Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Dark Horse Comics to Somewhat Shift Ownership as Embracer Divides Into Three Different Companies

Back in 2021, Dark Horse Comics went from being relatively independently owned to finding itself acquired by a big corporation. Embracer bought Dark Horse and added it to a growing portfolio of tabletop and video-games. The idea was to have Dark Horse as an option for printing comics relating to various Embracer-owned properties and the company spent some time on a buying spree...until 2023 when another company was going to infuse Embracer with $2 billion and changed its mind. Since then, Embracer has been laying off a lot of folks and now plans to split into three companies. Dark Horse will impacted by this by joining one of the three oddly-named new entities.

Asmodee is one, "New," company and will focus on board games/tabletop games. Coffee Stain & Friends will be dedicated to making smaller-scale games (including free-to-play titles) for mobile devices and PC/consoles. Middle-earth Enterprises & Friends will be the owner of Dark Horse and will focus on big-time games involving properties such as The Lord of the Rings (hence the company's name) and Tomb Raider. How exactly this reorganization of a company into companies will affect Dark Horse is unclear, as Embracer was relatively hands-off with Dark Horse by most accounts--outside of founding, "Dark Horse Games," in 2021, although that did not yet produce anything to my knowledge. I just hope Dark Horse will be okay. I already worry plenty about IDW, after all.

Monday, April 22, 2024

Earth Day 2024

It's Earth Day, April 22nd. Started in the 70s by Senator Gaylord Nelson to bring awareness to air and water pollution, the holiday has expanded to cover climate change and more. The theme this year is, "Planet vs. Plastics," because--as we've most likely learned--plastics aren't that great for the environment. They're made from petroleum, take forever to decompose, and recycling efforts can only do so much. We only get one Earth (as far as we know) so let's treat it right and try to fix some of the damage we've done to our planet before it is too late. Ice is melting, storms are getting worse, and so forth, but efforts can be made to address our Earth and its concerns. We could've listened to Scientists and Al Gore decades ago but at least he doesn't say, "I told you so." Our planet clearly is in trouble, however. We should try to work together to help it.

Sunday, April 21, 2024

Animals Aglow at the Zoo is a Beautiful Event

Yesterday evening/night my family went to the Animals Aglow event currently happening at the Saint Louis Zoo through May 5th. After the real-life animals get put away to sleep for the night a bunch of awesome displays get lit up and it was gorgeous. 

Clarkson had fun walking around and riding the zoo's carousel and Gibson enjoyed wheeling around in his stroller too. Various fictional and existing animals are represented at the event and it is worth seeing if you live in the region (or are visiting) and want to see some awesome lights. 

The zoo itself is free during regular hours but the event does cost money to attend as it is after the regular zoo hours. You can buy tickets online ahead of time and I would recommend doing so as the event hits its maximum capacity often--it had sold out the night we went!

As I mentioned, Animals Aglow runs until May 5th and is definitely worth checking out when you have an evening/night free. We all had a lot of fun there!

Friday, April 19, 2024

The First Day of the Big River Comic Convention 2024 Was Superb

I attended the opening of the fifth annual Big River Comic Convention when it kicked off today. This show has always been a blast and the start of the show this Friday was great fun. Taking place in Hannibal, Missouri, you can still attend as it runs through tomorrow and I'd recommend doing so if you're at all near the region of Northeast Missouri.

The BRCC always has fun guests, tons of vendors, crafters/creators, and is like one big and fun party. Upon arriving at the event I said hello to my good friend, Jack Thomas of Fortress Comics. He was excited to be back at BRCC and had a great setup of high-end and inexpensive books. He was kind enough to let me snap a photo:

I proceeded to talk with the cool folks from Comic Book Relief, a stellar shop located in Saint Charles, Missouri, who had set up at BRCC. Not too far from their booth was the superbly cool Bruce Reynolds. He had brought a wide assortment of snazzy older books and some newer ones. I always love chatting with Bruce and he had the same glowing feelings about BRCC that I do! I met the celebrity guests at the show, Emily Swallow, Jake (the Snake) Roberts, and had fun chatting with Scott Innes. You may not recognize Scott's face but you definitely have heard his voice as he currently is who you'd listen to if you watch any Scooby Doo cartoons. He's the voice of Scooby, Shaggy, and more! I loved his shirt he had on and he posed for a pic:

John Davis IV was there with his stellar books and near him was Geek to Me Radio, a really fun entity to listen to. My friends from Heroes for Kids of Perryville, Missouri, were present raising funds for charity as well. They have their own fun convention coming up in July! Not too far down the line, Destination Toys had some cool comics, toys, and other neat stuff and I enjoyed chatting with them. Artist Dave Mitzel had a ton of fantastic drawings for sale, but had recently sold out of any Moon Knight when I asked him! Then, I proceeded to browse the wares of Nathan's Nerdy Knick-Knacks and got a picture of his fun banner:

