Friday, January 30, 2015

The Tinkerer

It takes a lot to get someone to wholesale tinker with their roster by week three, say, their top draft pick being suspended for the year for beating his kid, that kind of thing.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Not so New Comic Review: Guardians of the Galaxy (1991) #62

                This is it, the moment you’ve all been waiting for (okay, at least I know I have)!  The final issue of the Guardians of the Galaxy.  We open with the conclusion of the Starhawk parentage saga (why you would spend the majority of your final issues on one character I have no idea).  When last we saw Starhawk he had just been shot by a Pathbreaker robot on the outskirts of the planet where Starhawk’s mother, known as Kismet, was last seen.  Of course, this is the all-powerful Starhawk we’re talking about, so he makes short work of the robot and heads down to the planet’s surface.  There, he meets his mother, still alive and well, and hasn’t aged a day.  Even though she is not supposed to leave the convent, Starhawk whisks her away anyway.

                As they are flying off, Starhawk tells his mother what happened to his father and as soon as he mentions Eon, she gets pissed because apparently Eon took Starhawk away from her as soon as he was born.  With that, Eon’s son Era, who looks just like Eon (who is apparently a girl!?), shows up and tries to kill both Starhawk and Kismet.  They fight until Era decides he’s had enough and just leaves.  The Hawk God then shows up to tell Starhawk that Era has been behind all of the nasty stuff that has happened to him and that the Hawk God is willing to help Starhawk track him down.  Before they do that though, Starhawk and Kismet travel to visit the gravesite of Quasar.

                There you go.  The end of Starhawk’s quest.  What do you think?  Pretty underwhelming, right?  Can they do any better with the rest of the Guardians?  Let’s see.

                We start with the Guardians gathering on the Icarus (except for Talon, who is meditating and Yellowjacket who is now back in the present) along with Martinex and Hollywood.  Of course, as soon as Martinex shows up Vance gets into an argument with him again, because he’s terrible.  Nothing is mentioned of the lost colony of Jovians that Charlie was looking for, so I guess that plot thread is just going to dangle forever.  Instead, we get another War of the Worlds history lesson (with nothing new added by the way) except we find out that Mainframe has found a way to send them back in time to prevent the tragedy.



                Forgive me if I’m confused, but there are a couple inconsistencies here.  First, the Guardians went back in time once already, to the present day.  They went there to wipe out the Baddoon and prevent the genocides of their races (Charlie and Nikki, at least, Yondu and Martinex were not with the team at the time).  The ability to travel through time has apparently been around for quite some time.  Plus, on that trip, Vance refused to help them, and in fact sabotaged their mission, nearly resulting in the death of Charlie.  Now, all of a sudden he is fine with killing a large portion of the Martian population…as long as it saves his race.  Real nice.   Not only that, but Yellowjacket just traveled back in time as well, so this whole “waiting for Mainframe to figure out how to transport us through time” thing holds no water at all. 

                Whatever.  They go through time and use their vastly superior technology to destroy the Martian ships.  Seriously, it takes them no time at all, and Hollywood does half the work for them by destroying many of the ships with his bare hands.  How the Earth fell to the Martians in the first place is a mystery to me.  Just Wonder Man and Thor alone could have handled the entire fleet, not to mention any number of mutants or other heroes. 

                With the Martian fleet decimated, the Guardians begin their trip back home.  Unfortunately, they are being watched by Wormhole (remember him, the Inhuman bad guy that used to work for Loki) and he isn’t happy with them.  He creates a, wait for it, wormhole that sucks them in and drops them on an unknown, uncharted planet somewhere.

             
 And that’s it.  That’s the end.

What.  The.  Galactic. Fuck.


