O’ Great Master of Streaming, For I Am Not Bingeworthy!!

23 Aug

 

 

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Busy, busy month, this August of 2016, and while writing bits and pieces of this blog entry, I realize that I’m sort of overdoing iit n finding some viable time in trying in keeping it cohesive and getting to keep it on schedule so close to Emmy awards time so a last-minute decision came to cutting this entry in half and hopefully I will be able to post the conclusion by this weekend. 

So without further ado…

Too much of a good thing is not healthy for you.

Things such as cigarettes, blenders full of whisky sours, comic books, and a gallon of ice cream. Things like these must be taken in moderation, or at the very least not taken seriously everyday.

Binge watching is also no exception. Too much of it in such short of a time can lead to bouts of depression, a crack cocaine cocktail high lacking of any euphoria, and leave you on the couch with a convulsing fit of story comprehension or remembrance afterward BECAUSE YOU NEED TO HAVE IT ALL AT ONCE!!

You got to spread things out a bit. Stretch out that enraptured enjoyment and not inject it in your withered veins like a decay tooth junkie, otherwise, you’re going to find yourself in a rain-soaked alley, shivering and convulsing like a worthless addict who never accomplished ONE SINGLE GODDAMN thing in your life to MERIT a rightful place in society. Take it in slow doses. Double up on a single series if you have to. But if you try to absorb it all at once, you’re going to have nothing of any satisfying emotion. Spacing out on multiple episodes may pertain to brain damage separating you from the rest of the nerd reality.

Which I actually mean to say is: STOP THAT FUCKING BINGING!! STOP THAT FUCKING BINGING RIGHT THIS VERY INSTANT!!

Let’s paint some ugly scenarios:

An article on http://www.rd.com specifically states:

While binge-viewing can be fun and feel satisfying, there’s always the danger of becoming too obsessed. “Addiction involves doing an activity more than you had planned,” says Fader. “For example, if you intend to watch three episodes of a show and end up watching six, it could be a sign that you’re overdoing it.” Behavior also becomes addictive when it begins to negatively affect other aspects of your life, like if you neglect other activities or responsibilities to binge House of Cards. Fader recommends breaks between episodes and not snacking while you watch, which could lead to mindless overeating. Chatting with fellow fans about the show can also make your binge habit healthier, since it pulls you away from the main screen and allows you to reflect on what you’ve just watched.”
 
If you did nothing else, it would take three full days each to watch every season of How I Met Your Mother, The Good Wife, and Lost, according to recent calculations from Nielsen Holdings, a global information and measurement company. Screening all seven seasons of The West Wing would take nearly five days. The most time-consuming series was suspense thriller 24, which would take six days and two hours to watch back to back. If those numbers don’t cause you to question your binging habits, consider how much brain-time you lose if you binge multiple series.
 
Binge-viewing tends to be a pretty isolating activity, according to a study by Marketcast, an entertainment research firm, which found that 56 percent of bingers prefer to watch alone; 98 percent watch at home. “Whenever you spend too much time on something, you’re taking time away from other essential things in life, like hanging out with friends or working,” Lyubomirsky says. But, if you get into a show with your partner or pals, experts argue it could bring you closer. “It gives you a common ground for talking about something—the characters’ motivations, the plot,” says Rutledge. “Discussing your thoughts on these aspects of a show is a way of expressing your own world view.” Using a wildly popular series as a conversation topic can possibly help you relate to others more easily.
Here’s another from USA Today:

Most people are guilty of sitting in front of the TV and binging or watching episode-after-episode of a favorite TV show, but can you imagine watching TV for 94 hours straight?

A New York man recently did just that. Alejandro “AJ” Fragoso’s 94-hour binge was set up and funded by multimedia software company CyberLink, and earned him the Guinness World Record for TV Binge Watching.

But the 25-year-old learned that non-stop binge-watching isn’t all fun and games.

“I learned that binge watching TV for abnormally long durations can be quite physically taxing,” Fragoso said in a statement.

So how bad is sitting in front of a TV or laptop for hour-after-hour?

Robert Glatter, an emergency physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in N.Y., gave Fragoso a pre-binge checkup and a post-checkup to see what effect a multi-hour binge has on the body.

He said that Fragoso had an elevated heart rate and noted that depriving the body of sleep can also result in neurological side-effects like acute hallucinations.

“If you think about the binge, you are sitting down sometimes for 20 hours and watching 15 episodes, you are doing a lot of damage to your body,” Glatter said.

Just like we’ve become aware of the adverse health effects associated with sitting all day at work, the same can be said of sitting down to binge, according to Glatter.

And it’s not great for your waistline either.

Prolonged sitting tends to increase insulin levels, which is the hormone that promotes fat storage and weight gain,” he said.

He notes that being inactive for long periods of time also raises the risk of a slew of health concerns including metabolic syndrome, a group of conditions that increase the risk of heart disease and diabetes.

Glatter said he’s had patients come into the emergency room with dizziness and symptoms that almost mirror vertigo from prolonged screen time.

Glatter said Fragoso was likely able to break the binge-watching record in part because of his Mediterranean diet, which helped keep his blood sugar stable.

If you have to binge, here’s what you can do to decrease the damage:

  • Take 10-15 minute stretching breaks each hour
  • Sit on an exercise ball and engage your core while watching TV or rotate standing and sitting
  • Look away from the screen often and focus on something else to lessen digital eye strain

I may consider myself a binge watching denier – as I only regulate myself to an episode per week on most shows.However, I try to cram an episode of seven different series on any given night

Harkening back to my days of Hazeltine Hellmouth – (a capsule blog review of my tumultuous days with amateur porn actress Rikki Lixxx appeared here) – there was a neighbor of mine named Jeff  who I’d like to appoint as the progenitor of bingewatching before it even became a distant cog in our syntax. HE made the adulterous slang phrase “NETFLIX and chillBEFORE EVEN NETFLIX EVER EXISTED. Whenever I’d bring home a dvd season set of a popular WB or Marvel animated cartoon show from the Warner Bros or Disney studio stores of where I’d get a 50% employee discount, he’d always be knocking on the door wanting to borrow them. (“I know you got new stuff in there. I saw you bringing up the bags”) I’d say no, but you can borrow this one instead of a set I finished weeks earlier. Then he’d ask me, ‘well when are you going to be finished with THAT one?’ I’d always tell him: ‘well, I just started this one last week, and I’ve got twelve episodes left to go.’ Then: ‘well, how long is it GOING to take for you to finish that, three hours?’ No, I only watch one episode per week’ Bafflement on his face would ensue: ‘oh c’mon man, it’s a fucking dvd. It will take you three hours to polish them off. Man, stop hoarding the good stuff from your buddies

“No.

I watch one episode per week. And you’re not borrowing it, BECAUSE I believe in not allowing anyone to devirginize my dvds other than me. They go in automatic rotation on the CARY COATNEY NETWORK the following Saturday from when once they’re received.”

“The Cary Coatney what now-?”

THE CARY COATNEY NETWORK… y’know, CCN??

The television station that I’m manager of….INSIDE MY OWN HEAD??!!

Because, my mind runs itself like a television station. AND it seems as if the rest of society is in the same lockstep with me. I set the times, select the shows to put in the queue and every weekend, I’m off to the imaginary cable television races.

I have to compensate to keep up with others who can afford cable television, since I’ve never paid a solidary dime for my own cable unless I’m siphoning it off of someone else.

Another reason I would hold out on Jeff was because I didn’t want to take the chance of having my DVDs coming back with scratches and smudges on them unless it was a manufacturer defeat, then I would have no one else to blame but myself.

Oh, and don’t forget – SPOILER ALERT. Lend someone a dvd of a hit show before you and chances are, ENDINGS OR CRUCIAL PLOT POINTS MAYBE BE BLOWN FOR YOU!!

Look, WITH THOSE who intend to accomplish great things with their lives- don’t have time for appointment television these days when they go spend those precious prime time hours trying to make their deadlines to their comic book projects, performing live before a studio audience, or trying to get this blog posted before the mid-month deadline. THE rest of you do nothing degenerates who have no plans in this lifetime to do nothing but bong hits MUST MAKE IT APPOINTMENT TV because we rely on you to keep certain network shows on the air for the sake of ratings (and if Agents of SHIELD must be renewed for a fifth season, then so be it).

But for the rest of us super spectacular go-getters. Netflix, Amazon Prime, & Hulu were tailor-made for the consummate entertainment industry professional who has no time but to contribute to the arts and take a much deserved sabbatical on Sunday to catch up with his or hers favorite shows.

BUT JEFF – you see he had no time but wanting to consume my DVDS because of SPORTS games interfered with his APPOINTMENT TELEVISION TIME and relied on me for continuous back up, therefore the JEFF NETWORK suffered from too much scripted program pre-emption.

So we are forced to do nothing but to run our lives likes a television network. WE make our own time to sit down and be our own traffic managers to ephemerally absorb and try to catch up with the latest water cooler chatter while having one foot in another parallel world shying away from spoiler alerts leaked on the internet.

Thinking back, perhaps one good thing I could contribute back to my uproarious days with Rikki whatever her name is these days is that perhaps without even realizing it, we could have considered ourselves the original progenitors of the binge watching experience. Rikki liked to rifle through my dvd collection also and she would insist on watching with each dvd set that was released of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” w9dHi6lJHa8KKZdnLRZvYy3dVOFWe must have gone through at least a DVD season set per week over the coarse of a month (the show has recently been given a green light for a record breaking ninth season – which would make it the longest running scripted HBO show in history)  – so Rikki and I weren’t just spending all that time in her bungalow simply going though the motions of ham fisted handjobs and courageous cunnilingus bouts of derring-do.

Alas, those days are gone.

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The advent of streaming can sometimes be a hindrance or a great boon to your television show absorption.

Personally I prefer a combination of both DVD season sets and streaming on the sites to mix and match

For shows such as The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones; I like buying the season sets because I want the whole experience of listening to commentaries, video diaries on how talent views on how their characters progress from season to season and give insight on how the whole production comes together.

Whenever I got sick of squinting my eyes at the microscopic tablet that a relative bought me that went along with my cellular plan, I go around knocking on fellow television/movie industry colleagues and ask around for season set screeners, IF I don’t feel the show is worth buying at your local Target or Best Buy whenever perusing through the weekend circular sales.

In part two, EVEN though I don’t count myself as a member of the LUNATIC BINGE society – I’m just as equally guilty when I try to juggle multiple storylines at once. An insight on how my summer weekends leading to the Emmy Awards can take its toil on my peepers and the vice challenges that could easily affect one own’s health.

Plus a list of my favorite streaming shows.

 

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A Storyteller of Precise Angles And Forces

31 Jul

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I submitted this piece about the handful of times I hung out with Star Trek, Twilight Zone, Kung Fu writer and Logan’s Run co-creator George Clayton Johnson for hopeful publication to the San Diego Comic Con International 2016 souvenir program book. Unfortunately it didn’t make the cut, probably due that three or four other people had already beaten me to the punch with tributes written about George and the untimely passing of Darwyn Cooke which occurred just before Memorial Day (of which his last project, Future Quest, a tribute to the Hanna Barbara action heroes was conceptualized before his death was already covered in the Jonny Quest tribute blog posted a few months ago) that probably contributed to being pushed aside. However, a photo or two from this entry made it in the final edition, so I guess that’s just as good as compensation.

Anyway, with the format, I could make it a little bit longer with some photos of a recent trip I took down to Laguna Beach to investigate the area where George was a co-owner of a somewhat historical and controversial coffee shop that once existed in the late 1950’s through the early 60’s called Café Frankenstein which looked a little something like this:

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It wasn’t long to be on this earth as the local police had to constantly be called to the premises as local resident complaints festered concerning the use of drug paraphernalia (spiking the coffee with brandy) and public acts of nudity which landed George Clayton Johnson in jail on occasion. They were persecuted by a local church group for using the Frankenstein Monster on stained glass. The coffee shop also ran a bookstore consisting of banned book and were probably piled ceiling high with William Burroughs and Jack Kerouac books. 

Upon my investigation, I discovered I had more in common with George than I originally thought. This café was a not even a half a block away from the street corner I used to hang out in Laguna Beach down the street from an aunt of mine’s cottage from where supposedly Timothy O’Leary first started introducing LSD to the masses of delinquent Orange County beatniks. Also, songwriter Steve Gillette of folk group,  the Stone Poneys, an acquaintance of my twin aunts both living there in the 1970’s, wrote and performed songs on the store front’s porch.

A recreation of the coffee shop was constructed for the San Diego Comic Fest, a moderate gathering of the old San Diego Comic Con alumni held every February with help from designer Wendy All who helped with restoring some of the stained glass artwork.

Here is the original text for the 2016 Comic Con International Souvenir Book that probably never got the chance to pass the editor’s smell test.   

I recently came back from a fan memorial tribute held over at one of Hollywood’s most oldest and prestigious luxury movie revival houses called the Egyptian Theater, knowing much more about the man I’m going to say a few words about than what I knew then.

His once writing partner and best friend, William F. Nolan summed it up most eloquently during the presentation concerning his best friend, legendary lauded ‘fictioneer’, George Clayton Johnson: ‘Getting old is s@#t!!’

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Perhaps ‘perpetually old’ is the way I’ll always remember my first meeting with George. Old, as in if ‘old wise and powerful sage’ had  allowed an unintentional mentor into my life and had easily departed just the same leaving me completely spellbound as if Don Juan stepped tirelessly into material form as from out of an old Carlos Castaneda book that I would check out quite frequently from the library in my New Jersey youth from time to time.

George Clayton Johnson was a modern-day sorcerer seen usually adorned in an orange double downed goose feathered vest and a straw hat, had by chance nonchalantly took it upon himself to sit down next to me at a porch table at an early nineties San Diego Comic Con party held in the unlikely of all places, at a golf driving range in the middle of downtown San Diego (which was directly parallel to the Santa Fe Depot). His first words to me were to ask if he could bum a cigarette off me. For the price of that cigarette, he began enthralling me with tales of transcendence hovering between the metaphysical scales of life and death, and writing for television shows, particularly at some point a yearning to pitch to the X-Files.  Weird combination of subjects interweaving in an out, thinking to myself but there was no way I could bring myself to cut him off because he seemed to articulately knew what the hell he talking about even as I sat there looking back at him with a blank stare of befuddled comprehension of how I could possibly keep up with his meandering tangent.

I didn’t know who the heck he was at first, but he kept bumming cigarettes from me and I, like an attentive inquisitive child kept listening to these stories woven by him for like three hours or at least until the pack of smokes ran out. Then the announcement rang out that they were closing off the no host bar. I realized I was having so much fun listening to him. He reminded me was like the wacky relative I had yearned for all my life.

However I do remember him dropping the bomb on me that he was the co-author of the book based on the film Logan’s Run.

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Interesting bit of trivia mentioned by William Nolan: the first draft of Logan’s Run was torpedoed out in the matter of ten days during the mid-sixties, written completely in a Malibu beach motel room 24/7 with either William or George getting up to get food or cigarettes at a county market (most likely the Trancas Market – if I’m estimating my geography correctly) while the other remained in the room to pound away on the manuscript. It was practically a twenty four hour operation of conscious thought of making it up as they went along.

