Friday, November 29, 2013

Thanksgiving Week: Day Five - Soda Shaq: Vanilla Cream Soda

It's day five of the Soda Shaq taste test!  I've sipped and chugged my way through orange, strawberry, and blueberry, and now it's time to get to what I'm hoping is the best of the best.  Or possibly just the "not worst" of the "overall okay."

Enough fiddle-faddle.  Let's get drinkin'.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving Week: Day Four - Soda Shaq: Blueberry Cream

I cannot say I've ever had blueberry cream anything in my life before this day.  I've seen it, so it's not that I was simply prevented from experiencing it, I simply never took the opportunity to try it.  Apparently I've been missing out if it's a strong enough flavor for Shaquille O'Neal to devote his attention to it.

Day three of the soda test continues, so where does this new flavor rate?

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thanksgiving Week: Day Three - Soda Shaq: Strawberry Cream Soda

It's day two of tasting the marvel that is Soda Shaq brand drinks from the Arizona (AriZona?) drink company, and while I was nervous about the orange cream flavor of yesterday's beverage, this one actually gives me pause.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thanksgiving Week: Day Two - Soda Shaq: Orange Cream Soda

Can I confess something?

I was never really a creamsicle fan.  When I was young, I could just never really wrap my head around the idea of "oranges" as a dessert.  To me, oranges were for juice and to put in salads.  Or to stick in my mouth to get a bit goofy grinning face.

I decided to step lightly into the Soda Shaq pool with this one because I know that "orange cream" is a flavor done with more frequency than blueberry or strawberry, but I wanted to save vanilla for last because I hope it's really hard to screw up that flavor.

So, what did I think?  More after the cut.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Thanksgiving Week Introduction

Hey, everyone!  It's Thanksgiving week!  You know what that means!




That's right, it's time for me to make up some arbitrary theme to tie the week together!  Not only have I found a theme, I think I've found a theme that will make Thanksgiving week memorable for YEARS to come.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Thanksgivikah! Hanuksgiving! Chanksgivukah!

This upcoming Thursday, something extremely rare is going to happen.  November 28th, as any true American knows, is Thanksgiving.  It is also the first day of Hannukah.

A brief aside, I'm never sure if I should spell it as Hannukah or Chanukah.  If any readers are Jewish, please let me know if one method is preferred over another.

When's the last time it happened?  Well, depending on how technical you want to get, it was either on November 29th, 1888 or on November 28th, 1918.  When will it happen again?  Probably not until the year 79811.  No, that's not a typo.  Seventy-nine thousand, eight hundred eleven.

So how does all this happen?  Interesting you should ask.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Erik's Favorite Comics: Peter David's Supergirl

I think the record will show that I like comic books.  In case it doesn't, let me make it official:

I think comic books are more than just pictures of people with ridiculous body images fighting each other.  I think they allow us both a form of entertainment and education in a format that nothing else can duplicate.  Television is visual and aural, books are simply reading, music and lectures are mostly aural with a few visual additions.  Only comics really allow words to be combined with the context of an image in a way that presents situations or ideas and allows the imagination to fill in what's missing or provide a deeper meaning.  For instance, take the following comics panel:

In that one page, the narration and image help set an atmosphere that could, at the very least, be described as "haunting."  It sets the mood perfectly in one picture what might take a movie or television show several minutes of footage to do, but it doesn't rush you.  You can read it at your own pace, or start with the picture first, or move back and forth to take it all in.

But I'm not here to talk about Batman (this time), I'm here to talk about one of my favorite comic series of all time, one that most people fall on the "love it or hate it" sides of the spectrum: Peter David's run on Supergirl.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Ask Erik: Episode Forty-Two

Here at Ask Erik we've spent a lot of time reading novels and comic books, playing video games, and watching television and movies in order to amass a deep vault of pop culture knowledge.  While constantly trying to still gather new information, it only seems prudent to share some of what we learned to help solve some of the world's greatest questions.

How likely is it the Superman/Batman movie is going to be a huge social commentary?  Will the film Gravity revitalize the interest in space movies, thus reinvigorating man's interest in space?  Are there people who are actually paid to find the "perfect" design for a leopard print clothing item, or is it all randomized?

