Monthly Archives: September 2013

Happy Day

Me and my brother on one of our good days.

Halloween Reading

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I’ve been reading a lot of comic books. Since we moved to Florida, I’ve read over a hundred trade collections. A lot of it has been reading whatever I can get my hands on. There’s been a lot of Batman and Superman, as well as X-Men. I’ve been reading stories I normally wouldn’t have bothered with, simply because they’re there. It’s been a lot of fun, but I think I’ve burnt myself out. When I was in college, I used the interlibrary loan system to order the comics I’d read, but I was usually limited to twelve at a time. I think with so many unread comics before me, I lost control. So, now, I’m going back to reading a smaller amount.

It bothers me that in two months, all I’ve read is comics and no books. So, with my comic flood brought down to a steady stream, I’m getting back to novels. I just read The Illustrated Man  by Ray Bradbury and it was a good entry back. Some friends and I are reading Steven King’s The Shining during the month of October and I’m going to use that as cue for more Halloween themed choices. A Night of Blacker Darkness, Frankenstein and Monster Hunter International are all waiting on my Kindle. It should be fun.

Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. Premier Review

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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. premiered last night and it was the first time I actually watched a series opening in a long time. I’m not really someone who likes to watch TV on TV’s time.

The first episode was good, but not great. They tried to introduce the concept and all the characters, along with an actually episode, all within an hour and the whole thing felt rushed. I never had a grasp on the characters or what was happening. It really felt like it needed to be a two-parter.  With the little time I spent with these characters, I don’t have much to say on them. Though, in her short time on screen, I hated Skye very quickly. Coulson was likable, but I’ve already seen four movies with him.

Compared to something like Firefly, the opening was weak. With that show, I had a decent idea of what was to come and who the characters were. I didn’t love the show, but I was interested. If Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. never aired again, I wouldn’t really feel like I missed out on potential. As of now, I wonder if the concept wouldn’t have been better as a mini-series or a made-for-tv movie event every other year or so. Going further, I have two requirements for this show. The first is to take it’s time and let me get to know these characters or I just won’t care. The second is that they need to start bringing in characters from the comics. I’m a Marvel fan watch a Marvel show for Marvel characters. If they decide to skimp on the cameos, I doubt I’ll make it past the first season. I didn’t stick with Smallville or Heroes so I know I’m not a slave to the idea of superheroes on TV.

With Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., The Walking Dead and Arrow, comic books are doing alright on the small screen. I’ve got some ideas for other shows, if you want to read them at my Hubpages; Superhero Comics That Deserve Their Own TV Show and Non-Superhero Comics as well. Let me know what you think!

Sleep Talking

I’ve come to terms with talking in my sleep.

Comics, Gaming and Meeting New People

All_Star_Superman_CoverI have a new article up over at Hubpages. You can check it out at Comic Books to Read Instead of Watching Man of Steel. It’s my final rant of the movie in a more constructive format and will hopefully allow the healing to begin.

Still looking for another female guinea pig. Apparently, all the pet stores in Jacksonville specialize in male only business.

I’ve been cruising through comic books like there’s no tomorrow. My goal is to binge on all the ones that are in my local library so I can go back to a healthier, less frequent diet. Then, I’ll be able to get back to read novels at a regular pace. Considering my to-read list on Goodreads grows faster than I can cut it down, that’s a good plan.

I’ve uninstalled League of Legends. Not because I want to quit, by any means, it’s just taking up a lot of my time and I don’t know anyone who plays on a regular basis. I’ve I meet a group of people who do play, I’ll re-install it and get back in. Until the, I’ll be taking a break.

Why is it meeting people is so hard? I’m sure the big reason is that I’m an introvert and don’t like meeting new people. Even making friends at church takes a while. But it’s hard to meet other geeks and gamers in real life. Put us online and we chat up a storm. Meet in a store or library and we’re lucky to make eye contact. Even if it’s a gaming store, it’s hard to strike up a conversation. I have new plan for bookstores, though. Next time I’m in Barnes and Noble and I’m in the sci-fi, gaming and comics section, and other people are in the same isle, I’m going to try to small talk with them. If we’re looking at the same books, we must have something in common. I’m going to give it try. I gotta believe people need other people as much as I do.

I just want to meet a group of guys, it doesn’t have to be a lot, who like doing nerdy things. Who like to roleplay, who like to have fun. It would be awesome if I could find them at church, but who knows, maybe they’re hanging out at the gym. That would learn me real good.

 

Stop Talking About Comic Books!

A simple text animation or a conversation I hear quite often.

Dragan Effect

I made these photos is a desire to replicate Andrzej Dragan. I love the idea of highlighting the flaws to bring out their beauty.

Daredevil: End of Days

spoilers to follow

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When it comes to comic books, there are some characters I feel like an authority on.  When talking to others about the X-Men or Batman, I simply assume I’m the bigger fan and work from there. There’s only one other character I feel like I know as well as those two.

Daredevil.

He’s one of my favorite superheroes.  He’s street-level, stubborn and self-destructive. He has one the coolest costumes out there and can scare the pants of criminals. He’s a lawyer and a ninja. He’s not as heartless as Batman is often played up to be and he’s big into changing people’s lives, not just locking them away. He’s deals with Bullseye, the Kingpin, the Owl, Elektra, Typhoid Mary, the Hand and general crime on a nightly basis. He’s blind. He’s awesome. I discovered Matt Murdock when I was a teenager, just getting into comics. I started with the movie, pointed my interest towards Frank Miller’s run and went from there. I found the character relatable  and inspiring. He was more interesting than all the other heroes out there.

