Saturday, March 30, 2013

The sketch cards

Here, as promised, are the color sketch cards, recently completed.  I broke them down into a couple different categories.  Make your selections and get some ideas for what you want to ask for!





Video Games

Rock Stars

Star Wars

These will be on sale on a first come-first served basis, so if you see one you can't live without, get there early!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Small Sketch-A-Thon Update

There isn't a whole lot to report at this point.  I know that last week I said I would have a definitive place in the mall that I would be located, but because of some conflicting information between two of the parties, I am still not only without the necessary liability insurance, but also waiting for more information so that I can complete this last, albeit necessary, step and move forward from there.

Those of you that know me know that I am not the most spontaneous of guys, so every day that this is not ready to go in terms of the setup leaves me a little twitchy.  Just know that I am doing everything in my power to finish up all of these little details so I can get to the part that will make me, and you, the happiest.  I would love to be able to just sit down, take out a pencil and a brush and just draw.  You know that's where my heart lies, and always will, on the production end, the end that makes people happy and "delivers the goods" so to speak.  All this background stuff is the part that is frustrating and makes it hard to do the part that I love, the part that will actually do the most good.

You would think that trying to do something good, something where all of the proceeds will go to a charity as well as raise the awareness of a disorder (and as I learned at a meeting last week, that is one of the main goals of Autism Speaks), would require a little less in the way of hoops to jump through, but no.  Oh well, bureaucracy is bullshit but it's the eggs you need to crack to make the omelet.

On a lighter note.  The color sketch cards are nearly done (and will be done tonight).  I will post pictures of the cards on here and on my facebook page so that you can see them ahead of time, and even get an idea of what you may want to purchase or request when you stop by the table.  Those will go up either later tonight, or (more likely) early tomorrow.

I appreciate everyone's support so far and cant wait to see you all there on May 4!

Two Seconds Too Late

Today's lesson is: always be on time.  And if you are going to have someone dress like a cop, make sure he looks like a Village People reject.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Comic Review – Clone #5

            I’ve heard good things about Clone.  Let’s see if they are true!

            First things first, the cover is by the interior artist (Juan Jose Ryp) and it actually depicts something that happens.  Those are two distinct marks in the “+” column as far as I’m concerned.  The illustration itself is well done, full of action, full of movement, and full of intrigue for the interior subject matter.  I have never read Clone before, and while this cover does not tell me anything about the story as a whole, it does tell me that it is (or at least should be) exciting.  The quality of the art itself is great as well.  Everything is hyper-detailed, which makes the fact that this woman is hanging out of an airplane while firing a gun believable in an unbelievable kind of way.  Hell, even the logo is clear and readable.  Well done all around.

9/10 – It’s an action movie in a comic cover, well done.

            Dialogue is pretty sparse, especially in the early-going, but the story does move right along.  This is a good thing in some respects as it gives Ryp’s art a chance to really star (more on that in a bit) but it does make for a short read.  Writer David Schulner has done a decent job of crafting a story that, while it does feel a bit like it’s been done before, at least has the possibility of finding its own voice.  There is an interesting sub-plot with the vice president and some guy that isn’t identified, but he scowls a lot so I assume he’s a bad guy.  It shows where the loyalty lies for the vice president when he ultimately makes his decision and sets up a very sinister bad guy for future use.  The big reveal that the individual that I assume is the main character is the “original”, the one that all of the clones come from, and that he is dying, is a nice twist.  You can go into a story like this thinking one of two things, that the main character is the original or that he is one of the clones.  Either way, it feels like a more grounded version of Marvel’s Multiple Man.  With the government conspiracy angle that arises though, it is possible that this will actually be an effective story upon its completion. 

            Even at this stage of the game, where you expect the first story-arc to be winding down, the nuggets placed for future stories are not only appreciated but are downright delightful.  It’s obvious that Schulner has a lot of faith in this and is ready and willing to reward those readers that share his faith.  None of the characters are inherently likable, there isn’t enough dialogue there for me to form an opinion, but some of the situations that he puts the characters through makes you feel for them a bit, and I have a feeling if I had read the previous four issues I may be more invested in the characters themselves.  This may be his intent though as the plot of the story, at least in this issue, takes precedence.  That’s an artistic interpretation though and it’s specific to the creator on how he wants to drive the plot forward.  I am more of a character driven plot guy myself, but I absolutely can see the other side.  It’s possible that read in trade paperback form, more of a balance will be struck.

7/10 – It’s good, though a bit light on the dialogue for my tastes.  I can see a solid base though, and it is an intriguing storyline that it feels like Schulner has a distinct vision for. 

            Let’s get this out of the way right off the bat.  Juan Jose Ryp, you make good art.  Okay, to be a bit more specific, the amount of detail that he puts into each page and each image on said page is remarkable.  This is not even counting the stippling effect, which has to be a brush in Photoshop right?  There’s no way that is done by hand as consistently as it is.  I am still impressed, don’t get me wrong.  In fact the first thought that crossed my mind when I looked at the first page was “How does he stay on schedule?”

This is the page that made me stand up and take notice right out of the gate.

You can see a lot of Geoff Darrow in all of the minute details that he puts into his work.  Nothing seems out of place, and he doesn’t sacrifice essential elements like perspective and anatomy for detail, nor does he use that detail to just cover up flaws in his own ability. 

            There is no cookie-cutter face for the characters here (which is saying a lot in a book called Clone) and everyone seems to be sporting an expression that is appropriate for the situation they are placed in.  It’s this manic attention to detail in all aspects of the artwork that make Ryp’s work stand above that of his peers.

            It should also be noted that colorist Felix Serrano does a great job with keeping everything realistic and using light and shadow effectively in conjunction with the massive amount of detail.  

There is so much detail and acting in a bunch of nonessential characters here.  It's like they each have a story to tell and aren't just cardboard cutouts.

You can tell he's the bad guy because he always has this scowl every time you see him.  

The only flaw in Ryp's work is that the amount of detail can often make the women look mannish and that her lips look like a kielbasa.

9/10 – This was an impressive artistic undertaking and from all of the promos for the previous four issues along with the preview for issue six, Ryp has been nothing if not consistent. 

Overall: 8/10 – The story was promising and the artwork is outstanding.  Highly, highly recommended. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


This one strip is what spawned the whole storyline.  Don't ask me why I was thinking about this, but I wondered if this was an actual response that a Spanish speaking person would have to the above accusation.  I assume that they would, but it sounds funnier coming from someone that doesn't speak that language initially.  This is apparently all it took to get me to craft a story (that and the fact that my younger brother was a freshman in college dating someone in high school at the time - which is not bad at all, but gets exponentially worse as that age gap widens, 
which is what I did here).  

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Kenny Wayne Shepherd: Standing Room Only at the Palace Theater

            It’s been quite a while since my last concert review (September to be exact) and it was definitely nice to get out and see some live music again. 