Once a week Erik tackles a question asked to him and tries to answer it in a method that handles the topic with the respect and attention it deserves.  Failing that, he'll at least try to make it funny so you don't regret it.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Pokemon Blue & Red

Not too long ago, Pokemon X and Pokemon Y were unleashed upon the world.  Sales have been staggering, and I've heard people crow about all of the technological advances made to a franchise that has held a death grip on the world since 1998.  That's right, in some states, Ash, Misty, and Brock are old enough to work full time, drive a scooter, apply for a passport, join the army, or have sex with other consenting adults!

...I have no idea how to react to that.

...I'm sorry, what was I talking about?

Oh, right, Pokemon.  Right.  Okay, let's go back to 1998 and the first two games that came out, Pokemon Red and Pokemon Blue.

Monday, November 18, 2013

The "M" Stands For Mighty Part Seven

The early 90s was an interesting time to be growing up.  You had the growing surge of live comedies taking over the afternoon airwaves balanced with some of the best cartoons that ever existed.  You could manage to indulge both in humor that was edgy, dark, and sometimes quite adult...or you could watch Full House and Family Matters.

For me, a great thrill I got was watching episodes of Mighty Max, which screamed "boyhood adventure" with an interesting science fiction twist.  That is, it was science fiction when it wasn't straight up fantasy, or even horror.

For instance, in today's episode we visit one of the now most overused ideas in media: the zombie.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Monumental Disappointment That Is Modern Scooby-Doo Games

When I was younger, I managed to get my hands on a copy of Scooby-Doo Mysteryfor the Sega Genesis.  It was a standard "point and click" style adventure game that let you play through two different settings, a hotel belonging to Daphne's...uncle, I think, and a carnival.  One was haunted by a Native American chieftain an the other by a demented clown.  You can probably figure out which was which.

The graphics were simple, and it had a very strong sense of the days of adventure games that included Sam and Max: Freelance Police, Day of the Tentacle, Full Throttle, and other great games made by Lucasarts.

It was fun, and it managed to capture the investigative nature of the series quite well.

My sister recently has started playing some of the newer Scooby-Doo games for the Wii and Gamecube, and having glanced over now and again to see what they're like, I've come to the conclusion that they are the absolute worst things to ever happen to Scooby-Doo.

And yes, I'm including that series where Shaggy inherits millions of dollars and Scooby Snacks give the dog special powers.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Ask Erik: Episode Forty-One

Here at Ask Erik we've spent a lot of time reading novels and comic books, playing video games, and watching television and movies in order to amass a deep vault of pop culture knowledge.  While constantly trying to still gather new information, it only seems prudent to share some of what we learned to help solve some of the world's greatest questions.

Will the current talks with Iran ease tensions between us and that part of the world?  Will the Smithsonian's new efforts to scan all of their exhibits into 3D mean people will prefer a digital museum experience to seeing things live?  What the heck is Indian Pudding and why is today it's "national day?"

Once a week Erik tackles a question asked to him and tries to answer it in a method that handles the topic with the respect and attention it deserves.  Failing that, he'll at least try to make it funny so you don't regret reading it.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Review: Thor: The Dark World

I'm torn regarding this new tradition in film-naming where you don't include a number to show that a film is a sequel.  After all, in this time of constant reboots and re-envisioning of classic characters, someone who isn't in "the know" later on might come back and try to figure out if The Amazing Spider-Man falls somewhere between Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2, or Spider-Man 3.  Does Captain America: The Winter Soldier take place after the most recent film, or does it somehow take place after Captain America II: Death Too Soon?

I'm not being paid to think of the best way to name films, though (actually, I'm not being paid at all).  Instead, I simply look at a movie I saw recently and discuss what I liked, what I didn't like, and explore a few of the ideas being presented.  The film I saw this last weekend, complete with funky 3D glasses was Thor: The Dark World.

Monday, November 11, 2013

The "M" Stands For Mighty Part Six

I was spoiled for television watching in the 90s.  I had cartoons based on comic book action heroes such as Batman, Superman, Spider-Man, and the X-Men.  I had cutting edge graphics in The New Adventures of Johnny Quest and Reboot.  I had wickedly sharp humor in programs like Animaniacs and Pinky and the Brain.  I even had some educational fun with Captain Planet and Histeria!

You remember Histeria, right?  It was the children's show that had a song about every war fought by every nation that ever existed.

Cartoons were kinda weird in the 90s, is my point here.

But one of my particular favorites was Mighty Max, a show unafraid to take on some rather heavy material and have the hero face some real dangerous threats.  If it came between "giant dragon who destroys the world" and "killer baboons" then odds are he faced against it.

