Andy’s Current Favorites: September 2018
Hello Mr. and Mrs. America. To start this month’s “Current Favorite” blog, I decided to post another picture of one of the Masters of the Universe minis that I painted. Again, per my previous post on the topic, these minis are not licensed by Mattel nor official MOTU merchandise. They are minis I painstakingly found by searching through catalogs and then painted accordingly. This particular mini is a Reaper mini called “Viking Girl” but I thought made an awesome Teela.
Oh Teela, between you, Heather Thomas from Fall Guy, and Slave Leia, you shaped my young smutty mind in more ways than you can count.
Speaking of Fall Guy, I recently started watching reruns of this classic Lee Majors show. I forgot how much I really enjoyed it. Not just because of the aforementioned 80s babe Ms. Thomas, but because it really did have wit and a charm that you can’t duplicate. Kinda like the A Team or the Dukes of Hazzard, but just not as popular. A step up from Greatest American Hero and Hardcastle & McCormick. Maybe on the level of Simon & Simon.
My older brother, Dave, wanted to go to the a couple cons in our time just for a chance to meet Lee Majors, mainly for the 6 Million Dollar Man memories. But if I ever stood in line to meet this cat, it would definitely be to see the man who was never with anything else than a “9”…so fine.
Anyways, on to the geek talk for today, with my “Big 4” for the Month of September!
Current Book I’m Reading:
He-man: The Newspaper Comic Strips by Various Writers/Artists
As I mentioned before, what I like about my comic selection for this monthly status check is that I can talk about larger collections that I might be slowly taking my time on. This particular book has that in spades. Clocking in at 517 pages, this massive phone book of a comic from Dark Horse collects the little known MOTU newspaper strips that were circulated in the mid 80s. Of all the collections Dark Horse reprinted with MOTU material, this was the one I looked forward to the most simply because unlike the He-man mini comics that had been released with the figures, I had never read any of these particular stories before.
That being said, I unfortunately haven’t been that impressed with thus far what I’ve read. However, I must admit that’s mainly because of the way that the characters are interpreted in these strips is no longer the type of MOTU I care for. The stories are very similar to the Filmation animated show, something that the older and older I get, the less and less I care for.
I know that 95% of the general populace look to that cartoon as their main touch point for He-man, but I feel that’s a crying shame. Mainly because it’s campy and out of touch with the original source material to a large degree. It’s not that I don’t like a bit of whimsy or lightheartedness with my MOTU, not everything has to be dark and Zack Snyderesque. However, when your main bad guy has a skull for a face, the last thing he should be is a non threatening overly egotistical buffoon. The dude has a skull for a face, if there’s anyone that should be dark and forbidding, it’s that guy.
That’s why in recent years I’ve gravitated towards the period of He-man fans have dubbed “Mini Eternia”, referring to the period in the mini comics before the Filmation show, when there was little to no Prince Adam, everything was more grounded and mysterious, and it was really a high stakes Game of Thronesesque Barbarian epic, than a Superman clone in furry underpants. Once the Filmation show came on the scene, there was a define tonal shift with this character, and a lot of the concepts started to get watered down for the sake of appealing to the littlest ones.
And this is what this strip really is, a continuation of the Filmation cartoon series basically. Or at least that’s how it feels after reading the first couple story arcs. I’m always hoping that the next one will feel a little more serious or something, but no such luck. That’s why it’s been a little bit of a slog to read it. The one positive though I can say is that it came in at the tail end of the original MOTU toy run, so a lot of the characters are from those later waves, like Blast Attack, or Scareglow, or Clamp Champ. And since the cartoon series ended long before those characters got to make an appearance, its definitely nice to see these characters in any sort of story since they make so few other appearances.
Like thus far, my favorite story arc was this one all about Ninjor, a Wave 6 ninja style baddie that again unfortunately didn’t get much attention thanks to his release being at the tail end of the line. But in this story, he’s pretty bad ass, kidnapping both King Randor and Prince Adam in the middle of the night, terrorizing the citizens of the royal palace, and overall just showing some basic competency as a villain, which for Filmation style He-man can be a stretch at times. He even gets a pretty intense one on one showdown with He-man himself after stealing Skeletor’s Havok Staff and again wielding it even better than old Bone face himself in terms of an actual weapon, conjuring up a dinosaur to try to chomp He-man down to size. Yeah, overall that Ninjor story is pretty good at times, I can’t front on that.
And I think that’s why I’m continuing to read this book. At only 100+ pages in, I’m still only a 1/5th done with it, so I’m holding out hope that somewhere in the remainder is that one classic He-man story that makes the entire purchase worth it. We’ll just have to see and continue to hope I guess.
Current Favorite Album While Reading Comics:
Jack Johnson: From Here to Now to You
So it should go without saying that there are certain artists, I’ll just buy albums of based on who they are. Jack Johnson is one of those, and trust me, not every one has been exactly a gem. Sleeping through the Static comes to mind as one of weaker entries in his discography.
