Monday, January 28, 2013

HATING COMICS FOR THE SAKE OF HATING


Chickity-check yo self before you wreck yo self
~ Ice Cube

Words of wisdom from Ice Cube.
So wise, that I can even apply it to comic books.

Over the last few months everybody has been talking about the story-line in Amazing Spider-Man 700, and Superior Spider-Man.
The king of comic book negativity.

I’m not here to review the books, nor to break them down page by page.
Instead, I want to talk about the reaction of what’s going on with Spider-Man.

So here’s my old man cranky rant…

People need to calm the fuck down with their comic books, and here’s why.

It seems that sooooooo many people out there are looking to bash a comic story line, than actually try to enjoy it. (More so with bigger comic titles like Spider-Man and Superman)

Take out the fact that Marvel is calling this, “the death of Spider-Man, Doc Ock will be the new Peter Parker & the ‘Superior Spider-Man’ title will be the new main title for the character”.  We all know that’s not the case.  This is only a sales ploy, and should NEVER be taken seriously. (silly is probably a better consideration)

That being said…Marvel is doing something that the fans have wanted for quite awhile.    

NO!  It’s definitely not MORE alternate covers of the same issue.

The many covers of Amazing Spider-Man #700

They are giving fans an original story line, with a unique problem and even has continuity.  Isn’t this what we want all story lines to be like?

Take a step back and think about the ‘One More Day’ / ‘Brand New Day’ storyline.  I heard about the plot behind the story lines months earlier from friends who were interning at Marvel at the time.  We all agreed that this was an horrendous move, and that Spider-Man was going down hill in the months to follow, and this was before we knew about the bad idea of 3 issues a month.

Good lord I fucking hated this
stupid story-line

I mention all this because this was a story line that came out of left field, and was forced down our throats.  Furthermore, it goes against the characteristics of the characters, and just never felt natural. I can be extremely merciless with the story-line, but I’ll leave it at that.

Back to the ‘Dying Wish’ storyline that resulted in Spidey & Ock switching places.

This was a work in progress story-line for almost 100 issues.  Dan Slott really put a lot of thought into this, while dropping breadcrumbs going into 700.  Meanwhile, Humberto Ramos and the crew who put the visual aspects of the comic together, put together a fantastic, beautiful and extremely compelling 52-page comic book.

I don’t know about you, but isn’t this what we want out of a comic book?

When it comes to some type of entertainment, or even a tangible object, people seem to get more pleasure out of bashing the subject, than trying to enjoy it.

I say this as one of the few people who enjoyed the Daredevil movie.  Particularly the director’s cut.

Perhaps it’s the fact that people fear falling into the minority on an opinion.

This is comic readers at their best!
Perhaps it’s the fact that people just get more pleasure out of seeing the negative, than the positive of something.

Whatever the case may be, comic books are supposed to be fun and an enjoyable read.

It’s a wild idea, but maybe people should consider dialing down the pessimism with their comic books.  People have a lot to criticize about, but if they can’t write a better plot, they need to put up or shut up. 

Here’s a wild idea.  Perhaps people should consider try enjoying these books like when we were kids.  We didn’t have a desire to bash something, and tell our friends right away.  Instead, we just wanted to have fun. 

After all, adults can learn a lot from kids.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

MONTHLY CLIFTON NJ COMIC BOOK EXPO REVIEW


Buddy:  It’s cool that someone came to the show dressed as Wonder Woman.
Me:  I wonder how hard it was to find parking for an invisible jet around here.

“I’ll get to it sooner or later”
“There’s always next time”
“I’m feeling too lazy today”
“Eh, it’s not going anywhere”

Pick whichever quote above you’d like.  I’ve probably used one or two of them.

Living in a busy part of New Jersey has it’s perks.  One of which, is not being far from a comic book store or show of some sort. 

For about 20 years, I’ve lived in New Jersey.   For the same amount of time, the ‘Monthly Comic Book Expo’ has been running. What does this all mean? 

It means I seriously dropped the ball on this one.
           
