Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Squash The Tomato...

...and play catch-up.

First of all, the "C3C1 5" series has pretty much determined on its own that it's going to be a bi-weekly feature. And that's depending on whether or not I make a pretty big creative decision, but that'll be in a minute.

Second, if you've been missing out on the Tumblr page, the New DC reviews have started there as an exclusive. Go get caught up:

Justice League #1

Action Comics #1

Swamp Thing #1

Detective Comics #1

They're hitting at the rate of 4 a week now, so keep coming back. It works.

Third, I'm weighing a decision to pursue something I've always wanted to do. Something that, because it would take a lot of effort to make happen, would seriously cramp my schedule (on top of already having a family, working full-time and going to school. This would be creative writing...on a pretty big scale if it gets published.

Bad news is, because of all of that, it would take me away from here a LOT more than I already am now. Like, I may be here once in a blue moon, but ANY regular updates would be out of the question.

Any thoughts?

Friday, September 16, 2011

WWE's Newest Signee Is...

(FCW = WWE's farm league Developmental Area, by the way.)

In case you may not know who that is, Arda Ocal, host of Right After Wrestling Aftermath Radio, explains a little more...

In case you still don't know who that is:

1) Get out from under that rock.

2) I'll then tell you he is a former Ring of Honor World Tag-Team Champion, along with Chris Hero - collectively, the Kings of Wrestling.

My question now is...is Hero coming with him? If WWE is serious about "rebuilding their tag-team division", I certainly well hope so.

Be that as it may, this is still pretty big news.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Count3rCu1ture, The New DC: Justice League #1

Exclusive to Tumblr! Starting today and twice a week for...probably a while, you can see how the New DC unfolds and how a jaded fan reacts with surprise (in some cases).

Oh, hey, while I have you here...

You may remember a while back I mentioned that Shinobi Ninja had their video for "Rock Hood" out for your perusal. In case you didn't catch it, let's go to the instant replay:

So why am I bringing this up again? Because this video now has a chance to be in regular rotation at MTVu. And you can help make it happen.

If it can be done, Shinobi Ninja has promised a surprise for their fans. I'll let them give the details (courtesy of the Facebook Event page they've set up for this):

If we win this contest, we're going to throw a FREE rooftop party/concert with all sorts of swag and food. Invites will go out to everyone who votes, blasts the link, and attends and posts on this FB event. If you aren't an NYC native, you'll get an exclusive invite to stream the show and party with us online.

Its been a long and winding road but today, we're here to tell you dreams really can come true!!! Right now at this moment, Shinobi Ninja is on the brink of something amazing. No label, no suits, no BS...All of it is because of the love and support that fans like you have given us over the past three years.

A few weeks ago, MTVU.com posted an interview with us on the "Hot Seat" section instead of adding our Rock Hood video into rotation. The response to the interview was so overwhelming that MTV's staff came to see us play later that week in NYC at Arlene's Grocery. The combination of our live performance and our incredibly dedicated fans earned us a shot at the BIGTIME!!!!

Every week, MTVU selects 5 new artists to compete for an add in MTVU's regular rotation.

Millions of people discover new music on MTVU every day.

THIS WEEK, ITS OUR TURN! Its the biggest thing to happen to us since we played our first show ever at the Knitting Factory in August 2008 (by the way we are about to play our SECOND show at the Knit this week...coincidence or destiny?!?!)

Help us write the last sentence in the first chapter of the story of Shinobi Ninja and vote for "Rock Hood" on MTVU.com!

Just a little hint, you can vote as many times as you'd like!

Share this link on your social networks and tell your friends to vote too!

Happy Voting!!!!

Terminator Dave + Shinobi Ninja

The reasons I'm putting this out there?

1) Hell yeah I want an invite to this show online!

2) After seeing their set and meeting them at Nerdapalooza, I can personally vouch for not only their talent and stage presence, but for the fact that this is a genuinely nice group of folks who love recording and performing. Their enthusiasm is infectious, and I can't help but dig that.

3) They said it themselves: Shinobi Ninja is on the brink of something amazing. No label, no suits, no BS...All of it is because of the love and support that fans like you have given us over the past three years. This is a classic tale of a do-it-yourself act that's gotten to where they are on nothing but hard work, fan appreciation, and an ethic that this site embraces. They deserve to see their dreams come true, and this could be the chance they have to make it happen.

So please, go check out the video and vote for them. I'm sure you want to be invited to the party too, right?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The New DC Flash: Why (Not)?

