Twelve Days of OGBmas: A Question That Needs To Be Asked

Okay, why has there never been a proper Dragon Ball Christmas episode?

 

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This picture is the only thing I’ve seen that’s even vaguely Christmas related and can be reasonably sure that it was drawn by Toriyama.

 

Seriously, outside of the Christmas Tree of Might, I don’t think I’ve ever even heard of a yuletide entry to this series. It’s not like there aren’t any Christmas related episodes of anime, and early Dragon Ball even had a Traffic Safety Special, so why was nothing made to coincide with the season to be jolly?

Look, it was a long day at work and I can’t think of anything else to write that I have the energy for.

Twelve Days of OGBmas: The Impossible Christmas List

Ah, toys. who hasn’t at one point in life played with or dreamed of playing with the hottest things on shelves? No one with regular access to the internet, I bet. Even now, when I probably should have outgrown them, I still have an affection for action figures, model kits and other plastic playthings. So let’s go down a list of items that, unless you’ve got relatives that are Bruce Wayne rich and really feel like spoiling you, you’d never actually receive. Welcome to The Impossible Christmas List!

First up, let’s go with something recent: Play Arts Kai Cloud Strife

cloudpakI’ve never played Final Fantasy VII, mostly because mine was a Nintendo household until I got my PS3 in 2012. But I understand its importance to a lot of people and why, twenty years after it’s release, it’s getting a remake (Release Date: TBA). But there is no way in hell you’re getting this thing, based off Cloud’s design for said remake. Even if you did, the thing wouldn’t be in your hands until June.

Price: $149.99 (Big Bad Toy Store)

Next, let’s go to something relatively more known: Iron Man and Captain America

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Specifically, the S.H. Figuarts Captain America/Iron Man Two-Pack. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is a license to print money at this point, and there are literally hundreds of thousands of kids and unrepentant nerds who’d love these high-end action figures. Sadly, they’re priced at the “this is for only the most hardcore/insane fanboys who don’t care about the expense” range, so I’d say never ask for this.

Price: $199.99

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   Now, let’s say you’re a humongous fan of the Transformers. You’ve been collecting them since the ’80’s, and have a love for the G1 cast most of all. Even you might be taken aback by the price of the MAS-01 Optimus Prime 18-Inch Action Figure. While it’s not art of the Transformers Masterpiece series, it certainly matches up with the usual price point of those figures.

Speaking of, the Masterpiece line has its own expensive as hell noble leader of the Autobots. While it’s less expensive than the MAS-01 and gives you more bang for you buck with all the accessories it comes with, I dare anyone to actually ask somebody to get it for them.

MAS-01 Price: $179.99    Masterpiece Price: $159.99

batman-hot-toysAnd we shall end this installment on the dark knight, that jolliest of crazed, uber-rich vigilantes. The set you see here is the Hot Toys Movie Masterpiece Batman Armory set. It comes with the Batsuit, Bruce, Alfred, an assortment of hands and the various gadgets the Batman used in Nolan’s trilogy. It is also one of the most expensive things I’ve ever seen in the action figure market, either online or in stores. If you ever find yourself asking for this for a Christmas, simply smack yourself in the face and apologize to your loved ones.

Price: $574.99 

And that’ll do for the Impossible Christmas List! for now. See you all later with…something else I assure you.

Twelve Days Of OGBmas: Compelling Kitsch

I’m not entirely sure why I love Paul McCartney’s Wonderful Christmastime

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Behold, the best Photoshop job 1979 had to offer.

…but I look forward to hearing it every year, alongside the Temptation’s version of Silent Night, Dan Fogelberg’s Same Old Lang Syne, and Nat King Cole’s immortal The Christmas Song.

 

By all rights, the song should not work. The synthesized sound and McCartney’s oddly listless delivery should ultimately sink this song down there with The Christmas Shoes and damn near every version of Baby, It’s Cold Outside. But every year, whenever I hear it on the radio, I’m compelled to listen to it all the way through. Maybe it’s because, despite the languid performance, there’s a paradoxical spirit and energy to Wonderful Christmastime. I always get the mental image of Disney World animatronics coming out and performing the song, which always puts a stupid smile on my face. And the whole song (and especially the music video) gives of the feeling of a better work Christmas parties: you’re tired as hell, but your still having a decent time with people you now and can somewhat stand.

Plus, there’s now a new version by the group Straight No Chaser that gives it a bit more energy.

Twelve Days of OGBmas: Suicidal Santas and Not So Wonderful Lives

 

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The 2005 version of Super Santa is kind of lame.

