Friday, December 29, 2017

Cosplay Friday: Harley Quinn and Company

So we are three years away from 2018, so it seems like a great time for a special beginning of the year edition of Cosplay Friday. New Years Day is a modern rock band with an apt name for this time of the year. They recently appeared on Punk Goes Pop Volume 7, an album where punk and rock bands cover modern pop songs. They chose Kehlani's "Gangsta." Most famously used as a theme for Harley and the Joker in Suicide Squad, the members of New Years Day decided to go into full cosplay mode with Ash Costello in Harley Quinn regalia.

As always, you can check out a lot more great Cosplay pictures over on the Tumblr. And while you are admiring some great cosplay here, don’t forget to check out some of the other great stuff on this week!

What's up for the end of 2017!

What's Up is a simple post where I give you links to the books, comics, movies, games and/or music I have been enjoying as of late. Feel free to check them out if you would like to enjoy them as well or give your opinions of these works in the comments below (though do try to keep it spoiler free.)

This week ended up with far more reading than I expected as I was struck by diverticulitis, a disorder I highly recommend everyone avoid if possible. Here's what I worked my way through in the past week!

True Detective by Max Allen Collins | Earthbound by Ken Baumann | Ka-Zar Volume 2 |
Westworld Season 1 | Taylor Swift: Reputation

Check out the great showmen of Big Top Tales!

One of the most offbeat projects I ever worked on was Big Top Tales. Focused on six different talents from a shared circus as it makes its way across the country, the book featured some truly fascinating stories on the edge of the supernatural. I wrote the story of Lulabelle Rose Jensen, the acrobatic aerialist.

I quickly threw her into a dangerous fight for life as a crazed murderer sets her in his sights. It's a fast paced adventure tale and one of my personal favorite works.

I did a ton of research on acrobats and aerialists before I started work on the tale. Real life acrobat Lillian Leitzel played a major role in my development work. I quickly realized I couldn't write a tale about just a normal girl from the 30s. Rose would have to be a unique figure in the era which is why from the start of the tale I made it clear she was anything but a typical 30s pulp girl. She's got agency and she's not afraid to break societal norms to get what she wants.

As The Greatest Showman works its way through theaters, I encourage everyone to take a different look at the historical circus by picking up a copy of Big Top Tales. It was a fun ride and right deserves more readers.

Go give it a look on Amazon. If you like it, please give it a review as well to help others find it!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

The Top 10 wrestlers of the year kicks off today with Tetsuya Naito!

Over at the soon-to-be-renamed Wrestling Weekday, the annual countdown of the year's top 10 wrestlers has began. Go check it out today and follow it for the rest of this week and the next as we countdown the ten biggest stars of the year!

Head over to the site and check out the first profile of Japan's most ungovernable wrestler, Tetsuya Naito!

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Dead rock star for the ages! (Kickstart the Week 62)

Great all ages books have flourished on the independents while "mainstream" comic publishing has fallen into a need to serve an ever shrinking, ever aging fanbase. That means for the first time in the history of comics, a lot of all ages books are coming from small presses.

Nicky Soh is an up and coming creator with one such comic. Rock Mary Rock is one such comic. Mary awakens the spirit of a dead rock star and in order to help him move on, she must live out his dream of becoming a mega star! It's a fun premise with beautiful art by Nicky.

It's always great to see sole creators really bringing their all to a great book and Rock Mary Rock looks like one of those works. Take a look at it on Kickstarter and help make it a reality.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Great Art: Spider-Man and Mary Jane by Steve Lightle

It is almost Christmas, so why not celebrate with a classic by the ever-underrated Steve Lightle featuring the formerly happy couple of Spider-Man and Mary Jane Watson-Parker!

As always, you can check out a lot more Great Art over on the Tumblr. And while you are admiring some great art here, don’t forget to check out some of the other great stuff on the site this week!

What's Up for December 22, 2017

What's Up is a simple post where I give you links to the books, comics, movies, games and/or music I have been enjoying as of late. Feel free to check them out if you would like to enjoy them as well or give your opinions of these works in the comments below (though do try to keep it spoiler free.)

Christmas isn't here yet and I had a bit more reading and watching time than usual. So here's some interesting things I have been up to in the last week.

Mississippi Roll: A Wild Cards Novel | Dark Knight: The Master Race |
Ka-Zar by Waid & Kubert | Westworld Season 1 | Dick Tracy

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Star Wars, divisive pop culture and entitlement

So last Saturday, I was fortunate enough to enjoy a private screening of Star Wars: The Last Jedi with my wife and children. I enjoyed it thoroughly. We had a great experience at a fun movie.