That revelation put me on a higher plateau of respect for this stranger. I loved Logan’s Run as a kid. It was one of my favorite movies of all time while growing up. Wasn’t really too crazy about the cheesy television adaptation though. Before too long I also learned he had penned a handful of classic Twilight Zone episodes, specifically the one that gave a young actor by the name of Robert Redford his first big break portraying a very young “Death” in a form of a hapless pacifist rookie policeman.

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He asked me of my age and I responded to him I think my ‘life clock’ had just freshly ran out. Then I remember him narrowing his eyes at me and asked, ‘well, now that you’re thirty – do you feel any different from when you were, say, twenty or twenty-five’

I responded with some trepidation revealing that “I feel somewhat wiser now that I’m talking to you” even as all around us, the party was closing down for the night. Just before I thought we were going to depart with a gentlemanly handshake, he handed me a comic book that he written called “Deepest Dimension Terror Anthology” and I couldn’t help notice it was published by Revisionary Press, a small publishing imprint owned by a frequent letter writer to the Comics Buyers’ Guide (ditto for me as a contributor) named Jay Allen Sanford. I later told him about this crazy idea I had in my head about a private investigator who only took cases on in the afterlife (that same character later became the future focus of my self-publishing venture called the Deposit Man) that made the wizened sage talk to me for another twenty minutes as we were walking down a downtown city street. I think the concept appealed to his sense of storytelling modus operandi. He had a fascination with subjects of life transcendent unto death, but in real life, was quick enough to shy away from it himself.

I would run into George over the years at San Fernando Valley local events such as birthday parties held at bookstores such as Dark Delicacies in Burbank or at the Mysterious Book Store in Glendale which was where I got to see him one final time while taking a hooky day from the con last year.

There was even a time when I ran into George aboard a LA transit bus in Studio City wondering how in the heck he missed the stop at the corner of Laurel Canyon Blvd and Magnolia Blvd running late for a Duttons’ bookstore signing. Seeing as how he was a little disjointed, I had to get back on the bus with him and help show him where it was. Sometimes he knew me by name and sometimes he didn’t. All I had to do to bring a copy of my comic book, The Deposit Man and he would be reminded “Well, yes – I like that book. You wrote that?”

There was something that George’s son Paul said during that Egyptian Theater panel which particularly resonated with me: ‘didn’t you feel that my father somehow knew each and every one of you? He loved people. He didn’t care whether you were rich or poor or what background you came from. He loved everybody and would talk to you as if you were his equal. He was a child from the depression. He was raised to be that way.’ Paul nailed it perfectly. THAT’s exactly how I felt when I first met his father. A man of such prominence sitting down with me to converse with a nobody such as myself and had carried on an enlightening conversation as if I was amongst his peers.

I’d like to think that his uncanny ability to speak on a myriad of subjects   must have had some profound effect on me; because whenever I sit down to write dialogue for my independent comic book, The Deposit Man, I find myself dialoging  in all sorts of tangible directions, never pausing once to throw out the kitchen sink. Hanging out in brief intervals with George at various conventions and gatherings WAS the living embodiment of stepping into a guided tour of the Twilight Zone.

Aside from an autographed book of Twilight Zone scripts and treatments that he wrote, I really don’t know much of his later outputs other than hearing from a couple of tearful eulogies presented by his grandchildren at the Hollywood tribute event that he used to assist them with writing their own stories.

One of the things, I plan on investigating further as soon as I put this tribute to bed, is to investigate the interesting stories I heard about the coffee shop that he used to co-own along the Pacific Coast Highway in Laguna Beach called the Frankenstein Café, just to see what is in standing in its’ place this day. I lived briefly in Laguna Beach in my teens but I’d never heard of that place (I do remember a bookstore named  Fahrenheit 451 after Ray Bradbury on that same street, Coincidence perhaps, seeing as George professed to have been his protégé).

The above four images are approximately where George was once a co-owner of a coffee shop/beatnik hangout called Café Frankenstein. The physical address of 860 Pacific Coast Highway no longer exists, it is now a parking lot and motor repair shop. The closest street corner would have been Cleo Ave and the Pacific Coast Highway which INCIDENTALLY was the corner of where I used to hang out the most in the summer of 1978 before starting my freshman year of high school reading my comic books and checking out the surf chicks. The pictures were taken recently this past July 4th weekend. It’s pretty much the same way I remembered it with the difference only being that the Ralph’s used to be an Albertson’s and the Taco Bell was a mere take out shack before getting bulldozed over to be made into condos.

The last time I saw George at Comic Con was at the Bradbury memorial tribute panel in 2014, so when I heard he wasn’t making it last year due to ill-health, I had to head back home for that one last birthday celebration. He told me last summer at that party that he wanted nothing more than to be here with the rest of us, but the doctors rejected any type of strenuous travel.

Cheers forever to this phenomenal sorcerer of storytellers and I give thanks for some of the craziest mystical pep talks we shared. My convention experiences may have altered, but the cosmos await him to forge on with old friends long lost seen.

Cary Coatney has worn many hats in the past twenty or so years in the industry. He’s been a retailer, a department head for this convention, a contributor to Comics’ Buyer’s Guide, a studio lackey, and now currently does his day-to-day routine as a residual consultant for many of the Hollywood union area guilds. He self publishes a comic book called the Deposit Man only when he feels like it.  

OF WINE, WOMEN, AND POST PROGRESSIVE SOUNDS – A GUIDE TO The HEROINES of K-SCOPE MUSIC

18 Jul

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Firm, but fun, short and sweet blog entry this week due to this week’s Comic Con International.

The girls of K Scope Music.

2016 has been a very heavy banner year for female singers this year on the mighty K Scope Music. This year, the post progressive sounds started out with a bang with January’s The Anchoress debut album up to last month’s second outing by the husband/wife duo of Se Delan. In this blog entry, here are five distinct mini-spotlights on woman singers & instrumentalists that are featured on the greatest music label of all time.

  1. Lee Douglas (Anathema) has the utmost uncanny ability to make men instantly ‘tebow’ before her during any given Anathema performance and make them propose marriage foolishly while bent on knee. Trust me, as the only female out of this whole group I’ve seen perform live, mens’ hearts instantly go all aflutter when she takes the stage. They listen attentively and then once she slinks back into the shadows to allow the Cavanagh brothers to take over with their hypnotic techno and layer building minimalist riffs, the heavy metal libido will once again fill the room. Then when they bring her out again the savage beast is calmed instantly again with the audience’s shoulders swaying back and forth as bic lighters are lit to make the scene more cinematic as lightning bugs who escape their captivity from airpoked jars. And you can’t help but be moved by the harmonic melding of camaraderie of strangers, especially when you have such an emotional song such as the title track of their 2004 album, A National Disaster to support the need for convergence from a song that first introduced Lee coming out front and center. A song so poignant, that the Cavenagh brothers had no choice but to feature Lee as a later co-conspirator in their new musical direction that they later undertake on the next three albums, “We’re Here Because We’re Here, Weather Systems, and Distant Satellites – equating Lee as a gifted lyrist and a valuable band member in her own right.

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One of the most moving songs you’ll ever hear in your lifetime.

2. Belinda Kordic (Crippled Black Phoenix & Se Delan)

I was having a facebook conversation one day with Jason Bonham Experience lead vocalist, James Dylan asked me out of the blue. “Coatney, for as long as I’ve known you on facebook, you’ve always had this unique eclectic taste in music. Always out discovering new kind of sounds, You’ve always known of these hit bands BEFORE they even became hit bands (in addition to progressive rock I always had my headphones buried into, I WAS probably the only guy in my high school listening to new wave acts such as SOFT CELL, PET SHOP BOYS, THE CURE, and the HUMAN LEAGUE. I had heard “Don’t You Want Me Baby” countless times during Scott Muni’s WNEW-FM Friday edition of British Things way before it became an US Dance hit.). What are your recommendations these days?”

We were having this conversation on a tour bus – well, actually he was facebooking me from the tour bus and immediately upon hearing of his question,thought of this husband wife duo who go by the name of Se Delan as that they were releasing a new album called Drifter at the time this conversation was taking place.

And I came to serenade James with this apt description of them: ‘imagine a parallel seventies rock universe  if Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones, & John Bonham got so fucking fed up with Robert Plant’s freakin’ shenanigans after the release of their classic fourth album and just decided to kick his arse to the Johnnie Walker empty bottle curb and then turned around to ask guest vocalist Sandy Dennis, who sang a duet with Robert on the song “The Battle of Evermore” to continue as their lead vocalist- that is what Se Delan sort of sounds like.

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I don’t exactly know if that stretched out scenario actually grabbed James’ attention, but Se Delan certainly grabbed my attention with their debut album two years ago entitled The Fall with this particular video and single called “Chasing Changes.”

Belinda and her husband Justin Greaves were involved in a previous band together called Crippled Black Phoenix of which some of its’ back catalogue is now readily available on K-Scope Music. However, Se Delan is a personal project of theirs meshing together their mutual interests of music, life, and film. Their new album Drifter is a fascinating collection of songs that look at the hollowing descent into mental madness.

3. Catherine Anne Davies. (Simple Minds, The Anchoress, Paul Draper) is a relatively new girl on the block, but she seems to have racked up plenty of kudos during her freshman tenure so far with last January’s release of her debut Confessions of A Romance Novelist under the guise of The Anchoress which is getting a ton of glowing reviews and has been compared by NPR as Wales’ answer to Lana Del Rey. She spent most of last year as a touring side guitarist and auxiliary keyboardist for long time new wave stalwarts Simple Minds and also has worked with the likes of both Peter Murphy and the London Symphony Orchestra. Former Mansun lead singer Paul Draper produced Catherine’s debut disc and it sold so well, that a second release is more than imminent in the near future. In return, Catherine helped Draper with some of his songs for a forthcoming solo album, some have which now appear on Draper’s brand new EP debut. aptly titled “EP ONE“of which his debut single “Feeling My Heart Run Slow” from the EP ONE is charting well, and also features a collaboration with Steven Wilson on a track called “No Idea“.

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Multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, PhD and producer Catherine Anne Davies (aka The Anchoress) sums up her debut album’s overall concept as “deconstructing normative ideas of love and romance”, with each song sung by a different character – “what you might call a musical ghost writing of sorts”. You can hear this distilled in the Prince-inspired feminist manifesto ‘One For Sorrow’ that questions the concept of marriage. There’s a different take on infatuated obsession in the album’s title track, whereas the album’s narrator ironically references her “bedroom shrine to Margaret Thatcher”. Meanwhile, ‘You And Only You’ – an anthemic ode to being better off alone – features the distinctive operatic indie-wail of Mansun’s Paul Draper, who co-produced the album with Catherine.

(Above paragraph was Wikipedia fixed)

By watching the following video, you can immediately tell it’s a tasteful homage to Kate Bush’s first ever video “Wuthering Heights.”

4. Jana Carpenter (Sweet Billy Pilgrim) in addition to being the band’s guitarist, is also an actress, appearing on popular British shows such as Doctor Who, Agatha Christie’s Marple, and Superstorm. In addition to acting and before joining Sweet Billy Pilgrim in 2010 she was also a guitarist for county folk act Piefinger.  

Sweet Billy Pilgrim @ Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen

Jana Carpenter

Sweet Billy Pilgrim are an English genre spanning band, who are also composed of bassist/banjo player Anthony Bishop, guitarist and singer Tim Elsenburg, and drummer/percussionist Alistair Hamer. Often described as Rock, Folk Rock, Folktronica, Americana, Alternative, Art Rock, Electronica, Pop or Prog, they describe their sound as “Thrash Pastel”. Jana is the only American born prancing around in this pantheon of post progressive rock talent.

(The above paragraph was Wikipedia fixed.)

Once you put their latest platter called Motorcade Amnesiacs  on your turntable or CD player, be prepared to be transported to the magical era of hard rocking clever blues, folk, and 70’s infectious style hooks quite reminiscent of the days of the J. Geils Band, Average White Band, or INXS with just enough smattering of surprise endings that will make you instantly clamor for more.

I was a little late to the party for this one. I literally just picked up this albums just a few days ago. They have a very clever video to go with their single ‘Sling Shot Grin’ that employs the idea of verse and chorus as a mode of communication breakdown between random quarreling couples. You may see a familiar face in this video: actress Kama Sutra’s Indira Varma, who currently has a recurring role on “Games of Thrones.”

It’s just been announced that K-Scope Music will be re-issuing the three-fourths quartet from Aylesbury ‘s debut album from 2004, “We Just Did What Happened and No One Came…”

5. Marjana Semkina (iamthemorning)

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They are from Russia and I’ve been very, very unlucky in locating both of their albums in the US, so pardon me if I get a few things unclarified in my brief summary.

I love the story of how they came to be: Vincent Cavanagh of Anathema saw a little lady in serious danger of getting trampled to death in a rush to the stage at one of their shows in St. Petersburg and immediately grabbed her to pull her up on stage. In thanks for saving her life, little Marjana put a copy of hers’ and her pianist collaborator Gleb Kolyadin’s first album in his hands. After Daniel listened to the album, he stormed into K-Scope Music A & R head honcho’s Johnny Wilkes’s office and demanded that this duo got signed to the level. Then within a span of few years, the duo became known as iamthemorning, named after a song on the much missed defunct band angst punk band Oceansize’s debut album. They’ve worked on their second album entitled ‘Belighted” with Tori Amos’ producer Marcel van Limbeek as well as their newly released “Lighthouse”. Both albums feature guest performances by fellow Porcupine Tree alumni drummer Gavin Harrison and bassist Colin Edwin along with Riverside’s vocalist Mariusz Duda and were recorded both in Moscow and in London.

As the above video demonstrates, Semkina is today’s definitive version of what a siren’s cry luring a sailor to sea should sound like accompanied by the graduatory piano talents of Saint Petersburg Conservatory’s own Gleb Kolyadin which leads you to a mind blowing exploration of the perfect amalgamation between pop and chamber music.

Well, that’s it for this week. Next month, Yes will be in my hometown touring with full lengths performances of both the Drama & half of Tales of Topographic Oceans. Maybe I should plan a special Yes Log accordingly.

I Leave you with this bonus video: “The Dirge” by Se Delan which serves as the backdrop theme for their first album; ‘The Fall.”

The Mighty May Ratings Sweeps Comic Book Show Super Showdown

30 Jun

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It’s been a bitch assembling this one. This is my second stab at drafting this particular entry once I had realized that most of the data had been ‘quick fixed’, so that first appearances were at first quite deceptive. NOT in this entry I clipped all my weekly are my L + SD relay races facebook postings and INSTEAD concentrated on giving you the real competition that most avid viewers only care about: the L +3 and the L +7 delayed viewings.  Not that I personally agree with it, since delayed viewings doesn’t really pay the network bills, BUT many of you are so adamant that this is the tell all on how popular shows are, BECAUSE we’re all a binge watching nation and we’re desensitized nor TEFELON proof to appointment television.

Certain ads have expiration dates. For example: what if Circus Vargas were advertising a string of dates of circuses happening in your town during a episode of Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD? By the time you get to watch to that episode two weeks later on your DVR, you realize, ‘oh shit, I’ve could’ve gone to the circus instead of staying home and watching that fucking stupid damn mediocre episode of Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD’. But on the other end, Circus Vargas is looking at the Nielsen overnights and are saying to themselves: ‘oh shit, what a jackoff pile of cash we wasted on advertising on that show that NOT ENOUGH people tuned in to’. THEREFORE they lost revenue. And you, my friend, are responsible for cockblocking commerce in your own town because of your foolish selfish bingeing unworthy ways.

