Tuesday, May 23, 2017

1977: A Madman Turns 40: 2017- Day 142

       After what happened last night in Manchester, it's really hard to want to be nostalgic today. The great Roger Moore of the Saint and James Bond fame passed away today at 89 and it just doesn't feel right to post on Facebook some sort of tribute to him today. 
      Sadly, terrorism isn't anything new these days. It seems like we just wait by our phones and computers for news of the latest terror attack. I turn to CNN regularly wondering to myself 'what horrible thing has happened now..."- not because I'm secretly hoping for tragedy or anything like that. With my social anxiety, it's more like being unemployed and going to the mail in fear of yet another mounting bill.

      Terror is sadly a way of life in 2017. But even for 1977 standards, terrorism wasn't a new concept. Nor is the use of juveniles as a way to get your message of hate across, as this supposed suicide bomber did last night in the name of Islam.* In fact, 40 years ago today, Moluccan nationalists held a train and an elementary school hostage for almost 3 weeks in the Netherlands. The dozen or so terrorists held 105 students and 50 adults as prisoner.

      Thankfully, the siege at the school ended without any loss of life. The children were allowed to leave a couple of days earlier as they all came down with a mystery virus. (It's believed that authorities spiked the kids food with laxatives to get things moving in the hostage negotiation process, so to speak.) Sadly, one hostage died in the onslaught of a Dutch anti-terrorist unit in ending the crisis on the train.

      The Moluccan community has never apologized for this incident. Though decades later, a couple of the former terrorists gave their lives to Christ and meet in person with the now adult hostages and made amends. 

     As I have learn over the years, healing takes time. A really long amount of time. It drives me nuts when I have to process something over with therapy. But the breakthroughs come. And sometimes, like right now, you learn something and it sets you back a bit. 

    What I'm getting at is that there are going to be a lot of children, teens, and family members who experienced last night's bombing, that will need therapy, healing, and support. As someone who works security for events part-time, I understand that the venue workers, road crew, and even the performer of the show, Ariana Grande will need support too. But it bothers me that I see more people on social media offering their prayers and encouragement to the headliner (who was nowhere near the blast) than the dozens of lives that were either killed or severely injured. 

     Where have our priorities gone?...

      I think that's all that I have to heart or spirit to put into today's post. 

      Until next time...

* ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks moments before this post went live.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Batman #22 (The Button, Part III)

    After an illuminating journey through the timeline, the Flash and Batman return to the Bat Cave. Only, this isn't the Bruce Wayne Batman's secret base of operations. For the Flash and the Dark Knight have somehow returned to Flashpoint!
     I liked that this chapter did it's best to explain what happened to the Flashpoint universe. Plus, it was touching to get to see Bruce and his father reunite. Somehow, I suspect this episode is going to deeply impact the Caped Crusader's mission in the very near future. But, there's still a ton of questions to be answered. However, I don't think that's ever going to happen- at least any time soon. 
     As for the ending of this issue, it was a bit of a mind bender and I really don't have a clue quite where this is all going. (Okay- I have a small clue, if only because of the oh so unsubtle spoilers revealed on the forthcoming covers of Flash #22.)
      Speaking of Flash #22, my LCS was out of the final chapter to 'The Button', but they did order me a copy which I hope to get this week. I'll be reviewing that one ASAP!

     Worth Consuming!

     Rating: 10 out of 10 stars.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Street Fighter V: Wrestling Special (Free Comic Book Day, 2017)

   In this offering from this year's Free Comic Book Day, a young fighter named Dan who's been training his whole life to be a fighter finally gets a chance to enter the ring. His opponent- a group of WWE Diva type wrestlers who want to be treated as fairly as the men wrestlers are. Much is at stake with this battle royale. For Dan- the chance to prove himself. For the ladies- a new hot tub in the women's dressing room!
    Then travel back to the 1980s when the Cold War was fought weekly on the mat of the squared circle. Here a Soviet wrestler battles an American soldier themed grappler. It looks like the pride of Mother Russia is going to win it all, thanks to the help of Mikhail Gorbachev?! Good thing our American fighter has the Gipper, 40th President Ronald Reagan, to help make this a fair fight. 
      I've never read a Street Fighter comic book before. But in the 90s, I would play marathon sessions with cousins and buddies in my neighborhood. What I remember is that Street Fighter was a martial arts themed video game. So where's all this wrestling coming from?
     Both stories were truly bizarre. Though I don't think you can get any weirder than tale starring the battling leaders of the USSR and the good ole US of A. I didn't really have plans to read this book any time soon but I got stuck in line at a drive thru forever and thankfully, I had a copy on hand. Don't ask why- but it's always good to have a book or two on hand for emerengcies such as this. 
     I laughed out loud a few times. Whether this was intentional by the good folks at Capcom and UDON Entertainment or not, is unknown to me. But it did give me a few chuckles. 
        With some racy art and a couple of scenes of guys getting kicked in the nuts, this is not an all-ages comic. But if you are a wrestling family, this book with be right up your alley.

       Worth Consuming!