For my father’s birthday this year, I got tickets for us to go see Kenny Wayne Shepherd at the Palace Theater.  We have both been fans of Shepherd’s music for a while now, but had not seen him in concert yet, basically just living off of the various CD releases.  By chance, I wandered on to the band’s website a couple weeks ago and saw that they were playing a show, right here in Syracuse!  Sold!  Tickets were relatively inexpensive, especially given the accommodations, and so I scooped up two to be used as his birthday present this year. 

            First, something needs to be said for the Palace Theater in Syracuse, NY.  This is one of the best venues I have ever seen a concert in.  The seating is comfortable and there is plenty of leg room in case you want to sit down.  The whole theater is small, no bigger than a school auditorium (and in many cases, probably smaller) and the stage is equally small.  I am used to seeing shows at amphitheaters around here because it’s hard to get good, well-known bands to visit smaller venues, but I actually prefer a smaller atmosphere.  This was perfect.  There wasn’t a bad seat in the house.  The tickets were general admission so my father and I sat dead center about twenty rows back.  The acoustics took a second to get used to as it was very loud, but after that slight adjustment period, it was actually quite enjoyable. 

            The sound guys for Shepherd’s band did an excellent job as well.  It is not an easy task to get the sound balanced just right so you can hear all parts, including an organ, while playing indoors.  There were a couple hiccups where the sound dipped and got really quiet, but they were momentary and were quickly corrected.  I have been to outdoor shows where the balance was not this crisp, and I would argue that it is probably easier to manage sound outdoors than in.  Anyway, a huge pat on the back to the sound guys for their spot on, professional work.

            Okay, enough of the technical stuff, on to the performance itself.  Kenny Wayne Shepherd can play the shit out of a guitar.  His backing band was exceptional, and Noah Hunt has a voice perfectly suited to not only the blues, but to Shepherd’s band in general.  In all honesty, it would not be a Kenny Wayne Shepherd CD or concert without Noah Hunt.  I would go out on a limb and say that with Hunt’s versatility as well as just the overall power of his voice that he is one of the better vocalists out there in any genre.  Seriously, put him up against any male vocalist and I guarantee that he would be at least in the top five if not the overall winner.  But people go to these shows to see Shepherd play, and people turned out in droves for this one.  The show was sold out and people were standing in the aisles in order to see the band.  They were absolutely rewarded for that diligence as Shepherd was on all night long.  There was no opening band, so the action started right around eight o’clock and didn’t let up until a quarter to ten.  The band even stayed on stage instead of going off for the obligatory encore break.  This gave us all three more songs and about another half hour of music from the band. 

            I’ll be honest, I usually get tired at concerts.  I feel like an old man, and I have a bad back and usually at the end of a concert, there is more relief for me than there is any kind of elation.  Not here.  I was absolutely ready for more when it came to Shepherd and his band and could have stayed and listened to them for a few more hours.  From start to finish there was no let-up, no weak point.  In many other shows, when you see the lead singer leave the stage so that a musician can take a turn doing either a guitar or drum solo, you can kind of go to sleep a bit.  Sure, some of the guitar and drum solos can be interesting at times, but many of them are just unnecessary masturbatory material to showcase that specific musician.  They drag on too long and wind up being a little too self-indulgent.  Here, Noah Hunt left the stage at least three times, and each time, the quality of the show was just as good as before he left.  Shepherd had solos during the course of the regular songs, but only after Hunt left did Shepherd really cut loose, showing that bluesy rock guitar that comes straight from the Stevie Ray Vaughn school.  His solos are not just solos where he is plucking away at the guitar, experimenting with a sound.  Shepherd knows his sound and he plays it well, so these solos are actually fully written and realized songs (many of which wind up on his albums).  The fact that Shepherd slowly builds to a deafening crescendo in his solos works wonders at keeping the crowd engaged.  There were many times throughout the set, and even mid-song where the crowd would jump to its feet mid-song after a particularly fierce guitar part that was expertly executed. 

            I guess my only real complaint is that it rocked too hard (if you can call that a complaint).  Shepherd has a vast catalogue of music, not to mention years of blues songs that he can cover.  A good portion of those songs are slower, dare I say ballads that are among some of the best.  Not once did he dip his toe in that water this night.  While I can’t complain with the songs that he did choose, and I honestly wouldn’t be able to pick a song to replace as they were all excellent, it would have been nice to take the intensity down a bit at some point with the softer touch that Shepherd and his band really excel at.  That being said, it is a minor complaint, one that is overshadowed by the overall quality of the performance.

            Also, it doesn’t hurt any blues show when you close it out with a cover of Jimi Hendrix’s Voodoo Chile (slight return).

            If you like the blues, rock music, or just live music in general, you owe it to yourself to see Kenny Wayne Shepherd play.  If you can see him in the confines of the Palace Theater, than you are in for a treat. 

Hell’s Kitchen Episode Two: How Hard Is It to Cook a Scallop?

            I’ve only cooked scallops a couple times in my life, and each time they were either bacon-wrapped and grilled or in a chowder.  So, admittedly I have never cooked them the same way they are done on Hell’s Kitchen.  That being said, how hard is it to cook a scallop, or risotto, or any of the dishes on that show, especially when you are responsible for one, maybe two things!? 

            We’ll come back to the relevance of that statement.  Now it’s time for the recap.  We start where we left off, with the women fighting.  This happens every year, and usually the producers keep the instigator around long enough to squeeze every little drop of conflict out of them before sending them home (I’m talking about you Elise from two seasons ago, you were terrible).  The main instigator here is the crazy puppet lady, mainly because she rubs everyone the wrong way.  Her main opponent is the fat black girl, and they really lay into each other (just verbally, it doesn’t escalate into anything physical, which is a good thing because I don’t see anyone that could or would get between those two). 

            The contestants go to bed and are rudely awoken mere hours later by the military (or just people dressed in camouflage).  They are shuttled downstairs and outside where a physical, team-building challenge awaits them.  Just as a quick aside here, every contestant was in a state of disheveled when they got outside, t-shirt, pajama pants, just a mess.  All, except for the old guy, who looked like he was ready to start a dinner-service.  I noticed that and I hope Ramsay noticed that as well, because he has now become my favorite to win the competition.  Before the whole thing starts, Puppet lady quits!  She just up and leaves.  Tells Ramsay that she doesn’t have a good relationship with her teammates and that she would like to leave.  While it’s not altogether surprising, seeing an older Italian lady without any fight in her is pretty sad.  Is this what Snooki would do?  Not at all, she would get right up in there and cut a bitch.  I hope she left the puppet in fat black girl’s bed to scare her. 

