God of Comics: Godshaper #1

God Of Comics, Reviews

April 12, 2017

Godshaper #1 (Boom Studios)

Does anyone remember the Spire? It was an incredible comic with a deeply realized world, fantastic art, and the best use of lettering we’ve ever seen in a comic. It was written by a man named Simon Spurrier, and that man is back with a new tale set in a new world and it sounds like the exact sort of intense madness that we’d expect from this sort of mind.

The conceit of the world in Godshaper is that every person has a god and that there is a god for every person… except some rare people are sort of left out. Instead of having a personal deity, these people are gifted the ability to shape the gods of other people. This does not make these people very popular because no one likes to have their god remade into something other than what it is supposed to be.

Weirder still, some gods exist without humans. Awkward and lost, these deities lack purpose and become a little, well, a little touched. These deities are effectively the divine homeless, begging for scraps of faith from people that probably avoid them because what could be more depressing than a homeless god?

The comic follows a man without a god and his homeless god best friend as they wander around, trying to find work, shelter, and food. It’s high concept stuff that should explore the concept of what a god is, and what gods and their followers owe one another. It’s a world with a fifties aesthetic where worship replaced both technology and currency, and that sort of weirdness requires a lot of thought to execute well.

In the hands of a lesser writer, we would be worried that this concept would be wasted, but Simon’s already proven that he can do some incredible things with the Spire, so we have faith in his ability to tale this parable. The idea is to work an angle where capitalism is a literal deity in America and to follow two people that are down and out, those that are left behind by the cruelty that capitalism unchecked causes to fester.

As intriguing as all this is, though, there needs to be an artist that not only gets the concept but is also able to capture it; thankfully, Jonas Goodface has been tapped for the job and he’s what we might call the perfect choice. You might have been lucky enough to catch his work in Greetings, Resident or Werewolf in Space and if you didn’t, well, you can find them by clicking here.

Really, this just looks great and we can’t wait to read it.

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In The Tent Of The Tea Party

Culture, Events, Music, Reviews

April 6, 2017

A spattering of Vancouver rain clatters against the concrete of Granville Street. A drumbeat without rhythm. Heavy. Is the dampness that pulls at you the rain? Or is there something else clawing at your soul? Something in the air tonight?

Trading on a legacy of sex, drugs, and black magic, The Tea Party crave a darker part of your soul. Especially Transmission (1997). Transmission is a gate, the music the path, and tonight? Tonight, The Tea Party will be our guide.

In 1997 three kids from Windsor resolved to produce “the darkest rock and roll album Canada had ever heard.” At the time, the Canadian charts were dominated by imports like the Spice Girls, No Doubt, The Backstreet Boys, and Pop Compilation Albums. For every the Tragically Hip or Our Lady Peace, there was a Sarah McLachlan or Celine Dion.

Often called “Moroccan Roll”, The Tea Party draw on sounds and instruments from across the globe, with a fixation on Middle-Eastern Mysticism and Music. Hearing live the music of my childhood, of my heroes, fulfills. Great musicians performing their greatest works out weighs the gimmicked nature of anniversary tours. Jeff Martin plays the guitar like an Olympic athlete. While a painting ages in his attic, he pulls out a bow and makes his strings sing. Jeff Burrows gives the drums an animalistic enthusiasm. Stuart Chatwood applies bass and keyboard, adding texture on texture, painting in sound.

This album offers a snapshot into the 90s that I never really knew personally. My older brother came of age during the heyday of Nirvana and the Wu-tang Clan while I was still playing Charlotte Diamond on repeat. That great musical revolution, heard through hollow walls as my brother learned long solos and discovered new sounds. I missed it. Too young. Too shy. It wasn’t until one hot summer in 1999, the world on pause, awaiting the new millennium, bored in the basement, I watched MTV countdown the top 20 videos of the week. Between undulating pop stars and incoherent rappers lay something beautiful: “Heaven Coming Down” from the album Triptych (1999) pulled me into The Tea Party’s world.

With the singular obsession of a pre-teen girl, I devoured their back catalogue as best I could. A copy of Splendor Solis (1993) from the back of an HMV. The Edges of Twilight (1995) borrowed from my brother. And, finally, Transmission, from a dusty corner of an A&B Sound. Looking for a way to understand the world, I stumbled into a different kind of understanding. That magic still lingered on the edges of the world. If only your eyes were open you could see it all.

