Saturday, January 30, 2016

Get in My Belly! HomeBrew Special: Phase 2!!! Peanut Butter Cup Porter: A Pictorial

The Pizza Rolls Over My Star Wars Story...

I want to give thanks for the Inspirato!
This idea comes from a great new podcast just released on the world.
Come check out the monthly "Lattes with Leia", a Star Wars podcast from the Geek Gal's Point-of-View.  Both podcasters have great credentials and are bonafide!
One Hostess writes for Star Wars Insider & Star Wars Dot Com and the Other is the co-star of my favorite podcast is "The Arkham Sessions", an episode-by-episode psych evaluation of the legendary FOX Kid's 1990's cartoon Batman the Animated Series but iDigress...
The question they pose to eachother and answer with relish is this:
What is Your Star Wars Story?

So I'd like to start there.
At Carson Beach, South Boston, MA, 02127.
Summer 1979.
My back was Sunburned Lobster Red.
And I had lost my Luke Skywalker X-Wing pilot action figure.
And I was inconsolable,
I was 6 going on 7.  I can't remember seeing "A New Hope" for the first time but it's gotta be around then in that first re-release.
2 days before my 6th birthday, on November 17, 1978 CBS showed that dreaded Holiday Special.  I remember I was in my special yellow Pyjamas that had a colored trim of the collars & cuffs that I thought made me look like a Space Hero.
Bryan was there that day at the Beach,  I'm pretty sure of it.  He was a year younger than me. He had a kid sister, Shannon who always ended up playing the Female Lead in whatever Adventure Fantasy me & Bryan were living out that week.  I was Han with my chestnut mop and Bryan was Luke with his fair blonde hair.  And it was pretty much that way until we grew out of it.
We blended our action figures and Star Wars was our MindSpace at its Original Heyday.
We Were Generation One.
I had an X-Wing which eventually lost its S-Foils leaving the remainder to look strangely even to my young imagination looking like a flying cock.
I had a Millenium Falcon yet it was the RoTJ one, a guilt-present from my estranged dad and bordering on the age when I was getting too old for toys because X-Mas '83...I was 11yo.
Bryan on the other hand had a Millenium Falcon before or around Empire.
He had the AT-AT too.  Lucky duck,
I got a Y-Wing.  That was really cool too.

I had a bunch of stormtroopers.  I had a bunch at my grandpa's house.  I had a stash of Star Wars toys there.  One of the Stormtroopers I took my Auntie's green Hi-Liter to.  His name was Greeny if he even had a name.
I also had this to hide within.
When shuttled-off to Grandma's for the Weekend.
I'd listen to it over and over again.  It filled the Empty Moments of an Only Child, left to be sit in a huge house with nothing to do with no one.
I was between 8 and 9.
And I internalized every Ben Burtt sound effect.
And every John Williams music cue.
And every point of dialog down to the inflection.




So that is My Story.
Return of the Jedi came out.
I was turning 12 very shortly thereafter,
And turning towards DC Comics & MARVEL as what we now refer to as the "'Tweens".

Yet though all this time from being introduced to this story until now,
I will still make Lightsabre noises, grabbing from my belt!

May The Force Be With You...Always. ^_^

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Get in My Belly!! HomeBrew Special! Part One: Peanut Butter Cup Porter

Monday, January 25, 2016

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Comics Gnome Poots a Rerun of Great Significance!

I Blogged This Awhile Ago.
Long before the JESSICA JONES TeeVee Show there was a MARVEL FunnyBook.
Cheers!

Originally posted July 12, 2004, 4:34PM
The Comics Talk!!!

Alias by Brian Michael Bendis
A Complete Series in 4 Trade Paperbacks (collects Vol. 1, issues #1-28)
Marvel MAX


Alias TPB #1 Cover

Her name is not Sydney Bristow for those who assume too much.

You will not confuse with the anti-heroine Elektra Natchios in any way, shape or form either...terrible movie btw...

