Without me sounding overly excited about another DC product, yet again, I have to say the TV series of Constantine is quite on the mark. The actor Matt Ryan is a superb Constantine; a lot better than Keanu Reeves was in the movie. I have heard a lot of people believe they took some wild liberties with the film version in fact. The TV show is spot on. I haven’t read a ton of Hellblazer myself, save for a few issues here and there. I knew of Constantine, but I had yet to come to know him. In the New 52 I have run across his character while being a huge fan of Swamp Thing. They are known to run into each other within the DC universe. In all honesty I became a fan of Papa Midnite initially. He is an awesome bad guy/heel. That is when I first bought something of The Hellblazer series at a brick and mortar shop when it was his title. Without being too much of a spoiler, a few of the high points in the TV show thus far have involved Papa Midnite.Their relationship with one another is one that runs back and forth from friend to foe with a fury.It definitely stirs up a lot of enjoyable drama that I enjoy.
One of my comic book habits is that I do like to wait until an arc is complete before getting into it. Just knowing the answers in the next issue are already there and able to be bought at the store serves me comfort. I simply hate waiting on comic issues as well as TV episodes now thanks to both Gotham and Constantine as well as the Flash and Arrow for that matter. Yet at the same time, it’s great. Because there is an adrenaline rush on Wednesdays at the comic store. You’re getting that issue you are anxiously waiting for.That being said, Constantine has me on the edge of my seat. When I get home from my gigs on Friday night, it’s the first guilty pleasure I want on my DVR. I surely hope people outside the comic book world come to love this character/TV show as much as me so it can have a long life on Friday nights. The writers seem to be wrapping up the episodes nicely each time with no real cliff hangers continuing over to the next episode, even if the themes are complex at times.Just to keep my point short each episode is simply a great starter kit to the world of Constantine.
It’s a no brainer that this show has to stay on the air. It is miles above the current programming, that’s for sure. With so many detective shows and programs like Grimm, it seems obvious DC’s true talents will come to battle it out with all those guys on prime time. I firmly believe they will only grow in their viewership over the next few years. Especially considering what else Major networks are offering up.Mark my words, DC is about to rule the TV roost. I still keep a toe in the water over at Marvel, but the Agents of Shield hasn’t been enough to capture me even for an entire episode. Granted, I have a short attention span. With all this being said I have to suggest Constantine to anyone who likes a good detective show. It obviously has its supernatural twist where there are battles over good and evil as well as confrontations with both devils and angels. I’d love to hear some feed back or criticisms otherwise, that’s for sure.
I felt it was about to time to review the new Television series Gotham on Fox. I wanted to hold back my enthusiasm and try to give a somewhat subjective review of the show and also not to be in too big of a hurry to either praise or scorn it myself until at least several episodes in.Also, the reviews I have read online immediately after each episode have been scathing and very critical so far, which I find somewhat perturbing. I say that because the TV shows of our comic book characters are going to take different liberties than the comic book. This is prevalent in any major comic book character that finally hits the live action big screen whether TV, movie or cartoon for that matter. It gives us yet another angle/story arc of the characters we love. They should take these liberties and I am glad they do.
How can you not like that? Much less be super critical of it? There is a method to the madness. Granted, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. But it is a risk and a liberty that I feel must be taken.( Side note: case in point personally for me Jonah Hex’s debut on the big screen should have been closer to the comic book character. Because if you ask me in that instance they took way too many liberties and it didn’t work. There is a fine line. )
Hank and Richard discuss some of the criticism about Gotham and discuss their opinions about the show on their podcast SOBS. You can listen here.
Anyway, the critics are not wrong in saying this, but so far I think the writing on the show has been solid if somewhat sparse. That doesn’t bother me for keeping it less is more is favoring those who may not be familiar with every character or many comic books in general. The shows and movies are more or less about promoting the comic books. That’s why the Easter eggs have been somewhat obvious.It is stunning the amount of characters Gotham harbors and always has. It is a critical epicenter in DC’s Universe.It’s a great idea for a show.None the less, it is being kept intriguing week in and week out and I can’t say enough good things about how phenomenal the characters are. I love the casting and every one is doing more than a solid job of filling these characters proverbial comic book shoes. The never ending twists and turns of Gotham’s historyis a fertile field of episodes and outlandish bad guys with their sordid back stories.