If listening to Transmission is like finding a stack of Picasso sketches tucked in the back of the garage, hearing it live is a gallery exhibition. A sea of people, falling back on who they grew from. Aging rockers, former goth kids, angry angsty teens, and lost souls. “Army Ants”, pulsing, sends a wave across the crowd. “Psychopomp”, dragging the enraptured souls to the underworld and back again. “Babylon”, walking a tightrope between sex and violence until finally- “Release”…

“Release” resonates with me. Reminds me of why I’m here, of the journey the last few years have been. Of all I’ve lost and gained. Of missed chances and pain… I cry. There is a sincerity to it. A beauty. Even Martin takes a pause. To thank us, all of us, for creating such a moment. The moment passes – back into “Temptation” we go.

An intermission only to pull us back into Martin’s impossible world. Speaking openly of their heroes, the band slipped covers into the middle of their own work. U2’s classic “With or Without You” (1987) appeared in “Heaven Coming Down” (1999). Parts of “Under Pressure” (1982 Queen, David Bowie) kept appearing. The 20-minute version of “Sister Awake” included “Paint it Black” (1966, The Rolling Stones) as well as their encore.

So, here we are, 20 years later, do we still need an album like Transmission? What does an album mean in an age where Artists live and die download by download?

I think we’ve forgotten the importance of telling a good story.  The journey sacrificed on the altar of destination. Music is a product. Artists are commodities. Instead of autotuned perfection, give me skill. Give me the raw emotion and passion of a psychopomp.

The next city to host the Tea Party tent will be The Roxy in Los Angeles, CA on Saturday, April 8th.  After that they’re going to the Star Events Centre in Sydney, NSW, on Friday, April 21st. If you can’t make either of those dates, you can click here to see the rest of the tour, or click here to see their incredible selection of music


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God of Comics: X-Men Gold #1

God Of Comics, Reviews

April 5, 2017

X-Men: Gold #1 (Marvel Comics)

Kitty Pryde is back to lead the X-Men for reasons and we should all be excited~! It’s mandated by the Marvel editorial board, the same people that made Nazi Captain America and will soon be bringing you Nazi Holocaust Survivor and Jew, Magneto~!

Different writing team, thankfully. Marc Guggenheim has been quietly writing some rather good X-comics for the past year, making the most of what crossovers Marvel has thrown at him. He also did the rather neat Squadron Sinister and is doing the criminally under-appreciated Agents of SHIELD comic, so he’s got that going for him.

It’s just that the X-Men have not had a very good decade: they were ignored when they tried to warn everyone what a bad idea registration was, they tried to leave the world that feared and hated them to go live in peace only to be invaded, then were nearly wiped out because the Avengers couldn’t handle their shit… and it doesn’t end there.

Wolverine and cyclops had a very messy and public divorce and Cyclops was cast as the villain despite saving the world from its own mutant hating technology when it was turned against humanity. Then the Avengers didn’t listen to him when the Phoenix force came, resulting in him getting possessed by a cosmic entity because the Avengers kidnapped a traumatized sixteen-year-old girl – possessed Cyclops then killed Professor X and got blamed for it when the Avengers were all “dur, we goofed,” and released the sixteen-year-old girl, allowing the Phoenix to restore the balance.

More recently, Marvel has been trying to make the Inhumans happen and had the X-Men be the villains in a story where the Inhumans released a gas that covered the world and killed mutants. The X-Men were to be viewed as villains for not lying down and dying. Seriously. That was the story.

If it sounds like Marvel is trying to shit on the X-Men it’s because they are. Marvel bankrupted themselves with their glut of idiot crossover events back in the late nineties and saved themselves by selling the film rights to the X-Men to Fox. They figure if they devalue the comics that Fox might sell the film rights back – which isn’t going to happen – and every now and again the X-Men get a writer who loves them and we get good comics where the mutants aren’t cast as the villains.

Marc Guggenheim is one of those writers. I actually am excited about Kitty being back with the X-Men, though I had hoped she would keep her Star-Lord outfit and cosmic power-up. She’s decided that it’s time to stop running and just deal with things, which means moving the X-Men into the open and forcing people to acknowledge that the X-Men save the world as much or more than the Avengers, and lack Tony Stark locking up, cloning, and betraying his friends or Captain America being a Nazi.

The team line-up is intriguing – Storm, Old Man Logan, Nightcrawler, Colossus, and Prestige (who is Rachael Summers wearing… something). There’s a lot of history to draw upon there and I’m curious to see where it goes, and I really, really, really do not want to see the mess people call Colossus get back together with Kitty. None of that, please.

Ardian Syaf is handling art and we got a taste of what this creative team is capable of last week and that was pretty great. Here’s hoping Marvel has just decided to do good comics with these characters again. Fingers are crossed.

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God of Comics: Penny Dreadful #1

God Of Comics, Reviews

April 5, 2017

Penny Dreadful #1 (Titan Books)

Please tell me you watched this series when it was on. It was three seasons of absolute and terrifying magic wrapped around Eva Green giving the sort of performance that should define a career.

