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Cheez-It’s After Midnight

Posted on January 29th, 2021

Dave!Boy, losing Cloris Leachmen and Cicely Tyson in the same week? That's a sobering way to close out January after closing out the shit year that was 2020.

Last night I blew all my energy dishing up Jake and Jenny's wet food, leaving me no energy to cook for myself. I had eaten a veggie burger early in the day while running errands, so it wasn't a big deal. I ended up eating some Cheez-It's and drinking a Coke Zero then calling it good.

Which of course meant that I woke up hungry in the middle of the night.

Which resulted in my eating another handful of Cheez-It's, but I digree.

The problem with waking up in the middle of the night is that it also wakes my cats up. They are perfectly happy to let me sleep and rarely bother me when I'm lost in slumberland, but all bets are off if I wake them up. First Jenny wanted pets. Then Jake wanted pets. Then Jenny came back again for more pets. According to my Apple Watch, I finally fell asleep again after 2:30am. Was that handful of Cheez-It's worth it? Probably not.

Four-and-a-half hours later when I was awakened by Alexa so I could feed them breakfast, I noticed that THEY weren't the least bit tired. I guess when you spend the entire day sleeping, you always have surplus energy.

In other news... I stayed up 'til midnight so I could watch the latest episode of WandaVision, where things are finally starting to happen. It only took four episodes, but okay. It wasn't necessarily great, but it does hint that great things are coming. If you've already seen it and are interested in my spoiler-filled thoughts, you can find them in an extended entry...

→ Click here to continue reading this entry...

   

A 1984 Blunder Story

Posted on December 26th, 2020

Dave!A few quibbles aside, the first Wonder Woman movie was a triumph. Beautifully realized and brilliantly told, it was everything you want out of a super-hero comic book movie. And that scene where Princess Diana of Themyscira crawls out of the trenches and becomes Wonder Woman is one of the best scenes of any movie ever made. I enjoyed it a lot, and feel it sits with The Dark Knight and Superman: The Movie as the pinnacle of of what DC Comic movies could be but often are not.

So obviously I was eagerly anticipating the sequel, Wonder Woman 1984...

   
The short non-spoiler version... I absolutely HATED this film. Easily one of the worst movies I've ever seen. It's garbage from start to finish and trying to find something good to say about it boils down to Gal Godot looking as amazing as ever as Wonder Woman. That's it. That's all I got.

My thoughts are in an extended entry, which will include spoilers...

→ Click here to continue reading this entry...

   

Bullet Sunday 676: FanDumb Edition

Posted on August 23rd, 2020

Dave!Fan conventions may be on hold, but don't get your super-suit tights in a bunch... because an all new DC Comics Fan Dome Edition of Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
FAN DOME! In the absence of fan conventions (like Comic-Con) there's been an awful lot of "virtual cons" happening. DC Comics held their own virtual con event this weekend, called Fan Dome. The only thing I actually tuned in live for was Wonder Woman 1984 and Suicide Squad. Everything else was just when it hit YouTube. Precious little information was dropped for Aquaman 2, Shazam 2, or a new Superman film, but everything else happening in the next 2-3 years was touched upon. Let's take a look, shall we?

   
THE SUICIDE SQUAD! Technically, this is Suicide Squad 2, but in order to distance James Gunn's take on the franchise from the previous installment, they added "The" in the front and left "2" off the back. Packed to the gills with characters even more obscure than the original team, Gunn promises a unique take on the material which follows his incredible success with the Guardians of the Galaxy flicks over at Marvel. Out of all the films DC is unleashing on us, this has the best shot of my liking it...

ODDS TO LIKE IT: 85%

   
WONDER WOMAN 1984! I was completely unprepared for Patty Jenkins' incredible Wonder Woman movie, released in 2017. It was a fantastic, faithful, and fully entertaining representation of everybody's favorite Amazon for the silver screen. Three long years later, we're finally getting a sequel. I am not 100% sure how exactly how this wacky throwback is going to play out, but the trailer sure looks encouraging...

ODDS TO LIKE IT: 75%

   
THE BATMAN! When it comes to Batman live-action movies, the character has fared better than most, but there have been some serious missteps...

  • Batman (1989) Demented Tim Burton Batman fun!
  • Batman Returns (1992) Memorable for Danny DeVito and Michelle Pfeiffer and an absurd story.
  • Batman Forever (1995) Joel Schumacher taking a huge, stupid dump on the franchise.
  • Batman & Robin (1997) Joel Schumacher's nail in the coffin of Batman movies.
  • Batman Begins (2005) Christopher Nolan reinvigorates Batman for film in a new trilogy.
  • The Dark Knight (2008) The pinacle of Batman movies with the definitive Joker.
  • The Dark Knight Rises (2012) A drastic step down has Batman ending on a whimper.
  • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) Zack Snyder shits all over Batman, specifically, and super-heroes, in general.