The future of Gotham
The future of this show excites me.I am looking forward to every Monday from now on. The continuity of the stories and characters is closely tied to enticing the viewer’s curiosity. Making it a easy hook so to speak because I am known to plead for those folks that are not comicbook geeks to check into shows like Gotham that can give them a glimpse of the magic that is within the pages of comics. It’s a good starter kit and it’s not just a show about when Batman was a kid. I hear that lot. Even if it was, how great is that? Tune in to find out. Basically what I’m saying is that I like to write and review things without giving too much away. Because part of the fun of getting to know a series or a particular arc in a comic book is about coming to know the characters and the details within each one by getting excited by it and then going out and buying it and having fun reading it for yourself. That is the beauty of reading and lending an open ear to some imaginative wonder that always leads you to wonder a little more about the world that we live in.
Gotham is a very overtly corrupt place, and when you see that candidacy in the show and you can also take acloser look at the world we live in see the same type of callousness in the very cities and states that we live in. I’m not saying it’s outright social commentary, but comics have always had their finger on the pulse of popular culture and I am glad to see them continuing the tradition on TV now. I figure it’s a great master plan to get more people reading comic books again.
What do you think of the Fox hit Gotham? Leave a comment or let Hank know through the contact form, or even his Facebook page here.
Hank has reviewed several of the DC TV shows. Please follow the links below to read them.
Ok, here I go with another review about a Superhero that not everyone may be so up to date on. I know I wasn’t at all familiar with the Flash short of his appearance in the Justice League movie. He was a super hero that I never really ever got around to knowing before. Of course alot more attention is being brought to the character thanks to his new CW show. Which I have thoroughly enjoyed and I would have never guessed the endless crime fighting possibilities for the world’s fastest man would be so plentiful and engaging. Just for the record DC is killing it on the TV scene as of late. Of course it was the TV show that set me up to buy a few issues from my local brick and mortar to further my research for this review in particular. I was far from disappointed because the comic fed my curiosity as I waited for the next episode to air this week. It also proved to be serendipitous because one of my personal favorites Deadman made an appearance in the comic issue I bought. Which again pushed my curiosity further. The same curiosity that keeps me wanting to find out more not only about the hero himself but all of his battles with his more than formidable enemies.
The TV show does a stellar job of summing up Barry’s back story in what I consider well timed flash backs much like they do in the Series Arrow. So regardless of where you pick the series up at a back story is sure to be dropped in by some sort of flash back or dream sequence and again the writers are making these moves flawlessly thus far. Barry Allen is a engaging character himself even before becoming the Flash. His back story is awash with injustice and it is a large part of what propels him to use his powers for good once they are bestowed upon him. With this chip on his shoulder he makes fighting crime look easy as he anxiously awaits the next clue to the mystery of who it was that killed his mother when he was just a child. Which is well established as his main priority albeit constantly being sidetracked by the constant discovery of Central City’s next rogue meta-human as his first prioritized task at hand.
A fantastic thrill ride that can be enjoyed by anyone whether you are a comic book nerd or not. I feel like all these TV series DC is doing are a great introduction to heroes you may have never explored before. Watching them on the old boob-tube is a good way to find out if you would enjoy the comics or not. It’s nice to find out some info before actually purchasing the books. Personally I tend to lean towards the bad guys because it seems that every one of them carries as big a chip on their shoulders as Barry does. So it always makes for a great episode when another villain is introduced and Barry and his team have to figure out on the fly on how to stop them dead in their tracks. The Flash proves to be very worthy of the mainstream TV audience. Because if main stream TV needs anything it, needs super heroes and it could stand to take more general direction from the world of comic books in doing so. DC is more than up to the task. It seems that they took enough notes from The Walking Dead’s TV success to try and replicate it for itself and its own heroes. So if you haven’t watched the Flash already I bid that you do so soon!
Yes yes I know that I love to write things from the edges of things, and writers say things are like other things that are like other things, but, so what. I haven’t written in awhile and that’s okay, because you haven’t been reading in awhile. So, here we go, and I’ll fire off some news and bits for your boiling pot of wanton desires. Eat it up!