Hunt this down. It’s worth it.

A brief recap: Malcolm Murray is the absent father of Mina Murray. She’s gone missing, his son is dead, and his wife wants nothing to do with him because he’s a terrible husband and father. He’s adopted Mina’s childhood best friend, a woman named Vanessa Ives who is also a witch and maybe knows where Mina has gone. They have a conflicted relationship and recruit some people to help them fight the Evil that has taken Mina, including an American Werewolf in London and Hipster Dr. Frankenstein. Also Dorian Gray sort of maybe is involved.

Terrifying things happen for three whole seasons and the story ended when Vanessa died. It was heartbreaking and necessary and there was no way for the show to continue afterward, but that didn’t mean that most of the stories were resolved: the werewolf has a new home and father and Malcolm has a new furry son, but Dorian is still out there, Frankenstein and his creatures are still out there, there’s monstrous things haunting London that need killing.

Here’s the story we get, the continuation into a dark world that is defined by the old penny dreadfuls of the Victorian era and is savvy enough to know them by name. Here’s the haunted aftermath of Vanessa’s death, the world after Dorian betrays those that loved him and murdered most of the women his undead lover liberated. Here’s the bitter and broken doctor, having conquered death and lost the will to live. Here’s the monster, having found his family and lost them all over again.

The thing about fighting back the darkness is that, if you’re good at it, the darkness notices you and never stops coming, never goes away, never leaves you in peace. It will kill you or shatter you or make you a part of it and it stretches off into forever, your presence just a glimmering star in the empty void that lies between them.

Penny Dreadful’s characters are only too aware of their fragility and mortality. They have been played with and mocked, destroyed and abandoned, scattered and put upon. They raged and fought against the dying of the light and they won the battle and lost everything they lived for. The comic continues their fight, shows them struggling to find things to live for, and that is intriguing enough to get us invested.

The question is whether or not writer Chris King and illustrator Jesús Hervás can keep our attention. Chris is the co-executive producer of the series and has plans to pick things up six months after the season finale. Jesús is the artist behind the rather excellent visuals on Sons of Anarchy, so that’s promising. We’ll see where this goes.

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God of Comics: Harley Quinn #17

God Of Comics, Reviews

April 5, 2017

Harley Quinn #17 (DC Comics)

This is one of our go-to comics, one of the ones that (like Batgirl) defines what the rest of DC Comics does.

It’s weird. This character was supposed to be a one-off, a throwaway moment of “wouldn’t it be funny if Joker had a female sidekick?” tossed around in a production meeting for the old cartoon. This was when DC Comics did original cartoons and not rehashes of pre-existing (and often flawed) stories, or took classic stories and animated them (while adding flaws), and the enduring presence of this character and her popularity shows how emotionally powerful those old cartoons could be.

Harley needed to be justified, world-wise. It’s a Batman, so she couldn’t just be a simple villain – she needed a backstory and a reason to exist, and what we got was an abused but brilliant woman who had been psychologically and socially destroyed by the Joker because he thought it was funny. It made her terrifying and sympathetic and eventually led to a much more complex character, all while making the Joker more terrifying still. It was a brilliant piece of work that led to the character’s introduction to comics in the late nineties.

But, as the nineties came to an end, Harley broke off from the Joker and started living on her own. We say her struggle to become someone better while dealing with her issues, and she explored the addictive nature of abuse and the war for identity, all while maintaining her own essential madness and brilliance. It was light-hearted and heavy-handed and was the epitome of what mature comics could be: meaningful and exploring dark subject matter while still having the courage to be silly. It was fantastic stuff.

She expanded into Gotham City Sirens and things were looking good until the nu52 happened (and every time I write those words I keep hearing them read as “and then the fire nation attacked…”). Harley was taken to some very dark places, the more interesting portions of her character stripped away to fill the quota of nineties-era bullshit and extreme and edgelord darkness until Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner took over writing and started moving her back towards what DC Rebirth would become.

The stories definitively veered towards the silly, with Harley trying to live her life and be a good person despite being thoroughly cracked. She made mistakes but got over much of her trauma, got a day job, became a hero, and started teaming with A-listers like Power Girl. The comics were twisted but fun, dark comedy that veered into lighter shades while mocking the grimdark sensibilities of the nu52 and providing a way out of that selfsame grimdark.

If Batgirl defines where DC Comics is, Harley Quinn provides the blueprint.

Or, perhaps, Harley is the therapist that DC Comics needed.