I talked with a number of crafters and artists at the Big River Comic Convention. Dip Sticks had a number of edible goodies and I ran into Laura of Orion's Dragon Gems who I enjoyed seeing at ToyMan on previous occasions! I also met Libra Arts and admired her works! Leisure Time Treasures had some incredible creations for sale too, and Bilbus Thiq was selling fantastic works at the show. Artist Anne Elizabeth had a ton of cool artwork and I was surprised to run into a friend of mine, Andie! She was set up at the show with, "Cartoons By Andie," offering custom artwork with the slogan, "Yes, I can draw anything!" I got a picture of her as the show was kicking off:

Before I left BRCC a little later in the day I did some shopping and bought a chunk of comics from G&K Collectibles. I also enjoy seeing him at every show as he brings cool stuff. I was especially pleased to get a fun issue of, "Johnny Quest," featuring cover artwork by the late, great David Stevens. Here is a picture of that exciting pickup:

The Big River Comic Convention is such great fun every year. I appreciate they let me come write about the event and would encourage anyone who can attend the show tomorrow to do so--then start planning on next year while you're at it!

Thursday, April 18, 2024

"Action Comics," #1 Hit Newsstands This Day in 1938

On this day 86 years ago, "Action Comics," #1 hit newsstands (comic-book stores didn't exist until the 1960s and 70s). Comic-books existed beforehand, but the debut appearance of Superman changed the World as know it. That isn't an exaggeration. Imagine if Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster hadn't created Superman, how we'd have a World without superheroes. April 18th, 1938 was a monumental day without a doubt, even if people back then didn't realize at that time just how much of an impact Superman would have. Oh, and for those wondering why the comic is dated for June, that is because the date on items at newsstands was generally when an issue should be taken down--two months from release. Anyway, thank you to Siegel & Shuster for Superman and all that has come since thanks to that first spark of superheroics!

I've Been Trying Zero Sugar Sodas, Eating Better, and Walking More in an Effort to Lose Some Weight

I am a fan of soda, but it is not a good choice for your health. Sodas with zero sugar are not perfect by any means and can have their own health concerns, but at least lack calories. I've attempted to simply not drink soda before, but have failed at that. Therefore, as I've been working at eating better, walking more, and losing some weight, I figured I would try zero-sugar sodas.

I don't like diet sodas, usually. They just taste wrong to me. That said, Diet Dr. Pepper and Dr. Pepper Zero Sugar tasted the least off so I started drinking them a bit. As I got used to those I shifted into trying Coke Zero and Cherry Coke Zero. Having gotten used to the Dr. Pepper versions I seemed to do okay with the Coca-Cola options. I've been drinking those when I can't fight the craving for some soda but generally do stick with seltzer. I also am trying (but need to try harder) to drink more straight-up water. Still, with my combination of eating a bit better, getting in motion more, and drinking less sugar-filled soda, I've dropped maybe 10 pounds. My weight can fluctuate but I hope to keep making choices that help me be a bit healthier.

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Jontay Porter is the Tip of a New Iceberg When it Comes to Professional Sports, Gambling, and Ethics

Today is a sports-themed kind of day, I guess, considering I just wrote about a new sports card store earlier and now have this post! It's funny as I used to never write about sports but now I touch on that along with other popular culture. Now then, I have zero problem with sports gambling because if it can bring income to states, and isn't hurting anyone (problem gambling should obviously be addressed), then states should do it. That said, if sports leagues are going to partner with gambling sites/entities, have them advertise a bunch, pay for stuff, and otherwise be a huge part of sports, can anyone really feign surprise if some athletes take all that as a sign they can get involved in sports gambling to some degree? It was announced that Basketball player Jontay Porter was caught by the NBA illegally gambling on his performance to make money and working with bettors. He is going to be the tip of the iceberg in regards to some athletes trying to game the system to make extra funds.

Think about it. If you make gambling a huge part of the game, don't be stunned when those playing the game see a way to possibly get some scratch--ethically/legally or not. It's a new era of professional sports and gambling on a sport has mostly come out of the shadows, but plenty of metaphorical dark crevices for illicit activity remain. I don't know if there is enough light to stamp out everything questionable that could occur--although thanks to everything being legal various systems noticed the odd betting patterns regarding Porter, at least. Pete Rose's gambling on baseball was Earth-shattering news decades ago. Now, that's going to look positively quaint compared to the shitstorm I could see hitting pro sports in the coming years if athletes try to get in the game on their games. It isn't right, but I can predict it happening more and more. 

