On Losing Legends

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Yesterday the horror and film community lost a one of a kind talent, George A. Romero. Romero was the visionary who originally brought us Night of the Living Dead and thus inspired decades of scares. When we hear the word “zombie”, it’s Romero’s version of those undead monstrosities that shambles through our minds. I personally used that template for my own novels – the writing of which was a lifelong goal achieved. So needless to say, the passing of this legend has lingered at the forefront of my thoughts since hearing the news. George Romero was a legend in every sense of the word and his loss will be felt forever.

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It occurred to me that the feeling of losing a legend is something we’ve had to work through on a seemingly regular interval recently. Why is that? Are notable figures and celebrities really passing any more than usual? That’s an absurd thought that is hard to shake because the sense of grief has enjoyed a short cycle of auto-fulfillment. For me the recent hits have been Adam West, Chris Cornell, and of course Carrie Fisher (whose appearance in The Last Jedi will probably have me break down in tears).

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We miss you, Princess.

We live in a time of worthy idols and ever-advancing technology. Creative talent is everywhere if you’re willing to look beyond the lazy trends of reality television. The legendary talents that graced the silver screen and our televisions from our early years are regularly reinventing themselves or furthering cultural movements they founded. There are so many worthy escapes from the never ending onslaught of ‘hellfire and brimstone’ that current events/politics have become. Indeed, it’s a good time to be a fan of just about anything. So why the hell am I so down?

The internet is the root of our grief here. In its regular shrinking of our planet, the internet has brought everything pop culture into addiction feeding byte-sized (see what I did there?) doses. This over-accessibility of information has taken our entertainment icons and rocketed them to legendary status faster than ever before. It’s a double-edged sword to have information so accessible. Fans feel close attachment to celebrities they’ve never met through social networking and blogs. Obtaining a “fix” for any person of interest is as easy as a few mind numbing taps on a phone screen. The downside of this accessibility outlet is that you may feel less inclined to actually go meet someone in person.

I think that’s what is really tearing me up here… Even with the profound impact George A. Romero had on my life, I never met the man in person. After spending at least two decades worshiping Carrie Fisher for the marvel she was, I don’t know that I was ever in the same state as her. I passed up an opportunity to see Soundgarden in concert because I assumed I’d get another chance when schedules might be better. All my wife wanted to do was give Adam West a hug and we didn’t go because we didn’t want to deal with the con crowds or prices. What’s bringing me down is a profound regret that I didn’t do everything possible to make my fanboy dreams a reality by at least shaking the hand of these legends who’d shaped my life.

Where am I going with this? Who the the hell knows. I’m feeling inexplicably guilty and needed an outlet that, as I previously mentioned, the internet is the place for such things. I suppose the moral of the story is to fight the atrophied fandom modern day has created and get out there. Meet the fans, talk about your passions, celebrate the legends lost while maybe getting the chance to thank the living ones in person.

Thanks for the scares, Mr. Romero. I hear you were a hell of a guy in person and I’m sorry I never got the chance to meet you in this life.

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STAR WARS: Darth Vader #3 – by Charles Soule

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The new Darth Vader series is giving us a look at what made Darth Vader, Darth Vader. Marvel is building a detailed back story and showing that Vader is more than just heavy breathing and force chokes. Issue 1 and 2 provided us the events after Vader went all cyborg on us. In order for Darth Vader to earn his crimson light saber, he sets his sight on a Jedi who has avoided Order 66. Vader is hell bent to kill the Jedi, take his light Saber, and torture the crystal within the saber with pain and rage until the color becomes “a beautiful crimson.” Darth Vader then travel from planet to planet searching for this Jedi warrior who has taken the Barash Vow (non-interference until his true path/purpose is revealed.)

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Darth Vader’s search has taken him to the Moon of Al’doleem where he has tracked down the Jedi Master Kirak Infil’a. As Vader is flying onto the moon, Infil’a disables Vader’s ship by force “hurling” objects at his vessel. When Vader finally landed his craft, Infil’a test Darth Vader’s skill by launching an attack at him, sending in crashing water to engulf the lower land Vader is standing on. Vader then uses the force to disperse and part the water around him. After a series of more tests that Infil’a has given Darth Vader, Infil’a then allows him to move forward without further obstruction. When Vader arrives, Infil’a declares Vader “weak”.