Either way, the comics continue to be a ridiculous amount of fun and regularly lampoon the craziest stories we’ve gotten in comics over the past sixty years without anyone needing to know anything about those stories in order to enjoy them. We get aliens being ground up into hot dogs and turning people into zombies, we get well-meaning imposters trying to force her to love them, we get a Deadpool-a-like jumping the shark and showing up in these comics because why not? It’s fun, right? It’s amazing.

This issue has an evil clone/twin/something named Harley Sinn going after Harley by targeting people she’s lost and loved, and that sounds fun… but it’s the back-up story I’m really looking forward to. An early look at the original relationship between Harley and the Joker, as penned by Paul Dini… one of those people responsible for her creation in the first place. Add in the art stylings of Bret Blevins and John Timms and we’re good to go. Don’t miss this.

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God of Comics: Giant Days #25

God Of Comics, Reviews

April 5, 2017

Giant Days #25 (Boom Studios)

I read a lot of web comics. I started with Mega Tokyo, Life of Riley, and 8-bit Theater, then graduated to a host of others that I’ve either kept up with or got bored with as the years went by. My current reading list is Sinfest, Something Positive, It’s Walky, Questionable Content, Gunnerkrigg Court, The Punchline is Machismo, Order of the Stick, Oglaf, Philosophers Under the Bed, Granted, Wasted Talent, Snailogy, and Dresden Codak. Somewhere in there I discovered Scary-Go-Round and loved it for the weird slice-of-life comic that it was – a city somewhere in England where weird things happened and everyone just kind of went about their lives.

A character in a role-playing game I ran was pen pals with one of the characters in the comic. The player kept showing me notes between the two of them where they’d compare important points in one another’s lives and offered advice. “The dragon drank all the coffee and burned down a sushi restaurant.” “Ah. Maybe get him to try tea? It’s calming. Our mayor-to-be was assassinated with the insides of a McDonald’s Pie.”

I dare you to figure out which one of those came from the role-playing game and which came from the comic.

Scary-go-Round became Bad Machinery, which was just as good and just as strange. The characters aged, grew up, went about their lives and moved on. It was interesting watching these people grow, some of them becoming respectable while others became despicable monsters and others retreated from the public eye. The weirdness they grew up with was just a part of who they were and a part of their lives, not something to be feared but certainly something to be handled.

Giant Days is a spinoff of that comic, where three of the young ladies from that weird town have moved into the larger world and are going to college and dealing with things not being so magical. The problem is that they’re used to magic and they’ve brought a little bit of the weird with them, and the situations that they find themselves in – looking for student housing, dealing with relationships, even going dancing on weekends – tends to get strange because they, themselves, are strange and utterly relatable.

It’s that last part that makes this comic so good: despite the madness around the characters they remain people that resemble ones you’ve probably known or likely are, and the situations they find themselves in are ones that you’ve probably dealt with. This leads to some heartfelt moments, both laugh-inspiring and tear-worthy, and as this comic enters its third year, Boom Studios is treating us to an oversized issue where one of the girls is going home for the holidays to deal with family drama. It should be great.

Written by John Allison (who also did Scary-Go-Round and Bad Machinery) and illustrated by Liz Fleming (who also does Stephen Universe and Regular Show for Boom), Giant Days is quirky and adorable and great. Give it a chance; there’s a good chance you might like it.

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God of Comics: Street Fighter vs. Darkstalkers #1

God Of Comics, Reviews

April 4, 2017

Street Fighter vs. Darkstalkers #1 (Udon)

I have a personal and long-standing belief that the person that created the mythology for Street Fighter thought they were writing the backstory for a role-playing game and started to cry when they realized it was for a fighting game.

There’s high drama here, folks: an American soldier and former POW on a mission to avenge his best friend and the man he was tortured with, a man who died when they tried to escape their captor. An Interpol agent investigating the man who killed her father, an evil dictator who runs an international drug empire out of his country. That same dictator having tapped into the life energy of the world and perverted it for his own ends and his desire to be re-incarnated as a woman.

Yes, that is a thing. Cammy White is a clone of M. Bison and was created to house his soul when his body dies. That’s four characters out of… there’s a lot of characters in Street Fighter. Some are tragic, some are funny, some are ancient and they’re all effectively gods.

Some of them are monsters, at least metaphorically.

Then there’s the Darkstalkers, and the Darkstalkers are literal monster-gods. Created by the same company, they have the same depth of mythology and character despite also being a fighting game. It’s ridiculous: the back drop for Darkstalkers is of a monster civil war, where an exiled vampire king is trying to lay claim to a nation protected by a sleeping something and his succubus… something. Oh, and the succubus was so powerful that it needed to be split into two entities.