So, when I don’t like a Daredevil comic, I tend to think my opinion is in the right.

Daredevil: End of Days is a bad comic book. But, on Goodreads, it has a four star average. People seem to like it. I read a five star review for the last issue. Either I’m wrong or the world is wrong. Well, like Murdock, I’m a bit stubborn. The world has no idea what it’s talking about.

I was excited to pick the trade up from the library. Brian Micheal Bendis was back and his run on Daredevil is incredible. Just thinking about the concept of this story, the last Daredevil story, caused my imagination to run wild. The art is gorgeous. It had things going for it before I even opened it up.

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Then I opened it up. The warning signs were right there. The story begins with the last fight between Daredevil and Bullseye. Bullseye kills Daredevil, but not before Matt says his final word, Mapone. From this simple beginning, I already had two problems. The first being how Daredevil died. Bullseye jams a rod through his head. It’s bloody, it’s gruesome and it’s an example of the problems I’m having with modern comics. Superheroes used to die in heroic, operatic ways. They wouldn’t be simply stabbed or shot. They would be consumed by an alien energy, while holding it back to keep Earth safe. They used to close portals and sacrifice themselves doing it, they used to mean something. But today, when we know a hero will always come back from the dead, if a writer really wants to convince us the character is dead, he has to kill the hero in a realistic and unquestionable way. A hero can come back through a portal, but the can’t come back from a rod in their brain. And that’s how Bendis kills Daredevil; unheroically and saving no one in his sacrifice. And with that, Daredevil is written out of the next seven and half issues about his final days.

Which brings me to the second problem I have. Ben Urich discovers Daredevil’s final word, Mapone, and begins his search to what it might mean. With that, the Citizen Kane comparison is made and Bendis pats himself on the back for being so clever to borrow from such a famous movie. The problem is, is that there are no hints or answers given. The next seven issues are other characters from Daredevil’s life talking about life and themselves, not Matt or his death. They all think they know the meaning of ‘Mapone’ but wont tell us. It dawned on me that when the Punisher is the brightest and optimistic guest star in your story, you’re doing something wrong. Throughout the story, Bullseye kills himself because of the meaning of Mapone. In the seventh issue, Ben is kill by the Hand.

So, with one issue left, Bendis tries to seal the deal on how awesome his book is. The new Daredevil is Ben Urich’s son, who means very little to the rest of Daredevil’s lore. Then, we learn the true meaning of Mapone, the secret being it’s the name of Daredevil’s blind and skillful daughter. And the book ends.

Why would Bullseye kill himself? If, lets say, he knew the meaning of Mapone, we would be led to believe that he killed himself because he could never fully beat Daredevil, because of his legacy. Which wouldn’t make sense for Bullseye, because he would just go off and try to kill Mapone and the new Daredevil. Bullseye isn’t the Joker, he doesn’t require Daredevil to exist. If anything, he would see a new Daredevil as a new toy to kill. Bullseye’s suicide is an out of character misdirection with no fulfillment. So, now, not only is Daredevil’s death meaningless, but so is Bullseye’s.

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A big problem with this story is that Bendis, who should know the character better than this, treats Daredevil like Batman. Batman would train new kids, he would cement his legacy, he would take pride in Batman never dying because he’s a symbol. That’s Batman. Daredevil is not a legacy hero and he’s never been much a symbol. He’s a much more personal character than that. His last story should be all about his last fight. It should be his last match, like his father, who played a bigger role in his life than this comic would have you believe. And I don’t care what future you’re in, people would go to his funeral.

Instead of something that would make for a good, final Daredevil story, Bendis gives us a mystery that has no real clues and a useless ending. He gives us a gritty vision of the character’s future that seems outdated. His lawyer career and his conflicting faith are never touched upon. End of Days tries to show us that Daredevil didn’t really matter, that Matt only made life worse for others and left a lot of bastard children around. It’s a shame.

But at least this means there’s room for a better end for Daredevil. Maybe Bendis will leave the character alone now, Maybe, after we were shown a darker, but pointless future, there’s room for a brighter present.

 

If My Heart Was a House

A video I made for my wife as a wedding gift!

Our new Guinea Pig

Okay, it’s not a dog. Or a cat. Or a ferret.

But we got a guinea pig.

Why? Because Kendra wanted a guinea pig. She says it’s because they’re cute. I think we’re both tired of not having a pet. Now, we have a female guinea pig named Penelope. Did I know anything about guinea pigs? No. Should I have? Yes.

Penelope

The first thing I’ve learned is that, after the first week or two with Penelope, I’ll have to go out and adopt another girl pig. Guinea pigs are herd animals and social and get bored/depressed when the only pig in the house. So, once Penelope is used to us, we’ll go out, get another, let it acclimate to us, then introduce her to Penelope, and then have two. That’s what I’ve gotten myself into.

Another thing I learned is that I need to make a salad of specific veggies twice a day for Penelope. Green leafs, carrots, cucumbers and corn, among other meals. Plus, guinea pigs can’t produce their own Vitamin C, so I have to to give it an orange or apple twice a week. And guinea pigs can be picky and take a while to like a food, or maybe they will never like it! These things are finicky!

Now I’m all in. Buying toys, researching the best hay, chopping vegetables, letting her run around in the hall for exercise. My wife comes home from work and cuddles it. I’m basically Penelope’s chef. What the heck!