Pre-Defenders / Post-DuckTales Escapism!

The Defenders comes out on Friday! Until I get a chance to watch it at a leisurely pace, here’s some random other musings! If you make it to the bottom, I’ll tell you about DuckTales!

My feline overlord had her ferocious fifth birthday! She actually liked her presents this year! I don’t know how to process this.

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A Purricane of judgmental kitties would be more terrifying than any Sharknado.

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Valerian & The City Of Atomic Blonde!

With Marvel & DC’s cinematic rivalry on hold until November, we can turn our attention to film adaptions of indie comic books: Valerian & The City Of A Thousand Planets & Atomic Blonde. These two motion pictures share other commonalities too: I’ve not read either source material yet, John Goodman’s voice, & neither is doing as well at the box office as I believe they ought to be. If you want more variety in your comic book movies, support these! So (with very minimal spoilers) here’s why you should see both of them in cinemas. (But if you only want Marvel & DC movie tidbits, scroll down to where I discuss Deadpool 2 & Aquaman.)

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Day Of The Jackal Lantern!

Guess what I made this year for pumpkin carving?

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It’s a jackal lantern! (Curse your spoiler, you dumb headline!) Get it? Sometimes puns are sight gags too! I was considering giving it a Wedjat Eye to decrease the resemblance to an aardvark until I noticed Anubis isn’t usually depicted with one. Learning that real jackals don’t look as classy as ancient Egyptians led me to believe may be the biggest disappointment of my life since I discovered pumpkin pie doesn’t taste anywhere near as good as I imagined pumpkins ought to taste. (Reality never meets my great expectations!) My cat is too scaredy to eat in the same room as the Jack-o-lantern. She was fine with my Ewok-o-lantern, but she draws a line in the litter at canines.

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Bureaucracy Kicks Godzilla In Shin

Shin Gojira a.k.a. Shin Godzilla a.k.a. Godzilla Resurgence is the first Godzilla film I’ve actually seen in a cinema. It wasn’t what I expected from a kaiju movie, but it turned out to be a welcome palate cleanser. Thankfully only a few brief scenes are found footage, which is somehow a revolutionary notion to Hollywood.

I wary about the film since the title monster is uncharacteristically grotesque. Much like how the MCU’s Abomination looks less like the comic character than a roided out zombie (or DC’s Doomsday), J-Horror Gojira is made of melty broccoli. (Young Justice’s Kobra-Venom infused Mammoth is another apt visual comparison.) It will randomly drown you in its own blood before blasting you with the atomic rave rays randomly shooting out of its dorsal spines. I actually preferred its debut form as gawky amphibian that instinctively smashes its googly-eyed face through buildings like my cat opening doors with her mind. Instead of being a separate appetizer kaiju, this “evolves” itself into a slightly more traditional yet icky Godzilla. (Actually it acclimates or mutates, as evolution applies to species not individuals.) So this Gojira could probably be defeated by a Pokeball.

There’s some attempt at biological realism, mostly via a hoopy frood who really knows where is pink towel is, that doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. There’s a giant origami to explain how Gojira somehow metabolizes energy from the atmosphere, making its entire mouth superfluous. Luckily the largest Gojira thus far (the film acknowledges that its feet shouldn’t be able to support it, then ignores this structural improbability) goes into torpor long enough for the plucky misfit GULF committee to devise a scientific strategy to stop it. Despite being made by the man that brought you Neon Genesis Evangelion, the solution doesn’t even involve giant mech suits piloted by neurotic teens!

This is both the least & most complicated Godzilla movie I’ve seen. It’s a hard reboot where the entire plot is vanquishing Godzilla & there’s no other kaiju. What makes it complex is the level of bureaucracy involved in accomplishing this. (What ever happened to the good old days of green ape aliens trying to conquer the world by framing Gojira with a robot duplicate that can only be defeated by partnering with an ancient magical monster?) A Gojira film suffused with red tape is something I never realized I needed until I saw it. Somehow it escalates from dull obligation to Gilliamesque satire to bureaucracy inspiration porn. In addition to subtitled dialogue, every scene contains onscreen captions for character names, their official ranks, & the scene location down to the room & floor. It’s the greatest love letter to unnecessary OCD labeling since Batman ’66. This has walk & talk’s too! GO TEAM BUREAUCRACY!

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Legends of Supergirl

Supergirl season two’s premiere on the CW felt more confident & jam-packed with cool things than anything in CBS’s season one. Boring office stuff was kept to a minimum in favor of fleshing out her mythos & big action scenes. Instead of awkwardly telling us how feminist it is, it shows us. It feels like a soft reboot, so you probably don’t even need to watch the choppy first season to know what’s going on. I’m still not cool with it airing in the same time slot as Gotham though. I’d warn you of SPOILERS for this & Legends of Tomorrow’s season two premieres, but odds are you’ve already seen Supergirl based on its record-breaking ratings.

Even with Superman guest starring, Supergirl isn’t reduced to second banana. Is Melissa Benoist actual sunshine in a human-shaped containment unit? She’d knock it out of the park as literally horny Supergirl. (Please adapt, CW!)

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Buy Brother Banenose Now Because Booktrope Is Bust!

It seems like whenever I plan to take a short holiday from this blog, I end up having perfect weekly attendance anyway. I actually had travel plans, so I felt confident in my latest responsibility shirking announcement this time. Then on Friday night, I received a notification from Booktrope that it’s shutting down at the end of May. So Mercury Retrograde can take a flying leap onto a barbwire dildo!