Her name is Jessica Jones, ex-super heroine & Private Detective and she is the Liz Phair or P.J. Harvey of the Marvel Universe for those savvy ‘nuff to follow. Brian Michael Bendis who works diligently on several titles wrote this MAX title congruent to his amazing run on Daredevil (still current at the time of this writing –eo’s). It overlaps in places. Sometimes identical panels. Some might think that’s a cop-out but I’m pretty impressed. Marvel MAX is set in the normal Marvel Universe but with the volume turned to 11 as in the movie, “This Is Spinal Tap”. Marvel MAX is one of my guiltiest pleasures of the Marvel Universe. A wild and uncensored run through familiar territory.

Marvel MAX is about a decade behind their Distinguished Competition when it comes to mature alternatives in mainstream comics. DC Vertigo is the Mendoza Line of Quality. Let’s be honest and admit it. Then came WildStorm (born of Image Comics). Again, Marvel dragging its heels. Dropping the Comics Code made sense to everyone. And then Bill Jemas green lighted Alias from a Bendis treatment saying “why not” in regards to “keeping it real” and keeping it vulgar. Marvel MAX today is one of my favorite imprints in the comics world along side of DC/Vertigo and WildStorm. In the “Silver Age”, Marvel had a magazine imprint called “Epic” which gave the world adult related & mature material from Conan the Barbarian to Howard The Duck and even Groo the Wanderer. Epic was the Proto-MAX/Vertigo. Adults are back buying the funnybooks for their stories, not the action figures and ceramic, limited edition and numbered busts so the adults need to be entertained without having to go to the “Young Adult” section of the library. Marvel MAX is what happens when our superheroes have grown up with us.

Jessica Jones is a superhero has-been by the time she’s 30. “Never ask a woman her age” is a maxim of being a gentleman. I don’t care if she’s your Grandma and you can personally count 100 candles on the cake…never ask a woman her age. It’s rude. I don’t think Jessica’s age is ever stated for the record but it’s alluded to in a fine flashback sequence to her high school days. She’s a girl from Queens, and she attended high school with a one certain Peter Parker. She noticed him from afar and had a crush on him too but it wasn’t meant to be. She’s about his age and he is currently very, very far from that bespeckled teenage geek who got bit by a radioactive spider. Spider-Man is a grown up now. There was a certain irony and joke to his being called Spider-Man for decades as the Friendly Neighborhood Wall Crawler was a high school kid for the early adventures and a college student for what seemed to be up until the 1980’s when he went and got hitched to that POA Mary Jane Watson. Well, these Ubervolk seem to have a low retirement age akin to Pro Football players.

I revel in Marvel MAX comics. I roll around in them like a cat on a hot tin rug covered in catnip. It’s brought back a coolness that was lost in the 1980’s and going “too serious”. Those stories although held back by the Comics Code were always cooler than most. In the 1970’s you had Luke Cage (black power!). Ghost Rider (Evel Knevil on Acid). Shang-Chi: The Master of Kung-Fu (Bruce Lee knockoff and the martial arts movement). Nick Fury (back then both an Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the leader of the Howlin’ Commandos). Marvel MAX recycles characters. Gives them the usual Marvel Patented “Revolving Door at Heaven” without using dead characters. Just ones who’ve faded into the backlot. They’re commiserating at the Commissary.

Man, I’d love to interview him. Did this come from an idea about the Ultimate Marvel Team-Up series he did? I wonder. In Ultimate Marvel Team-Up TPB Vol. #1, Bendis tells me in the Introduction that he invited the pick of the litter in artist and asked them “which character would you love to draw and I’ll write an Ultimate Spider-Man story for it”. Who suggested Jessica Jones, one time Avenger known as Jewel who traded in her family for her powers of strength and flight? Literally. The flashback scene to the accident was a little tough even for a roughneck. Was she even an existing character? Did Bendis write her in? Cleverly inserted into the History. Was that why the Purple Man said to her about her ‘comic book’, “respect the continuity”? I wonder. I looked up and down my trusty Hitchhiker’s Guide. Most people call that a Web Browser. I couldn’t find anything historically for Jessica Jones, Jewel, or the Knightress (which I get the cleverness, what a gas! ^_~). I even asked Bendis himself. I hate not knowing. It’s one thing if it has not yet been revealed. Like Wolverine’s history. I gotta know. It’s canon. But I digress…
(Jessica Jones was created by Bendis for ALIAS in 2004 -ed. note 1/9/08)

