Thursday, April 30, 2015

It's Z-Day & Zooey Thanks You For Your Patronage

Hello my peeps, and welcome to the final day of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge. Ya'll know of what I speak. First off, my cat Zooey, would like to say some closing remarks.

"Meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow."

Yeah, Zooey can get a bit wordy sometimes. Sorry for the rambling, but I think he gets that from his mother...or maybe me. Anyhoo, I would also like to say a few things before putting the whole A to Z thang to rest for eleven months. I would like to say a big ole thanx to all those other A to Z'ers who joined me here at the ole blog this past month. And also a big ole shout out to all my faithful readers and true believers, for putting up with some of my more ridiculous post fodder for this past month of 26 alphabetical posts. But hey, it's all over now, and here's to hopin' some of the aforementioned new peeps stick around and keep checking things out. So, as Zooey is prone to say, meow meow meow meow meow and meow. Also, that's it gang. See ya 'round the web. Now here's Zippy the Pinhead (rightfully) praising the superiority of Nancy & Sluggo, Enjoy.


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Y? Y Not? or: Y I Do Not Do What I Am Supposed To Do!

Hello, and welcome to the penultimate day of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge. For those who do not know what said A to Z Challenge is, then it's probably too late to tell you anyway. Seriously, you should know by now. This is the 25th day of the damn thing, after all. But hey, whatever. Anyhoo, as I was saying before I ramble-brambled off, today is the next to last day of the challenge, and therefore, known as Y-Day. This means I am supposed to write-up a post having something to do with the letter Y. But then again, I often do not do what I am supposed to do, and often do things I am not supposed to do. I pretty much already said such in the title of this post. So, with this being the case, this post is not going to have anything whatsoever to do with the letter Y. Nothing yellow. No bananas. No no. 2 pencils. No Sinestro. Nothing yellow, at all. No yo-yo's. No yippy dogs. No Yahtzee! No Yggdrasil even! Okay, maybe a little Yggdrasil. Nothing Y-related.

Okay, so I've already pretty much blew the whole no Y thing. Oh well. What's a guy to do? Anyway, we are nearing the finale (that would be Z-Day, tomorrow) of the ole A to Z thang, and I'm kinda running out of things to talk about. Well, okay, I'm not actually running out of things to talk about (come on, it's me!) but I am getting kinda lazy, so now I am being anti-A to Z for this post. But don't worry, I'll make it short. There ya go. The End. Seriously, I will be back tomorrow with a (somewhat) proper Z-Day post. After that, things will be getting back to what we call normal 'round these parts. Movie and TV reviews, top ten lists, punching people in the face. You know, the normal stuff. There will also be some guest bloggers joining in on the fun as well. More on that later. Oh, and while you are here, why not slide your cursor on over to that poll widget near the top of the sidebar, and get your vote on. The poll (Fave Universal Monster!) will run for a few more weeks.But I gotta go. I have a bartending shift for which to prepare. Yeah, I'm tending bar once again. Gotta bring in the cash somehow. Anyhoo, that's it gang. See ya 'round the web. Now go yabba-dabba-doo yourself.


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Worst to Best: The Uncanny X-Men

So here we are nearing the end of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge, and we are still going strong. Today is the infamous X-Day, and that can mean only one thing. Well, it can mean several things, but right here, right now, it means The X-Men. And to put a twist on things, this is going to be an edition of the Worst to Best series. So here we go, every official member of The X-Men, from the worst to the best. And please remember, this is just going to be a list of official X-Men, so no unofficial allies (Carol Danvers, Stevie Hunter, Callisto, Caliban), no students (Quentin Quire, Gold Balls, Beak, Genesis, the Stepford Cuckoos), no girlfriends (Candy Southern, Lilandra), no alternate reality evil mutants (Dark Beast), no undercover teachers (Spider-Man), no weird hangers-on (Toad, Doop), and definitely no retconned X-members (that stupid Deadly Genesis mini-series that showed a made-up rescue team of mutants). And no, contrary to popular belief, neither Quicksilver nor Deadpool (two of my all-time favourite characters) have ever been official members of the X-Men, so they don't count either. Sorry guys. Anyhoo, now that we have all the boiler plate stuff over with, here we go. All 82 official X-Men team members, from the very worst to the very best.

82. Joseph - Really? A hippy-dippy clone of Magneto? This was your idea for an X-Man? Yeah, I suppose such a storyline (Magneto clone who may or may not be an amnesiac Magneto himself) could have been fun, but this was at a low point (in my opinion) in the comic, and just did not work. Nice hair though.

80. & 81. Mimic & Changeling - One blackmailed his way onto the team, while the other psychically manipulated his way in. Neither one stuck around all that long, though both would have their alternate reality doppelgangers (Changeling now being called Morph) become members of The Exiles. Still though, pretty lame X-Men, if ya ask me.

79. Lady Mastermind - Yeah, this bitch, daughter of the original Mastermind, was on the team for a hot minute before she betrayed the hell out of them. Notice though, even with this bitch's blatant betrayal, she still manages to make it higher on this list than Joseph, Mimic, and Changeling. Losers.

75. thru 78. Marrow, Maggott, Slipstream, & Lifeguard - Here are four short term X-Men that are about as forgettable as anyone out there. Yeah, Maggott has the gross, yet fascinating ability to spew disgusting creatures out of his body and reabsorb them for nutritional value, but even that doesn't get him remembered by anyone.

73. & 74. Cloak & Dagger - I never have particularly liked this Marvel duo. I just never got the appeal. Granted, they were not X-Men for very long, and did not make much of a mark on the team, but they are still higher up than Maggott and his pals.

65. thru 72. Frenzy, Sage, Dr. Cecelia Reyes, Ariel, Aurora, Armor, Omega Sentinal, & Thunderbird II - And then we have these eight forgettables. Yeah, we get Northstar's sister in here, and she was great in Alpha Flight, but she never really got a chance to do much here. Hell, one of these eight wasn't even cool enough to receive an actual codename, while another one just usurped a dead X-Man's name. Lame.

64. Revanche - This kick-ass former assassin, who temporarily switched bodies with Psylocke, would probably not deserve a spot all her own, rather joining the forgettable eight above, if not for the fact that the poor girl died from the Legacy Virus, Marvel's mutant answer to AIDS. For that alone, the poor girl gets a spot one above those other forgettables.

62. & 63. Pixie & Blink - One has wings and magic fairy dust powers, the other can teleport and may or may not be totally insane. Do I need say anymore? Probably, but I'm going to leave it at that. Oh, and both are pretty freakin' hot too. Now I need say no more.

61. Hepzibah - Once upon a time, this sexy skunk-esque alien warrior was a member of the infamous pirate crew, The Starjammers, and lover of pirate captain Corsair (Cyclops and Havok's dad), but for a short period of time, she was an X-Man. She never really made much of an impact, but did I mention she was a sexy skunk-like alien warrior? Yeah!

58. thru 60. X-23, Hope, and Nate Grey - And now here we are at the kids table. Granted, these so-called kids are three pretty kick-ass mutants, but every time they tried to step, they were yelled at by their "dads," Wolverine, Cable, and Cyclops. Still though, they kicked ass when they could. X-23 is still around and hanging with the time-displaced original X-Men.

57. Legion - And here is one more member of the kid's table, but this one deserves a spot all to himself. Why? Because he is the son of Charles Xavier, one of the most powerful mutants to have ever existed, and to save the world or whatever, he actually erased his own existence. Kick-ass. Oh, and the kid had great hair too.

56. Firestar - Actually, the lovely and taleneted Miss Angelica Jones, made her debut on the Saturday morning cartoon, Spider-Man & His Amazing Friends, where she hung with Spidey and Iceman, before becoming a founding member of The New Warriors, and a member of The Hellions, The Avengers, and eventually The X-Men.

52. thru 55. Husk, Chamber, Warpath, & M - These four former members of Generation X have had their respective attempts at big-time X-Men status, and all four are pretty darn cool in their own right, but even so, that does not quite get them into the top 50 here. Granted, M has only been an X-Man (or X-Woman) for a few months or so now, but still we should wait and see.