Porter isn't an isolated case, either, just the most brazen so far. Major League Baseball's new star player Shohei Ohtani has his own scandal by proxy. Ohtani's translator, Ippei Mizuhara, allegedly stole 16 million dollars from him and placed sports bets without his knowledge, but only so many players have a translator to blame (I'm not saying Ohtani did any illegal gambling, but if it ever came out he did, my lack of shock would be evident). We aren't even halfway through 2024 and already two sports have been rocked by gambling scandals. I'd bet--no pun intended--that there are going to be a lot more gambling fiascos before the year is done. I mean, don't forget that the Summer Olympics are this year, and plenty of legal sportsbooks are ready. I'm bracing myself for a mess with that, although I hope nothing sketchy occurs. Time will tell.

314 Sports Cards is a Stellar Place to Buy (What Else?) Sports Cards

I've gotten into hockey cards as of late (and sometimes I'll dabble in other entertainment cards as well for fun) and National Hockey Card Day was this last Saturday. I was unable to make it out to any stores on the day itself but had the chance today to visit one I'd heard good things about and had been meaning to visit, 314 Sports Cards.

Located at 9640 Olive Blvd in Saint Louis, MO (63132 area code), 314 Sports Cards is a fun shop! They've got all the fandoms represented that others know and love as well as the one I follow, hockey! Everyone there was extremely nice when I visited and I appreciated how they gave me some of the free cards for National Hockey Card Day that they still had leftover! You can buy hobby boxes of a variety of products and individual packs of some items too. There are notable single cards for sale as well. With, "Sports Cards," in their name it makes sense they have plenty to offer!

Matt (left) and Devin (right) posing with some of their awesome wares!

314 Sports Cards is a great spot to visit in the Saint Louis region whether you're an expert in the hobby or a relatively newer person like myself when it comes to sports cards. I'd recommend stopping by their shop or buying from them via their website; I know I'm excited to have another great sports card shop in the region to frequent!

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

DC Comics Allegedly to Launch an, "Absolute," Line of Comics With Scott Snyder at the Helm

Marvel and DC love creating lines of comics set in alternate universes. Whether it is Marvel's Ultimate line (which is now back and doing well in a new iteration), the New Universe, DC's Elseworlds or some of the Vertigo stuff (that's a little complicated), unique lines of comics often occur over the decades. It seems Marvel bringing back the aforementioned Ultimate line has piqued DC's interest as they aren't going to do a full reboot like in 2011 with the New 52, but are going to launch an, "Absolute," line which is not to be confused with their big hardcover Absolute collections. Bleeding Cool is a bit of a tabloid site with way too many ads (seriously, without an adblocker it is impossible to navigate) but it sometimes breaks big news and it seems Rich Johnston and company found somebody to leak them the juicy story about the Abstolue line.

These Absolute Comics will have a separate continuity and start DC over fresh in a new-reader-friendly manner. The rest of the DC Universe will continue doing its own thing so as not to enrage longtime readers and Scott Snyder--a skilled writer for sure--is spearheading much (if not all) of this new Absolute Comics line. The heroes in Absolute Comic will be heavily reworked versions of DC heroes and will share their own universe but be separate from the main DC one. It'll all be the same multiverse, apparently, so I imagine in 10 or so years these heroes might overlap with the main DC ones or such as eventually all the separate Universes end up interacting at some point or another. The line supposedly will kick off in late 2024 and early 2025, so now we just await the, "Official," announcement from DC since this big ol' leak.

Monday, April 15, 2024

Music Mondays: K-Pop, Carpenter, and Batz--Plus More!

The Segment Returns!
I said in March that this would be my newest randomly occurring segment and now that we're here with the second edition I've made good on my claim! Let's get into it.

Music & Musings

I've been listening to a chunk of what is known as K-Pop lately. It is a bit of a blanket term for pop music from South Korea. I quite like the song, "Cat & Dog," by Tomorrow X Together, "Easy," by Le Sserafim, and a variety of other tunes by popular artists (Stray Kids has some good hits). As I got into K-Pop I learned about how one aspect can be extremely controversial. Debates persist over K-Pop artists re-recording their songs exclusively in English. A lot of K-Pop incorporates English and Japanese, but fans have strong thoughts on when the artists only sing in English (there are versions of songs exclusively in Japanese to appeal to that market too, but the debate focuses more on the English-exclusive takes). I personally am fine with a musical artist doing whatever they want with their own music, as it is a bit like a remix. This isn't a case where some other random American artist is ripping off a K-Pop song, after all. As I continue to check out more K-Pop I'll share what I like.

Having loved Vince Staples' show, "The Vince Staples' Show," I've been listening to more of his music. Two songs I find on repeat in my playlist are, "THE BEACH," and, "Yo Love." which also features 6lack.

Beyonce's county album, "Cowboy Carter," continues to dominate the music charts. I enjoy a number of Beyonce's songs, but readers of the blog are aware that I don't listen to much country. That said, I love seeing artists who don't hesitate to dabble in a range of genres and I applaud Beyonce for trying something new and succeeding at it!

Sabrina Carpenter is another of those new young pop stars (she's only 24 and started making hits a smidgen ago). I often whine about today's new music but I like some songs I've heard by her. "Nonsense," and, "Feather," are both good fun. So you see, I don't hate all the new youth with their pop jams!

