Category Archives: My Rants and Tantrums

Why TV Show Constantine is Failing in Viewership

BEWARE.  I am in full rant mode, and my mouth is runny like a leaky faucet.  If you are a new reader to my blog, then let me briefly tell you what it’s about.

My blog, Comics To Read, is where I post my comic book reviews.  I run an honest blog, therefore, I am very straightforward with my thoughts and opinions.  I also post rants and tantrums on my blog.  Anything goes.

This very post is a full-blown rant, so if you don’t want to hear (or read) the truth, then I suggest that you read no further.

Although I was upset to learn that NBC decided to end Season 1 of TV show Constantine after 13 episodes, I was not at all surprised.

  • Matt Ryan (John Constantine)
  • Charles Halford (Chas)
  • Harold Perrineau (Manny)
  • Angelica Celaya (Zed)

Look at that line-up.  The perfect cast.  There couldn’t have been a better actor, than the handsome Matt Ryan, to play the role of John Constantine.  Ryan displays phenomenal acting skills.

Last week’s episode, Danse Vaudou, was the most intense, and my favorite.  Papa Midnite, a voodoo priest and sorcerer with a gang of street thugs, communicated with the deceased.  However, he was unaware that his acts of necromancy resulted in resurrection.  And if you know about necromancy, then you know that’s not a good thing.  Papa Midnite is amazingly played by the fine-looking Michael James Shaw.

Excellent scripts.  Outstanding cast of actors.  Rapid pacing.  The perfect tv show for those who enjoy horror, supernatural, and suspense.

So why am I not surprised that NBC is ending the season after only 13 episodes?  Why is the show failing in viewership?

I compiled (made up) a list of why the show is not able to gain a massive viewership.  The list is small, but it’s heavy in weight.

  1. Comparing the television show to the movie version, starring Keanu Reeves.  The current television series has NOTHING to do with the movie version.  It is based on Hellblazer, a horror comic book series published by DC Comics.
  2. Demons, ghosts, spirits.  It’s a horror story, what did you expect?
  3. Going into the series without knowing what to expect.  Constantine is an occult detective.  Master of dark arts.  Conniving.  Trickster.  He has many enemies, both human and nonhuman.  Funny, but very smart.  Smoker (it was decided not to have him smoke on the show, and I don’t like that decision).  Known for his sorcery skills.  Struggles with his faith, and is often haunted by the sins of his past.
  4. Unable to comprehend the storyConstantine contains mature content.  Strong, powerful, suspense-filled scripts.  Astounding visual effects.  It’s definitely not for the Kelly Bundys’ and Doofus Joes.
  5. Complaining just to be complaining.

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I am a Hellblazer.  I am also a faithful reader of Constantine and Justice League Dark, two ongoing monthly comic book series, published by DC Comics.  I constantly blog about spreading the word about your favorite comic books, to keep them from going to the chopping block.  And I am going to do the same with Constantine, one of my favorite television shows.

Additional thought since original posting:
Does anyone even know how tv ratings are actually calculated these days? Does DVR count?

I am now starting to question the validity of television programs with these so-called “low ratings.” I have read several articles, and if I piece them all together, I still would not have a straight answer.

Advertisements

Do You Read Comics or Not?

BEWARE!  I am in full rant mode.  No holds barred in this post.  I run an honest blog, therefore I am voicing my honest opinions.  Consider yourself warned.

I am stepping up on my soapbox to address a very important issue, comic reading.

I have a serious question.  Do you read comic books or not?  I am often told by people that they read comics.  Some may say they used to read them.  But most of them actually say they read, as in present tense, comics.

  • Demon Knights
  • Red She-Hulk
  • Trinity of Sin:  Pandora
  • Trinity of Sin:  The Phantom Stranger
  • Elektra
  • The Fearless Defenders
  • New Warriors
  • All-New Ghost Rider

If you are reading comics, then why in the hell are the above titles cancelled, getting cancelled, or being placed on notice?  There are plenty of other cancelled books, but my frustration level increases with each title I type. There is no reason for any of those books to face the chopping block.

There is a difference between like and read.  If you tell me that you like comic books, then I will just simply say okay.  But if you tell me that you read comics, then be prepared for me to engage in conversation, starting with asking which comics you read.

AVENGERS, X-MEN, SPIDER-MAN, BATMAN, SUPERMAN, WONDER WOMAN.

Some readers only stick to the Big 2 titles.  That is fine, but keep in mind that there are more comic books from these publishers, besides the big guns listed above, screaming for a purchase on the store shelves.  I should know, I read A LOT of them.

