Friday, January 31, 2014

What's Better Than Spoiled Meat Paste?

And the meat paste rears its ugly head yet again (you knew that wasn't going away, right?) 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Not So New Comic Review: Guardians of the Galaxy (1991) #20

                 Well, if this wasn’t already a series of outdated 90’s fashions, it would have jumped the shark with this one.  Take Captain America’s costume as a base, add in knee pads with the Guardians’ stars, a sleeveless trenchcoat and of course, a headband, and you get one of the most 90’s things I have seen in quite some time.  Yes, the costume design is terrible, and the new character Talon is deplorable, but is this comic any good?  Let’s see.

                First, we see Vance rally the troops, and they immediately start to fight back against the nearly insurmountable odds that they faced just last issue.  As the battle is raging, Vance decides to tell everyone how he got out of his containment suit (it’s a mixture of Hollywood’s ionic blood and magic.  I’m assuming magic is how he got the bitchin’ headband, but that could just be poor fashion sense.  Everyone continues their fight, Gabrielle (one of the Comandeers) straight up murders Belle.  She was a double agent, so I get it, but you rarely see that kind of cold-blooded killing in a Marvel book.  Yondu’s magic hand changes into a laser gun and he blasts one of the Punishers as well.  He then goes all emo because apparently a laser is not the weapon of a true warrior, however an arrow that moves based on how you whistle is…oh Yondu, don’t ever change.  The Guardians basically win the battle and ask Krugarr to teleport them to the heart of the refinery so that they may do away with the society-destroying televisions once and for all. 

                In the meantime we head back out to space where Aleta and Starhawk are still struggling with one another. 

                Back to the refinery, where Charlie is rigging the Punisher tank to go nuclear and take out the whole refinery.  It just so happens that Boss Punisher and one of the Badoon are still inside the tank.  Vance guilt-trips Charlie into giving the villains a chance to surrender, which he does.  The Badoon doesn’t want to emerge, but the Boss Punisher decides to take things into his own hands and murders the Badoon and then surrenders…only to be murdered himself at the hands of Gabrielle.  Gabrielle gives Vance a lesson in how things are done in a gang war as he bitches and moans about trying to be better than the bad guys while Charlie basically decides that the only way to shut these two up is to detonate a nuclear bomb, which he does, taking out the refinery. 
                We make a quick stop to Mainframe’s homeworld where Martinex is whining about not being able to patrol the universe how exactly he wants to or some such nonsense and that’s it.

                We then are back in New York City in the Avengers’ Mansion Sub-Basement that is now the makeshift base of operations for the Guardians of the Galaxy.  We get the big reveal that Hollywood is actually Wonder-Man, just aged 1000 years (he can’t die so this makes sense) and membership in the Guardians is offered to Hollywood (he declines), Krugarr (he declines) and Talon (of course he accepts).  So far, the Guardians have asked everyone with superpowers that they’ve come across if they want to be a member, so far the only one that has accepted that invitation is Talon.  That doesn’t say much for your organization. 

                The epilogue revolves around Rancor again looking for answers.  She gets them from someone that can basically track an individual based on something of theirs, kind of like a cosmic bloodhound.  The alien tells Rancor that who she seeks is on Earth, and Rancor summarily kills that alien, because Rancor is pretty badass, right?  As Rancor licks the blood of the alien off of her claws (gross, didn’t she learn anything about cross-contaminating races from the Courgians?) she makes it known that her main goal is to find Wolverine!  Apparently this comic needed a little boost in sales and everyone knew that including Wolverine would do that in spades.

                Next issue:  Rancor heads to Earth, how much more blood will she lick, and who’s will it be?

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Giant Head

Some people may say I have an unhealthy dislike for Kanye West, I would say that those people have made a fairly accurate assessment.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Genesis: Part Two

Sitting around our college studio one day during my sophomore year of college (my first at the Kubert School), an extremely talented and very bright classmate Hovard Johannsen (we called him Howard and he was patient enough not to murder us in our sleep when we massacred his name while trying to say it in his native Norwegian) mentioned that he could see me doing a daily comic strip containing The Masked Shrimp.  At that time it was destined for a comic book series and I had the whole thing planned out from issues 1-100, hell I had even written the first four issues and started penciling issue one. Hovard’s observation was that I was so in tune and close with my characters that I would not be content with producing once a month adventures involving this lovable band of misfits.  When the observation was presented to me I blew it off as pure speculation, and while I appreciated his recognition of my ties to my characters, I was set in my ways and probably a little too headstrong to really take what he said to heart.