       Rating: 8 out of 10 stars.

1977: A Madman Turns 40: 2017- day 140

       It's the final curtain tonight for the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus. So for today's A Madman Turns 40 let's look at what this piece of Americana looked like the year I was born...
The Official 1977 Tour Book.
My Aunt Cindy had a copy of this when I was little.
I spent hours reading it...

       One of my cousins was a member of the circus. This is the 1976-1977 line-up (BELOW.) I'm not sure if he was a part of the group at this time or not. But it's a pretty cool picture. 

       In my opinion, the removal of the elephants from the circus was Ringling Bros. final nail in the coffin. America has had such a fascination with the giant beasts. Not having them play a part of it I think cause circus goers to lose interest. 
A trio of friends sharing a cold beverage.

The Legendary animal trainer Gunther Gebel-Williams with a big cat buddy. I got to see him a couple of times before he retired in 1990.

Animal trainer Meryl Meister and her dancing poodles,
backstage at Madison Square Garden.
Monkeying around...
These guys were still around when I would go to the circus as a kid...

Well, that's a brief look at the Big Top during my birth year. Sadly, it's now the end of an era. Until next time...

Friday, May 19, 2017

Quirk's Quest: Into the Outlands (Family Comic Friday)

   Quirk is a commander in the Crutonian army. He's tasked with the mission to explore and document the uncharted lands to the north of Crutonia. But when Quirk's ship, the H.M.S. Gwaniimander runs afoul of some menacing 4-eyed sea-giants, his mission becomes one of survival. 
       Now minus a ship, most of his provisions and half of his crew, Commander Quirk must rely on his skills to complete his mission and hopefully return home a hero. Sadly, Quirk's not the most competent of leaders and dissension is in the ranks. Plus, he's raised the suspicions of a crazed hag who may have kidnapped one of his crew. Thankfully, the pygmy natives of this region are immune to her charms and offer to lead the crew of the Gwaniimander out of the treacherous region and into presumably safer pastures.
       The first book in the Quirk's Quest series was quite interesting. It read a lot like a child's version of Master and Commander- only starring what looks like members of Jim Henson's Muppets gang. I enjoyed what I read and I hope there's going to be at least a second book.
       Amazon rates this book for grades 3-6 and I would have to agree with them on that. Several characters die in the book or at least get severely injured. Seeing Kermit's distant cousin get smushed by  giant boulder might be very unsettling to younger readers. (Who am I kidding, that scene made me sad- and I'm almost 40!) Plus, that creepy old witch is pretty creepy.
        An adventuresome read that breaks the rules of traditional children's graphic novels. This would make a great summer read!

      Worth Consuming

      Rating: 9 out of 10 stars.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Flash #21 (The Button, Part II)

   The Flash arrives in the Bat Cave to find a bloodied Batman and a partially eviscerated Reverse Flash. As a crime scene investigator by day, the Flash immediately gets to work casing this crime scene. Soon some pesky questions arise:

  • What triggered the strange electricity between the mysterious smiley face button and the Psycho Pirate's mask
  • How did the Reverse Flash find his way to the Bat Cave?
  • How did Eobard Thawne once again beat death only to be murdered again moments later by a mysterious force?
  • And what did the villain mean with his last words: 'I saw God?'
     It looks like the Flash and Batman aren't going to get anywhere using traditional methods. So, the Flash breaks out his handy cosmic treadmill in hopes of going back in time to observe the Reverse Flash's invasion of the Dark Knight's lair. 

      In the travels through time and space on the time travelling device, the duo uncover more hidden parts of their past that have been wiped out by an unknown entity. But no one could have predicted just where the Scarlet Speedster and Batman's race through the Speed Force will take them- straight to the XXXXXXXXXX. (Edited for spoilers.)

     Another thrilling chapter of 'the Button.' More of the highly controversial New 52 is undone and above all, the Pre-New 52 timeline is returned to canon once more. Another great cliffhanger, too! Joshua Williamson (Birthright) has done a phenomenal job in this chapter. I can't want to see what he's got in store next in Batman #22.

    Worth Consuming

     Rating: 10 out of 10 stars.

1977: A Madman Turns 40: 2017- Day 137

    Today's look at 1977 is going to be brief.

    On this date in Madman history, the US, the Soviet Union, and several other nations signed the Environmental Modification Convention. This pact prevented nations from weaponizing the weather in order to cause devastating effects towards an enemy nation.

    We had to sign a treaty preventing the use of weather WAR machines! What the what?

     Was there a Batman villain threatening the to flood Gotham City? This kind of things sounds ludicrous outside the realm of comic books! I've been do this project for 5 months now and so far, this is the craziest thing I've ever heard. 

     I'm so glad we took immediate care of this issue. It wasn't like nuclear bombs or chemical weapons were any threat to mankind! But let's make sure man doesn't have the ability to make it snow in the Sahara.

     Folks, now we know why for the past 40 years Superman just hasn't ended famines in Africa or droughts in California. He's forbidden by international law to do so!

    Geez, Louise.

    Until next time- maybe keep an umbrella handy...