A number of OutKast's albums (and lots of other hits) were produced by Organized Noize. One member of that production outfit, Rico Wade, passed away recently at the age of 52 (the cause of death was not disclosed). A ton of amazing music artists expressed their sympathies to his family and I do the same.

J. Cole was part of a spat with Kendrick Lamar, but after releasing a song critical of Lamar, "7 Minute Drill," he apologized publically a couple days later to mixed reactions. The song has now been taken down from official music streaming sources at the request of Cole. Don't you think that Cole is done engaging in beef, however, with a new track apparently taking a swipe at Drake.

4batz is an artist I don't know much about, but their weird little song, "Act ii: date @ 8," was on the radio randomly and I really dug it. It's incredibly short, trippy, and catchy.

Coachella happened last weekend and was quite the event by all accounts. I feel a little bad for how Grimes's equipment had a technical meltdown, but at least we got to see a reunion of No Doubt (Gwen Stefani's Ska band from back in the day), and Olvia Rodrigo joined them on stage too!

Finally, Taylor Swift is one of the biggest names in music so her fans (who are known as Swifties) are pumped for the debut of her 11th studio album (15th overall), "The Tortured Poets Department." It drops this Friday, April 19th.

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Mini-Run Review: "Captain America," #1-#8

Back in 2014 I wrote about how J. Michael Straczynski had written a chunk of awful comics, some mediocre ones, and a single incredible series I adored--"Supreme Power," under the then-relatively-new (at the time he wrote for it) Marvel Max line. He gave us 18 amazing issues and then it all fell apart. JMS dabbled in other comic series for some time, but he came back to Marvel recently for a new run of, "Captain America.". I was concerned I'd be disappointed going into the series but so far it has been...good?

JMS' take on, "Captain America," has started strong, but a lot of his comics do that and then get incredibly messy. He seems to be avoiding that, however, but letting this series be a bit messy from the start but in a charming manner. He's added a supernatural element of demons, the human embodiment of life (as well as death) and it is a bit weird but has still somehow managed to work. I have concerns with how heavily JMS has changed the continuity of Steve Roger's past (basically, he teamed up with some Jewish and Italian mobsters to stop some local Nazis before he even became superpowered, it's a little quirky), yet, between that and the introduction of some demons and vaguely angelic figures we're clearly getting a more out-there take on Captain American than before, but one which manages to have some nice grounded moments too.

In this day and age, it is alarming how Nazi-related ideas seem to be rearing their ugly head again. JMS touches upon that plenty within these first eight issues and even with a lot of more magical story elements emphasizes the humanity of Steve Rogers and the people he fights to protect as Captain America. JMS gives us some fun bits of dialogue too, be it a Stakeout-gone-wrong with Spider-Man that results in awkward apologies or a bit where Steve and Sam Wilson watch a movie about heroes and crack jokes about the overreliance on CGI these days (JMS has got jokes about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, clearly). Now, all of this interesting writing would matter little without some stellar art, and Jesús Saiz thankfully provides stupendous work.

Whether we're witnessing the past with everything looking impressively period-set or in the present as Captain America fights threats of a human or demonic nature, Saiz illustrates the Hell (no pun intended) out of every page. Quiet silly moments such as Captain America interacting with a Dr. Strange doll used by Stephen Strange to astroproject are as pitch-perfect as eerie scenes of Nazi-sympathetic Americans filling Central Park for a disturbing rally. Saiz is at the top of his game and gives us the mundane and realistic just as well as he portrays the supernatural stuff.

J. Michael Straczynski has a tendency to start a story like a pro but then loves to either abandon it in the middle of his telling the tale or to just utterly shit the bed (figuratively) at a narrative's conclusion. Would I be foolish to get my hopes up and think JMS might actually stick the landing with his run on, "Captain America," at whatever point it finishes? Perhaps, but I'm ready to be ever-so-slightly optimistic with my usual caution. Plus, whether JMS does his usual thing of driving the metaphorical train off the tracks or not, at least everything should continue to look good with Jesús Saiz providing art. Time will tell if the story wraps well eventually, but for now, I'm having fun!

4.5 out of 5 stars.

Saturday, April 13, 2024

"Nacelleverse," #0 Kicks the New Line off Wonderfully

When the, "Nacelleverse," was announced late last year, I thought it was an interesting bit of news. With the comics published by Oni Press, this is a shared universe of various properties that folks might recall (but with a new modern take) You've got Roboforce, Sectaurs, Power Lords, Biker Mice From Mars, and the great Garloo, to name some. The line has big plans ranging from the Oni-published comics to toys, and cartoons with big names attached (Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds, and so forth). None of that would matter if the comics kicking this all off sucked, though. Thankfully, the debut issue of everything, "Nacelleverse," #0 is a really fun comic and makes me interested in the other various characters/lines. 