So Marcus Dave and I had some decent discussion on the show. I’ve never met Dave, but things seemed to go alright with him as a co-host. His connection was horrendous and I think there was a ton of lag. What stood out to me in the discussions we had was the different memories all of us have about Kevin Smith. Everyone can quote Clerks, or Chasing Amy, but we all had different points of view on what makes him great. I love the fact that he’s accessible, and is like the big brother you had, or your neighbor. The guy does a ton of things to help his friends, and you know what? I’m okay with that. Unless you have a shit ton of money, or connections, it’s incredibly difficult to break into entertainment. Music, comics, movies -any of it. If someone wants to begrudge him for throwing Walt Flanagan a line to get him some drawing gigs, so what. That’s what friends are for; to help. So, I like that Kevin helps his pals that deserve it and because he’s still real. He grows and develops, and he branches out into comics.
Speaking of his comics, His Cacophony stuff with DC was wicked good. So good in fact, that some enterprising folks in Jersey City, New Jersey have decided to attempt a 3-part fan series about his comic series. I wanted to talk more about it on the show, but Dave wanted to say more sexist stuff (ha, you know you’re in trouble Dave) and I didn’t get enough time to go on about it. find the details and some links below. It’s directed by William Visnosky.
What else? Delayed reaction to Walking Dead Season 2
Ok, so there are a few things I’ve tried to deal with, with the Walking Dead season 2 from Telltale Games. The game really got on my bad, dark and protective side. Trauma has a way of doing that to me. I think they were gratuitous with the treatment of Clem, and it didn’t need to be done. I don’t think any gaming journalist called them out on it, and I thought it was bullshit. I decided not to do a review, and I should’ve had more courage. I think the team ran out of ideas and they had a grown man, undeveloped and poorly written character smack her around in the game as a way to evoke and yank feelings out. It’s an old method or device. I understand pushing the envelope and I understand it’s a gritty dark world. I also understand that the Telltale team is neck-deep in their own praise hole and overloaded with work. They did well on the first season, and The Wolf Among us was great stuff. You guys should be ashamed of yourselves for the entirety of season 2. Gamers and journalists ate it up because it didn’t have glaring weaknesses. It’s bad and I’m saying it. No character that I ever cared about, except for the rabid dog in the first episode, and I began to care even less about Clem. That’s all for now because I may decide to do a delayed reaction article for it.
Tell me what to do! Comic-con Dallas
As if you weren’t going to be there anyway. Instead of leaving after your cosplay showdown with Michael Jackson and a bad Jack Skellington impersonator to wank and jank to the image of that beautifully created female Link you saw, head over to see This Saturday night shindig at The Gas Monkey on OCT. 18th. Details below. Music, clever witty banter, tons of beautiful nerd girls and others of your ilk. I understand there will be dancing and some holy ghost trancing. The last part is only a rumor.
Jonathan Coulton, dancing, DJs, surprise guests, and You
He’s been called the Joss Whedon of music. He’s a mainstay at geek events in New York and Los Angeles, and now he’s heading for North Texas. Jonathan Coultonheadlines the next Saturday Sci-Fi Social, at the Gas Monkey Bar & Grill on October 18, 2014.
Ok, so I’ve picked up a few of the New 52 DC one shots, and I feel like a kid again. I have the Batman/Superman and the Superman, and wow, they’re great reads and help get you primed for the next big DC event Future’s End. Who knew that Shazam had taken over for the Caped Crusader? The covers are old school awesome holograms. Moon Knight By Warren Ellis is top-notch. His writing and panels, use of lettering, or a lack of the lettering and sound really sets the tone quite well. White panels with black text usually stand out like a hippie at a Tea-party rally, but the man’s an expert at using space, and then exploding all over it.
In other comic news, yours truly is working away hard, long and fast on his graphic novel “Vile: Lost Legends of the American West.” We have a new artist named Francis Nuguit who has a great track record. He did some of the Robert Jordan “Wheel of Time” comics. I wish I could show you something from him, and we will soon. Head over to our facebook page to see some concepts, read the story synopsis and say hello. It’s a dark and emotional tale.