Udon comics has done an impressive job of realizing the insanity and putting it on the printed page, often doing a better job with the lore and the characters than Capcom themselves, so watching them mash these two things together… well, it should be all kinds of great. Udon’s got Ken Siu-Chong handling writing and he’s done well by both these properties in the past, and Udon’s Edwin Huang is likewise one of the best for both these worlds.

This is definitely going to be weird but there’s a good chance it will also be awesome. We can’t wait to find out.

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Marvel, We Need to Talk

Fail, God Of Comics, Opinion, Reviews

April 3, 2017

Oh, Marvel. Your comics were doing so well.

I mean, sure, you’d accidentally turned Iron Man into a villain with Civil War and spent the better part of a decade trying to fix the damage you did there only to finally give up and hit the cosmic reset button on your whole universe. Or the time you had Doc Ock turn into Spider-Man, which wouldn’t have been nearly so bad if the writing wasn’t terrible and your editorial board hadn’t doubled down on no, guys, for real, this is what we’re doing going forward. It wasn’t, we knew it wasn’t, and being lied to in the age of internet is kind of a turn-off. Mind you, that’s not the worst thing you’ve done with Spider-Man (hi, One More Day!), but you seemed to have things under control with your side comics: Spider-Gwen, Moongirl and Devil Dinosaur, Mighty Thor, Unworthy Thor, Ghost Rider… you’ve got a lot of good going on.

And then…

“What we heard was that people didn’t want any more diversity. They didn’t want female characters out there. That’s what we heard, whether we believe that or not. I don’t know that that’s really true, but that’s what we saw in sales. We saw the sales of any character that was diverse, any character that was new, our female characters, anything that was not a core Marvel character, people were turning their nose up against. That was difficult for us because we had a lot of fresh, new, exciting ideas that we were trying to get out and nothing new really worked.”

This wonderful little bit of what comes to us from David Gabriel, the VP of Sales over at Marvel Comics. He then followed up by adding that the aforementioned female minority characters are popular and some of their best sellers but that they’re not going to be doing more of them because people don’t like them.

Wait, what?

Have you been to a comics convention? We just got back from Emerald City Comic Con, where 90, 000+ people showed up to show their love of the medium. Here’s a link where you can check out photos of the event, and you should be able to see a good cross section of obvious minorities, David. That doesn’t even take into account the non-visible minorities; the people that look like the cis-white males you think you’re catering to but are actually somewhat else.

We look white, Christian, and male, but we’re a Jewish agender asexual and we’ve been reading your comics since we were a child. We’ve got boxes full of your comics, shelves full of trades we proudly display. Might there be some other reason, particularly when titles like Saga, Injection, the Woods, Divinity, Lazarus, Giant Days and others are doing so well while being full of the diverse characters you say people aren’t interested in…?

A while ago we posted our (rather discombobulated) thoughts about Captain America being turned into a Nazi by a writer named Nick Spencer, who has since gone on to defend Nazism on twitter and write a black man apologizing to a white supremacist for mentioning the centuries of systematic oppression that African-Americans have endured. Our response then was driven by gut-level anger and we reworked it and expanded our thoughts and think that might be a little more sensible.

Nazi Captain America sold 36,610 copies last month, though, and was the fifty-fifth top selling comic of February. Okay. Literally ten more copies than Iron Man with the new African-American female lead, a thousand less than Doctor Strange, and seventy thousand or so less than Star Wars: Darth Maul. That’s not good. If you’re going to tell a story on the ashes of six million dead Jews and eleven million dead in total, all from living memory, you might as well get some kind of sales bump, right?

We guess that’s what you’re hoping for with the upcoming Secret Empire event, and this… well, this is what we want to talk about. See, it’s not diversity that’s killing you, Marvel: it’s your stunt writing and your constant idiot-event comics. Especially your big dumb event comics. We’d like to elaborate on this point, Marvel, because it’s important and we want you to do well.

Your movies are excellent and other than a few stumbling blocks in Age of Ultron you guys are riding high. Someone in comics must have realized that and your editorial board has tried to capitalize by making the comics more like the movies. A big push to do that came and was finalized with Secret Wars, wherein you guys also fixed the editorial mistakes of the past decade. Remember when Civil War turned Iron Man into a villain and how you spent ten years trying to fix that and failed? Well done. A shame you’ve just done the same to Carol Danvers.

Since Secret Wars ended last year, you’ve had nine major crossovers: Avengers Standoff, Spider-Women, Apocalypse Wars, Civil War II, Dead No More, Death of X, Inhumans vs X-Men, Grounded, and Monsters Unleashed. You’ve got at least another four coming: Secret Empire, Til Death do Us, Weapons of Mutant Destruction, and Edge of Venomverse. That’s a lot of comics to buy and a lot of story to keep track of.

