Monday, January 29, 2018

That's What We Called Music? - 9 - MmmBop

This week Kendall, Sarah, and Molly discuss the iconic Hanson song, MmmBop.  This may be our best episode yet!

Here's the episode!

Lisa Drink The Water!, my latest EP!

For the two of you out there who listen to my music, I posted a new EP on my BandCamp page. It's just a few ideas I wanted to get out of my system before focusing on my upcoming Halloween album. I've been binge watching The Simpsons lately, and there's a moment from the season 4 episode "Selma's Choice" where Selma is on her last nerve watching Bart and Lisa, and she literally tells Lisa to drink the disgusting water from the "It's a Small World" parody ride at Duff Gardens. With that line, Selma's demonstrating that she's been broken down to the point where she'll say anything for a moment of peace, even if she knows it will lead to more trouble. I've been stressed out and tired of a lot of things lately, so this moment hit close to home and inspired some of the stuff on the EP.
You can pay what you want for the EP, along with a ton of my other music, on my BandCamp page.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

It's the End of an Era: A look back at some of Dan Slott's Amazing stories over the years

Last Week, I heard the exciting news that Dan Slott will be leaving Amazing Spider-Man after issue 800.  I’ve always been a huge cheerleader for his run, but I’m excited to see what he does with Iron Man, and am scared to death that the next writer on the comic will not be what I want.  In response to this news, I decided to go back and revisit some of my favorite stories from his historic run.  All four stories I’m discussing today come from the “Brand New Day” era of Spider-Man, where it was shipping three times a month with rotating creative teams.  I’ve loved a lot of what’s come since, but there is something very special about this era of Spider-Man.  There were good arcs and not so good arcs, but whenever one of Dan Slott’s stories came up, I knew it would be good.  Here are four of my favorites:

 Image result for spider-man 546
Brand New Day 546-548:
This little three issue arc sets the stage for everything to come.  Jonah Jameson has a heart attack, Harry Osborn is back from the dead, everyone’s forgotten Spider-Man’s identity, and Peter was never married.  We’re introduced to Mr. Negative, Menace, Carlie Cooper, Lilly Hollister, and more!  It’s really a shame that this came in the wake of One More Day, because this is just what classic Spider-Man fans are always looking for.  Probably my favorite thing here is it shows us a more immature, almost selfish Peter than we’ve seen recently.  It's also a breath of fresh air in a time when Spider-Man just kept getting darker and darker.  Don't get me wrong, I loved JMS's run, but I wouldn't want to see Spider-Man go any further in that direction.

Image result for spider-man 560
Peter Parker Paparazzi 559-561
After Dexter Bennet changes the “Daily Bugle” to the “DB,” Peter starts taking photos as a paparazzo.  Of course, any time Peter does something selfish like try to make enough money to pay the rent, it all blows up in his face.  We get a new villain of the week type with Paper Doll, and an appearance from an old friend of Peter’s.  Also, the art is amazing. Marcos Martin really hits it out of the park with this one.  My favorite aspect of this really comes from the hypocrisy of people like Harry Osborn.  Peter has always taken pictures of Spider-Man and allowed the Bugle to

Image result for spider-man 568
New Ways to Die 568-573
I’ve always thought of this as the big summer blockbuster of the Brand New Day era.  Norman Osborn brings his team of Thunderbolts (government sanctioned super-hero hunters) to track down “The Spider-Tracer Killer,” also known as Spider-Man.  In the mean-time, Eddie Brock, the original Venom, has been miraculously cured of his cancer and all remnants of the symbiote.  Then, he runs into Venom (now a member of the Thunderbolts), and becomes the new anti-hero Anti-Venom. 

I was hesitant to include this on my list, as it appears on a lot of these types of lists, but then I revisited it, and I remembered why it was so great.  This is one of the comics that made me fall in love with John Romita Jr.’s art.  Also, Dan Slott has created this huge cast of characters that hold their own in terms of gravitas and depth alongside Norman Osborn and Venom.
Amazing Spider-Man Vol 1 600
Amazing Spider-Man 600

I’m not saying this is the best single issue of a comic ever written, but if you said it, I wouldn’t argue with you.  A lot of Marvel comics were hitting milestones around this time, and usually the anniversary issue would be a regular sized main story with a bunch of backups and reprints that just don’t matter.  This issue feels like a reaction to that.  Dan Slott writes a huge, graphic novel length main story that sets the stage for everything he’d write for the next several years.

Doctor Octopus is dying from frequent head trauma, so he decides to take over New York City with his Octobots.   Spider-Man has to deal with this threat in between showing up late to a number of events surrounding Aunt May’s wedding.

The main story is worth the price of admission without any of the backup material, but Mark Waid writes a story about Peter’s relationship with his uncle Ben that had me in tears, and Stan Lee writes a silly little story that comments on what it would really be like for someone to have experienced all of Spider-Man’s adventures in just a few years.

When it comes to Dan Slott’s work, I recommend reading all of it.  The same thing applies with Brand New Day.  It’s just good comics.  Any or all of these stories hold their own, especially if you don’t mind rolling with the stuff you don’t understand, but it would be worth it to check out Brand New Day and beyond if you’re any sort of Spider-Man fan.  From Big Time to Superior Spiderman, to Clone Conspiracy, Dan Slott has written one of the most consistently excellent runs on a comic in the last twenty years.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

That's What We Called Music? - 8 - If You Could Only See

Kendall, Molly, Sarah, and special guest Joe discuss "If You Could Only See" by Tonic, not Kendall's favorite song.