Vile:Lost legends of the American West
In future installments in this world named “Thunder Valley,” some of my friends will be appearing. My good buddy Hank Van Hawkins will be a former banker, gunslinger/gambler and mostly decent guy in the story. His name is Prickly Pear Van Hawkins. Many more of my friends will be appearing in and around the boomtown Serpentine including Appaloosa Red, who will play a madame with a dark secret and bright ambitions. Stay tuned for that, because we’re making it into a pen and paper RPG as well. Speaking of my buddy Hank, read on to read more.
So Hank and I host a podcast about baseball, music, comics, songwriting and whatever else comes up. We need your support and look forward to you guys listening. Hank will also be joining me occasionally on my new Game/comics/randomness podcast. We’ll be featuring indie game developers, comics folks and others involved with things you love. I understand Ms. Appaloosa Red will be guest hosting with me as well. We’re gonna have burlesque, games, comics and mind-maddening music and other obligatory orgy activities. So, here is the link to the buzzsprout page where you will go listen to old episodes of SOBS. http://sobs.buzzsprout.com
I’ve got nothing relevant for you kiddos. Stop by IGN lol. Sorry, but this is the slow season and I’m actually digging on State of Decay again and playing the life in NHL 2014. Hope that covers it all. Come by the twitter and try to go back and listen to some episodes of the podcasts, and for God’s sake, leave a comment or something. I need something to do while I’m kicking my own ass over not doing a better job of spellchecking. Ugh. I know this blog is ugly, but I’m too horrified to change it.Where’s my bourbon?
I’m not much of a movie reviewer, but I couldn’t help myself with this one. There is an Alamo Drafthouse near my place, and we had a gift certificate, so we decided to make the trek and give the movie a chance.
I’m not a Wes Anderson fanboy, or wasn’t before this flick. I can say that I am now firmly rooted in the soil of his clever and sometimes ridiculous wit. We arrived early and were treated to a series of vintage cartoons and ordered a few snacks and adult beverages. I do not suggest ordering the Maker’s Mark shake with nutmeg. As divine as it sounds, it is the worst concoction of liquor and confection I’ve encountered. This is from a whiskey and bourbon snob with a weakness for whipped cream and chocolate.
As we settle into our seats, we make it through the cartoons and the movie starts with several Wes Anderson shorts. My favorite was the second where he spoofs himself and his penchant for using the same actors. Ed Norton plays Owen Wilson playing a character with Wilson’s signature, well, Wilson-ness. I love it when creators or creative types can poke fun at themselves.
The feature is based on the writings of Stefan Zweig, and focuses on the character of Gustave H. played by Ralph Fiennes. Gustave is a legendary concierge that is both a throwback to more decadent and honorable times, and a ladies/man’s man. Gustave is drenched in panache, and is the “caretaker” of many an elderly heiress. His performance is exceptional and somehow reserved, even though his character is known for his flamboyant tendencies. He displays the stereotypical British taste for understatement, and his tongue is biting and sharp. He runs the Grand Budapest with a perfumed and iron fist.
Gustave takes the young refugee Zero, played by Tony Revolori under his wing and shows him the ways of the Hotel. The duo embarks on a quest worthy of any classic movie, with the fate of the Hotel and millions of dollars in the balance.
The Grand Budapest Hotel is teeming with stars, who all play their parts elegantly, letting the writing and scenic vistas and locations take center stage. Willam Dafoe hardly says a word, but his presence is still an ominous one. Jude Law starts the film and wraps it up, and Owen Wilson, Jeff Goldblum and Bill Murray all make appearances.
I hate to give away any of the details of the plot of the movie away. The Grand Budapest Hotel deftly toes the line of splitting time, and balances the looming war that is beginning and makes the war somehow seem secondary to what is going on with Gustave and his protege. What I will give away is that Gustave finds himself the heir of a fortune, and finds himself pitted against a family that is part Munsters, part Manson. Zero comes of age and picks up the mantle of his mentor, and the relationship between the two is a wonderful treat.