So NEXT TIME be sure you make it – APPOINTMENT television. Okay? Otherwise the circus will never come to your town.

Look, it’s these decadent habits is how we lost on a bid for a third season of Agent Carter, ok? Many people thought if they could squirrel away on all of the 10 episodes that were airing last winter AND THEN watch them in all of one sitting – like people were doing with Daredevil and Jessica Jones on NETFLIX- that they would be rewarded with an immediate third outing for next year were sadly SORELY ASSED mistaken. If people had rallied around the their hi def tvs and followed their TV GRIDS to the exact letter of when the show was going to air (And ABC were forced to double down with some two hour blocks themselves because of certain news events such as the State of the Union address that they would lag behind the mid-season schedule of AoS) – it could’ve been still with us today. Although, the show showed significant improvements in the L +7 rankings, it didn’t score enough of a retention percentage wise ( if I remember correctly, it averaged  up to 69% during February sweeps) BECAUSE people were under the impression that were going to save the entire season on their TiVo or Android devices and watch it in one setting and all will be right in the world.

But then one man’s junk is another man’s treasure to some – CW’s iZombie must have felt that delayed viewing low ranking bad dog feeling too as it was only given a renewal for a very shortened third season on a lease to not start airing in 2017 after a near full 2nd season failed to ignite higher numbers.

In addition to providing you with the ratings race war on Broadcast L +3, Broadcast L +7, Cable +3, Cable L +7,  and the final rankings of how all the comic book genre shows performed, I’m going to provide some data on how well the second season of Daredevil performed and a look at how the summer fare is performing so far. it’s not just a fall to spring season anymore – Comic book genre related shows are now escalating to air ALL YEAR ROUND!!

And now let the battles begin…

Up first…

The Cable Rounds L +3

For pretty much 3 out of the four sweeps weeks, it was pretty much dominated by “Fear The Walking Dead” which is loosely based on the Walking Dead comic book, but only in slight passing mention. Last year, I didn’t even bother tracking it since all of the characters were created exclusively for the show, but since they do mention events that happened in the flagship series, I allowed it to be counted. As you can see, the premiere of Preacher didn’t have enough of an impact to knock it out of first place, but just enough to jar it some (and as of this posting, it just earned its’ second season renewal for thirteen additional episodes. Fear the Walking Dead was preyed mostly upon by the NBA championship games (do they have to run stupid asinine basketball finals lasting a fucking month long?)

“Fear the Walking Dead” has a 3.3 in 18-49 after three days and had the week’s biggest growth in both adults 18-49 (+1.2) and viewers (+2.16 million).

Top 25 cable shows (including ties) in Live +3 adults 18-49 for April 25-May 1, 2016

2 FEAR THE WALKING DEAD AMC  L +3 18 -49 rating 3.3

Top 25 cable shows in Live +3 viewers for April 25-May 1, 2016

2 FEAR THE WALKING DEAD AMC L +3 Viewers (000’s) 6958

Adults 18-49 total gain

1 FEAR THE WALKING DEAD AMC L +SD 2.1   L +3 3.3   Increase 1.2 %   increase 57%

Viewers total gain

1 FEAR THE WALKING DEAD AMC  L +SD (000’s) 4803   L +3 (000’s) 6958  L +3 Increase (000’s) 2155   % Increase 45%

“Fear the Walking Dead” once again had the week’s biggest total increases, growing by 1.3 points in adults 18-49 (2.0 to 3.3) and 2.51 million viewers.

Top 25 cable shows (including ties) in Live +3 adults 18-49 for May 2-8, 2016

2 FEAR THE WALKING DEAD AMC 3.3

Top 25 cable shows in Live +3 viewers for May 2-8, 2016

2 FEAR THE WALKING DEAD AMC  6924

Adults 18-49 total gain

1 FEAR THE WALKING DEAD AMC   L +SD 2.0   L +3  3.3   L +3 Increase 1.3   % Increase 65%

Viewers total gain

1 FEAR THE WALKING DEAD AMC  L + SD (000’s)   4414   L +3 (000’s) 6924   L +3  Increase (000’s) 2510   % Increase 57%

Fear the Walking Dead” was the top gainer again, going from 1.9 to 3.1 and edging “Game of Thrones” for the top spot. The AMC show also had the biggest viewer gain, adding 2.3 million people.

Top 25 cable shows (including ties) in Live +3 adults 18-49 for May 9-15, 2016

2 FEAR THE WALKING DEAD AMC 3.1

Top 25 cable shows in Live +3 viewers for May 9-15, 2016

2 FEAR THE WALKING DEAD AMC 6784

Adults 18-49 total gain

1 FEAR THE WALKING DEAD AMC  L+SD 1.9  L +3  3.1   L+3 Increase 1.2  % Increase 63%

Viewers total gain

1  FEAR THE WALKING DEASD   L +SD ( 000’s) 4486   L +3 (000’s) 6784   L +3 Increase (000’s)  2298   % Increase 51%

NBA playoff games occupied six of the Top 8 spots in both the 18-49 and rankings. “Fear the Walking Dead” had the biggest viewer growth, adding 2.28 million people

Top 25 cable shows (including ties) in Live +3 adults 18-49 for May 16-22, 2016

5 FEAR THE WALKING DEAD AMC 3.0

10 PREACHER – Premiere AMC 1.6

Top 25 cable shows in Live +3 viewers for May 16-22, 2016

5 FEAR THE WALKING DEAD AMC  L +3 (000’s) 6663

9 PREACHER – Premiere AMC  L +3 (000’s) 3820

Adults 18-49 total gain

1t FEAR THE WALKING DEAD AMC  L +SD 1.9  L +3  3.0   L +3 Increase 1.1  % Increase 58%

4 PREACHER – (Premiere) AMC L +SD 0.9   L +3  1.6   L+3 Increase 0.7   % Increase 78%

Viewers total gain

1 FEAR THE WALKING DEAD AMC   L +SD (000’s) 4388   L +3 (000’s) 6663   L +3 Increase (000’s) 2275   % Increase 52%

3 PREACHERPremiere AMC  L +SD (000’s) 2380   L +7 (000’s) 3820   L +3 Increase 1440   %Increase 61%

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Live +7

Game of Thrones” had the highest 18-49 rating in Live +7 for the week of April 25-May 1, but “Fear the Walking Dead” closed the gap a little from the same-day tally

The Top 25 gainers (including ties) in the Live +7 ratings for April 25-May 1, 2016 are below. The rankings include first-run, regular series and specials only, not repeats.

Adults 18-49 – total gain

1 FEAR THE WALKING DEAD AMC L +SD 2.1  L +7 3.5  7 Day Increase 1.4  7 Day % Increase 67%

Adults 18-49 – percentage gain

Viewers – total gain

1 FEAR THE WALKING DEAD AMC L +SD (000’s) 4803  L +7 (000’s) 7408   L +7 Increase (000’s) 2605  7 Day % Increase 54%

L +7 DATA for FEAR THE WALKING DEAD May 2 – 8 has been made unavailable

Viewers – percentage gain

Fear the Walking Dead” added 1.5 points to its adults 18-49 rating (1.9 to 3.4), edging the 1.4-point bump for “Game of Thrones” (3.9 to 5.3). The two switched places in the viewer race.

The Top 25 gainers (including ties) in the Live +7 ratings for May 9-15, 2016 are below. The rankings include first-run, regular series and specials only, not repeats.

Adults 18-49 – total gain

1 FEAR THE WALKING DEAD AMC   L +SD 1.9   L +7 3.4   L +7 Increase 1.5   L +7 % Increase 79%

Adults 18-49 – percentage gain

Viewers – total gain

2 FEAR THE WALKING DEAD AMC   L +SD (000’s) 4486   L +7 (000’s) 7292   L +7 Increase (000’s) 2806   L +7 % Increase (000’s) 63%

Viewers – percentage gain

11 WYNONNA EARP SYFY   L +SD (000’s) 404   L +7 (000’s) 823   7 Day Increase (000’s) 419   7 Day % Increase 104%

Wynonna Earp had a rare showing this week. According to a conversation I had with creator behind the comic book, Beau Smith – there was a big social media promotional push by Syfy to check out the show. And to a certain degree, it seemed to had worked. Maybe prizes were involved. I guess we’ll never know. I can’t comment fairly on the quality of the show since I’m waiting for it to pop up on either Hulu or Netflix.

Game of Thrones” and “Fear the Walking Dead” tied for the top spot in adults 18-49 gains in the Live +7 ratings for May 16-22. Both shows grew by 1.4 points in the demo.

The two series nearly tied in the viewer gains as well, with “Thrones” (2.76 million viewers added) narrowly beating “Fear” (2.74 million added).

The Top 25 gainers (including ties) in the Live +7 ratings for May 16-22, 2016 are below

Adults 18-49 – total gain

1t FEAR THE WALKING DEAD AMC   L +SD 1.9   L +7 3.3   L +7 Increase 1.4   L +7 % Increase 74%

4 PREACHERPremiere AMC  L +SD 0.9   L +7 1.7   L +7 Increase 0.8   L +7 % Increase 89%

Adults 18-49 – percentage gain

Viewers – total gain

2 FEAR THE WALKING DEAD AMC   L +SD (ooo’s) 4388    L +7 (000’s) 7128   L +7 Increase (000’s) 2740   L +7 % Increase 62%

3 PREACHER – Premiere AMC   L +SD (000’s) 2380   L +7 (000’s) 4207   L +7 Increase (000’s) 1827   L +7 % Increase 77%

Viewers – percentage gain

The Top 25 gainers (including ties) in the Live +7 ratings for May 23-29, 2016 are below. The rankings include first-run, regular series and specials only, not repeats.

Viewers – percentage gain

11 WYNONNA EARP SYFY L +SD (000’s) 391  L +7 (000’s) 817  L +7 Increase (000’s) 426  L +7 % Increase (000’s) 109%

preacher-arseface

PAUSE FOR STATION IDENTICATION: Preacher had a modest debut – but the real underdog is Syfy Channel’s Wynonna Earp despite near abysmal numbers, is a shoestring budget show imported from Canada based on a obscure IDW property who’s finding its’ audience through slow word of mouth on social media warranted a showing in the final throes of May sweeps despite its’ placement in the Friday night deathslot of 10:PM.  The same goddamn death slot that prevented DC mystic con man magician Constantine from being renewed on NBC. Syfy Channel is also owned by NBC Universal. And from my brief tenure in the programming department at NBC Universal during the 2012 – 2013 season, I can attest that not a lot of brainiacs work there ( I personally came across old musty e-mails from Jeff Zucker  that tell the tale of how he laughed in Frank Darabont’s face as he pitched Walking Dead to NBC as the idiotic he heard of for an idea of a television show. Also a couple of years down the line when the success of The Walking Dead was in full bloom,  they dropped the ball on capitalizing on the zombie show craze when they failed to pick the Sixth Gun as a series. An Oni series based on cowboys and zombies. SERIOUSLY, HOW THE FUCK COULD YOU GO WRONG with that idea for a show??).  

Broadcast Live +3

top 25 broadcast shows in Live +3 adults 18-49 for April 25-May 1, 2016

19 LUCIFERFinale FOX  L +3 18-49 Rating  2.0

22t THE FLASH CW  L +3 18-49 Rating  1.9

Top 25 broadcast shows in Live +3 viewers for April 25-May 1, 2016

Adults 18-49 total gain

9t LUCIFER – FINALE FOX  L +SD 1.3   L+3 2.0  Increase 0.7  % increase 54%

13t THE FLASH CW   L +SD 1.3    L +3 1.9   Increase 0.6  % Increase 46%

13t AGENTS OF SHIELD ABC  L +SD 1.0    L +3 1.6   Increase 0.6  % Increase 60%

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Viewers total gain

16 LUCIFER – Finale FOX  L +SD (000’s)3888   L +3 (000’s) 5930   Increase (000’s) 2042  % Increase 53%

Top 25 broadcast shows in Live +3 adults 18-49 for May 2-8, 2016

23 THE FLASH CW  L +3 18-49 Rating 1.9

Top 25 broadcast shows in Live +3 viewers for May 2-8, 2016

Adults 18-49 total gain

15t THE FLASH CW   L +SD 1.3   L +3 1.9  Increase 0.6   %Increase 46%

15t GOTHAM FOX   L +SD 1.2   L +3 1.8   Increase 0.6  %Increase 50%

15t AGENTS OF SHIELD ABC  L +SD 0.9   L +3 1.5  Increase 0.6   % Increase 67%

Viewers total gain

Top 25 broadcast shows (including ties) in Live +3 adults 18-49 for May 9-15, 2016

24t THE FLASH CW L +3  Adults 18-49 1.9

Top 25 broadcast shows in Live +3 viewers for May 9-15, 2016

Adults 18-49 total gain

14t THE FLASH CW   L +SD 1.3   L +3 1.9   Increase 0.6  %Increase 46%

14t GOTHAM FOX  L +SD 1.2  L +3 1.8  Increase 0.6  %Increase 50%

14t AGENTS OF SHIELD ABC  L +SD 0.9   L +3 1.5   Increase 0.6  %Increase 67%

Viewers total gain

Top 25 broadcast shows (including ties) in Live +3 adults 18-49 for May 16-22, 2016

19t THE FLASH CW  L +3  Adults 18-49 2.0

24 GOTHAM FOX  L+3 Adults 18 -49 1.8

Adults 18-49 total gain

8t THE FLASH CW   L +SD 1.3   L +3 2.0    Increase  0.7   %Increase 54%

14t AGENTS OF SHIELD – 2 hour Season Finale  ABC  L +SD 1.0   L +3 1.6   Increase 0.6  %Increase 60%

19t GOTHAM FOX    L +SD 1.3     L +3 1.8   Increase 0.5   %Increase 38%

Viewers total gain

23 THE FLASH CW   L +SD (000’s) 3365   L +3 (000’s) 4876   L+3 Increase (000’s) 1511  % Increase (000’s) 45%

25 AGENTS OF SHIELD – 2 hour Season Finale ABC  L +SD (000’s) 3027  L+3 (000’s) 4457    L +3 Increase (000’s) 1430   % Increase 47%

Top 25 broadcast shows (including ties) in Live +3 adults 18-49 for May 23-29, 2016

8 GOTHAM – Finale  FOX   L +3 Adults 18 -49 Rating 1.8

8t THE FLASH – Finale CW  L +3 Adults  18-49 Rating 1.8

21t ARROW – Finale  CW  L +3 Adults 18 -49 Rating 1.2

Adults 18-49 total gain

6 GOTHAM – Finale  FOX    L +SD 1.2   L +3 1.8  L+3   Increase 0.6   %Increase 50%

8 THE FLASH – Finale  CW  L +SD 1.3  L +3 1.8   L +3 Increase 0.5  %Increase 38%

10t ARROW – Finale CW  L+SD 0.8    L +3 1.2  L+3 Increase 0.4  %Increase 50%

Viewers total gain

12 GOTHAM – Finale FOX    L +SD (000’s) 3618   L+3 (000’s) 5045   L +3 Increase (000’s) 1427   % Increase (000’s) 39%

17 THE FLASH – Finale CW   L +SD (000’s) 3363   L +3 (000’s) 4526   L +3 Increase (000’s) 1163   %Increase (000’s)  35%

22 ARROW – Finale  CW  L +SD (000’s)  2193   L +3 (000’s) 3059    L+3 Increase (000’s) 866   % Increase (000’s) 39%

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PAUSE FOR STATION IDENTIFICATION: According to a recent article on Variety.com, Symphony Arts Media based in San Francisco (SAM) provided a ratings report of Netflix’s Marvel’s streaming series Daredevil and Jessica Jones at a recent conference held in Las Vegas. The second season premiere of “Daredevil” averaged to a 6.03 amongst adults 18- 49 totaling  11.65 million within its’ first thirty five days of release compared to Jessica Jones” 4.52 amongst adults 18 – 49 totaling  9.30 million (the latter which I believe I reported in the last ratings blog entry. That means  “House of Cards” (4.10 adults 18 – 49 , 9.05 million) is no longer the streaming service’s original programming champion. That makes sense, given Netflix’s service customer base which boasts 46 million U.S. subscribers.