                Next week: A Guardians of the Galaxy Post-Mortem before we start the next review series. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Trade Bait 3

Week Three-

Standings:
Shrimp:

Assorted Freaks:





The Masked Shrimp
2-0
The Slugomatic
1-1
Fred
2-0
The Wormy Guy
1-1
The Masked Shrimpette
0-2
Mr. Happee
0-2

Schedule:
The Masked Shrimp v. Fred
The Slugomatic v. Mr. Happee
The Wormy Guy v. The Masked Shrimpette

My brother can attest to the ludicrous nature of some of the trade requests.  
He had the roster everyone wanted, even if we had nothing to give him for those players.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

AC/DC – Rock or Bust: Yes, You’ve Been Here Before

                We made it.  We slogged through every disc in the AC/DC catalog and it brought us to this point, Rock or Bust.  This is the new album, six years in the making.  What you get when you fire it up is the same AC/DC that you have come to know, and hopefully love.  The songs are all not only fairly similar to one another, but if you listen closely, you can even pick out pieces of the current tracks that are stolen from previous songs in their catalog (at least they’re not stealing from other musicians, just themselves).

                This does not mean that Rock or Bust is a bad album.  Far from it in fact, as it is actually quite a good AC/DC record, right up there with Black Ice and Stiff Upper Lip.  At this point, we’re splitting hairs when it comes to AC/DC records, right?  They are a known commodity, and when you attempt to judge them on anything other than their individual merit, you will be disappointed, not by the album itself, per se, but by the simple fact that the albums are all essentially the same. 

                Rock or Bust is no different, but where it lacks in originality (and boy does it ever) it makes up for that by providing a comfort in the simple fact that I could play this record and know that I would enjoy it.  If you like AC/DC, you will like this album, it’s as simple as that.  The opening tracks, “Rock or Bust” and “Play Ball”, the two current singles, are exactly what you would expect, but everything you have come to love about AC/DC.  Angus’ guitar work is masterful in its execution and the bottom end, the bass and drums, are as good as you remember.  Brian Johnson’s vocals are as good as ever.  The most amazing thing about AC/DC has to be the way that Brian Johnson can sound the same as he did in 1980.  Is it a trick of the recording process, or did he somehow avoid the ravages of father time?  Either way, it’s one of the highlights of the record in my opinion.


                Honestly, at this point, the only question you have to ask yourself is “Do I like AC/DC?”If the answer is yes, then the only thing left for you to do is go out and purchase Rock or Bust.  If you are already not a fan of the band, and believe me, after listening to their entire discography back to back, I can understand your argument, this is probably not the album for you.  If you are looking to “try out” a band that has been around since the early seventies in one incarnation or another, then this album is as good of a place to start as any.

Monday, January 26, 2015

LaForge Yourself a Quality Receiver

That was not my drafting method, just so you know.  But I would not be opposed to drafting a player named Spock.  
It's only logical.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Not so New Comic Review: Guardians of the Galaxy (1991) #61

                Let’s jump right in, shall we?  With double the Talon in this issue, it sure makes me want to rush right out and read this issue.  Maybe Talon will argue with himself!

                We open on dead Starhawk (remember, he died last issue) as he is tumbling through…something and winds up seated at a cosmic breakfast table known as the White Room.  Apparently, every protector of the universe goes to the White Room when they die (to enter this club all you have to do is wear the Quantum Bands, once, for a short amount of time, hence Starhawk’s inclusion).  Here, Starhawk meets his dearly departed daddy, who knows nothing of him because Starhawk was born after his father had died.  You would think that they would be able to die and rest in peace, you know, considering the fact that they spent their lives protecting the galaxy, but no, now they have to stay in what amounts to purgatory, for eternity I’m assuming.  Well Starhawk is having none of that. 
 
