store/book shop/library get a copy of the English language edition of, "Heimdall," as it just recently came out or you can always order a copy from Rotopol's website. It's a superb book.

5 out of 5 stars.

I Wish The Fake Dating Reality Show. "Love Language," Was Real


As part of an early April Fool's Day joke, it was revealed Peacock had teamed up with Duolingo to do a new reality dating show. Titled, "Love Language," the idea was a bunch of hot singles who all spoke different languages would be stuck in a villa trying to figure out how to communicate with one another (such as by using the Duolingo app). I noticed some real folk from actual shows who seem to do the rounds on a number of dating programs (hey there, Franchescha) and even though the whole Duolingo thing struck me as blatant product placement I sincerely thought this was a legit thing when I got the email announcement about it. After reading it was fake and noticing just how incredibly silly the trailer was I understand it is all a joke. Does it have to be, though?

We had a show somewhat like this on Discovery+ called, "Love in the Jungle," where a lot of the time participants couldn't speak. We've had dating shows where the idea is folks come from all over the World--just look at the most recent season of, "Are You the One?" Is a dating show where a bunch of people who speak different languages but learn to communicate whilst hooking up and falling in love that far-fetched? The ultimate twist on this April Foll's Day joke would be if some version of this program turns out to be real and happens due to someone else thinking what I did--"Wait, this is a workable concept!" Other people who were fooled would in fact watch it too. As it is now, however, this was just a silly way to promote how Duolingo users can get access to Peacock at a discount. I can wonder what could have been, however.

Thursday, March 30, 2023

Random Popular Culture Business News Round-Up

An assortment of business-related things happened these past few days. I didn't want to give them all their own article so let's do a fun popular culture business news round-up. What? It's fun!

Don't Mess With Disney

Three things you never mess around with are Nintendo, the IRS, and Disney. They will get the better of you. You'll end up sued, tricked, or in jail. Ron DeSantis has been engaged in a feud with Disney that involved trying to strip them of their own special district they govern. DeSantis thought he pulled that off with a new board he appointed...and Disney used a bunch of random legal tricks to strip them of any power. I'm no lover of any big corporation, but DeSantis is a monster and it is kind of hilarious to see his attempts to attack, "Evil, woke Disney," blow up in his face. You don't mess with the Mouse.

Again, Don't Mess With Disney

Ike Pearlmutter was the most powerful man at Marvel for years. Marvel was bought-out and absorbed by Disney but Pealmutter hung around, trying to maintain or gain more power. Disney's President Bob Iger was able to get Ike laid off. A lot (a whole lot) of people did not like Ike but some are worried about how he and other execs getting fired will impact Marvel and its comic-book division as a whole. For now, it seems like not too much will happen with the day-to-day at Marvel and its comic-book division, but we shall see.

E3 is Dead

E3 is a big video-game expo that has gone on for years but lately had been less important in this era of streaming, companies doing their own events, and so forth. COVID-19 hitting didn't do it any favors and now the 2023 show is canceled. E3 returning after this year seems unlikely. Back in the 1990's E3 was the event for video-games. Now, it is just another memory of a bygone era.

Funko to the Landfill

Funko had arguably been overproducing products for a while now. Countless Pops as tie-ins to properties nobody cared about, attempts at other lines with many failures per popular new item, and so forth. Apparently, it was costing Funko more to keep a bunch of extra stock in a warehouse than to transport 30 million dollars worth of product to a that's what they did. I guess donating stuff would have been less of a tax write-off because Funko literally destroyed millions of dollars worth of product and as they stood over the remnants of Snoke and Snape Pops shredded to pieces I assume did a twisted smile.

Bryan Edward Hill and Elena Casagrande Are Launching a New Blade Comic This Summer!

Bryan Edward Hill is a talented writer and friend of the blog. I've discussed enjoying a number of his works and he was kind enough to do a lovely interview with me some years ago. We've continued to keep in touch off and on (I always enjoy reading his musings about technology on Twitter) and I was excited to see he'll be writing a new, "Blade," series at Marvel! The talented Elena Casagrande will be the artist and it is the first ongoing Blade-centric series since--let me check my notes--wow, 2007. Blade is a fantastic character when written well and I have zero doubt Hill will give us a great story starring the vampire hunter with Casagradne's artwork surely being a treat to witness as well. The new, "Blade," ongoing starts this July and I know I'll be reading it!