It’s been well-documented that I have my misgivings about “The New DC”. At the same time, I also understand why they’re doing it and what may come from it.* Some of the changes made to DC’s characters regarding the New DC I’ve agreed with, and some I haven’t. There’s one change, however, that I don’t know if I’m on board with or not.

DC Editor Brian Cunningham, who now takes over The Flash in the New DC, announced recently that in the new Flash series, “The Flash is a single man. He’s a bachelor who has never been married.”

Let me translate for those of you that may not grasp what just happened. Barry Allen and Iris West Allen were married in Flash #165 (vol. 1), which came out in November of 1966. With one stroke, a 45-year character marriage has been wiped from history.

My initial reaction to this? “Um, excuse me, Mr. Cunningham, sir?”

Let’s clarify this before it even starts: I didn’t decry this just because DC ditched a 45 year-old marriage. The problem here was that marriage came to define Barry Allen’s character as much as the costume he wore.

As stated before, what got me in to the Flash - and in to comics as a whole - was “The Trial of Barry Allen.” Allen was on trial for the murder of his arch-nemesis, Eobard Thawne (Professor Zoom), who had attempted to murder Allen’s fiancee. Allen killed Thawne not just because of the attempted murder, but because Thawne had also murdered his wife, Iris, the same way. That emotional turmoil was at the center of this story, and has been at the center of so many more.

In fact, the relationship between Barry and Iris was so strong that it became a focal point of the entire Flash Mythology, period. The original Flash, Jay Garrick, always his spouse, Joan, at his side. Barry’s successor, Wally West, was married to Linda park, and writer Mark Waid used that relationship to emotionally ground West just like his predecessor, Barry, was grounded by Iris. In “Flash: Rebirth”, the series that brought Barry Allen back proper - and actually began the series of events that would lead to the New DC in the first place - Allen escapes the “Speed Force” by remaining connected to his “lightning rod”...his wife, Iris.

Many comics fans are mad as hell over this particular change. Voiding the marriage of Superman and Lois Lane? not so bad; they were married for 15 of the character’s 73-year history. But this one? Oh, man.

Here, I’ll give you an idea. Ari Berenstein, writer of 411 Wrestling’s Column of Honor” and comic fan, offered me a quote for this story: "DC you don't have to undo marriages in order to create personal conflicts and tensions in a story. If you can't create an interesting story with conflict and tension without saying "this didn't happen and we're starting over" then get out of the industry and stop writing comics, stories, anything!" There are many more sentiments like that out there, and I was certainly one of them.

But then, I started thinking about it a little more. Iris West Allen wasn’t all that defined Barry Allen as The Flash. She was certainly a constant, but this was only a piece of the puzzle. Barry Allen was always - with or without Iris - defined as a good man who sought justice. A little vague for a comic book superhero, sure, but Barry Allen was one of the few that exemplify the values of a superhero.

Why can’t he do that as a single man? I mean, wasn’t this one of the qualities that Iris Allen fell in love with about him in the first place? Seeing Barry Allen redefined as the same person he ever was...actually sounds fascinating. And there’s no reason this can’t be done.

However, I’m not 100% sold on the idea quite yet. That task is going to fall on Francis Manapul. Manapul can certainly draw The Flash. Not since Carmine Infantino himself was an artist born to draw Barry Allen and his adventures. But, is he as good of a writer as an artist?

The immediate, knee-jerk answer is...I have no idea. I’ve never read anything that Manapul has written. I’m not sure he’s written anything at all, to be honest and if he has, I haven’t seen it. In that regard, Manapul certainly comes off as a wild card here.

All in all, I’m curious to see how DC can redefine a character in such a manner. I’m curious to see if Manapul can pull this off. I’m curious to see, since Cunningham also revealed that Iris West will still be around, if this will eventually tell the courtship of Barry and Iris. if that’s the case, I’m curious to see how long they can keep away from that.

As you can guess, though, I’m certainly curious enough to pick up the first issue of the new Flash series. This will have to be seen to be believed and examined further.

* - (Cheap plug time: I wanted to wait a bit until after everybody else and their mother had their say so I could have some time to not be influenced by the reviews. Now that enough time has passed, I’ll be reviewing selected new books starting tomorrow, at the rate of two a week. Those reviews will be brief, and available exclusively at the Count3rCu1ture Tumblr page. Bet you didn’t even know I had one of those, did you? You do now. Go check it out.)

Monday, September 12, 2011

C3C1 5 - Superheroes

Welcome to as personal of a look at me as you’re going to get here.