51. Fantomex - Yet another product of the Weapon X program (like Wolverine, Deadpool, Lady Deathstrike, and others) Fantomex is a cut-throat thief and former lover of Betsy Braddock, aka Psylocke, who, like Xorn (coming up soon), was a creation of the great Grant Morrison during his run on The New X-Men. Morrison based his look on the book and movie, Danger: Diabolik. Oh, he also has split into three separate beings, one of them being female and his own lover. Wait, what?

50. Mystique - Normally, I would put a character like Mystique a lot higher on a list of great characters, but since this is a list of great X-Men, and this shape-shifting harpy did her damnedest to betray and manipulate the team while she was a member, we probably shouldn't put her all that high. Still though, she is pretty freakin' cool - and I am talking about the bad-ass comic book version, not that mamby-pamby Jennifer Lawrence portrayed creature.

43. thru 49. Moonstar, Sunspot, Karma, Cypher, Warlock, Magma, & Boom Boom - These seven former members of The New Mutants/X-Force, all had some time as full-fledged X-Men. Some of 'em are still around, others are off doing other things (like leading The Avengers in one case), and none have really made that big of a splash on the team. There is one other former New Mutant that became an X-Man, but he gets a spot all by himself a bit higher up on our list. Sorry guys.

42. Domino - Lady luck herself. On again off again lover of both Cable and Colossus, Domino is not only a bad-ass mutant killing machine, but she is a black and white beauty as well. seriously, the lady has black and white skin. She was not an actual team member for long, and is more known for her work with Cable and his X-Force team, but she deserves some recognition here as well.

40. & 41. Doctor Nemesis & Box - The former is the creator of the original Human Torch and a one-time  Nazi sympathizer (yeah, he's been around for a while) while the latter is a former member of Alpha Flight and one-time mutant death camp prisoner. Together they are the core of the scientifically-minded X-Club.

39. Warbird - This Shi'ar warrior has been a member of The Astonishing X-Men (Joss Whedon's often overdue, but quite wonderful X-title) and is now a teacher at the Jean Grey School. She has never gotten the attention her character deserves, but I find her, and her attempts at fitting into Earth society, quite fascinating, and so she makes the top 40.

37. & 38. Juggernaut & Sabretooth - Two of The X-Men's oldest and baddest foes, unlike Mystique and her manipulative ways, actually tried to turn their lives around by joining the team. Sure, at first they were more prisoner than team member, but both showed their worth as team members. Yeah, they both ended up going back to their bad ways, but they were valuable team members while that lasted.

36. Stacy X - Here is an intriguing, yet criminally underused character, She wasn't an X-Man for long (22 issues) but what a mark she made. Stacy is an ex-prostitute who can feed off of people's pheromones. The rest of the team was wary of her,a s she was quite sexually manipulative. Later she would change her name to Ripcord and become a member of The New Warriors.

35. Danger - And yet another intriguing, yet criminally underused character. Danger is kind of the human-esque embodiment of the X-Men's Danger Room computer and simulator, after it was upgraded with Shi'ar technology, and formed a consciousness. She has also had a somewhat weird Sam and Diane thing going with fellow techno-mutant, Warlock.

34. Xorn - Okay, so this guy, who everyone thought was Magneto for a bit, has a star for a brain. An actual star. Created by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely for The New X-Men, Xorn was always meant to be Magneto in disguise, though after Morrison left the comic, things got changed. Still though, the guy has a star for a brain, and he has a twin who has a black hole for a brain. Oh yeah, and he killed Jean Grey, but then who hasn't.

33. Namor - Prince Namor, The Sub-Mariner is one of the oldest characters in the Marvel universe, having been around since 1939, and has been a major part of the Fantastic Four mythos since the Silver Age of Comics, but it wasn't until 2009 that this oldest Marvel mutant became an official X-Man. And even then, he did not stick around all that long. Still though, he is the Sub-Mariner, so into the top 40 he goeth.

32. Sunfire - In 1975, after nearly a decade of reprints, The X-Men were rebooted in Giant-Size X-Men #1. A whole new team was born. This is the time the Uncanny X-Men went from obscure failed comic to the biggest and best thing going. Out of the seven new mutants joining the team in this groundbreaking issue, Sunfire is the lowest ranked. Sorry bud, but you are kind of a jerk. Granted, you are a powerful and loyal jerk, but still a jerk. And hey, you also quit after one lousy mission. Jerk.

31. Thunderbird - Here is another one of those seven new X-Men joining in Giant-Size #1. He only lasted a slight bit longer than Sunfire (one issue longer) but he wasn't a jerk. In fact he died trying to save his fellow new team members. The guy went out a hero. Sure, he never got pasta  few issues on the team, and therefore never got to do all the great things he might have done, but he went out a hero, and that's gotta count for something, dammit!!

30. Cannonball - Quite a bit lower on the list, I lumped all of Sam Guthrie's former New Mutant/X-Force buddies all together. But Sam is something different. A born leader, Cannonball was a major part of the X-Men team during the late 1990's, and was the first member of an affiliated X-team to graduate to full-fledged X-Men status. He even led his own X-Men team for a bit. These days he is an Anger. La-di-dah.

29. Lockheed - Dragons are cool. End of argument. Lockheed, Kitty Pryde's BFF, and an alien dragon from a far off planet, exiled to Earth, was made an official member of the team in Uncanny X-Men #168, just 30 issues after his buddy Kitty made the team. He was also an official member of Excalibur for a time. Did I mention that dragons are cool? Cause they are.

28. Bishop - This mutant revolutionary comes from an alternate future, where the X-Men are betrayed by one of their own. Bishop convinces (at least partially) the team that Gambit is that traitor, and one day the Ragin' Cajun will betray them all. Of course (spoiler alert!) it was Xavier, and not Gambit, who would eventually betray his X-Men. So Bishop may not have been the perfect X-Man (yeah, he regularly tried to murder a baby/toddler as well), but I kinda like the guy.

27. Jubilee - Jubilation Lee first came across the X-Men while she was a runaway teen, living in an LA mall. She wound up saving a trapped Wolverine from The Marauders, and became his new protege (gee, Logan does like his teenage girl proteges). Eventually, Jubilee would lose her mutant powers on M-Day (damn you Scarlet Witch!) but then she would be transformed into a vampire, so everything is still pretty cool.

26. Northstar - Originally, Jean-Paul Beaubier first came on the scene as a member of Canada's Alpha Flight. Northstar also became the first major comic book character to come out of the closet, and in more recent days, also became the first gay comic book character to get married. Oh, and the guy can run and fly really really really fast. He died once too, but not to worry, as he is all better now.

25. Longshot - Technically, Longshot is not a mutant so much as a genetically engineered organism, created by the media savvy evil mogul, Mojo, to be the star in his omnipresent show-of-shows mad universe. But the guy did finally escape from there and became an X-Man, and even managed to land Dazzler as a girlfriend. Longshot quit the team a while ago, but he still shows up every once and while.

23. & 24. Havok & Polaris - This old school mutant power couple were the first real recruits to the original team (Mimic and Changeling don't count) and they joined the team waaay back in the 1960's, long before anyone really cared about The X-Men. And for those not in the know (and ya'll really should be), Havok is actually Cyclops brother and Polaris is Magneto's daughter.

22. Rachel Summers - Rachel, sometimes known by the codenames Phoenix and/or Marvel Girl, is the daughter of Scott Summers and Jean Grey, from an alternate reality that may or may not actually come to be. This was a rather horrible future where Rachel was used as a guard dog of sorts for mutant hunters. Rachel is currently a teacher at the Jean Grey School, and gets kinda freaked out every time she encounters the time-displaced seventeen year old Jean Grey.