Then I came home and read all the comments I avoided for the previous two days. And my heart sank.

The Last Jedi goes in directions no previous Star Wars film or story goes in. It questions the importance of the Jedi, the righteousness of the battle and the meaning of sacrifice for the greater good. It challenges preconceptions and hate rolled out because of it.

I by no means think everyone should love the film. But it is a well made (if a bit long) film. Rian Johnson knows Star Wars, he loves Star Wars and he wants to make Star Wars something that can last for decades to come. The Last Jedi is very much that movie, even as it re-writes the questions fans were left asking from The Force Awakens.

The sense of entitlement among the haters of the film may have reached peak insanity however. As I write this the petition to remove The Last Jedi from canon is at almost 50,000 supporters. 50,000 people are angry enough to make up and sign this because they didn't like what path the film puts Luke Skywalker on or how it differentiates from the Expanded Universe or how porgs are literally too cute to exist or whatever. They fell betrayed somehow by a piece of cinema, even while demanding a new one from the creators.

Star Wars isn't ours. We can love it. We can hate it. But it is not ours. Much like George R. R. Martin, Lucasfilm is not our bitch. You are welcome to dislike it. You are welcome to give up on the universe you've treasured or return to the Expanded Universe you loved beforehand. But it is not my place, your place or anyone's place outside Kathleen Kennedy and her bosses at Disney to determine the future of Star Wars. Lucasfilm backed Rian Johnson's vision of where Star Wars needs to go and like it or not, that is where it went.

Talk to your friends or find like-minded folks that agree with your dislike. But don't try to rain on the parade of fans that did love it. It's time, much like Elsa, to let it go.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Cosplay Friday: Princess Leia and Han Solo

The big news this weekend is the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, so I thought what better way than to celebrate it with some cosplay. I don't know the names of these great models bringing Leia Organa and Han Solo to life, but they've done a stupendous job all around!

As always, you can check out a lot more great Cosplay pictures over on the Tumblr. And while you are admiring some great cosplay here, don’t forget to check out some of the other great stuff on this week!

What's up for December 15, 2017

What's Up is a simple post where I give you links to the books, comics, movies, games and/or music I have been enjoying as of late. Feel free to check them out if you would like to enjoy them as well or give your opinions of these works in the comments below (though do try to keep it spoiler free.)

This list probably looks pretty familiar from last week as I have spent a lot of time writing (outside a day of horrifying pain and sickness.)

Lazgood's Boys by Jim Starlin | Batman/Flash: The Button |
Sanctuary | Preacher Season 1 | Reputation

Thursday, December 14, 2017

A few thoughts on a good Fantastic Four movie

As I write this, the announcement was just made a few minutes ago. Disney is buying Fox and the X-Men and Fantastic Four properties will soon return to Marvel Studios. While a few folks are talking about what this means for the X-Men franchise, I'm personally far more interested in how it would effect the one property Marvel Studios desperately needs to handle, just to save it from the mediocrity it has suffered in three films so far.
It is time for a great Fantastic Four film. 

All they need is some matching spandex.
Let's keep the premise simple and as close to the classic origin as possible. They fly into space, get exposed to some kind of galactic space goo / Negative Zone force / Dormammu spit / whatever and get super powers. They crash back on Earth and learn they have gained freakish abilities. Reed decides to use this in the best way his capitalist mind can think: by turning them into a business. 

As they reach their first levels of success and fame, Reed's old rival Victor Von Doom resurfaces. The Eastern European aristocrat (hell, make him overlord of the remains Sokovia instead of Latveria now) has used his genius to replicate the technology of Tony Stark, but his time training under the Ancient One gives him a different perspective on the world of tech. He's still got a major hate on for Reed, who seems to have lucked into all the success Doom struggled to get. So he sets up to fight the heroes. He brings in one big MCU guest star as a dupe to ground and pound the team before the final battle between the heroes and him. 

An end credit scene shows the impending arrival of the Silver Surfer and quite frankly set up a whole new phase of Marvel films. 

It's far more simple a story than any other attempt to modernize the team for modern movies while delivering some room for laughs and character development. 

Let's take a look at my cast, in the order I would expect to see them in the credits: 

Eddie Redmayne as Victor Von Doom: Eddie may be swamped under by the next four Fantastic Beasts films, but he is spot on the guy that can play Doom to a tee. He can play down to earth, pathos and isn't unwilling to transform himself for a role. And if Jupiter Ascending proved anything, it is that he can go over the top as a villain with ease. 

