Saturday, October 31, 2015

A Journalist in waiting

OK, so here’s the thing. I've been writing professionally since 1981. No, really. My first published piece appeared in Amazing Heroes #5, and I’ve been going ever since, with a few thousand articles in print, and probably about that many online, I've authored a couple of books, and contributed to about 20 or so more. I’ve been told that I’m one of the longest-published journalists in the field of comics (not to mention that my work has appeared in virtually every major comic magazine published in the ‘80s & ‘90s.

In the Mid-‘80s I took a step over to the other side of the editorial desk and created and wrote a short-lived espionage series entitled Agent Unknown. I didn't return to writing fiction until 2006 when I started writing for Guild Works Production. since then I’ve been splitting my (writing) time between reviewing comics, and writing for Indie Comicbook Companies like Red Anvil, Atlas Unleashed, Main Enterprises, and others. (You can take a peak at my Comicbook Database bio here).

Why am I bringing all of this up now? Well, earlier in October, I attended New York Comic Con where I picked up a handful-a-handful-and a half of comics while there. Now this is significant (to me at least), because when I got home after the con and added those comics to the (several) stack(s) of comics that were already piled around my house, and wow, do I have a tremendous backlog of comics.

No, seriously.

Now, I'm not trying to say that I'm busier than you, but since the end of August, I've helped setup, run, and tear down a local annual entertainment festival (that I've worked at for nearly 30 years), organize and run a local primary (I'm the Deputy Registrar of Voters in town), attended NY Comic Con, and am now preparing to run an election. Not to mention that I'm in the middle of attempting to downsize, pack up my house, and re-locate to the great state of VA. (Oh yeah, and just last week I attempted to install Win10 on my PC which is currently playing Hobb with my computer).

So, what I guess I'm saying now is that if I haven't gotten to review your comic, pitch you a project, get back to you on the project on which you want me to work with you on, or pen that script, well, truthfully, I've been just a tad busy/distracted/overwhelmed.

So, in no particular order, these are the items in my "in-basket" that are waitinng to be read or reviewed.

I've been a fan of Captain Canuk since the early '80s. When I heard that he was returning to comics, I had to acquire the new series. Upon doing so, I discovered the most excellent We Stand on Guard, another comic from north of the border. I also discovered that I seem to be missing some of the Captain Canuck comics that have come out over the intervening years, and now I'm attemptinng to hunt them down.

Growinng up, one of my first exposures to comics was Charlton Comics, which in recent years has mad its resurgence, due in part to guys like Mort Todd, Paul Kupperberg, and Roger McKenzie. I recently acquired issue #4 of the Charlton Arrow, now I'm looking to get my hands on the new Steve Ditko book they just published.

As we are rapidly approaching Halloween (it is today as I'm writing this) Diamond is celebrating it's annual Halloween Comicfest with a round of free comics (which I just reviewed over at Comics Bulletin). 

I just picked up a double handful of $1.00 cover-priced comic reprints from Mike over at Rogue Comics. The comics above are from Marvel...

...and here are a bunch from a number of other publishers. I like these $1.00 reprints as they allow me to check out stuff that I might have otherwise have missed. 

Oh, and for the record, I don't just review comics, but I also review films, and DVDs as well

I also received a(nother) packet of comics from Dynamite Entertainment to read, review, and enjoy. 

Here is a stack of comics sitting in the "reading room" waiting to be read.

This is literally a copy of the very first comicbook I recall reading. My Uncle used to own a deli/grocery store and when I discovered comics, I'd sit on the newsstand reading (but not buying) every comic I found. I believe that I probably read about a couple of million dollars worth of comics over the years had I actually purchased and saved them) I saw this book back in the early '80s for $10.00 but didn't buy it then as I thought it was too much. Just recently I found it again for quite a bit less and decided to purchase it. It recently arrived.

This is a pile of comics that I acquired at the recent 2015 NY Comic Con.

This is (just one) pile of comics (and books) that I have read over the past several months that need to be reviewed.

This is another pile of recently read comics looking for reviews.

I met Cesar Feliciano, the artist on Comix Tribe's The Red Ten some time back at a CT comicbook show, and he gifted me with four copies of the comic. Well, when I finally got around to reading it I was so hooked, that when I got to Comix Tribe's booth at NYYCC I had to buy all the issues I was missing, including copies of The Oxymoron. Let me tell you it is an outstanding superhero murder mystery, that is unlike anything you've ever read.

Yes, I'm still a dedicated Spider-Fan, and here is my (recent) weekly take of Spidey-titles.

Here is another pile of books that I need to read. This pike sits alongside my bed.

So kids, when I tell you that "I'll get to" your comic, graphic novel, prose novel, etc. and read/watch/review it, really I do mean well , and I honestly will, it is just that I'm not only falling way behind, but I'm also working very hard.

Thanks for (hopefully) understanding.