And now for our highlight championship: The Winner Winner TV Chicken Dinner L +7 Lightning Round.

This is the big enchilada that determines on how the shows stack up OVERALL MAN RATINGS SIZE

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Broadcast Live +7

The Top 25 gainers (including ties) in the Live +7 ratings for April 25-May 1, 2016

Adults 18-49 – Total gain

9 AGENTS OF SHIELD ABC   L +SD 1.0  L +7 1.9   7 Day Increase 0.9   7 Day % Increase 90%

9t LUCIFER – Finale FOX    L +SD 1.3     L +7 2.2   7 Day Increase 0.9   % Increase 69%

12t THE FLASH CW    L +SD 1.3   L +7 2.1   7 Day Increase 0.8   %Increase 62%

Adults 18-49 – Percentage gain

6 AGENTS OF SHIELD ABC   L + SD 1.0   L +7 1.9   7 Day Increase 0.9   7 Day % Increase 90%

9t LEGENDS OF TOMORROW CW   L +SD 0.7   L+7 1.3   7 Day Increase 0.6   % Increase 86%

20 LUCIFER – Season Finale  FOX   L +SD 1.3   L +7 2.2   7 Day Increase 0.9   % Increase 69%

25 THE FLASH CW   L +SD 1.3   L +7 2.1   7 Day Increase 0.8  % Increase 62%

Viewers – Total gain

16 LUCIFER – Season Finale FOX   L + SD (000’s) 3888   L+7 (000’s) 6572   7 Day Increase (000’s) 2684   7 Day % Increase 69%

Viewers – Percentage gain

5 LUCIFER – Season Finale FOX   L + SD (000’s)3888  L +7 (000’s) 6572   7 Day Increase (000’s) 2684  7 Day % increase 69%

5t AGENTS OF SHIELD ABC  L +SD (000’s) 3140   L +7 (000’s) 5298   7 Day Increase (000’s) 2158  7 Day % Increase 69%

15t THE FLASH CW   L +SD (000’s) 3394   L +7 (000’s) 5256   7 Day Increase (000’s) 1862  7 Day % Increase 55%

21 ARROW CW   L +SD (000’s) 2270  L +7 (000’s) 3445   7 Day Increase (000’s) 1175   7 Day % Increase 52%

WINNER WINNER SWANSON’S TV CHICKEN DINNER: Tie: Lucifer & Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD 

The Top 25 gainers (including ties) in the Live +7 ratings for May 2-8, 2016

Adults 18-49 – Total gain

13 AGENTS OF SHIELD ABC   L +SD 0.9   L +7 1.8  7 Day Increase 0.9  % Increase 100%

13t GOTHAM FOX   L +SD 1.2   L +7 2.1  7 Day Increase 0.9  % Increase 75%

17t THE FLASH CW  L +SD 1.3  L +7 2.1   7 Day Increase 0.8  %Increase 62%

Adults 18-49 – Percentage gain

5t AGENTS OF SHIELD ABC   L +SD 0.9  L +7 1.8   7 Day Increase 0.9  %Increase 100%

13t ARROW CW  L +SD 0.7   L +7 1.3   7 Day Increase 0.6  %Increase 86%

16 LEGENDS OF TOMORROW CW  L +SD 0.6   L +7 1.1   7 Day Increase 0.5   %Increase 83%

20t GOTHAM FOX   L +SD 1.2   L +7 2.1   7 Day Increase 0.9   %Increase 75%

Viewers – Total gain

24 GOTHAM FOX    L +SD (000’s) 3593  L+7 (000’s) 5773  7 Day Increase (000’s)  2180  % Increase (000’s) 61%

Viewers – Percentage gain

5 AGENTS OF SHIELD ABC    L +SD (000’s) 2877    L +7 (000’s) 4972  7 Day Increase (000’s) 2095  7 Day % Increase (000’s) 73%

7 LEGENDS OF TOMORROW CW   L +SD (000’s)1630   L +7 (000’s)2784   7 Day Increase (000’s)1154   7 Day % Increase (000’s)71%

12 GOTHAM FOX   L +SD (000’s) 3593   L +7 (000’s)5773   7 Day Increase (000’s)2180   7 Day % Increase (000’s)61%

14t THE FLASH CW   L +SD (000’s) 3335   L +7 (000′s)5250   7 Day Increase (000’s)1915   7 Day % Increase (000’s)57%

14t ARROW CW   L +SD (000’s)2071    L +7 (000’s)3257   7 Day Increase (000’s)1186   7 Day % Increase (000’s)57%

WINNER WINNER SWANSON CHICKEN TV DINNER: Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD for successfully doubling its’ L +SD ratings in the L +7 category.

The Top 25 gainers (including ties) in the Live +7 ratings for May 9-15, 2016 are below

Adults 18-49 – Total gain

14 AGENTS OF SHIELD ABC   L +SD 0.9   L +7 1.8  7 Day Increase 0.9  % Increase 100%

14t GOTHAM FOX   L +SD 1.2   L +7 2.1   7 Day Increase 0.9  % Increase 75%

16t THE FLASH CW   L +SD 1.3  L +7 2.1   7 Day Increase 0.8  %Increase 62%

Adults 18-49 – Percentage gain

4 AGENTS OF SHIELD ABC   L +SD 0.9  L +7 1.8   7 Day Increase 0.9   %Increase 100%

14 GOTHAM FOX   L +SD 1.2  L +7 2.1   7 Day Increase 0.9   %Increase 75%

18t LEGENDS OF TOMORROW CW   L +SD 0.7   L +7 1.2   7 Day Increase 0.5   %Increase 71%

24t ARROW CW   L +SD 0.8   L +7 1.3   7 Day Increase 0.5  %Increase 63%

Viewers – Total gain

25 AGENTS OF SHIELD ABC  L +SD (000’s) 2930   L +7 (000’s) 4963   7 Day Increase (000’s)2033  7 Day % Increase (000’s) 69%

Viewers – Percentage gain

6 AGENTS OF SHIELD ABC   L +SD (000’s) 2930   L +7 (000’s) 4963   7 Day Increase (000’s)2033   7 Day % Increase (000’s) 69%

9 LEGENDS OF TOMORROW CW  L +SD (000’s) 1893   L +7 (000’s) 3076   7 Day Increase (000’s)1183  7 Day % Increase (000’s) 62%

17 GOTHAM FOX  L +SD ( 000’s) 3674   L +7 (000’s) 5610   7 Day Increase (000’s)1936   7 Day % increase (000’s) 53%

17t ARROW CW   L +SD (000’s)2153   L +7 (000’s)  3285   7 Day Increase (000’s)1132   7 Day % Increase (000’s) 53%

19 THE FLASH CW   L +SD (000’s) 3523   L +7 (000’s) 5342   7 Day Increase (000’s)1819   7 Day % Increase 52%

WINNER WINNER SWANSON TV CHICKEN DINNER: Marvel’s Agents of SHIELDYET again for doubling its’ L +7 performance two weeks in a row.

The Top 25 gainers (including ties) in the Live +7 ratings for May 16-22, 2016

Adults 18-49 – Total gain

10t THE FLASH CW   L +SD 1.3   L +7 2.2   7 Day Increase 0.9   % Increase 69%

13 AGENTS OF SHIELD – Two Hour Season Finale ABC    L +SD 1.0   L +7 1.8   7 Day Increase 0.8   %Increase 80%

13t GOTHAM FOX   L +SD 1.3   L +7  2.1   7 Day Increase 0.8   % Increase 62%

24t ARROW CW   L +SD 0.7    L+7 1.3   7 Day Increase 0.6   % Increase 86%

Adults 18-49 – Percentage gain

7 ARROW CW   L+SD 0.7   L +7 1.3   7 Day Increase 0.6   %Increase 86%

9 AGENTS OF SHIELD – Two Hour Season Finale ABC   L +SD 1.0   L +7 1.8   7 Day Increase 0.8   %Increase 80%

14 LEGENDS OF TOMORROW – Season Finale CW  L +SD 0.7   L +7 1.2   7 Day Increase 0.5    %Increase 71%

15 THE FLASH CW   L +SD 1.3   L+7 2.2   7 Day Increase 0.9   %Increase 69%

20t GOTHAM FOX   L +SD 1.3   L +7 2.1   7 Day Increase 0.8   %Increase 62%

Viewers – Total gain

18 THE FLASH CW   L +SD (000’s) 3365   L+7 (000’s) 5451   7 Day Increase (000’s)2086   7 Day % Increase (000’s)  62%

22 AGENTS OF SHIELD – Two Hour Season Finale ABC   L +SD (000’s)  3019   L +7  (000’s) 4972   7 Day Increase (000’s)1953   7 Day %Increase (000’s) 65%

24 GOTHAM FOX   L +SD (000’s) 3842    L +7 (000’s) 5727   7 Day Increase (000’s)1885   7 Day %Increase (000’s) 49%

Viewers – Percentage gain

4 LEGENDS OF TOMORROW – Finale CW    L +SD (000’s) 1850   L +7 (000’s) 3134   7 Day Increase (000’s)1284   7 Day % Increase (000’s) 69%

6t AGENTS OF SHIELD – Two Hour Season Finale ABC   L +SD (000’s) 3019   L +7 (000’s) 4972   7 Day Increase (000’s)1953   7 Day %Increase (000’s) 65%

9 THE FLASH CW   L +SD (000’s) 3365   L +7 (000’s) 5451   7 Day Increase (000’s)2086   7 Day % Increase  (000’s) 62%

9t ARROW CW   L +SD (000’s) 1974   L +7 (000’s) 3201   7 Day Increase (000’s)1227  7 Day % Increase (000’s) 62%

20 GOTHAM FOX    L +SD 3842  L +7 (000’s) 5727   7 Day Increase (000’s)1885  7 Day % Increase 49%

WINNER WINNER SWANSON TV CHICKEN DINNERgoes to The Flash. More people were more enthralled to be tuning in to find out the true identity of the man in the Iron Mask than whatever AoS was up to that week. Marvel’s AoS’s hold must have petered out towards the end when people realized they get sold a bill of goods every time the show claims to be tied in to the main Marvel Cinematic Universe. People tuning in to find any connection between this show and Captain America: Civil War were greeted with the mentions of Tony Stark or Captain America in fleeting quips of pop culture referenced dialogue. Other CW/DC TV Universe related shows upped their game this week, specifically Arrow with its’ Damien Darhk storyline headed towards its inevitable conclusion.

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For consistently tallying triple digits percentage wise in the L +7, Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD’s Ming Na Wen celebrates with selfies with fans and is somewhat rewarded with a 4th season reprieve. The show’s questionable 3rd season performance somehow edged up to tie with Gotham’s performance in Same Day rankings.

The Top 25 gainers (including ties) in the Live +7 ratings for May 23-29, (most shows have dropped out of the race, with May 25 being the official last day of sweeps).

Adults 18-49 – Total gain

6t GOTHAM – Finale  FOX   L +SD 1.2   L +7 2.0   7 Day Increase 0.8   % Increase 67%

8t ARROW – Finale  CW   L +SD 0.8   L +7 1.4   7 Day Increase 0.6   %Increase 75%

8t THE FLASH – Finale  CW  L +SD 1.3   L +7 1.9   7 Day Increase 0.6  %Increase 46%

Adults 18-49 – Percentage gain

5 ARROW – Finale  CW   L +SD 0.8   L +7 1.4   7 Day Increase 0.6   %Increase 75%

7 GOTHAM – Finale  FOX   L +SD 1.2   L +7 2.0   7 Day Increase 0.8   %Increase 67%

15 THE FLASH – Finale  CW   L +SD 1.3   L +7 1.9   7 Day Increase 0.6   %Increase 46%

Viewers – Total gain

12 GOTHAM – Finale  FOX   L +SD (000’s) 3618   L +7 (000’s) 5558   7 Day Increase (000’s) 1940   7 Day % Increase (000’s) 54%

15 THE FLASH – Finale CW   L +SD (000’s) 3363   L +7 (000’s) 4849   7 Day Increase (000’s) 1486   7 Day % Increase 9000’s) 44%

21 ARROW – Finale CW   L +SD (000’s) 2193   L +7 (000’s) 3313   7 Day Increase (000’s) 1120   7 Day % Increase (000’s) 51%

Viewers – Percentage gain

4 GOTHAM – Finale FOX   L +SD (000’s) 3618   L +7 (000’s) 5558   7 Day Increase (000’s) 1940   7 Day % Increase (000’s) 54%

7t ARROW – Finale CW   L +SD (000’s) 2193   L  +7 (000’s) 3313   7 Day Increase (000’s) 1120   7 Day % Increase  51%

11t THE FLASH – Finale CW   L +SD (000’s) 3363  L +7 (000’s) 4849   7 Day Increase (000’s) 1486  7 Day % Increase (000’s) 44%

WINNER WINNER SWANSON TV CHICKEN DINNER (with a short stack of waffles) – GOTHAM

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PAUSE FOR STATION IDENTIFICATION: Let’s give you a better understanding of how the CW, as rating and residuals pundits such as myself commonly refer to itself as a baby network since so many components go into the genetic makeup of how the CW Network operates, because it’s not required to go full tilt head to head in ratings competition because of either independent affiliate ownership, such as Chicago, where they’re required to carry Bulls & Cub games (although I’ve heard that they will be switching affiliates in the near future. Since Chicago is the number 3 television station market in the entire US, the constant pre-emption of the CW DC Universe  related shows such as The Flash, Arrow, & Legends of Tomorrow (soon to be joined by Supergirl) affect the overnights dramatically. However, season 2 ratings of the Flash, especially L +SD,  has been upping the ante of late, even sometimes rivaling those of ABC’s Agents of SHIELD.

Like its predecessors UPN and by technicality, The WB (as none of Tribune Broadcasting’s WB stations were considered to be O&Os  (i.e; owned & operated ) since Time Warner held majority ownership of that network), The CW does not have owned-and-operated stations in any of the three largest U.S. television markets – New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago. The network’s largest owned-and-operated station is CBS-owned WPSG in Philadelphia, which also became UPN’s largest O&O after Chris-Craft Industries (which sold most of its UPN stations, including its affiliates in New York City and Los Angeles, to Fox Television Stations in 2001) had its ownership stake in that network acquired by Viacom in March 2000 (neither UPN nor the DuMont Television Network had an O&O in Chicago at all; a similar situation arose with DuMont’s O&O in Los Angeles, present-day CW affiliate KTLA – which had disaffiliated from the network in 1948 shortly after the FCC ruled that it and WDTV in Pittsburgh (now KDKA-TV, a CW corporate cousin through CBS Corporation), to be O&Os through their then-owner Paramount Pictures‘ voting stock interest in DuMont).

