When All Else Fails, Visit Riverdale

If you’re like me & too poor to afford to watch Twin Peaks’ revival on Showtime, Riverdale may tide you over. At first I scoffed at this show because it’s six years too late for a gritty melodramatic adaptation of Archie Comics, the wholesome teenage love triangle sitcom that has inexplicably been in print for seventy-six years. To my surprise, the show that aired after Powerless is actually good! It should not work nearly as well as it does. Curse you for making so much quality television, CW! (If comic book adaptations aren’t your cup of tea, I suggest The 100 & Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.)

It’s probably a lot easier to enjoy  this if you’re not a die-hard Archie fan (I’ve never met one in person, but I’m sure they exist) since it takes giant liberties with such characters as Chuck Clayton, Dilton Doiley, & Ethel Muggs. Jughead isn’t asexual, although the series was well into development when the latest comics reboot made that canon. It would’ve been easy to write Veronica Lodge in her Middle Earth cape as the rich bitch, but they’ve subverted that so well by making her repentantly compassionate. (The ensemble is so wonderful it’s hard to believe this is Camila Mendes’s first TV role.) Instead of fighting with Betty Cooper for Archie’s affections, they’re an awesome friend duo. Prototypical all-American girl next door (which could mean something very different depending on where you go in the US) Betty Cooper gets layers & family drama from having a mom named Alice Cooper who’s not the shock rocker. It’s spider brooch wearing Cheryl Blossom that gets to be the over the top mean girl, but it’s surprising she turned out as well-adjusted given her Gothic upbringing in Thornhill. Josie & the Pussycats give ridiculously awesome concerts, although they can’t top the superlative Josie & the Pussycats movie.  Archie Andrews is ostensibly the star yet he remains its least interesting character. He’s also gauche enough to wear a varsity jacket to a wake.

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Another rejected pitch was Roverdale starring Arfie Andrews, Sheltie Cooper, Furronica Lodge, Pughead Jones, Chien Keller, Dilton Doggy, Reggie Mastiff, & Feral Blossom.

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Amazon’s The Tick, Where Is Thy “SPOON?”

This installment is a tad late because I spent the week writing two brand new chapters of my difficult second novel. That brings the tally all the way up to a whopping four! Let me know if you’re interested in learning more about my process in future entries. Now let’s proceed to my SPOILER review of Amazon’s The Tick pilot & updates on the best kitty this side of Behemoth!

The first attempt at a live action The Tick was underwhelming because it skewed more towards sitcom for lack of  a budget for superhero hijinks.  Amazon’s The Tick is disappointing in the opposite direction. This show takes itself way too seriously. It feels like yet another standard superhero show (Can you believe we’re now at a point where we’ve got so many to choose from?) that just happens to have the Tick in it. So far this show is just playing superhero tropes straight rather than comically sending them up. (The Ninja Hedge would be topical again thanks to Netflix’s Daredevil.) Where has its absurdist satire gone?

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Bebop & Rocksteady Improve Everything!

I was one of a rare group of people to both see Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows in the cinema & enjoy it. The upside to liking a movie that bombed is that its merchandise gets discounted sooner!

I took advantage of the franchise’s misfortune to acquire the giant-size Rocksteady & Bebop for a quarter off at Toys R Us! Then I had to repaint them because Playmates barely put any effort into it, especially on Bebop. Much like its Classics Bebop (which I also customized & should eventually show you), the movie Bebops are inexplicably whitewashed. Rocksteady includes the Neegan-style club wrapped in barbed wire & festooned with nails, except it’s been toned down for safety so it looks like it’s wrapped in a rosary. They should’ve given him the sledgehammer instead. Neither was born with fingernails. Much research was put into them looking more like their cinematic doppelgangers.

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Please proceed to a plethora of pictures, punks!

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows Is Shellsational?

It was with great trepidation that I went to see Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows. I still hadn’t seen the first in the reboot series since nothing about it seemed positive. If you make a TMNT movie that I still won’t watch even after I can borrow it from my library, then you’ve done something very wrong. (When you Google “Ace Duck,” as I’m sure many of you do frequently, the eighth item that comes up is an article written by me. This is why I can never be rehabilitated as a productive member of human society. My pyramid will one day have this fun fact inscribed upon it.) I was all set to ignore its sequel too, but I wound up being encouraged the trailers. Since I had exactly six Earth dollars in my wallet, I took it as a sign to go to the matinee. Much to my surprise, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows is actually pretty good even if its title is too long.

I saw Micahael Bay’s first two Transformers movies for free & still think I overpaid, so I was very leery about him producing this movie. Fortunately it’s a far superior product. I can differentiate between the CGI leads by both designs & personality! The human characters don’t overshadow them! I can follow what’s happening in the action sequences! The offensive attempts at comedic relief were absent! It doesn’t drag on! Bravo to director Dave Green for making a fun movie that feels like a TMNT film!