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

It Has Been Revealed: DC is Creating a Digital Card Game

Marvel Snap has become a massive hit. I'm still playing it daily and enjoy it a lot (the game was one of my favorites of 2022 and still is superb). Well, DC wants to get involved in digital card games too and will be giving us DC Dual Force. Early reaction has found it seems to be a good deal different than Marvel Snap and reminds folk of slower-played games like Magic: The Gathering. Quite frankly, if it is good and fun I'm more than happy to try it out and welcome the other biggest comic publisher doing its own similar-yet-different thing. Now to just dream an impossible dream of a crossover where we get some DC cards in Snap or Marvel pops up in this Dual Force game. That would be wild but is incredibly unlikely, of course. Now we wait for the game's official release and then can check it out.

I Tried Cascara Soda and I'm Not Really a Fan

I was at Whole Foods the other day because I needed to return a ripped backpack from Amazon and they do returns there. Over in the drink section, I noticed something called cascara soda for sale. Apparently, it is a beverage made from the cherries of coffee trees (that tastes nothing like coffee). It can be made into a tea or carbonated and become a soda of sorts. I tried some cascara soda and I did not hate it or especially like it. I like my soda to be quite sweet and my coffee to be black. I also drink tea with zero sweeteners. I like club soda with a flavor, but no sugar is my preference in that case as well. I like things quite sweet or lacking any sugar, I don't generally enjoy an in-between. Well, cascara soda is exactly in between tea and pop. 

It is a bit sweet and has a slight tea flavor mixed with the carbonation. It is not terrible, but I find the mix of an ever-so-vague sugary taste and the carbonated tea flavor bothersome. It either needs to lack the sweetness full stop or be a true soda, I'd say. This half-step between soda and tea is just cloying and bugs me. My tastebuds weren't delighted or disgusted they were annoyed. Should you like sweetened tea mixed with carbonation then I'd imagine cascara soda is perfect for you. I don't plan to drink it again anytime soon, however.

Monday, March 27, 2023

Afroman is Being Sued by the Police Who Wrongfully Raided His Home

Afroman is a singer/songwriter known for humorous ditties such as, "Because I Got High," and, "Crazy Rap (Colt 45 and 2 Zig-Zags)." He had his home raided in 2022 under the suspicion he was engaging in drug trafficking and/or kidnapping, but no evidence was found. He had a lot of money taken and most of it was returned, but some funds were strangely missing. The police said the total was miscounted, but Afroman counters that he was stolen from and did not appreciate having his door kicked-in, having guns pointed at his family's face (he was out of town), and so forth. 

Therefore, as Afroman tells it to NPR, "I asked myself, as a powerless Black man in America, what can I do to the cops that kicked my door in, tried to kill me in front of my kids, stole my money, and disconnected my cameras? And the only thing I could come up with was to make a funny rap song about them and make some money, use the money to pay for the damages they did, and move on." Afroman made some songs about what happened and created music videos using his security footage from the raid and figured that would be that. The thing is, the police who raided his house and whom he claims treated him poorly did not appreciate this and now they are suing him for invasion of privacy and emotional distress. I honestly think that's a bad move because suing Afroman to stop making music about this subject just gives it more attention (think the well-known Streisand Effect).

Now, Afroman is doubling down and making shirts and all kinds of merch about this fiasco whilst planning to make more tunes. He's getting more press than he's gotten in some time and the officers are receiving even more attention. It's a bit of a P.R. blessing for Afroman after the fact and a fiasco for everyone involved in the raid against him. I'm not sure what the end result of the lawsuits will be. Perhaps folks will settle, the judge could throw the claims out, or there could be a big legal case that serves to draw even more eyes to this story. We shall see, but I never would've predicted Afroman would become an outspoken defender of free speech thanks to his love of singing about cannabis. The World is a wild place.

Sunday, March 26, 2023

The Saint Charles Quad Con Today Was Fantastic!