21. Forge - This master mutant mechanic first appeared as a character back in issue #184, but did not join the team until #255. And he didn't really stay all that long after that either. He did lead X-Factor for a while, and he did have a relatively long running affair with Ororo Monroe. As an X-Man, he was a rather important component of the team. Sure, he wasn't doing the heavy lifting of someone like Colossus or Rogue, nor was he blasting the baddies like Gambit or Storm or Cyclops, but his tinkering could create any damn machine necessary to take down the enemy, and save the proverbial day.

20. Magik - Illyana Rasputin, baby sister of Colossus, once fell down a hole when she was just a wee child, and came out a few seconds later as a full-fledged magic-wielding teenager. Ya see, while only mere seconds went by here, down in that hole, in a place called limbo, a decade or more had passed Magik by. Nowadays, Illyana is a major asset to Scott Summers Mutant Revolution team. Yeah, she's pretty much fucked up in the head, majorly (she was raised by a demon after all), but she is one kick-ass X-Man.

19. Banshee - This Irish mutant with his sonic scream powers, is another of the seven new mutants who joined up in Giant Size #1. Actually, Banshee had appeared as a villain years earlier. He stuck around a bit longer than Sunfire, but Banshee eventually did go into semi-retirement on Muir Island with girlfriend, Moira MacTaggert. Later on, Banshee would die a hero, and even more later on, he would be resurrected as one of the Horsemen of Apocalypse.

18. Dazzler - Alison Blaire first came to the X-Men's attention when she was a budding mutant pop star. Eventually she would join the team and form a relationship with lucky Longshot. Dazzler is still a pop star, but has a much darker edge ever since being manipulated by Mystique. Actually, Dazzler was meant to be a cross-promotional product placement of sorts between Casablanca Records and Marvel, but Casablanca backed out when Marvel would not make the changes they wanted made. Dazzler is now bigger than Casablanca Records. Take that!

17. Iceman - Ah, poor Iceman. He is the lowest ranked of the original X-Men. Actually, his time-displaced younger self (see All-New X-Men) is a more interesting character than the so-called real Iceman. He's at least able to come out of the closet. Actually, I think Iceman gets a kind of a bad rap. Yeah, he is easily the most boring, unheralded original X-Man (more the various writers fault than Bobby's himself), but he can pretty much freeze the planet to death if he were so inclined - which he almost did one time that he was so inclined. That power has gotta count for something.

16. Gambit - The Ragin' Cajun. If I were to put all my so-called cards on the table, I would tell you that the one and only time I ever dressed up as a superhero for a costume party was waaay back in the mid-1990's, when I dressed up like Gambit. Yeah, the guy gets a bad rap (maybe he's a bit too cool for school), but I like him just fine. Of course, I tend to like assholes, so it all works out. Just do not play poker with the guy. Or let your wife or girlfriend alone with him. Other than that, keep on rockin'.

15. Emma Frost - This long time foe of the X-Men (she was the White Queen of the Hellfire Club, after all, and did mind control Jean Grey for a bit) was a hard sell as a member, and co-leader and teacher, of the team. She was kind of an easy sell for Scott Summers though, at least when it came to getting him into bed. Supposedly Scott loved Emma for a while too (yeah, Jean loved that, either version) but that might just have been her messing with the guy's mind. I like to think the love was real. Anyhoo, Emma is still an important part of the X-Men roster. How does she keep that outfit on though?

14. Psylocke - The originally demure and proper twin sister of Captain Britain, Psylocke one day had a change in her life, as The Hand transformed her into an Asian assassin, with a lust for blood and revenge. One of the sultriest, sexiest mutant superheroes of all-time, Betsy Braddock, armed with her telekinetic katana and psychic knives, has long been a valuable member of the Uncanny X-Men. Oh yeah, she's been dead before too. Gee, it seems like these X-Men like to die and come back a lot.

13. Cable - Once upon a time, Scott and Jean had a child (well, technically it was Scott and Jean's demonic doppelganger, but you get the picture), and he grew up to be Nathan Summers, aka Cable, a freedom fighter from the future. Cable is one bad-ass mofo, and turned what was left of those mamby-pamby New Mutants into the strike team known as X-Force. Cable has been dead on numerous occasions (like mother, like son - well, like Jean, like son...well, you know what I mean) but he has also saved the world more times than that.

12. Angel - Warren Worthington III, was a founding member of the X-Men, and has always been kind of a n arrogant asshat. Born into great wealth (many times that wealth was used to finance the X-Men and X Factor) Warren was kind of predisposed to the arrogant asshat role, but his loyalty to his team and his friends (aka, his family) has never been in dispute. Well, there was that time, after his wings were amputated, that Apocalypse gave him razor wings and made him the personification of Death as one of his Horsemen, but he got over that. More recently, Angel died and was reborn as a whole new entity. Meanwhile, the time-displaced teenage version of Angel is doing just fine in the present day, and even dating 9or whatever you might call what they are doing) Wolverine's cloned daughter, Laura, aka X-23.

11. Nightcrawler - Kurt Wagner, a German-born one-time circus freak, is covered in blue-black fur, with a pre-hensile tail and an overall demonic appearance. Needless to say, unlike many of his fellow mutants, who can pass as human, this caused poor Kurt some trouble in his younger days. That is, until he was asked to join the X-Men in Giant-Size #1. Since then, Kurt has become an invaluable member of the team, and even a leader on occasion. He was even a Catholic priest for a bit. He, as happens to most X-Men, died a few years back, only to be resurrected. Fun stuff.

10. Kitty Pryde - Katherine Anne "Kitty" Pryde was my first legit comic book crush. Kitty came aboard in 1980, at the tender age of thirteen. Guess how old I was in 1980. Yup, thirteen years old. Finally, here was a mutant superhero my own age. A possible imaginary girlfriend. Yeah, now here I am at 47 and Kitty is supposed to be in her mid twenties (I'm guessing). Now I just look like a dirty old man. But we were the same age at one time. Damn you comic book timelines. Anyhoo, Kitty, who went by Shadowcat for most of her superheroing career, is one of the few major Jewish superheroes in the Marvel Universe (Magneto and Ben Grimm, aka The Thing, are the only other major ones). She also has a thing for guys named Peter. First Peter Rasputin (Colossus), then Pete Wisdom, and now Peter Quill, aka Star Lord. These days she is also a teacher and mentor for the time-displaced original X-Men. Oh, and she has a dragon with whom she can telepathically conversate. Pretty cool.

9. Rogue - Having been raised by Mystique, Rogue actually began her comic book career as a criminal, before becoming one of the most important members of The X-Men. Yeah, Rogue's powers of being able to absorb people's abilities and memories, make it a bit difficult to form an authentic love life (though she has tried over and over again with Gambit!), but the girl's got chutzpah. For a while, she had the abilities of Carol Danvers, and later Sunfire, and even more recently, Wonder Man. Yeah, the girl's got it  tough, but damn she is one great X-Man.

8. Magneto - Sure, for the longest time, Magneto was the arch-enemy of The X-Men. Ever since issue #1 actually.But he really isn't a bad guy. Allusions can be made to Magneto being Malcolm X to Xavier's Dr. King. They both want basically the same thing (Mutant rights) but just go about it a bit differently. Much of Magneto's anger stems from his growing up in a concentration camp. Understandable. For a while though, Xavier left Magneto in charge of his New Mutants, and team leader of The X-Men, and today, Magneto is an ally to Cyclops Mutant Revolution. Hey, when the Beyonder chose sides for his Secret Wars, he did place Magneto with the heroes. That';s gotta say something. Actually, as far as characters go, Magneto may be one of the most complex ever in comics.

7. Colossus - Russian farm boy Piotr Rasputin was brought onto the team in Giant-Size X-Men #1. Since then, he has become one of the most committed and enduring team members. He even sacrificed himself to cure the mutant population of the Legacy Virus. But even as fiercely loyal as he has always been, poor Colossus yearns for a peaceful life on the farm. Just tending his crops and painting in the countryside. Sadly, every time he attempts to create such a life for himself, he gets dragged back into the war that is being an X-Man. poor guy. He did date Kitty Pryde for a time though, so he has that going for him

6. Beast - One of the founding members of the team, Dr. Henry McCoy is probably one of the smartest beings on the planet. For a time, he was an Avenger and a Defender, but his heart has always been with his mutant brethren. Of course, with such great intelligence comes great arrogance, and Hank has done more than his share to truly fuck up the time-space continuum, and he's a member of the Illuminati, who are not a group to be trusted. Still though, Hank is one of the greatest and most important of all X-Men members.