Melissa Flores is the writer of this debut and all the upcoming comics; it gives everything a nice unified voice as we spend this zero issue watching Garloo go to various planets in search of a home (after his gets blown up). This allows us to meet everyone from the cosmic Power Lords, to the insect-themed Sectaurs, the Biker Mice...of Mars, and a futuristic Robo Force on Earth. The Cowboys of Moo Mesa do not appear in this comic, but are apparently part of the future parts of the Nacelleverse. Several artists illustrate, "Nacelleverse," #0 and the different segments including Rahmat Handoko, Rhoald Marcellius, Diogenes Neves, and Francis Portela. They'll be working on the respective solo books focused on the differing characters.

Between some solid action, a nice dose of humor, and great art, "Nacelleverse," #0 is a fantastic introduction to this new line of comics/cartoons/toys/etc. As long as everything else is as enjoyable and high-quality as the comic I could see the Nacelleverse possibly succeeding in its varying iterations! I know my interest is piqued enough to sample some other comics and check the shows and toys out when they debut later on!

Friday, April 12, 2024

The Machinists Hall Sports Cards & Collectibles Show is Really Cool!

I've written about how I got into hockey the past handful of years and then late last year began really enjoying hockey cards. When I saw that Machinists Hall was going to have a sports card show, I reached out to them and asked if I could come and cover the event for my blog. They said yes, so today I attended my first-ever sports card show! The Machinists Hall Sports Cards & Collectibles Show was a little intimidating to think about going to as while I know a ton about comics, I will not pretend to know even 10% as much about sports cards (although I've learned a lot about hockey cards these past months). That is why I appreciated how of the many dealers at the show everyone was incredibly friendly and not at all judgemental at my, "Newness," to sports cards.

There was a range of cards from tons of baseball and basketball to a chunk of football, and hockey had some representation along with fandoms from Pickleball to Pokemon (and a bit of wrestling). Everything from expensive single cards to cheap bundles was for sale, along with sealed packages from the past to the present. If you were looking for a specific sport or era, it was likely represented by a number of dealers here!

It wasn't just cards, of course. There were balls, pucks, and Funko Pops plus old magazines that (mostly) related to sports in some fashion. I even saw a comic or two along with the occasional Marvel trading cards. The vendors were eager to talk about their varied wares and it was really fun to interact with this card fandom that has similarities to the one I know quite well (comics) but is also very different. 

Gibson came with me and enjoyed the show too!

All my pictures you see in this post I was able to snap before the show kicked off and it got busy, fast. The Machinists Hall Sports Cards & Collectibles Show runs through Sunday, so try and go this weekend if you live in the area (or can make the trip). It's only $3 to get in tomorrow and free on Sunday! Here is the link again for the show so you can check it out too!

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Trina Robbins Has Passed

Two obituaries in a day is a downer, I know, but this one is someone we remember a bit more fondly than my earlier post. But yes, Trina Robbins has passed at age 85. I found out late yesterday. The word, "Trailblazer," is sometimes overused, but in Forbes piece discussing her death, I agreed 100% with the phrase. She spent decades in comics doing everything from creating Vampirella's outfit to offering feminist takes on a variety of subjects during a time when comic-books were more of a, "Boy's Club." Underground classics like, "Wimmen’s Comix," come to mind whenever I think of Trina Robbins, and she was the first woman to ever draw Wonder Woman within her own comic series. The list of things Robbins accomplished would be an extensive list indeed. I was able to meet her, once. Back at a comic convention in 2015, I had the pleasure of speaking with Robbins and found her to be kind, approachable, and full of great stories. An amazing talent and voice for the art form of comics departed and she will be missed.

O.J. Simpson Has Died

Orenthal James Simpson, better known as, "O.J." or even, "Juice," has died of cancer at age 76. Simpson was a famous athlete, amateur actor, and infamous for being accused of the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown and her friend Ron Goldman. Simpson was found, "Not Guilty," to the surprise of many in 1994 after a long trial that was quite the media spectacle (in 2016 a great show chronicled everything). The thing I always found most interesting (I don't want to say, "Impressive," per se) about O.J. was his audacity. You would think most people after a controversial murder trial would slink away out of the spotlight and try to live a quiet life. O.J. did not. He kept himself in the media via a variety of methods. Whether he was doing a controversial prank show, signing autographs at sporting events, or writing a book literally titled, 'If I Did It," where he did everything but admit he was guilty, O.J. craved attention, positive or negative. He did, in fact, go to prison for some time due to an altercation over sports memorabilia, but after serving nine years, he was granted parole in 2017.