With the exception of The Dark Knight Rises, the best Batman going has been the LEGO games/movies and the animated cartoons. And here we go again, this time with Matt Reeves directing Robert Pattinson in The Batman. Alas, it's looking like a bit of a mess in the trailer, but who knows?

ODDS TO LIKE IT: 25%

   
BLACK ADAM! I hate hate hated the Shazam! movie. Now we're getting a movie around one of Shazam's biggest villains, Black Adam. I have no clue what this is supposed to be. Is he fighting Shazam? Is he going to be an actual villain? Who knows. I'd abandon all hope, except Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is starring in it, so I guess that's something.

ODDS TO LIKE IT: 20%

   
THE FLASH! One of the worst parts of Zack Snyder's shitty Justice League was his take on The Flash. Wrapped in one of the shittiest movie super-hero costumes of all time, Ezra Miller's godawful versions looked like a pile of junk instead of the sleek, elegant character from the comics. And those horrific "jokes" that he simply would. not. shut. up. with (courtesy of Joss Whedon, I'm guessing?). has me not giving a crap about this movie. About the only thing even remotely interesting to me is the fact that Michael Keaton's Batman will be making an appearance. Otherwise? Ugh.

ODDS TO LIKE IT: 10%

   
JUSTICE LEAGUE: THE SNYDER CUT! One of the worst super-hero films ever created, Justice League was a horrific pile of shit that followed Zack Snyder's truly awful Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice and Man of Steel fiascos. While the fact that Snyder has created it guaranteed it would suck, the fact that Joss Whedon was brought it to make it "funny" in the hopes it would perform like his two Avengers movies made it even worse. An inconsistent mish-mash that I hated more than I ever thought possible. Now Zack Snyder has been given millions of dollars so he can "restore his vision" for the film. Which means it's still going to be a pile of shit... it's just going to be a consistent pile of shit.

ODDS TO LIKE IT: 2%

   
I suppose if theaters ever open up in the USA again, I might actually get to see some of these. But, more likely than not, I'll just be waiting for home-video. If I'm going to risk death in a theater, it won't be for anything coming out of DC Comics, that's for sure.

   

Bullet Sunday 672

Posted on July 26th, 2020

Dave!Comic-Con San Diego may have been canceled this year, but you can't cancel Bullet Sunday, which starts... now...

   
• EXCELLENT!! Not only did we get a brand-new trailer for the upcoming Bill & Ted movie at Comic-Con at Home, we also got a release date of September 1st. But the best news? It's going to be released for streaming rental day-and-date with the theatrical release!

Sure it will probably cost $20 to rent early, but I would pay it in a heartbeat to avoid having to go to a bogus COVID-19-infested theater!

   
• NANDOR! I watched a few virtual panels and, by a wide margin, my favorite of the bunch featured the cast of What We Do In The Shadows. If you're a fan of the show, there's no need to tell you what to do...

I know the second season just ended, but I want a third season right now.

   
• SEEKERS! What I want more than anything else from Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright is a sequel to their incredible movie, Paul. But outside of that, I'll take whatever I can get. Including their new paranormal hunter show... Truth Seekers...

Alas, no date is given as to when the show debuts on Amazon Prime, but here's hoping it's soon-soon rather than later-soon.

   
• DECKS! I have no problem with an animated Star Trek. The original animated Star Trek series was pretty darn great. But a comedy? I don't know that I get why that has to go under the umbrella. It seems an odd fit...

Guess I'll see how I feel once I've seen an episode or two. Lower Decks drops on CBS All Access on August 6th.

   
• Jack! Not exactly Comic-Con-related, but Jack Whitehall has a new Netflix special out. If you like Jack, it's a great waste of time...

I sure am sad that we likely won't see any more episodes of Travels with My Father, but watching this special makes me want to watch all the episodes we got all over again.

   
• Cutesplosion! And lastly, I leave you with this...

   
And that's a wrap, True Believer.

   

Old Guard, New Cinema

Posted on July 10th, 2020

Dave!If there's one thing I've learned over the years, it's that movies based on comic books are a mixed bag. Sometimes they do a great job of translating the source material... other times they do a horrendous job. But in every case, there's always changes that get made.