5. Jean Grey - The youngest member of the original X-Men, as well as the love (secret or otherwise) of pretty much every other member of those original X-Men, Jean Grey, or Marvel Girl as she was once known, was once the most powerful, and most dangerous being in the universe. Yeah, the bitch was Phoenix, and that was bad news, especially for a bunch of people in the D'Bari Star System. But genocide aside, Jean is every mutant lover's dream girl a la gaga. Oh, and she has died and come back like fifteen times now. I guess that alone is enough to put her this high on the list. Right?

4. Professor X - I suppose if we are compiling a list of all The X-Men, from the worst to the best, then the guy who started the whole shebang should probably be pretty high on that list. So here he is. Sure, he's regularly used his mind control to manipulate his students and fellow X-Men to do what he wanted them to do (yeah, he really did do that, on multiple occasions), and he's betrayed them all and almost destroyed the world as Onslaught, and he's left and given the keys to the team's greatest enemy. The arrogant bastard! But yeah, he's a majorly important cog in the whole wheel that is The X-Men. So there.

3. Wolverine - Now we are talking about the old school Wolverine, before he got over-exposed and joined every superhero team in the Marvel Universe. Not that any of said over-exposure is Logan's fault (damn editors and their out-for-a-buck schemes!), but lo these past 20 years, it does seem as if the old man has been in every damn comic book printed. But back in the day (the 1970's & 80's Claremont era), Wolverine was the baddest dude in town. And even though he would never admit such a thing, he is one hell of a team leader as well.

2. Storm - Ororo Monroe, found by Xavier as an African orphan who could control the weather, was one of the all-new X-Men who joined in Giant-Size #1. She has been one of the longest running team members. Eventually, after beating Cyclops in battle (and while without her mutant powers at that), she became the team leader. She has since been one of the greatest leaders the team has ever seen. At one point she married The Black Panther and was temporarily the Queen of Wakanda. Nowadays, she is the head mistress of the Jean Grey School, and a regular pain in the ass to Scott Summers. And ya gotta love her in that mohawk.

1. Cyclops - Who else? Really! The first member brought onto the team by Professor X, and the first, and longest running team leader, Scott Summers is the only logical conclusion to a list such as this. Scott has always fought for the belief that mutants and humans can live together in harmony. Well, that is until recent days. Yeah, he ended up murdering his mentor and leading part of the team into a Mutant Revolution, siding with Magneto, and battled both S.H.I.E.L.D. and The Avengers, but that just makes him an even strong voice for mutant kind.Be it in his wide-eyed, hopeful days, or in more recent troubled times, Scott Summers is the very epitome of what it means to be an X-Man, and deserves the top spot here.

That's it gang. See ya 'round the web. Now here's a fun Popeye-esque take on my favourite X-Men team roster. Enjoy. And yes, Magneto was right. Mutants unite!!




Monday, April 27, 2015

The 10 Best Walking Dead Characters Not Named Daryl Dixon

http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/
Let's face it kids, if we were to do a poll of all the fans of the AMC TV hit, The Walking Dead, approximately 99 and 44/100ths percent of them would vote for Daryl Dixon as their number one zombie apocalypse survivor. Okay, perhaps that is a bit high of a percentage, but you get my drift. Daryl is the be all and end all of The Walking Dead. Which is rather ironic considering he is the one major character of the show that has never been in the comic book from which the show is adapted. So, basically this list is going to be a list of those Walking Dead characters who invariably come in second, third, fourth, and so on, to one Mr. Daryl Dixon. This post originally saw the light of day over at The Geek League of America, a place where I do the occasional outsource work, but has been brought back to life for W-Day in the ole A to Z Challenge. Granted, it has been updated and a bit rearranged since its original posting two seasons ago. Anyhoo, before we get started, I would like to shout out a big ole "I'm sorry!" to Tyreese, Dale, T-Dog, Sasha, and especially Beth. Sorry guys, even you, Eugene, but I had to make the cut somewhere. And to Lori and Andrea - I never really liked you guys all that much anyway. So let's get on with the list. Oh, and for those of you that still haven't seen the show (are there really any of you out there still!?) there be spoilers a-plenty ahead. So you've been warned.

And awaaaaaaay we go...

10. Shane

Yeah, he's a gigantic asshole, but he did kick some major ass in his time on the show. Sure, he shot Otis in the leg and left him as walker bait, but hey, I would have done the same thing. His number one goal was save Carl, and if he didn't make it back to the farm, Carl would have died. Okay, he tried to kill Rick because he wanted to have Lori all to himself, and that was a real dick move, but the guy did protect Lori while Rick was off having a nap, and maybe he deserved the little sumpin' sumpin' he got from the gal. Okay, maybe not, but he did kick a lot of ass, and got that whole barn situation taken care of. Now am I the only one who thinks Judith looks a lot like Shane? Yeah, I went there.

9. Carl

Yeah, I know, I know. At first this obnoxious little brat was everyone's number one choice for most "I-hope-he-gets-killed-soon" character, myself included. But ya know what? The little shit kinda grows on ya. At least he grew on me. I mean, this kid has been through a lot. He had to kill his own mom, and he had to take care of his dad when he was seeing ghosts. Carl has deserved his rise in respectability. Hell, he even had the balls to hit on Beth. Going from idiot child to real live ass-kicking member of the group in season 3, Carl is now old enough (and un-obnoxious enough) to make this list, and maybe even get some in the upcoming season 6. Hey, and he loves pudding too.

8. Glenn & Maggie, aka Gleggie

The hottest couple in the Zombie Apocalypse should rightfully share a spot here - plus it's a great way to sneak in a top eleven. Glenn was fun and all that before hooking up with the hot farmer's daughter (he did save Rick's ass in the first episode), but after their tryst in the pharmacy, he became that much cooler, and together these guys are enough to give everyone hope for the future. Their search to find each other after the prison went down, and everyone was separated, is a quest for the proverbial ages. Maggie and Glenn (a couple so hot that they even get their own Bennifer-esque portmanteau) are both kick-ass on their own (remember when Glenn was tied to that chair and took down that walker, or when everyone was sick and Mags was cuttin' down walkers left and right?) but together - they fucking rock! Too bad Glenn's probably going to go down in season 6.

7. The Governor

The poor guy just wanted to keep his little girl safe. Michonne had no reason to do what she did. The Governor's a good guy. He built a community where he kept people safe. Well except for when he stabbed Milton and left Andrea for dead, or when he pitted brother against brother in a ring of walkers, or when he attacked the prison...twice. Okay, who the hell am I kidding? The guy is an out and out psychopath, but isn't that why we love the guy? No? Well, it's why I love the guy. He is an eye-patch-wearing, bad-ass mofo, and I wouldn't want him any other way. Well, he was an eye-patch-wearing, bad-ass mofo. Now he's just walker meat.

6. Abraham

You want tough? Well, I got just the guy for you. Abraham takes no guff from no one, be it the living or the dead. With that handlebar mustache and flat-top hairstyle, all those oily muscles, and all those guns (arms and arms, alike), Abraham is one bad-ass mofo.  Yeah, he took it a bit hard when he found out Eugene was lying to them all (though Eugene has since redeemed himself) but when he went into that construction site horde of walkers to single-handedly rescue a fallen comrade, well that was fucking bad-ass to the nth degree, man! Plus, it appears that Abraham is one of the few people still able to get sex during the Zombie Apocalypse.