What this means is that May 31, 2016, will be your final opportunity acquire THE DOLOROUS ADVENTURE OF BROTHER BANENOSE! Without a publisher, the eBooks & paperbacks will go out of production. So if you’ve been procrastinating on trading in a tiny fraction of your income for a copy, now’s the time. If you’ve already got one, please post some reviews online so others find out that it’s a quality book that exists (especially if they’re in the entertainment business). With only a month to go, I’m really counting on all of you out there to spread the news for one last hurrah. Thank you all very much for your continued support of my creative endeavors.

When you buy The Dolorous Adventure of Brother Banenose (in bulk to give away away or stockpile for the forthcoming mutant Apocalypse) you’re not just supporting one starving artist. Royalties also go to my talented team-members: Majanka Verstraete, Martin Jones, & Ashley Ruggirello. This book would’ve have happened without them. My proceeds will also support this furry widdle monstress:

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It took four treats just to bribe her for one endorsement photo!

It’s a huge bummer that Booktrope is shutting down. It feels like a repeat of what befell Topless Robot.  (I’m still looking for replacement writing opportunities, in case you have any leads on professional gigs.) I was very fortunate that Booktrope published my book before going belly-up. There were many other books in the works that weren’t so lucky. My paranoia about that chronicled in my novel’s Appendix may have jinxed things for them. OOPS. The shutdown is affecting all the other Booktrope authors too, so take a look at their wares as well before it’s too late. I apologize for not making the blockbuster bestseller that would’ve saved the entire company.

So as not to completely depress us, here’s some things that may result from this calamity. I was trying to arrange some live readings, but it’s going to be awkward promoting an out of print book. Booktrope is going to release the book’s rights back to me in June. This means I can search for a new publisher for my book. This may take quite a long time to sort out, so don’t get your hopes up yet. Even if I do get a new edition of The Dolorous Adventure of Brother Banenose released, it’ll be different from the one which is now a limited time offer. At the very least, it won’t bear the Booktrope logo. So the first editions will definitely become collector’s items! Get aboard this rare folio train before it leaves the station of affordability! I’ll also try to make that audiobook edition happen for your awaiting ears.

I want to thank Booktrope very much for making my long festering dreams of becoming a professionally published author & illustrator come true. I’m just sad our relationship ended so abruptly. After figuring out the learning curve, I was looking forward to producing more books with their hybrid platform. I hope everybody involved is able to bounce back from this tragedy.

As for me, I still intend to keep this blog running. I will keep you posted on the quest for a new publisher, so make sure you’re following me on all the platforms linked to the heart icon. Updates on my second novel will also trickle in. Come back next week for me to answer what Captain America: Civil War is good for. If this May really is The Dolorous Adventure of Brother Banenose’s final month,  however, I hope you can help make it one for the record books.

Topless R.I.P.

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Topless Robot, otherwise known as The Robot’s Voice, died suddenly on December 18, 2015, at age eight. Ironically, I got the news while I was writing an article for it on the impending yet planned end of Gravity Falls. WHOSE RESPONSIBLE THIS?

Once I won an original Topless Robot t-shirt in gray by positing that Peter Milligan’s X-Men was the worst comic book run. (If I was entering that contest today, I’d say Brian Bendis’s entire X-Men oeuvre  fails with an intensity & focus normally seen only in success.) I was wearing that shirt when I met the site’s creator & original editor, Rob Bricken, over drinks & inquired how I could become a successful nerd journalist just like him. He said I just had to send him some listicles he liked the gist of. Shortly after I graduated law school, Topless Robot published “The 13 Best Lawyers In Comic Books.” This was my first paid professional writing gig.

I wrote several more articles for Rob until he abruptly left for io9. I applied to become the site’s new editor, but the position was granted to Luke Y. Thompson instead. Similar to the Mike vs. Joel debate among MST3K fans, you can know find bands of warring TR loyalists who swear by Rob or Luke. I was fortunate enough that Luke kept me on as a freelancer following the regime change. While Rob only required me to email in my articles as attachments that he somehow transmogrified into webpages, Luke insisted I upload everything myself via Movable Type. (The site eventually upgraded to WordPress.) I initially balked at this strange new responsibility since it didn’t include a raise for the additional effort, but it did teach me how to compulsively hyperlink.

So losing Topless Robot right before Christmas really cut me to the quick. Not only did I enjoy reading & commenting on its articles, it also laid the foundation of  my career. Learning how to format articles online allowed me to figure out how to do this blog. Without my  Topless Robot portfolio, I wouldn’t have been invited to guest blog for io9. All of that convinced Booktrope that publishing The Dolorous Adventure of Brother Banenose was a worthwhile risk.

I’ll miss Topless Robot economically because it gave me money to rant about stuff I like. I was counting on writing many more articles for it, including the two about movie helmets & Gravity Falls that were not published. It’s extra frustrating because Village Voice Media shut it down before I could convince Luke to run any promotional articles on The Dolorous Adventure of Brother Banenose in the spirit of cronyism. Now I have to compete against Luke & all the other TR freelancers out of jobs for nerdy writing gigs, & I don’t have enough contacts to be good at competition.  So if anyone out there reading this is hiring geeky writers in this over-saturated market, please pick up the receiver so I can make you a believer.

Raise your glass in honor of the labor of Rob, Luke, & all the contributors. Alas & alack! We really shook the pillars of Heaven, didn’t we, Topless Robot?

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