The latest Saint Charles Quad Con was held today and it was a fantastic time. There were many vendors, creators of cool stuff, plenty of cosplayers, and there was just so much fun to be had! Held by Quad City Con, I found some cool items at the show whilst seeing old friends and making new ones. There was a big line to get in and the crowd was sizeable--thanks to the spacious location things did not feel crowded, which I was thankful for! Here's the crowd at the start:
I kicked off the show by saying hello to my good chum Spike of Lost in Space Toys and Collectibles. I also chatted with the good folks behind STL Comics who had brought some snazzy books. I chatted with illustrator and paranormal investigator Derek Arneson, who had some gorgeous works on display and for sale. Then, I went and traded some of my own stuff with the always-awesome Jack Thomas of Fortress Comics and acquired this gorgeous copy of, "Avengers," #196 that I'll provide a picture of below:
I met the creators of and voices behind, "Galatic Dads," a popular podcast based here in Saint Louis. As someone who is geeky and a Dad, it was fun to chat with them! I also made the acquaintance of Comicker Press, a really cool indie publisher with a wide range of snazzy titles. My friend Brian Lan was at the show repping the fantastic organization known as The Hero Initiative which helps comics creators in need. We discussed a recent Facebook post I made about not having read many Superman-starring stories I liked and he told me that he'd send me a list of stories he recommends. I snapped a picture of the Hero Initiative table:
Vince Dinkelmann is a great guy and he was set up as VK Toys. He had a wide range of cool items and I loved looking at his superb comics. I met In2It Comics & Merch who were at this Quad Con for the first time and said they were greatly enjoying the show. They were very nice! I made my way over to the table of Atomic Drop, the name of the comic line for books published by Jason Pringle. He had a cool assortment of works from comics about wrestling to shirts, prints, and more! He was kind enough to pose for a photo:
I then had the chance to see Bruce Reynolds who always brings superb comics. Jack Brown of Trade Up Comics was present too, with many great wares for sale! I bought a variety of fun stickers from the creators behind Simply 4 Me and met the cool folks behind My Squish Studio who donate a large portion of the money they make to nonprofits that help LGBTQ+ individuals. They had some really neat pins and stickers. As I finished making my rounds I saw some familiar faces as I met the creators behind Biff! Bam! Boom! Comics before and always enjoy seeing what new projects they're working on. I really enjoyed catching up with them. We discussed me possibly doing a feature on them sometime and they were kind enough to let me snap a picture:
I was able to dig through the boxes of comics at other vendors' tables and there were many other snazzy creators too with all the sellers, I've just touched upon everything I can remember/got a business card for! It truly was a stupendous show and I'd encourage everyone to mark their calendars for October 22nd when the next Quad Con located in Saint Charles will occur!

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Check Out Mike Wolfer's Latest Campaign for, "Widow: Unleashed #1 and #2," on Kickstarter

Friend of the blog and talented creator Mike Wolfer is launching a Kickstarter campaign collecting his entire saga of, "Widow," from the earliest yarns up to eventual newly released tales. Called, "Widow Unleashed," there will be Kickstarters every few months with individual issues that Wolfer has completed. This debut campaign collects the first two issues. I've been a fan of all of Wolfer's works and especially have enjoyed, "Widow," through the years. Seeing that he and the letterer, Natalie Jane, have gone back and remastered everything from the dialogue, to art (with new coloring too), to the letters is icing on the cake when it comes to enjoying, "Widow," content.

Now, the, "Widow," series has always been a bit heavy on some horror-styled gore and sexual content. It's getting even more erotically charged with some of the more edgy pages that appeared years ago in the Avatar Press versions of Widow known as, "Widow X," but with those pieces incorporated into everything in a more natural way so the comics can be quite scintillating at times without appearing to be just a bunch of raunchiness. Basically, if you love horror that can be as scary and creepy as it is sexy this new, "Widow: Unleashed," campaign should be right up your alley.

Wolfer has a number of longtime fans (like me) thanks to his fantastic comic career and the book has already shot well past its initial goal after the campaign just launched today. I'd encourage you to give it a gander on Kickstarter and back it should you be in the mood for well-written and fantastically illustrated horror with a big erotic energy too!

Friday, March 24, 2023

Film Friday: The Pez Outlaw

Some weeks ago I happened to watch, "The Pez Outlaw," when it popped up on Netflix and I keep thinking about it thanks to the crazy story it tells. It's a documentary about how a man named Steve Glew smuggled Pez dispensers from Eastern Europe into America during the '80s & '90s, making himself the #1 enemy of the big corporation through his actions. It is a fascinating little flick as it follows Glew describing how thanks to various legal loopholes he managed to go from a quiet factory job to having a multi-million business empire of Pez dispeners. The movie hints early on that at some point everything went wrong, and it is quite the wild journey full of highs and lows as Glew and his friends (as well as corporate Pez foes) walk us through how the whole surreal story occurred.

"The Pez Outlaw," has various recreations of scenes but it arguably doesn't even need them as Steve is such an engaging and strange fellow that just hearing him recount the whole story captures your attention (he is referred to by multiple people as being reminiscent of a strange magical troll with his short stature, big beard, and hippie-styled demeanor). All collectible hobbies have a wide range of folks attracted to them (I would know as a comic lover) and Pez definitely has some quirky folks within the fanbase who have their own interesting takes on Steve and Pez itself. At a relatively brisk 90-ish minute runtime the movie remains engaging and never gets dull or stuck in a random tangent as some of the multi-episode documentaries out there can do. With such a unique yarn it is easy to keep viewers enraptured.
Steve Glew
"The Pez Outlaw," is a fantastic little flick and worth checking out. I don't think it has had a physical release but it can be streamed on Netflix. If you're into any kind of collectible or just enjoy a good story, give it a viewing!

5 out of 5 stars.