The true stars of the film are the aging hotel, and the writing. Wes Anderson is definitely funny, witty clever and all of that, but the majority of the laughs are tongue in cheek, or self-aware and borderline groan inducing. The humor is right up my alley though as a fan of 30 Rock, Community, Monty Python etc. There was one moment in the film where I thought the film was wrapping up loose ends and a poignant scene was setting up, and suddenly the entire theater erupted into laughter. Truly one of the funniest moments I’ve experienced in a theater.
The Grand Budapest is a delight and my favorite movie so far this year. I can see this making my top-ten list with more viewings in fact. It’s filled with rich and delicious nibbles. Layered and revealing something more delectable with each bite, the colors and locations leave you feeling more than satisfied. Watching the Grand Budapest Hotel leaves you with that gluttonous feeling you have at the end of Thanksgiving after you’ve gone back for a third plate, and then decide to push through and slice off that piece of pie with a scoop of ice cream. Then you collapse into a sugar coma.
This movie is certainly a must see, and my final rating is 9 out of ten.
I’m sitting quietly in my office listening to Guy Clark, contemplating the wasted years and unanswered questions of a life mis-lived. I sip Earl Gray Tea from a cup with the words ” Domestically Disabled” emblazoned across the painting of a pretty socialite. Then I shake it off to realize that I write about video games…and that I’m getting old. Life is about living, and to me, it’s about spring baseball, games and some other random things.
Anyhow, I’m putting together a list of things that I find interesting, or repulsive, or just odd. I’m trying to represent a demographic of men and ladies that prehaps have some nerdy interests and are in their 30s plus, and don’t have the time or inclination to find this stuff. So, here is the said stuff. Smile a silly smile today and do something awesome. Where have you gone Hunter? Where have you gone?
I’m sure everyone and their mother is raving about this show by now. I’m not such an elitist that I won’t comment or like things just because they’re mainstream, which this show definitely is not. For the uninitiated, the show is griping, powerful and dark, just like the T-Bone Burnett crafted music and theme song performed by ‘The Handsome Family‘. It is southern gothic goodness. The quirky and slightly off-kilter song jangles along like it isn’t supposed to be there, and images once reserved for a Nine Inch Nails concert flash across the screen.
The show revolves around an expertly designed time shift following two detectives played by Woody Harrelson and Matthew Mcconaughey. Both do an incredible job, and their relationship and interplay together is the best acting I’ve seen. This is no buddy cop nonsense. Both of these characters are profoundly flawed but have redeeming qualities. Those good qualities often take a back seat to the neuroses and psychological issues these men have. The pursuit of what may be a serial killer provides a stage for these to men to act out their search for deeper meaning in life. Bleak, troubling and self loathing at times, True Detectives is soon to be a recognized gem of Americana. I won’t drone on anymore, I’m sure there are much better observations out there to be found. Besides, I have cold coffee and warm bourbon waiting to sip as I bore you with other things.
I Wish I hadn’t seen that?
Fiber optic A@# Sex. Now with more fiber!
So, um, yeah. This is really a thing. I’m not sure whether to cringe or, cringe. Genuinely one of those feelings where you don’t know if you should share this or not. That kind of feeling you get when you see a cousin looking more sexy than they should to you. Or, if you’re of the male heterosexual persuasian, you see a thin silhouette of a long haired beauty, only to find out he’s the lead singer of a heavy metal band named Dirk.
I’m hoping this section will be a regular part of my ramblings. Many of us don’t have the time and money to go out and get the newest games, and some games go through phases of unplayable buggyness. Sometimes these bugs get worked out, sometimes they don’t and sometimes DLC and some time can give you clarity about a game. The game I’m talking about this week is ‘State of Decay’ by ‘Undead Labs.’ The game company ‘Undead Labs’ is a small game company based in Seattle. Their game ‘State of Decay’ is the epitome of indie cred and workmanship, though they’ve signed on with Microsoft Studio. More of that later though.