“C3C1 5” is a series of lists detailing my personal favorite...whatever topic I happen to choose. I am trying to make these a weekly ongoing feature. Of course, my reputation for regularity isn’t the greatest in the world; heck, I’ve already skipped a week due to having to get a lot of other work done while adjusting to a new schedule, but now we commence with round 02.

The reasons and rules for this are available in the first installment. Suffice to say, they can be summed up very simply with this statement:

The views and opinions expressed herein are those solely of the author and may not necessarily reflect those of the rest of the human race.

Welcome to round 02 (Fight!) of C3C1 5. This week’s list of five is:

Five Fave Superheroes

It’s that simple, folks - the big guns. The guys we all know and love from the funny book pages. I was actually going to save this because I wasn’t sure I wanted two comic-centric lists back-to-back, but there is a particular reason this is going up now. You’ll get a hint later and find out exactly why tomorrow.

Enough of the jibba-jabba. Let’s do this:

05: Green Lantern

Admittedly, I’m a little late to the game here. And Geoff Johns has a lot to do with GL’s placement this high on the list with the way he’s completely redefined the mythology. All that out there, Green Lantern - and make no mistake, this is certainly Hal Jordan we’re discussing here - has always fascinated me because of the idea of redemption. From losing his dad early on and living up to the ideal he thought his father would have had, to losing his schtuff when Coast City was destroyed, setting him on a path of evil and a return to righteousness, Jordan’s story has always been one I’ve enjoyed following and, at times, certainly relating to. And let’s face it, that ring can do some amazing stuff.

04: The Hulk

(A momentary aside: you can tell I’m pretty much a DC guy when there’s one Marvel character that cracks the C3C1 5. Not that I hate Marvel at all; I grew up with the X-Men. I dig the Avengers trinity as much as the next fan. But, when it comes to individual characters, you can tell which publisher has always had my attention more than the other.)

Anyone who’s seen my temper up close and personal knows exactly why The Hulk is on this list. I can rage with the best of them, and most times it’s for the same reason - I’ve always let myself be walked on when it comes to relationships with other people. When I see just how bad I’ve gotten the shaft for how long...yeah. I don’t grow to 5x my size or turn green (or gray or red), but this is pretty much the result. Nowadays I’m a lot better at not letting my temper get that far. However, if I went through what the Hulk did in Planet Hulk, I totally would have done what he did in World War Hulk (one of my fave Hulk stories). And I wouldn’t think twice about it.

03: The Flash

The Flash is what got me started on comics in the first place. It was The Trial of Barry Allen, and the end of his first series. Watching a man go through losing his first wife and then almost having his new fiancee murdered by the same person was captivating. That did it.

There’s a lot more to be said for The Flash and Barry Allen (the version represented here, although Wally West is a very close second). And it will be said tomorrow. Some news came about The Flash in the New DC that has to be discussed in detail. Yes, The Flash is the reason this list was posted now instead of later. Stay tuned.

02: Batman

Bat man is a straight-up icon of a man honing himself to be the pinnacle of human achievement using only his mind and his will. It’s the reason he tops probably a couple million “favorite superhero” lists - he has no superpowers; he’s just a man that built himself to be the best, an ideal most o0f us strive for.

What made me love Batman was Batman #400. It was here that Batman’s nightmare came to life, putting him against odds he couldn’t possibly overcome. And yet, he did. It’s a story that sums up his will and ability to overcome anything, all done in a beautiful, self-contained story.

01: Superman

If you don’t think the comic book fanbase has its share of hipsters, think again. It’s all the rage to hate Superman nowadays. “He’s too powerful”...”he’s such a boy scout”...”man his recent stories have really sucked.”

Okay, I can’t argue with that last one. But everything else is excuses in the form of gross oversimplifications. Superman was the first superhero. He captured imaginations in 1938 for the same reason he does now - who doesn’t want the ability to do damn-near anything? Many fans that bag on him now cover that jealousy with another excuse: “He can do anything he wants, yet he chooses to be a good guy?”

Yes, he does. And for all that ability and power, Superman is still mortal. He’s just as human as any of us. The best stories illustrate this perfectly, and even comic creators tend to screw that up. Hell, J Michael Straczynski inexplicably wrote one of the best and worst superman stories ever!

He’s a tough character to nail because not any people can fully grasp how someone so all-powerful can also be so vulnerable. But when he’s done right, Superman shows us that he is our actual self, while Batman is our ideal self. Batman has made himself perfect, while Superman was made perfect, but continues to show us how human we all are.