Thursday, March 23, 2023

The Recreation Council Held a Fantastic Recognition Ceremony Today

The Recreation Council is a nonprofit found here in the Saint Louis region which assists children and adults with developmental disabilities via a wide range of opportunities for fun and socialization. The agency can help reimburse people for leisure and recreation activities they engage in and it keeps track of a variety of possible programs for individuals to pursue thanks to partnering with over 100 agencies. We've utilized support from the Recreation Council to help fund our many visits to the We Rock the Spectrum children's gym where Clarkson loves playing and socializing. Thanks to the Recreation Council we've been able to keep updated about a wide range of activities and opportunities in the region. They had their annual meeting/recognition ceremony today and I was able to attend. It was a great time!

After a tasty lunch, the Recreation Council had their keynote speaker, a man named Gabriel Cobb, who discussed the importance recreation has played in his life as he's engaged in everything from cooking to learning piano, to completing multiple Triathlons. A variety of folks from partner agencies were recognized for their work as well and it was wonderful to have it discussed how many opportunities for fun and personal growth exist thanks to agencies such as the Recreation Council.

If you live in the Saint Louis region I would encourage you to look into the Recreation Council. If you live somewhere else I'd still encourage you to look into local agencies you might have that can provide support for those who may have a disability. Such agencies can be a fantastic resource and they always are looking for volunteers too!

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

There is Going to be a "Good Burger," Sequel!

I've been a fan of Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell since back in the day when they were on, "All That," their own television show, and then growing up to do a wide range of projects (Kenan is basically the bedrock of, "Saturday Night Live," right now). In 1997, they did the " Good Burger" movie, which grew out of an, "All That " skit and was a solidly entertaining flick. I was intrigued to hear that Kenan and Kel are going to be coming back for, "Good Burger 2," on Paramount+. Now, this could go horribly wrong as we've had nostalgia-filled sequels that couldn't quite live-up to the original flick. 

Thad said, the CEO of Paramount+ is actually the director of the first movie, Brian Robbins, so I'd think the first movie holds a special place in his heart too and he'd only get the top creative team to work on a sequel. I mean, Kevin Kopelow and Heath Seifert, who co-wrote the original film are back writing this one, so that's a good sign. Kenan and Kel have been friends, on the rocks, and seem to be in a good place again, thankfully. Phil Traill will be directing the sequel and it is due to land on Paramount+ sometime later this year. I am hopeful it will be a delectable time.

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Check Out the, "Hornets," Kickstarter!

Not too long ago the illustrator of a new graphic novel reached out to me. It was Ben Edwards and he sent me a bunch of information about, "Hornets." It was getting ready to launch on Kickstarter and I said I'd happily make a post about it once the campaign started. Well, now here we are! Written by Jordan Sam Adams with lettering by Rachel Ordway, "Hornets," is a sci-fi comic that follows an elite team of female soldiers who end up captured by the enemy force. 

I gave it a read and enjoyed the G.I. Joe vibe mixed with, futuristic war themes we've seen in titles like, "Metal Gear Solid." Edwards is a great artist and whether he's drawing giant robots or soldiers stuck in a dingy prison, the comic looks fantastic. I'd encourage you to check the Kickstarter campaign out and you can back it if my description and the preview pages strike your fancy.

Monday, March 20, 2023

The, "Shazam," Sequel Had a Rough First Weekend

"Shazam: Fury of the Gods," opened in first place at the domestic box office. That would sound impressive, but it actually made less than was projected--and the projections weren't that high. The latest Shazam flick is a flop, in other words.

Apparently, it is an okay film, if not as fun as the first according to reviews. Why did it falter? Are James Gunn and Peter Safran to blame with the big DC reboot coming and making this movie feel utterly inconsequential? Is Dwayne, "The Rock," Johnson the big culprit? Will people break out that old refrain that, "Hey, maybe folks are tired of superhero films?" even though that keeps being said anytime a movie stumbles and then gets dropped when another one does gangbusters? 

I don't know why the Shazam sequel clearly struggled with its debut and if it even really matters for DC's plans going forward. I just feel a bit bad for director David F. Sandberg who was bummed by the critical reviews and is, "...definitely done with superheroes for now." Ouch. Anways, I liked the first movie and will probably stream this when it comes to HBO MAX or whatever, but I'm not in a rush to see it in theaters. Wait, maybe people like me were the problem? Eh, who knows?

Sunday, March 19, 2023

I'm Excited for the Saint Charles Quad Con Next Sunday!