Because Tribune Broadcasting does not maintain an ownership stake in The CW, its stations in the three respective top markets (WPIX, KTLA and WGN-TV) are actually affiliates of the network; CBS Corporation owns secondary stations – both independents – in two of the three markets, KCAL-TV in Los Angeles and WLNY-TV in the New York City market (however, while KCAL was owned by CBS at the network’s launch, WLNY was not acquired by CBS until 2011; neither station carries CW programming though, because of the network’s affiliation deals with Tribune-owned stations in those markets, and in the latter case, WLNY’s over-the-air signal does not serve the entire New York City market – resulting in most residents in the metropolitan area receiving the station mainly through cable or satellite – due to being licensed to the Long Island community of Riverhead, restricting its transmitter from being located more than 15 miles (24 km) from its city of license under FCC regulations). Unlike with The WB and UPN (the latter network’s founding owners, Chris-Craft and Viacom, both had their own station groups that formed UPN’s core stations at its launch), only one of The CW’s co-owners – CBS Corporation – maintains ownership of the network’s owned-and-operated stations (Time Warner does not have a station group of its own, although its Turner Broadcasting System division does own Atlanta independent station WPCH-TV, which does not carry CW programming because of the network’s affiliation with CBS-owned WUPA).

(the previous two paragraphs were Wiki tenderized).

AND NOW – THE FINAL TALLIES

TOTAL VIEWER RANKINGS

THE WALKING DEAD 13,151

SUPERGIRL  9,809

FEAR THE WALKING DEAD 7188

LUCIFER 7,174

**HEROES REBORN 6,395**  (not technically a comic book related show since the source didn’t originate from a actual comic book itself. A girl I used to date in high school had one of her daughters as one of the main leads – but if it was based on a actual comic book, here is where it would place.)

MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.  5,515

GOTHAM  5,370

MARVEL’S AGENT CARTER  4,369

FLASH 4,245

DC’S LEGENDS OF TOMORROW 3,157

ARROW 2,902

IZOMBIE  1,683

18-49 DEMO RANKING

1 THE WALKING DEAD 6.5

DAREDEVIL 6.3

JESSICA JONES 4.6

FEAR THE WALKING DEAD 3.4

SUPERGIRL  2.4 (tie)

LUCIFER 2.4 (tie)

HEROES REBORN 2.2 * (not technically a comic book related show since the source didn’t originate from a actual comic book itself. A girl I used to date in high school had one of her daughters as one of the main leads – but if it was based on a actual comic book, here is where it would place.)

GOTHAM 2.0 (tie)

MARVEL’S AGENTS OF SHIELD 2.0 (tie)

9 THE FLASH 1.7

10  MARVEL’S AGENT CARTER  1.4

11 DC’S LEGENDS OF TOMORROW  1.2

12 ARROW 1.1

13 PREACHER 0.9

14 IZOMBIE 0.7

15 WYNONNA EARP .20

THE FINAL FIREWORK ROUND!!

Here are the same-day, Live +3 and Live +7 adults 18-49 ratings for every show that aired on The CW in 2015-16. Same-day ratings are for all new episodes aired in-season (Sept. 21, 2015-May 25, 2016), including those coded as specials. DVR ratings include only regularly scheduled episodes not coded as specials. Summer shows that aired one or two episodes in season aren’t included.

Supergirl  L +SD rating 1.7 L +3 rank 7  L +3 rating 2.3  L + 7 rank (+2) 7  L +7 rating 2.5 —

Top-rated CW show: “The Flash.” Same-day, 1.4; Live +3, 2.0; Live +7, 2.2.

No CW show rose or fell in rank by more than three places after delayed viewing was factored in.

Lucifer L +SD rating 1.5 L +3 rank 5 L +3 rating 2.3 rank +1  L +7 rank 5 L +7 rating 2.6 —

Gotham  L +SD rating 1.4 L +3 rank 6 L +3 rating 2.1 rank +2 L +7 rank 6 L +7 rating 2.4 —

The Flash L +SD 1.4 L +3 rank 1 L +3 rating 2.0 L +7 rank -1  L +7 rating 2.2 –

Arrow L +SD rating 0.9 L + 3 rank 2 L +3 rating 1.4 rank — L +7 rank 2 L +7 rating 1.5

Legends of Tomorrow  L +SD rating 0.8  L +3 rank 3  L+3  rating 1.3 — L +7 rank 3  L +7 rating 1.4

 iZombie  L +SD rating 0.5  L +3 rank  5  L +3 rating 0.8 —  L +7 rank 6  L +7 rating 0.8  rank (-/+) -1

Agents of SHIELD  L +SD rating 1.2  L +3 rank  13  L +3 rating 1.9 rank (-/+) +1  L +7 rank 11  L +7 rating 2.2  rank (-/+) +2

Agent Carter L +SD rating 0.8 L +3 rank 26 L +3 rating 1.2  rank (-/+) +2 L +7 rank 24  L +7 rating 1.4  rank (-/+) +2

PAUSE FOR STATION IDENTIFICATION it’s important to note that although technically not based on a COMIC BOOK per se, NBC’s mini-series event Heroes Reborn performed spectacularly for the network, coming in at 12th place, 2 place above Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD  L +SD  1.2 L +3 rank 11 L +3 rating 2.0 rank +1 L +7 rank 11 L +7 rating 2.2 —

Although, reports are coming in that Cinemax’s comic book genre show entry into the arena, OUTCAST (can Robert Kirkland’s instant hit wonder magic charm for a third time?) has been renewed, no one can venture a reason as to why when Wynonna Earp whom I hear is on the chopping block is kicking its’ freshman ass.

outcast

As raw data demonstrates – Outcast is not faring well. But this battle falls out of the realm of the May Sweeps jurisdiction.

4 WYNONNA EARP SYFY 10:00 PM 62 0.13 539

139 OUTCAST MAXPRIME 10:01 PM 55 0.06 152

49 WYNONNA EARP SYFY 10:00 PM 60 0.13 519

108 OUTCAST MAXPRIME 10:00 PM 44 0.07 193

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The best left unsaid about Powers Season Two, the better.

 

MEANWHILE OUT ON THE MEAN STREETS BETWEEN MOUNT OLYMPIA AND MOUNT KILMANJARO

13 Jun

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Of all the most stupidest and asinine things I allowed to let slip by me…

While I was out posturing about successfully nabbing all the Free Comic Book Day goodies and making a good sizable contribution to a homeless and healthcare charitable organization dedicated to helping disenfranchised down on their luck comic book artists and writers called the Hero Initiative, I forgot to give pause in celebration to one of the greatest ever writers to ever exist in the genre of speculative fiction. And since I’m not going to have my stats for all of the May Sweeps as it pertains to comic book shows ready until next week and I have to BLOG ‘EM OUT BY FRIDAY, I found a few select gems from my Comic Buyer’s Guide related drafts in my Yahoo files that probably have never seen the light of the day-

Two separate book readings I attended by none other than Harlan Ellision – who slipped beneath my notice and turned 82 on Friday May 27th while I was posting my 2nd part of the Free Comic Book Day Reviews.

I’ve got to give Harlan some form of small credit for the good things that I’ve managed to lucked out in my off and on professional career. It was a phone call from him in 1994 that gave me a much fuel booted kick to the keister when I was merely content with just being a letter hack to the pages of Comics Buyers’ Guide. He had managed to track me across three numbers from my part-time job at an insurance office, to the comic book store, “Rookies & AllStars” in North Hollywood that I managed in the evening to my private residence in Sherman Oaks, just determined to tell me that I had a ‘unique maverick flare’ to my writing and was asking me ‘why the fuck aren’t you writing full time?’ Either that, or maybe editor Maggie Thompson sent him on my original letters or editorials WHICH were typed on an old hand me down Underwood typewriter passed down to me by my grandfather. I never forgot that conversation and as a result of that conversation, I dragged out the pilot of The Deposit Man, rewrote that damn script for the umpteenth time until it became good enough to be noticed by this screwball (later to be accused as the consummate assgrabber of female comic book professionals) editor to get published, but as I chronicled in my blog of last year, ‘LIFE IS NOTHING BUT A SHIT SANDWICH WITH TOO BREAD IN BETWEEN’ – that book turned out not to be worthy of the ass splinter from the paper cut from the ream of paper it was printed on and instead dedicated my first full length Deposit Man comic, “The Deposit Man & the Kaleidoscopic Medicine Freak Show”  to Harlan the following year, which prompted a nice call to my co-fiancer, Mark Capuano.

In turn, I had called Harlan Ellison at his home on behalf of the Los Angeles Public Library and the Walter Lantz Foundation to invite him to give a motivational speech to young impoverished children at the glorious spacious beautiful downtown Los Angeles Public Library as the headline panel at the Teen Age Comic Book Festival. It seems as if the producer of the show, Eugene Mandlecorn didn’t have a way to get in touch with him. “What?” I told Eugene with a befuddled look. “Harlan’s in the damn phone book.” So, when I called Harlan, he was more than happy that someone asked or anyone got the notion in their head to ask him to give kids a pep talk about giving career advice. HOWEVER, there was just one caveat Harlan laid out on the front line: “Rob Liefeld better not be there.”

But, I’m probably a lost cause to Harlan’s many upon many of his catalogued miniature heroic deeds of giving advice or lending an ear to a solidary voice just trying to get their foot in the echoing halls of the great creative pantheon. Not many people, with the exception of perhaps, George Clayton Johnson or Ray Bradbury have stories that resonates in one’s mind long after you finish more than Harlan’s tales of wonderment and true slice of life encounters. I credit, Harlan’s love sucker punched tale of ultimate betrayal, “Valerie: a True Memoir” as an instrument of revenge that I applied to the horrid relationship I once had with amateur porn next door star, Rikki Lixxx when it all went south after she stole a credit card of mine and used to purchase a $140 stripper pole. Later on, while I was working for Warner Bros, I heard of Harlan’s legal lawsuit plights with AOL in the unlawful postings of his stories online and I think I slipped him $60 to help pay for the legal fees for that, but other than that, I must have been nothing more than a passing ship in the night.

So last I heard, Harlan has a new forthcoming limited edition collection of unpublished late 1950’s unpublished stories called ‘Coffin Nails” that’s supposed to be limited to 200 copies (?? get the fuck outta here!!) that also includes two unpublished stories from 1969- and as far as I know, as lot of his collections are still in print to this day, so I got my fingers crossed that Harlan’s around for some time to come and hopefully get my damn last two issues of Deposit Man out to the printer sometime in his lifetime. The book is supposed to be released this upcoming fall.

I would hate to leave a fan like Harlan hanging.

Let’s roll out some of the birthday cakes from the book signings past that may or may not have seen the light of day from the pages of Comics Buyers’ Guide:

From July 6, 2001:

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Last night ( Tuesday, June 26th ), by no leaps and bounds of my downtrodden imagination without a single twinge of trepidation, was one of the most magical stupendous nights I have ever had the privilege to experience in the glittering neon glare of Hollyweird. Who in their rightful mind would ever stage a book signing and a reading at such a culinary institution such as Pink’s Hot Dogs ? Why none other than that indigenous master of fantastic fiction ceremonies, himself, Harlan Ellison. Harlan was on hand to sign and read in between bites of succulent savory links of outlandish varieties of beef franks and polish sauerkraut sausages ( hey, mine was a mushroom and swiss cheese dog, go figure ) from his new revised 50th anniversary edition of The Essential Ellison, expanded by least 300 + odd pages from the last 1,000 paged 35th one.

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  In this magnificent tome, we are up to date on works ranging back to the when ‘Harlan was fifteen ‘ warm up exercises of ” The Sword of Parmagon ” and ” The Gloconda ” up to the most recent roman-fleuve sexagenarian masterpieces of ” Mefisto in Onyx ” and ” The Man Who Rowed Christopher Columbus Ashore ” with the usual second and third smattering servings of classics thrown in between but heed my warning: you may be inclined to overindulge- they’re very fattening and high in cholesterol of the intellectual persuasion. If you purchased one softcover book, you got a hot dog on Harlan. If you bought the hardcover for just ten bucks more, Harlan treated you to two hot dogs. The evening was surely a landmark celebration and an homage to an author who has reached outstretched pinnacles of true hard-earned honesty and candor without a hackney of integrity.

  The real highlight of the evening ( certainly for me )was the announcement of the return of Harlan’s Dark Horse comic book series, ” Dream Corridor “, to be edited under the scrutiny of Eisner winning editor, Diana Schutz. What followed next was an impromptu reading of his new short story ” Goodbye To All That ” which will be featured in the first re-launched issue. Trust me, it destined to be up on the ranks with his other literary creations.

  The stars were also out in force that evening, Walter Koenig and his wife were spotted partaking in the festivities. Len Wein and Marv Wolfman were on hand for support as well as Bill and Sharon Liebowitz. Even my old pal, who wishes he was a celebrity, but indeed is not Sparky Santos, showed up to discourage people waiting in line for Pink dogs from dressing up in Goth attire, but was negligent when I told him it was Harlan who was signing and not Neil Gaiman.   

This one here was composed on September 15, 2002. I must’ve taken work off early that day from during the time I was working at Warner Bros to attend this event.

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Harlan Ellison’s September 11th appearance at the new Barnes & Nobles over on Fairfax and Third for a contribution he made to a book commemorating a year after 9/11.

  Harlan was there, along with three other residing West Coast authors to promote a book he contributed an essay to called, September 11: West Coast Writers Approach Ground Zero just published by Hawthrone Books in Portland, Ore.

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  The new Barnes & Nobles is situated in a new mall structure made to resemble something of a quaint small European village or a mock-up of Venice, Italy complete with running fountains and tour trolleys as some big name department stores like Nordstrom, Robinson’s May, FAO Schwartz, and a Pacific Theater multiplex acting as cornerstones. This particular store is three stories tall and equipped with a Starbucks cafe on the third floor, where I caved in indulging  my first foray of a Vanilla Creme frappuccino in order to ease my churning stomach acids before basking in the syncopated delights of the ever contentious curmudgeonly that Ellison is so famous of conveying.     

  The first of the opening acts, Lawrence Grobel, a writer on television and media culture, made popular by writing a biography of Truman Capote read a short and poignant essay about the agony of attempting to contact family members in New York shortly after the attacks.

  Next up at bat was former boxing coach from U.C. Berkeley now turned poet laureate, Floyd Salas, read some poetry on the feelings he had about terrorism that entwined with his political stance. He was quite a character who looked to be in his septuagenarian twilight years. Nobody could hardly understand a word he was saying as his speech was very slurred but nobody could have walked out of that room that night and not been entertained by him as he approached the podium looking to apply his sparring tactics in the course of his reading. He reminded me of a hyperactive Burgess Meredith. (Later, after the reading as I was getting my book signed, he asked me if I was a writer myself, and I told him I’ve written a few comic book odd and ends here and there. I just happened to have a few ashcans in my book bag of my forthcoming Deposit Man book, so, I gave him one. Floyd was ecstatic that some comic book people were there to listen. All I noticed was Len Wein sitting behind me but there well could have been others).