Marvel Studios has been the most successful in respecting the original comic books with their films. When they make changes, they are usually in the service of the story and are made so that the essence of the characters and stories will work in an entirely different format. DC had some very good Batman movies with Christopher Nolan's take on The Dark Knight, yet their current movies have been worse than shit. And then there's the 20th Century Fox X-Men movies, which were awful to extreme levels of bad, and about the worst comic book translation you'll find.

You just never know.

So when I heard that Netflix was creating a movie based on The Old Guard, I wasn't entirely sure what to expect. I loved the comic book. Greg Rucka and Leandro Fernandez told a great story in a cool way and it had incredible potential for a movie. So when Netflix unleashed it, I tuned in with a mix of both excitement and dread. How much of the story would they butcher? How many senseless changes would they make?

Turns out they did a fucking amazing job.

This story of immortal beings working as mercenaries stars Charlize Theron, which was reason enough to watch. She has never disappointed. And she absolutely does not disappoint here. She kicks copious amounts of ass and delivers exactly as you'd expect her to. That much was not surprising.

What was surprising? Not did Netflix keep two of the major characters gay... but they did not reduce their characters to platonic shells as what usually do. Take this scene between them from the comic book, which was incredibly touching and romantic as it gets...

A page from The Old Guard comic book.

And compare it to The Old Guard movie...

The scene is not just faithful... it's word-for-word faithful.

There was a time not even ten years ago that this would likely have not been the case. If the characters of Joe and Nicky were allowed to stay gay, they would have been neutered or played for laughs. And then there's the fact that the two leads of an action movie are women... and one of them is a Black woman. Don't see a lot of that, even in 2020.

And so...

Highest possible recommendation. If you like action movies, it's definitely worth a look.

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Bullet Sunday 669

Posted on July 5th, 2020

Dave!Life can be so cruel, but there's more to existence than misery... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
Cuong Nguyen creates utterly amazing works of art in various mediums...


The guy's entire YouTube Channel is remarkable.

   
• Areala! Netflix finally dropped their adaptation series of Warrior Nun Areala and it's pretty good...

If there's a fault with the series, it's that they dragged it out too long. There's painfully dull stretches where the nuns aren't kicking ass that should have been seriously cut down. I admit that there were times I just fast-forwarded through it because I just could not bring myself to care. They could have easily dropped this down to six episodes and been far better for it. When it comes to faithfulness to the comic book, it's a mixed bag. Sister Shannon (who headed the comic) is gone, and a formerly quadrapalegic, formerly dead young woman inherits her mantle. Alas, she's new and inexperienced, so that's automatically adding dead weight to the story, but Shotgun Mary and Mother Superion are there... as are other warrior nuns... so I think it tries to keep true to the spirit of the source material, and that's something. Hopefully if it gets renewed they'll focus more on action than they did the first time around. And if it doesn't get renewed? That's one shitty fucking cliffhanger to go out on.

   
• Being With Her! One of my favorite TV shows was I'm With Her... a rom-com where a school teacher starts dating the most famous movie star in the world. It's a fairly obvious take-off of the Julia Roberts movie Notting Hill. The series was fun and clever and featured hilarious guest-appearances by Peter Dinklage. The idea was retread again in the show Beauty and the Baker this year. It was good but nothing special. Today I found out that this show is based on an Israeli show called Lehiyot Ita... which, coincidentally enough, translates to Being With Her. So we've come full circle...

But here's the thing... the Israeli original series is really pretty good. Clever, smart, funny, and the casting is fantastic. If you have Amazon Prime streaming, I highly recommend giving it a shot! It's in Hebrew, so you'll need to turn on the subtitles, but it's worth it.

   
• Hamilton! I had the opportunity to see the Broadway play Hamilton very early on. I knew it was getting raves and had huge buzz, but it hadn't entered national consciousness yet. I don't care for Broadway shows at all, so I took a pass. I'd have to burn money on a flight and hotel that I'd rather spend on something else. Better the ticket go to somebody who would enjoy it. Then as Hamiltonmania exploded across the country, I always wondered if I made a mistake. Maybe I should have saw it just so I could say I saw it?

I finally saw the filmed performance on Disney+ and now I know I was right to skip it. Don't get me wrong... Lin Manuel Miranda is genius (I loved his work on Moana) and the cast seems talented... but good Lord is this not for me. AND IT LASTS THREE HOURS?!? I would have been praying for death after 30 minutes. I'm happy that people can enjoy watching actors running around in circles screaming/singing dialogue like this, but I just don't get it.

   
• Oopsies! And this... is 2020...

And we're only half-way through.

   
• And Lastly! You're welcome...