Next Sunday is the Saint Charles Quad Con. Put on by Quad City Con, their events are always great fun! The mixture of comics, toys, games, cosplay, and a stellar assortment of vendors and creators results in a superb show. It is always packed to the gills with awesome stuff to buy and cool folks to meet. This show will be at the same location as previous ones--49 Lawrence Street in Saint Charles--the name of the location has simply changed and it is now known as Steel Shop Athletics and Events. I would encourage anyone in the Saint Louis and Saint Charles region to attend the show a week from today. The doors open at 10AM--see you there!

Saturday, March 18, 2023

"Superman: Lost," #1 Kicks off Quite the Superpowered Mystery

Christopher Priest is a writer who can take a character I generally don't read the stories of and get me extremely engaged in a yarn about them. Priest gave us a superb run on, "Deathstroke," which made me care about the character for the first time ever (and when it ended I honestly went back to having zero interest in Deathstroke, so is life). Now, Priest is doing an out-of-continuity 10-issue series about Superman titled, "Superman: Lost." With artist Carlo Pagulayan, this creative team has already knocked it out of the park with the first issue. 

Basically, Superman leaves for a mission and then seems to be back quickly...but he proclaims it has actually been 20 years. How did he go missing, how did he get back, what impact will this have on the relationship with Lois, and what was up with the mysterious political scandal the comic mentioned in the first half and how it might relate to all this? These are some of the questions Priest and Pagulayan raise for us and I am excited to watch as the complex twists and turns being set up see answers. Between some fantastic writing and gorgeous artwork, this comic was a treat--and that's coming from someone who doesn't usually read many Superman-centric stories. I'm eager to read more and already feel like this series is going to be quite the treat!

5 out of 5 stars.

Friday, March 17, 2023

Flashback Friday: "Spring Breakers," Was a Beautiful Mess That Predicted More Than We Could've Expected

The AV Club's Hattie Lindert wrote an article for the AV Club titled, "Spring Breakers Predicted Everything." I felt like the article didn't quite say what, "Everything," was and at the same time stated it perfectly. The movie created such a weird, warm, colorful vibe that when you look at it now seems like a ton of the Instagram pictures and videos so-called influencers upload full of sandy beaches, barely-there bikinis, and ample bottles of liquor reflecting neon lights. Over at Rolling Stone, David Fear has similar observations of how the movie predicted the chaos that was to come in America. "Spring Breakers," accomplished a lot considering it kind of sucks in terms of being a coherent movie.

Seriously, this a flick about some young women who go on Spring Break, and team up with a drug-peddling and money-obsessed rapper named Alien so as to be on vacation forever. Alien is played with insane delight by a James Franco who must've actually been on drugs and not just pretending because he seems too authentically high on weed, cocaine, and other stuff to be acting. The women consist of former Disney stars who 2013 were trying to break free of their squeaky-clean image (Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens), the wife of the movie's director, Harmony Korine (Rachel Korine), and Ashely Benson who was known for, "Pretty Little Liars," at the time if I remember the dates of everything correctly. A solid cast that somewhat aimlessly roams around Florida drinking and doing drugs, breaking the law, and giving us a film that is phenomenally strange and twistedly entertaining even if it's a total mess.

Seriously though, I have to give credit to a flick that has James Franco play a grand piano on the beach as he belts out, "Everytime," by Britney Spears before it segues into a violent montage of criminal activity with Spear's song playing over it. It's weird and nonsensical, but I dig it. As for the cast these days. Gomez and Hudgens have achieved a lot of success, Rachel Korine and Harmony seem to be happily married still, and Benson has continued with a fruitful career acting and singing. Franco seemed to drop off the face of the Earth when a lot of sexual misconduct allegations arose relating to extremely barely legal (like the age of consent in his state but not-even-able-to-vote) women. He seems to be slowly creeping back into showbiz, for better or worse.

"Spring Breakers," landed in our midst like a huge comet crashing into the social psyche. It left an impact even if folks weren't sure quite what the impact was for a number of years. "Spring Breakers," predicted the messy and excessive era we live in now. Forget being responsible, post some pics of yourself practically naked in a g-string with a glass of the current popular beverage and try to live as luxuriously as possible before everything comes crashing down due to your own financial irresponsibility--or the economy simply collapsing on its own(look at all those banks recently, after all). It doesn't matter if you're actually rich and successful, just give off that image because it's all about appearances and the vibe, baby. To quote Alien when he names all the stuff he owns, "Look at my shit," and consider how that could basically be the slogan of many Instagram accounts these days. "Spring Break forever," indeed.

Happy Saint Patrick's Day 2023!

Today is Saint Patrick's Day. My Grandma Burton was as Irish as they come and loved the holiday and celebrating it. I think of her whenever it is Saint Patrick's Day and hope everyone has a good time celebrating (and celebrating safely if they are drinking). Now go out there and find some gold at the end of a rainbow or such!