 

Staying on the Superman kick for now, let’s talk about Smallville season five again. Specifically, let’s talk about one of the episode I bought/requested as a gift for: “Lexmas”, where Clark meets Santa and Lex goes into a vision of a future between him and Lana.

It starts out innocently enough, with Lex (Michael Rosenbaum), then running for senate, meeting with a guy named Griff  on Christmas Eve to discuss whether or not to use Griff’s services to destroy Lex’s opponent, Jonathan Kent (John Schneider).

 

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Wait, what?!

 

Okay, I may have to explain some things.

Season five of Smallville is, to me, where the show really started to go off the rails in terms of storytelling. To that end, we got a truly bizarre story arc where Jonathan Kent, a Midwestern farmer with no relevant political experience, after a speech from his best friend Sen. Jack Jennings (Tom Wopat, of course) to run for United States senate. Even now, after the year of hell that has been 2016, that is a special type of weird.

So anyway, Lex leaves the back alley he met Griff in and is immediately mugged by an Asian couple. He hands over his car keys and starts handing over his watch when, for no reason, the female mugger decides to shoot Lex. The man who would be POTUS falls down on the concrete and suddenly we’re in the Land of the Golden Tint, where it’s seven years later, it’s Christmas Eve again, Lex is married to Lana, they have a little boy together and a little girl is on the way.

 

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And from the looks of Lana, that baby is coming in the next five minutes.

 

The Lex plot goes about like that for some time, with Lex experiencing the Life He Could Have If Only He Can Shun The Darkness Inside Him™. He has a family and good friends and even has Jonathan’s respect, something he’s been seeking since the very first season. All’s just going oh so Rockwellian until Lana goes into labor. The baby’s delivered and is fine, but Lana starts bleeding internally, and the doctors can’t do anything to stop it. So he goes to Lionel, but sadly Lionel’s in his “I am a proto-supervillain” phase, and refuses, saying that Lex turning his back on him led to this scenario.

 

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Lionel Luthor says humbug to your dying wife. His mood lighting and Scotch are all he needs.

 

Lana passes away, and Lex’s dead mom (who has been showing up in every segment or so) comes to him, trying to comfort him. It fails and Lex continues down the path to his eventual career as the greatest criminal mind of his time.

The subplot of the episode is where things get truly goofy/surreal, though. You see, Clark is conscripted to deliver presents by Chloe since the delivery guys are on strike. While making the rounds he meets a drunken man in a Santa outfit, about to jump off the roof of a building. The Santa’s depressed by all the selfishness in the world, but Clark perks up the jolly old drunk by telling him of why he’s delivering presents when he could be making out with Lana. The twist being that the guy Clark saved was in fact St. Nick himself.

 

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Even Santa needs a stiff drink or two to get through the holidays

 

Now, I know this is a cliché and way too many series have done a Christmas episode involving Santa. But from my experience, most of those shows are either sitcoms or cartoons, not young adult targeting sci-fi/fantasy family dramas. Seeing Smallville, a show that’s so built around the freak of the week formula that there’s a series of YouTube videos counting them, suddenly putting jolly old St. Nick in an episode is just kind of nuts. But it is nuts in the best possible way.

 

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Wait, I know this signal! Santa’s telling you to take third base, Chloe!

 

This is what pushes the episode from slightly surreal to full on mad for me. Not only do we get Lex going through a reverse It’s A Wonderful Life hallucination, we also get to meet Santa! The episode, like the season and the series as a whole, is somewhat crap; Lex’s turn to the dark side is far too predictable, Santa’s depression seems far too easily solved, and it has the problem Smallville always has of giving Lex the meatier subplot and not being able to find something for Clark to do without his superpowers. But a great performance from Rosenbaum, the sight of Tom Welling actually seeming to give a damn (something that would disappear as the seasons wore on) and the sheer creativity on display makes this kin of a treat for me.

 

 

 

 

Twelve Days of OGBmas: Shameless Shilling

The Christmas Season is upon and I have come back from my latest bout of radio silence to give you another marathon of posts. Welcome to the first ever OGBmas, a twelve day series of Yuletide related blog posts. And we start off with a little naked fanboy raving gift recommendation, for the superhero loving person in your life.

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I find it odd that I could consider a book staring one of the most recognizable pop culture icons on the planet to ever be considered underappreciated or in needing of more exposure. But such is the world of 2016, destined to go down as one of the most stressful and aggravating years of the world (if history lasts to record it). We need the Man of Tomorrow now more than ever, but we seem to be content with endlessly tongue bathing Batman and making Harley Quinn into the next Deadpool. Not to mention making a narcissistic, blustering orange president of the United States….