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Prior to the dual commencing, Infil’a has figured out Vaders true intent… he know that he is there for his light saber. Infil’a also deduces that he must have a master; almost casting a cloud over the juggernaut that is Darth Vader. At this point you see what Infil’a is eluding to that Darth Vader is so weak, in his eye’s, that he can not be the master. Infil’a quickly dispatches Vader and cast him off the mountain.  After the “battle”, Infil’a considers his vow complete and is planning to return to the Galaxy and restore the Jedi Order.

I typically am totally against the “slow burn” process that most comics produce… almost dragging on the story issue to issue, but this has been “tastefully” done. I am very curious to see how Vader recovers from this and see how he grew the allure and reputation as the most feared in the galaxy.

My final rating of STAR WARS: Darth Vader #3 by Charles Soule is a 8.5 out of 10.

What’s your favorite Star Wars comic? Let us know in the comments or email us directly at madnerddads@gmail.com. Don’t forget to follow the blog and on Instagram to stay up to date!

The Dull Knight

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Marvel vs. DC, DC vs. Marvel

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This is a hatred that feels longer than time itself. These foes have fought each other for years, with no end in sight. Why do they hate each other? They don’t…

In the recent years, this “rivalry” has surly escalated with the surge of Marvel and DC cinematic universe’s. The cinematic universe’s have catapulted these two companies to mainstream status. You walk the streets, scroll on your Facebook feed, heck…look at a bag of Doritos and you will see the image of a comic book character. These days relevance and success is no longer gauged on comic book sales, but in movie ticket sales.

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So where does this hatred stem from? It stems from us…the fans. Marvel and DC, as companies, are rivals…yes, but they don’t hate each other. You go to any social media sight and view the comments section and you will view a sea of toxic people. “F&*K You Fanboy, Marvel Blows, DC Blows… Have you seen BvS? Thor was awful”, are more of the tame comments you see. Its gotten so bad that some people will not even go watch a certain movie because of the comic company associated with it…. no matter if the movie is actually good.

I think we as comic fans have forgotten the past a bit. For years there have been crossovers between both companies. Since the early 1970’s we have had crossovers where we have seen Superman and Spider-man team-up and Batman and Daredevil cross paths, just to name a few.  Marvel characters have been made from DC characters and visa versa… some of these characters have been made in response and respect for each other. Who you ask? Namor/Aquaman, Deathstroke/Deadpool (Slade Wilson, Wade Wilson), Green Arrow/Hawkeye, Atom/Antman, Batman/Moon Knight, and the list goes on and on.

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We as the fans have to remember that if each company is successful, then we the fans (all of us) win. We get to continue to see all of our favorite comic characters hit the big screen. We get more emphasis in the stories being developed in our comic panels that are used in television series and in upcoming movies. So next time, take a step back and embrace all the nerdy comic goodness we are currently in.

The Dull Knight

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STAR WARS: Darth Vader #2 – by Charles Soule

Star Wars has been in very good hands again with Marvel ever since the Disney took the franchise over. Their new Vader series is a look into an unseen period where the Dark Lord of the Sith still has that “new armor smell” and no red lightsaber. My partner in crime, The Dull Knight, reviewed their first issue and raved about it. I offered to take on the second issue in this new title that belongs in everyone’s pull list.

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Star Wars: Darth Vader #2 by Charles Soule

Issue two finds Vader in search of a Jedi to hunt down for a lightsaber to steal. My favorite part about how Vader is portrayed here is that he’s not the calm, methodical legend we all know and love. Instead, he’s still young and reckless. He’s unaccustomed to this new biomechanical form and is essentially flexing his muscles to see what he’s capable of. The lack of a lightsaber drives this home because he has to rely on strategy and the raw power of the force to overcome obstacles. I don’t envy the task of the creative team here because they have to convey this pivotal developmental period in a character known for speaking little and without the benefit of facial expression. Doing this on a comic book panel is no small feat yet I feel they’ve done an exceptional job thus far.