Here’s the trick, Marvel: when you do one of those crossovers it touches on every other comic involved with it, so even if you don’t want to read about how Captain America is a Nazi now, your crossover is going to make it impossible to for us to avoid those stories and they’re going to interrupt the ones we’re already invested in. You’ve given us a visceral level of disgust when it comes to Steve Rogers, Marvel, and any comic that he appears in is one we’re going to drop and not pick up again.

That same logic applies across the board to comics we might be invested in when characters we don’t care about show up and we can’t finish the story or understand the comics we like when the continuation of the story is in a comic we might not be interested in or able to afford. We like the X-Men. We don’t care about the Inhumans. When the X-Men are set up to be the villains in another shitty crossover that makes the heroes instead because shitty editorial mandates are shitty, well.

The fun part is that the X-Men are being cast as the villains as a result of the same shitty editorial mandates, ones that nearly drove you into bankruptcy twenty years ago, Marvel. You guys were putting out so many crossovers that no one could follow your comics anymore and readers left in droves for companies that weren’t so scattered. The only way you saved yourselves was by selling the film rights to your most popular characters in perpetuity to other people: Sony got Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four, Fox got all the mutants, and you were stuck with what was left.

Iron Man was a B+ player until the movie made him an A-lister. The only reason Iron Man got your first real movie was because there were no mutants, no Spider-Man, and no Fantastic Four. People who watched the movie, though, and might have been interested in trying the comics were subjected to Civil War-era Tony Stark, which turned people off in droves. Your comics have been mostly about heroes fighting heroes, which is depressing and something very few people are interested in.

For proof, let’s take a look at the top five selling comics of February 2017: Star Wars: Darth Maul #1 (105 177 copies) is about a Sith Lord fighting the forces of good, Batman #16 (102 096 copies) features good guy Batman fighting bad guy Bane, Batman #17 (99 637 copies) continues that story (and suffers from DC Comics putting out two issues of everything every month), Justice League of America #1 (93 494 copies) featuring the best heroes fighting the best villains, and Super Sons #1 (90 345 copies) has the next generation of heroes fighting the next generation of villains.

Do you see a theme here, Marvel?

We’re done with heroes fighting heroes. DC Comics learned this and so, after their latest reboot, they started focusing on stories about hope and heroes fighting evil and heroes being happy and now they have seven of the ten top selling comics for February 2017, while your only two entries on that list are both Star Wars spin-offs which are about – wait for it – heroes fighting villains (and, notably, villains that were inspired by Nazis).

Your first non-Star Wars comic on the top selling list for February 2017 is Amazing Spider-Man #24 (61 953 copies), and that comic features a massive supporting cast of minorities and deals with Peter Parker fighting the forces of evil as a hero, as a man, and as the CEO of a corporation. That’s interesting. I want to read that. I would totally read that except that Spider-Man is definitely going to be a part of at least seven crossovers this year and I’m done. His story is going to be interrupted so many times that we might not even remember what it was before the event, so what’s the point?

If a character has no impact on their story then we do not care about that character.

And that’s why your sales are flagging: stunt writing bullshit (ooooh Magneto is a Nazi now, a Holocaust survivor is a Nazi, how edgy… no, wait, fuck you) that we all know won’t stick and will be retconned while you guys talk about how, no, this is the new normal, and endless fucking crossovers that mean nothing and will be retconned out of existence because they are generally awful.

To your point, David, about female and diverse characters failing when published: Marvel doesn’t reach the top-selling charts again until spots sixteen and twenty with IvX #4&5 (56 969 and 53 348 copies, respectively), twenty-four with the Clone Conspiracy (48 780 copies), then Unworthy Thor (46 006 copies), and then it’s Elektra (44 310 copies), Star Wars: Doctor Aphra (43 475 copies) and Mighty Thor (40 175 copies). That’s three minority-driven books.

Nazi Captain America placed fifty-fifth.

Those titles that do work for you and have constant numbers? Miles Morales, Ms. Marvel, Spider-Gwen, and Moon Girl? Those are ones David mentioned by name. Also, Mighty and Unworthy Thor? They avoid or do damage control on all your big dumb events, pull in consistent numbers, tell good and complex stories, and have readers who are invested in them. Maybe instead of doubling down on the practices that nearly killed you, Marvel, you could instead just tell good stories?

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I was “murdered” by burlesque troupe and I would happily do it again, Geekenders “We All Float Down Here”...

Burlesque, Events, Reviews

April 1, 2017

If you haven’t been attending the Geekenders 2016/2017 Season you are missing out on events that are innovative and life-changing. I was floored when I saw their stage production of The Rocky Horror Show, I could not get over how amazing Batlesque was, and I wouldn’t have thought that something could beat them but We All Float Down Here proved my happily wrong.

