Agents of SHIELD In The High Castle

Agents of SHIELD has been on fire this fourth season, which I shall SPOIL for you. One of its strengths has been splitting its narrative into discrete yet interlocking thirds to keep the momentum wound tight. I’ve complained that the show feels like the MCU’s redheaded stepchild, but ironically this season may be its strongest for having the least direct interconnectivity with Marvel’s movies. The series has built itself up enough that it can now stand on its own.

Remember when Captain America: The Winter Soldier excitingly set-up HYDRA as a major force of modern day villainy? Then how disappointing, albeit believable, it was that the Avengers flattened them out like tortillas under a steamroller in the prologue to Avengers: Age of Ultron? Then recall how HYDRA’s leftovers were somehow even more pathetic in the third season of Agents of SHIELD? Well the Framework’s VR simulation has HYDRA back to being a formidable foe. Not only is this a clever way to reintroduce HYDRA without rolling back the MCU’s stance that it’s been utterly destroyed for real this time, having them in charge feels eerily topical.  The HYDRA propaganda posters are a nice touch.  I love how the start this arc was named “What If…?” just like the comic series. This is the closest the MCU has come to doing an alternate reality since they’re not ready to dip their toes into an official multiverse like The Flash. It had plenty of callbacks to past seasons including a Bill Paxton tribute. Quit teasing us about Griffin!

Remember when I asked them not to make AIDA evil or seduce Fitz? Well the writers did both! Thankfully it’s executed much more deftly than I’d feared. Then this LMD 3-D prints herself a real human body to acquire free will & unsimulated sensations. She wisely gave herself all the inhuman powers because not only is she Madame HYDRA (unlike AIDA, it’s not actually an acronym), she’s also Super-Adaptoid! After being repressed all season, Mallory Jansen let out all the emotions like a fire hydrant! She honestly deserves an Emmy for doing the most acting!

AIDA as Ophelia as Madame Hydra may be the show’s first costumed supervillain. (That’s kind of sad, albeit less so than giving that honor to Deathlok.) Just like Dr. Strange’s training outfit, her shirt has weird elbow gaps before the cuffs. She even wears a cape in one scene like Veronica Lodge! While far superior to Polaris’s hair in the generic The Gifted, it’s too bad they didn’t dye her hair completely green like Fire Green Fury on Powerless. (Please get Natalie Morales to reprise that role on a CW show!) Sadly the color grading makes her outfit look practically gray most of the time. Of course she’s also not really Viper as Madame Hydra, but she’s closer than The Wolverine’s version. Whatever her name is, she’s one of the most compelling foes in the MCU.

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Remember, droid isn’t really gender neutral because it’s short for android. Male shouldn’t always be the linguistic default.

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Agents of SHIELD’s Tepid Third Finale Killed The Right Characters

Last week someone found this blog just by searching “awesome.” Moving on …

Season one of Agents of SHIELD was lousy television. Then season two surprised me by being addictively entertaining. The third season turned out to be a hybrid of the two by being thoroughly average. Losing Kyle MacLachlan, Ruth Negga, Dichen Lachman, Lucy Lawless, & Edward James Olmos was a harsh blow.

Somehow they made HYDRA even more perfunctory & flavorless even with Powers Boothe in charge. The only thing it had going for it was Mr. Giyera a.k.a. Magnoto. Whitehall telling the Malicks that their family branch of HYDRA is dumb immediately after their dad’s funeral was the most I’ve ever liked him. Every time I think they can’t make defeating HYDRA more anticlimactic, they underwhelm me.

What’s worse is that the big Inhumans gamechanger set up last year fails to take off spectacularly because the rest of the MCU won’t acknowledge the brave new status quo.

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Check Your Lists Twice

So some journalists are already releasing their Best Books of 2015 lists. This is ridiculous because it’s not even 2016 yet! Making the official deadline New Year’s just makes things less confusing for everyone. Thus far I haven’t seen my novel on any of these lists either, which is even worse.

So I’m unilaterally declaring (I do that a lot here) The Dolorous Adventure of Brother Banenose by Matthew Catania the best book of 2015! I’m proud of the years of hard work that went into making it, so why shouldn’t my biased opinion count?  Maybe it’ll be on your Best of 2015 list too? Let me know if it ranks anywhere. And there’s still time to add it to your [insert preferred holiday] wishlist! Behold another satisfied customer!

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The Game Is Afoot?

“The more that I read I think that the story would make a good video game, with all of its levels!” says my Grandma. I don’t own a video game playing machine, but this sounds about right. Any video game developers reading this that’d like a piece of the action before The Dolorous Adventure of Brother Banenose becomes the next big thing?