Luckily, I didn’t screw the pooch, and checked out this amazing show.

On paper, the Clifton Comic Book Expo seemed too good to be true.  It was an easy 20 minute drive, free parking and free admission.  If that doesn’t send up a red flag of awesomeness…I don’t know what will.

Yes, those are some great selling points about the ‘Clifton Comic Book Expo’, but there’s something better that no one told me about...

The people.

It’s not advertised on any site, or flyer, but this show has a great family atmosphere.  The vibe that you get at this show is second to none.

For starters, it feels like everyone is walking around just genuinely having fun. 

There’s no attitudes …There’s no narcissism … nor will you find any real problems with people. 

Well, outside of the two or three people who don’t know how to properly shower.

One aspect of the show that stands out amongst everything, are the kids running around having a blast. 

It’s not a Chuck E. Cheese type of kid crazy.  It’s kids checking out comics, reading and being truly into the hobby and skill behind comics.  These are kids being introduced into a whole new world.  They’re enjoying comics at their purest, and best, level.

They’re enjoying collecting the way it was before the internet spoiled people.
They’re being introduced into a fun fantasy world.
They’re hearing stories about the skills that go into creating comics.
Most importantly, kids now see a reason why they should read.

Overall, it’s just fantastic what you get to see and experience at this show.

Now yes, it’s nice having these warm fuzzy feelings at a show like this. 

But you’re probably wondering….HOW GOOD ARE THE MUTHA F#&%ING COMICS?!?!?!

Bottom line…The comics for sale here are the shit!!!

My first time at the show I bought two comics.  Probably doesn’t sound like much, but what if I told you I spent over $2,000 on these books?

I was able to get a CGC 8.0 of Daredevil #1 1964 & Near Mint Daredevil 131 (First appearance of Bullseye).  Some great books that would be a corner piece of any collection.  You can click on this link to see some of the books the seller has in his inventory. 

I’m extremely thrilled to have these books.  What’s even better is the fact that I was given a great deal, I didn’t feel like I was in a pressured situation (like from a used car dealer) and I had a variety of books to choose from.  

Seriously, how many sellers can give you FOUR Daredevil #1’s to pick one you’d like? 

In case you were wondering.
That’s the definition of sweet.

I had a much lower budget my second time at the show.  The only merchandise I was looking at consisted of dollar bin books and comics being sold from independent writers/artists. 


A good chunk of sellers have a variety of current books, sets and graphic novels that you can buy.  As a bonus, they either have free goodies for kids, or extremely inexpensive items for them to take home. 

Last, but certainly not least, are the independent writers and artists.

You can pick up a comic from a local writer, or you can get some custom artwork done.

I always feel like independent comic dealers really take shows up a notch.

There’s just something about knowing your money will go to local people, instead of mega corporations.  At the same time, I feel like the comics are a little higher quality.  Not because I’m tired of reading Marvel or D.C., but creators put so much blood, sweat and tears to pump out high quality material. 

***GRADING***

CROWD:  10
- The crowd is what makes this show so special.  Yes, it’s great to see an Amazing Fantasy 15, but that’s not what makes this show so great.  Okay, maybe a little, but it really comes down to the family atmosphere.   People I just met, were suddenly calling me by my first name, and we talked as if we’d known each other for years. I know for a fact, that the next time anyone visits this show, they’ll get the same warm welcoming.

STAFF:  10
-The crowd and staff goes hand in hand for these reviews.  The personality and salesmanship is second to none.  People were beyond helpful, and what’s important to point out, is that I never felt pressured to buy something.  Doesn’t matter if someone was trying to sell me an independent book, recent comic or something that’s 50 years old.  Everybody was a pleasure to work with, and they were more than willing to give me a deal.  I need to point out John Paul (A.K.A. JP).  Words can’t express what this man is doing for local vendors, and for the industry.  On a monthly basis, he creates a great atmosphere for people to simply enjoy comics.  Vendors likely make more money than he does, and he’s more than okay with it.  Meanwhile, kids are getting into reading and collecting the way it should be.  Truly an unsung hero.