Our horrifying hosts for the evening were Gidget Gravedigger and Alistair Crane and they were adorable, creepy and chocked full of Sleepwalkers trivia. Their story of the evening was the unfortunate but understandable murder of Alistair by Gidget and, in a typical King plot twist, having the body buried in the Pet Cemetary, only to have him come back to life and then turn into the Night Flier, was so silly and creepy. A+.

They were helped by their stage kitties in the first half of the show, Anita Johnson and Flash LeFox. The two crept and delighted the audience as The Grady Twins from The Shining. I would also like to make special note that I really appreciated that there was recognition that Stephen King writes about disturbing things and therefore an appropriate warning was said before people got in too deep. It shows that Geekenders cares about their audiences and stays true to their mandate of being a progressive troupe of performers.

The first performance revved the engines of the audience as Trixie Hobbitses as Christine danced and murdered her way around Kitty Glitter and Seamus Fit-It-In to the perfect song, The Beatles Baby You Can Drive My Car. She delighted. She KILLED. Her use of the classic balloon pop routine was a great treat and her use of headlights was top notch.

Next up was Androsia Wilde and Rear Admiral Ziggy Starbutt in a sexy homoerotic tango inspired by King’s epic The Dark Tower series. The routine turned into a violent pas de deux of fisticuffs and undressing while Short Change Hero by The Heavy.

Our first boylesque number of the night was Tylr Bourbon performing The Mist which was visceral and mesmerized the audience with the lush and disturbing images.

Fanny Oakley then gave us a sanguine belly dance sensation in her interpretation of Salem’s Lot complete with drinking blood on stage and bearing all as Take Me To Church by Hozier played.

Our first international act of the night came from a good friend of the Geekenders community who had performed in the Weird Al Burlesque: Violet DeVille, fresh from a performance date in Texas, possessed perfect comic timing in a The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill number. She made SPACE GOO even more awesome than it already was. A nice touch was using Catch A Falling Star by Perry Como and the Thunderstruck cover by Steve n’ Seagulls.

Secret Window, Secret Garden is one of my favorite King works and Ginger Femmecat and Draco-Muff-Boi’s take on it was perfection. The Nine Inch Nails song The Line Begins to Blur was the right choice for this performance and story. The visuals of Draco and Ginger transforming into each other was executed with precision and disturbing beauty.

The best part of The Shining is seeing a family descend into madness and the horror of knowing that the place that the world you live in is out to get you. Riannaconda showed us a trifecta of narratives transitioning from Wendy Torrance to Jack Torrance to the Overlook itself (complete with the iconic carpet). Also, two words… Glitter Axe.

Full disclosure: I am a Miss Dee Twenty fangirl. My opinion of her work is possibly slightly biased, but I checked with everyone else I could talk to and we were all in agreement, she is a rockstar. Her Needful Things act was a classic Miss Dee performance. Great music selection, Satan Takes A Holiday by Tommy Dorsey Orchestra and Artie Shaw’s Nightmare along with her trademark narrative opener tells us a story of how when you make a deal with the devil you will be exposed. The Half and Half is a classic burlesque routine and Dee does it in full.

I enjoy a good period blood joke. Most beings with uteruses know the body horror of menstruation and Carrie was a formative and terrifying story of how women are shamed for their natural body functions. Fanny Oakley’s second number of the night explored that by using a montage of images from the movie and her own dancing which beautifully crescendoed into the crowning blood red glitter bath glory.

“She can’t be dead, MISERY CHASTAIN CANNOT BE DEAD!” is how I felt at the end Seamus-Fit-It-In and Kitty Glitter’s Misery number. The glitter axe made its second appearance as the couple showed how deep their love goes for wheelchairs, torture and Kathy Bates

I love it when performers take concepts from classic burlesque and turn it on their heads. Violet DeVille’s second number of the night was a reverse tease. Drawing inspiration from Silver Bullet, a story of a small town terrorized by a werewolf, Violet came out in her wolf form and danced in a barely-there nude costume with wolf mask and tail, then slowly added human elements of dress to a cover version of Bad Moon Rising by Mourning Ritual Feat: Peter Dreimanis of July Talk. It was a well-crafted comment on how we hide the dark animal inside our selves by covering it up with what we see as civilized.

The antepenultimate act was a huge and wild ensemble piece. One of the best things about Geekenders’ shows is that you will never be disappointed in a floor show style group “everyone take off your clothes” piece, and this is no exception. Veronica Vamp led Fanny Oakley, Faye Havok, and Tylr Bourbon in the ritualistic torture of Trixie Hobbitses and Seamus Fit-It-In with Rear Admiral Siggy Starbutts reprising her roll of Death in an epic retelling of Children of the Corn. Set to Go Kindergarten by Lonely Island featuring Robin, it was spicy like the Gingers that menaced us on stage.