Starhawk questions his father as to how he died and Quasar goes into great detail about not only his death but everything leading up to that, including the War of the Worlds (of course).  Quasar’s wife was pregnant with Starhawk at the time of the Martian attack, and Quasar, not wanting to expose his wife or unborn child to the Martian genocide spirited them away to a planet that is apparently one big nunnery.  Quasar then left them, travelling through space to get back to Earth to help fight the Martians, except he took a wrong turn at Albuquerque and landed in front of The Abrogate, who promptly killed him like he just did to Starhawk.  Apparently no one can move from their seat once they enter the White Room (I’d be concerned about bed sores if they weren’t already dead) but Starhawk, in typical Starhawk fashion says to hell with the rules, gets up and leaves after he hears that he may have a mother out there still. 
 
After he leaves, the potted plant in the center of the table begins to grow and speak.  It turns out that that plant is Eon, but if that is Eon, who is the being that gave Starhawk the Quantum Bands two issues ago?  We’ll have to wait until next issue to find out.  For now, we catch up with Starhawk streaking across the cosmos to reach the nun planet that his mother is on.  As he enters its orbit though, he is confronted by a Pathbreaker robot, apparently they protect that planet from interlopers.  We’ll have to wait until next issue to see how that plays out though as it’s time to check in on Talon!


                Talon has spent his time away from the Guardians in search of his Amulet that he received from Dr. Strange.  His search brings him to a cave where he comes face to face with Krugarr, the Sorcerer Supreme who took the amulet from him in the first place.  Talon, begin the douche that he is, and not really getting the point as to why the amulet was withheld from him in the first place, attacks Krugarr.  This proves fruitless and Krugarr sics a Talon doppelganger (pre-transformation version) on him.  New Talon kills him and goes to take the amulet back before Krugarr wrests it away, proclaiming yet again that Talon is unworthy.  Get this, at this point, Talon agrees with him!  I have no idea why, or what really changed his mind, but it did.  Krugarr takes this opportunity to offer his congratulations as Talon is now a father (Rancor gave birth to their rape-baby), but instead of chasing down and killing Rancor, Talon rededicates himself to learning the mystic arts and controlling his animal side.  The issue closes with Krugarr telling Vance that Talon will not be rejoining the team anytime soon.


Next Issue: It’s the series finale as we get even more War of the Worlds fun.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Message to the Best

Remember the beginning of the season, when Seattle's defense was terrible?


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Black Label Society: Not All Great Bands Avoid Syracuse

                It is impossible to explain my excitement when one of my favorite bands of all time, Black Label Society, led by guitar messiah Zakk Wylde, announced not only were they touring, but coming to Syracuse, a scant fifteen minute jaunt down route 81.  My lovely fiancĂ©e purchased tickets for me as a Christmas gift, and wound up accompanying me when my brother, the original recipient of the other ticket, was unable due to the fact that the concert date was moved and his work schedule could not do the same.  It’s odd that Black Label Society even made it to Syracuse, as many bands just refuse to come here (with good reason, Syracuse is awful).  When Motley Crue came around for their farewell tour, Alice Cooper opened for them on nearly all of the dates except Syracuse.  Marilyn Manson and Alice Cooper were set to play Syracuse a couple years ago but backed out at the last minute and went to Buffalo instead.  Syracuse is like that girl that everyone knows has herpes that only the desperate guys will fuck.  Black Label Society is not desperate though, they could play anywhere else (and they have!) so the fact that they stopped by the Salt City made me one happy camper.

                First things first, the venue, the F-Shed, was a roomy place.  A decent concert venue if you didn’t factor in the fact that the sound system was atrocious.  This may be one of the worst sounding concerts in terms of the technical aspect of the show that I have ever been to.  Somehow, someway, it didn’t interfere with Black Label as much as the two opening bands, but shit, it was terrible.  It would have to be a great band and a decent ticket price for me to even consider visiting the F-Shed again.

                The first band, Butcher Babies was beyond bad, in my opinion.  I am not a fan of scream-metal bands, especially ones fronted by women, so my judgment is naturally going to be colored in this respect, but my goodness, they were bad.  Unintelligible, loud for loud’s sake.  Hell, any time there are two singers in a band, I get nervous.  With Butcher Babies it was for good reason.  Hatebreed was a bit more intelligible, but still loud and screamy, and just not my cup of tea.  I am glad they had a relatively short set as they were not at all what I was there to see.