O.J. Simpson was not a good person, but he was a famous one. O.J. wanted to be a celebrity, good or bad, and he got that wish. It is quite likely he did murder Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman, but it seems he took any true confession to his grave. I only hope that the families of Nicole Brown, Ron Goldman, and Simpson's own family can get some kind of closure from his passing. The internet has been having a field day with jokes, but one actually stuck out to me. It basically was someone stating, "I just hope O.J. can rest easy knowing the killer has died." That sums everything up pretty well.

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Wait, People Are Missing the Subtext of, "Helldivers 2," Despite How Clear it is?

I played, "Helldivers 2," a bit on my PlayStation and found it fun. I especially appreciated the weird way it hilariously sells itself as one big piece of propaganda. We are obviously the villains with our over-the-top recruitment videos and proclamations of spreading democracy through the stars by any violent means required. The outfits, the vibe, it all feels like a monolithic fascist empire forcing its boot on space aliens and robots that are foreign enough to us that we have zero hesitation about committing genocide. It's a darkly humorous subtext, but it is so obviously there you can't miss it...unless you do.

As can be seen on Twitter/X and is discussed in this piece on Forbes by Paul Tassi, some people missed the memo on, "Helldivers 2." The game takes a lot of inspiration from, "Starship Troopers," which is another movie where the subtext might as well be text because the point is obvious. I will own-up to the fact I missed some of messaging in, "Starship Troopers," the first time I watched it at age 12 because I was too busy enjoying the exploding bugs and giggling at the sight of a bunch of exposed body parts during the infamous group shower scene. I was a pre-teen then, however, and now I'm a grown-ass adult who understands subtlety. The thing is, "Helldivers 2," isn't even subtle. We're the villains, but gamers who wanted something they could declare, "Anti-woke," missed the jackhammering of jokes about totalitarianism. It is like if someone argued the original, "Star Wars," movies somehow weren't political and the franchise only got, "Woke," recently and...oh dear. I guess the risk with even the slightest subtlety is that some people will miss what you're trying to say, but if someone is that dense would even outlining your point be of any use? That's a puzzle with no answer, I'd say.

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Television Tuesday: The, "Fallout," Show is Streamable Tomorrow!

I was incredibly bummed when, "Westworld," ended up getting canceled by Warner Brothers Discovery as the company slaughtered their entire line of movies, shows, and now games. However, I was excited to hear the showrunners of, "Westworld," would be making a, "Fallout," show. Yes, Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy crafted a show set in the Universe of, "Fallout," and I am pumped for a variety of reasons. I love (most) of the games, am a fan of Nolan and Joy's work, and the show is on Amazon Prime so it has got itself a juicy budget (Bezos' and his mega-yachts don't play). None of that guarantees a good show however, so I'm pleased early buzz is overwhelmingly positive.

The show is getting so much hype that Amazon has moved the release up a day with every single episode launching tomorrow, April 10th. A second season is already basically confirmed, and the games are on sale in a digital bundle with some great titles (and ones that got more mixed reviews) if you want to dive into the Universe further before or after viewing the show. By all accounts, "Fallout," as a television show is superb and I can't wait to tune in starting tomorrow! Now we just need Nolan and Joy's dream of finishing, "Westworld," to come true someday too.

Monday, April 8, 2024

The Partial Eclipse Today Was Fun to Witness!

Today I was able to witness the partial eclipse with Samii and Gibson (Clarkson was at his school), and it was incredibly cool! While it wasn't quite as wild as when we had the full eclipse in 2017, achieving 99%-ish totality was pretty snazzy. Now we just need to wait for 2044 in regards to another one of these coming to (contiguous) North America.

Attention Everyone: Please, Please be Careful When Scrubbing Sharp Cutlery--I Learned the Hard Way!

Yesterday I was working on the dishes and noticed one of our sharper kitchen knives had some pieces of food particles stuck to it despite having been washed previously. I put the other knives that were already clean away, but got to work with my Scrub Daddy (I love those things) at trying to get the caked-on piece of food to go away. Either I was scrubbing too hard, not paying proper attention, or something else, because my hand slipped and I sliced my right index finger. After getting over the initial shock/burning sensation I saw my finger was bleeding quite quickly so I put it under cold water and applied pressure with a paper towel. Then, I got a dry bandage on it so that clotting could occur.  Samii was upstairs with a napping kid so I texted her what had happened and sent a quick picture. Please be warned it is a bit graphic. Observe:

Not the deepest cut and I was able to avoid going to the hospital for stitches, but it definitely stung and was bloody. I felt really moronic having such a thing happen to me, but Samii said that accidents are bound to happen sometime and she was glad I didn't get hurt worse. Still, this imparts how important it is to be extremely careful anytime you are scrubbing sharp cutlery or otherwise working with it. Whether you happen to be dicing up some veggies or are using a sponge after making food, always keep your attention fully on the task at hand and practice as much safety as possible to avoid accidentally slicing your finger/s. In regards to me, everything is feeling better today and healing nicely. I am thankful that I am more left-hand dominant when it comes to writing and such as my right hand is at less than 100% functionality. I did not need a huge band-aid once the bleeding stopped, at least, with a smaller one working quite well. Check it out:

The moral of the story here is to always be careful with sharp cutlery--or anything sharp. You don't want to end up feeling stupid as you run freezing cold water over your bloody finger or wind up going to the hospital if it is an extremely bad cut. Practice safety and you won't end up like me!