Luckily for me, this sequel is made so that you needn’t have seen the first one if you already know how the Ninja Turtles came to be. I’ve been told the last movie was an unnecessary origin story told horribly, so they really should’ve just started with this one. It has new things that fans have wanted to see on the silver screen for years done well. All you need to know is that cameraman Vernon Fenwick took credit for defeating the Shredder to avoid revealing the turtle teens’ existence. I don’t understand why April wouldn’t get a share of the laurels too, other than it cramping Will Arnett’s unparalleled smarm. Also, only Michelangelo has a flying rocket skateboard, which you’d think would be standard issue.

It took me a while to warm up to the designs of the titular terrapins though.  I appreciated that each got more wardrobe personality beyond bandanna color, but they still looked too ogre-ish. I don’t see the point of putting pants on them since their ginormous NSFW genitalia were retracted into their shells in previous iterations. (The nubbins in the original comics were tails.) For them to wear trousers, their carapaces have to awkwardly hover behind their butts. Even stranger is that their ventral muscles meld directly into their plastrons. Not only is it visually off-putting, it makes it seem like they shouldn’t logistically be able to to tuck their heads into their shells. Give me Jim Henson Workshop suits any day of the week!

The clear highlights of the movie were Bebop & Rocksteady. They were what got me to see the movie in the cinema in the first place, & they didn’t disappoint! I’ve been waiting to see those two lovable lunkheads in a film since they were replaced in The Secret of the Ooze by Tokka & Rahzar. The movie adapts these dunderheads perfectly. Although their designs aren’t exact translations of the cartoon like this fan film, they look so much better than the fab four themselves. Gary Anthony Williams & Stephen “Sheamus” Farrelly have such great chemistry & comedic timing as these nitwits. The Golden Globes & Oscars will be exposed as shams when these two aren’t even nominated.

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I’m not being sarcastic. Rocksteady & Bebop are a legitimutantly cute couple.

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I Got 99 Problems, But Bestselling Ain’t One!

Thank you very much to everyone who downloaded a freebie of Brother Banenose last week! Not only did it start the week off as #1 in free historical fantasy, it wrapped up as #4 in both free historical fantasy & free LGBT fantasy! Nobody gives away intangibles better than Runaway Goodness! And nobody accepts them better than YOU!

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The free period is over, but you can still get it for $2.99 for the rest of November. The morning after the promotion ended, it was #99 in non-free LGBT fantasy & #110 in non-free humorous fantasy! Barely making it onto a non-free top 100 list officially qualifies it a legitimutant best seller! Thank you very much, paying customers, for giving me a bona fide excuse to coin the term legitimutant!

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Then on Sunday, it popped up to #83 just to undermine the dated reference in my headline. Look whose book it beat out:

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Yup, I outsold THE Stephen Fry in this category. Even temporarily, this does not compute. Stephen Fry would be an excellent narrator for the audiobook, by the way.

I’m still avaricious enough to want to climb even higher in the rankings, so please continue to purchase the book or get other people to do it for you by adding it to your wishlists. A fortnight ago, I signed a big stack of paperbacks. In fact, I’ve signed every paperback I’ve had the pleasure of meeting thus far. So unsigned paperbacks of my debut novel may actually be rarer than the ones I’ve defaced with inscriptions & doodles. Pristine copies cou actually be worth a lot more money one day!

So now that people that I don’t know are reading my book, I’d like to hear what you think about it. Should I backtrack on my current plan to not write a sequel? Or should I not write another book, period? Tell me in the comments. Or you can click the heart icon to let me hear your opinion on a social feed of your choice.

Now here’s an interview with d20 RouletteI met half their team through the superlative fictional resource UncannyXMen.net & its equally amazing fan forum, Unstable Molecules. This was my first Skype interview:

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Brother Banenose’s Blurb On A Blog!

You may be wondering what exactly The Dolorous Adventure of Brother Banenose is about. Here’s the blurb:

The Dolorous Adventure of Brother Banenose is the ideal novel for mature readers with juvenile senses of humor who enjoy satire, sex, knife fights, theosophy, bestiaries, sorcery, and some history thrown in for good measure. This tale focuses on the comic misadventures of a 14th century Franciscan monk known as Brother Banenose, who dreams of becoming a saint. Unfortunately, he is afraid of being martyred. Even less fortunate, Brother Banenose inadvertently inspires murderous rages in many people he meets in the outside world, including a family of relentless barbarians. When he learns that a precious relic has been stolen from his monastery, Brother Banenose sets off to recover it. Along the way he strikes up questionable friendships with some less than pious individuals including a sultry witch, a fraudulent swineherd, a warrior maiden, and a soothsayer who can only foresee doom. His quest leads him to The Idyllic Land Of Bliss, which happens to be beset by both a menagerie of fantastical monsters and the Black Death. The situation grows even more perilous once the Holy Office of the Inquisition arrives in town. If you were to put The Decameron, The Name of the Rose, and The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle into a blender and hit frappe, you would wind up with something resembling The Dolorous Adventure of Brother Banenose. Original paintings by the author are included.