Arcs are key. And the switching artists too to fit mood/time. Ultimate Spider-Man and Bendis long time artist Mark Bagley takes care of the flashback scenes to Jewel’s costumed heyday...I had never seen The Vision’s face appear that way before, interesting stuff. David Mack does the journal of a young girl in “Come Home” and the covers. Legend Bill Sienkiewicz illuminates the autobiography of Marvel Universe long time character Rick Jones (no relation) called “Sidekick”. Rick Mays in issue #26 has a stand-alone; a conversation between X-Man Jean “Phoenix” Grey and Jessica on a playground that is very nice and needed while Michael Gaydos takes care of the body of the work.

I have seen Jessica rendered much prettier with the litany of talent just recited but under Gaydos’ pencil, she’s made handsome. Almost glamorous, like Lauren Bacall. Even sexy (but that could be the words coming out of her mouth, compliments of Bendis). Like Alex Maleev’s Typhoid Mary from Daredevil, Gaydos’ Jessica’s is an expressive human face. And she is also a gumshoe in the “Phillip Marlowe” mode. Sometime when reading Marlowe you don’t really know if he’s that smart or if he’s just coming into the office everyday. Shades of Chandler ring out in the P.I. moments. The expressiveness of Jones’ face (and the faces of the other characters; Carol Danvers, Scott Lang, Luke Cage, Matt Murdock, J. Jonah Jamieson) is worthy of getting lost in the panels. Her scenes when interviewing a client are always good and consistent. A cigarette in her hands, a billow of smoke and an impassive countenance until it’s her time to speak.

In a weird but complimentary way, Alias also is kind of a “Sex & The City” of titles. It’s on HBO PrimeTime. T & A. That means Tits & Ass (actually no to little nudity in Alias but there is plenty of adult language and subtext to get lost in besides obvious carnal scenes). Swear words. The works. Ahhh…make mine MAX. Jessica’s personal life is what it’s about. She is one part Samantha Jones (no relation), the Kim Catrall character on the fore mentioned HBO Original. She doesn’t have a Secret Identity. In fact, people know who she is. She’s got a picture of herself with the pre-Warbird Ms. Marvel on her wall; the 4th generation armor Iron Man and Mnolinir in the background. Her office assistant is a teenage groupie. She also has an abundance of something else no other superhero besides Wolverine & Power Man seems to and that’s a social life. She dates. She drinks. Almost too much. But also when it counts she does have those nifty powers. It comes in handy against homicidal & huge bad guys or when she needs to get the fuck away from the guy she’s dating because he’s the last thing she needs right now. Brilliant.

“FUCK!!!”. It’s the first copy in the mag, issue #1. Well…the “Alias Investigation” on the door doesn’t count as copy or does it. Ask a Professional. Jeph Loeb gave praise about it on the intro to Alias TPB. #1. MAX is for the older reader. In the first issue there’s everything a Rated “R” movie could ask for. She steps into a mystery from the get-go. But that’s OK, she’s a Private Detective. A Super-Powered one at that. Jessica used to be a super-hero but life took the zap out of her eyes. It’s a read. It’s dialog driven. Issue #3 is basically an interrogation scene out of Law & Order with a walk-on by Matt Murdock. The Blind attorney who she ends up playing bodyguard to both in Alias and in Bendis’ Daredevil when Daredevil’s secret identity is given up by a Capo to a Fed and then to a newspaper. But also another Secret Identity is at risk in Alias Vol. 1. And by the end of Issue #5, it’s made clear what is a hero because heroes follow Right Action. And that’s all that matters, I hear.

