Friday, May 29, 2015

"American Pickers" Coming to the Amana Colonies

Do you live in or near the Amana Colonies and have an interesting antique collection? Are you a fan of "American Pickers" on the History Channel? Then you should check this out:
According to a news release from the Amana Colonies, Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz of the hit documentary television show will soon begin filming in the Amana Colonies area, and throughout Iowa, but need leads on where to go.

Wolfe and Fritz are looking for "interesting characters with interesting and unique items," according to the release. Vintage bicycles, old toys, unusual radios, movie memorabilia, old advertisements, military items, folk art, vintage automotive items and vintage clothing are just some of the items the two are eager to find.
Those interested in showing off their collections are encouraged to email their name, phone, address, and a description of their collection (complete with pics) to americanpickers@cineflix. Or people can call 855-653-787.

The pair will be in the Amana Colonies sometime in June 2015.

New JUGHEAD Series Coming in October 2015!

Archie Comics might have called off their Kickstarter campaign earlier this month, but they still plan on publishing their new JUGHEAD series later this fall! CBR posted an interview with writer Chip Zdarksy this week, which confirmed that the title is coming... and it's scheduled to be published in October 2015!

This new comic book will be apart of Archie Comics' reboot. That means that the characters are being redesigned and the stories are going to be grounded a little bit more in the real world. But I really like what Zdarksy has to say about Jughead Jones and his new comic book adventures:
Jughead is a bit of an enigma. He always seems to know more than everyone else, which is a fun trait to play with. The key is to make Jughead go from easygoing bystander to helpful hero and back again. He has moments where he shines and then goes back to being cool and zen. I love Jughead. He's the teen who's comfortable with himself, which is such rare, weird thing
Obviously Archie Andrews will have a role in his best friend's solo series but how big will it be, and which other characters from Riverdale will be featured supporting players in "Jughead?" 

Yeah, for sure! All of the action takes place at Riverdale High so we get to see Jughead interact with all the classic and newer characters. I'm kind of focusing on building a friendship between Jughead and Betty, who both kind of share a deserted common ground when Archie and Veronica are a thing

Will "Jughead" feature shorter digest-style stories, done-in-one adventures or longer story arcs over multiple issues? 

Well, I have a larger arc planned out but trying to give each issue its own done-in-one feel because I like to have my cake and eat it too in single slices. 

Can you give us a tease of what's planned for this larger arc? 

An insidious infiltration of Riverdale High forces Jughead to rise up and become an uncomfortable leader! And there's another thing that I'm sneaking into the first arc. I'm a huge fan of the alternate Archies like Super Teens and Agents of P.O.P., so I'm incorporating those into the series as daydreams of Jughead

With this relaunch, the New Riverdale titles are all set in the same continuity, but how tightly will the events and stories in "Jughead" be tied to what's happening in "Archie" and "Betty and Veronica?" 

Really, I'm just following Mark and Fiona's lead here. "Jughead," as a series, will be a little weirder, but I do like the idea of keeping it within the realm of what the main "Archie" series is doing. Also because it's really, really good.
I haven't blogged at all about it, but I'm a big fan of Zdarksy's HOWARD THE DUCK series. I think he has a good handle on Jughead's character and motivations. But I'm also a huge fan of the artist who has been assigned to this title: Erica Henderson of UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL!

That said, I'm really looking forward to this new series!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

"19 Kids" Spin-Off Featuring Two Oldest Duggar Daughters?

TLC pulled "19 Kids & