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Archive for April, 2014

My Girls

Remember that video we did for the Christmas party at Church a while back? (https://argocitycomics.wordpress.com/2012/12/11/calvery-ridge-christmas-party/)

Well afterwards, I shuffled out of my costume and the girls immediately picked it up and wanted to play in it.

Yeah, these are my girls….

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These girls are going to find themselves in Violent Blue if they keep this up!


Monster Walk at the 5 O’Clock

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A little history real quick. The Old School Sinema charity zombie walk was held at the 5 O’clock lounge for years, and it gradually got bigger and bigger. A couple years ago, they felt they had outgrown the venue and moved it to a bowling alley a street or two over. Yet folks kept asking the 5’Oclock, when they were going to bring the zombie walk back. That got them thinking, maybe they could do one on their own. And to further differentiate themselves from the other Lakewood walk, they would make it not just a Zombie walk…but a MONSTER walk. All creatures welcome.

I believe this is the inaugural year for this event, but I could be wrong about this. It feels like a first year though. Attendance was small and the organization felt loose. There were a lot of the usual suspects there however. The Z.E.R.O.S. (Zombie Eradication & Rescue Operations Squad) were out in full force directing and playing with the zombie horde, and I recognized  a lot of the faces in the crowd.

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Because it was a MONSTER walk, my girls wanted to do something different and go as vampires – specifically Draulauras from Monster High. Everyone was incredibly nice to them, telling them how wonderful they looked.

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We got there late – partially because we had to reroute. The building across the street had crumbled in the night and the police force had the area cordoned off.  Unfortunately we didn’t get there in time to take advantage of the vendors, though they had some interesting ones there.

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All in all it was a nice event, and it’s the willingness to do things like this charity monster walk that makes the 5O’Clock one of the distinct and beloved features in Lakewood rather than just another bar. I expect to be back next year too.

10313463_289295144567958_7480004821998858054_n 10313950_849375888412272_8339589595807693131_n 10308914_1397432043871517_4526457303652731821_n 10294399_772440409456924_2519572683910106050_n 10294333_289293911234748_1825555865396524803_n 10275971_849135278436333_6872506266967445245_n 10277422_849376031745591_7822985129217649359_n 10288700_1397431910538197_1664470155420031456_n 10250163_289295001234639_3032373805404270853_n 10252049_849375968412264_5092724353061518901_n 10255963_289295061234633_1272034757123026736_n 10273839_849375788412282_8575787998409048214_n 10270663_289293587901447_135760517715105456_n 1622198_289294047901401_5292539065145561275_n 10154051_289293714568101_8006238661941515285_n 1623570_289295017901304_8839645619195164473_n 1655998_289074644590008_2265423077947389766_n 10169376_849375541745640_5209275573489965866_n 1510643_849375678412293_1778199473363574869_n 1512359_289293841234755_1734775107124838894_n 1533714_289294101234729_5902725942338796858_n 1600985_772906156077016_388142508103495517_n 1554628_289294657901340_1734682970209419290_n 1533717_289293644568108_5801211706027475316_n New_10288700_508832462562036_845979358688078255_n New_10264865_508832665895349_8961140530993096459_n New_10264954_508832492562033_412045643316224870_n 10314661_289294884567984_6731584399779389476_n New_10169172_1483386631879534_655090239868178001_n New_10153846_508832639228685_242098207694221090_n New_1609741_508832592562023_3085485336759882804_n New_104_5603 New_104_5592 New_104_5590 New_104_5579 New_104_5588 New_104_5589 New_104_5578 New_104_5577 New_104_5576 New_104_5574 New_104_5573 New_104_5568 New_104_5571 New_104_5575 New_104_5567 New_104_5566 New_104_5564 New_104_5553 New_104_5554 New_104_5559 New_104_5557 New_104_5556 New_104_5560 New_104_5561 New_104_5563


Captian America : The Winter Soldier

Movie bannerCaptain-America-The-Winter-Soldier-HD-Wallpaper1

cap1I finally got around to seeing Captain America this weekend. I know I’m lat to this party, but you know me, I don’t visit movie theaters that are less than 70 years old. The Lorain Palace was showing it in 3d for 5.00 (as opposed to a 2d matinée  at a normal theatre for 7.50 at least).