Again, I still thought I would be drawing the X-Men the day after I graduated from college.  Shows how much I knew then.

I did dabble in the comic strip medium for a brief moment in my first year at the Kubert School as my dorm-mates and I considered putting together a newspaper-esque pamphlet of comic strips showcasing our talent for the school and surrounding area.  While that never materialized (I believe I was the only one that actually had strips ready to go shortly after our initial meeting) I was able to recycle some of the more generic jokes in later Eat @ Shrimpy’s strips. 

The notion that comic strips would not only be a viable, but a preferable method of storytelling did not surface until I was in my second year at the Kubert school and was tasked with the assignment of creating a month’s worth of comic strips (which make up a good portion of the first storyline you have seen on this site).  It should be noted that at the time this assignment was given out, I had just signed on to pencil a forty-eight page comic book (that of course never saw the light of day and I was never compensated for) and actually used that “assignment” in place of my scholastic one.  I started the comic strip assignment after my classmates had already moved on to the following one (a Mad Magazine-style caricature adventure which I missed out on completely).  Thanks to my teacher Mike Chen, a spark was created within me.  Something clicked when I realized that I could tell jokes, and I could break up a story into beats, where it was still a cohesive and comprehensive narrative when put together, but each day, each strip was able to stand on its own. 

It all took off from there as, instead of just doing the assignment and moving on to something else, I decided to keep writing and creating comic strips in addition to doing my schoolwork.  This continued into the following year (my third and final year at the Kubert School) where I decided to collect the finished strips in a comic book format, much like Frank Cho’s Liberty Meadows was doing at the time.  At the time I had just called it The Masked Shrimp Strips so as not to confuse it with The Masked Shrimp regular series which was still very much in development. 

It was not until showing the book to my humor teacher that year, the incredibly talented Brian Buniak, that the name Eat @ Shrimpy’s was born.  A random sign in this strip that said “Eat @ Shrimpy’s” caused Brian to pause and question why that was not the name of the strip as The Masked Shrimp Strips was just an awful name, which I fully acknowledged.  From then on the name of the strip changed, which not only set itself apart from the other work I was doing with Shrimpy, giving it its own identity, but also creating a name that could be instantly recognizable and that actually has a lot to do with the plot of the strip itself.  Brian is a genius when it comes to humor in general, but the fact that the identity of the strip wasn't really born until that day proved that he was partially responsible for where the strip is now.  In fact, if it wasn't for my time at the Kubert school, I would guess that Eat @ Shrimpy's wouldn't even be here and The Masked Shrimp would be toiling away in unpublished comic book pages at the back of my closet somewhere. 

Monday, January 27, 2014

Tour Riders

Seriously, have you seen what some of these "celebrities" request just so they can grace you with their presence?  
It's ridiculous and a symptom of the greater problem of people thinking that they are owed something for the sheer pleasure of their company.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Festival Flyer

Now wouldn't you want to attend this concert (even though it's in 2013)?

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Not So New Comic Review: Guardians of the Galaxy (1991) #19

                 This may be the official downfall of the Guardians of the Galaxy.  The inclusion of such a one-note, crap character like Talon may just be the death-knell for a once promising franchise.  To make that determination we need to get through the book itself though.

                The first thing we learn in this issue is that even a reverse Mohawk can’t save you from t he wrath of the boss Punisher and his blue nose of doom.  Next we officially meet Talon and learn that he is a dumb character that seems to be there just to get on the nerves of people.  He’s one of those “teenage” characters that they tried to shoehorn into comics back in the 80’s and 90’s to appeal to a younger demographic (much like Jubilee of the X-Men).  While Jubilee played more of a background role, Talon is getting shoved down our throat in the early going, even going so far as to have him beat Charlie in a fight to show how athletically superior he is.  Yondu breaks up the fight an returns everyone to their senses.

                We check in on Vance, who was injured last issue and is now under the care of Dr. Strange, Krugarr and Hollywood.

                Back on the planet Courg, it apparently hasn’t been a good time for the dog people as The Stark did leave the planet, but they left their dead, which quickly decayed and released diseases which the people of Courg, having no antibodies or immunities, quickly succumbed to.   Not only that, but The Stark came back after the Guardians had left in order to finish what they started.  So all the Guardians did in those first few issues is delay the inevitable.  This blows Martinex’s mind, and is actually a pretty powerful bit of writing, highlighting the total cost of war to the bystanders and not just the combatants.