But enough about that, time to talk about the fourth ongoing series to call itself Superman.

The plot of this fantastic little series is as such: the New 52 Superman (both the character and the series he starred in) is dead. In his place and older Superman, one similar to the Clark Kent that existed before the reset button was pressed on everything in September 2011, has come out of hiding to protect the innocent and carry on the never-ending battle for truth and justice.

Actually, I’m lying. The real star of Superman is this guy:

SonofSuperman.png

Ladies and gentlemen, I give to you the latest argument against the “don’t work with children” rule.

 

The boy in the above image is little Jon Kent, son of a Lois Lane from another dimension  (the New52 Lois is currently starring in the new Superwoman comic). A Lois Lane who just so happens to be the wife of the Kal-El who stars in this series and the back-to its-original-numbering Action Comics. And he is the best thing about the comic.

Alright, I lie again. The best thing about the Superman series is the nigh-bonkers, near silver age sci-fi adventures contained within. From the Island of Dinosaurs, to the recently started adventure with Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E, to battling the Eradicator in a Batcave inside of the moon, this series is delightfully crazy.

 

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This comic has a Lois Lane fighting the Eradicator in a Mecha Batsuit. Why are you not buying this?!

 

But young master Jon is the focal point of the series. In a break from the little jerk with a secret heart of gold which has  become the all too common mode for child characters of late (see: the New52 Captain Marvel), Jon here is a sweet, honest kid trying to cope with his burgeoning superpowers and having to lie too everyone around him about his super-parentage. While I can’t call him the character with the most depth (he’s only existed for a year or two in real world time), I’m interested in seeing where he goes. He’s also not an annoying little brat or milking his “son of one of the most powerful men on the planet” status for cheap accolades. and his back and forth with Damien Wayne in the two part Super Sons prelude made me really fall in love with the character.

For specific issues to buy, #7 is the best made so far, with the Smiths (the Kent’s new names) going to the local fair to get to know the people of Hamilton County, Kansas, better. #10-11 are the aforementioned Super Sons prelude, and honestly make me want to read the Batman and Robin series Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason did before getting assigned this, and the latest issue has Frankenstein in it. Do I need to say more?

So start buying this book. Get a few issues as a gift for a young Superfan in your life or as a gift for yourself. Go to your local comic shop, or just browse Comixology for them all.  Then bug all your friends and family to do the same. I want this thing topping the sales charts by the end of 2017. So move it! I command you! I COMMAND YOU!

…Sorry, I just really want this book to do well.

It’s A Brand New Day And I’m Pissed Off

I couldn’t sleep when the news was announced. I wasn’t angry or  extremely nervous or anything like that; I was simply depressed. Why him? I thought, as I surfed the web for anything to get my mind off the horrifying state of my beloved home country. I read no news articles, avoided my cellphone’s news updates like the plague and didn’t watch any of the major twenty four hour news stations. I just kept going through YouTube and the like and wondered what could take my mind off this terrible mess.

Wednesday I was off of work,  so I lounged around the house in my pajamas, for the most part. When I did eventually shower and change, I decided to get a haircut and shave at Sheila’s Clippers in Milwaukee. By the time I got there, about 4:30 or so, it was closed, so I decided to head out and  buy some comics  from Collector’s Edge on Burleigh. I went there, wanting simply to pick up  four comics, and as I was about to leave with my purchases, I overheard a conversation about the production troubles of Deadpool 2. I decided to get in on the conversation for a bit. I was for well over an hour.

In a way it was cathartic. I and two white gentlemen simply bandied on about the live action portrayals and adaptations of comic book superheroes, bitching about the insanity Gotham and the screw ups of the Berlanti-verse, all while someone’s son sat quietly on a couch, trying to read the latest issues of the Simpsons and the Batman/TMNT Adventures #1. Stereotypical geek crap, really; inconsequential in the long run, but it was something I needed just to clear my head from gray haze.

I went back home, still somewhat avoiding the terrible news but now I felt as though I could handle it a bit more without screaming profanities at the TV. I was on Facebook, looking things up when I saw that there were now not only protests of Trump’s victory, but people asking why we, those who supported Hilary Clinton, were so upset. In response, I went to Facebook and wrote the following:

Alright, a few question to anyone who voted for Trump:

What do you think we’re all upset about? Do you believe we’re just mad because “our” candidate didn’t win? That this was all simply a contest for who’s favorite party would get the gold?

Because let me tell you, it’s not.

The reason people are out protesting today and will most likely be protesting during his inauguration is not because we lost. We’re mad as hell because Trump has done everything in his power to present himself as the world’s worst con artist at best or a bullying, sociopathic goon at worst in order to win votes.