We need to stop crying over the fact that Monica Rambeau decided to ditch her trench coat and dookie braids, and support the hell out of Mighty Avengers.

And now we’re throwing hissy fits because Magneto is bald.  So the f**k what?  Magneto is a great comic book, and we need to support that one as well.

If you truly read comics, then you should have no problem telling me what you read when I ask you.  Instead I mostly hear, “Well I, uh, used to read…”  Hold it right there.  You DO NOT read comics.  You USED to read comics.

If I am asked what comics I am reading, I will easily ramble off several titles, walk away, turn around and say, “Oh yeah.”  Then ramble off one or two more titles.

Don’t believe me?

  • Morning Glories
  • Constantine
  • Justice League
  • Justice League Dark
  • Wonder Woman
  • Harley Quinn
  • Thor:  God of Thunder
  • Ms. Marvel
  • Moon Knight
  • Magneto
  • Punisher
  • Deadpool
  • Loki:  Agent of Asgard
  • Mighty Avengers
  • Afterlife with Archie
  • Sex Criminals
  • Grimm Fairy Tales of Terror

Those are the comic books I read every month.  That does not include mini-series like Super Secret Crisis War, or Helsing.

There are a variety of comic books on the shelves besides mainstream superhero titles.

Do you like horror, supernatural and fantasy?  Then check out comic books by Zenescope.  Titles like the newly released Tales of Terror, and their flagship title, Grimm Fairy Tales are excellent choices.  Wonderland is also a good choice.

DC Comics offer great titles like Justice League Dark and Constantine.

Image Comics offers Ghosted, Five Ghosts, Morning Glories, and several more wonderful books.

If you like sick and bizarre, then you will want titles by Avatar Presslike Crossed.

BOOM! Studios and Archie Comics offer a lot of fun comic books.

Don’t forget Valiant and Dark Horse.

I don’t care whether you read your comic books in print or digital format, we need to pre-order, consistently read, and spread the word. Blog, tweet, Facebook, Tumblr, and whatever else social media platform you use. Just get the word out about your favorite comics.

And another thing. Stop commenting and/or complaining on the feeds and timelines of creators if you’re not reading their books.

People attend comic conventions by the thousands. I wonder how many of them actually read comics. I’m guessing not too many. If so, then there wouldn’t be all those low book sales and cancellations.

I’m thinking about attending a couple of conventions and doing a survey. I’m going to ask as many people as I can if they read comics, and the titles.

Especially all those girls that walk around in costumes. I really want to ask them if they even know anything about the characters they’re cosplaying.

There are too many low title sales, and too many cancellations. We can put an end to it by reading and spreading the word.

I know that I talked a lot of smack in this post, but that’s alright. At least I backed it all up.

Comic Book Donations Should Not Include Fake Charities

I recall following Communities for Kids, a Twitter account that sought comic book donations for kids.  I was new to Twitter, so I don’t remember much about it.  But I strongly remember a Twitter account, Comics4Kids, surface with the same solicitations.  Even back then, I thought it was odd.  Eventually Communities for Kids faded away, but Comics4Kids remained.

Comics for Kids is/was/is/was/is/was (it goes from being open to closed over the past few days), a Twitter account that solicits comic books, original art, and monetary donations.  The books are supposed to be given to children to help promote literacy.  Art is supposed to be a prize for donors.  Monetary donations are supposed to be used for shipping the comics to kids.

Comics for Kids, or Comics4_Kids (this Twitter handle will not get hyperlinked anywhere on my blog), claims to be a non-profit organization based out of Tishomingo, MS.  Michael Whitehead is the CEO, and appears to be the only employee.  A few days ago, I began to read several tweets questioning the non-profit organization’s true motive.  I saw a tweet with a picture of a young boy holding a certificate.  I zoomed in on the picture to read the child’s name.  His last name is Whitehead.  I thought, “Hmmm, I wonder if he’s related to Michael Whitehead.”  After reading a few more tweets, I learned the Twitter war apparently started from that picture.

The purported charity was asked if the child in the picture was related to the CEO.  It didn’t take long for Michael Whitehead to become enraged and start going off and blocking those who questioned his ethics.  He talked big-time smack, and even tweeted “You honestly make me sick,” to one individual, and “Fuck you (person’s name)” to another.  And guess what?  All of this was tweeted under the charity’s brand.

Here’s Bleeding Cool’s article about the chaotic Twitter war that expanded over a few days.

