Sunday, May 08, 2016

Mother's Day/Geek Day

So, a threefer here with this blog post...but with a theme!

1. Mother's Day is almost over, so here's a quick little thing about my mom....

I'm pretty sure she never really got my fascination about all things sci-fi/geek/comic book related. On the other hand, she never discouraged it either, beyond her despair over the state of my bedroom when I was a kid.

I mention this because when I was in my 20s mothers were the source of more cursing among geek acquaintances of mine. This was a period of high popularity for comic books, but not for good reasons. A lot of the books were crap, but there was a lot of speculation going on. Comics are hot now because of what TV or movie property can be generated from them. Back then, they were like stocks and bonds. People bought huge numbers of the Death of Superman or X-Men #1 because they thought they were going to be worth a fortune.

They weren't of course. Hard to have a value when there's 7 million copies being printed. But older comics also shot up in value. And I routinely heard from people who despaired because they had Fantastic Four #1 or Action Comics #1 (no, they didn't. They had a reprint) but their moms tossed them in the garbage.

Moms. Scourge of collectors everywhere.

Mom never did that (to my knowledge). Now, none of the comics I collected in my youth were worth anything. Let's not get crazy here. But she never tossed them and she never gave me a hard time about spending money on them, even when I often didn't have enough. She knew it was something I loved.

So thanks, mom. One more thing to add to the awesome list.

2, So yesterday was Free Comic Book Day. I haven't had the chance to celebrate that in more than a decade. Even before we moved it Iqaluit I kind of gave the day a pass. Comic book stores tend to get flooded with parents and kids looking for free comics. Since I was routinely at my local store once or twice a week anyway, I just stayed out of the way.

But I kinda missed it the last few years. The event has really taken off and my Twitter feed was filled yesterday with creators doing events at stores - free signings or sketches. It's become a very cool little event.

But Iqaluit had its first Free Comic Book Day event yesterday. For the last five years Iqaluit has a toy store - Stuff 2 Do - operating in town. I remember the first time I went was in a little cubbyhole near Baffin Gas.  We bought a few things and I remember thinking it would never last. Not because I doubted the owners ability....he's a nice enough guy and very ernest. I just figured there wasn't enough local support for it. Or that people would buy things through Amazon instead. Or that NorthMart would undercut it somehow.

But no. He moved into a bigger location. And then he expanded in that location. And earlier this year he started selling comic books. I feel bad about not buying comics there, actually, but The Deal is still in place with Cathy and I (I do not buy single issues, only paperbacks and hardcover graphic novels). So this year he decided to do FCBD event.

And he did a great job. He actually sent a bunch of free comics around to local schools the day before. He had some cosplayers in the store; you could get your picture taken with them with funds going to a local group. There was another guy there with a robotic K-9 from Dr. Who he built (he's seriously good. He also built an R2D2 that's pretty awesome and he told me he's currently working on a WALL-E. Which is awesome. I can't wait to it as WALL-E is one of my favourite movies.

So it was a great event. We showed up, grabbed a couple of comics (I have a rule about only taking one, but he insisted on me taking more as he had lots) and we dropped a few dollars at the store. Because of the rules of FCBD is that if you take a comic, you should buy something at the store. The comics are free for customers, but the store has to buy them and ship them. So it's not cheap for them. Buy something.

It was a good day. I hope his store had a good day too. And I look forward to seeing what happens next year.

3. So, Captain America: Civil War. That movie was almost unfair to DC/Warner. It's criminal that they released Batman vs. Superman, which would under ordinary circumstances just be a bad movie that people might have forgiven a bit in the course of time. No. Marvel/Disney release this movie, one of the best in the super hero genre, just to rub salt in the wound.

Somewhere there are studio executives plotting how they can slip some cyanide into Zach Snider's smoothie. Something to right the ship. Because Marvel just laid a smackdown of such biblical proportions that you gotta feel that DC/Warner has to do something.

The scary thing is that isn't even the best Marvel movie. I'd place it maybe 4th or 5th. I'll see it again, but that feels right. In case you're wondering
- Avengers
- Iron Man
- Captain America: The Winter Soldier
- Guardians of the Galaxy
- Captain America: Civil War

It's interesting, but I watched Winter Solider the night before we saw Civil War. And the thing I noticed on my latest viewing is that sucker moves. It's not all action scenes, but it's a tight movie. The movie really propels you forward. Even the quiet scenes have weight and momentum to them. I like that energy and heft to it. There isn't an ounce of fat on that movie.

Civil War doesn't meander so much, but there's less drive to it. But there is a clockwork precision to it. There's so many characters, but they all work in their own way. The problem is that it takes away some of the energy of it. There are lots of lovely scenes, like the Vision and Scarlet Witch, or Tony and Peter Parker...but they do take away some of the urgency in the movie.

Still, that's a hell of a movie. The big airport sequence gets all the attention, but the fight at the end packs quite a weight as well.

Also, let's give a tip of the hat for the smooth way they introduced both Black Panther and Spider-Man. Age of Ultron introduced new characters and set-up future movies in an....inelegant way. Which was practically poetry compared to Batman vs. Superman's utter clusterfuck way of introducing Flash, Cyborg and Aquaman.

But no, Black Panther is fantastic in this movie. Absolutely can't wait for his movie in 2018, which is stupid far away. It should be coming out next year. And as someone so thoroughly done with Spider-Man, he was great in this movie (although one scene where he talked about an old movie he saw had me whispering "cocksucker" under my breath, then laughing).

The only faults I have are nitpicks. Like this actually should be called Avengers: Civil War, but what are you going to do.

But yeah, get rid of Zach Snyder. Because if this is the kind of intelligence the Russo Brothers are going to bring to their Avengers: Infinity Wars movies, then Snyder's Justice League movies are well and truly doomed.

Last Five
1. What kind of man - Florence and the Machine*
2. Great DJ - The Ting Tings
3. Flying Dutchman - Tori Amos
4. The lowlands of Holland - Anita Best and Pamela Morgan
5. I've got your fire - Jenn Grant

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