Readers are also treated to a look at the state of the galaxy post-Order 66 when the Empire is still new. Wounds from the Clones Wars are still very fresh with the dust still settling after a long period of unrest. I loved seeing the Clone Troopers on a remote outpost sorting through Jedi contraband. Hearing them openly discuss where they fall in this new Galactic Empire was fascinating. Their desire to do right by the Emperor and bring him the ‘Jedi’ that they believe Vader to be was a believable struggle. Fans of the movies only probably won’t appreciate that aspect of this issue as much as those who’ve seen the Clone Wars animated series (which you should see because it’s damn good).

The primary complaint I have with this issue and the first issue is that they should have been combined into a single plus-sized debut. They are both good comics, however, combined they could have been a great comic. I respect the slow-burn approach to a story yet it should never be for the purpose of spreading things out into more sellable content. To me, that’s how the first two issues came across since neither contained high points or arcs worthy of standing alone. Again, this is my primary complaint. I still enjoyed it immensely and cannot wait to pick up issue three in a few weeks.

My final rating of STAR WARS: Darth Vader #2 by Charles Soule is a 8.1 out of 10.

What’s your favorite Star Wars comic? Let us know in the comments or email us directly at madnerddads@gmail.com. Don’t forget to follow the blog and on Instagram to stay up to date!

jolly nathan The Belligerent Barnes

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BATMAN/ELMER FUDD #1 – By Tom King

I have a love/hate relationship with comic book crossovers. Occasionally, combining two headliners into one joined title can produce a fun and entertaining story. Then there are times where you see a crossover announcement and you can’t see it as anything other than a cheap money grab.  DC Comic’s recent Looney Toons tangent was unfortunately classified as the latter option in my mind. One title in particular struck me as the most pathetically pointless to borderline ‘WTF’ crossover entries: Batman/Elmer Fudd. Let’s be real, DC Comics, those two names have no business being together. I even openly questioned this on DC’s Facebook post. Yes, it devolved into a thread about having a toilet in a car but that’s aside the point.

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Then things took an unexpected turn…. I began hearing PRAISE for the needless crossover. My preferred, historically level-headed review source, IGN, gave it an unheard of TEN out of TEN. What?!

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Ron Swanson will be conveying all of my WTF moments from now on.

Further research turned up a near unanimous high score for something I was happy to write off. I found myself transfixed like a moth to a flame. So I did the unthinkable – I picked it up at my local comic book store.

BATMAN/ELMER FUDD #1 – By Tom King

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I’m almost embarrassed to say that this comic was stupid fun. Tom King’s capable hands crafted a story that by all rights should have been shameless dribble and made it a character driven romp in Gotham’s seedy underbelly. Elmer Fudd plays the part of a hit man doing ‘one last job’ on carrot crazed gangster Bugs “The Bunny”. This is a dark and gritty take on classic Looney Toons characters that could only fit into Gotham City. The most ridiculous part of this is that every one of Elmer Fudd’s lines are written in his trademark speech impediment. There are very few distinct voices in my head when I’m reading comics: Batman is always Kevin Conroy, Joker is always Mark Hamill, Superman is always Tim Daly, etc. These voice talents are cemented in my mind from growing up watching their animated takes on these characters. They’ve earned that place, that association that I’ve mentally manifested countless times in the years since. Much to my surprise, Elmer Fudd’s voice went right with the dialogue almost as well as if he’d stood in that rooftop lightning-lit backdrop of Bruce Timm’s classic series rather than Batman. This immediate voice assignment made for a laugh out loud read that began from the very first line of dialogue. The comic takes on a crime noir feel with a lighthearted undertone; two sides that could have been disastrous if handled by a different creative team.

I won’t give away the story because that’s part of the fun. What I will say is that you can pick this up without any knowledge of current or ongoing storylines. It has the look and feel of a one-shot. Hopefully DC leaves it as such to not tempt fate with wearing out a winning combination. This comic is meant for anyone aware of Batman that has also heard Elmer Fudd’s voice in classic Looney Toons. You’re certainly not required to be a diehard fan of either to enjoy such a ludicrous mashup.

My final rating of BATMAN/ELMER FUDD #1 by Tom King is a 9.4 out of 10.