  Then, former Los Angeles Times Magazine columnist Wanda Coleman, read and performed a jarring piece of prose that tackled the issues about prejudices that were intentionally lodged at Arab Americans by our nation’s whacked out rednecks and bigots and she cuspidated that the most heartbreaking thing out of this whole terrorist affair was the name of the young, gifted, and white kid who flew his self constructed plane into a Florida skyscraper Charles Bishop. She reiterated that name over and over in different vocal fluctuations that just left a chill over all who listened. This invoked a hearty applause from Harlan himself.   

  Before Harlan was to take the podium, Barnes & Nobles management had to make sure that the children’s section next to us was cleared out, as the podium was right next to it. Luckily it was a late hour
(9:00 PM?), so Harlan could proceed without interruption.

  At every Ellison appearance that I’ve attended, there’s always a quirky thing that happens to make each one memorable. This time around, I witnessed Harlan almost smashing his microphone into itty bitty pieces as he was enthralled in the passion of reading his essay. Last time I saw Harlan, it was at Pink’s Hot Dogs where he read from his revised Essential Ellison tome, and it was there he had some minor  discrepancies with the residents next door blasting some hip hop. Harlan simply went over to ask them to turn it down, which goes to prove that mantle applied to Matt Murdock as the Man Without Fear is highly overexaggerated.

Harlan’s new essay was to say the least, more vitriolic than usual. “Terrorists” takes us through on to why Harlan refused to go on Politically Incorrect in the aftermath of the attacks and why he wasn’t personally affected by the whole thing. During the course of this recital, Harlan made some colorful suggestions on why Jerry Falwell and Osama Bin Laden should meet and have a pow wow together.   

 Well, it certainly beat staying at home that night with eyes glued to nothing but round the clock drudge shown on television that served no purpose other than to rehash seven years of bad luck on an unpaved road. We don’t need an anniversary reminder every year. Look at it this way: We don’t go yanking Sesame Street off the air to commemorate Pearl Harbor every year. Although, Cartoon Network is airing a 90 min Justice League episode guest starring Sgt Rock and the Blackhawks in celebration of our armed forces on December 7. Would’ve been great if they didn’t wait until the last-minute to those who originally had their VCRs set to its postponed broadcast of September 7th.

 

Coming up in a couple of weeks: The Comic Book Secret Ratings Wars May Super Sweepstakes.

 

NOTHING IN LIFE OR ON FREE COMIC BOOK DAY IS EVER REALLY FREE – THE DRAMATIC CONCLUSION

27 May

 

Two weeks ago I ruminated on my vast dash across the San Fernando Valley, with a pit stop to West Hollywood’s Meltdown Comics, to five different area stores, the last stop being a beer garden/outdoor carnival atmosphere (Blastoff Books in North Hollywood)  in celebration of Free Comic Book Day, the comic book’s industry equivalent of the television’s industry’s Upfronts and pilot season. I also went in depth of a good chunk of a contribution I made under the auspices of Sherman Oaks area comic book specialty shop, Earth 2 to the charity organization, the Hero Initiative, which is pledged to helping established comic book industry professionals lend a hand when money and health expenses grow too tight. I explained I did it mostly in memory of Thundercats/Silverhawks/Batman: The Animated Series writer Steve Perry who dedicated countless hours to volunteering for this organization died in a tragic hostage mishap. However, there was also an ulterior motive to my madcap mental gymnastics of thinking, as this acute exercise in philanthropy was the only way I could think of in obtaining all of this year’s Free Comic Book Day editions without resorting to making some gouging e-bay retailer rich in profiting off a bunch of comics that were supposed to be given away anyway.

Also in the last blog I went through the first twenty or so comics in the Free Comic Book Day editions and gave my thoughts to each and every one of them. This edition is strictly posted to mop up of the remaining thirty or so books and to give my insights on them before they grow old and moldy. Also stay tuned to the end, as I share with you a SPECIAL CELEBRITY FREE COMIC BOOK DAY EDITION going back at least five years or so handed to me unexpectedly by the celebrity himself.

Keep in mind, these books were given away free with the kindness of the publishers who happen to have participated this year, and while is free is free (and free is good, right?),  don’t let a little thing such as my built in bastard snark radar aid in deterring you from trying out these products when they’re fully fleshed out as sellable in comic book stores.

Dark Lily & Friends (Space Goat Comics) Slightly appealing all ages sampling smorgasbord of light hearted creations featuring the debut of Dark Lily who looks to be no different from the other Death inspired goth girl brigade that we’ve seen in countless other small press wares before her. Dark Lily boasts of coming to Earth to mingle with us simple minded folks from her castle in the moon. There are other sample bit of shorties featuring the rest of the line’s roster such as Monster Elementary, Rocket Queen & The Wrench, and Mage, Inc. (Not pictured)

SpongeBob Freestyle Funnies (Bongo Comics), the annual companion piece to Bongo Comics Free for All features the mishaps of Nickelodeon’s lead cartoon mascot which is one character my young niece is absolutely clambake crazy over, but I doubt she’d touch this with 10 foot fly fishing pole. Includes work by indie hit James Kochalka and an outstanding funny Mermaid Man yarn written by Evan Dorkin with gorgeous art by Ramona Fradon, who must really take this in stride since Mermaid Man is a direct parody of her Silver Age Aquaman work (Not pictured).

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Spectrum (Automatic Publishing) It’s almost as if two stars from a long defunct Sci-fi television show, Nathan Fallion and Alan Tudyk (Firefly) got together and decided to collaborate on a science fiction themed comic book together with so-so results. WHY that’s exactly what it is. But if anyone who would know more about robot assassins, telepathy, and space pirate battles dressed to look like anime cartoon cutouts, it would be these guys.

The Phantom (Hermes Press) – NOW books such as these, make it worthwhile getting up at the crack of the dawn for FREE COMIC BOOK DAY for. It’s a reprint book representing fleeing memories of the Charlton Comics Phantom era. Before DC’s Batman, Phantom Stranger, Aquaman and countless others seen in the pages of the Brave & The Bold, Jim Aparo was the premiere Phantom comic book artist in the early seventies. Unfortunately the few issues I had towards the end of the run I had when I was kid didn’t have Aparo art in them, so it’s an absolute joy to experience some of these classics which run roughly ten bucks a back issue these days. Hermes does a Phantom FCBD book every year to help entice readers into buying their lavish line of Phantom reprint volumes covering the Gold Key, Dell, and Charlton comic book runs.

DC Superhero Girls (DC Comics) DC’s 2nd comic aimed for the young prima donnas in your life. Imagine trying to get your young daughter or niece or cousin to get into comic books when they’re being raised by testosterone fueled dads in their lives. It’s difficult when I have a sister who recently divorced and had to move another state over because she couldn’t find work as a teacher, so my two nieces wind up being raised by each of their respective fathers – UNDER THE SAME ROOF (yeah, the two dads are roommates, so cue the John Stamos jokes here), so ALL there is talk of sports and sports are constantly on the tv. Now my oldest niece had to read Watchmen as a book report, while the younger pre-teen won’t sully even sully fingertips with fresh four colored newsprint DESPITE her having used to beg me to pick her up when she was 4 or 5 years old and have me run her around the room yelling Supergirl at the top of her lungs – WELL, her current tomboy exterior  definitely wouldn’t identify with the flying milksop represented in this incarnation. It’s an well worn out concept: all the super hero girls including Cheetah and Harlequin (?) somehow all become classmates in the same high school. The two minute animated shorts on youtube were popular enough to warrant its’ own full length series on Boomerang, but knowing my 11 year niece, it probably wouldn’t have passed the Teen Titans Go! smell test with her either.

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Awake #0 (Action Lab Comics) introduces from the ground floor up a new series of teen age interplanetary adventures blended in with ghost spirits, politics, and cutesy animal aliens. It’s a thought provoking read that’s well paced and is more than capable of roping young readers who want more than your usual super hero fare. I was kind of intrigued by the back page ad of how this company literally just thought of doing a comic book series based on their canine mascot and decided to call it: Action Lab: Dog of Wonder. Oh, I get it, Action Lab, as in Action Labrador. Sure took them long enough: approximately twenty or so years long enough since the company’s formation to finally figure that out.

Sonic Sampler (Archie Comics) Sonic the Hedgehog has been round for quite a while now. It’s one of those mind boggling concepts, like Mindcraft, that the young’uns seem to grasp more quickly than me. I seemed to have remembered back in the nineties that it had seemed to work better as an animated series.

Camp Midnight Free Comic Book Day Special (Image Comics) Image is not widely known for peddling all ages stuff, but when they do, they do a doozy. This is writer Steven T. Seagle (he of Sandman Mystery Theatre fame)’s new schtick writing an original all age stories with classic atypical standard monsters, only this time  if you’re a monster attending an all monster summer camp and you’re are really too pee shy to metamorphose into your inner-monster in front of your peers, you’re going to have a rough time adjusting to friends trusting you. Artist Jason Adam Katzenstein gives it that chilly type of Neil Gaiman disturbed children story appeal. Fun for the entire family and to read to your little ones at night including your dog, IF he happens to turn into a werewolf at night.

ROM (IDW Publishing) seemed to be the most hyped out of all this year’s FBCD offerings as it heralds the return of an alien hunting robot from outer space who’s got a cosmic bone to pick with a certain Skrull –like race of conquerors called the Dire Wraiths. It was pretty popular heady toy merchandised related stuff during the early 1980s’ as was the collaboration back then between HASBRO and Marvel during its’ long fruitful partnership when they were churning out the comic book issues. The appeal of certain ROM issues back then was he could mix it up with Spider-man as well as the rest of the Marvel Universe, but in this new incarnation, writer Chris Ryall and artist Christos Sage are left in the vast wilderness of space all their own. So far, so good as they deliver an beguiling set up to what promises to be this summer’s biggest cosmic rollercoaster-  provided we don’t have stupid crossovers with the likes of Star Trek and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, even though it’s quite hypocritical for me to say so (but Micronauts are welcome since they too are from HASBRO). Back up feature, Action Man, a British homage G.I. Joe was also a fun read as well (not pictured).

Captain America (Marvel) It would have been completely asinine if Marvel hadn’t released a Captain America related issue, seeing as how Captain America: Civil War released in theaters earlier in the month is ramming the box office flagpole where the BvS: Dawn of Justice’s sun don’t shine. Writer Nick Spencer who’s also doing a bang up job penning Sam Wilson: Captain America and artist Jesus Saiz brings Steve Rogers back in to the fold after events depicted in the Assault on Pleasant Hill events that ran through all the Avengers related titles. New costume, new type of electro magnetic shield, and a mixture of new and cast members will make the upcoming premiere issue (which I believe has come out by the time this appears downloaded) of the new series a perfect fit between admirers of the Ed Brubaker and Mark Gruenwald runs since Spencer writes Rogers with such patriotic clarity without being condescending. Writer Dan Slott and artist Javier Garron offer a peak into the new Spider-Man summer event storyline of “Dead No More” in which every character in the Spider-Man mythos magically comes back to life. Slott’s recent turn on Amazing Spider-Man has been a breath of fresh air since the events of Secret Wars, reinventing a Peter Parker for a new generation with the recent moves to Singapore and with most of his adventures taking him across globally in Tony Stark’s footsteps as he is now an industrialist himself. I was away for a while until he got that whole Dr. Octopus/Superior Spider-man spiel out of his system (well, nearly almost), but as sales and word of mouth indicate, Slott’s new take got my web curiosity all tangled in knots and now I’m reading it along with nearly everything else (sorry, not pictured).

Worlds of Aspen 2016 (Aspen Comics) Aspen Comics, a small moderate publishing company from Culver City who hides in the high rises of where a lot of the Sony Pictures related companies are headquartered (I think they share the same office space as Top Cow) promises a more cohesive universe with a prelude to their big crossover event that introduces new and newly revamped characters from their roster led by the late Michael Turner’s creation, Fathom leading the charge.

20160523_183135Attack on Titan Anthology (Kodansha Comics) – I have to admit, I’m a LOT late to this anime phenomenon. IF anything, the first I heard of this was when I encountered some pimply teenager at a Arby’s wearing a t-shirt. The kid told me about how the entire crazed concept is a sensation in its’ native Japan (although its. Japanese animation trying to mimic old English Saxon folklore) with the fumbling giddy grinning giants being the main attraction. So on this kid’s word, I started watching the series on Netflix and holy shit did this thing started to give me nightmares. I mean giants running around with these childlike grins devouring people and biting heads off?- WHAT F@%KED DISEASED MIND comes with this stuff and is there any way they can make more than twenty-five episodes? So this freebie is a preview of a hardcover anthology that will be coming out during the summer with new original stories provided by some of the comic industry’s current super star hitters such as Brendon Fletcher, Cameron StewartMichael Avon Omening, Kevin Wada, and a very funny series of panel gags by Evan Dorkin (and I can vouch on how this series would definitely appeal to him).

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Pink Panther (American Mythology Productions) This publisher does mostly licensed stuff and with the Pink Panther free comic book, they prove that they can capture the essence of the wonderful madcap mayhem of the original Fritz Freleng’s shorts from the 1970’s that I remember as a kid like fire flies in a jar. It was the only Saturday morning cartoon that my stepfather would watch with my half-sister and I, as he was quite fond of the Ant and the Aardvark short segment sandwiched in the middle (which coincidentally got its’ own separate DVD/Blu Ray release last week) of the show. Anyway, the first story in this book that parodies the legend of Thor is a gem of a hoot told in the show’s same lovely minimalist dialogue free style.

The Legend of Korra (Dark Horse Comics) – if you’re a fan of the Nickelodeon anime- American steampunk influenced series as much as I am (I love this series even more than it’s predecessor, The Last Airbender), then this issue would be very essential reading because the lead off Korra story unlocks a major puzzle piece in its mythology: namely how Korra first met her giant levitating hybrid panda bear/white wolf that she named Naga. The rest of the issue I didn’t care much for with the How to Dragon Your Dragon & Plants vs. Zombies’ shorts.

Lady Mechanika (Benitez Productions). More crazy steampunk shenanigans with an excerpt taken from Joe Benitez half Victorian era badass, half cybersuited super ample bosomed demon hunting femme fatale that reminds me way too much of Witchblade or the many others of her ilk from the mid-nineties era when these Image type maligned female half naked anti-heroes were all the rage back then. This is an excerpt from one of her graphic novels. It’s pretty to look at, but really not much for me to go on wanting more.

Love & Rockets (Fantagraphics) Love & Rockets is the pleasant alternative to those who can’t stand mainstream comics, (and there was a time in the late eighties, when I thought I would turn my back on them altogether) if you’re looking for a delicious super caffeinated blend stellar eye catching art and stirred in with engrossing breathtaking dialogue – The Hernandez Bros still prove that they are literally at the top of their game,  leaving a blazing wake of other equally talented admirers to blaze behind seemingly self autobiographical angst rants such as Daniel Clowes, Adrian Toomes, or Peter Bagge. Their respective works wouldn’t have existed if it weren’t for these guys. You’re just ignorant or culturally inept if you have trouble keeping up with Hopey and the gang. If you think you’ve outgrown Archie comics, then the L & R landscape is just where you want to be until you’ve reached the age of retirement.