                Back on Earth the Guardians are in the sewer, looking for a refinery, the place where the tv signal is broadcast I believe.  Yes, after all of this, the Guardians are still sticking to their primary mission which is to destroy the televisions that are taking over and killing the population of Earth. 

                We quickly travel to another planet as Valentino sets up the next story arc, which will feature the return of Rancor and her mutants.  She is on a mission and it starts here with the discovery of an artifact.  Of course being Rancor she kills everyone she comes in contact with.

                Back in the refinery, we’re getting a refresher course as to how television’s destruction of society went down and Charlie asks the question we all want to know.  So what if they destroy this refinery.  If this is a global epidemic, won’t destroying one refinery just be a drop in the bucket?  The answer, in super convenient terms is nope, there is only one refinery and it’s the one they are standing in.  Apparently the gas emitted is so potent that only a little bit needs to be used and it can all be made in one place. 

We take a quick break and head into Starhawk’s consciousness where Aleta is struggling to maintain her sense of self and her sanity before we head back to the refinery and find that the Badoon, those bastard aliens that were responsible for the formation of the Guardians in the first place, were behind both the televisions and the bankroll for the Punishers organization this whole time.  We also find out that Belle, the girl that made googly eyes at Charlie last issue was a double-agent the whole time.  It looks like the Guardians and Comandeers are outmanned and outgunned until a mysterious stranger shows up with Hollywood and Krugarr alongside him.  Who is this stranger that is shrouded in shadow yet carrying Captain America’s shield?  We’ll have to wait until next time to find out.

Next Issue:  The only costume design that could be more 90’s than Charlie’s is finally unveiled.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Poor Tommy

Let's all pour one out for Tommy, he was a good lad that's gone too soon.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Genesis: Part One

For the three of you that read this blog and want to know how Eat @ Shrimpy's started, from the very beginning, stay tuned for the next three weeks as I weave a yarn about the formative years of everyone's favorite restaurant-owning crustacean.  And if you want to see Shrimpy and the gang's genesis in visual form, be sure to pick up Shrimpology (order details in the panel to your right).

I have long enjoyed reading comic strips in newspapers, always grabbing the “funnies” first when the Sunday paper arrived and enjoying the comic strip wrapping paper that many of my larger Christmas presents over the years would come in.  One thing I never thought though was that I would ever willingly create a comic strip.  I always saw myself as more of a comic book, 22 pages of action and adventure, kind of guy.  I thought that while comic strips were fun and often funny, they were a little too restrictive for what I wanted to do. 

Remember this is coming from the mind of someone that had the foolish notion of working at Marvel Comics in his mind from fifth grade until about his junior year in college.

The Masked Shrimp was not created to exist in a comic strip world.  I had always had “bigger” aspirations for him, to live out his life in comic books.  My ambitions were entirely the opposite of one Stan “The Man” Lee back in the 50s and 60s who thought that newspaper comic strips were the big time and comic books were small potatoes in comparison (and in his defense, back then they were).  I created The Masked Shrimp and his merry band of misfits through a series of doodles and sketches that, at the time, I had no real intention of doing anything with.  What this did do though was allow me a lot more freedom to come up with characters that I could literally do anything with.  This was of great appeal to me because, while I enjoyed the structure and overall linear nature of a comic book series, I really liked the ability to just put the characters in any situation, no matter how absurd.  The greatest example of this is the Looney Tunes cartoons.  Bugs Bunny could be in space saving the world from Marvin the Martian in one eight minute short, and in the next be taking a wrong turn at Albuquerque and winding up, not at Pismo Beach but in Ali Baba’s treasure stash.  This blank canvas kind of character really appealed to me because it opened up so many possibilities instead of having to create a superhero character, and then a western character, and then a Roman gladiator character, etc.  While the Eat @ Shrimpy’s strips, and even the Masked Shrimp comic book in general, deal more with the recognizable, modern world, I have used Shrimpy and his gang in both Western and Medieval-themed stories that have yet to see print.  Regardless of the genesis of these characters, the initial plan was never to use them in a comic strip format.