What’s your favorite comic book crossover? Let us know in the comments or email us directly at madnerddads@gmail.com. Don’t forget to follow the blog and on Instagram to stay up to date!

jolly nathan The Belligerent Barnes

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Mandalorian Skull Mini Sculpture by Regal Robot

I first heard of Regal Robot’s hot debut product in the coverage of Star Wars Celebration in Orlando. Like many Star Wars fanatics, life obligations (lousy bills, job, and kids) prevented me from being there in person to celebrate the glorious fandom religion with my own kind. Instead, I was pretending to work at my corporate desk while absorbing whatever information I could from live streams, blog posts, and other onsite coverage. It was during that healthy obsessive scouring that one picture in particular caught my attention….

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Could that be a Mythosaur skull replica, the legendary symbol of the Mandalorians?! Yep! Not only is it that, but it also looked to be an incredibly detailed replica to boot. I wasn’t at all surprised to hear that these puppies sold out in a hurry down in Orlando. Lucky for the collecting public, they were open to pre-orders with a delivery timeframe within a couple months. They come in two sizes – the palm sized version above and a beastly 17″ replica. Unfortunately, those pesky reasons that kept me from being at Star Wars Celebration in person also kept me from ordering the gigantic replica. Thankfully the smaller one is reasonably priced enough that I couldn’t resist the chance to have this unique collectible in my vast Star Wars collection and placed my order before Celebration even ended. Fast forward a couple months to the glorious day today became once my Mandalorian skull arrived! So was it worth the wait?

Mandalorian Skull Mini Sculpture by Regal Robot

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My proud item with their charming thank you card.

Hell yes it was worth the wait! The skillfully sculpted design by special effects artist Miyo Nakamura perfectly renders the unmistakable crest of the Mandalorians which most will know from Boba Fett’s armor. Its real strength is the meticulous hand painting that bring this piece to life. There is so much depth and detail in the design that you’d think they actually took it from the mythical sci-fi beast. The realism is so extreme that my 7 year old daughter was hellbent on believing the sculpture came from an actual animal.

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Even the underside has painstaking detail put into the molars of the skull. Regal Robot pulled no punches in getting the most out of this replica in a relatively small package. Here it is with a couple appropriate minifigures for scale:

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My biggest problem now is figuring out the best way to display it because a collectible like this begs to be displayed! If it sounds like I’m gushing over this item it’s because I am. This is a top notch replica that simply glows with detailed perfection. Regal Robot is definitely a company to keep an eye on because if they put this much love into everything they do then it’s sure to produce magic as they continue to grow.

The small replica is currently only $34.99 with $11.00 for shipping. Order now and it should ship in 6-8 agonizing yet totally worth it weeks.

My final rating of the Mandalorian Skull Mini Sculpture by Regal Robot is 10 out of 10.

What’s your favorite Star Wars collectible? Let us know in the comments or email us directly at madnerddads@gmail.com. Don’t forget to follow the blog and on Instagram to stay up to date!

jolly nathan The Belligerent Barnes

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Darth Vader #1- by Charles Soule

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Darth Vader #1- by Charles Soule

Last week we received the new installment to the Darth Vader legacy. Marvel had already released a Darth Vader comic series that was released during the time of Episodes 4 and 5. Marvel decided to head into a different direction and allows us to pickup the tale from the end of Episode 3 and the infamous “NOOOOOOOOOOO!”

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This issue was very ‘Light Saber” heavy. We received the information on what makes a Sith’s blade crimson red. Sith sabers are no different from a Jedi saber. Any Kyber Crystal can be wielded by a Sith, and since Kyber Crystals are alive in a way, they can feel pain. A Sith will use the Dark Side to torture the crystal with pain and rage until the color becomes “a beautiful crimson.” In the background we catch a glimpse of hundred of Jedi light sabers being destroyed. Vader remarks that he understands why Palpatine did not give him any of those sabers to corrupt; a Sith saber needs to be taken, not given.

The remaining issues plays out the the Palpatine has left Darth Vader on a Mid Rim planet where he must track down a Jedi to kill and claim his light saber. Darth Vader then seeks out thieves that have stolen the landcraft that was left there from Palpatine as transportation. When Vader tracks and encounters the thieves; the scene is very reminiscence of when Aniken executed the Tuskens. It was a work of art to see an out of control Darth Vader.

There are not enough positive things that I can say about the first issue. I thoroughly enjoyed the additional story after Episode 3. This is definitely a series that I will add to my pull list.

My final rating of Darth Vader #1- by Charles Soule is 9.6 out of 10.

The Dull Knight

 

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