Anyway, back to the challenge.  They had to scale a wall (the pull yourself up by the rope military obstacle course kind) and dive into a lobster tank to collect lobsters.  Seems pretty easy right?  For the guys it was as they blew through the competition, crushing the girls.  That was only part of the competition though (of course it was) as the contestants then had to butcher the lobsters, providing a perfect presentation of the tail, claws, legs, etc. in order to gain a point.  The side that scored the most points within a set time was then declared the winner.  Easy?  Easy.  Just not so easy for the guys as they were slow and downright terrible at this challenge.  The girls won and got their reward, which was time on a luxury yacht with Ramsay.  I have to think that he actually owns the yacht or something, this guy does the same reward every year, and renting it has got to be expensive. 

            They board the yacht and are greeted with alcohol, sushi and massages.  At this point fat black girl decides it’s a good idea to tell Ramsay that when the military came in to wake everyone up that morning her “hoo-ha” (her words) was out.  Get it together girl, put some pants on.  PTSD is not just acquired on missions in Afghanistan.  If she keeps this up, I wouldn’t be surprised if Ramsay rigs the contests so the boys win just so he doesn’t have to hear about her hoo-ha flapping in the breeze any more.  While this is going on at the yacht, the guys have to take in the shipment of fish for the next dinner service.  This means not only carrying in the boxes themselves, but also cleaning and filleting the fish.  It’s not the hardest punishment in the world, but it gets exponentially worse when they are faced with their “lunch” of fish-head soup.  It looks like just a broth with fish heads boiled in it, basically a fish stock.  This sets many of the guys to gagging, as it should, and none more than the chubby guy (last weeks runner-up to elimination) who starts to gag just talking about it. 

            Okay, fast forward to dinner service the next day.  Everyone has prepped and gotten ready, except for chubby guy, who is lost and slow, and many of the girls that just don’t really know what’s going on at this point.  Dinner service is terrible.  The girls get their appetizers out even though the squeaky voiced girl refuses to cook off the alcohol in her risotto, leaving it a boozy mess on multiple occasions.  They get hung up on the entrees though as the girl that apparently gave Ramsay raw lamb last episode, did it again.  The funniest part is when they were trying to decide who to put up for elimination after dinner service (which they were all kicked out of), she said that if the apps had been done correctly, she would have not put up raw lamb.  That’s funny, and also bullshit.  Luckily she gets called out on it, her response to which is to storm off and slam her bedroom door.  It’s so easy to root against these people.

            On to the guys’ kitchen, where we meet the guy that just can’t cook scallops.  Honestly, to this point, this chef has done nothing to make us even notice him, until he puts up rubbery scallop after rubbery scallop in front of Ramsay.  He and chubby guy are forced to eat an order of the bad scallops while another member of the team, maybe one of the mohawk guys, makes the next batch…which they thoroughly screw up as well.  At this point Ramsay kicks them all out of the kitchen because no one can cook a scallop.  Is it that hard to put a nice sear on a scallop while not overcooking it?  It’s not like these guys aren’t using the best quality pots and pans, so then what, they just don’t get it?  They fold under pressure?  I don’t know, but it’s sad.

            So, up for elimination tonight are squeaky voiced girl and girl that always looks depressed from the red team and chubby guy as well as guy that can’t cook scallops from the blue team.  It should be noted that fat black girl, the one that has exhibited nothing but attitude and the willingness to throw people under the bus is crying the whole time this is going on.  I have no idea why, they’ve only been around each other for what, maybe a week?  Guy that can’t cook scallops gets sent home and everyone else is safe, except for chubby guy who is asked to stay behind and…to be continued.

            I find it interesting how, when individuals are eliminated later in the game, they get a handshake or a hug from Ramsay, while in the beginning stages they are brushed off, as if they didn’t exist to begin with.  I wonder when that switch flips…when they get the black jackets maybe?  I don’t know, but we’ll find out.    

            Tonight we get to see what happens to chubby guy, and the men’s team has a blow up as two of the skinny douchey guys get in eachother’s face and try and start something.  To which we get a nice “come at me bro” moment and one guy saying that he would be okay going to jail.  Okay, whatever, you guys weigh 250 pounds combined, no one is scared.  

See you next week!

Monday, March 25, 2013

March Madness Cartoon Bracket Fourth Round Breakdown

It’s Elite Eight Time!  The regional championships to see who goes on to face each other in the Final Four.  This has been an interesting round as we have had a lot of close victories and our first number one went down.  Let’s keep up the excitement and finish strong!

Pre-1960 Region:

Looney Tunes (1) vs. Tom & Jerry (6)

Matt:  So I guess Moose and Squirrel weren’t as invincible as I thought.  The mighty power that is Tom & Jerry beat them pretty convincingly.  This sets up a matchup against tournament number one, the gang from Looney Tunes.  Tom & Jerry surprised me a couple times, but I think Bugs & Co. take it here to advance to the final four.
Nik:  Shocked to see T&J make it this far. Not upset, though, honestly. They’re classic. However, I think Looney Tunes has way more hitting power here. I think they’ll rock Tom & Jerry this time. It’s been a nice and surprising run thus far, but it’s time to move on.

1960s/1970s Region:

The Flintstones (1) vs. Pink Panther (6)

Matt:  I’ll be honest, I thought last round would have been the end of Bedrock’s first family.  They prevailed by a slim margin and now have to face a cartoon that probably has the most momentum in the tournament.  The Pink Panther has been the giant killer so far (except for Jabberjaw, because, well it’s Jabberjaw).  To beat both The Jetsons and Scooby Doo is no small feat (especially since I had Scooby advancing to the final four), but a win here will be much more difficult to come by.  There’s only so far a catchy theme song and being the face of insulation will take you.  Flintstones squeaks it out here.
Nik:  Again, another surprise with Pink Panther making it this far. But, honestly, since PP has had *such* a ridiculously strong run, I’m really thinking that he takes it over the Flintstones. I don’t see the Flintstones having enough momentum/being strong enough to compete with what we’ve seen thus far. There’s only so much Rick Moranis, John Goodman, Rosie O’Donnell and Halle Berry can help it (1994 movie, anyone?).
Matt:  If anything is going to help your chances, it’s having Rosie O’Donnell in your movie.

1980’s Region:

Transformers (1) vs. The Simpsons (2)

Matt:  The Simpsons destroyed The Ghostbusters last round, sweeping them out of the competition.  On the other side of the equation, Transformers was almost upset by the upstart Inspector Gadget, escaping by only one vote!  I thought The Simpsons would prevail here before the tournament started, and that was only reaffirmed last round after the lack of support for the Robots in Disguise.
Nik:  Going to have to agree here. Simpsons is just too strong of a force, particularly seeing as how Transformers has been performing. I’m calling it, Simpsons takes the whole competition. (prove me wrong!)