We’re mad as hell because now, we’ve told the world it doesn’t matter how you act in our beloved nation; you can be the worst asshole on Earth and millions of Americans will flock to your banner.

We’re mad as hell because yes, Obamacare is most likely going to be repealed, meaning a lot of people (including me) are going to see their meds go way up in price.

We’re mad as hell because Mike Pence is now most likely going to make it very hard to be a gay person in this country.

We’re mad as hell because for all the talk of respecting women, a man with seemingly no filter or personal shame when it comes to the fairer sex had a good portion of the country backing him.

We’re mad as hell because for all the talk of God and peace and unity, the campaign run by Trump was one of hatred, fear and empty platitudes.

We’re mad as hell because a man who has called Mexicans rapists, insulted every one of his opponents, proposed a ban on Muslims, has been accused of sexual assault by ten people at the very least, threated to lock his political opponent up despite said opponent being cleared of legal wrongdoing by the FBI, and showed no signs of being close to fit to command an army, much less have access to nuclear launch codes, was able to lie, bully and BS his way to the most powerful office in the land.

And we’re mad as hell because for all the progress we’ve strived for, many of our friends and neighbors decided to support a man who will more than likely roll back a lot of those changes, and will do so under the banner of “making America great again”.

That’s where all this is coming from. And we’re not going to be silent about it.

I have never been much of an open political animal. But with the rise of Trump, and the attendant racism, homophobia, xenophobia, and straight up moral cowardice that has busted loose in that rough beast’s wake, I feel I can be silent no longer. I do not know yet how I will do this, but I know now I must. As a black man, history teaches you that if you don’t fight for what you want, you’ll never get what you want and the world will simply beat you down. So I’m going to fight, in one form or another. I hope you will too.

 

 

 

X-Men Comics: My Mt. Everest

I love the X-Men.

Wait, no…..that’s too general a statement.

I love various bit of the X-Men franchise. The 1993 cartoon series was pretty damn good, I adored X-Men Evolution when it was on, and even the movies have their charms (well, three of them, anyway).

But the comics, well…they’ve always look terrified me.

 

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Does this picture account for even 1/25th of the cast?

 

I’ve actively avoided picking up X-Men comics ever since I got into the hobby. I’ve had some dalliances with them here and there (I’ve read a few issues of the Laura Kinney Wolverine title, the first issue of X-Men Noir, the first trade volume of Joss Whedon’s  Astonishing X-Men, that story where Strom first started wearing a Mohawk) but I’ve never jumped into the merry mutants’ four color adventures the way I have for Superman, Spider-Man (Peter and Miles versions), Batman, Green Lantern, The Flash, Wonder Woman, Ms. Marvel (Kamala version), the Jack Knight Starman, Nova, Swamp Thing (the Alan Moore run), Astro City, Sandman (Sandman Mystery Theatre), Daredevil, The Fantastic Four, The Spirit, Booster Gold, The Legion of Superheroes, The Runaways, Thor, Mega Man, Darkwing Duck, The Justice Society of America, The Justice League of America, the Avengers, Iron Man,  Judge Dredd, Rurouni Kenshin, Ultraman …….

Wow, eve I didn’t know I was a fan of that many comics properties.

 

What was I talking about? Oh yeah, the X-Men.

 

X-Men comics have always seemed like the most intimidating mountain to climb in the hobby to me. The first is the cast of literal hundreds. If you’ve noticed, I’m not a guy who goes conservative when it comes to getting into something, and I have never felt ready to dive into the various sub teams, branching family trees, alternate futures, younger versions of characters from the past coming to the present, clones, alien frenemies, demons, and all other manner of things that seem to come with it. Not to mention that almost every single mutant character, good or bad, already has an extensive back-story or has an extensive back-story waiting in the wings by that one fan of the character who hopes and prays to be given the reigns one day.

 

I mean, look at Cyclops. Not only does he have a dead wife in Jean, he also has a crazy ex-wife turned demon queen in Madelyne Pryor (who’s Jean’s kinda-sorta clone), is the boyfriend of Emma Frost, has a father who’s a swashbuckling space adventurer, and two brothers in Havoc and the villainous Vulcan. Oh and his younger self is just roaming around in the present, with no indication that the timeline is being altered or anything. And he has a grown son in Cable just wandering around current continuity. And Cable has an evil clone named Stryfe. Then there’s Rachel, who’s his daughter form the same alternate future as Cable and is also running around in the present day. Then there’s Hope and oh God make it stop!