5. Hershel

In the early episodes it was wizened old Dale that acted as the moral center of the show (though he was kind of a douche at times), but after he got gutted like a goddamn fish, the group needed a new moral compass on which to rely, and that guy became old Reverend Hershel Greene. Sure, at first Hershel was in a big ole bag of denial, but after the barn incident, and the ensuing chaos that sprung up from that, as well as losing his leg (oh man), Hershel changed his tune and became one of the most important people in the group. An importance that was emphasized by his daring to go into the quarantined and infested prison cell block. Even after losing his head (man, oh man) it was the memory of Hershel that helped many of the splintered survivors carry on. Hell, even Daryl called him one tough sonofabitch. Didjya ever notice that if you were to combine the eye-patched Governor and the peg-legged Hershel, you would have mighty fine zombie killin' pirate. .

4. Rick

Okay, he's a born leader, but sometimes the guy gets a little, shall we say, distracted by the ghost of his dead wife. And maybe sometimes he falls into a coma, and misses the entire beginning of the zombie apocalypse. And the sometimes he falls into another coma (or something like that) and has to be taken care of by his son. And sometimes he gets in shouting matches with a one-eyed sociopath, and ends up causing his whole group to lose their comfy prison home. And then sometimes he stupidly befriends an obvious whack-a-doodle he finds living in the woods, with her boyfriend's head in a bag. And sometimes he wastes day after day being a farmer instead of the leader he was born to be. Okay, maybe he isn't that great of a leader after all. No seriously, he actually is a really good leader, with or without his gigantic beard of terror!

3. Michonne

One of the biggest ass-kickers on the show has just got to be the lady with the dreads, the katana blade, and a coupla armless, jawless walkers in chains. One of the most popular characters in both the comics and the TV show, Michonne is the balls-out samurai of the zombie apocalypse, and she gave the governor that kick-ass piratey eye-patch by putting that aforementioned katana blade through his little girl's undead head. This bitch is bad, baby! Do not mess with this lady! She will kick your ass! Hey, and she collects comic books for Carl too. How cool is that?

2. Merle

Come on people! Ya know ya love some Merle Dixon. Ya know ya do. Yeah, he may have been a redneck racist who would just as soon kill ya as look atchya, but when the chips were down, he was a good guy to have at your back. This one-handed mofo (hey, we could combine him with the Guv and Hersh, to make the ultimate Walking Dead pirate!) not only saved his brother's life, but also came to the rescue of Rick and the others when it came down to it all. Yeah, yeah, he beat the living crap outta Glenn, and then tied him to a chair and let a walker loose on him, but hey, he's a good guy. Right? He did go out a hero though. So there.

1. Carol

Sure, when dirty deeds need done, ya get Daryl Dixon to do 'em. But when Daryl ain't around, the best place to go is to good ole Carol. She started out as an abused wife, then became a grieving mother, the sometime around there, she turned into a kick-as warrior woman who would do anything that needed to be done, in order to protect those she loved and cared for. It's kill or be killed for Carol Peletier, and this guy wouldn't want it any other way. Hell, she single-handedly saved the entire group from the clutches of the Termites. She deserves to be on this list, and in the number one spot at that. And she makes great cookies too.

That's it gang. See ya 'round the web.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

A Brief History of the Letter V, Not to be Confused w/ the Letter U

So, yesterday, we took a quick and mostly unnecessary look at the life story of the Letter U. It was a rather sad story, as the poor Letter U has had a hard life. You can read all about it right here. But that was then, this is now. Welcome to V-Day, and a brief history of the Letter V.

The Letter V, even as a small little pointed letter v, back in the so-called Dark Ages, was always a gigantic pain in the tuckus. Growing up on the rich side of town (as opposed to the little u being from the wrong side of the tracks), the arrogant Letter V grew up to believe himself to be above all other letters, but especially his arch-rival, the aforementioned hapless poor little u. One time, Mr. V even went so far as to push poor U down a spot on the alphabet, making it go...S..T..V..U..and so on. Eventually (thanks to the French Academy, I am led to believe) this unprecedented usurping of roles was remedied, but even so, the Letter V (which does stand for Victory, dontchya know?) has always been regarded as the more important letter. Even the makers of Scrabble believe this to be oh so true. Yes, it's an ugly tale, but a true tale nonetheless. That damn V gets all the credit, while poor little u is stuck playing second banana (or second fiddle, if you prefer) to Q in almost every damn word.

So this post (and the one from yesterday) has told the story of a coupla letters. One with an easy life, the other with a difficult one. Granted, these last two posts haven't been my regular milieu (my faithful readers and true believers know full well about my pop cultural ways), but then, to be part of the A to Z Challenge, one must make some allowances. So I wrote a coupla silly nonsense posts for the occasion. Hope ya'll enjoyed 'em. Actually, it doesn't really matter if ya'll like 'em or not. There they are either way. Anyhoo, tomorrow we will be getting back to those aforementioned pop cultural ways of mine, with a little look at a TV show by the name of The Walking...um, the Walking something-or-other. Guess we'll find out tomorrow. For now...that's it gang. See ya 'round the web. Now here's a pic of everybody's favourite Vulcan. Enjoy.


Friday, April 24, 2015

A Brief History of the Letter U

Hey gang! Welcome to U-Day at the ole A to Z Challenge.So, today's assignment is to post something that has to do with the letter U. So what better than the life story of the letter U? So, without any further ado, here is a brief history of the letter U.

Once upon a time, as all good stories are wont to begin, there lived a little letter u. But back in these early days, the little letter u was not really a u at all. Nope! Back in the Middle Ages (which were probably not called the Middle Ages at the time) the little letter u was really a little letter v. Or was it that the v was actually the u? Were they the same letter? Perhaps...or perhaps not. Confused yet? Good. Here's the dealio (or is that the dillio?) from the fine folks over at Wikipedia: The little u was actually a little pointed v, and the little pointed v was used at the beginning of a word, while the little rounded u was used in the middle and/or end of words. So words like valor and excuse (if they wrote in modern English back then, which they did not) would look so-called okay, but at the same time, words such as have and upon would actually read haue and vpon. Yeah, quite silly, indeed. But alas, poor little rounded u was often seen as a secondary citizen to that little pointed v.

Even back in the days of the Gothic Alphabet, v would come before u in the whole scheme of things. Poor little u, even after become an older, wiser U, always had to take a back seat to that damn big V. Even to this day, poor hapless (but still quite proud, dammit!) Letter U is often unceremoniously squeezed into nearly every word with a Q. But hey, in today's modern day texting world, U is used much often than that damn, filthy V. So, at least the guy has that going for him.  So there you have the (somewhat sad) story of the Letter U. Toldjya it was gonna be brief. Anyhoo, tomorrow, we are going to take a brief look at that aforementioned filthy Letter V. After that, we will be back to so-called real posts, about so-called real things. For now...that's it gang. See ya 'round the web. Now, just to add to the silly aura of this post, here's a picture of Underdog. Enjoy.


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Heavenly Body of the Week: Tatooine

http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/
Hey gang! Welcome to T-Day in the A to Z Challenge. Just yesterday, in typical meta fashion, I did an A to Z list inside the A to Z Challenge. Said list looked at the fan battle between Star Trek and Star Wars, each given their respective fair share (13 Star Trek entries and 13 Star Wars entries). Now here we are a day later, and after all the fair play yesterday, I go and show which franchise to which I am partial. Yay Star Wars!

Tatooine is actually the first planet we encounter in Star Wars. Tatooine is where we meet Luke and Ben, and later on, Han and Chewie. It is also the place where we come across Jabba in Return of the Jedi. The place where Boba Fett is devoured in the Sarlac Pit. Oh wait (spoiler alert) no he wasn't. It is also the planet where we get to see Princess Leia dressed in that iconic gold bikini. Yeah, baby! Tatooine is also the place where those stormtroopers found those droids they were not looking for, and where the funny little Jawa race, make a living selling those same said droids and their ilk. Tatooine may have also held a pod race or two, but who really knows if that ever happened. Have I mentioned Princess Leia in that gold bikini? I have? Good.