Let's look at the sixth episode in the series, Rumble In The Jungle.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Worst Comics Ever Written: Superman: At Earth's End

I have read many, many comic books.

I've forgotten many of them over the years, but I'm usually able to recall either the absolute best ones I've ever read or the absolute worst ones.  Certain writers resonate in my head when I hear their names because I either love their work or I've learned to avoid it as if it would actually cause me pain to touch it.

However, much like there are different types of "good" (the ones with one strong aspect, the ones that are masterpieces, the ones that are interesting despite their flaws), there are also different variations of "bad" comics.

There are the ones that are poorly drawn.  There are ones where the story makes no sense, was rushed, or simply abandoned because the fans weren't following it.  There are stories that poorly try to reinvent a character or retcon something from their past.

And then there are the stories that simply get it wrong on every possible level imaginable.  Then then somehow they get worse.

Here's an example of one of the last group.  It's possibly one of the best examples of all time of just how terrible a comic can be without having it actually make you require hospital care afterward.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Things That Make Me Go Whoa

I don't really have much of a post today.  Instead I thought I'd just link a video a guy took when he strapped a video camera to an eagle.

This man is now my hero.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Ask Erik: Episode Forty

Here at Ask Erik we've spent a lot of time reading novels and comic books, playing video games, and watching television and movies in order to amass a deep vault of pop culture knowledge.  While constantly striving to gain new information, it only seems prudent to share some of that knowledge to help solve some of the world's greatest questions.

What's the real world ramifications of Blockbuster finally going completely out of business?  Is it really such a big deal that the NSA spies on everybody?  Just how creepy is it to give a Microsoft product a genuine mascot who looks like she just fell out of an anime?

Once a week Erik tackles a question asked to h- you know what, no, we're going to look at that last question, because seriously, what the hell?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The "M" Stands For Mighty Part Five

I was spoiled for entertainment options in the early 90's.  I had globe trotting adventure in Captain Planet, dark noir drama in Batman, the initial exploration into CG graphics with Reboot, and fancy pop music shared in Hammerman and New Kids On The Block.  Somehow the last two never caught on despite how popular shows like that are now on Disney.  Maybe the idea that a boy band and their dog sidekick get into wacky adventures around the world and chased by fans like something from Scooby-Doo just doesn't appeal, somehow.

My personal cartoon drug for years was Mighty Max, a sweeping heroic epic that starred a boy who felt the need to advertise the initial to his first name not only on a hat but also his shirt (to be fair, the hat came with the "M" already on it), a giant man who still uses a sword (effectively), and a talking chicken.

So let's jump right into the action with a visit with Norse Mythology and a sleeping dragon!

Monday, November 4, 2013

A Tribute to Bill Cardy

Due to some errors with my photo editing software, the next review of a Mighty Max episode is slightly delayed.  Instead, I ask that you all take a moment to remember a brilliant DC Comics artist who passed away named Nick Cardy.  His artwork was absolutely mind-blowing and can probably stand up against some of the best artists drawing now.

The guy could make me pause and take a second look at a character like Lilith, who was really not that remarkable in her run as a Titan.  Plus, she was in some absolutely terrible stories.

But anybody who George Perez says is a "monumental talent" is going to be sorely missed.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Top Eleven: DC Villains Who Don't Fight Batman (Often)

Recently an offhand comment on Facebook sparked a bit of conversation about DC villains.  Batman has, arguably, the best rogues gallery in comics, because each villain fits one specific criteria of villainy or challenge for Batman to overcome.  The Joker is pure chaos, Ra's al Ghul is perfect order without freedom and with unacceptable casualties.  The Riddler, in my eyes, is Batman's most underrated villain and possibly his most dangerous, but then you have characters like Bane, Penguin, Zsasz, Catwoman, Poison Ivy, Mad Hatter, Mr. Freeze, Killer Croc...

Each one has a role to play and no other villain can really take their place.

But try to think of Green Lantern's rogues gallery.  Try to think of Superman's enemies that regularly challenge him.  Try to think of three Wonder Woman villains.  DC simply tends to not have the same name power as Marvel's characters (Dr. Doom, Venom, Galactus, so on), but I think there are some truly great villains in DC's repertoire, and they don't involve giant yellow space bugs, twisted clones, or whiny entitled super-powered fanboys.

In fact, I think there's at least eleven!

Disclaimer: I'm not sure what the status of the "Nu52" versions of these characters are, but I'm willing to point out why they were great before the reboot in the hopes someone at DC realizes what they need to keep.