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Category Archives: consume

Wonder Woman Comic-Con Trailer!

I’ve already recently covered my lifelong love of Wonder Woman, so I don’t think I need to explain that I found this trailer to be heart-stoppingly good. I gasped out loud the first time Diana used the lasso of truth.

I also appreciated that Chris Pine is playing the same mouthy handsome guy he always plays, but that every one of his little pieces of pith in the trailer was undermined by the somber score. While this still has a little too much “defining Wonder Woman as the inverse of a man” to it for my liking, it never once gives the illusion that Pine is the star or that the camera mirrors his gaze.

Oh, and: Etta Candy is wonderful.

This is not a review of Ghostbusters and I don’t like things that are funny

Last night Jake, Ashley, and I enjoyed an acoustic rehearsal on Ashley’s roof deck (sans Zina, whose drums would never make it up the four flights of stairs) followed by a band trip to see Ghostbusters!

Ghostbusters-2016-posterLong story short: Ghostbusters was a slightly better-than-average summer blockbuster.

Almost entire unrelated to that fact: I loved it. I think all four lead actresses were phenomenal and I am now obsessed with Kate McKinnon.

Before you all say, “Duh, Peter, you are a feminist fanboy, this was bound to happen,” let me tell you the longer story about how I legitimately had no reason to like this movie yet still managed not to be a total tantrum-throwing child about it.

The original Ghostbusters is one of a group of sacrosanct films from my youth that I loved not just for the kid-friendly silliness, but for the references and adult themes that would continue to reveal themselves to me as a grew older. It’s also probably my most-quoted movie of all time thanks to “There is no Dana, only Zuul” and “Don’t cross the streams!”

Despite that, and being a white male in my 30s, I didn’t see the coming of a new, all-female Ghostbusters flick as some sort of threat to my precious and beloved film or my childhood memories. I saw it as what it seemed to be – a cash-in on ripe intellectual property by a relatively hot director and his major star.

That I find Paul Feig and his entire cast to be completely and totally unfunny just meant I assumed this movie wouldn’t be for me.  Continue reading ›

Review: Netflix’s Stranger Things, Season One

As with the release of any of Netflix’s “bing it all at once” television seasons, this weekend my social feed went from a stray mention of Stranger Things on Friday to a steady stream on Saturday as more and more people began to sample the eight-episode thriller.

I didn’t want to be a late adopter this time around (or: be spoiled!), so I jumped onto the bandwagon on Saturday night – and wound up finishing the entire show within 48hrs!

That’s not just because I love to binge on TV. In many ways, Stranger Things is Neflix’s most cohesive and successful original work yet. While the performances might not be of the raw caliber of acting as those in House of Cards or Orange Is The New Black, they all work perfecting in the unflinching service of this period 1980s thriller.

Stranger Things, Season 1 4.5 stars 

stranger-things-animated-logoThere are very light, “this is the concept, these are the characters, this happens in the beginning of Ep1” spoilers in the first section; a more spoiler-filled take for those who’ve already seen the show follows, below.

CK Says: Watch it!

Stranger Things is a Netflix original that’s obsessed with the 80s work of Steven Spielberg, Stephen King, and Amblin Entertainment. It’s about a hidden horror, a terrifying secret, and how a group of kids bear the burden of both on the behalf of an entire sleepy town.

While Stranger Things is reverent of those influences, the show rarely feels derivative as it unfurls a sci-fi plot that is as human as it is creepy. The focus is always on the characters and rarely on the fantasy, even though the fantastical element are a seamlessly-executed success.

The opening frames introduce us to Hawkins, Indiana in November of 1983. We briefly glimpse a terrified scientist fleeing through the abandoned, flickering halls of a research facility on the outskirts of town before he is captured by an unseen creature.

The rest of Hawkins seems none the wiser to these events – it could not be more average. The geeky kids play Dungeons & Dragons and are obsessed with Star Wars. The teens are shot-gunning beers and talking about sex without consequence. The parents are stringing together jobs and cooking dinner without worrying too much about where their kids are hanging out and with whom. A surly sheriff hasn’t had to deal with any major crime – the last notable one was in the 20s!

Anything past idle teenage vandalism would be notable in this tiny ville. Yet, it’s also idyllic enough that a missing child can be chalked up to a wrong turn on a hike or deciding to take a Greyhound for an adventure to the city. That disappearance is accompanied by the appearance of a seemingly-mute young girl with a shaved head. She’s desperate to escape an anonymous group of men and women in black who want to haul her back to that same mysterious lab. When she encounters a trio of nerdy kids searching for their missing friend, it acts as a flashpoint that begins to unveil the horror that’s been unleashed on the small town. Continue reading ›

New Collecting Guide: Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger (and an explanation of who they are)

I’m happy to share The Definitive Cloak & Dagger Collecting Guide and Reading Order! It includes every Cloak & Dagger appearance ever published – both together and apart – with notes on trade-reading order and the importance of guest appearances.

Cloak_and_Dagger_Vol_4_1_TextlessI know what most of your reactions will be – “Who the hell are Cloak & Dagger?” They’re not exactly Marvel’s most-prominent characters and they haven’t had an ongoing series to call their own since the 1990s, but they happen to be Marvel’s most-recent property to garner an order for a television season – on ABC’s Freeform network.

Bright-eyed readers may have seen this guide already, but as of today the guide is officially out of its beta-release phase and ready to help you collect Marvel’s pair of would-be-mutants who recently garnered an order for a TV show!

This is one in a series of new and revised collection pages I’ll be highlighting; last week I covered Doctor Strange, and you can already see several of the others in action in Crushing Comics.

Who are Cloak & Dagger?