Issue #10 is great. It sets up the Pulse and her relationship with her employer, the notorious Marvel Universe ordinary person, J. Jonah Jamieson. After Jessica bails out Jamieson’s “ward”, his “adoptive daughter” who ironically does have mutant powers that give her cause to dress and call herself “Spider-Girl”, J. Jonah Jamieson is actually humble and gracious to a Super Powered person. Hey, I hear people can change. Spider-Girl’s situation was as grave as it gets when it comes to a downward spiral of abuse and self-loathing. This same arc sports great appearances by Speedball of the New Warriors and the original Spider-Woman Jessica Drew fighting a gang that have Maddie Franklin, the Spider-Girl captive for her Genes to make Mutant Growth Hormone, a drug that gives its user powers for a limited time or boosts existing powers (ahem…Magneto in Planet X anyone?). The MGH or “Kick” storyline is a thread that runs through the Marvel Universe.

Some might remember the Spider-Woman cartoon from “back in the day”. Issue #16: when superheroes date!!! And she’s obviously got something against She-Hulk but that’s a “Team-Up” waiting to happen, huh? ^_~ That’s an Easter Egg for those who pay attention. This title asks the important question like “Do You Have the Right Stuff to be a Super-Hero”? I watched that movie the other day. The Right Stuff. You’d need to have the Right Stuff in order to be a superhero. I get sick on a swing set. Image that compounded with Flight Ability. Fly-By Pukings, is what I tell you. I have Fear of Lobster. Fear of Clowns. And Fear of Roller Coasters. And I want a working GL ring…pah! ^_~

In a scene where Jessica is once again in Alias surrounded by the superhero team The Avengers, the almost absurdity of Capes comes into play. Jessica, finding herself under extreme emotional duress and on the verge of losing it, calls upon her friend Carol “Warbird” Danvers only to be asked not to use foul language at the Avengers Mansion. And to be annoyed by her quasi-boyfriend, a “B-List” Avenger and the replacement Ant-Man, Scott Lang. Jessica seems to be the only human among he superhuman in this poignant scene.

The last arc “Purple” is as twacked as any Azzarello issue in Hellblazer. And I mean that. It’s the last arc in the run. Not only does Jessica do unscrupulous things as a Person, we as readers are subjected to unscrupulous things by superhumans. It shows the ugliness I’ve only witnessed in few other places. In Alan Moore’s LXG Vol. 2 and in the Authority Vol. 1 with Mark Millar’s tender mercies. Even Alan Moore’s Joker in his “Batman: The Killing Joke” never came to LXG’s Hyde. Purple is also elusive in whether or not it addresses the Fourth Wall by Killgrave, the Purple Man, the adversary of this arc and also the culprit behind Jessica’s greatest secret refers to their situation as “her comic book”.

This title eventually settled down a bit in the story and changed direction and title. It ended at issue #28 and became “The Pulse”, on Marvel 616 Terra Firma. With Bendis still at his prolific helm. Events from this could play out in Daredevil, the 5-issue quarterly Secret War and maybe even Spider-Man sooner or later. The Pulse is different. Less edgy. More heroic. Jessica Jones in Alias comes very close to a female John Constantine in her almost apathetic musings, her complex relationships and her “I don’t give a fuck” chain-smoking, over-drinking attitude. In the 5-issue “the Pulse”, she’s thinking in other, different places.
Things change.

Now: 1/17/2016
A Dozen Years Ago and I did not give away the Surprise Either.
Current Avengers Readers should be able to suss that one out ^_~
Hahaha!  Enjoy!  ALIAS still holds up, especially next to the Show.
Compare the Two.  Ask questions.  Appreciate.
Go Get a Copy!  They've been re-released!
Cheers!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

The Pizza Rolls Over the 2nd Viewing of THE FORCE AWAKENS

NOTE:
This is Spoiler-Filled!

Not for the Mouthbreather, OK?

Go watch the frakin' movie.