1990’s – Current Region:

King of the Hill (2) vs. Animaniacs (5)

Matt:  The Animaniacs just keep chugging along, taking down all others in their path.  Their victims this week were the kids from South Park.  While that wasn’t too unexpected, anytime a number one goes down it is a bit of a surprise.  It wasn’t even close here though, and honestly neither was King of the Hill’s victory over Darkwing Duck.  This sets up a heavyweight fight between these two franchises that have yet to really be challenged in this tournament.  This may be the hardest for me to call, but I think the fact that the Animaniacs have rolled through the competition so far will mean an exit for Hank Hill.  Animaniacs win it and enter the Final Four as the lowest seed still alive. 
Nik:  Animaniacs all the way. The fact that they walloped South Park in the last round tells me that King of the Hill doesn’t stand a chance. If it were South Park vs. King of the Hill right now, I’d say South Park takes it. So if the Park couldn’t get this far, then their competition will move on.


Not too sure how Sluggy didn't see that one coming.  Of course, this storyline has proven time and again that his foresight leaves a lot to be desired.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Eat @ Shrimpy's Sketch-A-Thon Update

Just as a quick update; I am in the final stages of getting confirmation from Destiny USA on the event, as soon as my liability insurance form comes we will be all set to go and I will hopefully get a concrete spot within the mall that I can pass along to all of you.

On the creative side, I have one artistic volunteer signed up and a couple that are donating some pieces that will be for sale.  I know these people, and I know the quality of their art, you will want to get there early before someone else snatches them up.  I will also have around fifty color sketch cards on sale.  They should be complete within the next week and I will let you see them ahead of time.  Again, get there early for these as they are originals and once they are gone, they are gone.  The free sketches will be similar to the color ones in style, just done in black and white to meet the quick turnaround that will be needed.  Please note that all of the proceeds from the donations and everything sold will go straight to Autism Speaks for use in autism advocacy and research.

My brother Brandon, who has worked in both child and adult special education programs will be on hand all day with me to help answer any questions that you have, and we will have phone numbers you can call if your questions are beyond the breadth of our combined knowledge.  I ask that if you want to talk in depth with me about anything that you come a little later in the day as I have a feeling that the first few hours will be the busiest and may not leave a lot of time to chat, and I don't want to ignore anyone that comes by, on purpose or otherwise.

I will be receiving the Autism Speaks literature from the home office soon and that will be available to not only look at, but to take home as well...all for free!

Two weeks after that on May 19 I will be at the Walk Now for Autism event in Longbranch Park in Liverpool doing another, more condensed, sketch-a-thon.  I will be bringing any of my leftover sketches with me and will be creating free on-the-spot sketches there as well, so feel free to stop out to both!

And a final note: April is national autism month, with April second as light it up blue for autism speaks day.  Head down to your local home depot and purchase a blue lightbulb.  For each blue lightbulb they sell, they will donate $1 to Autism Speaks.  It may not seem like much, but all of those dollars add up.

Thanks in advance for all your help and support, and I look forward to seeing all of you on the fourth!


The only thing that would make this better is if it was filmed by a COPS crew.  That's some quality television right there.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Comic Review: All Crime Comics #1

I wasn’t sure what to pick up this week.  Nothing really stood out on the comic shelf as the kind of comic I would not only want to review, but dammit, I wanted something that I might enjoy.  Then my eyes fell on All Crime Comics.  It had a pulpy feel to the cover and boasts $3.95 for 36 big pages…sold!

            The cover art looked familiar, like I had seen the artist before, but whether it was the way it was colored or the fact hat the woman had her eyes closed, not giving away one of the artist’s most distinct features, I was stumped.  Then I opened it and his name was right there: Bruce Timm, the father of Batman The Animated Series.  Sweet.  Even if it wasn’t created by someone with such a pedigree in the comics world, the execution on the cover is top notch.  From the illustration itself to the faux damage to the cover, the kind you would see in the old days when comics were actually read multiple times, it screams awesome.  The soft color choices of the smoking woman, contrasted by the hard lines of the doorway and the man standing there, watching her is well executed, as well as the overall design sense.  The way your eye moves around the page proves that Timm’s time in animation has not dulled any of his comic sensibilities. 

            The best part is that Timm draws a scantily clad woman, that you don’t even notice as much as you would think you would because of the way that he lights it and the overall design aesthetic that he brings to the cover.  Sure, he wants her to be the focus, but it’s not a cheesy superhero comic, she isn’t to be leered at by masturbatory fanboys.  She exudes the femme fatale that was so prevalent in the entertainment industry that was prevalent in the time that this cover is trying to (and succeeding in) transporting us back to.

10/10 – Whatever Timm was paid to create this cover, it was not enough.  Phenomenal job.

            The first thing that throws me off is that this is written by something called the Art of Fiction.  What is that?  Is it like a writer’s room of a television show?  How am I supposed to have high expectations for something that people won’t put their name on?  It’s getting a bit sketchy already.  We dive right into the action right away as a beefy Russian guy (why are they always Russian?) beats the crap out of a group of guys.  Once we are through with that (which feels like a pre-credits sequence) we actually get to the meat of the story which is a “one last job” kind of story based in 1989, where the criminals in question are breaking into a prison to murder someone.  Okay, so far it’s not really new or inventive, but it just started, so there is still hope.  I am also a bit unclear as to why the setting is 1989, but hopefully that gets worked out as well.

            Midway through the comic, we are transported back in time to 1966, to see the individual that is the target of the hit when he first started out on his life of crime.  This is a nice little story within the story, and does a good job of giving us a general background.  We are then transported back to the present (1989) where the criminals are breaking in to the prison to carry out the hit.  There are complications, because there are always complications, but the hit does work out in the end because of the insurance policy of a sniper outside the prison. 

            The story reads okay, but it leaves me with a few questions.  We are never told why the current action is set in 1989, and no specific action in the present, or in the 1966 flashback gives any concrete reason why it should be there.  The flashback dwells on the budding rivalry between the hit target and his former friend, all over a girl (naturally).  The main question I have is, the target is accounted for in both time periods, as is the girl, but the rival isn’t.  Dodger (the main character) acts like he is the rival, or at least has the same relationship to the target as the rival does, but he is way too young to be the same person without some kind of goofy manipulation.  And if he is not the same person, what is his relationship to these people?  There are a lot of questions and a lot of loose ends, but because this is not a one shot issue, I am hopeful that it gets worked out eventually. 

7/10 – While it leaves a lot of loose ends, I am interested to see where the story goes and what connections these characters have to one another.

            First of all, the choice to have the 1989 setting and the 1966 setting illustrated by two different people in two distinctly different styles was about as smart as getting Bruce Timm to do the cover.  Using something as clich├ęd as different shaped panels or a sepia tone would not have been nearly as effective as this was.  It goes from Noir to Riverdale and back again, and that jarring shift helps transport you to the destination. 