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Sinus Infections Aren't Fun

Last week, Clarkson was sick with a cold. He's better, but now I'm dealing with a sinus infection and so is my wife, Samii. Plus, she has an ear infection at the same time with a ruptured eardrum. Everyone in the household has been sick or is sick, in other words. Antibiotics are helping Samii and me but they don't magically make you better in a day--it takes time. I'm not announcing all this to fish for sympathy or anything, I just wanted to share that if you know anyone going through a sinus infection you should please be patient with them as they always, always, suck. Samii feels even worse than me with her ear issues added on to everything so send her some good vibes.

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Happy Pi Day and 314 Day!

Today is the international holiday known as Pi day and in Saint Louis, we also celebrate 314 day (pronounced, "three-one-four day,"). Pi day is because the first digits in Pi are 3.14 before it trails on potentially forever. 314 day is because a common Saint Louis area code is 314. People celebrate Pi day with pie (a bit of a pun) and folks celebrate 314 day by enjoying Saint Louis attractions or foods considered staples of Saint Louis cuisine--provel cheese pizza, toasted ravioli, gooey butter cake, and the like. Whether you're around the World celebrating Pi day or here in Saint Louis celebrating 314 day, I hope you have a great time!

Monday, March 13, 2023

I Enjoyed the First Issue of, "Local Man," From Image

Image comics put out some really zany comics when they emerged on the scene in the 1990s. They were over-the-top and drawn in an, "Extreme," manner. Big guns, a lot of pouches, extremely sexy women, extremely muscular men, and the like. "Local Man," is a new comic by Tim Seely and Tony Fleecs that riffs on some of those ideas via a clever flip-comic format that focuses on a hero named Crossjack back when he was on a wild team a lot like Image's early days and follows him in a much more subdued modern day story that has a slice-of-life vibe as Jack (his real name) finds himself back in his hometown and kicked-off the hero team with a bunch of pending lawsuits. It's a cleverly meta idea to both pay tribute to the excesses of the 90s and make some fun of them while also telling a story about what a hero might do when their glory days are behind them.

It isn't quite clear what Jack did, but from reading between the lines it seems he maybe had an affair with someone on the superhero team who was with someone else and it turned into a huge scandal. I wouldn't be surprised if there is more to the story, however, as the end of the issue also introduces some kind of murder mystery that piques my interest too. Seely and Fleecs are both skilled writers and artists and watching them collaborate results in a fantastic debut issue. I really enjoyed the start of, "Local Man," and am curious about where things could go. If you like your superhero stories a little more off-kilter or have a mixture of pride and embarrassment about loving comics in the 90s this is worth picking up.

5 out of 5 stars.

Sunday, March 12, 2023

Oh, It's Daylight Saving Time

I have written on many occasions about disliking Daylight Saving Time. It seemed to creep up on us this time, with many people I talked with being surprised when I mentioned it was this Sunday--and I only knew as the radio mentioned it a couple times. We gain an extra hour of daylight in the evening, which is nice, but at the expense of an hour of sleep and everyone feeling yah? Anyways, make sure you set your clock ahead an hour today if you live in a location that observes DST. You don't want to be late for anything!

Saturday, March 11, 2023

I Won't be at the ToyMan Show Tomorrow but You Should Go!


I always write about how much I love going to the ToyMan Show. Due to a variety of obligations and things coming up, I am pretty sure I won't be able to swing by the show tomorrow. That said, I would highly encourage anyone who is able to go to the show to do so. It is always a fantastically fun time full of awesome vendors. Seriously, the ToyMan show is simply packed to the gills with stuff (comics, toys, Funko, Lego, Hot Wheels, paper ephemera, and so forth). I hope to make it to the next show on May 7th and wish everyone a fun time at tomorrow's show!

I've Never Felt, "Threatened," By a Drag Queen

You know, I've never felt threatened by a drag queen. I've been teased by some in a playful manner at a drag show, but I never felt threatened. I haven't worried about any children in their presence either.

I've felt threatened by people who claim to be, "Good Christians," standing outside our local Planned Parenthoods who yell at any car that even slows down by one lest it turns in for affordable/free healthcare.

I've felt fear from people who walk around with their guns hanging out because, "Open carry," is a right they want to flaunt even if the sight of them walking down the sidewalk with their pistols creates great unease in this nation plagued by mass shootings and general gun violence.

I've felt immense discomfort witnessing parents dress their little girls up like grown women for beauty pageants, sexualizing them at a young age as if such an act isn't, "Grooming," which is a word the far-right likes to throw around about anyone who isn't cisgender and straight.

I've felt rage seeing Republican politicians strip transgender individuals of any rights or those with a uterus of the ability to make private medical decisions regarding abortion and why one might be needed.