I became suspicious of this charity months ago.  The account always asks for comics (including CGC), rare comics, original art and money.  I have never seen pictures showing where the donations have gone.  Several times a month a picture is posted showing two stacks of USPS packages ready to ship, along with a tweet asking for money to ship them.  First of all, we don’t know what’s in those envelopes.  Second, it’s the same damn picture every time.  You don’t see any pictures of kids with their books, or the comic drives the organization claims to host.  Contest winners for original art are never announced.  The same two pictures of the same two original drawings are tweeted all the time.  So yeah, I was on to that Comics4Kids Twitter scam a while back.

By the way, there is no active website, and they removed their Facebook page.

The Twitter feud was so intense that Mark Waid, a well-known, respected, and influential comic creator, stepped in.  Waid is hotheaded, but he tells it like it is.  He was out with it and called Michael Whitehead out on key issues.

I am not known in the comic community, but I’m vocal whenever I feel the need.  I tweeted a couple of comments, basically telling Comics for Kids to show us they want to help kids.  I was blocked from their Twitter account a few hours later.

There is always someone looking for comics to read.  And there are several ways to get comic books in the hands of those who want them, including children.

  • Garage/yard sale
  • Mom2Mom sale.  These sales are gaining in popularity.  My family participated in two of these sales over the past year.  Kids went wild over the comic books.  We sold them for 25 cents each.  I gave a lot of them away, simply because we didn’t want to take anything back home.
  • Your local library.  Call and see if they accept donations.
  • Shelters
  • Physician offices
  • Hospitals.  Call the volunteer office, or Nurse Manager on a specific unit, and ask if they will accept comic books to be placed in the waiting rooms.  Volunteers may even take them into the patient rooms.  I work in an ER and our pediatric ER receives donated books all the time, including a few comics.  They’ll be getting more soon, because I’m in the process of going through my own kids comics.

You don’t need to send money to these so-called charities to help ship comics either.  Why do such a thing when there are kids in your own neighborhood that would love to have a comic book?  We’re surrounded by children, so let’s help them.  Sponsor a child by taking him or her to a comic shop, or giving them your child’s unwanted books.

I have a cousin with a daughter in middle school.  Her daughter often asks to stop by the comic shop on their way home, because it’s down the street from the school.  So of course I told my cousin that I will take her daughter to the store and let her get whatever book(s) she wants.

There are plenty of ways to help people, children and adults, obtain comic books.  Supporting a fake charity should not be one of them.

Promoting literacy goes beyond just handing a book to a child.  Can the child read?  Is it age appropriate?  Is there any parent involvement?  You just can’t hand a book to a child and say you’re helping to promote literacy.  That’s why it’s a good idea to start helping kids to read comics at home.  By home, I mean with relatives, friends, neighbors, co-workers.  They all have children that want comic books.  Start with the locals.

I have a co-worker whose 5 year-old son loves anything and everything Spider-Man.  My son reads and collects Marvel Universe Ultimate Spider-Man.  A couple of times while at the comic shop, I bought an extra copy for her son.

A few months ago, a man took his young son into the comic shop to buy his first comic book.  The man had enough money for maybe one or two books.  I grabbed a $5 bill from my purse because I wanted to make sure that little boy did not leave the store without his first comic book(s).

If you insist on donating to charity (some like to do it for bragging rights), please play it safe and research the organization first.

My Replacement for Superior Spider-Man

Now that Doc Ock’s reign as Superior Spider-Man is over, it is time that I appoint a new protector in my Marvel comic life.  If you’ve read My Two Cents Worth on Superior Spider-Man blog post, then you know that Doc Ock’s successor WILL NOT be Peter Parker.

I recently tweeted the top three contenders.  It was difficult for me to decide which hardcore badass was going to have me breaking my neck to read his comic book every month.  Since I like a man who takes charge, I decided to choose all 3.  And they are:

3.  Magneto
magneto1

Written by Cullen Bunn, I was hooked on this mind-blowing title within the first pages of its debut issue.  I followed Bunn’s Fearless Defenders, Deadpool, and Carnage titles.  Magneto shows the serious side of Bunn’s writing.

Accomplishing a lot with limited supplies and resources, Magneto investigates crimes against mutants.

magneto1a

Then serves justice.

2.  Moon Knight
moonknight1

Written by Warren Ellis, I instantly became addicted to this smooth, maybe somewhat crazy, masked vigilante.  Moon Knight (Marc Spector) is sharp, clever and a damn good detective.

moonknight1a

moonknight1b

moonknight1c

See what I mean?