However for the most part, Jack’s albums have been down to earth, chill music that’s great for background music at parties or hanging outside in a hamock on a lazy summer day. It’s like slowly sipping Ice tea. Goes down smooth. Plus Jack’s such a nice guy, that it’s hard not to want to support him. I mean since 2008, he’s donated all the proceeds from his tours to charity. You gotta pat the guy on the back for that, folks.
And whatever the album, they all lay down a nice mellow groove which is perfect for reading comics on these last hot and hazy days of the summer season. This particular album is no exception with such hum worthy tunes as: “I Got You”, “Tape Deck”, and “Radiate”, just to name a few.
My personal favorite tune to listen to while I’m reading the funny books is “Ones and Zeros”. There’s this line: And all the greatest of the heroes started jumping from the books, They started wearing ones and zeros, Looking more and more like crooks. I’m not sure why I equate that line so much to comics for some reason. In fact, it really evokes this mental image of a cover from an old Sleepwalker comic from my youth where this lame ass villain named the Bookworm makes all these fictional characters come to life and try to make life miserable for our bug eyed hoodie wearing defender of justice.
I’m sure Jack Johnson was talking about something completely different, but it’s strange how songs stir up strange mental pictures at times.
Anyways, old Jack recently I have no reason to think his next album won’t be more of that, and based on his first single which I’ve linked below, I definitely think I’m right .
Current Favorite Video Game:
It’s a running joke between myself and my brother, Ethan, that if my life sucks then I must be playing Arcanum.It’s a throw back to the period of time late 2001- early 2002 where indeed my life did suck. Suck donkey balls.
I had graduated from IUP where as all of my friends were still attending thus I found myself perpetually out of the loop about everything. I had to move back in with my parents, because I couldn’t find a decent job with my degree other than working terrible hours part time at Fox 8 manning cameras or splicing commercials for the evening broadcast. I had little to no money and the chicks paid me to mind. In short, it was one of the worst times of my life.
All I really had to look forward to was playing this steam punky Arcanum game from the makers of the Fallout series. And really, the game isn’t even that great. It’s got a lot going on and there’s an absolute crap ton of stuff to do, but it never that the hook that the Fallout games did. That little something something that separated it from the pack. But it was the game I bought with that little amount of money I had, so damn it, I was gonna play it.
I never did beat the game though as come the spring of 2002, my life started to pick back up what with my buddy Gus finishing up school and having to move back in with his parents, so at least I had someone to drink beers with. Ethan and I also built the PIT so we’d have someplace people wanted to hang out at. Plus then I bought my Jeep which started attracting the ladies. Overall, it was a time in which I looked at Arcanum and said “why am I playing this when I have so much more do to?” and it fell into obscurity.
So why am I playing it now again do you ask? Does my life suck again?
No it was just 2.99 on GOG so I said what the hell. I’ll bite Fruit Stripes gum and try and beat it this time around. Some 20 hours in, I’m not sure what I’ve gotten myself into….
Current Favorite TV Show:
The Venture Brothers
Although I started off this article saying I’ve been watching reruns of the Fall Guy, it’s hardly my current favorite TV show at the moment. That honor goes to the closest thing to animated comic book on TV, the series I’ve been religiously following for close to 10 years now, despite massive breaks in between seasons. Yep, you guessed it. The Adventures of Rusty Venture and his gang of misfits: The Venture Brothers. By far one of the smartest, hippest satires I have ever had the honor of watching.
I really thought long and hard that I should write an entire article about my love of the Venture Brothers, and maybe some day, when I’m dying for content, I will. But given this section is usually reserved for a favorite movie, and I needed something for this spot, I said there ain’t no question I should show some love for the long awaited season 7 that’s been airing on Cartoon Network over the past 6 weeks.
The difficulty is though in discussing this show is that I really don’t want to spoil it for those out there that might not have watched it before. And as show that has really built an intricate mythology that requires watching pretty much every single episode to really grasp what’s going on, it can be a daunting task for some, even my friends which whom I regularly sing the praises of Doc Hammer and Jackson Publick’s masterpiece.
Without giving too much away, I’ve been a particular fan of the past two seasons of the show mainly because they gave the main bad guy, The Monarch, and his top henchman, Number 22, a face lift adopting the personas of the Blue Morpho and Kano, an obvious homage to the Green Hornet mythology I love so dearly. This was just a great swerve in the show that I almost completely forgot about the Venture Brothers proper and just waited for more episodes about these two, especially as they elimanate other super villains in a vain attempt to become Dr. Venture’s sole arch enemy again.
Season 7 picked up right where Season 6 left off with these two characters and with the addition of some incredibly important wrinkles in the relationship between the grown up Rusty Venture and my favorite bee themed bad guy, I feel like this show continues to get better and better with every subsequent season.
However I can also see the writing on the wall a bit that it might be finally coming to an end soon. To which I say, to those that have not yet watched Venture Brothers, just wait. Wait until the series finishes proper and watch it all in one enormous mega binge. Like any great comic book run, it’s sometimes best to have the story run its course and then pick up the omnibus and enjoy it all in one go. Venture Brothers is definitely one of the most “comic book” like shows on TV nowadays, so why not just wait for the trade? Save yourself the torment that the rest of us fans have had to endure with the 7 episode seasons with 2 years of hiatus in between.