‘State of Decay’ is the game I’ve been waiting for since I picked up a controller. I’m a fan of good horror movies like most of what George Romero put out, the ‘Army of Darkness’ franchise as well as ‘ Shawn of the Dead’ and some others. So, this game speaks to me. The game tasks you with building and maintaining a community of survivors, scavenging to get by and definately destroying the undead. The game is story-light, but what’s there is actually pretty good. The game throws out multiple scenario possibilities for the cause of the apocolypse, but doesn’t get its hands dirty with reasons. This game is more about the little morsels you retrieve about how life was before and what real people will need to worry about. It’s about the distressed American dream and the remainder of it’s unkempt carcass. The day to day, one day at a time philosophy takes hold here as you must maintain not only food, ammo building supplies and gasoline, but also the dynamics of the survivors you choose to let into your community.
Although the game starts you off as a character named Marcus with a nearly inept and nerdy friend Ed, the purpose of the game is to play as the community. You’re able to switch from one survivor to another that you’ve befriended, and the light RPG elements allow you to customize and power up multiple attributes to build a strong community. Some of the survivors you encounter will have certain drawbacks, such as a drinking or smoking habit that will slow down their progression. Having someone that is a lush and also “drank a lot” with the “skill” of beer pong is a funny device, but also adds even more depth. The main game starts days after the fall of humanity, or the disease that has taken hold in at least the general area, and you’re tasked with finding a community, securing that communities safety and then finding a way to escape Trumball Valley.
The first addition to the game is the downloadable content “Breakdown.” This mode is like groundhog day meets the living dead. In short, the mode is all about finding a home, sacking the valley of everything that it has, building a group of powerful and useful survivors and then “escaping.” Escape happens in the form of finding an RV and moving to a new place. That new place turns out to be more of the same place you just left. You essentially hit the restart button, this time starting from scratch with no home, stranded and this time with higher difficulty. Resources become more and more scarce and the hoardes that walk the streets and fields become faster, more aware and harder to deal with in general. This is offset by unlocking special characters called “heros” when you meet certain challenges like killing 50 zombies with a rifle etc. Although ‘Breakdown’ is less about story, I found it more compelling because there was an invisible progression. It seemed like there was a chance to save my ragtag group of smokers, drinkers and jerks. Even if it is an illusion, it seemed like there was hope. You play a part in making that fight for hope one worth fighting.
‘State of Decay’ certainly has its share of bugs. There is nothing more frustrating than sneaking silently around a hoard of flesh eaters, making your way past a zombie that is a towering hulk of a hillbilly to make it into a shed, and then have a zombie phase through the wall to chomp on your tasty head parts. Draw distance and images taking forever to render are a pain as well. There are vehicles in the game you can drive, and sometimes you’ll be chugging along doing 90 mph on the way back to your ranch, when suddenly a vehicle appears in your path, crashing up your sweet grill and bumper. Although the game has its moments of intense frustration, if you can look past the games limitations and see what a small team was able to do with small resources, brains and incredible amounts of creativity, you’ll find a remarkable experience. ‘Undead Labs’ was working with a tiny budget and took a ton of chances and risks. Talk about pulling a Macguyver. This team took duct tape and toggle switches and made a detonator for a nuke.
I have to acknowledge the studios online forums at undeadlabs.com as well. It’s one of the most helpful and interactive I’ve seen. I’ve been lurking there since the game came out, and the staff like Undead Brant, Undead Sanya and Undead Nicole are constantly involved with the community. The forum page ‘guns’ is the most active, and the team gleans information from the community to add guns and other weapons to the game. The gun selection is absurdly extensive, especially considering that the game only costs 20 bones and is an arcade game on Xbox Live. Speaking of Xbox, the ‘Undead Labs’ team just signed some sort of super-secret mega deal to develop more games for the media and computer titan. Things are hush hush, but it looks like the team will be able to finally make their much anticpated game ‘Class-4’ that is said to be an MMO based in the same universe. Things are fluid, so don’t quote me on that last part. That brings me to an item of contention and a ton of disappointment on my part-the game is single player only. This game screams and begs for co-op, but allas, it was too much to do.
cost: 20 dollars on Xbox Live and PC
DLC: yes, 6 dollars.
Suggested for old guys and gals? For sure. Especially if you have some time to invest. The game has a permadeath feature and actually simulates when you’re not around. Look into it for more information. Seriously. Now where are my fiber optic manties?