Here's the episode!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

That's What We Called Music? - 6 and 7 - All My Life and Never Ever

Kendall, Molly, Sarah, and special guest Joe discuss All My Life by Casey and JoJo and Never Ever by All Saints

Here's All My Life!

Here's Never Ever!

Or listen to both in the embedded player.  I couldn't figure out how to embed each individually!

Monday, January 1, 2018

The Last Podcast: The official KendallCast Review of The Last Jedi

In a very special Podcast on the KendallCast network, I discuss The Last Jedi with a brain trust of Ian, Nick, and Jeff.

Here it is!

10 comics I enjoyed in 2017

With the new year, I decided to write some blurbs about comics I enjoyed and am enjoying.  These are not in any particular order, and if you listen to The Pull List, there won't be too many bombshells, but that's okay.  If you're looking for some fun books to read, here are some options!

Action Comics:

Since DC's Rebirth, Dan Jurgens has done some really fun things with the family dynamic of Superman, Lois, and their son Jonathon.  Unlike the main Superman book, which leans a little too far into the family aspect, Action is still a super hero book at its heart.  I especially enjoyed "The Oz Effect" story, where we learn the identity of the mysterious villain "Mr. Oz."  Also, the aftermath of that story gave Jurgens an excuse to bring in Booster Gold, the most criminally underutilized character since the beginning of the New 52.

Amazing Spider-Man:

I've always enjoyed Dan Slott's run, but I'll admit that he's been on the book a long time, and there have been some weak stories as well as arcs that just went a little too long.  This year, however, Slott had two stories that reinvigorated my excitement for his run.  "Clone Conspiracy" brought back Ben Reilly and just felt important in a way that doesn't happen that often in comics very often for me anymore. 

Conversely, "The Fall of Peter Parker," takes us back to the shiftless screw-up version of Peter Parker.  I've told a number of people, if you've dropped Amazing Spider-Man at any point in the last few years, you owe it to yourself to give it another chance here.

Ben Reilly:  Scarlet Spider: 

In the aftermath of "Clone Conspiracy," a still slightly unhinged Ben Reilly runs off to Las Vegas to become a sort of anti-hero.  I can't quite put my finger on how he achieves it, but Peter David manages to make this book more than just another Spider-Man offshoot book.  Also, in Secret Empire, Las Vegas gets destroyed by Hydra.  Then, the way the book seamlessly deals with the aftermath is one of my favorite things about reading mainstream comics.

Captain America:

This year has been a crazy year for Captain America.  I'm not going to go into too much detail about the controversy, but suffice it to say, I enjoyed the entirety of Nick Spencer's run on the book, as well as Secret Empire. 

The Secret Empire event felt like an elseworlds tale in the best possible way.  I had some problems with a few characterizations, especially Frank Castle, but it especially works if you think of it as a timeline where events have been altered by the Cosmic Cube(which it is).  It's just a fun sort of "Evil has won" story.  Also, unlike many of these types of events, it doesn't overstay its welcome or over-extend itself. 

For those who have issues with Secret Empire, Mark Waid's new Legacy arc has done a solid job telling a back to basics Captain America story.  I was not totally on board after the first issue, but after the second issue, I'm interested in seeing where it goes.  Steve Rogers is just traveling across America and saving the day one small town at a time.

Doomsday Clock:

Easily the most anticipated comic of 2017 was Geoff Johns's follow up to DC Rebirth that is merging the Watchmen Universe with the DC Universe.  Watchmen is one of my favorite comics of all time, and this series is making a solid attempt at following it up.  It's not perfect, but if you just take it for what it is, it's incredibly entertaining and interesting.  The second issue has a scene where Ozymandias meets Lex Luthor, and Lex immediately points out the ridiculousness of the end of Watchmen.  I'm really hoping that it ends strong.

Mister Miracle:

This has been a great year for Tom King.  His Vision series ended in 2016, but it received a fair bit of acclaim this year.  In addition, his Batman series has been all over comic book news.  Mister Miracle feels like it will be one of those books that hangs out on people's essential graphic novel lists for some time.  I don't know anything about The New Gods or Darkseid, but this book juxtaposes the insane world Jack Kirby created with a suicidal protagonist trying to live a more grounded life. 

It's also just a weird book.  I'll leave it at that.

Punisher:  The Platoon:

If this book wasn't titled "Punisher," and if the protagonist's name wasn't "Frank Castle," you wouldn't know it was based on a Marvel Comics character.  Garth Ennis tells a straightforward Vietnam War story in this book about Frank Castle's first tour in Vietnam.  It's dark and gritty without being overly graphic or violent.

I also recommend giving The Punisher's main title a chance if Frank working for Nick Fury in the War Machine armor sounds remotely fun to you.


Fans of the show are doing themselves a disservice if they're not reading Riverdale.  Honestly, I'm enjoying the comic much more than the second season of the show.  Each issue is self-contained and gives us a deeper story developing some of the show's characters.  Unlike the show, it's not afraid to get a little bit campy, but it still very much fits into the established tone.

The Walking Dead:

174 issues in, this book is still great.  Go read it if you haven't.


R.L. Stine does some weird things with this book.  Man-Thing goes from trying to be a movie star to fighting elemental beings to save the planet from chaos.  It hasn't been critically acclaimed, but I really enjoyed it.  Also, each issue ends with a two page horror tale written by R.L. Stine, and these tales are excellent.

2017 was a great year for comics.  I can't wait for things to come in 2018!