With the reboot of IT coming to theaters and the recent upswing of creepy clowns standing on the edges of towns with balloons, having a clown with a balloon stand in the lobby of The Rio who encourages you to take photos of them with your friends is inspired. Brandy Snifter is, in fact, one of the most inspired performers I saw that night. If you ever had a raging crush on Loonette from Big Comfy Couch, then Brandy Snifter performing to Killer Klowns by The Dickies and the Goldfinger cover of 99 Red Balloons is your dark grown-up fantasy. We were so blessed to have Brandy visit from LA, because she is an international burlesque gem.

In my family, we have a “no shower curtain when taking a bath” rule. The Shining and specifically room 237 is the horror movie incident that inspired this rule. Anita Johnson, who is a gosh darned genius, used my fear of shower curtains and bathtubs against me in her Room 237 number where she stripped off her rotting flesh to Splish Splash by Bobby Darin. Jeebus the whole thing gave me a queasy but happy feeling in my stomach.

We all Float Down Here was a freaky, creepy, scary, unnerving delight. Successfully selling out the Rio and showing the city that Horrorlesque is a viable and popular genre of burlesque. If Geekenders gets any more amazing it is going to be hard to get tickets and that means that they are going to have to get support from their fans to find larger venues to accommodate the needs of the community that adores them.

We All Float Down Here Setlist

Christine – Drive My Car by The Beatles

The Dark Tower Series – Short Change Hero by The Heavy

The Mist – Haydar by Gulcan Kaya

Salem’s Lot – Take Me To Church by Hozier

The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill Catch A Falling Star by Perry Como

The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill Thunderstruck by Steve n’ Seagulls

Secret Window – The Line Begins To Blur by Nine Inch Nails

The Shining – How Deep Can I Go by Hairy Soul Man

Needful Things – Satan Takes A Holiday by Tommy Dorsey Orchestra

Needful Things – Nightmare by Artie Shaw

Carrie – Red Dress by MAGIC!

Misery – Love On The Rocks With No Ice by The Darkness

Silver Bullet – Bad Moon Rising  by Mourning Ritual Feat: Peter Dreimanis

Children of the Corn – Go Kindergarten by The Lonely Island Feat: Robyn

IT – Killer Klowns by The Dickies

IT – 99 Red Balloons by Goldfinger

Room 237/ The Shining – Diana by Paul Anka

Room 237/ The Shining – Splish Splash by Bobby Darin

Room 237/ The Shining – Rebel Rouser by Duane Eddie

Room 237/ The Shining – Charlie Big Potato by Skunk Anansie

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Geeks Versus Nerds Vancouver Episode 33 – Outta This World – A beautiful tribute to the ’90s and Alien...

Comedy, Events, Reviews

March 30, 2017

It was announced earlier this year that Geeks versus Nerds Vancouver will be shuttering up this year only to see the light of day once in awhile during convention season. It will be sad to see a Vancouver institute of unbridled fandoms come to an end, especially after such a solid showing from the debaters for Geeks vs Nerds episode 33 “Outta This World!”.

The night started with Sonic vs. Spawn for the best mascot of the 90’s. With time-traveling past selves, marketing executives, and even a Spice Girl sighting, it was a hard-fought battle to decide a winner. In my own flipping from side to side, I was joined by one of the debaters’ 8yr old self, presenting an interesting way to argue for your hero, by arguing for the other hero more often. The tactic worked in their favor as Team Sonic sped away with the win as the best mascot of the 90’s. The can of Sonic energy drink and dunkaroo bribes must have clinched it.

The main event was Autobots vs. Crystal Gems  for ‘Which team of aliens best defends the earth from their own kind?’  Yes, it is a mouthful. The best kind of mouthful if you are going to name a debate about teams of aliens.

The Nerd side was strong with appearances from all of Steven’s parents and creator, facing off against the Geek team of a walking encyclopedia of Transformer facts, Les Grossman, and a super fan who seemed to have all the toys. I’ll give the Geek team a mention of really knowing their facts, but the presentation of such felt like regurgitated information, especially in an entertainment debate. The toys they brought though? Fantastic. It’s hard not to cheer though when the Nerd team busts out poetry, musical numbers, and Steven himself. With thunderous applause, the Gems captured the win, and many hearts.

A great night out and a ‘fan’-tastic experience.



Jalyn Euteneier is a co-founder of ZeroD20, a gaming addict, and a fan of creativity. She is a sucker for discussions of community, inclusion, and mobile games, so if you are inclined to want to talk about that, find her on Twitter @CrazeeJay


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