                Now, the headliner, Black Label Society, did exactly what they do every time.  They came out and just tore the roof off the place from the very beginning.  Zakk was at his absolute best, despite a grueling tour schedule, and the rest of the band was just awesome.  I hate to say it, because it’s hard to see Black Label without him, but I didn’t even miss Nick Catanese as his replacement, Dario Lorina stepped in and killed it.  Though I will say, next to Zakk, Dario looks emaciated and it makes for a funny side by side image. 


                The music was superb, with Zakk mixing it up, with a little from nearly every album (though I don’t remember much from Order of the Black which is a shame).  Zakk even played piano for “In This River” while Lorina tickled the ivories for “Angel of Mercy”.  It was a solid a night of music as I can remember seeing in a long time, even with the auditory headaches of the F-Shed.  If you have the opportunity, I cannot recommend a show any more highly than Black Label Society.  This may be one of the best concerts you ever go to, seriously.  

Monday, January 19, 2015

Santos

Dan Bailey was pretty awesome all year...until the playoffs.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Trade Bait 2

This was before TY Hilton blew up as a real #1 receiver, but still...bad trade.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Not so New Comic Review: Guardians of the Galaxy (1991) #60

                So last issue we learned that Starhawk’s father was Quasar.  This issue opens with the revelation that Quasar is dead.  Bummer.  After finding out this tidbit of information, Starhawk is confronted by the Silver Surfer, who wants his Quantum bands back so that he can resume his duties as protector of the universe and stop Galactus from eating everything.  Starhawk doesn’t want to give them up though as this is the closest he has got to finding out his origin.  And in grand Guardians tradition, they fight about it.

                They go back and forth, neither gaining the upper hand until…the Quantum bands just go back to the Silver Surfer anyway.  Apparently they always return to the protector of the universe, no matter what.  So, in another grand Guardians tradition, these two fought over absolutely nothing as the Surfer didn’t actually win the bands back.  The Surfer takes off and Starhawk enters another dimension where he encounters the Hawk God.  The Hawk God attacks and seriously wounds him…until Starhawk exits that dimension and then he is healed again.  

                That health is short lived though as he is approached by The Abrogate, apparently the same being that killed Quasar now kills Starhawk. 

                We leave Starhawk this issue and focus in on Yellowjacket who is being held captive by Slagg because of her association with Charlie.  He has done the smart thing of taking her pym particles from her so she can’t change her size, but he didn’t remove the “emergency pills” from her pouches (hey, those pouches aren’t just for show after all!)

                She defeats Slagg and then decides that she is leaving this timeline for good and going back to the “present day” (because apparently time travel is so commonplace now you can just purchase it like tickets to the opera). 

                Next Issue: Is Starhawk really dead?  Is Yellowjacket really gone?  Does anyone really care?

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Album Review: AC/DC – Black Ice (2008)

Overview: 
We had a seven year wait from Stiff Upper Lip to Black Ice.  You would hope, with a wait of that length, that the results would be well worth it.  Well, AC/DC didn’t reinvent themselves, that’s for sure, but they sure did follow the path they had tread with the last three albums to tremendous success.

Tracks you may know: 
Rock N Roll Train – The lead single for the album is definitely an AC/DC song, with the strong guitars, sing-along chorus, and great solo.

Tracks you should know:
Spoilin’ For a Fight – A good song full of fast guitars and Brian Johnson’s growl, quintessential AC/DC.

Decibel – A slower song (much “Black Ice”) with a walking beat for the guitars.  Similar? Yes. Good?  Hell yes.

My personal favorite:
Black Ice – A bluesy song with a heavy riff to it, this closes the album and does as good of a job of it as “If You Dare” from The Razor’s Edge.