As far as the planet itself goes, Tatooine, which was once teaming with lush flora and vast oceans (at least, that is what I am told), is mostly a desert these days (or at least a long time ago). It is full of lots of species, such as the Sand People (aka, Tuskan Raiders) who are the native and fierce nomadic race of the planet, the Hutts, who are just big ugly slug creature crime lords, and those aforementioned little Jawas. The planet also has two suns. Did I mention that? Yeah, two freakin' suns. Sure, other planets have more, but when you live on a planet with just one lousy sun, two is rather exciting. Anyhoo, let's just say that Tatooine, thanks to being the place from where Luke and Anakin hail, and where Han and Chewie first met the gang, is probably the most iconic place in the Star Wars Universe. So there! Star Wars wins. Two suns!!

That's it gang. See ya 'round the web.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Alphabet Game: The Star Trek/Star Wars Get-A-Long Edition

http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/
Hello, and welcome to the latest edition of The Alphabet Game, wherein I take a look at 26 different things in one common category, all done, of course, alphabetically. This also happens to be S-Day in the A to Z Challenge (click on the big S to find out the rules of the challenge) so that brings us to this special Star Trek/Star Wars Get-A-Long edition of the ole Alphabet Game. As you will see below, the much bally-hoo'd battle between fans of Star Trek and fans of Star Wars, is all for null. Neither side is right and neither side is wrong. Why can't we all just get along? And yes, I do realize I am doing an A to Z post inside another A to Z post.

A is for Andorian - The Star Trek Universe has a seemingly infinite array of alien races, but the bluest of 'em all (and the one that fits into the A spot the best) are the Andorians. These azure-fleshed, antennae-wielding aliens may be troublesome at times (not Romulan troublesome, but more Tribble kinda trouble), but overall, they are good and loyal allies. Hey, and they start with the letter A, so here they are.

B is for Bantha - The Bantha is a magnificent creature that is native to the planet of  Tatooine. Very yakky/woolly mammoth-esque in appearance, the Bantha was portrayed by a costumed elephant named Mardji, in the original film. Mardji also gained fame for a Skippy Peanut Butter ad she did at the time.

C is for The City on the Edge of Forever - This first season episode is often cited as the best episode of the entire original series. I may (almost) concur. In the episode, Dr. McCoy, mad with a self-inflicted shot of cordrazine, leaps through a time portal, and accidentally alters history. Of course, Kirk and Spock must go back in time as well, to fix what needs fixin'. While back in New York City of the 1930's, Kirk, being Kirk, hits it off with Edith Keeler, played by Joan Collins. This is where things get a bit complicated. But no spoilers, just in case there is someone on planet Earth who has not yet seen this episode.

D is for Death Star - That's no moon. Ya know my biggest problem with the Death Star? No, not that it was built solely for destroying everything around it. That was kinda the Empire's way. It was there thing. No, my biggest problem is that they went and created this massive machine of doom and destruction, and left a tiny hole where it could be destroyed. Really? The contractors never noticed this? A tiny little hole, that could have easily had something put over it. hell, I can find ya some scrap metal if you need it. What the hell!?

E is for The Enterprise - My wife told me a story of when she first saw Star Wars, or at least almost saw it. Her and her ex sat down to watch it, and when the star destroyer shows up in that opening scene, she turned to him and asked, "Is that the Enterprise?" He immediately turned it off and said if she wasn't going to take it seriously, then why bother. Now, I don't tend to agree with ex boyfriends and all, but in this case... Anyhoo, as everyone else surely knows, The USS Enterprise is Captain James T. Kirk's ship. Yeah, others have commanded it, but it is Kirk's ship. Sorry Jean-Luc.

F is for The Fett Family - Those damn Fett boys. First we meet Boba Fett, who encases Han Solo in carbonite and hauls him off to Jabba, to collect his bounty. The filthy bastard! I'm glad he got sucked into that Sarlac Pit. Wait, what? He's still alive? Seriously? When did that happen? Oh, for the new movies. Gotchya. Anyhoo, then we have Jango Fett, Boba's dad. He was in those films of which we do not speak, so I'll shut up now.

G is for the (Scary) Gorn - The first episode of Star Trek I ever remember seeing was the first season episode titled, "Arena." As the show went off the air before I turned two, this would have been in syndication sometime in the mid 1970's. I would have been around 8 or 9, at the time. the episode featured the Gorn battling Kirk on Cestus III. Looking back now, the Gorn probably doesn't seem all that scary to viewers, but when I was 8 or 9, that guy was all kinds of scary.

H is for Han Shot First! - Don't get me started on how George Lucas nearly ruined his own creation by constantly changing things in his movies. Sure, go ahead and digitally add a few more Tauntauns, or give extra drool to the Rancor, but when you make Greedo shoot first, so Han doesn't seem like a killer, then you've gone too fucking far. Too fucking far. Han shot first and killed the bounty hunter who was going to kill him. That's called survival. End of story.

I is for Star Trek: The Motion Picture - Yeah, that's right, I'm invoking the long forgotten Roman numeral clause, and saying that Star Trek I, is a valid entry for the letter I. So there! And, please allow me to make even more controversy by stating that I think Star Trek: The Motion Picture, or Star Trek I, if you will, is one of the better members of the franchise. That's right, I like Star Trek I. So there (again)!

J is for Jedi Knight - Somewhat based on Taoism (The Way = The Force), the Jedi religion is actually the fastest growing religion in the world. That's right! Light sabers and the Force beat out crosses and discrimination, any day. May the Force Be With You.

K is for Kirk, James Tiberius Kirk - The man, the legend, the oh Captain, My Captain. The iconic character played by the equally iconic Mr. William Shatner, will always have a spot in my heart of hearts. Sure, Jean-Luc Picard came around and did a great job as captain of the USS Enterprise, but I don't care who says what, the man ain't no James Tiberius Kirk, space rogue and the greatest Captain in Starfleet history.

L is for Lando - Let's face it, Billy-Dee Williams is already one of the coolest mofo's out there. Now, go ahead and cast him as Han Solo's even more rakish old pal, complete with suave-as-fuck blue cape, and you got yourself the coolest cat in the galaxy, man. Now, I know you are thirsty for a cold delicious Colt .45 right about now. Go ahead, you can admit it.

M is for Mirror, Mirror - So, if The City on the Edge of Forever is the best Star Trek episode, then Mirror, Mirror, cannot be far behind. Ya get an evil Enterprise crew from an parallel universe, complete with a goatee'd Spock (that's how you can tell he's the villain), and a swashbuckling bad-ass Sulu. How can that not be freakin' fantastic!?

N is for Nerf Herders - Ya gotta love those scruffy looking nerf hearders. We all know Leia does, whether she was ready to admit it at first, or not.

O is for Security Chief Odo - Played with a restrained vim and vigor by Rene Auberjonois, this shape shifting security chief of Deep Space Nine has always been one of my favourite on the post Next Gen Star Trek characters, and luckily his name begins with an O, so here he is.

P is for Princess Leia - Every guy from my generation has had some private moments alone with thoughts of Princess Leia. Be it in her white gown from the first film, her tight Hoth parka and/or formal wear on Bespin, or especially, in that slave outfit on Jabba's skiff, every guy around my age, has had his private thoughts on Princess Leia. Oh yeah.

Q is for the Borg Queen - Yeah, this nasty bitch of a queen is the most vile queen since that Alien bitch that tried to eat Sigourney Weaver. Wait, was she even a queen? Anyhoo, this Queen of the Borg was technically just one of the Borg Collective, but the ruthless bitch still held her own unique personality of sorts. And she's really scary too.

R is for R2-D2 (of course) - Sure, Han and Luke, Leia and Ben, Chewie and Lando, even little Wicket the Ewok, have had their heroic moments, but it is R2-D2 who really saves the day again and again. A lot of his heroics are kinda behind the scenes, maybe in the back of an X-Wing, but hero he damn well is!

S is for Spock Rules! - Let's face it, Spock rules. Nothing else need be said. Okay, I'll say a few other things. Mr. Spock, Science Officer and second-in-command of the Starship Enterprise, as played by the late great Mr. Leonard Nimoy is possibly the single greatest character in science fiction history. And he is sexy too, especially when he plays that harp thingee. Now, there is nothing more to be said. Live long and prosper.