1.  The Punisher
punisher1cover

Written by Nathan Edmondson, there is not much for me to say about Frank Castle aka Punisher.  That’s because his actions tells all.  If you ask me about The Punisher, all I will do is hand you one of my books.  Not really.  I’ll give you my digital code or gift you a copy, because I don’t lend my comic books to anyone.  I don’t like smudges or fingerprints on them.

punisher1a

punisher1b

punisher1c

punisher1d

punisher1e

Aren’t those panels just beautiful?  Thank you Mitch Gerads for the spectacular artwork.

So there you have it.  Magneto, Moon Knight and Punisher.  Three hardcore badasses you don’t want to mess with.  With these three on board, I know that I will be safe in the Marvel Universe.

By the way, if you’re looking for new comics to read, then I suggest these titles for the mature readers.

My Reaction to Superior Spider-Man #31

superiorspidey31

This will be short and sweet with no spoilers.

It is no secret that I am not fond of Peter Parker.  But in case you didn’t already know this, I discussed it in great detail in a previous blog post.  I stated the reasons why I felt Doctor Octopus (Otto Gunther Octavius) aka Doc Ock, was the better Spider-Man.

I was not at all shocked when I learned the Superior Spider-Man series, published by Marvel Comics, would be coming to an end.  For some reason, good things always come to an end.  Obviously Peter Parker is not any good because he’s back, huh?  (You know I had to throw sarcasm in there, right?)

My reaction to Superior Spider-Man #31:  Series Finale, a wonderfully crafted series, written by Dan Slott, and drawn and colored by various talented artists, is the same as when I read issue #30.  A ginormous WHAT THE HELL?

I read the series finale a couple of hours ago, before I even left the comic shop, and wanted to tear the book into a million pieces, or let the store owners cat poop on it.  I figured my husband might want to read it, and Peter Parker wasn’t worth me spending another $5.99.  I know about the digital codes, but my household prefer print media.

So, as soon as my husband read Superior Spider-Man #31:  Series Finale, I am going to rip and rip until I get tired.

That’s right.  I’m taking Peter Parker out to the trash.

Title Discrimination in Comics

crossed50sexcriminals5

When it comes to censorship in comic books, I often question the criteria that comic retailers use when deciding what sits on the shelf, as opposed to what is kept behind the counter.  There is a countless number of comics for mature readers on the store shelves, so what exactly is the deciding factor for age-restricted material?

I asked a comic shop owner why are there certain books kept behind the counter, when a certain other book is allowed to sit on the shelf with the rest of the uncensored comic books.  The response to the latter was pretty vague.

That was not the first time that I have asked comic shop owners or employees why

Sex, published by Image Comics
sex1

and

Sex Criminals, also published by Image Comics
sexcriminal1print4

are marked as age-restricted material and kept behind the counter, but

Crossed, published by Avatar Press
crossed47

freely sits on the shelf.

It didn’t take but a minute for me to realize why Sex and Sex Criminals are being discriminated against.  It’s because of that three-letter word in their titles.

SEX.

That’s right, comic book titles are being censored.  I haven’t been told this by anyone, but it’s pretty obvious.  I don’t know about all comic shops, so I can only rant about the few I have visited since I started reading Sex Criminals.  These books are being treated as if they are pornography, which they are not.  Although I only read the first two issues of Sex, I am not embarrassed to say that Sex Criminals is on my pulls.

If Crossed can sit on the shelf, then why can’t the two comic books with sex in the title?  That is so unfair.

I don’t know what’s currently going on in Sex, but I know that Sex Criminals is nothing to be all hush-hush about.  It is not porn or a dirty joke book.  It’s a comedy about two people who can stop time while having an orgasm.  They decided to rob a bank to save a library.  They are eventually captured by the sex police.   And there aren’t that many panels showing nude body parts.

On the other hand, Crossed is a bizarre comic about a virus that caused a zombie-like apocalypse.  This is a story of sadism, torture, rape and incest.  When humans are infected, they immediately break-out in a red rash, in the shape of a cross, on their faces.  They develop a crazed grin, and the violence and bloodshed begins.

They also turn into horny lunatics, and will have sex (rape most of the time) with anyone and anything, including children and animals.

Although the graphics speak for itself, the book has no parental advisory warning on the covers.  This is a book that sits on the shelf with other uncensored comic books.  Severed limbs are usually on the cover.

Check out the cover for Crossed Annual 2014.
crossedannual

A young girl holding a severed hand.

This book sits on a shelf, at a child’s EYE LEVEL.

Now that my ranting blog post is over, I feel so much better.  In fact, I’ve decided to follow my dream and write a comic book.

The comic is about a young female that seeks vengeance on those that have wronged her.  There will be ongoing torture, bloodbath and plenty of sex.  I don’t know if the covers will have a parental advisory warning just yet, but they will definitely be sexually explicit.