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Mooncop (Drawn & Quarterly) wins the coveted award for the most quirkiest free comic book day offering EVER. In fact, if I had a spare Eisner in my back pocket, I’d be more than will to give it to Tom Gauld along with a bouquet of shiny dead roses. This is merely a preview for even more quirky things to come in September 2016 when Gauld releases a whole tome of these “Highlights for Adults” satirical cartoons. My first impression of reading Gauld’s material felt exactly like the same euphoric high I experienced when I first listened to Radiohead’s OK Computer. I can literally hear Thom Yorke’s voice acting out to this.

Mix Tape 2016 (Devil Due/First Publishing) Another four in one compilation made up of the latest from Devil Due’s including one of First’s old stalwarts, The Badger in a fierce knock down grudge match with Vladimir Putin which is the main reason for picking up this edition. Writer Mike Baron & artist Val Mayerik both channel their inner Neal Adams’ Muhammad Ali vs. Superman in this richly satisfying blood bout. Make sure to duck from flying teeth. The other two features; Mercy Spark didn’t really grab me, but if Squarriors is any indication, it’s a book that’s going to be on equal par with David Petersen’s MouseGuard.   The last feature, Public Relations, was a sly tongue in cheeky fun read.

The Misadventures of Grumpy Cat (And Pokey!) (Dynamite Entertainment) I understand that Grumpy Cat is a huge internet phenomenon with its’ flair for its’ sleigh of hand one panel gags and its’ morose outlook view of the world, but is it really a character that can maintain that type of momentum throughout long form stories? Multiple writer teams led by Ben McCool try out our patience & diligence. It’s just too, too cutesy for my taste. “Paws of Justice” which is an obvious parody of the latest Batman vs. Superman movie is riddled with so much ‘I saw that coming from a mile away’ clichés, while McCool’s “Detective Cats” plays delightful homage to the gumshoe Film Noir genre with a real twist on the whodunit conclusion.

Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom (Arcana) I think perhaps the H.R. Lovecraft hardcore aficionados would take complete umbrage with this complete asinine concept of a disturbed, but brilliant horror writer childhood tales reduced to nothing but complete mindless puppetoon like garbage in order to sell dvds and streaming video to kids. There’s nothing supposed to be cute and cuddly about a plush looking Cthulhu. I won’t be watching this on hulu, that’s for sure. Equally stupid is the back-up feature ‘supposedly’ created by Stan Lee entitled “The Unknowns” which is about a kiddie teen rock band recruiting space aliens and giant gorillas to be their auxiliary members. The whole concept is mind numbingly stupid and makes little sense as to why a near ninety year old man is trying to conceptualize on how a future rock band would sound. It’s not Josie & the F@%king Pussycats. that’s for sure.

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Civil War II (Marvel) – the other big event going on at Marvel besides the new Captain America/ Avengers movie is the new variation of the film’s title in which the entire Marvel Universe seems to be pitted against the might of Thanos – who is slated to be the main antagonist in the next Avenger set of films, so of course, the House of Mighty Big Multimedia Ideas wants you on the ground floor with this special prologue set in place in which the big smack down with Thanos leaves a series of consequences in which a few of our favorites don’t completely walk away unscathed, courtesy of Brian Michael Bendis & Jim Chueng Of course, this is what Free Comic Book Day comics from the majors are all about: to whet our appetite for the big main event summer series, much like they did for Secret Wars last year. If only DC had followed in tandem with a special prologue for their Rebirth project (but $2.99 for an eighty page chapter isn’t too shabby either).  Back up story is a outtake from the current running All New All Different Avengers series which introduces the new Wasp by Mark Waid, Alan Davis, & Mark Farmer, of which the continuation of this tale lies smack dab at the bottom of my reading pile.

We Can Never Go Home/Young Terrorists (Black Mask) Black Mask Publishing is entering back into the publishing fray with a flip book commemorating two of their most ambitious graphic novels and series which are definitely the most twisted and cringe in your seat worthy materials I’ve seen comics do in a while. This material contained inside could out gross out true devotees of the Walking Dead with one arm tied behind your back and a blindfold over your eyes. Succubus eating disorders and administering brutal prison beat downs meted upon cute Irish girls is only the icing on the cake in this brutal mature readers edition. Get me these graphic novels, STAT!!

Valiant: 4001 AD (Valiant Comics) is the company’s big summer event cross-over occurring throughout most of their titles for most of the summer including sneak peeks with the latest fun going on with Archer & Armstrong and Bloodshot (which I hear is being made into a major motion picture from Sony). Everything else is up for grabs. I do however notice the change in structure in most of the Valiant these days, namely that the stories these days are more intensified with action rather than being too wordy earlier in the company’s run where they were just too time consuming to read with so much expeditionary  dialogue frothing from each of the characters’ mouths.

Pokemon’ (VizMedia) . Don’t get me started. Please see my previous post, the “101 Dishonorable Deaths of Pokémon” blog post for every nuanced iota of absolute seething hatred and ultra annihilation that I’d like to see done to this property. Believe it or not, I got most of the sidebar quizzes right. The less said about admitting that, the better I feel about root canal and anal probes as major causes for celebration.

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CBLDF Presents Defend Comics: FCBD Edition 2016 (Comic Book Legal Defense Fund) – the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is another non-profit organization that does the comic book industry proud, and I usually try to donate whenever I can, usually at shindigs thrown during the summer at Comic Con International. So they have assembled some fine talent to help spread the word of why free speech, especially in the comic book that you read and buy is detrimental to society with the likes of James Kochalka, Andy Runton, Jack Patrick Green and a host of others. Hey, if we didn’t have the CBLDF, movies such as Deadpool would probably never have been made because of you damn brats sneaking those profanity laced comic books in past your parents.

I suppose it was a mere coincidence that the last 4 books I had at the bottom of the reading pile were all martial art themed starting with Street Fighter V # 1 (UDON Entertainment). Not a big lover of video game punch ups as the three stories contain within present three different globe spanning matches with the characters in ‘niche’ universe. The only one out of the three I found slightly amusing was the one starring Cammy White in a deadly death match to see if she’s worthy of keeping her seat on a plane. C’mon, we’ve all been through type of ordeal at one time or another.

One-Punch Man (Viz Media). While trying to figure out what to do with my life now that I’ve exhausted every episode of Attack on Titan on Netflix. What would be the next type of slightly appealing anime show to follow every Saturday . The answer came to me as I opened (starting with the back page first. Remember, Japanese comics are read right to left, instead of left to right and front to back. Just as easy as learning to wipe your own ass with toilet paper) this book and incidentally stumbled upon a list of all the episodes so far of  this anime series. So upon reading the introductory tale, I figure I can totally dig this concept of a plain everyday average bald headed kid who can take out demons from hell with simply one punch them through and leave a hole behind. The second feature, My Hero Academia is another one of those super heroes in high school cloned concept (see DC Superhero Girls up above).

Bruce Lee: The Dragon Rises (Darby Pop) . As a nine year old, I vividly remember the death of martial arts legend, Bruce Lee in the summer of 1973. I think perhaps it was the very first obituary I ever read in a newspaper, only because I remembered him so fondly from the Green Hornet show as Kato. Even back then, that one season hit wonder show used to be on syndication at that same timeline along with Batman & Superman reruns. Bruce’s surviving daughter, Shannon Lee, of which I am five years her senior is honoring her father by writing him in as a comical character in a fictitious comic book series that takes place in North Hollywood (and points given for mentioning the Metro Red Line Subway, because tourists are not fully convinced that an actual subway exists in Los Angeles) in which Bruce wakes up from a mysterious coma. Shannon explains in the book for the reason she goes for this less serious storytelling route was because she knew deep down that her father never got around to making a comedic film during his lifetime. Well, from what I heard, Jackie Chan already trampled all over that territory. Anyway, the artist Jeff Kline goes in length about how getting the nuances of rendering Shannon’s father just right from photo references provided to him exclusively by Bruce Lee’s family.

And lastly, Assassin’s Creed (Titan – not pictured) May be the sleeper hit of the entire FCBD stack this year (as much as the Fight Club one for Dark Horse was last year), as the forthcoming movie starring Michael Fassbender as a time jumping assassin is starting to attract a lot of buzz lately. Two separate stories in this issue, and as far as video game to comic book adaptations go, this wasn’t a bad read.

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Now what you’re wondering: is this for f@%king real, Coatney?

Yeah, it is. It’s absolutely actor tyrant broadway show heckler wunderkind, Shia LaBeouf weird ass attempt by being a alternative underground artist/writer. As many of you remember, LaBeouf was reamed a new one by openly plagiarizing Daniel Clowes’s autobiographical stories for a short subject that LaBeouf made called HowardCantour.com.

Apparently, LaBeouf tried his hand at imitating Clowes (rather badly) with these two books from which I heard he published off his Apple computer. These books were stuffed in my hands by none other than Shia LaBeouf himself at a Free Comic Book Day event held at Earth 2 approximately four years ago. He didn’t even ask permission if I wanted them or not, he just placed them in my hands while my back was turned to him shopping for those cheap $1.00. It didn’t register to me who the hell it was until a couple of girls obviously weaned on Teen Beat Magazine started screaming his name while he took off in his convertible to other Free Comic Book Day Store celebration parts unknown. I almost threw these those two perfectly bound pieces of shit out in the garbage until some people on facebook convinced me that they might be collector’s items one day.

Those photos you see above are literally the first time I ever turned a page to shudder to see at what was inside.

Next blog in a couple of weeks: More Kscope music love and those pesky Comic Book Related Show May Sweepstakes ratings wars that you’re all so fond of.

 

 

 

 

NOTHING IN LIFE OR ON FREE COMIC BOOK DAY IS EVER REALLY FREE

13 May

It’s an enormous daunting task just to get fifty damn free comic books, especially when they already have the words  FCBD_wide_logo bannered across their masthead.

It’s been baffling the bejesus out of me over the past few years of how I can be inconsistent at least in attaining only a half of the allotted free comics that are all displayed in its’ infinite glory across the website www.freecomicbookday.com . You’d think by visiting six or seven store across the giant urban landscape that is called Los Angeles would net about most of them, but you would be wrong. A couple of years back, I asked a Santa Monica merchant at Hi-De-Ho Comics who once boosted of having to order all fifty titles if there would be a way of skating around the red tape in getting all the free titles since they put a limit of five per customer.

But when I was refused, I cajoled to the clerk – I’m just not any damn customer I’m Cary Coatney, DAMMIT! The co-creator of the Deposit Man and once upon a time often contributor to the Comics Buyer’s GuideWHEN it used to be published on ancient parchment paper. I HAVE CLOUT IN THIS TOWN!!

“Ok, we’ll give you what we can spare – IF YOU AGREE TO SPEND $100 in our store.”

So I reluctantly bought a bunch of stuff I did not need and they give me in return a half filled Diamond Distributor box of all their available Free Comic Book Day edition titles.

When I got home, I was sorely disappointed, because all it amounted to was a little more than half of what I’d seen on the website, and some doubles, and EVEN triples of what they had. In other words, THEY PADDED the BOX.

Why, oh why, was my life in such a pivotal disarray? Why did these free comic book day books matter to me so much? Did I personally know all these creators and products? I dunno, let me check my facebook) DID I HAVE a personal horse in this perpetual ever psychedelic computerized four colored horse race?

Then, I started to think of the upfronts.

The upfronts? You know that merry time in May when all the television, cable, and digital platform streaming converge in a giant clusterf**K (sorry, I’m trying to make this blog a all ages entry) to determine what you’ll be watching for late fall 2016 – late spring 2017??

It’s the same exact feeling I’ve had lately about Free Comic Book Day, now going fifteen years strong. It’s become bigger with more participants every year trying to showcase their latest offerings.

So let’s refer to these editions as the pilot episodes. The one issue that is used to REEL YOU IN so that you’ll be a corporate everlasting obedient customer.

Free Comic Book Day is sort of like the comic book industry equivalent of the television industry’s Upfronts – a one day power point presentation by 50 companies large or small converging upon you like a pack of wolves hoping to sell on you on something. So, they all gather together, unbridled their thinking caps and voila!! A pilot is then made for you to sample in the mode of the 32 page simple to flip through pamphlet.

Only caveat though, NOT all retailers are willing to curtsy and serve you up that hors d’oeurves  tray with all the eclectic tasty shrimp puffs and mini hot dogs.  IF there had been no customer interest for that previous companies products in the first place, then chances are they’re not going to order a bundle of those fifty samples to pass out just to lose money on. So probably a good handful of those previews probably never get to be even seen.

If you go to the website (see link above), you’ll see that the books are divided into two categories; the Gold and the Silver. The gold ones will be the ones most retailers will order if you want the regular corporate representation from Marvel, DC, Archie, IDW Publishing, Dark Horse, Dynamite Entertainment. The other lot – the Silvers are the  bastard childs,  representing the smaller and independent companies, although, at the last, one of the majors such as DC did this year in getting a DC Superhero Girl comic out to publicize the new animated series that premiered recently on Boomerang Network and Marvel throwing a brand new Captain America comic in the mix to heighten the movie going public and to make abundantly clear that Steve Rogers was taking up the mantle of Captain America again and getting a new electric magnetic shield in the process. That was a mystery book.

The Silver books were the ones in short supply that were increasingly frustrating to get, as likely as all stores and events seem to give them out first. For many years, I missed out on a new Tick comic or a Phantom reprint featuring gorgeous sixties era Jim Aparo art.

Anyway, before going any further. Let’s pause for a brief wiki gloss-over history of the annual event,

“In 2001, retailer Joe Field was writing columns for an industry magazine, and saw how successful feature films based on comic book franchises were providing the comic book industry with a positive cultural and financial turnaround from the speculator bust of the late 1990s, Field proposed Free Comic Book Day in one of his columns, and received positive reaction to it. Then-Image Comics publisher Jim Valentino suggested having the first Free Comic Book Day on the same weekend as the opening of the 2002 Spider-Man feature film, in order to take advantage of the film’s heavy promotion and related press about the comic book medium, and thus the first event was held May 4, 2002, one day after the film’s opening. However, not all events have corresponded with the release of a film based on a comic book. In 2004 it was held in July, but it was moved back to the first Saturday in May the following year and has been held on that day ever since. On Free Comic Book Day, participating comic book store retailers give away specially printed copies of free comic books, and some offer special deals and creator signings to those visiting their establishments. However, retailers do not receive the issues for free; they pay 12–50 cents per copy for the comics they give away during the event.In addition to comic books, some stores also give away other merchandise, such as mini posters and other movie tie-in memorabilia.’

For the past six years or so, (there was one year I missed FCBD entirely when I was at my dad’s house in Las Vegas and I couldn’t get his ass to drive me to the nearest Las Vegas area comic book specialty store), I’ve been getting up early around 6 AM just to make the commute to the farthest point possible that I’m willing to make my six to seven store pilgrimage. Last year, I started down in Culver City and worked my way north to the San Fernando Valley winding up at Earth 2 Comics here in my local burb of Sherman Oaks. And it was there that an idea hit me: owner Carr D’Angelo, besides giving out free comics, handing out marshmallow treats, having cosplay contests, and having all sorts of great creators come and sign the free comic book day editions that they happened to have worked on, was also asking people if they could give a few dollars in donations to a charity called The Hero Initiative. In 2015, on a lark, I donated 20 dollars in the coffee can, and Carr told me that donation would net me another 5 or so Free Comic Book Day editions. So  last year that small token of generosity on my part helped me break the halfway point.