Saturday, April 6, 2024

Let's Check in On, "Deadpool," With his Latest #1 Issue!

Deadpool is one of the, "Newer," characters at Marvel in the sense he came about in the 1990s as opposed to decades before. The thing with the passage of time is that now in some ways it seems like he's been around forever with a new guard of even fresher characters on the scene in the past decade or so (Miles Morales, Ms. Marvel, and so forth). There have been times a metric ton of books featuring Deadpool were coming out and times the flow of titles is a bit lighter. Lately, it feels like his, "Main," series has kept re-launching and that isn't just me thinking such a thing--this latest series is the fourth in five years. Why Marvel keeps starting over with a new #1 is beyond me (I mean, I guess that attracts new readers sometimes and gets sales), but here we are in 2024 with the latest, "Deadpool, "#1. I haven't read a Deadpool-centric book in a while so I thought I'd check it out.

This was a solid debut issue. It discusses events from some past, "Deadpool," series I recall (his daughter, Ellie) and things I am unfamiliar with (he was in love recently and also now has a new symbiote daughter-pet creature he was, "Pregnant," with a bit ago). Everything is mentioned in a manner that readers can pick up the gist of what is going on and enjoy the main thing many folks read Deadpool for--Jokes and violence. Between some sadness and humanity (I do like it when Deadpool isn't purely a joke machine) we get quips and a number of body parts going flying. The creative team of Cody Zigalr (writer), Rogê Ântonio (artist), and GURU-eFX (colors) all synergize wonderfully. I was especially tickled by a busy page of a car chase where Deadpool does his signature breaking of the 4th wall and remarks it was probably a pain for the artist to draw--but man, does it look awesome too.

"Deadpool," #1 introduces us to the character's latest status quo and gives us a mysterious new villain Deadpool encounters while on a mercenary mission (Death's Grip). Sometimes the debut issue of a series is so busy setting up stuff or filling us in on past events it forgets to entertain in its own right--thankfully the first issue of, "Deadpool," avoids that trap and is a superb read. If you like, "Deadpool," this should successfully scratch your itch for more of his shenanigans.

5 out of 5 stars.

Friday, April 5, 2024

Flashback/Film Friday: I Continue to Think Mike Myers Could Excel in Serious Roles Based on a Flick From 1999

Mike Meyers is known for a variety of characters. From being Wayne Campbell on SNL and in movies to creating the voice of Shrek to--of course--Austin Powers. The man is a comedy powerhouse even if he's had some missteps in his career too ("The Love Guru," was a movie ticket I regret purchasing). That said, sometimes the guys who do comedy can excel in serious roles as well. Adam Sandler was superb in, "Punch Drunk Love," as well as, "Uncut Gems," and Jeff Daniels is amazing whether he's in, "Dumb and Dumber," or, "The Newsroom." He recently had, "The Pentaverate," for Netflix and it got mixed reviews like much of his work, but it was a comedy. Where are the serious roles? I ask because there is an utterly random scene in, "Austin Powers 2: The Spy Who Shagged Me," that has made me wonder for years, "Could this guy do drama?"

It is a scene right at the end of the movie where a character played by Myers in a bodysuit named Fat Bastard ambushes Powers and Felicity Shagwell (Heather Graham). He is about to kill them when she asks Fat Bastard (seriously, that is his name), if he's happy with life. This leads to a monologue that starts out a bit silly where Myers' character answers that, "Of course I'm not happy!" He does some jokes about his body, but then the character's voice quivers and he seems almost serious with a, "I can't stop eating. I eat because I'm unhappy and I'm unhappy because I eat." He goes on to say its a vicious cycle and he needs to forgive someone--himself. He also lets out a big fart randomly as this is a comedy movie. Still, for a brief second, you forget Myers is playing a joke character in a fatsuit. For an ever-so-short sliver of time, you feel for Fat Bastard and his sadness as Myers imbues the character with more humanity than you'd expect. Then he farts. Still, when Brendan Fraser wins an Academy Award for playing an obese man maybe Myers' set the scene with a little gravitas himself in between the jokes about tooting? Here is the discussed scene:

Mike Myers is an incredibly funny guy. If he ever gives us a wholly dramatic performance, I'll tune in to that for sure too.