Album rating: 
Stiff Upper Lip part II is just as good as its predecessor.


8/10

Monday, January 12, 2015

Spanked

In week two, a team full of Broncos actually meant something.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Pushed over the Edge

I wish my phone had a frowny face on it when I received just that news in week two, 
it would have made it easier to stomach.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Comic Review: Cabra Cini Voodoo Junkie Hitwoman

                It’s time to dip our toes back in the Actuality Press waters once again as Sam Johnson keeps churning out title after title for our pleasure.  “Dark New Year”, the current release sees Cabra Cini back in the forefront.  Cabra Cini is a character that made an appearance a while back in the Geek Girl/Mr. Mash-up anthology.  In fact, the first story in “Dark New Year” is a reprint of that story, so I won’t get into much detail on it, but if you want to check out my review, go here

                After that, we get a few art pages, showing cover designs and some shots of characters before we head into preview art from the new mini-series that will be released this year.  Johnson has done a great thing here, building up the interest and anticipation for his new series with the free digital comic.  I wish Sam would start pimping out Eat @ Shrimpy’s, it would be an international success overnight. 

                The preview pages are broken down into two sections.  One is an unlettered preview, which is predictably a little hard to follow.  I have no doubt it will get easier once the text is added.  The art by R.D. Ricci is a little stiff, but the varied angles and panel types make for solid storytelling.  When there are backgrounds in the panels, they are very well executed as well.  In fact, the backgrounds blow the character work out of the water.  The coloring is pretty grey and monotone, but that’s standard comic book coloring nowadays, so I can’t really fault anyone for sticking with the trend I suppose. 

                The second section is a two page lettered preview, with art by Nathan Ramirez and colors by M.K. Dodson (everything is written by Sam Johnson, in case you didn’t gather that).  This preview is an interesting setup, and while the dialogue is about as stiff as the characters in the previous preview, the premise is interesting and one that I am actually interested in seeing to completion.  The art is dark and gloomy, fitting for this type of story.  Again, the backgrounds are a highlight as Ramirez looks like he really referenced the building/car/etc. instead of drawing them from memory.  The character work is pretty good as well.  The acting of the characters is a little hit and miss, but it doesn’t really make you stop and wonder what the hell’s going on, which is a good thing. 

                I am definitely interested in seeing where these stories go.  While “Voodoo Junkie Hitwoman” is a bit convoluted of a concept (not to mention a title), the product itself is pretty well done.


            I would suggest giving this a shot.  Hopefully it will get picked up by a publisher as well.  As an artist that has done work on spec before and never been paid for it, I would love to see these artists get paid something for their work.  If you want to check it out, “Dark New Year” can be found FREE at www.actualitypress.com and www.drivethrucomics.com.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Compensatory

This really happened, and it came back to bite me in the ass many times.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

2015 Sneak Peak

2014 was a good year for the strip that saw us not stick exactly to the preordained plan when it came to the order of the storylines.  Of course, the opportunity to mix things up and do the "Dear Mr. Fantasy (Football)" storyline was something I just couldn't pass up.  That being said, 2015 will see that storyline come to an end, and the "Body Mods" story that I promised last year.  The year ends with the "Nun's the Word" storyline that has Sluggy looking for love in some holy places.

In terms of other things in the works:

Out right now, is Covers Volume I ($6)


Shrimpology ($35)



and just announced, Eat @ Shrimpy's Greatest Hits Volume I -
collecting the first six major storylines. ($17)



Coming this year, be on the lookout for Covers Volume II (collecting cover art for "issues" 25-50 as well as the corresponding trade covers), as well as Greatest Hits Volume II (collecting the second six major storylines, to be released around the end of next year).

I am working on an Eat @ Shrimpy's themed trading card game that I hope to have done by the end of the year as well.  The planning and mechanics are complete, it's just a matter of drawing all of the cards right now that is taking the most time.  As I complete various stages, I will post some of the artwork.