Here’s the thing. The Winter Soldier isn’t a superhero movie. Sure they try to fool you with some big set pieces in the beginning and the end, but make no mistake, this is not a superhero movie. It’s a political thriller – and really, that’s exactly what you would expect from Robert Redford in this role. With SHIELD infiltrated by Hydra, there’s far more intrigue than simple action here. I almost wonder if it’s too elevated for the subject matter.

cap2I was really complementary about the first Cap film. I stand by my opinion that it was the best Superhero film I’d seen in a good decade. I revisited it recently and found it’s not as rewatchable as I had hoped. It’s still as good, but I can’t return to it again and again like I can with The Avengers. It makes me wonder if this film will have a similar feel. It’s an awfully complicated story for casual viewing.

Speaking of The Avengers – I’m having some issues with Scarlet Johansson and the way she plays Black Widow.

It’s not that I don’t like her in the role, I’m perfectly fine with the casting, but it seems like she never plays it the same way twice…does she just forget how the character is played every time? I also wonder if that’s part of the act….that she has so many faces, so many identities that all of them are false. If that’s the case then it really should be a little cleared. perhaps I am just over cap4thinking this, but in her third time out it’s beginning to get to me. In the end she just comes off as really bland.

They also try to play up her dark past in this film. it seems a little late to be getting to this. We kind of acknowledge it in the Avengers, but it’s just in one line. Here it’s far more explicitly stated but feels like it’s too little too late – either tacked on for the fans or an afterthought to try and enhance what has always been a secondary character.

There’s a LOT of Cleveland in this film. This always takes me out of the movie a bit, I’ve spent a lot of time downtown professionally and I recognize so much of what we see here. That is one of the greatest car chases ever, but I know some of those streets. The scene in the mall is crazy. I take my daughters to those fountains. I buy coffee at that stand! I’ve done work in that building cap5they’re keeping the Winter Soldier in….

Falcon is a nice addition in this film by the way. It’s a good origin story for him and he really has chemistry with Cap. I’m actually looking forward to seeing him in the next film…and let’s face it, they telegraphed the sequel. Then again, the commercials really gave away a lot of plot points, and I found myself waiting for stuff to happen. On the other hand it also let me know that I WAS going to see the familiar red white and blue costume for part of this movie and not just the slick blue and silver Captain-America-The-Winter-Soldier-Cap-Golden-Age-versionone. I was pleased that it was a full third of the film.

Interestingly enough, all the commercials and memes and internet chatter I was sure Nick Fury was going to really die in this. It was interesting that all of the spoilers actually hit me in reverse…

I really liked this film and can’t wait to see the next one.

Well, you know,  after I see Superman vs. Batman.

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By the way, we’ll be spending the whole week over at Violent Blue celebrating the new Cap film. Check it out! the first strip is up here : http://www.violentblue.thecomicseries.com/comics/680

 

 


Angel Lite commission

commissions

An Angel Lite commission.

Calamity a.k.a. Jessica Spiegel grew up in Sweeden when she turned 20 she moved out to the States always loved music so she became a D.J. that’ where she met C.D.R. a.k.a. Ghetto Blast and now she D.J. for him.

jess

And don’t forget, new Violent Blue tomorrow!


In Defense of Lost in Space

defenseimagesI actually have problems with series like Lost in Space, or Star Trek Voyager for that matter. there’s something inherinantly unsatisfying about them because you know he main plot point – getting home will either NEVER be resolved or won’t be resolved until the series ends (and personally I think it would have been a brave move to state at the end of Voyager that the ship was lost and never heard from again).

Lost in Space isn’t necessarily saddled with that  caveat as a film, but they choose to go that direction anyhow, in order to open the door for sequels. I get that but it was kind of a downer. There’s some gloom here because of that and because of the glimpse of the future we see. Stranding them kind of robs us of some true punch-the-air moments. It’s actually my one main complaint about the movie. Still, I find the rest of the film incredibly fun. It’s good actin and cool costumes. I love seeing Doctor Smith being truly EVIL again (he really did start off as more mattsof a bad guy and really mellowed after the first six episodes). It’s one of the rare times Matt LeBlanc shows some acting chops, the first time I didn’t look at him as an idiot (though what a bad choice picking this over the Matrix). He still has one of the greatest lines ever too “and the monkey flips the switch….”. I still use that myself on a regular basis.

I love the ship designs. The CG is still in it’s infancy, but works surprisingly well – smithsespecially in that spin around shot of the characters in zero G. It’s more believable than the troll in Harry Potter.

Can I make a quick guess as to why perhaps I like this better than a lot of people do?