Even though The Masked Shrimp was not meant to be a comic strip in any shape or form back in those days, my first narrative art attempt was a Sunday comic strip, or at least it turned into a Sunday comic strip.  When it was first drawn, I just wrote a little one page story (which is essentially all a Sunday strip is) that told a joke.  I have since redrawn and recycled that same joke numerous times.

Monday, January 20, 2014

That's All I Can Think About

Isn't that how it is though?  Once you get boobs in your head you can't get them out.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Not So New Comic Review: Guardians of the Galaxy (1991) #18

                    I was never a huge fan of the original Punisher from the regular Marvel Universe.  He just never appealed to me.  How would I fare with a gang of Punishers?  Let’s see.

                The member of the Punishers that had Vance in his sights at the end of the last issue (the one with the douchey reverse Mohawk) gets a shot off, but it’s not as true as he would have liked because of a claw that comes flying in to hit the shooter right across the face.  Vance still gets shot in the head though, which is not only a bad thing in general, but it also puts a hole in his containment suit, exposing his skin to the air.  The rest of the Guardians, along with the Comandeers, spring into action to bring down the Punishers while Hollywood takes Vance back to the base to receive some medical attention.  Charlie rallies the troops which apparently rallies the loins of Belle, one of the Comandeers.  She gets all googly- eyed at him and his big gun (no really, it’s an actual gun).  A gun that he use to straight up demolish a building that the Punishers are all standing on.  The head of the Punisher organization, the one with the strange skull painting on his face, has decided to enter the fray, along with all of the other members of his gang, so this fight is about to get really one-sided. 

                At that moment we head to the planet Courg (the planet that the Guardians were on in the first few issues as they fought The Stark).  Martinex has gone back to make sure everything is kosher since they last saw the dog-people of Courg.  One of the Courgians survived and now wants revege on Martinex though, but we won’t see how that ends until next issue.

                Right now, we have to head back and watch Yondu go nuts.  He went from an emo baby to getting a new hand and finally living up to his warrior status.  In fact, he straight up chops a guy’s head off (off panel of course).  This is the Yondu that we should be seeing in this comic, not the one that cries because the girl he likes doesn’t like him back.

                After a brief few panels where Nikki rides a floating scooter, we see Talon (a horrible character that I’m sure was brought in to complete the “snarky team member with claws” requirement for a ‘90’s super team) go to visit Krugar (remember him from the Annual?  He’s the new Dr. Strange) in order to get him to heal Vance. 
Back to the action, the Guardians sure look like they are about to win until the Punisher Tank shows up.  This series is supposed to be set in the thirty-first century but the tank sure looks like something out of Liefeld’s wet dream.  Guns spikes and a giant skull, all requisite pieces to a truly 90’s spectacle.  Charlie tries to shoot it with his giant gun to no avail.   Baqck in the base, Vance is resting in a containment unit when Krugar shows up to help him and when we head back to the battle we finally get to see the full reveal of Talon.  He’s about as douchey as you would expect.

Next Issue:  More Talon than you could ever want.  Trust me, just what we’ve seen so far is enough for me.  

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Oooo, Big Threat

When in doubt, always threaten someone with a hose.  If you learn nothing else from reading this strip, you've got that.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Masochist Music Review - Brides of Destruction: Runaway Brides

What can I say, I’m a masochist when it comes to music.  I like to have complete catalogues when it comes to my favorite musicians.  Sometimes this is a good thing (Alice Cooper, AC/DC) but oftentimes it’s not.  Not only that, but I used to fall into the trap of hearing one or two great songs and purchasing a whole album because of it, which sometimes produced a diamond, but usually only coal.  During this series, we will dwell on some of the albums I have in my collection that are downright terrible.  I will re-listen to them all and give you my impression of them.

Now this is only my opinion, so don’t take it as gospel.  If you like a particular album in this series, let me know, we’ll open up a discussion about it.  I’m always open to discussing the merits of any particular album, and if you have any suggestions (and especially if you have the album itself and are willing to share your views) then let me know and I’d be happy to add it to the list.

Album Name: Runaway Brides

Artist:  Brides of Destruction

Release Date: September, 2005

Why you bought it:  Being a Motley Crue fan I was intrigued by the initial release from Brides of Destruction.  Even though Nikki Sixx left after that album and subsequent tour, I thought that maybe, just maybe, Tracii Guns could keep the momentum going and make a good sophomore album.  After hearing Brides of Destruction, it also got me into LA Guns so I had my hopes up based on the fact that they were a solid band as well.