Saoirse Ronan as Susan Storm: Ronan is young, blonde and an infinitely better actress than the two women she replaces. While she's avoided blockbusters for the most part, she would be a spot on choice to build a more full fledged Invisible Woman than we've been given in the past. She's easily the most powerful member of the FF and it's time we're giving an actor and a movie that can show it.

Armie Hammer as Ben Grimm: I'm not sure if Armie has given up on the "I need to be a thing" thing yet, but he'll probably never make it as a major leading man. But Hammer is a great player in his previous blockbuster attempts. He could make a great giant rock monster, whether or not the movie wants to go full CGI or use makeup effects. 

Ross Lynch as Johnny Storm: The hothead of the Fantastic Four goes to a man most famous now for playing a serial killer in My Friend Dahmer. But as a veteran to the Disney Channel, Lynch is pretty much built to play a slightly smarmy but great looking guy that loves the spotlight. Kids love him and with about twenty pounds of muscle packed on, he could be Marvel's next hot young thing. 

Zac Oyama as Reed Richards: The most unknown of the actors in my list, but the College Humor regular has acting chops plus the comedy talent to make the inherent silliness of stretching powers really work. Zac has played super smart and socially inept before during shorts, and that makes me think he's got what it takes to make a young Reed come to life. And if Kelly Marie Tran can make the leap from CH to Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Zac could do the same for the Marvel Universe.

Matt Smith as the Silver Surfer: The only former Doctor (at the moment) not yet cast in a Marvel movie or show would be the perfect man to bring a quirky alien fascinated by humanity to life. While Surfer in many ways is an ultra-powerful version of the good Doctor, I suspect Smith could bring some interesting differences between the two and hopefully set himself up for an eventual spinoff film. 

Introducing: ? as Alicia Masters: I have to cast an unknown as Alicia Masters, as I think it might be a great time for Disney/Fox/Marvel to show off their diversity creds by hiring an actually blind actress for the role. It might add a few headaches to the filming process, but would be worth it just for authenticity's sake. 

Featuring: Mark Ruffalo as The Hulk: Oh, come on! We all want to see The Thing fight The Hulk on the silver screen. Doom could easily use the big guy as a tool in his plot setting up a big fight between the two while the rest of the FF have to deal with Doom himself. It could make for a great climax and set up another "puny god" style moment. 

What do you think of this cast and plot? Who do you want to see in a MCU Fantastic Four? Let me know in the comments! 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Annual Top Ten voting is now on at The Wrestling Weekday!

I ran the The Wrestling Weekday concurrently with this blog for a couple years. While it has mostly been shuttered for the second half of 2017, I will do a full re-launch next year under a new name with less frequent, but more engaged thought pieces. But one tradition that won't be going away is the year end Top 10.

Full details on voting can be found in the re-post below!
I am over here dusting the Wrestling Weekday homepage off. This site will get something of a face lift over the next year as it will feature some long form works and almost certainly, a name change. But none of that matters, the relaunch starts in the last week of the year. That means it is once again time for the year end Top 10.

And I need your help to determine the ten best wrestlers of 2017.

Who will join 2015 winner Sasha Banks and 2016 winner Broken Matt Hardy
as the best wrestler of 2017? 
As in previous years, the process is simple. All you have to do to vote is to send me your list of the top wrestlers from anywhere in the world. Your list can be as short as one or as long as 25, but it needs to be ranked in order of worst to best. Send your choices to wwfmegs{at}yahoo{dot}com (or leave them in the comments below) and I will tally the fan choices as well as my own top ten to give a full list of the top stars of 2017.

The only requirement for a wrestler to be eligible for the list is if they were active in the calendar year 2015 as an in ring worker. Promotions, gender and age are not limited, just as long as they wrestled a match at some point in the year 2017. Wrestlers should be rated on quality of match rather than out of match promos or shenanigans, all though those can be taken into account as an overall reason for your choice. Tag teams and units must be listed separately on this list. If you feel they had equal levels of performance in your list of twenty, please put them one after another.

Though it is not required, any commentary on the wrestlers you chose and why you chose them would be appreciated, as it will be included as thoughts on the wrestler in the final Top Ten list.

All votes must be received by December 24, 2017, at midnight Central time. 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Detectives, dark magic and quarterly fiction (Kickstart the Week 61)

After a nasty stomach bug, I'm getting off to my week a bit late, but I feel this project is worth a mention even if it is already Tuesday.

The occult and detective fiction have been linked pretty much since the origins of detectives in fiction. (Thanks, Edgar Allan Poe!) But it isn't as often that the concept of the occult detective gets played up in fiction the way it once was. Sure, Harry Dresden and Anita Blake technically fit the bill, but they never come with the sense of impending dread one usually thinks about when the two come together.