I have no connection to the source material. I never watched it on TV and I’m not jarred by the differences here. To me this is a superior version. The derelict ship it’s like a haunted house in space and the spiders are genuinely creepy. I like the ship design better (why must we cling to space ships created in the 60’s anyhow? I don’t actually dig the original Enterprise shipdesign either – a contemporary of the Jupiter 1. I much prefer the film version!) and I like the characters just fine. It’s a good sci-fi shoot ’em up. I know that’s a common criticism of the Star Trek movies, but there’s a difference. Lost in Space never aspired to be more than a family space show where Star Trek actually was relevant at one time….

I really like this movie. If you can divorce yourself from the original TV show, SI suspect you will to. It’s still easily available, probably even on a budget release at this time!


Best ending ever.

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If you don’t know what I’m talking about then you obviously didn’t watch Spookshow onKreepy Kastle Tv this weekend.

 


Shameless Promotion Saturday

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The next issue of Angel Lite’s “Knight No One Forgets” is coming along quickly and should be done next month, in the meantime, copies of issue one are still available as a Kindle E-book from Amazon.com. A PDF file version is available as an alternative for a suggested donation of $1.50. Please contact  tempest_raiko@yahoo.com for your copy, and check out the facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/AKnightThatNoOneForgets

New Violent Blue will be up on Monday, but anyone interested in the Violent Blue novel can get a copy at https://www.createspace.com/4303824

or from Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/Coffee-Rock-Bands-Superman-Violent/dp/1490305718/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1397591380&sr=1-1

And one more reminder, don’t forget to head over to the Kreepy Kastle tonight to catch my guest appearance on Dale Kay’s Spookshow! 8PM EST at www.kreepykastle.com

 


The Adventures of Mr. Kidzpointe part four

filmography

Part four of The Adventures of Mr. Kidzpointe! The Easter special!
And don’t forget, new Violent Blue tomorrow!


Spookshow this weekend!

Hey guys! Just a quick heads up, I’ll be appearing on Dale Kay’s Spookshow this weekend! For those of you not in the Cleveland area, you can catch it in its entirety Saturday, April 19 at 8pm Eastern on www.kreepykastle.com

Here’s a sneak peak!

 


Little Cigars

forgotten banner1237575_739834752727617_620849483_nThis was just the strangest concept I ever heard of. Here – listen to the description off of IMDB.

Little Cigars 1973

A gangster’s former mistress hooks up with a troupe of circus midgets who, as a sideline, rob banks and casinos

They aren’t kidding about the “Hooking Up” part either. Angel is sleeping with the leader o the little person gang…and that’s a little creepy, not because he’s a little person, but because he’s like sixty years old and she’s twenty.

I’m not sure what this is. It’s funny at times, but it’s not a comedy. The premise is just too goofy to be a serious crime drama though, and there’s not enough action for it to be an adventure flick.

Still, it’s entertaining. You get to see Jerry Marin from the Wizard of OZ (in one of the better performances of the movie actually) and  Felix Silla (Cousin IT, Twiki and many other parts) run around as gangsters and tough guys.  That’s my poster signed by both of them up there in the corner! Seriously, the movie’s a trip.

I linked to it once before up here but it looks like it’s been taken off Youtube. All I could find was this clip, so you’re going to have to track down a full copy yourself!

 


Shinboku Con 8

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Last year I went to Shinboku con on a whim. Some of the clix guys had mentioned it to me, probably Sean and I figured it was time  I finally got around to checking out the con in my own back yard.  I had such a good time that  I decided to come back this year, and this time around, do it right.

I’d felt a little out of place last year because I wasn’t in costume (and a little older than most of the crowd. I’m an old school Anime aficionado) but this New_104_5546year I corrected that, designing my Mazingar Z / Transzor Z costume specificaly for this show (and then to be reused at Lake Effect next month)

I started off heading to one of the two Anime screening rooms for some Trigun and to get settled, plotting out my day. One of my big goals was to get Robert Axleod’s autograph fro my friend Johnny Em. Axlerod was one of the three spies in the original Robotech series, and john is the biggest Robotech fan I’ve ever met. Robert was nice, but professional. New_104_5493You can see he does a lot of these shows and he’s got a con persona. No complaints though. It was nice enough to meet him, he caught me on the way to his panel and I followed him in. The panal was all about his Power Rangers role, which was a little dissapointing consider his vast filmography.

I headed over to the Jedi stunt show wich was loads of fun, mostly involving lightsaber battles. A Darth Maul10173514_657373694310912_38975565317754330_n came out and invited members of the audience to try a lightsaber out. Watching him fight Fix-it Felix from Wreck-it Ralph (at first  I thought it was Handy Manny) was hiliarious. Blade against hammer….