First impressions:  It didn’t really do it for me like the first album did.  The first album had the right mix of LA sleaze, grunge and pop, while this album didn’t really fire on all of those cylinders. This was a dirtier sounding record, much like American Hardcore from the dark period of LA Guns that didn’t feature Phil Lewis on vocals.  It wasn’t terrible, it just lacked a certain polish that came from having Nikki Sixx as your primary songwriter.

Impressions upon listening to it recently:  I like the guitar work by Guns, in particular the solo on “Never Say Never”.  Being so far removed from listening to Here Come the Brides (their debut album) I am able to listen to Runaway Brides as its own entity, without feeling the need to compare it to its predecessor.  That doesn’t, however, make it a great album.  It’s okay, but the flaws are glaring even without the comparison.  The vocals are relatively weak and the music, save for the way-too-infrequent guitar solos, is not nearly as polished as I expected or hoped it would be.

Any saving grace?:    It’s not a horrible album, and I don’t skip the tracks when they come up on my playlist, but I don’t frequently revisit the album unless it’s for something like this. 

Was it worth the purchase?: At a discounted price, sure.  Not at full price though.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Friday, January 10, 2014

Another Slight Problem

There's a slight chance Shrimpy didn't think this all the way through.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Not So New Comic Review: Guardians of the Galaxy (1991) #17

                In today’s comic market, this issue would be a #1 issue.  It’s a new beginning for the group and a new storyline and some dumbass editor at Marvel would have seen all of this and said ”let’s reboot the series!”  Luckily, this series was produced in 1991 so Jim Valentino just puts the tagline “1st issue of a brand new era” on the cover.  After Nikki’s new costume and Yondu’s new hand, you had to know that we were in for a couple more shakeups to the group, and this issue surely has them.  We’ll go through them all as they come up, but they reshape the Guardians completely and the plot is some of the best of Valentino’s tenure (the script is often lacking but that’s pretty characteristic of this series as well. 

                We start with the Guardians sitting around the dinner table discussing the future of Starhawk as part of the team.  Remember, he reabsorbed Aleta last issue, cutting down the Guardians membership (which was only exacerbated by Replica staying behind to play with the Protégé).  Everyone agrees that Starhawk is a mega douche and should be kicked out of the group.  We then cut to Starhawk, hiding behind a rock, apparently wrestling with not only Aleta’s personality within him, but a third personality has arose.  Could this be the hawk-god that gave those two their powers?  I honestly don’t remember but wouldn’t be surprised.  We then cut to the Protégé who is looking for Starhawk himself so that he can get Aleta back (for what I’m not sure since Malevolence is his nanny now.  Replica tries to reason with him to go easy on his generals, they’re doing the best they can in terms of finding an all-powerful being that can travel at the speed of light after all, and Malevolence schemes to get rid of Replica so she can have the Protégé all to herself.

                Back on the Guardians’ ship, they are nearing Earth and train their cameras upon it to get a good look.  What they find is destroyed cities that stand empty.  This obviously shocks everyone as the Earth they left a mere four years ago was teaming with life and not nearly as destitute as the one they see now.  We get a quick recap of the Guardians’ time on Earth in the form of an answer to Nikki’s question before they look through their cameras again to see Manhattan completely cut off from the rest of the country.  Everyone gets ready to go and we get another big reveal, Charlie’s new costume, complete with pockets, pockets and more pockets (along with bullets, oh so many bullets). 

                The Guardians beam down to Times Square (which still has a Coke sign after all this time) and are immediately attacked by the Comandeers.  We get some internal monologues from Nikki and Vance while they’re fighting (something you rarely see in comics today).  Everyone continues to fight until the leader of the Comandeers, Tarin, steps in and implores them all to lay down their arms.  Tarin is apparently someone that the Guardians had met back before this series started, when they helped save the Earth from the Badoon.  Then we get a couple history lessons.  First, we learn about Tarin’s history with the Guardians, then, once everyone gets back to the base of the Comandeers (the sub-basement of an abandoned Avengers mansion) we learn what happened to Earth.  The culprit of the downfall of civilization?  Television.  I shit you not.  Apparently this hyper-realistic television emitted a gas that kept people transfixed, not allowing them to move, eat or sleep until they eventually just died where they sat.  All of the older people died like this, leaving the younger generations to form gangs and fight over territory.  The most ruthless, and therefore the ones that emerged victorious, were the Punishers, a group of youngsters that fashioned themselves after everyone’s favorite vigilante: Frank Castle.  Of course, no one would have known anything about the Punisher if it wasn’t for Vance’s Docu-Chips, which apparently had information on all of the super heroes from his era.  Vance looks like he’s going to start getting all bent out of shape about it (which Martinex hilariously worries about, it’s nice to know that Valentino isn’t blind to the fact that his own character is a whiny bitch) but instead he pledges to stay and fight the Punishers.  Everyone else decides to stay with him, except Martinex, who would rather go into space and form the Green Lantern Corps. (seriously, read his mission statement and tell me that’s not the Green Lantern Corps.).  They let him go and head to the surface to find the Punishers.