T is for These are not the Droids you are looking for - Jedi mind tricks are always fun. Yeah, they're kind of easy peazy when you do them on the rather small-brained Imperial stormtroopers, but hey, when ya gotta hide some droids, ya do what ya need to do.

U is for Uhura! - Nichelle Nichols' iconic Lt. Uhura, was a ground breaking force in television. She was one of the first African American stars on TV, who wasn't a stereotype. Yeah, they still basically made her the one who answers the space phone, but just her presence on the bridge was groundbreaking. And she and Shatner had the first ever primetime interracial kiss, even though the censors made the show make it a forced kiss. At one point, Nichols had wanted to quit the show, but Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. convinced her to stick around. Yup, that's how important her character was.

V is for Lord Vader - How can we have any list about Star Wars, even one that share's its space and time with Star Trek, and not have Darth Vader somewhere on there. So here ya go: Darth Vader, Sith Lord Extraordinaire. Now shut up. I included the guy. Let's move on...

W is for the Wesley Crushers - Technically, this reference is from The Big Bang Theory. It is from an episode where Sheldon is bowling against his arch-nemesis, Wil Wheaton, and in trying to intimidate his opponent, makes bowling team shirts that read The Wesley Crushers. Wil Wheaton doesn't take this in the manner Sheldon does (crushing Wesley Crusher), but instead takes it as a loving embrace of his character. Oh, and if you still do not know what this entry has to do with Star Trek...well then, you need to go home and think about what you've done.

X is for X-Wing Fighter - Last year, during the A to Z Challenge, I did a list called "My 10 Favourite X Things," (obviously on X-Day), and one of those X things was, of course, the wickedly coolio X-Wing Fighters. Yeah, how could a spaceship shaped like an X, not be coolio and a half? A Y-Wing Fighter? Forget that nonsense! As a kid, I proudly flew my X-Wing Fighter all around my bedroom.

Y is for Yar! - Not much surprises me, but (spoiler alert!) when Security Chief Tasha Yar was shot and killed at the end of season one of Star Trek: The Next Generation, I was visibly shocked as all get out. How dare they kill Yar, and do it that abruptly and matter-of-factly! Bastards! 

Z is for Zuckuss, Yeah, Zuckuss - Z was kind of a tough one on this list, but I eventually came up with Zuckuss. Yeah, that's right, Zuckuss. For those not in the so-called know, Zuckuss is a bounty hunter who decided to join the rebellion. Yeah, he still charged for his services, but he was charging the correct people at least. So there ya go, Zuckuss for the win!

See, we can co-exist, if we want. That's it gang. See ya 'round the web.


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Rat Queens, and How Kick-Ass Women Are Taking Over the Comic Book World (and Why That is a Good Thing)

Hello fellow travelers, and welcome to R-Day of the A to Z Challenge. By now everyone should be aware of what said challenge is, but in case you don't, just click on the big R over there, and all will be explained. Meanwhile, back here at All Things Kevyn, we are about to discuss how the comic book world, a world ruled by men for a long long time (both as consumers and as creators), has become much more diverse over the past few years, adding many new kick-ass female heroes, characters of colour and different religious backgrounds, and even changing the gender of long male characters. Of course, this being R-Day, and therefore the day we do a post about something R-related, this post shall now be led by some of the kick-assiest of kick-ass comic book ladies, The Rat Queens.

So who are these Rat Queens? They are a foursome of bad-ass fightin' ladies from the self-titled fantasy title from the always fine folks over at Image Comics. And these aren't your normal comic ladies of old. These ladies are no ladies. Foul mouthed and sex crazed, strong and powerful, never taking a back seat to any man, The Rat Queens are the epitome of the new direction in female comic book characters. Okay, perhaps they are more the extreme faction, but there is definitely a change a-comin'. Over at DC, you have a new direction for already strong female characters, especially Batgirl, now being drawn, beautifully I might add, by Babs Tarr, and Harley Quinn, drawn (and co-written with her hubby) by Amanda Conner. Over at Marvel, we have Carol Danvers as Captain Marvel (the coolest of all superheroes, male or female) by Kelly Sue DeConnick, and Ms. Marvel, a teenage Muslim superhero, created by G. Willow Wilson. And I haven't even brought up the new female Thor, and other brave and bold characters such as Gamora, Black Widow, Storm, Scarlet Witch, Spider-Woman, Spider-Gwen, the newly recreated Jean Grey, Squirrel Girl, and She-Hulk, who was recently revamped.

Meanwhile, back over at Image, we also have Matt Fraction's Sex Criminals, which is one of the best comics out there today, and it is headlined by yet another strong female character. There is also the super feminist (and I mean that with absolutely no snark whatsoever) Bitch Planet, created by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro, about a prison planet where so-called non-compliant women are sent. Have I mentioned that Kelly Sue DeConnick rocks? I haven't? Well, trust me. she does indeed rock. She also does a comic called Pretty Deadly, which is pretty awesome. Anyhoo, on with the show. But you should check her out. And this is just scratching the surface of the new direction in comic books. Some would say that taking a typically male dominated world and tossing in diversity just for diversity's sake, is never a good thing, but these new comics, and this new direction is not just diversity for diversity's sake. Some of these titles, especially Captain Marvel, Batgirl, Ms. marvel, Bitch Planet, and Rat Queens, all about strong women, many created by strong women, are some of the best comics around today. So go ahead and check some of them out...or all of them if you so desire. Hey, even the BBC series Orphan Black, is now a comic book. That's it gang. See ya 'round the web. Now here are The Rat Queens, in all their beautifully bloody glory...


Monday, April 20, 2015

The Letter Q: The Queen Mum of the Alphabet

http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/
The Letter Q is a funny one. It's like the Letter O, but the boy version...if ya'll get my drift. It's also one of the more high maintenance letters, almost always having to be followed by the Letter U. Just go ahead and as U how annoying that can be. Go ahead, ask him. I dare ya. Anyhoo, here we are on Q-Day of the ole A to Z Challenge thingee-ma-jigger. Those still not in the know, just click on the big Q over there, and all will be explained. Now back to the Letter Q, the queeny old bitch that she is. 

Ah, the Letter Q. What a fun looking bitch. Like I said before, like an O, but with boy parts. The baby Q, the q, if you will, also happens to be one of the cutest of all the lower case letters. But let's get on with things, and discuss the Letter Q.

My ten favourite Q words, in no particular order are:
  • Quagmire: The difficult situation, the soft wet ground, or Peter Griffin's next door neighbour.
  • QuestLove: In all his big-haired, Jimmy Fallon assisting, drummers a-drumming glory.
  • Quizzle: Even though it is just a credit score website, it's a pretty freakin' cool word to say.
  • Quadragenarian: This would be a person between the tender ages of 40 and 49. Hey, that's me!
  • Quasi: Put this in front of any word, and that word instantly becomes all that much cooler.
  • Quiver: Be it Robin Hood or Hawkeye, Green Arrow or Katniss, a Quiver is always quiverlicious.
  • Quippery: The art of making quips has always been one of my strong suits, if I do say so me-self.
  • Quisby: This word for an idler, one who does not want to work, may very well describe me too.
  • Qwerty: And yes, this description of the standard Western keyboard IS an actual word!
  • Queer: Some say it's not PC, but it's used as a badge of pride by many in the LGBTQ Community.

And, in the land of pop cultury goodness (ya'll knew I would get here sooner or later), the Letter Q could mean anything from Q*Bert to Quicksilver. Growing up in the 1970's and 80's, as I did, the early video gaming boom was an integral part of my societal education. I spent many an hour at the ole arcade at Capital City Mall during my impressionable teenage years (back when malls still had arcades, that is) and one of my faves, along with Frogger, Pac-Man, Asteroids, Pitfall (and in later years, Super Mario III and Mortal Kombat), was a little game called Q*Bert. First released in 1982, Q*Bert was a game where you had to help the titular orange-snooted hero, make his way up and down and all around dangerous cubed pyramids. Q*Bert was a blast. He did seem to swear a lot though ... ya know, for a kid's game.