And finally, this year's Eat @ Shrimpy's Bracket.  It is currently in development, and will be revealed come March.

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please leave them below and I'd be happy to converse with you.

Thanks for your loyalty for the last few years, and believe me, the best is yet to come!

-Matt

Monday, January 5, 2015

Punch

Week Two-

Standings:
Shrimp:

Assorted Freaks:





The Masked Shrimp
1-0
The Slugomatic
1-0
Fred
1-0
The Wormy Guy
0-1
The Masked Shrimpette
0-1
Mr. Happee
0-1


Schedule:
The Masked Shrimp v. The Slugomatic
Mr. Happee v. The Wormy Guy

Fred v. The Masked Shrimpette 

It was a rough time for all those that owned Ray Rice, when he was suspended for the year because video surfaced of him punching his then fiance (now wife) in an Atlantic City elevator.  
Shrimpette was just able to find a little well-placed, maybe ill-timed humor in that.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Trade Bait 1

This was at least a weekly occurrence in our house for the majority of the season.  It was too poignant to not include.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Not so New Comic Review: Guardians of the Galaxy (1991) #59

                In order for Starhawk to find out more about his parents, he first must save the Silver Surfer from the Saturnian Hound Hawks (they basically look like flying white cats) who are coming to feast on him.  Of course, this isn’t difficult for someone that travels at the speed of light, so he quickly avoids them.  That is the problem with any threat to many of the Guardians, especially Starhawk, he is so powerful that you never expect anything to really be his undoing. 

                After saving, then healing, the Surfer, Starhawk learns that the Surfer’s current condition has come at the hands of Galactus.  Apparently, even though that has been their arrangement, the Surfer finding sustenance for Galactus, Galactus is tired of the Surfer’s choices in terms of places to eat.  So, in grand Guardians tradition, Galactus just up and attacks the Surfer, and goes off to…find a new planet to devour I guess?

                While the Surfer is out of sorts, Starhawk notices the Quantum bands around his wrists and thinks that they might hold a clue as to his parents’ origins, and therefore his own.  However, it is not his place to touch the Quantum bands as they are supposed to be passed from the former to the new protector of the universe.  This is punctuated by Eon showing up and attacking him for even attempting to use the Quantum bands.  Eon tries to return Starhawk to his child-form but somehow Starhawk bypasses that and ages before Eon’s eyes until he is right back where we started.  I’m not sure if Eon is just not as powerful as we thought, or if Starhawk is more powerful than we thought, but this display changes Eon’s mind and he gives Starhawk the Quantum bands anyway.  So, again, a whole lot of fluff to get us to where we were going anyway.

                Starhawk was correct though, as placing the bands on his wrists shows him that his father was actually Quasar, the former protector of the universe (and I believe he was an Avenger at one point too).  This ends this story as we have to wait until the next issue to see how that all shakes out.

                In the meantime we turn our attention to Nikki, on some distant planet somewhere, in a story entitled “The Fire Down Below” which may or may not have to do with venereal disease.

                Nikki has just gotten groceries (oranges and liquor from  the looks of her bag) and is walking home in a shady neighborhood when, surprise surprise, a couple no-good-niks show up to rain on her parade.  After getting roughed up a bit by them she uses her fire-powers on them in order to get them to back off…which does nothing but remove their shirts (their pants are apparently flame retardant).  Nikki then uses a solar flare to blind them instead, and when their vision returns, Charlie is standing in front of them and beats the tar out of them.  Before we leave this party though, one of the attempted rapists says that he knows something about more Jovians being around.  For those of you that forgot, the Jovians are Charlie’s race, a race that was supposedly exterminated by the Baddoon.  Charlie and Nikki then call Vance and tell him that they’re not coming back as they are going to find the lost colony of Jovian slaves.


                Next issue: More Starhawk-y goodness with some Yellowjacket fun on the side.