I volunteered and  the croud roared with applause as Maul and I double teamed the Jedi, slaying him quickly.

I can’t tell you how much I hope that video shows up on youtube or facebook. I really want to see it.

vlcsnap-2014-04-12-20h18m47s55Off to Kyle Herbert’s panel. Kyle was incredibly funny and insightfull last year and I really wish I had recorded it. This year it was a talk about nutrition and food This has been on Kyle’s mind you see, since he was diagnosed with Diabetes last July. He still managed to inject the talk with plenty of wit and charm, but not quite as interesting as last year. when I walked in to the room he suddenly stopped short, lost for a second. And then said in disbelief “and then Mazinger Z walked in the room!”

New_104_5517I got a lot of that. This costume is one of the most popular ones I’ve ever worn…even more popular than Spider-Ham. I got asked to pose for a lot of pictures and to take pictures with a lot of people. It made it worth it to wear such an uncomfortable suit. It’s really hot. I hadn’t realized how dehydrated I was until I got out of it (I lasted about five hours before changing into my TARDIS T-shirt and jeans). I’ve got to fix that helmet before Lake Effect, it’s too tight around the nose, I’m still sore under my New_104_5506nose and at the roots of my teeth.

I hate that the convention moved from five minuets away to half an hour away. I suppose Huron is that far, but I do miss being able to walk to the con and come and go from home. However I understand why they needed to move. Sawmill Creek was an excellent venue, and and all of those problems getting from one part of the con to the next were solved, the layout was far more logical and easy. This was great since my boots made traveling a little difficult at times.

vlcsnap-2014-04-12-20h34m28s244I only caught the tail end of Alexis Tipton’s panel and never managed to catch her signing session.  That was a shame but I was in time to hear her sing the theme song from one of er more memorable Animes. She was a little embarrassed  so I’m not sure if I want to upload that to YouTube…

I also managed to catch a bit of Amber Lee Connors panel about breaking into voice acting. She’s bubbly and bright and a delight to listen to, and just as pleasant at her table.

New_10177225_656376771077271_1993057320883005027_nThe other event I had a lot of fun at was the Super Hero training. I loved the costumes and the variety of heros there. The costumes were REALLY well done and if I’d been in street clothes I would have gotten photos with every one of them!

One of the facebook reviews of Shinboku con that I read mentioned how the quality gets better every year. This is absolutely right. I can see it was more polished this year, and the new venue helped a whole lot. I don’t know if they actually added any vendors and I’d New_10171868_656376774410604_8812326548075078526_nstill like to see more stalls in the vendor room, but nevertheless, I was able to move around easily in my armor, the panels were well done, traffic was directed well and there’s ALWAYS something going on. This is the single convention I do that packs more programming in than Cinema Wasteland and that’s saying something! in addition to the standard dealer’s room,  Shinboku con sports two rooms constantly screening Anime. Two stages with programming in both locations at the same time. Two panel rooms that almost always had something going on.  A video game room with at least eight screens for competitive play and New_104_5509frequent tournaments, tables for people to play their Nintendo DS and 3DS, and a separate room for tabletop gaming, including Heroclix. And Twister, not to mention a well stocked Artist Alley (well placed too. You HAVE to walk through it to get to the two main stages, the video game room or the vendors room). There’s always something going on, not to mention parties and concerts that spring up around the event.

I think Shinboku Con may become one of the cons I attend every year, much like Wasteland or Lake Effect – or possibly even Monster Bash. It’s one of the good ones, and I highly recommend it. See you guys next year.

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DC Clix

It’s been a while since we had one of these. The reason is simple. I don’t play the game anymore. However I recently saw an excellent post up on HC Relms that I thought bore some discussion. I’ll reprint it here in it’s entirety.

A Tale of Two ‘Clixers

The announcement of the 2014 convention exclusives brought along with it the resurgence of talks about the vast difference in play styles among the two major camps in HeroClix.

Just like the Bulls and Bears of Wall Street, or the Rep’s and Dem’s of Capitol Hill, most HeroClix players (or ‘Clixers) seem to fall in between two distinct categories – what we’ll call “Heroes” and “Dials.”

“Heroes” are those players that champion the characters of the game, regardless of how effective the dial, statistics, or power combinations are. Hero ‘Clixers will play a comic accurate Justice League Dark theme team, not because they expect it will win, but because they want to see the mystical Leaguers on the map, and perhaps challenge themselves to see if they can do anything noteworthy in a 50 minute round. First and foremost, Hero ‘Clixers are in love with the iconic personalities that the game system uses to market itself with dials and powers often a secondary consideration.