 

Then there’s just the sheer number of books. Right now, post Secret Wars (2015), I’m guessing there are now only five books on the stand featuring the X-cast, but don’t be surprised if that number doubles with time. That’s not to mention the various crossover events attendant to the series, the various reboots and re-imaginings and what everything else that’s Marvel can spin down the pipeline. And did I mention the various alternate futures that these guys have by now?

 

I’ve just never been able to do it. No matter how many times I hear about excellent runs or must read stories, I just can’t. I’m sure I’d like them, but getting into the nitty gritty of the X-Men franchise may take up more energy and cash than I currently desire to extend.

Which is why I bought the first five issue of Jason Aaron’s Amazing X-Men run.

Why was this? Well, for one, it stars Nightcrawler, and I like the character enough to at least give it a shot. That, and I got the first three issues of the run in a “pick 20 comics for $5” deal at Milwaukee Comic Con this year and stop by Lost World of Wonders to get the last two. I don’t know how it will turn out (I’ve only read issue one so far) and I’ll report back if it’s any good or if it convinces me to take a bigger interest in the series. But Everest is mighty tall, my friends. Everest is mighty tall.

 

 

Halloween Countdown #31: The End

And so, we finally come to the end of our first ever month-long Halloween Countdown. I’ve resorted filler throughout, started a new series that I’ve already skipped my unwritten mandate of posting once a week, and stretched my own personal definition of what constitutes  as “fitting” for a Halloween-themed countdown. As I have nothing else for you people, I’m going to give you my thoughts on Halloween as a holiday.

Alright, confession time: Halloween is not really my favorite holiday. I like it quite a bit, as any holiday where I can dress as a superhero or Mario is alright in my book. But as for something I look forward to every year. It comes, it’s fun while it here, and then leaves until next year, like that cousin you only ever see at Christmas or major family functions.

So why did I do this countdown? Two reasons:

  1. It’s another step in my quest to completely rip-off Armagideon Time
  2. I wanted to see if I could do it.

I haven’t post regularly for a month since 2012 on my old blog, and given that the Obsessive Geek Blog already was getting into the stop-start groove I had back when I was on Blogger, I decided to do something in order to keep myself focused on at least one thing in my life. I can get easily distracted or obsessed with one thing (hence a third of this blog’s title), so I figured I could get into the spooky spirit of the season and keep myself on a loose schedule.

And I have to say, if I’m being honest, I don’t actually think I did my best. This was all pretty obviously a catch-as-catch can thing for me, and I resorted to needless filler way more times than I seriously ever wanted to.

But it wasn’t all bad and simple posting of pictures. I did start-up a new series (which I will have a new entry for this week, I promise) and even went on to be a bit more honest about my process, such as it is.

But through it all, I wanted to keep you guys, the people following this thing on WordPress or Twitter or whatever, at least slightly entertained by my rambling jerrimiads and cheap jokes. And If I did that, well, at least I did something right with this thing.

So that about covers it for the Obsessive Geek Blog’s first Halloween countdown. I’ve got to work tonight and I’ll probably have something up tomorrow for…whatever the hell I can think of, I guess. Thank you all for following and Happy Halloween.

 

 

Halloween Countdown #30: Fangin’ and Bangin’

The Milwaukee Comic Con isn’t really a con in the traditional sense. It’s essentially a large flee market, held at the American Serb Hall, a banquet hall/bowling alley on Oklahoma Ave. in Milwaukee. There you’ll find near every geeky thing you can think of: prints, metal prints, local artist’s comics, buttons, key chains, old toys. new toys or slight jacked up prices, and of course, back issues. Ya don’t get many of the “10 bucks per autograph” set, until this year…

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The picture above is of Gangrel, former WWE superstar and current porn director. I saw this guy along with Kevin Thorn. It was more surprising than anything else; neither man was a huge name, but I figured that Milwaukee Comic Con wouldn’t even get guys like that. I flirted with getting an autograph from the pal of Edge and Christian, but I couldn’t justify the purchase. But man, the guy still has a great look.

 

Halloween Countdown #29: The Kawaii of Chucky

Quick question: is there some sort of need to turn every single thing we come across into it’s feminine counterpart? I understand it with superheroes, various fantasy properties and whatever else is out there, but why are we do it with horror movie slashers? As of right now, we have rule 63’d a mutant/zombie spree killer and a child murderer-turned boogeyman

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…and now we’re getting what appears to be the teenage girl version of a killer doll.

I’m not judging or anything, I just sincerely want to know why this keeps happening. Are there just a market for 80’s slasher killers to be turned into cute/sexy anime women?

I would preferably like this answer before we get a Bishoujo Leatherface.