SIZE OF SHOW: 5
- Don’t be mistaken with this rating.  A ‘1’ rating would be a bunch of comics being sold at a garage sale.  A ‘10’ would be more like a San Diego or New York comic con.  So in all reality, this ‘5’ is truly perfect.  The Clifton Recreational Center is an ideal place to hold a comic or toy show.  It’s easy to move around, and the giant skylight makes the place feel great to walk around.  You never feel like you’re in a florescent hell hole.

VENDOR QUALITY: 9
- I was able to get good deals on a 1964 CGC Daredevil #1, a bunch of independent comics & even the album ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ by Pink Floyd.  This place has variety written all over it.  Hell, I found boxes upon boxes of  recent comics for a buck!  How could anyone bitch or complain about that?!?!


GETTING IN/OUT:  10
- From Newark, I was able to get to the show in about 15/20 minutes.  Would’ve been even easier if people knew how to drive around here (angry rant for another day).  The show is easily accessible from several major highways, and has a bus stop right upfront.  So you have a lot of easy options.  The fact you have free parking makes it that much sweeter, and probably more deserving of an ‘11’.

ATHOSPHERE:  5
- This show is held at the town’s recreational center.  I was surprised how cool the exterior of the building look.  It definitely has that old rustic feel with the brick exterior.  I also wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a bomb shelter underneath.  There wasn’t much to the interior, but the gigantic skylight was nice to have.

WORTH TIME:  WELL THAT’S A STUPID F’n QUESTION TO EVEN CONSIDER!!!
- It may seem a bit harsh, but I pity the soul of any comic collector who doesn’t give this show a try.  That may sound harsh, but it’s the damn truth.  This one show should be a role model to any other comic show.  It’s everything that’s right in the comic book industry.  More importantly, kids really get to experience comic books at their purest form.  So clear your calendar, make sure you pack people into the car and go see a comic show for the ages!


***CHECK OUT MY VIDEO REVIEW ON YOUTUBE FOR THE CLIFTON SHOW***

Monday, January 14, 2013

EVERYONE HATES THE 'BACK TO THE FUTURE' HOVERBOARD


Broadcasting beautiful views 24 hours a day: you're tuned to the Scenery Channel.
            ~ Television Announcer in “Back to the Future II”


The first thing you see when you walk into my apartment, are all the DVDs, Blu-Rays, & video games on the shelf.  I’m really happy with the variety of everything. 

There’s old NES games…right next to PS3 games.
You’ll find VHS tapes…not far from Blu-Rays.
And as crazy as it may sound…I have a few doubles of my favorite movies. 

One of which, is the ‘Back to the Future’ trilogy. 

It’s one of the first movies I can truly remember seeing in the theater, and one of my all-time personal favorites.  This blog isn’t about how great ‘Back to the Future’ is, or why you should or shouldn’t like it.  Nope, instead, we’re here to talk about hoverboards.

Mattel created a prop replica of the hoverboard Marty McFly used in ‘Back to the Future II’. Exclusives, come with a mini version of the board.  Think of it as a hoverboard for an action figure.  They’re all over sites like ebay, and you may be able to find this in collectible stores. 

As I stated before, I’m a huge fan of this franchise. 
This board though, not so much.

Here are some of the facts on the board.

     - It’s a 1:1 scale model of what's used in the movie
     - The dimensions are around 28” x 8” x 3”
     - “Assured” by Mattel to glide over most level surfaces
     - Sound taken directly from the movie
     - Exclusive orders get a 6” action figure of the board
     - Special display stand included
     - The Mattel retail price was $120 (sold out)

I was super stoked when I brought the board home, but the second I was ready to open it, I noticed problems.

The box design is really nice.  It would’ve been cool if it said something like ‘doesn’t work on water’, but damn, it’s really cool.  The problem though, you have to cut/rip the fucking thing in order to open it.  ‘Hot Toys’ has a great look to their boxed toys, and it’s extremely practical.  Pretty much, all you need to do is slide the box open to get inside of it.  That’s it!!!  Would’ve been nice if this had the same design.