“Dials” are those players that champion the dials of the game, promoting a min/max play style looking to exploit or otherwise capitalize on combat values and special powers. A Dial ‘Clixer will build a theme team, and while it may be a character they like, they often build a force to get the biggest bang for their buck on the map dismissing some figures outright for average stats. Dial ‘Clixers are enamored with the game mechanics more than they care about the colorful costume on top of the dial.


Just let me play with MY TOYS!

Now by no means are the two groups mutually exclusive – players can be a bit of both Hero and Dial ‘Clixer, and there’s no shame associated with whichever category a person falls into. There’s no “right” side as the game caters to both play styles… to an extent.

Since it’s inception HeroClix has almost always favored Dial ‘Clixers – from the Infinity Challenge release “Pit Crew” players would often resort to non-comic accurate force builds to maximize winning potential (for example teaming up the Avenger’s Black Panther with a couple of civilian Con Artists, a Paramedic and Destiny from the Brotherhood).


5 range? Who saw that coming?

Keyword theme teams attempted to reduce such oddball pairings and whether the theme team mechanic succeeded or failed, it was a recognition of game design to steer towards some kind of bonus for using certain combinations of characters. It’s only been recently that the game balance has drastically swung to favor Dial ‘Clixers with the addition of resources in 2011.

While the game is called HeroClix, more recently it resembles DialClix.


#Stophammertime

Once upon a time when building a team, a player would start by looking at which characters (heroes) they wanted to field. Today many players look to which resource dial they want to build around which is often evidenced when a new figure is previewed and the comments that follow are “He’d be really good with THIS Hammer or THAT ring.”

We could argue that resource dials give Hero ‘Clixers the ability to make their beloved characters competitive, from Ambush Bug to (Arnim) Zola. Resources give these lovable losers a fighting chance but the truth is that…

Resources make EVERY figure better

So any advantage to be gained by a Hero ‘Clixer equipping Element Woman with Skaadi’s Hammer is offset by those Dial ‘Clixers fielding Bullseye with an Electro Blast ring.


No really, Lester is my favorite character evar!

The other main shift in gaming since the resource floodgates were opened is the rise of restrictive house rules at venues across the country*. Rules restricting or banning game elements when looking for places to play are often commonplace now – it might be for one event or all, but the message is the same – some of these pieces cannot be used on a regular basis.

Aside from Golden/Modern Age, and Highlander variations the biggest offenders appear to be (in no order) Colossi, Vehicles, Team Bases and Resources. It’s worth noting that of these fab four “taboo” items, the latter three are recent conceptions that have barely had two years of game life under the NECA design team.

What does it say about game design when most of the new, unique, and eye popping elements used to draw in players can’t or won’t be used because those running the venues agree that for whatever reason they are imbalanced and shouldn’t be used regularly?

It’s especially strange when you consider that Team Bases and Vehicle hate seems to stem from individual cases (The Beetle’s Bug, PD squad Cars, JLA TB) all of which would be better served with a Watch List revised ruling than blanket banning.

Rather than make any other judgements or point blame, I’d prefer to offer solutions, specifically an option that presents a win for everyone involved – a more structured organized play system that both Hero ‘Clixers and Dial ‘Clixers can enjoy and it involves updating the use and definition of Tactics.


Let me check the definition!

Currently the term Tactics refers to:

Quote : Originally Posted by Page 20, Section 4, 2013 HeroClix Rulebook
“optional elements that you can choose to play in HeroClix games.”

Tactics include Special Objects, Resources, Feats, Battlefield Conditions, Event Dials, Bystander Tokens and Themed Teams. It may serve the game well to update Tactics to include some of the more “questionably balanced” Tactical Elements of the game like Resources, Epic Actions, Primes, Multiple Based figures, figures with certain combat symbols and so on (possibly adding figures that are temporarily on the Watch List and waiting for resolution).

At that point game design could break up Tactics into two or three levels to allow for a tiered level of organized play and venues could more easily filter out “questionably balanced” elements that they perceive is harming their venue’s attendance.

  • At level 1 play you would have your basic game.
  • Level 2 (Tactics) would provide players the basic game plus the basic Tactics.
  • Level 3 would be Level 2 plus the added Tactical Elements – basically a no holds barred, Team Base, Resource Colossi-Palooza.

Once established the Tactic Levels act like the Golden/Modern Age distinction, providing universally shared terminology that lets players know what to expect when they show up at a new venue, while letting other players plan on which events they should attend based on their own play style.


Seriously, I just wanna play with MY TOYS!