Earlier last month, entertaining the mere thought of buying all the yearly FCBD editions from an anonymous ebay dealer rotted me to the core of my ever constant runny diarrhetic soul. Why would I want to contribute to help profit a greedy second dealer when they were mainly free in the first place – and jeez, not to mention the price of postage to send out those books. And who knows where those hands of whose in Puerto Rico have been shipping that package from?  For all I know , I could be susceptible to contracting the Zika Virus.

For the uninitiated in the comic book industry – the Hero Initiative is a charity organization that rivals that other organization that I’ve sung high praises during my Comic Buyer’s Guide writing days, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF). Here is another history capsule provided by Wikipedia:

“The Hero Initiative, formerly known as A Commitment to Our Roots, or ACTOR, is the first federally recognized not-for-profit organization dedicated to helping comic book creators, writers and artists in need. Founded in late 2000 by a consortium of comic book and trade publishers, including Marvel Comics, Image Comics, Dark Horse Comics, Wizard Entertainment, CrossGen Comics and Dynamic Forces Inc., the 501(c)(3) charity aims to assist comic creators with health, medical, and quality-of-life assistance.

Many early comic creators, whose work laid the foundation of entire fictional universes that proved to be highly lucrative for the publishers that profit from them, were often paid little for their work, and were not allowed to keep their creations. According to the Hero Initiative, “to be eligible for financial assistance from Hero, an applicant must have been a working comic book writer, penciler, inker, colorist or letterer on a work-for-hire basis for no less than 10 years since January 1, 1934.”

Anyone who meets the eligibility requirements may apply for aid, which could vary from medical assistance, paying rent, or finding employment (in or out of the comics industry). Hero’s benefits are not meant to be a permanent crutch for needy creators, but assistance for those in debt, or who have trouble paying bills. Any granted aid is kept confidential.

The Hero Initiative utilizes many methods of fundraising. Foremost is their annual art auction, auctioning donated original comics art-work at fan conventions. Year-long, they sell donated art and special edition comics at conventions and through the Dynamic Forces website. Artists, writers, and publishers are invited to donate work, and fans are invited to donate money directly to the fund. ACTOR also sells a green Excelsior! wrist-band similar in design to the Livestrong wristband.”

So forming an alliance with Earth 2 comics, I decided to give a good sizable donation to the Hero Initiative in exchange of getting every FCBD edition that the store orders, thereby saving me time, long bus trips, and wear and tear on the soles of my pretty feet from walking around events and beer gardens thrown in FCBD’s honor. (yes, there was a beer garden in North Hollywood this year thrown under the auspices of Blastoff Books).

Also in a way, this is a way to honor writer and creator Steve Perry – which is the main focus of why I’m attracted to this organization like a moth to the proverbial flame. Not to be confused with the once lead singer of Journey, this Steve Perry was a prolific writer who wrote a good handful of Thundercats and Silverhawk episodes as well as notable comic books such as the creator owned TimeSpirits (which many may argue that the James Cameron stole the inspiration for the movie, Avatar, although my argument would be that Cameron stole the idea for Avatar from many numerous Roger Dean Yes album covers) for Epic Comics with artist Tom Yeates and Wally Wood’s T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents. My favorite work of Perry’s were the two episodes of Batman: The Animated Series that he penned introducing the protagonist, The Ninja, in Night of the Ninja and Day of the Samurai. Perry, had a series of domestic problems with his girlfriend and custodial battles concerning his son, and wound up nearly homeless as a result of it. The situation worsened when he started sharing a place with a shady despicable couple that led him to be found murdered with having his limbs amputated. Although all the way down through this dark descent, the Hero Initiative and his best friend in the industry, Steve Bissette (Swamp Thing) stepped in to try to help and in return, Perry would devote countless hours at comic book conventions at the Hero Initiative booth to help raise funds and awareness. On top of that, Perry was also suffering from cancer.

 

Perry’s plight hit me too close to home, because if you scour through any of my past blogs, I can tell you straight up, I’ve had my patches of dark times, the longest going on for seven years since I’ve had the viable funds to self publish the conclusion to my Deposit Man saga. I’ve been on long period of unemployment in the entertainment industry, and as you get older, worse so in your fifties, you find fewer people want to hire you because of your age the last two years have been the most tumultuous, when my EDD benefits ran out and wasn’t subject to renewal, I ran out and resorted to getting a EBT card and had to rely on General Relief. However, with someone finally taking notice of my residual and royalty experience, I’ve been recently been hired by a prestigious and beneficial organization that realized my full potential and have been making the best money I’ve had in nearly half a decade.

I promised himself, feeling wretched upon reading the tragic fate of Perry, that I would dedicate myself in picking up the good work that Perry selfishly did and try to help out those who inspired me creatively throughout my life. So I told Carr, I’m starting out with donating a day’s worth of salary (after taxes taken out), approximately  $125.00 into the till (you should have seen the eyes of the cashiers widen like something out of a Sailor Moon episode when they saw six twenties and a five magically slowly depart my hands when I did this).

And it felt good to help out. Much better than I did last year. With my best friend, Harry Perzigian now dead and gone, this small act of bravado sort of gives my life new meaning.

My facebook posting on the morning of May 6th:

$125.00 donation to the Hero Initiative. Carr D’Angelo & Heather Kenealy are witnesses. I always swore that once i got back on my feet, that i would be more charitable to my peers and now with my permanent job at THE PLACE THAT SHALL NOT BE NAMED I have made good on that promise. It may be Free Comic Book Day for the rest of the world, but keep in mind, those blockbusters based on comic book properties you see up on the screen? They didn’t just materialize out of corporate suit’s ass. They came from the blood, sweat, and the India ink of kind individuals who are probably long forgotten living in a trailer park and eating Alpo out of a can. So if you’re out today at your local mom and pop comic book shop and you see a donation can. Try to help your local struggling artist in any way you can, because the work will forever survive, but the one who created those simple moments of enjoyment for you will not.

 

Let’s close out by talking briefly about the comics. By the way, this is first half of a two parter. Look for part two in a couple of weeks that will encapsulate the content of remaining thirty or so books left to talk about. PLUS a little known surprise from Free Comic Book Days holidays past handed to me personally by a famous celebrity.

On this go around I’m going to cover at least the first twenty that came out of the box. I’m not categorize them from best to worst, or place them in some wacky preference reading order.

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Science Comics (First Second Books) –

First one out of the box harkened to memories of being in fifth grade perusing through all the career comics I used to read during lunch period that featured Popeye as your guidance counselor. I was particularly engrossed in how Maris Wicks’ stuck to her lifelong dreams and goals to wanting to become a deep sea diver and marine biologist and is able to capture it all in a simplistic easy to follow narrative that should engage and lively inspire the Marine Boy in all of us. The back up feature by Jon Chad should appeal to those who are looking to have a Cliffnotes study on volcanos the next time you have to cram for a geology exam that is equally informative.

Overstreet (Gem Publishing) usually sticks to its’ guns to put out an annual pamphlet chockfull of articles focusing on what’s hot in the collective market and what auctioneer’s are bidding for these days. (check out the pic on page 20 of a Frank Frazetta sketch of Superman that sold for 35k).

Nickelodeon Sanjay and Craig + Harvey Beaks (Papercutz) Papercutz is usually your source for everything Smurfy, but I guess they took a different route with two animated shows that I’m not familiar with, and I’m usually a guy who’s up on the latest in all animation warfare. Then again, the only show on Nickelodeon I ever fell in love with was The Legend of Korra, so what do I know. Fun laughable adventures with a Hindu-American kid and his pet snake and the back up Harvey Beaks, I don’t know what to make of it. Kids my niece’s age ought to get it more than me.

Avatarex: Destroyer of Darkness (Graphic India) This is a preview look at some of the projects that Grant Morrison coming out from some publishers out in India. I like Grant’s work on the majors (and I’ve got his Wonder Woman Earth 2 graphic novel on my radar), but when he tries to go all George Harrison on me, I feel if I’m just better off in a corner by myself with a sitar and a copy of Autobiography of a Yogi, trying to play diatonic scales along to the entire four sides of Yes’ Tales From Topographic Oceans rather than him have trying to explain how we should be embracing the lame concept of superheroes who hail from Mumbai.

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2000 AD (Rebellion Riverside House) usually has the usual extra hodge-podge of British sci-fi adventure, but ups the ante this year (whilst discarding the usual comic magazine format) with digital  comics and music downloads. If you need to hear the final word on super hero movie competition, look no further than the funniest rip roaring Judge Dread story that gets this issue off to a running start. The Death Man story is a mini fun ride too.

Dream Jumper (Graphix/Scholastic Books) After years of experimenting with bringing graphic novels into the classroom (starting with Bone), Scholastic launches into a new series of light grade school suspense with the adventures of Ben and his imaginary quest to rescue his fellow classmates from a dream demon. Written by none other than actor Greg Grunberg (ABC’s Alias and NBC’s Heroes Reborn) and cartoonist Lucas Turnbloom. Very inventive excerpt read that certainly gets the J.J. Abrams Seal of Approval.

Junior Braves of the Apocalypse (Oni Press) – as the cover blurb says “Junior Braves is the Walking Dead for kids“. Boy scouts vs. zombies. Nothing here really worth screaming and shouting over the dead of silence.

The Tick (New England Comic Press) FINALLY! A Free Comic Book Day Tick Comic to call my very own. Every store I have been to on Free Comic Book Day has either run out or under ordered copies – but fret not Spoon believers – FOR THE MERE PRICE of postage: you can order the previous five editions to be delivered to your very own doorstep. An offer, I shall severely take advantage of that offer. Now if only, they would come up with cheap binders to store them in. The Tick never disappoints in super hero satire, with a three season animated series and one short lived sitcom behind him, The Tick jumps into new streaming television show territory when its’ new series debuts later on Amazon Prime. The first story in this edition parodies a Jonathan Hickman storyline from his early run of the Fantastic Four in which infinite versions of the Tick hold a private get together without inviting Arthur.

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HILDA (Nobrow) the tales of Hilda, a pubescent girl and her dog Twig hopscotch between the real world and the surreal world is in similar vein to what the Little Nemo in Slumberland comic strip used to be at the turn of twentieth century. Brilliant stuff. Even its’ two companion stories featuring Akissi, a modern African village kid and the anime influenced Fantasy Sports are worth a look see. This is stuff I should be cramming down my 11 old niece’s throat, who by the way hates comics.

March (Top Shelf/IDW Publishing) Hands down, one of the top Free Comic Book Day offerings of the year! I have read comics throughout my whole life that alerted me to trials of the human condition beginning in the late eighties with Maus by Art Speigelman,- the fall of the Jewish Holocaust,  Stuck Rubber Baby by Howard Cruse – which defined the gay movement. In the 2000’s, Fax from Sarajevo by Joe Kubert, a nail biter of a tale of a family narrowly escaping genocide. Now midway through the 2010s’ comes a preview excerpt of a very important graphic novel trilogy detailing the brutal desperation of standing for your right to be counted as a human being in the civil right movement as recounted by a person who actually was there to help make it happen written by none other than Congressman John Lewis, recipient of the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award. This is the subject matter that more free comic book day editions should strive for. To teach and inspire.

The Stuff of Legend (Th3edworld Studios) Young boy is snatched from his bedroom bed and dragged into the darkness of his closet by the Boogeyman. It’s up to the boy’s pet puppy and his toys to rescue him. Where have I seen this movie before?

Comics Lab!!! (Z2) is a mish mash of independent projects coming out from this company.  The only thing I found worth while of mention is an advertisement for a project with pretty artwork called Legend ‘where cat technology rules, dog partner with hawks and humans may be the most beastly creatures of all’. Ok, to all selling points, but give me some story to go along with it.

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Doctor Who (Titan Books) Somehow I appreciated Doctor Who more when only I knew about it. Now that the show is an US phenomenon more so than a world phenomenon, the show has lost its’ appeal to me. I once went to a Doctor Who convention back in the mid-nineties at the Van Nuys airport and I was instantly repulsed by the multitude of disgusting smelly fat chicks that flooded the hotel lobby just for a glance at actor Sylvester McCoy and that repulsive experience changed my life. So I switched to Blake’s 7 and Red Dwarf fandom instead. I shall take this book and gift wrap it for my hygienic bereft gigantic roommate who couldn’t bend over to wipe a menstrual stain off a bathroom floor in order to save her life.

Strawberry Shortcake (IDW Publishing) I got the most astonished looks when people saw me reading this on the bus ride to work. I bet there’s an APB out for my arrest right now and I’ll be brought up on either proposed child endangerment charges or attempted bodily harm to a diabetic. I kind of got the message that every character in this universe has to be named after a sinful delectable dessert, but do each character have to have a pet with an equally dumb name. Seeing as how as this is marketed towards daddy’s little girls, expect a tsunami of parents’requests for an easy bake oven in your near future.

Archie (Archie Comics Publications) I have to admit, I wasn’t completely on board with the rejuvenated version of Archie to appeal to older readers and I’m kind of glad I stuck to my guns (although wandering around with a loaded pistol in a school hallway would certainly raise a red flag), because this more ‘realistic‘ approach doesn’t really appeal to me at all. The last thing I need in my life is to evoke memories of Parsippany High School social misfit flashbacks when looking at a comic book, even though I sort of identify with this souped up version of Jughead Jones as a cheap dime store morose douchebag.

Bongo Comics Free For All (Bongo Comics) What’s a Free Comic Book Day celebration without a free Simpsons comics. They never seem to disappoint. Although, this edition could have used a little Futurama air freshing.

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Serenity Firefly Class 03-K64 (Dark Horse) Quite honestly, Serenity is so passé as a space opera, that I’ve honestly given up trying to philosophize on why this is even still lingering around as a cult hit with only 14 episodes and one movie that basically eradicated nearly the entire cast. My hard earned 0 cents for this issues was plunked down for the appearance of Hellboy. Hellboy f%@king rules and the back up Aliens story wasn’t half bad either.

Boom! Studios 2016 Summer Blast (Boom Studios!) This is a shared book between three imprints all published under the auspices of Boom! Studios: Arachaia, Boom! Box, and kaboom! Depending on your tastes, your mileage may vary. There’s familiar licensed fare such as Adventure Time! and a preview look at a new teen girl detective series named Goldie Vance. I was kind of disappointed that Boom! didn’t spring this year for a hardcover of Archaia’s ware, but as per yearly, there’s a new Mouse Guard short story included by fan favorite David Peterson that never fails to disappoint.

Bob’s Burgers (Dynamite Entertainment) is a very charming witty animated show on FOX, although takes place on Coney Island, is somewhat very, very  popular in Los Angeles. So popular, that the entire voice cast sold out two live reading performances at the Wiltern Theater a couple of weeks ago. The show is also animated out there at a small studio called Bento Box in North Hollywood. Everyone involved with the making of this issue was signing over at Meltdown Comics, which was my second stop on my five store tour this year.

Suicide Squad (DC Comics) Like I mentioned before, some big companies such as Marvel or DC sometimes use Free Comic Book Day as a way to promote their theatrical counterparts. So rather than use Free Comic Book Day to push the company’s new make-over with Rebirth, a reprint of the first New 52 issue of Suicide Squad was used in its’ stead.

That’s all the time this month. Check back in a couple of weeks for part two and the rest of the reviews.