Please memorize this blurb & repeat it to at least twenty strangers verbatim or your pinky toes will wrench themselves off your feet.

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Can I Pronunciate?

At least two people thus far have asked me how to pronounce The Dolorous Adventure of Brother Banenose. “Is it something like bay-na-no-say, ban-eno-sa, or bah-neno-see? And do you have to say it with at least one of your hands pinched before you, fingers upturned, in a cavitating upwards motion?”

I’m sure there’s an even larger number of you at home wondering the same question but are too bashful or ambivalent to ask. And the pulse pounding answer to this age old question is … I pronounce it bane-nose, but the inevitable gritty reboot will attempt to make it sound like a real surname. Effusive hand gestures are encouraged whichever way you say his name.

So mentioning the Archie/Sharknado crossover last week got me thinking about the seminal Archie Meets the Punisher. You may recall the epilogue where Wolverine is on the trail of the world’s most dangerous mutant that looks just like Jughead, the Riverdale ripoff of Wimpy, but with a swankier king hat. To this very day, a follow up Jughead Meets Wolverine comic has not been produced to resolve this cliffhanger.

If such a comic did exist, the one plot point that absolutely must happen is Jughead getting his grubby little mitts on the Ruby of Cyttorak to become the new Juggernaut. (It’d almost make up for “The Once & Future Juggernaut” immediately undoing the awesome Living Monolith as Juggernaut development to anticlimactically revert the title back to Cain Marko in the dumbest finale possible.)  We could call him something snappy like Headnaut. No, wait, let’s try that again: Juggerhead.  Why doesn’t Juggerhead exist?

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I believe this is my first attempt at drawing Jughead. It’s kind of terrifying. Bonus fun fact: I used to take Saturday morning art classes at the Joe Kubert School  from Fernando Ruiz, illustrator of Archie Vs. Predator.

Speaking of the Canucklehead, tell Hugh Jackman what you want in the last Wolverine movie. Nobody tell him “Old Man Logan” because, quality concerns aside, it makes no sense without carte blanche access to the MCU’s (not Fox’s) characters. I vote for the classic masked yellow/blue costume & Omega Red. Or fighting dinosaurs, cave men mutates, & Sauron (not the one in LOTR) in the Savage Land.

So the upcoming SHIELD Venom lava lamp = Jemmacide confirmed? Or is it merely a conspiracy to troll with economical merchandise? Discuss in the comments.

Remember when I told you about the SDCC Marvel Legends vote? Now you can vote for one of four finalists (Darkhawk, Angela, Mysterio, another gorram symbiote Spider-Man).  I call shenanigans on SDCC attendees voting Spider-Man into the finals over Nova (Sam Alexander), Cosmo, Nebula, Quasar, Borr, the Disir, Executioner, Sif, Malekith, Ulik, & Lyra. They’re just going to make him again anyway to fill a slot in a Spider-Man Legends assortment, so don’t throw your vote away on him! (Mysterio is also likely to be made again regardless, but at least Mysterio is stupendous!) Otherwise I’ll have to learn a very particular set of skills.

Vote on the next Disney Infinity character too. It definitely lets you stuff the ballot box as many times as you refresh! Mabel Pines currently has a slight lead over Darkwing Duck. This I will allow since Gravity Falls is amazing & Kristen Schaal needs to play Squirrel Girl in a live action Marvel movie to spare us all from Thanos’s blandness. It’d be nice to get Darkwing as an incentive for Disney to release the rest of his cartoon on DVD. I’m disappointed Kim Possible isn’t performing better since she’s awesome & deserves more merchandise in addition to a complete series DVD set. The the Alice & Mad Hatter options being from the lame Burton film instead of the excellent cartoon is most infuriating. Why is naked singing Baloo from The Jungle Book an option instead of pantless pilot Baloo from TaleSpin? Where is Uncle Scrooge?

THE VOICE OF GRODD FOLLOWS ME! This sounds like something a schizophrenic person might say. It’s also something completely unexpected that happened on The Twitter since I wasn’t stalking David Sobolov before. Katrina Law also has good taste in tweets. Also on this confounding platform, I declared that Bex Taylor-Klaus & Jacqueline Toboni ought to play sisters in something. Trubel & Sin concur with me. Together they fight crime … with dancing!

Yeah, nobody understands how The Twitter really works.

Did you read Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell yet? It’s excellent! Did you watch the BBC’s Jonathan Strange (no relation to Dr. Stephen Strange) & Mr. Norrell  yet? It’s exactly the kind of lavish & slavish televisual adaptation I dig. It’d be pointless for me to elucidate upon why both media are so wondrous as The Manila Reader’s reviews have already done so. So if you’ve not read & or watched it yet, what are you doing with your life? How else will you find out that authors are THE WORST?