I've felt all that, but I've never felt threatened by a drag queen. Funny how certain people want to make it a social/moral/political issue instead of focusing on actual concerns. It's almost like distracting people with drag shows allows right-wing politicians to avoid discussing real issues. Funny how that is.

Friday, March 10, 2023

To Be Honest, The Older I Get the Easier and Shorter I Like My Games

I know some people think you aren't a real gamer if you don't play a game with the difficulty ramped up. If you aren't struggling to stay alive/win a match you need to, "Git Gud (get good/play better)," or some nonsense. Well, back in 2021 I said it was, "Okay," to play on easy mode and now I'm doubling down and saying I like games set to be nice and easy. I want to actually have fun, and constantly losing or dying (unless that is a part of the game in some fashion like a Roguelike) just sounds unappealing. When I see an article declaring how some new title is, "...the new hardest game in town." that makes me lose interest quick. I want a game to be easy, and I'd prefer it not be that long either.

Yes, you read the above last sentence correctly. I'm sick of games that brag how they can take 100 or something hours to complete. In those games, so much of the time spent is dull filler and if you can give me a game that is 10-20 hours and an absolute blast from start to finish I will take that any day of the week over those super-long games. The last, "Massive," game I maybe spent a ton of time with was, "Fallout 4," and looking back a good half of my gameplay was fun but another half was dull inventory management, trudging around looking for a quest goal, etc. I'd still agree with my 2016 self in declaring it was, "Pretty fun," but that right there is the kicker in some way as, "Pretty fun," is not, "Nonstop fun." I did spend a good deal of time playing, "Red Dead Redemption 2," as well, but not the many, many hours I put in, "Fallout 4." That was in 2016 though and now it is 2023. I'm older, I've got a kid, and I've got things to do during the day that limit my time to play games. 

I will give Xbox and its Game Pass major props as it allows someone to dip into a game, sample it, and then keep playing or delete it from their console if they grow tired of it/find it isn't for them/beat it should they love it. Having the Game Pass is wonderful for trying stuff out and should it be too lengthy or difficult, it is easy to move on. A game that is not too hard and which can be completed in a reasonable amount of time is a game that sounds good to me. I'll still dabble in games that are hard (as long as they have easier modes) and I'll try titles allegedly filled to the brim with hours upon hours of content, but I'll most likely stop playing them once I've had my fill. I'm too old, too impatient, and too busy for anything else at this point in my life.

Thursday, March 9, 2023

The New, "Jurassic Park," Lego Sets Look Awesome

For the 30th anniversary of the theatrical release of, "Jurassic Park," there are going to be some really cool Lego sets of characters from the movie and scenes. We've got the big visitor Center with a T-Rex and Velociraptor, Wayne Kinght's character of Dennis getting assaulted by a Dilophosaurus, Laura Dern's Dr. Sattler digging in Triceratops' poop with assistance from Jeff Goldblum's Ian Malcom, and more! My only real complaint is that the Minifigure of Chief Engineer Ray Arnold (Samuel L. Jacksons's character) has both arms attached and really should have one be removable--anyone who has seen this flick knows what I'm talking about. I have some friends who love Legos and I imagine they'll be buying some or all of these, "Jurassic Park," ones!

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Burn Your Legacy to the Ground and Smear the Ashes--On Scott Adams

Two things to consider as we start this article:

1. Scott Adams had made it clear for quite some time he was a hateful person.

2. "Dilbert," had not been funny for decades.

Ha, ha?

Taking this into account I find myself flabbergasted that people were surprised to hear Scott Adams making racist statements online. He'd been an ass for quite some time and anyone who followed news about comics (strips or books) was fully aware he was a hateful, ignorant, racist, internet-trolling twatwaffle--as a friend of mine would say.

I find myself equally confused why folks who agreed with Adams or felt he was being persecuted would even pretend, "Dilbert," was funny. The early stuff has some charm, but the luster had long since faded to reveal the seemingly gold nugget of office humor that was, "Dilbert," to be in a fact a polished turd. Even if you're some far-right conservative who thinks Scott Adams was being wrongfully persecuted you don't have to also pretend he was still funny--have some sense now.


For people who missed the news, I'm referring to how Adams did his usual racist blog posts and internet streams and finally was loudly ignorant enough that it got the attention of the Mainstream media. He examined a survey by a racist website that asked people, "Is it okay to be white?" in a leading manner. When a number of Black individuals taking the survey rightfully declined to be a part of such a questionnaire Adams examined this data and took this to mean Black people hate White people and White folks need to, "Get the Hell away," from anyone who has melanin less than lily-white for their own safety, or some strange B.S.