It's Been a Month!

Thanks, the Editors & Publishers.

First Viewing: 12/20/2015
Immediately Sought Out the Novelization of the Screenplay, this was written by alum Alan Dean Foster.  11 hours on Audible including cutting room scenes.

In Hindsight, I cried a lot.  Not cried yet this was very emotional in a way.
I went alone for the sheer reason to "Grok" this as a Story, Movie and something that Matters to my Imagination.

I brought a notebook and did this old fashioned.

Pretty much! ^_^

"Now I Have a Better Clue
Of "Why" We Have to go to...
JAKKU!!!"

I love talking to people on the Ground Level and actively ask if they Liked It, Or Not.
And I listen.
I bask in the Positive.
I Endure the Negative yet respect it fully and without a whimper.

So the Early Negative Buzz is that THE FORCE AWAKENS is Completely Derivative.
And They're Right!
Yet It's Not Bad!  So Why are you Whining???
Words often heard are:
Retread
Remake
Reboot...

REFUTE!!!

There is a Lot more to It than Just That.
Yes!  It carefully brings the Newest of Fans Back into the Fold with "Formula", Unabashed.
It's a little violent.  And it's still really fun.

I see it in a more refined Culinary Metaphor.
On a Plate, THE FORCE AWAKENS was Chicken Parmesan.
Really, Really Good Chix Parm.
Yet Chicken Parm all the same.
And it's all what we really wanted.
Sub your own Comfort Food.  Mac & Cheese.  Chicken Mahkni.  Falafel.  Yet iDigress....
A clean plate and you're wanting more.  Seriously.  Thanks and Yes Please.

I Had A Theory...
that it was Bunnies....
Wait for it, Geeks. ^_~
OK
My Theory was this!!!
The Skull of Darth Vader.
Before the Movie came out, I saw it.
If I saw it, you musta saw it too
ok
My Theory was this...
Based Upon all this I really thought that
Kylo Ren was a Clone of Darth Vader.
Fully-Functional. 4 limbs, 2 arms, 2 legs, a working not-burnt off cock too
In the rendering of the Mask and my avoidance, I thought the character gracing TFA Packaging was wearing a Golden Stormtrooper style helm under that cowl.
So what I was wanting was when Kylo Ren took that helmet off
was Hayden Christensen grinning at us with those Sith Eyes,
But that was just My Imagination.

The Music for Me held the Most Anticipation.
I really rushed through it the First Time.
This time I was alone and stayed until the Lights Came Up Bright and the Ushers Were earning their Wages...

Jakku itself was Just Another Outer Rim Junkyard World.
Of Scavengers.
And Survivors
And I guess People of Many Races and Species
As Cinematic Backdrop, Jakku was like Egypt because of its barren qualities but also for the Star Destroyers swallowed by Time & Sands look like ersatz Pyramids!!
Such rich backdrop.  Rey is fearless, nimbly with tactile muscle memory scaling heights for survival.

Act 1 ends when the Falcon leaves Jakku.
Don't Ask, Just See.

Act 2 has a HUGE homage to ALIEN.
Also after that, Finn finds Fan Service in a Bag as he's attending to Chewie's wound.
The Practice Hover Ball from A New Hope.

This is the Snoke Theme.
He's your Harry Potter Archetype for a Faceless Adversary.
Snoke pulls Kylo Ren's strings.  And the rest of the FIRST ORDER.
 Buffy Terms: the Big Bad.
Kylo Ren might end up being Spike

Rey's Vision.
Blink and You'll Miss It.
"These Are Your First Steps".

Kylo Ren's motifs were pronounced as well.
He is Important.  Storywise.
And Metaphorically.
I think Kylo Ren is Someone we all might know.
Someone on the Spectrum, the Austistic Spectrum.
Some one with Great Parents.
Raised with the Best of Potential as well yet
Well...Special. Sensitive.
Kids Grow Up.
So I see Kylo Ren as this.
A New Archetype.
He's Withdrawn.
He Tantrums
He's Exceptional
And He's Just Like Some We Know, In Real Life.