P.S. So, as I was cleaning up, I found this stack of 2015 Free Comic Book Day (FCBD) comics that have been read, but need to be reviewed and/or discussed.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Yes, I'm still “nearly” famous!

So, if you are in the area of ‪‎St. Marks Comics‬ in NYC ( on Monday, October 5th between 8:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. you will be able to catch myself, and a host of other talented comicbook creators (including Mark Mazz, Ramon Gil, Tom DeFalco, Chris Torres, Michael Sarrao, and others autographing some of our works, including Ramon's most amazing 72 page Trade Paperback, Scifies, from Atlas Unleashed. 

The book includes a Foreword by Tom DeFalco and an intro by yours truly.

That's Monday night October 5th between 8:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.

You simply won't regret the experience. 

Saturday, October 03, 2015

It’s called “Scheduling”

OK, so for the past two weeks I've stopped in my local comicbook shop (Heroes Cards and Comics) and attempted to pick up my comics, only, as it turns out, I didn't have any comics in my hold file. Youi see, I'm a big Spider-Man fan, and currently pretty much the only corporate comics I regularly collect star Spider-Man.

Only, the problem I‘m having is that Marvel publishes something like five or six Spider-Man themed comics a month, so the question I ask, is how do you let two weeks go by with no Spidey comics? Seriously.

I mean, Wouldn't it make sense for Marvel to make sure that a Spidey comic hits every week? I don't know if the same thing happens with other other titles containing the same hero (there are multiple Iron Man, Thor, Wolverine, X-Men, Avengers, Captain America, etc.) Seems to me that making sure one of these “multiple title heroes” stories hits every week, but, you know, that’s me.


Friday, August 21, 2015

Batman comes to McDonald's

So, this month (August, 2015), DC’s Batman has arrived at the clown house. (No, not the RNC, the other clown house.)

With your Happy Meal toy, you can acquire a very cool Batman action figure or mini-car (The “Boy” toy if Batman Unlimited, while the “Girl ” toy is Monster High). 

As usual the Batman toys are actually pretty cool, offering us two Batman figures, a Joker and (my personal favorite DC villain) Solomon Grundy. There are also a pair of Batmobiles, a Jokermobile, and a Joker on a trike. all very cool stuff. 

Each of the toys move in some fashion (instructions and a coupon for some other related toy from the toy store are included, as well as the ability to go online and play a Batman Unlimited game of some sort) are included in the packaging.

All-in-all, a very nice set. We are glad that DC still issues fast-food toys of their characters but we are especially disappointed that Marvel no longer seems to issue toys. this is something that we’ve noticed has occurred ever since Disney has taken over the house that Jack built, and we don't know if it has more to do with Disney attempting to shy away from the “Your food made my kid fat” claim, or that the execs at the top don't think that Happy Meal toys are appropriate their new re-imagined(adult) superheroes.

Whatever the thought process, we certainly hope that they change their minds, as we totally love these superhero toy types. Needless to say, we are still glad the DC hasn't reached that stage as of yet, and look forward to more superhero-based toys in the future.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Unit 5 has landed in Comicbook Stores

September 11th 2001 it wasn’t just the U.S., but all of the citizens of world that experienced an ominous day. However, it also became the turning point in the fight against global terror. Founded by the United States Government and born out of the personal tragedies of five extraordinary individuals each of whom suffered personal losses due to the 9/11 attacks and all of whom have deep ties to the Ground Zero attacks. Now these five have joined together to fight global terror and are collectively known as Unit 5. These five extraordinary individuals now work for the U.S. Government.

With a cast of characters that is as diverse professionally as they are ethnically, there is something for everyone. Like most great heroes, these characters were born out of tragedy. It was the intense tragedy of the terror attacks on 9/11 that form the real-life backstory which has enabled many fans of the book to form a deep, personal connection to the storyline and characters. As we first join the story we meet each of the members of the team Drift, Tech, Ollie, Box, Brain, as well as their (non-costumed) leader, Dom Dugan. We are brought up to speed by a couple of reporters before jumping right into the story where Drift and Tech take down a terrorist before joining up with the rest of their team, and then going out to engage with a terrorist cell.

Unit 5 is published by Red Anvil (The Mighty Titan, and the upcoming Cyberines). The book was created and written by Skip Winter, President of Link Marketing (which owns the property itself). The book itself is wonderfully illustrated by Red Anvil co-Publisher, Joe Martino (Shadowflame, The Mighty Titan), whose layout, design, and illustrations add a deeper dimension to the story. While the root of the story (the 9/11 attack) gives no small amount of depth to the tale, the characters themselves are something of cyphers — which is only to be expected in the first issue of a team book — but which we forward to improving as the series progresses.

All-in-all, this is a fine initial effort, and we do recommend the title to folks who are interested in supporting well-made, creator-owned, indie comics. 

Saturday, August 08, 2015

The rest of the Guardians...