The short answer is that they were writer Bill Mantlo’s insertion into Spider-Man of a pair of teens whose lives were altered by the prevalence of street drugs in blighted, early-80s NYC. They adopted the powers of darkness and light and briefly took on a life of their own for the next decade.

Marvel was having a bit of a younger-character resurgence in the early 80s, with Chris Claremont spinning New Mutants off of X-Men and Louise Simonson launching Power Pack. Cloak & Dagger were conceived just prior to those two moves but offered a terrific contrast to them both. They were more rough-around the edges than either team, and lacking in the scholastic environment of Xavier’s school and the familial love of Power Pack. (They would make guest appearances in both series.)

Cloak & Dagger first spun off into a 1983 mini-series after their Spider-Man debut, and then into a 1985 ongoing title that was released bi-monthly. In 1987, they were relaunched into Strange Tales, Vol. 2, a monthly title they split with Doctor Strange.

Then there was the little matter of mutant hysteria. Continue reading ›

Marvel Now! 2016 – a book-by-book break-down

It’s that time again!

Marvel Now 2016July brings us the October comic solicitations, and that’s the month Marvel uses each year as their launchpad for a new wave of books. That’s the result of an increasingly network television influenced strategy for Marvel’s comic publishing, which sees volumes of books as seasons of a show that it makes sense to renew regularly – sometimes each year.

With their 2016 Marvel Now! initiative, Marvel has so far announced 62 titles, including a stunning 33 new launches or limited series (and that’s with only one X-Men title so far on the slate!). This post covers every single title, detailing what it’s replacing, the creators, how hyped I am, and what it will be about – plus, it points you to the collection & reading order guides where each title will be recapped.

Basically: this is your one-stop resource for all things Marvel Now! 2016.

If a title isn’t on the Now! list, is that a smoking gun that it’s cancelled without a replacement? That’s unclear. For example, Moon Knight releases issue #7 in October, but the issue listed for Now! is #10 – so, these new jumping-on points will be staggered. It could be some of the unlisted books are mid-arc and didn’t make sense to label as Now, or it could be they’re due for a relaunch in the new year. Of course, I expect some of them will simply wrap up in the three months of Now launches.

Here’s the list of titles so far absent from the Marvel Now checklist: Continue reading ›

Kickstartered: Steve Lichman by Dave Rapoza & Dan Warren

Given that my to-read pile of graphic novels is currently a nine-month backlog and my to-play pile of new games is at least six boxes deep, I thought it might not be a terrible idea to highlight things I receive from Kickstarter as they roll in, rather than whenever I get around to reviewing them.

Steve Lichman CoverSteve Lichman, Vol. 1 arrived a few weeks ago, and I must admit I had completely forgotten it existed since the Kickstarter campaign closed in October.

It only added to my confusion that the padded envelope I opened contained a cloth-bound hardcover book the size and heft of a novel with a skeleton debossed onto the cover in gold foil. Had I pledged to support a horror anthology?

In fact, this tome was a graphic novel – quite literally the nicest graphic novel I think I’ve ever received out of my collection of thousands of books. It has all of the external trappings of a beautiful signed-and-numbered 1st edition novel (mine is #5,518) and the paper and reproduction quality of a professionally produced comic collection – all for less than Marvel charges for a crap-quality six-issue trade paperback.

That means creators Dave Rapoza & Dan Warren self-published a literal 250 pages of comic all in one go. Given that the history of Kickstarter is littered with the failed projects of similarly ambitious creators, the quality of this project (and it hitting 1000% of its funding goal) makes more sense when you learn that Rapoza is a professional illustrator who works with client IP like Bethesda (Fallout, Elder Scrolls), Hasbro, and Blizzard (Warcraft), and on concept art for films like the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

It’s hard to explain exactly what it’s about. I guess it’s It’s sort of like Seinfeld if Jerry was a Lich and George was Dracula and their apartment was a dungeon? I don’t know, I’m an old, you can probably think of a better sitcom analogy than that after you read a lengthy preview of Steve Lichman on Rapoza’s site. Here’s their Kickstarter video:

As for how I found about this project or why I pledged… I’ll get back to you on that one. It literally doesn’t ring a single bell, and I can’t find mention of it on any of the comic sites I frequent. This might have literally been a blind pledge from browsing the Kickstarter comics section, and it could not have possibly turned out to be a better choice!

Here’s another pair of photos of their marvelous book! I’ve loved the humor first few pages and the illustrations are consistently great, so I’m looking forward to digging into this further when I dig deep enough into my to-read pile.

Steve Lichman Endpaper

Steve Lichman Interior

 

Using Pokémon Go for interval training (or, how I went from Couch to 5k in one day)

pokemon-go-logoI just ran five miles.

The last time I ran five miles was NEVER. The longest run I’ve ever been on (even with a generous definition of “run”) was The Color Run 5k – and that was with Allie as my personal pace car.

The last time I ran 5k was last night.

I had no pace car these past two days – just Pokémon. I return to you accomplished, sore, sweaty, way more knowledgable about Pokémon Go and with four more levels to show for it, but still not much more of a Pokémon fan than I was two nights ago.

How did mobile game I don’t even love get me from couch to 5k in one day, and from 5k to 5 miles the next?

The first step was deciding I was playing – and running – for efficiency. I generally only have an hour to play at night after EV heads to bed if I expect to have time to do anything else before passing out. With limited time to play, I wanted to maximize my level gain and cover a lot of physical ground to try to collect a lot of stuff – both Pokémon and items – since I’m way too weak for my local Pokémon Gyms.

The temptation is to amble constantly so you can engage with each potential encounter or to camp in an area that’s heavily lured. Here are three ways to short-circuit that to turn playing into more consistent exercise: Continue reading ›