            The artwork itself, by Ed Laroche and Marc Sandroni, is pretty good.  Laroche has a little trouble at times with proportions, but it is not overly distracting.  Sandroni’s art starts out clear, but then gets fuzzy, literally fuzzy like a camera out of focus toward the end of his middle portion.  I am not sure if that was intentional or not, but it doesn’t read well.  Storytelling in Sandroni’s portion is very clear while Laroche suffers from the over-use of shadows.  It’s not a bad thing if you can work within it, Jae Lee does it perfectly, but there are a few instances where Laroche loses me.  It’s not terrible and not overpowering to the overall quality of the book though.

The pages look like this because the binding is similar to book binding, which leads to a nice overall product but hurts the reproduction ability.  There are also a couple instances when the art or text bleeds over into that no-man's land of the spine.

Here is an example of the middle portion of the book.  The different style and the storytelling here are nice.

7/10 – The art is well executed for the most part, with only a few minor issues.  It does provide the overall feel of a crime-type book though.

Overall: 7/10 – If this book can continue to pump out the same kind of quality material that is on display in this first issue, I will be pleasantly surprised.  Every choice made by the creative team in terms of putting the book together was the right one.  Even though the book feels like a movie or television script test-run, it stands on its own as a quality story.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Return Of Hell’s Kitchen, And My Sanity.

            For those of you that are unfamiliar with Hell’s Kitchen, here is the basic rundown.  A group of unlikable, borderline unwatchable, people get together and get yelled at by Gordon Ramsay for our amusement while they try and cook in a restaurant setting.  That’s it.  Oh, and the winner gets a salary of $250,000.00 that they have to work for at a high-end restaurant.  This is not new, as the show itself is in its eleventh season, and Ramsay can be seen all over Fox with a total of four (FOUR!) shows.  This is definitely one of the most watchable though.  Masterchef is the best because we don’t get 100% douche Ramsay, but it is better than Kitchen Nightmares or Hotel Hell (where the only real entertaining part-for me anyway-is when he eats and subsequently spits out all the food that the full of himself chef prepares).  Hell’s Kitchen is definitely a nice primer for when Master Chef returns later in the year though and one that I’ve been looking forward to as, honestly, Tuesday network TV sucks.   

            One thing that seems apparent, even more this year than in previous years, is the Hell’s Kitchen checklist.  Every season there are individuals that will separate themselves as certain stereotypes.  These are the people that we root against.  No one wants the stereotypes to win because they are usually pretty terrible people, many of whom want their fifteen minutes of fame as opposed to actually doing a good job at the task presented before them.  Some of the stereotypes that we have seen so far this season (in only one episode):

            Crazy girl – The lady with the puppet, that’s all I have to say about that.
Person that yells everything they say – You may remember this from seasons past as the loud Southern douche or Tennile, the dreadlocked girl.  This season it’s the one black guy in the blue kitchen.  Not sure why he feel’s it’s necessary to yell when he is talking directly to the camera, but I feel sorry for the sound editors.
Person that won’t shut up – This time it was the Mexican guy who, when introduced to everyone decided it was a good idea to talk in a Speedy Gonzalez voice.  I really wished that was his real voice, inflection and all.  Maybe then I wouldn’t be so happy to see him go home at the end of the episode. 
Douchey haircut guy – This may actually be the douchey haircut season as many of the guys are rocking stupid hair styles, none worse than the guy that got the Hell’s Kitchen logo shaved into the side of his head.
Morbidly obese person – Two women on the red team fit this description, and there seems to be at least one every single year. 
Blubbering moron – These are usually the first to go as they can rarely get out a coherent sentence.  They are also the ones that you see in most of the promos because you constantly see Ramsay losing his shit at them, and really, that’s just good television.  At this point, there are too many of these people to single out just one in this season. 

            So the whole thing starts off with a signature dish challenge which asks the chef to prepare their “signature dish” to wow Ramsay.  The fact that this is done in front of a live audience in Vegas just proves to me that we have gone from cooking competition to full on reality show now.  It’s not that these people won’t be asked to cook, but I can guarantee that now more than ever, Ramsay will be playing up the theatrics instead of focusing on the best chef (until the very end at least).  This is no more apparent than with the jokes and overblown theatrics that went into the tasting of those dishes themselves.  Seriously.  It’s as if Jim Carrey was up there, overacting and generally doing too much to draw attention to himself.  Granted, some of those dishes deserved an overblown negative reaction (seafood corndog, really?) but you could tell that Ramsay was just hamming it up for the audience. 

            I can’t say a whole lot about the contestants this season just yet.  Partially because I refuse to learn all their names as most won’t be around at this point next month, but also because they all clearly adhere to a specific stereotype that the producers clamored for, and therefore shouldn’t really have an identity.  Seriously, does the Hell’s Kitchen application process come with a checklist?  Are you a douche?  Do you weigh 400 pounds?  Do all your colleagues find you unbearably annoying?  You can be the next in line to blubber like a baby when Gordon Ramsay hands you your ass for undercooking scallops.

            All you really need to know about this episode is that all of the male chefs were kicked out except for loud guy, and Mexican guy kept trying to sneak back in only to get kicked out again when Ramsay saw him.  I could make a joke about illegal immigration and crossing the border here, but I’ll let you fill in that punchline.  He was subsequently sent home, which was to be expected, even though the chubby dumb guy that was his compatriot in the bottom two probably gave him a run for his money.  Crazy puppet lady was safe only by virtue of the red team “winning” the dinner service (if you can call it that) but the first time they lose I'm sure she will be put on the chopping block.

              There you have it.  Let the silliness commence.  Watch the new episode tonight and join me back here next week as we recap this week’s episode and see which dumbass is sent packing.

Monday, March 18, 2013

March Madness Cartoon Bracket Third Round Breakdown

Here we are, the Sweet Sixteen.  There were a couple upsets here which we’ll get to more in a moment, but the lack of one cartoon really running away with the voting proves to me that this will be a close race right to the finish.  For example, the cartoon I expected to come out of the 60s/70s bracket barely squeaked by this week, needing one vote to escape.  Keep those votes coming, we’re closing in on the championship!

Pre-1960 Region:

Looney Tunes (1) vs. Yogi Bear (5)

Matt:  Bugs and company dispatched Mr. Magoo pretty cleanly last round, but don’t worry, he didn’t see it coming (I’ll be here all week, tip your waitress).  I think that this vote will be closer but I still see Looney Tunes coming out on top.
Nik:  We’re at a point where it’s getting really difficult to write a concise, different opinion in contrast to Matt’s predictions, because they just make too much sense. But, we have been surprised with a couple wins so far, so there’s a chance for another upset here and there. That being said, Looney Tunes takes this one.

Tom & Jerry (6) vs. Rocky & Bullwinkle (10)

Matt:  Moose and Squirrel all the way.  In fact, with the momentum of the last few weeks, they may give Looney Tunes a run for their money next week if everything keeps going as expected.
Nik:  Frankly, I’m a little surprised to see Tom & Jerry having gotten this far, but I don’t think they have what it takes to overthrow Rocky & Bullwinkle, so their run must end here.