I went through the box a few times.  Something looked wrong.  Then I realized the handlebars weren’t there.  I assumed their must have been a mistake while getting packaged.  Then I found out it’s not supposed to be included. 

So get this.

The board has a notch for the handlebars, but (and it’s a big but), the bars aren’t included!  To that, I simply say, what the fuck.

I don’t have any beef with the top design for the board.  I expected stickers for the colors.  So I was cool with it.  The velcro strap on the back of the board doesn’t bother me.  It wasn’t in the movie, but it’s cool how it pivots.

The side of my board is my biggest issue in terms of appearance.

It’s a sticker of lights on the side.  Why the hell couldn’t we have real LEDs going all around?  It would’ve been a fantastic addition, and honestly, would’ve pleased  A LOT of fans.

I’m also okay with the design of the bottom side of the board.  No problems with that at all.

Now on the bottom of the board, in the middle, is the sound box for sound effects.  They only take a few AA-batteries which is easy to throw in, but explain to me this, WHY THE FUCK DOESN’T IT HAVE AN ON/OFF SWITCH?!?!?!  So if you leave the batteries in, it can make a sound when you don’t want it to.  I, on the other hand, refuse to leave the batteries in the box.  Not because of the sound, which is only part of the reason, but I don’t want any kind of corrosion over time.

As for how the board glides, I haven’t tried.  I don’t have carpets in my place, and from what I hear, the board will get scratched real bad on hardwood floors.  I wouldn’t want to try though even if I did.  I’d be super pissed if I scratched it.  The stand though, got me super pissed anyways.  Took forever to get the damn thing positioned correctly to keep the board up. 

Think I’m being too rough on the design of the hoverboard?  Well first off, please go fuck yourself, and two, even the creator of ‘Back to the future’ isn’t happy with it!

Writer Bob Gale released this statement in regards to Mattel’s replica prop flop…

“I put myself out there to promote this, so now I want to publicly stand here with egg on my face and apologize. This product, at this price, falls short of the top notch standards that you and I have come to expect for something that carries the Back To The Future brand. To those of you who bought one because of my endorsement and are upset with the product, I’m very, very sorry. Please accept my apology. I share your disappointment, and you have permission to put my photo on a dart board and throw sharp objects at it.”

Bottom line.  The board is a HUGE disappointment.  I want to like it.  I truly do, but I just can’t.  I probably would’ve enjoyed just having the 6” action figure board.  Hell, would’ve saved a lot of money if I did!

I thought we’d have to wait till 2015 for a hoverboard.  Instead, we got this.  Hopefully in the next few years, we’ll get a quality hoverboard.  If it can work on water…even better!

AND FOR THE LOVE OF GOD…PUT AN ON/OFF SWITCH ON THE DAMN THING!!!

Monday, January 7, 2013

COLLECTING WISDOM FROM KEVIN SMITH


Whenever possible, I like to start these blogs off with some type of quote.  I don’t really care what they are;  funny, inspirational or just related to the subject of the day.
Today though, I want to center the entire blog around a particular quote from the man himself, Kevin Smith. 

On Smith’s weekly  ‘Smodcast’, he had on Gerard & Mikey Way of ‘My Chemical Romance’.  He talked to the Jersey brothers on a number of different topics, but one in particular really caught my attention. 

He talked about collecting.  Not so much of what he likes to collect, but the evolution of the process, which isn’t for the better.







I don’t think I could put it any better.

The adventure…the road trip…the work…they all make a reward so much more gratifying. 


Don’t go the easy route for something you want.  The payoff is never there.  Instead, put some hard work into it.  Remember, work hard…and work smart.

That combination will make life in general so much more gratifying.  

Now on a separate note, I’d like to mention an upcoming comic book show that I think you should look into.

The Clifton Monthly Comic Book Expo will be on January 13th at the ‘Clifton Community Recreation Center’.  I’ll be there doing a video & written review of the show.  Come out and take a look at it.  Promise it’ll be good times for all, and better than going on ebay!