The Holiday Prefunk promotion has ended, but you can get learn of great ebook deals by signing up for Runaway Goodness’s newsletter. While the sale may be over, it’s never a bad time to buy The Dolorous Adventure of Brother Banenose! It makes the perfect present for Hanukkah, Christmas, Yule, New Year, Groundhog’s Day, Valentine’s Day, birthdays, anniversaries, or whatever winter holidays you celebrate!

Thanks to Robert “Sharky” Pruneda for giving me a cameo on his Thanksgiving blog, which I should’ve linked to in my Thanksgiving blog.

SHIELD Can’t Protect You From Holiday Prefunk!

The Dolorous Adventure of Brother Banenose is part of Runaway Goodness & Booktrope’s Prefunk the Holidays promotion! This means the Kindle version will be priced at $2.99 throughout November. If you’re a a Kindle Unlimited subscriber, you can read it for free. The ebook version will be Kindle exclusive for at least this period, but you can still get the paperback version from whomever.

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From November 9-14, the Kindle edition will be FREE to everyone! So if you’re low on funds but want to give my debut novel a shot, November is the perfect month to do so. If you’ve already  bought an e-copy of it, don’t despair! There are over 200 other Booktrope books that will be free next week. You’re sure to find something new you’ll like.

Once you have acquired The Dolorous Adventure of Brother Banenose at a bargain, I need reviews! Reviews are very helpful for getting indie books like mine to stand out from the sea of the thousands of books published each year. So regardless of whether you acquire my book during the Holiday Prefunk, I still need you to post your critiques to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, GoodReads, your blogs, or wherever else. I’d prefer if you say something nice about it, but even negative reviews can help build buzz. Reader reviews are also useful feedback for how I can improve my difficult second novel.

Don’t forget to post selfies with the book too!

My editor, Majanka Verstraete, is my new Marketing Manager! Reach her at  majanka.verstraete@booktrope.com for promotional opportunities.

Agents of SHIELD critique & Jack-o’-lantern photos after the break!

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Brother Banenose Is Becoming!

Buy The Dolorous Adventure of Brother Banenose RIGHT NOW!

The Dolorous Adventure of Brother Banenose is finished! All of the required documents have been sent to Booktrope. Nobody is more impressed than me, since I started writing it in high school but have since matriculated. Clearly I lack the work ethic of Lou Bloom from Nightcrawler (sadly not starring the fuzziest blue mutie, Kurt Bamfenstein). So to celebrate, here’s the blog debut of a painting (unless you count it being in both trailers) with an excerpt & hashtag on top.rbac2

This was the first painting done of Fairuza & the baboon (who has a name, you know!). Maybe I’ll tell you more about their secret origins someday.

Today’s title says The Dolorous Adventure of Brother Banenose is (be)coming, but you can actually get it RIGHT NOW!  SURPRISE! Barnes & Noble just has the NOOK edition at the moment, but you can get the paperback & Kindle edition at Amazon. More vendors should roll out soon. Yours, dear reader, are definitely the right hands for this book to fall into. If you could review it after you’ve read it, that’d be awesome. Many thanks in advance for your gracious patronage. I’d like to thank everyone at Booktrope who helped make this happen!

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Book Trailers Are Dumb. So I Made Two!

I don’t get book trailers. Movie trailers make sense because they’re already an audiovisual medium whereas books aren’t. If one’s work were to be slavishly adapted into a movie or TV show with Dyna-mation monsters (HINT HINT), then its trailer could also serve as a book trailer but that’s not helpful for pre-publishing marketing. You could film selected pages in a book, but I don’t know if that’s engaging. Why do you never need a book trailer when blurbs & excerpts already serve that function without tackily crossing media? So I think book trailers are dumb, which is why I made two of them.

I must thank Sir Andrew of Birchenough for doing the voice over and Jack “The Gat” Gattanella for editing the sound afore they recorded their latest installment of The Wages of Cinema. (“One’s a knight. The other’s a mobster. Hijinks ensue!”)They also found a hilarious typo in the script. The image editing was all my fault.

“You said you made two trailers, so where’s the other one?” Curse your comprehension of basic mathematics! Yes, I have another trailer ready but I’m saving that so I have something to talk about in the future. The next trailer for The Dolorous Adventure of Brother Banenose is even better (especially if you didn’t care for this one), so keep your eyes & ears peeled for it. So why didn’t I lead with the better trailer then? Because SHOWMANSHIP!

Oh, I had to make a YouTube channel in order to upload these. (That press-ganged me into getting a Google+ account, which was extra annoying.) So I also put all of FILLER! onto YouTube in case you don’t want to watch it on Vimeo for some strange reason. There’s also a playlist of my friends’ projects I helped out on. My hand has been cut from the trailer to Evilution: Unnatural Selection, but I assure you it made it into the final product. Now I just need to figure out how to upload my high school Napoleon project, Instant Potato!, & The Intergalactic Necktie Strangler…  Continue reading