1960s/1970s Region:

The Flintstones (1) vs. The Chipmunks (5)

Matt:  As expected, the Cosby kids didn’t stand a chance against Alvin and the rest of the helium-voiced Chipmunks.  I think this is where their reign of terror will end, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see it go the other way.
Nik:  I really would’ve liked to have seen Fat Albert push past the last round, but I hope that the Chipmunks lose this round. ‘Cause who doesn’t like the cartoon version of the Honeymooners? (I’m pretty sure that’s what the Flintstones was based on, right?) But, that being said, I think this may be the first big shocker of this week’s round, I certainly would not be overly surprised to see the Chipmunks squeak by on this one. (terrible pun actually not intended, but now that I see it, I’m leaving it in)
Matt:  You are correct.  Fred is Jackie Gleason all the way.  Terrible pun acknowledged and accepted.

Scooby Doo (2) vs. Pink Panther (6)

Matt:  Scooby barely escaped Underdog last round, and Pink Panther surprised the hell out of me by pulling out a victory against The Jetsons, but I have a feeling Scooby prevails this time. 
Nik:  I’m also surprised to see the Jetsons downed by the Pink Panther. Could it be a fondness for insulation? What about the awesome opening song? Or the shitty Steve Martin attempt at a remake of Peter Sellers’ classics? Regardless, I’m not sure, whatever the reason, there is enough support in order to take down Scooby Doo. I think Scoob’s in it for the long run at this point.
Matt:  I’m not as confident in Scooby’s chances against the winner of the 1-5 matchup in this bracket as I once was, but I agree, it’s hard to imagine a cartoon of Scooby’s relevance being ousted by the Pink Panther.

1980’s Region:

Transformers (1) vs. Inspector Gadget (13)

Matt:  Transformers handled the onslaught of cute that was Muppet Babies as we expected last round.  The surprise here is Inspector Gadget, currently the lowest seed left in the tournament.  I see Gadget going home this time around, but his run so far has been remarkable.
Nik:  Agreed. Inspector Gadget’s had a nice, surprisingly long career here in the bracket, but I’m not sure he can top Transformers at this point. Granted, he has fought well so far, but Transformers has had a helluva lot of staying power for what has to be going on three generations now. Transformers ftw.
Matt:  It’s been just about three full decades of the robots in disguise, which makes me feel really old.

The Simpsons (2) vs. Real Ghostbusters (11)

Matt:  Ghostbusters has also been a bit of a surprise with how easily they have dispatched their competition.  I think they run into a yellow-skinned wall here and they bow out after this round, but again, the run itself is nice to see.
Nik:  I enjoy the Simpsons for the vast amount of talent there. But, that being said, I think it is over-rated at some times. Therefore, with the avalanche that Ghostbusters has given us so far, I think it’s entirely possible that they could take the Simpsons on this one. It’ll be super close. Really hard to tell. If I have to choose, I regrettably say Simpsons by one or two.
Matt:  It’s not as good as it once was, but I still laugh at it, even the new ones.  The fact that it can still stay relevant and culturally conscious even without doing the one week episode turnaround that South Park excels at (which in its own right is remarkable) speaks volume for me.  This is still my pick to come out of the 80s region, even with the easy path so far for The Transformers.

1990’s – Current Region:

South Park (1) vs. Animaniacs (5)

Matt:  As expected, it’s South Park vs. Animaniacs.  I think Animaniacs makes it close here but the fact that South Park is still fairly relevant convinces me that they take the matchup.
Nik:  Agreed. Southpark moves on, despite the brilliance of Animaniacs.

King of the Hill (2) vs. Darkwing Duck (11)

Matt:  Darkwing Duck is another pleasant surprise but Hank Hill and company get it done here.  I recently watched some old episodes on Cartoon Network early in the morning, and they were hilarious.  While Darkwing Duck may hit you with a sense of nostalgia, King of the Hill can still be enjoyed today, which means victory in my book.
Nik: Hard to argue here. Darkwing Duck has had a pleasant run thus far, but King of the Hill’s presence on Adult Swim gives it a lot more support. I think it’s moving in for the kill here, if for no other reason than Darkwing Duck is kinda out of our minds except for our having fond memories of it.

Slug Taco

And neither do I.  Whether it's a dig at Pablo's heritage or the implication that he will be killed and wrapped in a rug to have his body disposed of, Sluggy doesn't have much in the way of tact.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Soccer Moms

I can't tell you how many times I saw a minivan full of Latin American guys that had spinning rims on it when I lived in NJ.  Obviously enough to stick with me.  You see a lot of things you want to forget in NJ.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Comic Review: Peter Panzerfaust #10

            I’m not really sure how a comic that combines two of my favorite things: the reworking of classic stories (in this case Peter Pan) and anything to do with WWII, flew under my radar for so very long, but it did.  Now that I know about it, and my expectations are boosted accordingly, let’s see if it lives up to them. 

            I assume because this story deals with the Peter Pan mythos, that the women on the cover are Tiger Lily and Wendy.  It is a fairly generic cover, just two characters against a black background, but considering that they play a pretty big part in staging a rescue in this issue, it seems fitting that they are sharing the cover.  There is no narrative quality to the cover at all but it does paint them as strong women that are not going to be the “damsel in distress” type during this story. 

            The illustration itself is heavily inked but does a good job of differentiating between the different textures of skin and cloth and adding just enough detail to make it realistic but not oversaturating it. The best part is that artist Tyler Jenkins makes sure that each woman is not a carbon copy of the other.  They are obviously different ethnicities, but they are also dressed differently and are even holding different pistols, with Wendy holding one that appears to be more German in make as opposed to Lily’s traditional one.  Jenkins obviously put a lot of thought into not only the initial character design, but also the design of the cover itself instead of just slapping a couple characters onto a cover.

            The best part of this cover is the logo though.  Between the red color with the white outlines and the silhouette of the tank, it just works wonderfully as not only a stand-alone logo, but also as a logo on the comic itself.  It draws attention to the book with the color choice and definitely conveys a sense of what the book is about.  It almost has an old-school feel to me, like it belongs in the 1940s or something like that.  I’m not sure why, but I look at that and immediately it puts me in the right mindset to read this book.

8/10 – It’s not going to win any “cover of the year” votes, but it is very effective.

             There was no recap page in the front, so I was honestly a little lost when I started.  Writer Kurtis Wiebe does a decent job of creating a sullen mood like you would find during this time in history (and the art helps that along exponentially, but I’ll get to that in a bit) but the setup is lost.  Where are they exactly?  I see that there are soldiers around, but are they in a concentration camp or are they a ghetto, like the Jewish one set up in Warsaw?  It’s pretty unclear and isn’t helped by the lack of backgrounds.  All I can tell is that they are all on the roof of some building, which is probably only being used as a plot device so that Wiebe can introduce the wooden plank that the prisoners (if that’s what they are) will have to walk out to before getting shot.