Occult Detective Quarterly Presents is a new outlet for the detectives of the supernatural. With several creators already lined up for the first issue, the book looks to clock in at a pretty decent page count as well. Plus, it will carry full illustrations for each story, always a fun way to raise the sense of foreboding horror!

Check it out on Kickstarter and help make this new series a reality!

Friday, December 8, 2017

Great art: Hobgoblin vs. Green Goblin by Ryan Stegman

Ryan Stegman is one of the reasons Marvel keeps ahead of DC in the art department, but like so many Marvel artists, it really feels like they don't know how to use him. He's a great talent however, so when I found his image of a personal favorite of mine, the Hobgoblin, against the original Green Goblin, I had to share it here.

As always, you can check out a lot more Great Art over on the Tumblr. And while you are admiring some great art here, don’t forget to check out some of the other great stuff on the site this week!

What's Up for December 8, 2017

What's Up is a simple post where I give you links to the books, comics, movies, games and/or music I have been enjoying as of late. Feel free to check them out if you would like to enjoy them as well or give your opinions of these works in the comments below (though do try to keep it spoiler free.)

Lazgood's Boys by Jim Starlin | Secret Empire
| Strain | Preacher Season 1 | Reputation

Thursday, December 7, 2017

The playlist of a Templar

Model Winnie Harlow as Sia in Eminem's "Guts Over Fear",
one of the main anthems for Graymalkin. 
When I started the first book in the tentatively titled Graymalkin Chronicles I designed, as I'm apt to do, a Spotify playlist. I already shared one for my succubus co-lead, but I also created one for my Templar hero. He's a lost soul in a lot of ways, so I chose songs that have themes of alienation, redemption and overcoming obstacles. Of course, I've also included a few songs with obvious religious themes as well. Together, it's a very odd hodgepodge but really does help me fully realize the character on screen. Check out the full list below:

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Post-NaNoWrimo, pre-2018 shenanigans! (WIP Wednesday)

It was a crazy November. I wrote the first two-thirds of my new urban fantasy novel, the first book in a series I plan to call The Graymalkin Chronicles. It's been interesting to drop traditional super-heroics for this one, even if my character does have a decidedly superhero origin. Like many characters, Xander Graymalkin's origins were from short stories and comic pitches I wrote back in the 90s while still in high school. And like Lightweight before him, he's vastly changed since that origin. I'm still very excited for this tale to see the light of the day, but my plans are to hold off on publication of most of my work until the second half of next year. I will likely also shop the series around to a few publishers as well.

That move has been a long time coming, but with the closure of Metahuman Press, it feels like the right time to find others to publish most of my works. My hope is to start moving away from self-publishing on all my writing outside two core series.

Those series are Quadrant, which I will talk about more down the line and Lightweight. As I showed off yesterday across social media and on this blog, the next chapters of Lightweight have started as my new short story project. I'll be writing each chapter as a standalone, just as I did with previous volumes. I will likely alternate those stories with other shorts as I go along, but I am hoping to prep a new Lightweight by that aforementioned second half of next year.

I also quietly completed the third story in The Second Life of D.B. Cooper series. This one takes place way later in the continuity of Coop than the previous stories, but does build upon the first story as published in the Pen & Cape Society project, The Good Fight 2: Villains. I'll have more information on the project once I've confirmed a home for it, but I loved coming back to Coop after a couple years away.

Today's image is taken from the Graymalkin board on my Pinterest. It features one of the creatures that will make their presence known in that upcoming book, as drawn by a talented artist named Abigail L. Dela Cruz. Check out her great Tumblr.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Martial art comics done right! (Kickstart the Week 60)

Mike Baron has written some amazing comics over the decades from Nexus to Badger to the first days of the Wally West Flash to odder fair like his mid-90s Hawk & Dove reboot and his epic (yes, really) run on Mr. T and the T-Force. But he's always been an avid martial artist, a fact well known to Badger readers or those that read his little read Kato and Bruce Lee limited series. Now Baron is teaming with artist Barry McClain to introduce a new generation of martial arts hero and his name is Q-Ball.

The story revolves around a guy named Curtis Ball, an expert martial artist that happens to really like fighting with a stick. He's on the run and has to kick a whole lot of ass in the process, all expertly delineated by another martial artist in the form of penciller/inker Barry McClain.

This one looks like a wild ride but still needs some extra push to get it over the hump. Check it out on Kickstarter and lend your support!