Next issue:  You guessed it, they find the Punishers, and the goofy looking guy with the negative mohawk.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

One Slight Problem

This is an example of life providing lemons, and Shrimpy making a shit-ton of lemonade.  
Nothing could go wrong with this, right?

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

2014 Sneak Peek

We are just starting the Shrimp-A-Palooza storyline, so that will be going on for the next few months.  After that though, things are going to get weird.  Here is a quick peak of what’s on tap for the coming year.

  • Once the music festival wraps up, Shrimpy is going to find out the true cost of being overworked and finally hire some help.  We’ll get to see that process as well as a bunch of new characters.
  • No sooner does Shrimpy hire helpers to lighten his load than he, Sluggy, Wormy and Fred take a trip to Atlantic City for a restaurateur’s convention.  There they take in the sights and all that Atlantic City has to offer.
  • On their way home, the guys meander around New Jersey, taking in the creepiest of creepy sites and we get to learn a bit more about Fred.
  • We finish out the year with the Body Modification storyline where Sluggy tries to maximize his new, busty figure while Shrimpy gets an ill-placed, ill-advised tattoo.
  • A couple Eat @ Shrimpy’s art books, containing the colored covers for the series as well as other goodies.  Look for the announcement for the first art book soon.
  • In a few months we will be starting up the second annual Eat @ Shrimpy's Bracket!  More details on that coming as we get closer to March. 
  • There are a few non-shrimp things in the works as well.  Longtime collaborator (and brother) Nik and I are working on a couple things that I can’t go into too much detail about just yet, and I am currently in the design and draw process of a tabletop card game, featuring over 150 individual illustrations.  Look for the card game hopefully by next holiday season and the collaboration between Nik and I will hopefully be coming by the middle of the year.  I will release previews of each of those as they become available.
  • Don’t forget that Broken Hand Wine Design is still fully operational and ready to serve, so if you want a one of a kind gift just drop me a line.

As you can see, it’s going to be a busy year for Shrimpy and the gang.  If you have any suggestions of things you want to see, especially regarding the Tuesday articles, feel free to let me know in the comments section.  If you want copies of any of the strips published over the last year for your own personal collection, contact me and I can get that out to you.  I hope you all have a great new year and thank you very much for the time you take out of your day to stop by and see what the guys are up to.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Helter Skelter

Manson was actually more the harbinger of death for the hippie movement, but who's counting?

Friday, January 3, 2014

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Not So New Comic Review: Guardians of the Galaxy (1991) #16

                 It’s a double-sized adventure in the thirty-first century with the Guardians of the Galaxy.  Nowadays we can’t get twenty-two pages out of a creative team in a month’s time, but back in the day, the random double issue (as well as double-sized “anniversary issues”) were the norm.  It’s even more impressive here because Valentino has done all of the writing and pencils for every issue (along with Steve Montano on inks, let’s not forget his ever-present contributions) and not missed a month, even going so far as to create an entire sixty-four page annual while still holding down the monthly series.  Valentino’s commitment is astounding and unheard of in this day and age.