This also helps recruit newer players by compartmentalizing the rules to an extent, addressing complexity issues by restricting the newer, more complicated elements to higher levels of play. A player can be free to learn the basics at a Level 1 game without getting overwhelmed by facing elements found at level’s 2 & 3.

So long as a venue caters to both camps, everyone wins getting to use the toys and characters they love in a format they are comfortable with. WizKids wins because they can keep selling the dynamic looking team bases, Colossi and vehicles which have been marginalized by many venues as imbalanced and have taken a backseat to blanket banning.

As mentioned before, keyword theme teams were initially added to the game when Game Design recognized a need to cater to the Hero ‘Clixers. It’s high time that Game Design admits they have a problem of “questionably balanced” mechanics and offers more structure to the OP system to help control the issue.

If a Watch List won’t fix or can’t fix some of the problems, and a ban list is not an option, then at least explore updating Tactics to include a multi-tiered system that provides tools for venues to use to shape the organized play scene into something everyone can enjoy.

Marvel Clix

colson copyA few of my own  thoughts on this excellent article. Was always a Hero Clixer, which is one of the reasons I’m not very good. But really, where’s the fun in being a dial clixer? At that point it’s just …. math. Part of why I played was to have a reason to collect the cool looking pieces. But a bigger part was to hang out. TO make fun of what was going on the board – Coleson screams “This is not what I had in mind when I took the Civil Service Exam!!!” as Preadator X rips him to pieces. To hang out at the comic shop and talk Marvel vs DC. I drifted away because I honestly was getting tired of paying a five dollar entry fee to get beaten down in ten minuets by numbers not pieces. Prize support was nice, but was never that important to me.

That sounds kind of bitter. It’s not meant to be really. I still have really fond IMG_20130222_185801memories of playing; that great night where we were all trying to beat Galactus and it was down to me and Jesse and whoever hit their next role would take him down and win the game! The evening of Star Trek clix vs. Galactus with Jim and Mike. That first time Trinity of Sin got pulled out and nothing Eric or I could do would take that stinking thing down (although my tactic with Blackheart worked…just no quick enough). My girls still ask to play from time to time and those were good times.

At the end of the day though, I don’t have  the proper temperament for competitive tournament play. Just ask the Same and Jesse and Aaron about how long it took to 100_1862finally convince me to get an Infinity Gauntlet! But I’m really just playing for fun…and competitive play isn’t fun for me. It’s the same reason that in High School I enjoyed being on the Church basketball team WAY more than I enjoyed being on the Jr. Varsity team.

In the end, I really would just rather have casual games built around themes and scenarios, and wish the rest of you guys well.


Muppets Most Wanted

Movie banner   untitledTo be fair, they warned me.

It’s right there in the first song – “We’re doing a sequel! That’s what we do in Hollywood and everybody knows the sequel’s never quite as good”

I think Disney is having a problem balancing callbacks (fanservice) with trying to be fresh. In the last film it was all about being new, with a hint of nostalgia, this time around they really crank up the homages – perhaps too much so. They acknowledge it though, pointing out in one line that the last film spent an inordinate amount of time on the new Muppet Walter, perhaps at the expense of other beloved characters (seriously, that’s a line Rizzo delivers). At least Rizzo and PePe both have a line in this one.

It’s not badly done.  The duplicate frog has been done before on TV, though I don’t remember it in film. It may be a little too goofy of a concept for a film, probably imagesCAMUTUN9would have worked better as a direct to DVD story. I’m amused though, from now until the end of time, Every time John Constantine is introduced in a Hellblazer story I’m not going to be able to resist thinking “the most dangerous frog”?

The sequences with Kermit trapped in the Siberian prison feel tacked on, like they didn’t know what to do with him -a shame because its some of the best stuff in the film…but more on that in a moment.

I think my biggest problem in this film is Ricky Gervais . I know it’s kind of his schtick, but really it feels like he just doesn’t want to be here. He kind of sleepwalks through the entire thing. Everyone else in this movie is obviously having the time of their life. All you have to do is look at Tina Fey (who I normally despise) to see how imagesCAL7F6GJmuch they want to be there, and it’s a huge contrast against Gervais’ performance.

Fey’s role is mostly confined to the prison camp…though she still manages to have a chic look with those gorgeous boots and the soft fur and big buttons on her coat. She’s vamping it and really makes it work. I’m not sure what Ray Liotta is doing here. Cashing a check I suppose. He’s kind of wasted in the role. Danny Trejo on the other hand….