I Don't Mean to Be a Broken Record About IDW, But Things Keep Going in a Troubling Manner

I have blogged a great deal about IDW and how the company has been through rough times followed by...more rough times (then even more). Well, things only seem to be getting worse. Rounds of layoffs continue and the company keeps hemorrhaging IPs, grasping onto, "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles," for dear life as a way to stay vaguely solvent. It is a bummer as the company has made a lot of cool properties over the years and their continued reorganization efforts only can accomplish so much. I wish everyone let go from the company over the recent years the best and truly hope IDW can figure out a way to sustain itself into the future. I mean, at least it has kept its talent paid, by all accounts--eh, SCOUT Comics? Anyway, there will doubtlessly be more on IDW as situations develop.

Thursday, April 4, 2024

A Nationwide Solar Eclipse Is Just Days Away!

On April 8th, 2024 a big chunk of our nation will witness a solar eclipse. In some regions, it will be, "Total," meaning that the sun gets blocked out for a few minutes in an incredibly cool and vaguely eerie fashion. Back in 2017, when Clarkson was but a wee baby, we got to witness a total solar eclipse in Saint Louis! Totality will not be achieved where we live this coming Monday, but a big chunk of the sun will still be blocked out, with other regions not too far from us getting to experience, "Totality." I am excited for another solar eclipse, be it partial or full. Just make sure that if you view the solar eclipse, you practice proper eye safety and wear the special glasses you can buy or get for free at numerous places (stores, libraries, schools, and so forth). I'm excited for Clarkson to experience his second-ever eclipse and Gibson will be witnessing his first--good times all around!

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

The Latest Beckett Hockey Card Price Guide is Extremely Useful!

I am someone who is fully aware that we can use the Internet to find the price of items. I use many apps to help me keep on top of comic-book trends and prices, after all. That said, I always write about having a fondness for big paperback price guides. My soft spot for the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide has often been discussed on the blog so considering I have been getting into hockey cards, why not try out a price guide for those? Enter, the, "2024 Beckett Hockey Card Price Guide."

I didn't have a lot of hockey cards so I had minimal need for the price guide, but when a friend gifted me a massive box full of random hockey cards I needed something concise and clear to help me out. This big ol' book by Beckett says how it is great for pros or, "Curious beginners," and I'm definitely the latter. While hockey cards can fluctuate in value just like comics, it is always good to have a reference guide and the, "Beckett Hockey Card Price Guide," seems to be the gold standard. I also have been enjoying the monthly, "Beckett Hockey," magazine which discusses trends with the newest hockey cards so between that for fresh stuff and this massive guide for older stuff, I'm set anytime I get some hockey cards that are newer or older.

The guide itself is quite straightforward and easy to navigate. It separates listings alphabetically by the card line and then the years within said line. So, the 2021-2022 Artifacts cards are earlier in the book than any 1990-1991 O-Pee-Chee cards if that makes sense. I also appreciate how many card lines have a little picture to show you what that brand of card looks like. The price guide does not have any fun articles or such unlike Overstreet, so I kind of miss that, but I suppose when you have over 800 pages dedicated to listings anything else would feel like filler. I did notice that the Four Sport line--which did include hockey along with basketball, football, and baseball--is not in this guidebook, which I understand as hockey only made up a fourth of it, but that absence is noted (even if most of those cards are basically, "Junk wax," as people say). Minor quibbles aside, this is a stellar book and very handy to have when you want to look up a hockey card. If you dabble in hockey cards at all, I'd highly recommend the, "Beckett Hockey Card Price Guide," with the 2024 edition having come out pretty recently. You can get it on Beckett's official website or from various retailers--I'm pleased I picked up a copy!

5 out of 5 Stars.

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

It is World Autism Awareness Day

It is April 2nd of 2024 and that means it is also World Autism Awareness Day. Someone I love very much has autism spectrum disorder--my son, Clarkson. When he was first diagnosed I worked to learn a lot about ASD. However, there is a multitude of misinformation out there regarding autism, so one needs to always check the source they are learning from. With that in mind, today is about helping to expand the knowledge and understanding of others about autism. There is still plenty of research and learning to be done, but I appreciate that such a day now exists to encourage folks to learn more about ASD.

The World's Most Popular Superhero Right Now? Apparently, Dog Man!

I saw an article by Graeme McMillan for Popverse that discusses how, "Dog Man," is the best-selling book in basically the entire World right now. Dog Man is--at this moment--the biggest superhero around. Created by Dav Pilkey, the character goes on all kinds of fun adventures and is up to his 12th book. Pilkey is known for creating all kinds of fantastic works (including, "Captain Underpants," a stellar series) and I read his first, "Dog Man," book some years ago to see what all the fuss was about--it was fun! Other folks agree Dog Man is enjoyable as the books just keep selling and he, apparently, has an animated movie on the way in 2025

Superman and Spider-Man might be, "All time," greats when it comes to superheroes, but Dog Man is on a lot of people's minds right now. He may not be in a monthly comic series like some characters, but anytime a, "Dog Man," book is released, it's a big deal. I'm all for kids or adults enjoying comics in any form, so Dog Man is a cool fellow/animal in my opinion!