This plank.

While I don’t really understand all of what is going on, the imagery that Wiebe paints in terms of the setting relating to the pirate ship in the initial Pan story is awesome.  This is why I like retellings so much, for those little Easter Eggs that a smart writer will throw in to help you make the correlation.  It’s one thing to have characters by with the same names as their classic counterparts, it’s another thing entirely to conjure up familiar imagery in unfamiliar situations, which Wiebe does exceptionally here. 

            This is my first foray into the world of Peter Panzerfaust, do all of the issues wind up shooting us into the future, post-war?  While I like that this is being relayed to someone else, as if they were conducting an interview in order to write a book or article, it does take a little of the suspense out of the story.  While we don’t expect Peter or Tiger Lily, or anyone for that matter, to actually die because they don’t in the original story, knowing that these individuals make it out alive does remove the stakes here somewhat.  It’s not a major gripe because, really, who doesn’t want a happy ending, but it would be nice to have some speculation as to who of the main characters would make it out of the war alive. 

7/10 – It’s a bit confusing with the amount of characters that get thrown at you, and the fact that a setting is not really established bother me a bit.  However, the way that Wiebe intertwines the story for his characters with bits and pieces of the original Peter Pan makes for an interesting and entertaining read.

            This is the kind of art that I like.  Cartoony but still grounded in realism.  I know there are many of you out there that want to see Bryan Hitch type realism in every panel, and that is a fight that we can have at a different time, just know that the art here fits the time period and tone of the story perfectly. 

            As much as I enjoy the lineart, I have to admit that the best part about the art in this book is the coloring by Heather Breckel.  She does a great job of creating a mood in each different “act” of this issue.  She lets the heavy inks do their thing but isn’t afraid to punctuate the tone with her own skill set.  As cartoony as the art is, she makes it feel real.  If Jenkins had drawn this with stick figures I guarantee that it would have a similar feel based on the way she colors.  Great job.

            Now, on to some not so great observations.  Do you remember how I mentioned that the cover was well done in part because of the way that Jenkins differentiated the two women?  It doesn’t happen so much with the men in the interiors.  Aside from Peter’s big swooping hairstyle, all of the men look a little too similar to make much of a distinction.  The only one that really stood out aside from Peter was Julien, because of his afro.  If you remove the hairstyles, all of the men look essentially the same. 

            The lack of backgrounds here is pretty ridiculous.  I understand not putting a detailed background in every panel of every page, but at times it looks like Jenkins is basically putting lines in for rain and deciding that that will be his background.  Like I said earlier, that does very little to help establishing a setting. 

A whole page where the only background is rain.  I would think they are in Britain, but how would I know?

5/10 – There are some really good parts of the art in this issue (the coloring being number one), but the overall confusing nature of the art doesn’t assist a script that doesn’t do much establishing work itself. 

Overall:  6/10 – This is a great concept with okay execution that may be falling into the “writing for the trade” trap.  I could easily see this as a chapter in a graphic novel or a trade paperback, not so much as a stand alone issue.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Posse

While it shouldn't take being marked for a hit to come to the realization that dating a sixteen year old is wrong, at least Sluggy got there.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Eat @ Shrimpy's Sketch-A-Thon for Autism

Happy Tuesday!

            About a month ago, my son Logan was officially diagnosed with Autism.  His pediatrician had whispered about it for a while (which is what pushed us to have him tested) but she seems pretty hell-bent on every kid having a diagnosis so we didn’t take too much stock in her opinion.  He was not given a specific spot on the autism spectrum, given his unwillingness to complete all of the activities assigned to him, but he showed them enough that he was given the general diagnosis.

            Logan is a four year old boy that is incredibly happy and self-directed.  He loves music, Angry Birds, and his older brother.  He is in no way unhealthy or a burden either emotionally or financially (any more than any other very active four year old would be).  Not including his birth, he has been to the hospital once in his life (the infamous TV incident of a couple summers ago).  He does not have unreasonably high medical bills and the only additional expense is tied into his slowly developing lactose intolerance.

            What I am getting at here is that he is healthy and happy.  Not all autistic children are though, and they may need things from time to time including advocacy for their rights as human beings.  These kinds of things can and are provided by Autism Speaks ( as well just basic information for parents that may have just got their diagnosis, or may be concerned about a disorder that touches one in eighty-eight children. 

That is why, on May 4, 2013 Eat @ Shrimpy’s ( is teaming up with Autism Speaks and Avalon Document Services to hold the first All Day Sketch-A-Thon for Autism.  This will be an all day affair (if you couldn’t tell by the title) that is held at Destiny USA from the time they open (10am) to the time they close (930pm).  The specific spot in the mall is currently being worked out but as soon as I know that information I will pass it along.  I will be there all day long doing sketches on the spot of whoever or whatever your heart desires, all for free.  There will also be a limited number of color sketches available to purchase.  All money, from art sales, commissions and donations will go straight to Autism Speaks.  That’s right, 100% of what you give will go to help individuals with autism. 

            If you are an artist yourself and would like to stop down and sit for an hour or so to provide some sketches, please get a hold of me at and we will set up a time.  If you are an artist that is not in the area and would like to donate some artwork, please contact me and I will gladly give you an address to mail your work to.  For those of you that are in the area, please stop out, give a dollar or two, read some literature on autism and get a sketch for yourself, your kid, or someone you know.  If you are unable to make it out that day, for whatever reason, and would still like to make a donation and receive a sketch, or commission a piece of artwork, please contact me and I will make that happen.  It won’t take any time at all and your donation will surely make an impact. 

            Last but not least, I ask that you share this post and the details of this event with as many people as you can so that word gets out about this.  I would ideally like to run out of sketch cards by the middle of the day and have to start doodling on napkins I steal from the food-court.  That would make this a rousing success.  The more people that show up and donate, the better it will be and the more of a chance that we continue the sketch-a-thon tradition into the future.  I know that we have close to two months until the event, and believe me; I will be blowing up your facebook/twitter/email when it gets closer, but please consider this an official save the date card.  I hope to see you all there.


Monday, March 11, 2013

Rock the Cradle of Love

This is what we call "salt in the wound" and no one does it better than Shrimpy's gang.

March Madness Cartoon Bracket Second Round Breakdown

That first round was pretty interesting.  There were a lot of matchups that were decided early on, while a few that were decided in the wee hours by a single vote.  The only region that went “chalk” was the 1960’s – 1970’s region, with every other region featuring at least one upset (some which weren’t even anticipated).  With the amount of upsets we have seen so far, it should make the next few rounds very interesting. 