If you’d asked me a year ago I’d have said it was ridiculous to have Trejo in this film. He doesn’t belong here. But after meeting the guy, it’s a different story. He fits here. He really does. You may actually be seeing more of the real Danny Trejo here than IMG_0138in any other role he’s ever had.

The world needs more of Danny Trejo singing Broadway. It really does.

The main characters are used really well this time around. Animal (traditionally a tangential though popular character) has some good moments and Sam Eagle has one of his best characterizations ever. The idea of making him a CIA agent just ….fits. It plays perfectly into his character and really lets him show his intellect without it being the butt of a joke.

Speaking of the agents, Jean Pierre Napoleon as the French Interpol agent is a revelation. I mean it. He is absolutely brilliant. Why was Steve Martian in the last imagesPink Panther movie when THIS guy is around? Seriously, it was like watching Clouseau interact with the Muppets. Someone needs to give him a shot at that role. He was another of the best things in the film.

For the most part, I’ve been supportive of Disney’s handling of the Muppets. Despite my initial reservations, it’s been a good home for them. The slick Disneyfied packaging never bothered me. I like Muppets in OZ (Made sure to see it when it was broadcast on  TV, recorded it, then bought the DVD anyhow). A Very Muppet Christmas is one of my favorite Muppet movies ever, defiantly my favorite of ALL the Christmas ones. I kind of wish they would jettison Walter, but the way they brought the Muppets back to the big screen was very wise.

This isn’t a bad entry (It’s better than Muppet Christmas Carol) but it’s far from the best. Better songs would have helped…especially after the musical triumph of Frozen. There’s a couple that are clever like the opening “We’re Doing A Sequel” and the closing “Together Again, Again) but those are more interesting because they are homages to previous films and probably wouldn’t stand on their own any better than any of the others which are all forgettable. A shame, there were some stand outs in the last film like “Me Party” and I wonder why we didn’t see that kind of thing here. Still, I’m grateful that I can take my kids to see a new Muppet movie over at Amherst Cinema and you can bet we’ll be back for the next one!


BoHoS

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bohos 93I’m a sucker for a good teen or college age drama. Not Dawson’s creek, I said GOOD.

BoHoS is a simple concept, Cathrine kinda trying to find herself…it’s that type of crossroads of life and on top of that she’s dealing with the death of her mother.

I get the real feeling  that ther’s more to this series and that I’m missing something, but I don’t know where to look for it. I’ve tried the publisher’s site and it really didn’t tell me anything except that there are three issues (bTW, the publisher isn’t really Image. For creator owned properties not developed in-house, Image acts as a publishing house of sorts. It’s expensive, but you get the prestige of having one of the big three’s logo stamped on your book.)

For the longest time I only had the third issue which takes our characters to a concert feature a double bill of Hanson and Marylin Manson. The bands kind of date it firmly in the late 90’s but that’s okay. it’s about the right age for me to relate to. More than anything it’s a study in pop culture and the kind of jaded feelings you get in generation Y.

VERY recently I found issue three and boy, stuff has progressed, we see a whole bunch of development between Cathrine and the boy she met at the concert, as well as with her guy friend who wants to start a band.

Yeah…it sounds like I’m meandering. I am…but that’s just what this seires does. It wanders around, and I really love it for that. These are hard to find, I’ve only seen issues of this series twice – and bought them both times. You’ll probably have to find them online, but definitely worth it.


Cinema Wasteland April 2014

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I think I must have a cloud of bad karma hovering over me as far as conventions are concerned. I just found out the girls have a mandatory dress rehersal for dance on the same day as Lake Effect Comiccon (which was going to be Lydia’s first one) and barely an hour into Wasteland I lost my video camera (which was fortunately found but not until this morning. I’ll be picking it up later).

Still not everything is terrible, I ran into a bunch of friends that I only see at Wasteland like Jason and Angelique, not to mention Shrew and Baron Morbid. A nice change was running into Mark Mackaye  and Marc Gettel from POP. Some how I missed Sean, but he may have been there on Sunday (which I skipped this year).

It was fun to run into a couple of newbies in line. I assured them this was the best show in the area – and I do shows from Chicago to Pittsburg.  An interesting thing about wasteland is unlike other shows, you see the same people here every six months. It’s not like Horrorhound or Days of the Dead where you get a fresh flock of folks every year and there’s too many people to make a connection with. But this con also makes newcomers feel welcome, and rightly so.