To make sure that my comic book make it on the shelf with other uncensored comics, the word sex  won’t be in the title.  It will be named after the leading female character, which will be something like Cupcake, Sunshine or Bubbles.

When I wrote my review of Crossed last year, I received a couple of nasty comments that I moderated and unapproved.  I’m sure I’ll probably get some for this blog post as well.

 

Monica Rambeau: What’s Hair Got to do With it?

mightyaveng6b

I knew from the beginning that Mighty Avengers, the predominantly minority-led superhero team by Marvel Comics, would draw a lot of slack.  But what I didn’t expect was negative comments about Monica Rambeau’s new appearance, specifically her new hairstyle, to pour in by the masses.

Monica Rambeau, aka Spectrum, is a beautiful, intelligent, strong, and determined  African-American woman.  I am also an African-American female, with hair of black texture.  Monica is representing to the fullest.  So if you’re talking about her, then you’re also talking about me.

In case you don’t already know, this blog consists of my HONEST comic reviews, and my HONEST rants and tantrums.  Every blog post consists of my thoughts only, because I am not influenced by anyone.

I am literally shocked by the comments that I have been reading since Mighty Avengers debut issue.  Out of 20+ pages of this wonderfully crafted comic, written by Al Ewing, the only thing a lot of people mention is Monica’s hair.  The haters and complainers of Mighty Avengers are complaining about Monica’s new hairstyle, as if her hair is a character.  Last I checked, hair didn’t talk or fight.  Well at least mine don’t.

What disturbs me, most of all, is the fact that I can tell that MOST of those comments about Monica’s hair are not even written by African-Americans.

First of all, what the hell does Monica’s hair has to do with anything?

mightyaveng6c

 Nothing at all.

How is it affecting her role in comics?  It’s not.

Second, please stop with the notion that we (black women) relax our hair to conform to the standards of white beauty, because that’s just a pile of bullshit.  Black women have worn relaxed hairstyles for years.  We relax our hair to make it straight, just as white women perm their hair to make it curly.

And as for the mother mentioning the “burn” in the current issue, and above picture, a relaxer is a chemical.  Chemicals burn irritated skin, especially relaxers that contain dye.  So if you scratch your scalp before a relaxer application, it becomes irritated, and a possible burning sensation from the relaxer dye may occur.

So fucking  what Monica Rambeau is no longer wearing braids and a damn trench coat.  Getting rid of braids, afro, and opting to relax our hair instead, does not make us less black.

I read comments that stated a lot of black women like to stay natural, stick to our culture.  Well that may be the case, but for those women.  It’s not like that for all of us.

The main reason black women relax their hair is manageability/flexibility.  Relaxed hair is easier to comb and style, and we’re not spending a lot of time in the mirror trying to “make do.”

Hair of black texture is coarse and dry.  Our hair comes in three grades, fine (or good hair), medium, and coarse.  My hair is medium grade, and I haven’t relaxed it in almost a year.  But so what, it’s my choice.  Just like it’s Al Ewing, Greg Land, and Valerio Schiti’s choice to design Monica’s appearance however they like.

Let’s take a look at Misty Knight.

feardefend2final

feardefend8

Hairstyles, just like clothing, has to appropriately fit the occasion.  Misty Knight, the African-American badass from The Fearless Defenders does not have the same abilities as Monica.  She’s neither a beam of light, nor does she fly in the air.  She kicks ass on the ground.  Therefore, Misty’s braids and ponytail is befitting to her appearance in the comic.

On the other hand, I definitely would not want to look up and see Monica flying around with braids or a ‘fro.  That would look totally ridiculous.  Just as ridiculous as all those silly comments I read.

In other words, leave Monica Rambeau the hell alone.

With Schiti as the artist for the current issue, I thought maybe there would be more comments on his work, and Ewing’s writing.  And less negative comments about Land’s work and Monica’s hair.  I was wrong.

After reading the dialogue between Monica and the mother, I just knew all this nonsense about her hair would cease.  Wrong again.

I like to visit comic message boards to interact with other comic fans.  I don’t always comment, but I like to read a variety of posts and comments.  But lately I’ve found it hard to find intellectual discussions about some of my favorite comic books, especially Mighty Avengers.

By the way, if you think black women wearing straightened hair is conforming to white society, then wait until this summer when I attend the 2014 World TSC Conference in Washington, D.C.  My hair is going to be waist-length, silky-smooth and straight.

Since black heroes are not allowed to change their hairstyles,

monica1c

then I guess Luke Cage should still look like this:

lukecage1b