                Okay, on to the actual content of the comic, where the cover tells us that “one of them (the members of the Guardians and Force) will die.  Who is it?  Well, we had three good candidates at the end of last issue as Nikki, Photon and Eight-Five are all on the verge of being killed.  Surprising no one, none of them die, though Yondu does cut Photon’s throat as she lunges at him (after a healthy recap of the exchange that those two had last issue regarding Photon’s origin).  In Yondu’s defense, Photon was attacking him and he reacted to that attack, but it still doesn’t sit well with Interface who, if you remember from last issue, thinks of Photon as his daughter.  She is not dead, but she will surely die if she is not taken to the ship’s infirmary, something Yondu is willing to help with until Interface (who’s powers are of transmutation, to convert matter from one form to another).  He does this with Yondu’s right hand, converting it from a hand to water vapor, which, as vapor does, instantly dissipates in the air.  That’s cold, Interface, ice cold.  Speaking of ice (see what I did there) Martinex encases Yondu’s hand in ice so that he doesn’t bleed to death.  Vance tells everyone to chill out (see what I did there too, oh boy, on a roll today) but Brahl tries to instigate some more.  Broadside steps in and puts that plan on ice (somebody stop me) and even prevents Scanner from killing Nikki just as Starhawk prevents Replica from killing Eighty-Five who, for a guy that controls the force of magnetism, is pretty content with just laying on the ground and letting a girl kick his ass.  He’s obviously the shitty clone of Magneto.

                Down on Homeworld, Aleta and Malevolence start to fight for the right to be the Protégé’s nanny, with Aleta striking first with a well-placed shot to the lady-bits of Malevolence.  I looked at that panel a couple times to make sure that’s what I was seeing and yup, that’s it, square in the lady-bits.  The fighting continues until the Protégé tells the women to stop so he can learn more about Aleta and her powers.  This pisses Malevolence off as she thinks she has every right to kill people at her own pace, but the creepy looking child-god has other plans. 

                Back on the ship, Martinex has quickly crafted a weapon for Yondu with the help of the ship’s matter transmuter (ie. the cure-all device).  Martinex affixes the appendage to Yondu’s stump and immediately creates Marvel’s version of the shitty Aquaman that had a hook for a hand (remember him, long hair, beard, “edgy”).  Interface (whose head seems to grow in every panel) is pissed that Yondu sliced Photons throat and gets a fancy new “hand” out of the deal and is ready to break the tenuous truce between the teams until Photon tells him to relax.  Replica whines some more because she thinks everyone would have hated her because she’s a Skrull (instead of the real reason we hate her, because she is like Lori from The Walking Dead, constantly making trouble for everyone else).  Next we get a history lesson on the Universal Church of Truth and the Protégé before heading back down to Homeworld, where Aleta is already trying to get the Protégé to be a little less like Joffrey from Game of Thrones, much to the chagrin of Malevolence. 

                Back on the ship, the Guardians and Force agree on a “no powers” team-up to take down Malevolence so she doesn’t corrupt the Protégé.  The no powers rule is because, if you remember, the Protégé can mimic any powers he sees.  To avoid making this kid any more super-powered and omnipotent than he already is, the teams have agreed to fight Malevolence the old fashioned way, by ganging up on her.  Of course the tables are turned when they get down to the Homeworld and the Protégé sics his royal guard on them.  And then, of course, Replica sees the Protégé and immediately falls to her knees to worship him, putting herself and her teammates in danger in the process.  Martinex abandons his “no powers” rule to protect her by encasing her in ice, and everyone else sees that and start using their powers too.  That rule lasted all of three pages, good effort Guardians. 

                Aleta goes berserk on Malevolence because she begins to view the Protégé as her own child (remember, Starhawk allowed her children to die) and she is about to win the battle when the aforementioned Starhawk shows up and reabsorbs her before flying off at light speed. 

                The Protégé wants Aleta back so he stops all of the fighting and threatens to kill the Guardians/Force for displeasing him.  Replica makes herself useful by groveling to the Protégé, who in turn takes her as his plaything/companion while awarding Malevolence the position as his nanny (basically by default).  Vance cries some more for Aleta, how I have no idea and everyone teleports off of Homeworld.  Mephisto rejoices because he thinks he won while on the ship, Photon and Yondu come to a mutual understanding (basically, they don’t try to murder eachother).  Love could be in the air there after all.  Everyone else says their good-byes with Broadside doing her best to creepily seduce Charlie and leave him wanting more.  Martinex discusses reprimanding Nikki for being a bitch to Replica, and pretty much everyone and Vance loses his mind.  He’s pissed about Aleta, sure, but he just up and quits the Guardians because of it, cementing his status in the whiny-bitch hall of fame.  In fact, he turns the ship toward Earth so that he can quit in grand fashion (a month-long journey to a distant planet).  That’s showing them, Vance!

Next: The team goes to Earth!  Will it be ruled by the Kardashians or big oil companies?  We’ll find out next time.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Know Your Audience

It's true, even at a Kenny G concert I'm sure people are getting loaded on Metamucil and Benadryl.