Just try getting that out of your head.

   
And that's enough joy, I suppose. See You Next Sunday.

   

Bullet Sunday 619

Posted on July 7th, 2019

Dave!It's a glorious day to be alive... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• IN THE NEWS: Mississippi makes it a jailable offense to call plant-based or cultured-meat patties "burgers."

Seeing as how Mississippi ranks 49th out of the 50 states in education. Perhaps it's understandable that their state government thinks the populace is TOO FUCKING STUPID TO KNOW THAT A VEGGIE BURGER ISN'T MADE FROM A COW. But are they smart enough to know that a veggie dog isn't made from a dog or do hot dogs confuse them too?

   
• Ski! Somehow I missed this excellent short video on Jim Niehues, the guy responsible for painting so many of those ski run posters you see at all the resorts...

Incredible stuff.

   
• Dreaming! Any comic book series is going to have its ups and downs. A series which had less downs than usual was Neil Gaiman's Sandman. A complete reimagining of the cheesy DC Comics character...

My favorite thing to come out of the series was Sandman's sister, Death, as she appeared in the mini-series spin-offs by Gaiman Chris Bachalo...

Death: The High Cost of Living is easily one of my all-time favorite comic books.

And now comes the news that Netflix has commissioned a Sandman TV show. Despite the fact that Gaiman himself will be involved, I am more than a little nervous. The series seems all but unfilmable given the visual language of Sandman's world. And the stories are wildly tied to the medium they were created for, and I question how well they will translate to television. I hope it's good. I hope Death makes an appearance...

"A wizard attempting to capture Death to bargain for eternal life traps her younger brother Dream instead. Fearful for his safety, the wizard kept him imprisoned in a glass bottle for decades. After his escape, Dream, also known as Morpheus, goes on a quest for his lost objects of power."

   
• German! I ran across one of my favorite Trevor Noah's Between the Scenes the other day...

I mean, they're all good... but his wit is at its sharpest here.

   
• Mermaids! Disney has found their latest live-action princess when they cast Halle Bailey as Ariel in The Little Mermaid. She's incredibly talented and I know of her from appearing in Grown-ish (the TV spin-off from Black-ish)...

Halle Bailey
Photo by Evan Agostini

Disney, being the savvy company they are, cast who they felt was best for bringing the character to life... regardless of race. She's a Grammy nominee, for heaven's sake. But of course the bigot brigade is all #NotMyAriel because the idea of a fictional half-fish girl being played by a Person of Color is just too much for their tiny brains to process. Time will tell If Bailey will make a good Ariel. Personally I am trusting Disney on this. But holy crap... give the young woman a chance! They haven't even started filming yet! I sure hope she isn't bothered by all this nonsense.

   
• Plus Plus! Speaking of Disney... as if the Marvel and Star Wars series in development weren't enough reason to compel me to subscribe to the Disney+ streaming service when it debuts later this year, now they've got a new series called Life and Deaf in development with one of my all-time favorite actors, Marlee Matlin. Somebody at Disney is very, very serious about competing with Netflix!

   
Have a great Sunday!

   

Comics and Murder at the News Agency

Posted on June 11th, 2019

Dave!As I've probably mentioned numerous times, I was a massively huge comic book fan for many years. Now-a-days I purchase everything digitally and don't buy many titles, but I've got an entire storage room filled with the physical comics from my past.

Back when I first started collecting, I hated subscribing to comics from the comic book companies because they would arrive in a brown wrapper with no protection and often came damaged. Instead I'd go to the two local drug stores and hope that the comics I wanted were stocked. Popular titles like Batman could always be found. Less popular titles may not be. I'd show up on the day they arrived whenever I could so I could get a mint copy instead of one that had been mangled on the rack.

When the comics I wanted weren't available at the drug store, I'd have to beg my mom to take me to The Big City so I could visit the News Agency there. The Agency was a wholesale distributor of magazines and newspapers to businesses. But they also had a retail store. The general public had to pay full price, but they usually had a copy of everything available.

What I remember most about the News Agency was the smell when you walked in.

All that paper. Like a book store, but fresher and less musty. I loved it there.

Jack, the guy who owned the place, sold it in 1995. By that time I was actually living in The Big City and buying my comics at the local comic book shop that had opened a decade earlier. I think the News Agency maybe lasted another five years before shutting down. I have no idea where local businesses get their magazines now.

The News Agency isn't all fond memories though. Three or four years ago I read an article about an apparent unsolved murder of one of the News Agency employees back in the 70's. His car was found abandoned in a hotel parking lot and he was never seen again. The article was about his family wanting the cold case re-opened to see if anything new could be discovered.