The thing--the really big thing here--is that Adams was a hateful and ignorant monster for years and got away with it. He had a legacy, however, uninspiring a legacy as it was. He was the guy who made that once-funny comic about how working in an office sucks. Comic strips were fading from newspapers and almost no new ones were getting added as the market for comic strips shrank, but anyone who was able to get in early enough was basically grandfathered in. They could make good comic strips or terrible ones and still cash their checks. "Dilbert," had made enough of a societal impact at one point that Adams had the ability to simply coast on its faded popularity. He could do some dull jokes daily about emails, meetings, or whatever else he wanted, and have a legacy, however drab. Over the years Adams chose to taint that legacy with his hateful rhetoric and eventually his dumbass behavior got too blatant to ignore and he found himself removed from newspapers and dropped by any of his publishers/agents/whatever. He took his legacy and burned it to the ground before smearing what was left of the ashes.

Come on, there's not even much of a, "Joke," here!

Now if you want to ingest the vitriol Adam loves to dispense you'll need to subscribe to his website/Patreon/whatever. He had subscription stuff for a while, but that will be his sole source of income with all that newspaper money gone. I imagine that now he can scream about being, "Canceled," it will only drive more easily-fooled people to support him as if that makes some kind of statement. Even when the legacy is dead the grift never ends.

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

The Big River Comic-Con in Hannibal is Just a Bit More Than a Month Away!


Coming April 14th and 15th is a fantastic event, the Big River Comic Convention! Held in Hannibal, Missouri, I have written in the past about how much I enjoy attending the BRCC. This year will have even more vendors, artists, and superb guests such as actor Spencer Wilding, artist Sam De La Rossa, and wrestler Sgt. Slaughter.

I'm incredibly excited about this year's Big River Comic Convention and would encourage anyone who is able to get out to Hannibal for it to go and visit--it's going to be an awesome time! You can buy tickets in advance online here, should you choose. I'll hopefully see you there!

Monday, March 6, 2023

That AV Club's, "20 Best Slasher Films of All Time," List Has Some Random Choices

Richard Newby of the AV Club has a list offering his take on the, "20 Best Slasher films of All Time." There are parts of the list I wholly agree with ("A New Nightmare," is rightfully on there and the first, "Halloween," is #1) and other entries that left me scratching my head. The only, "Friday the 13th," film to grace the list is the shoddy 2009 remake? The 2005 version of, "House of Wax," with Paris Hilton is here too? "Texas Chainsaw Massacre," and, "Scream," makes sense, but, "Psycho II," is a bit of a left-field choice. Also, I know it is an acquired taste but one of the, "Leprechaun," films deserves some props. Also, where the dickens is, "The Devil's Rejects?" Quite possibly the best film Rob Zombie ever made (some are much better than others) it is arguably a love letter to gruesome horror flicks that stands on its own feet in the genre too, yet it gets ignored? True, it isn't a single, "Slasher," killing folks, but that is the case with, "The Strangers," too, and that's listed (plus the aforementioned TCM has a whole deranged family).

This list of what Richard Newby considers the 20 best slasher films of all time is overall pretty solid (no argument with, "Sleepaway Camp," or, "Black Christmas," being on there), but much of the list just seems defensive of weird choices as if Newby wants to irritate readers. For example, when he says, "You ready for it? Child’s Play 2 is better than Child’s Play. There, I said it. The band-aid has been ripped off." Dude, just tell us why you like movie as opposed to being all angry about it, like with your choice of the earlier-discussed 2009, "Friday the 13th," literally having the opening sentence, "Fine, boo me all you want." I mean, I am booing, but that's beside the point. You made a list, some of it I and many others will agree with and some parts are just baffling. That's okay though, it's your list, own it without shame or embarrassment...even when you're wrong and should've said, "Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives," is the best in the franchise, but that's just my opinion.

Sunday, March 5, 2023

The Spector Club Comic Show Was Great Fun!

I had a lot of fun today at the Spector Club Comic Show! As I mentioned yesterday, I had my own table for selling stuff. I sold a chunk of dollar-priced books (with my buy 5 get one free offer), some DVDs, a t-shirt or two, and a handful of priced comics--the dollar bin items were the biggest draw for folks, however. I enjoyed seeing my friends such as Spike of Lost in Space Toys and Collectibles, Konnor Tate of Tatertot Comics, John Chaffee of Bigfoot Comics, Tom (from Alliance Comics, Toys, and Games), and my chum Jason of Midwest Money and Collectibles. I saw my friend Tim Metzger too as he had a table as well.

I enjoyed chatting with a variety of people who stopped by my table and had a lot of fun. I would encourage everyone to mark May 21st on their calendar as that is the next Spector Club Comic Show! I probably won't have a table that day as I have another obligation scheduled already, but if it works out to at least swing by for a bit you can be sure I'll do so!