Pre-1960 Region:

Looney Tunes (1) vs. Mr. Magoo (9)

Matt:  Looney Tunes was not the clear-cut winner in the last round that we expected, but it did squeak one out.  As endearing as Mr. Magoo was as a character, I see the combined might of the Warners characters taking him down in this round.
Nik:  Seriously? Quick Draw McGraw gave Looney Tunes a hard time? If that’s the case, I worry about this matchup, to be honest. But I still vote Looney Tunes here.

Mickey Mouse (2) vs. Rocky & Bullwinkle (10)

Matt:  Mickey Mouse barely advanced (by one vote!) so I have no faith in him advancing further, especially against Rocky & Bullwinkle which powered through the last round like the Cinderella they may turn out to be.
Nik:  Oh snap, the Mouse is not as strong as we thought. So my vote goes to Moose & Squirrel.

Popeye (3) vs. Tom & Jerry (6)

Matt:  Tom & Jerry and Popeye both rolled over their respective competition in the first round, so I expect this matchup to be relatively close.  I think Tom & Jerry will take it, but it may be one of those “down to the wire” type victories. 
Nik:  I’m actually thinking Popeye on this one to surprise us.
Matt:  I like Tom & Jerry to win, but I wouldn’t shed a tear if the Sailor Man came out on top, both are strong candidates for advancement.

Yogi Bear (5) vs. Gumby & Pokey (13)

Matt:  The biggest upset in this region was Gumby & Pokey over Felix the Cat (just like you thought, Nik) but it was a really close victory, one that I don’t think Gumby can replicate here.  Yogi wins it.
Nik:  I’m thinking Gumby & Pokey on this one. Just like the Popeye/Tom & Jerry match up, I’m going to go against what I’d choose. I would like to think Yogi would take it, but we’ve seen enough wins that made me say “No shit” already, that I think Gumby takes it.

1960s/1970s Region:

The Flintstones (1) vs. Speed Racer (8)

Matt:  I see Flintstones taking this one pretty easily as well.  Not really much to add to that, Fred and Barney are a juggernaut.
Nik:  True. They both hold some nostalgia for those who watched them, but I think Flintstones has a stronger presence here.

Scooby Doo (2) vs. Underdog (7)
Matt:  A little dog-on-dog action here (I felt a little weird even writing that).  I think Scooby wins big, but I was definitely a little surprised at the authoritative way that Underdog dispatched Schoolhouse Rock in the last round, so the upset is not out of the question.
Nik:  Yeah, shocked to see Schoolhouse out so soon, but Underdog vs. the Scoob? Gotta go with Scooby on this one.

The Jetsons (3) vs. Pink Panther (6)

Matt:  Pink Panther swept Jabberjaw away in the last round, but I think that had more to do with inferior competition, which is set right here as The Jetsons win.
Nik:  Yup. Jetsons are the same as the Flintstones here.

Fat Albert (4) vs. The Chipmunks (5)

Matt:  This one is really hard to call.  I would like to see Fat Albert keep going, but I think the Chipmunks will win easily here.  No amount of Jell-o pudding can save the Cosby kids.
Nik:  This would be a great sweep from behind to see Fat Albert proceed here, but I don’t think they’ll pull it off. It’ll be close, though. I’m calling it close.

1980’s Region:

Transformers (1) vs. Muppet Babies (9)

Matt:  As we thought, the Muppet Babies were big winners over Mario last round, but Transformers won just as convincingly, and I think they continue their dominance here.
Nik:  Going to have to agree. But I don’t think this one’ll be close. I think Muppet Babies will be smooshed in this round.
Matt:  All I can think of is a Kermit puppet on the side of the road with tire tracks on his stomach.  Which I guess would be rather fitting considering how this matchup should turn out.

The Simpsons (2) vs. Duck Tales (10)

Matt:  This is the matchup of the bracket in my opinion.  I see this as a one vote victory for either side, with The Simpsons coming out ahead, just barely.
Nik:  Simpsons will take it by a landslide. I think Duck Tales is too far out of culture at this point to snag votes from the Springfieldians.
Matt:  Don’t underestimate a little Carl Barks duck magic here.  All those people that fondly remember Bubba Duck from the time travel “movie” may have something to say.

Ninja Turtles (3) vs. Real Ghostbusters (11)

Matt:  Another tough one to call, but I can see the Ghostbusters, who steamrolled Thundercats last round continuing their dominance here.  The Turtles barely got by Chip and Dale last round, so they may be out on their half-shells after this round.
Nik:  Shocked to hear that it was so close with the Turtles, but I think they’ll squeak by on this one too.

He-Man (5) vs. Inspector Gadget (13)

Matt:  Gadget surprised me by winning so convincingly over the Smurfs.  I think He-Man wins here though, but it may be closer than I (as an avid Masters of the Universe fan) would feel comfortable acknowledging. 
Nik:  I’m glad to see that I was wrong about He-Man. But the resounding yes of Inspector Gadget makes me think that he may be our guy on this round. Go, go, Gadget Voting Booth.

1990’s – Current Region:

South Park (1) vs. Bobby’s World (9)

Matt:  South Park barely won, while Bobby’s World was a decisive winner in the first round.  I think it will be close with South Park pulling through in the end.
Nik:  Sad to see Doug go, but I’m glad that he put up a solid fight (one of the best opening songs in cartoons). But, despite Bobby’s World trouncing poor Rocko, I don’t think he’ll stand a chance against South Park. I’m actually thinking landslide.

King of the Hill (2) vs. Beavis & Butthead (7)

Matt:  It’s a Mike Judge showdown which King of the Hill should win handily.
Nik:  Not surprised to see either come out ahead in the last round. But I think Beavis & Butthead take this one.
Matt:  It’s slacker vs. Americana in this matchup, I wonder if the inclusion of music videos in Beavis and Butthead’s case will tip the scales in their favor…

Darkwing Duck (11) vs. Talespin (14)

Matt:  The biggest surprise so far is this matchup.  With Ren & Stimpy and Family Guy bowing out in the first round.  That makes this one hard to pick, but I think Darkwing Duck will take this Disney slugfest.
Nik:  Super shocked at these! This’ll be tough, but the Duck moves ahead. Let’s get dangerous.

Animaniacs (5) vs. Tiny Toon Adventures (13)

Matt:  Much to your chagrin, Nik, both Archer and Futurama lost in the first round.  I wasn’t too surprised by Archer being sent home (as brilliant as it is) but Futurama not getting its due was shocking.  The two remaining shows here are quite similar which may just be a matter of “pick your poison” as opposed to a specific like or dislike of a certain brand of animation.  With the convincing way that Animaniacs dispatched of Archer in the first round though, I think they take care of business here as well. 
Nik:  Woof. So sad to see my two favorites destroyed so soon. Out of these two, my guess is Animaniacs. I think they left more of unique mark on cartoon watchers.
Matt:  I agree, I still look at modern day life through the lens of the old “good idea/bad idea” segments.