And then you have Quicksilver. Those who are comic book readers know of this arrogant, but ultimately heroic mutant superhero. Those who only know the Marvel Universe via the Marvel Cinematic Universe (aka, those big blockbustery motion picture extravaganzas), then you really won't know Quicksilver until The Avengers 2 comes out on May 1st. Yeah, he was in the most recent X-Men movie, but that's a whole different entity. Neither one is all that true to the comics (and the battle between Disney and Fox, over how each version can be portrayed, is rather ridiculous), but you will have this. In the comics, Quicksilver, aka Pietro Maximoff, is a mutant (and twin brother of Scarlet Witch) who began his comic book life as a member of Magneto's Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, before switching sides and joining the Avengers. Eventually, Quicksilver would become a member of both The X-Men and X-Factor, and eventually find out that Magneto is not his real father, and that he may not even be a mutant at all. But enough of Quicksilver. What about Quantum and Planet Q?

Yeah, Quantum and Planet Q are part of another comic book universe...the place known as Smiley-Face Land. Smiley-Face land, published by Brain Tumor Comix, a subsidiary of The All Things Kevyn Entertainment Network, is a place created by yours truly, back in the Fall of 1989. Basically, it is a comic book world wherein smiley-faces live. And of course, there are superheroes and supervillains in this world. Heroes like Cap'n Smiley-Face and the Smiley-Face Guardians, Dr. Oddball, The Incredible Behemoth, Mega Man, and the Uncanny X-Smiles.One of these heroes (a founding member of the aforementioned Smiley-Face Guardians), is a guy named Quantum. An alien to Smiley-Face Land, Quantum comes from Planet Q, where he was born into royalty. His father is King Quesada and his mother is Queen Qaa. Meanwhile, his brother is the evil-minded Quarterflash. Planet Q is a wonderful place to vacation, as the Guardians have on occasion. Anyhoo, that is the (brief) story of Planet Q.

Well kids, there are a lot more fun Q-things to tally-ho on about, but we should probably wrap this baby up. So no talk about the greatly under-appreciated 1977 sci-fi situation comedy, Quark. No mention (other than this one) of the town of Quahog, even though we did mention a Quahog resident earlier in the post. Forget about Quiznos subs or any of the world's Queens (including the band). No talk of Quartets or Quasars or Quest for Fire or the Quatermass Experiment or anything that quacks. Nope, sorry, we just don't have time, although I would like to give a shout out to Qui Qui Musarra, Harrisburg Restaurateur extraordinaire, who will soon be part of The 11 Question Interview series. I would like to close by saying thank you to all those who are visiting my blog during the A to Z Challenge. I usually do not post posts such as this, tending instead to have more pop culture essays of sorts, but it is fun to do nonsense posts like these every once and a while, and the A to Z thang, with its alphabetized 26 day posting schedule, helps me do just that. That's it gang. See ya 'round the web...and in the funny pages. Now here's a picture of Quick Draw McGraw for you to enjoy.

Oh, and don't forget another Q-word. Quiz, which is like a poll, which oh so smoothly brings us to the poll that is currently going on at this blog. The poll is to see who everyone's favourite Classic Universal Monster is. So head on over to the poll widget thingee, found near the top of this blog's sidebar, and get your vote on. The poll runs through the end of the A to Z Challenge, so make sure to tell all your friends and enemies. Now, go ahead and enjoy that Quick Draw McGraw picture. See ya 'round the web.


Sunday, April 19, 2015

People Who Need to Be Punched in the Face: No. 8

http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/
Here we go again kids! Everyone's favourite series here at The All Things Kevyn Entertainment Network. This edition, the eighth one so far, is a special A to Z Challenge edition. For those of you who do not know what the A to Z Challenge is, kindly click on the big P over there, and you will be taken to a place that should explain it all. For those of you new to the ole blog (many of whom are visiting for the first time as part of the aforementioned A to Z Challenge), this is basically just a place where I list people who I believe need to be punched in the face. I'm not saying I am going to punch any of these people. For the most part, if I met any of the more famous folks on the list, I doubt if I would punch them. For those on the list whom I know personally, I don't believe I have ever punched any of them in the face. No, I am not necessarily advocating violence here. I am just expressing a dislike for certain people. Not even dislike, as much of this list is quite tongue-in-cheek. Anyhoo, if someone else punches them because of this post (or any of my other posts) then that is their problem, and can not fall back on me because of this disclaimer: I am not advocating punching anyone in the face, nor inflicting any other kind of harm on anyone, even those vile scum who are the backbone of such a list. Nope. That's all on you. This list is just for fun, so don't get your panties all in a bunch. But enough of this babble. Let's get on with the show.

Tim Allen
Lena Dunham
Eddie Haskell
Roger Clemens
The Ghost of Honus Wagner
Those werewolves at Trader Vic's
Canadian-born Presidential candidate Ted Cruz 
That cocky Pillsbury Dough Boy
Pontificating Douche Nuggets
The Governor of Indiana
That bitch who kept texting Amy
Those two hipster wannabes in that Sheetz commercial
Martin Van Buren Haters
The cast of Boy Meets World
Spider Farmers
A-Rod Haters
Rand Paul
Anyone who would vote for Rand Paul
That anti-abortion asshole on 2nd Street
Two-Faced Mitchell
Guys with handlebar mustaches
Jim Cutler (the prick!)
Adam Jones
Grandpa Walton
Kevin James
Rachel Duncan
The Christian at Work
Keanu Reeves (added by request of Frank Henley)
Frank Henley (added by request of Keanu Reeves)
Everyone involved with Paul Blart: Mall Cop
Those not brought to tears by the new Star Wars trailer
The Reverse Flash
Wes Bentley
The Dread Dormammu
CAT Bus Drivers (most of 'em)
Those douches trying to push the Elks Theatre outta town
Fred Flintstone and/or Ralph Kramden
Those who are not amused
That chick from ESPN (you know the one)
The Irate Conqueror
Lena Dunham
Science Deniers
Jumpin' Jack Flash
Kirk Cameron
Robin Thicke
Leo DiCaprio
Tyrion Lannister
Godless Heathens!
Frank Costanza
Uncle Leo
Apple Bobbers
Mr. McGee
Chris Christie
Petty Officers, 2nd Class
Pretentious Hipster Restaurateurs
People who do not like Ford Mustangs
The Decepticons
That Vet who murdered her cat!
Comic Con Dealers/Flippers
All of Comcast
Bad Cops!
Hometown Mayors
Those pull my finger people
Mr. Furley's brother Bart
The Daleks!
Melvin T. Fenstermacher III
All those glittery Twilight vampires
Lena Dunham's fan base
Jackson Kelly & Kevin Alexander
Pietro Maximoff
David Ortiz
Tom Brady
Alan Smithee, Jr.
The Ghost of Calvin Coolidge
Marty Esworthy Deniers
Busybodies & Bumfuzzles
Those who ain't down with da funk
Disney World Haters!
Marco Rubio
Bobby Jindal
Yoyo Gregorious
Fox News Watchers
Bobby Birdfoot Bannister
 J. Jonah Jameson
Colonel Krangg
Open Carry Advocates
People who do not like the A to Z Challenge
All the folks at Hobby Lobby
Hipsters! Hipsters! Hipsters!
The Governor of Indiana (again!)
Rufus Dangerman, wherever he may be
People who prefer Frontierland to Adventureland
and
The guy who writes up these ridiculous lists each and every month

That's it gang. See ya 'round the web.

And please remember, if you have anyone who you would like to see punched in the face (for reals of for jest) please say so in the comments section, and I will try to work them into the mix next time around. It can be like when people ask someone to pray for a loved one...but, well...um, not quite like that. Anyhoo, thanx for stopping by, and as I said above. That's it gang. See ya 'round the web. Now please enjoy this picture of Spider-Man punching himself in the face.