On the Other Hand, Rey is Our Hero.
She's "Us".
She's Me.
She's You.
Rey is thrown into this Mix and with the Force, we're Part of It.

When the Sunlight Fades on the Catwalk...
Says it All.

In the End...
My eyes were awful leaky.
Hot, Big, Wet tears of Joy.
Actually glad for the 3-D glasses hiding this glaring obviousness.

So...
was Kylo Ren a metaphor for an emotionally-challenged child?
was Han Solo supposed to represent the Underwater Mortgage? Lost the family, the Falcon, all the creditors are after him. No more room to move...
what is the FIRST ORDER supposed to represent? Orthodoxy? What values?
I'm left with more questions than answers...

Finn represents Freedom, our Independence. Or Choice. Our sense of Right & Wrong.
Rey is Us, smuggled in the Story so enjoy the Ride.
Poe Dameron is a Cypher, anything Story needs him to be and we need a Fonzie.
Kylo Ren is the Family Member We Want to Bring Back into the Light.

So let's talk more about THE FORCE AWAKENS...

Namaste.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Pizza Rolls Over...Divergence

Divergence.

So, I did not read many of the "EXPANDED UNIVERSE" titles.
Yet I was there for its incept.

The MARVEL Comic finished up in 1986 over 100 monthly issues.
OH NO!: The fledgling New Republic being invaded from Beyond by the dreaded N'Gai.
Luke gets All-Badass.
From 1985: One of My All-Time Faves...."Duel with a Dark Lady" when Luke goes all Musashi with two lightsabres on a N'Gai with a lazerwhip!

The Expanded Universe started for Me...When My Interest Was Duly Hooked.
with the Dark Horse Comics STAR WARS: DARK EMPIRE.
Fabulous for its time & place & print & price.
I bought it in "floppies".  Monthly Magazines.
In 1991.
I'd just finished High School
This was one of a new kind of STAR WARS story at the time.
The colors, the mood.
It was Noir!
Seriously.
This FunnyBook.
The property just changed hands from MARVEL to Dark Horse and NEW THINGS WERE BEING DONE!
It was so bloody cool.

This FunnyBook ushered in the Age now referred to in STAR WARS as "LEGENDS"
(pretty much...I mean ever read Splinter of the Mind's Eye?  It has its Place & Time yet in hindsight, isn't a very good book)
Along with this FunnyBook came the Thrawn Trilogy.
After That, Continuity Really Mattered.
Over on the STAR TREK books, you could do what you'd like yet all the principle characters have to be back by the End AND it did not contribute to a Continuity.
It wouldn't "fit" into a timeline between episodes.
They were just adventures.  Novels.  Paperbacks.

STAR WARS changed the Game.
Everything Printed....Mattered!
Even until the Future we had a rouge CADE SKYWALKER, 100 Years after the Battle of Yavin.
It all Mattered,
I didn't stick with it though.  I felt the Continuity itself was a Bane instead of a Blessing.  I was being smothered with stories I needed to read in exact progression to get the most out of it.
Lots of friends of mine did stick with the EU.

Until Disney.

Now the Rules Have Changed.  Things are different.

We now have a Divergence.
What still counts?
I was hoping to see either Ashokha Tano or Asajj Ventress in the THE FORCE AWAKENS.
I don't know who Kanan is but I know "Who" he is...but iDigress.

One Universe we have Ben Skywalker.
Another, Ben Solo.

Comments?  How do you feel about owning years of stories you care about and have curated might not "mattering" anymore?  Or is it how comics' Alan Moore mused, "Aren't they all Imaginary Stories?"

Brothers & Sisters of the Force...Does "Canon" Matter anymore?
I say "Only When Its Business End is Pointed at You!" ^_~

Namaste...

Monday, January 11, 2016

My Walk to Work.

I was that Guy at 7am Singing Bowie Aloud on the Community Bike Path.

Namaste...