I actually started off the weekend hitting Tom Sullivan’s room New_IMG_0455and chatted a bit about Horrorhound. A couple of weeks ago I noticed that the line into his room at Horrorhound was huge and constant…he mentioned that yes, it was a steady line of people all day and had been a great con for him. It was a good location for him too, the line for Bruce Campbell went right past him and drove a lot of foot traffic to him. He told me he missed me there and signed my Evil Dead 2 poster before I headed out for the first film.

I was in a bad mood and had a hard time focusing on most of the films, and sadly enough Robert Z’dar didn’t make it. He got a bad case of Pneumonia and was stuck in the hospital, however Wasteland set up a get well card for him which I was able to sign. The rest of the maniac Cop cast however was great. I’d really been looking forward to meeting Tom Atkins -I’m a fan of a lot of his work, not just Maniac Cop but also stuff like Halloween 3, Night of the Creeps, and even the most recent Drive Angry.

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Saturday was a better day. I’ve gotten into the habit of cosplaying on at least one day of Wasteland. I’ve gotten to know so many people there that I’m not longer as anonymous as I used to be, but a fully immersive makeup makes me instantly unknown, and still gives me a reason to talk with strangers! I pulled out my Freddy makeup from Halloween. I couldn’t get it quite together for last year, but I was working it this weekend. I had to extend the chin a bit to cover my beard and actually used spirit gum to anchor it (a technique that had been suggested to me over at Hauntville) and was pleased at the result. The best picture of the day I think was the photo with the Ghostbusters.

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1517515_742097245834701_3797214310526212418_nI think I came away with more movie recommendations than actual films this year, though I did finally get around to grabbing a couple of films I haven’t seen. I’d been waiting to grab a copy of Dawn of Dracula – I’m a fan of Midnight Mausoleum and Marlanea Midnight was nice enough to sign it for me. I also got a copy of Peter Rottentail as a prize during Ghastlee’s show, not to mention this other one that was a givaway on the flyer table. Will have to look into these later.

Speaking of Ghastlees show, the best part I think, was the RC car chase. Sally the Zombie Cheerleader taped a picture of Justin Bieber to an RC car and the goal was to manuver it through an obstical course of beer cans with the faces of Wasteland regulars on them while being chased by two RC police cars. The Biber car kept making it back on stage after that game, distracting Ghastlee in the middle of hosting other games in progress…

One group of people came up to me to tell me how much they liked the makeup. I mentioned that I had done Pinhead a year or so ago and their eyes lit up. “We saw you in the parking lot from the hotel man! that was the freakiest costume ever!”. Looks like I made an impression….they waved goodbye assuring me they wouldn’t sleep tonight.

I didn’t have as much fun this year, but it’s not Wastelands fault. Still I’m getting a little nervous about the conventions I’m doing. Shinboku Con ins next weekend….maybe.

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10152018_742092262501866_5589682648855668180_nHey everyone! Check out what just arrived in the mail! Remember, digital copies are still available as a Kindle E-book from Amazon.com. A PDF file version is available as an alternative for a suggested donation of $1.50. Please contact us at tempest_raiko@yahoo.com for your copy and print copies are coming soon!


Wasteland this weekend!

april_2014_smallJust a quick reminder, I’ll be heading out to Cinema Wasteland this weekend. I expect to only be there Friday and Saturday, possibly in costume on Sat.  There’s a great line up of films this time around with some really interesting guests. I’m going to get my Day of the dead poster started and both my Evil Dead 2 poster along with my Maniac Cop DVD finished. It’s the best convention I go to with some of the friendliest freaks around. Come join the best party in Cleveland and if you see me wandering around tap me on the shoulder and say hi!! Never fear though, there will still be new Violent Blue on Friday at the main site and Essential Violent Blue right here! Have a great weekend!

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Lego!

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Maddie’s been pretty invested in her Lego creations after watching the Lego movie…She’s very proud of these and I think it count’s as some kind of art! Look! A spaceship!

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The Iron Man project part four

Iron ManA quick job today. Forearms. We start with some foam shapes and an old two liter bottle that used to hold soda.

100_3940Cut the top and bottom off the bottle and glue them together. This part is easy. It’s the next part that’s going to take some time.

100_3923In the meantime, lets throw a coat of red paint and some bling scavaged from an old broken hard drive to make this look nicer.

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Next month we’ll begin the arduous task of creating the gloves. but for now, remember, there’s new Violent Blue tomorrow!


Tanked

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My wife has a thing for this dumb reality show called Tanked! it’s about building wild and weird fish tanks, and it seems like it’s ALWAY showing on Animal Planet or Discovery or  sem thing. It’s even on Netflix!

So with her in mind, I shot the place an email and they were nice enough to send us out this!

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