Apparently, sometime during the release of the film Guardians of the Galaxy Subway Restaurants was having a tie-in promotion with the film, and I began writing a post of it on my personal blog, only I never finished it, The franchise was offering bags that they were distributing with their kid’s meals. Here are some of those bags.

My review of the New Fantastic Four Film

For reasons that defy explanation, pulled my review of the new FF film, and in spite of the fact that I made the (unfathomable) edits they requested, the publishing tool simply wouldn't allow me to save the edited version so I could republish it. As I'm now awaiting the editorial staff to get back to me as to what the actual problem is and how to fix it, I'm simply going to re-post my review here.

Fantastic Four: “PG-13” (1 Hour 46 Minutes)
Starring: Miles TellerMichael B. JordanKate MaraJamie BellToby Kebbell
Directed by: Joshua Trask

OK, kids, this film purports to be Marvel Comic’s Fantastic Four, only (sadly) is isn’t the iconic fantastic quartet of heroes that we met in 1961 as created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, nor is it the characters we saw in any of the various TV cartoons we’ve seen over the year, nor the live-action characters who appeared in the first two Fox films. Oh, Hell, these aren’t even the folks who appeared in the “lost” Roger Corman film that was made in 1994. No, these are the cinematic versions of the “Modernized re-imagining” of Marvel's long-running Fantastic Four comic book franchise that were created by Brian Michael Bendis, Mark Millar, and Adam Kubert which debuted in print early 2004, and were a part of the company’s Ultimate Universe imprint.

So what we’ve wound up here is not so much the Fantastic Four, but “an incredible simulation” (as it were). So while these characters may bear a superficial resemblance to their comicbook Marvel Universe counterparts, they differ widely in many (many) aspects (the most obvious respect is that — as bad as you may have felt any of the other films (yes, including the Corman film) — this one is far, far worse. Beyond that, the origin of the team’s powers is different (the original team shot themselves into space and acquired their powers due to exposure to Cosmic radiation, while this one transports themselves into an alternate dimension) and this team is much younger (read: Millennials).
The story (such that it is) revolves around four youngsters who teleport themselves to an alternate and dangerous universe, which alters their physical form in “shocking” ways, granting them powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men, irrevocably altering their lives. Then the four (including Victor Von Doom, who is no longer the ruler of a European nation, but just a (slightly) older scientist on the team must now come together as a team (save for Doom), learn to harness their new abilities, and then work together to save Earth from well, Doom, who has now become their sworn enemy.

Sorry kids our problem with this incarnation is well, it simply isn’t the FF. further, the film takes itself so seriously that everything is done ponderously slow, and with great weight, so as to show you how serious the film takes itself. Gone is the human, family element of connectivity that we saw in the comicbooks, animated cartoons, and on-screen for the past 54 years, The feet-of-clay every-man-turned-hero that imbued the various series featuring these characters, gone is the playful frenemy bi-play between Johnny (The Human Torch) Storm and Ben (The Thing) Grimm. All of it tossed aside to rush yet a new reboot of these characters to the screen.

Hey, Hollywoodland, I have a if you are going to pay a boat-load of money to adapt something that has not only been around for over half a century, but has been pretty successful during that run, perhaps you should stop screwing with the core formula and simply give us what already works. Better yet, just throw in the towel, and give the rights to make Marvel films back to Marvel, because they know how to make good superhero films. So, having said all of that, go see the film if you must (better yet, save the 10 bucks, wait until it hits cable, and then watch it for free, don’t even bother to rent it from Redbox, because it isn’t even worth that rental fee. To be sure, we are huge fans of Miles Teller and Michael B. Jordan and while they did well, they were far more talented than the script, or the film itself. Mores the pity.
Robert J. Sodaro has been reviewing comicbooks for some 30 years. During that time, his reviews and articles have appeared in numerous print publications, as well as on the web.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Teen Titans are Go @ Sonic!

OK, kids, a week or so back I was passing by a Sonic restaurant and discovered that the Teen Titans were there. Well I managed to score a couple of them (and somehow wound up with duplicates of some). I don’t think that they are there any more (I caught the end of the promotion; darn!). Well, here is what I got and what I’m missing. Hopefully I'll be able to find the rest online.

Here are the items that I have:

Beast Boy’s Ears

Raven’s Mask

Starfire’s Cuff

All three!

Here is the full set of toys.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Batman Unlimited is coming to McDonald's

Yep, we know that the Minions promotion just started at McDonald’s, but we just noticed that Batman Unlimited is coming...

Minions for Breakfast!

With Minions all over the place, it should come as no surprise that there are even Minions in select General Mills Cereals. Including Cinnamon Crunch, Reese’s Puffs, Banana Nut Cheerios, Golden Grahams, Trix, Honey Nut Cheerios, Coca Puffs, and Fruity Cheerios.

All part of a balanced Breakfast

Here are a couple of Minions from this year's set, along with a pair from last year.