I was thinking about all this on my walk to work this morning.

How even the things that build our happiest memories can be tainted by tragedy.

And I'm pretty sure it relates back to how David Ortiz, one of my favorite baseball players to ever play the game, was shot in the back on Sunday. I can't get it out of my head. The Boston Red Socks, something which has given me so many happy memories, has been tainted by tragedy.

The news is reporting that Big Papi is resting and in good condition after a second surgery, so here's hoping the tragedy ends with him being shot.

Leave it to The Universe to ruin comic books and baseball for me.

What's next? Ice cream?

Well, shit.

   

A Comic Book Ending

Posted on May 24th, 2019

Dave!I've mentioned a couple times that I had worked on a comic book project decades ago. I made a lot of headway, but never completed it. The final page count was going to be in excess of 300 pages, and I just didn't have the time to commit to it.

Every once in a while I run across the 50-odd partial pages I drew and wonder what it would take to just finish the dang thing. The problem is that I would have to essentially start over from scratch because I created it in the 80's and it's hilariously outdated. The lead character has a car phone the size of a brick, and there's just no way I can go back and rewrite and redraw those parts. The entire story has to be revisited, because it won't work as a period piece.

But... 300+ pages of work.

Tonight I decided to draw/letter/ink a page of comic book art just to see how long it would take. Here's what I'm guessing is my pace...

  • Write/Layout: 1-2 hours per page.
  • Lettering: 30 minutes per page.
  • Transfer/Draw: 3-4 hours per page.
  • Ink: 1-2 hours per page.

I don't even want to think about how much time coloring would take. Possibly as long as 6 hours a page. So I'll put that on hold.

So... 5-1/2 to 8-1/2 hours per page.

Which means 1,760 to 2,720 hours if I can squeeze the story into 320 pages. Assuming I can work 4 hours weekdays and 16 hours on weekends... that's 36 hours a week. Or about 50 to 75 weeks to finish 320 pages.

A little over a year, I'm guessing.

Problem is that this would leave little time for anything else in my life. Like woodworking, which is my favorite thing right now.

So that's when I had an idea...

Maybe I take a character from the story, write a back-story series for them, and limit it to 100 pages or less so I can finish it in a year.

Worth a shot anyway. Maybe.

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Bullet Sunday 608

Posted on April 14th, 2019

Dave!Time to bend the knee... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Thrones! The much-anticipated premiere of the final season of Game of Thrones has finally come. Since it was just an hour of set-up for the five episodes that follow, it was a bit boring... but did have some interesting moments...

Game of Thrones Ice Dragon

One would hope that they managed to find an ending that doesn't suck... but I've seen finales fail more often than win, so I'm not counting on it. So long as it's a fun ride, I suppose I'll be happy enough. But I really want them to knock it out of the park.

   
• The Hawk! And so Disney has announced that Jeremy Renner has been signed to a new series for their forthcoming streaming network. I have been begging for a Hawkeye series based on the Matt Fraction and David Aja comic book series for years. It's hands-down one of the best series I've ever read...

Hawkeye by David Aja

No idea if the Disney+ series would go in that directions, but... hot damn. Looks like Disney+ is going to be absolutely killing it with amazing content.

   
• Only in America! A politician from Texas is so pro-life that he wants the death penalty for anybody involved with getting an abortion. You cannot make this shit up. This is after his tireless crusade to "protect the sanctity of marriage" by opposing marriage equality. He's been married five times. You cannot make this shit up. At some point you'd think that people would get tired of this kind of hypocritical bullshit... but here we are.

   
• Aurebesh Coke! Apparently Coca-Cola is creating special packaging for Disneyland and Walt Disney World's upcoming "Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge" lands...

Cool. Except... no Coke Zero? I cannot fathom why people continue to drink shitty Diet Coke when Coke Zero exists.

   
• Evil! There are few things I'm more passionate about than Net Neutrality. As expected, The Trump Administration killed it. As expected, the Democrats created a bill to restore it. I fully expect that it will be vetoed by the president. This is reprehensible and evil. The reasons given for killing Net Neutrality are all fucking bullshit. And the reasons for restoring it are legion. Which is why it's not surprising that President Trump hates it. Anything which levels the playing field for everybody works against dumbasses who have to rely on their daddy's money to get ahead in life.

   
• Kerning Fail! Few things freak me out like bad typography...

Kerning Failure

You'd think that the people in charge of using type would know how. Doesn't happen as often as you'd hope though.

   
And... that's enough bullets on your Sunday.

   

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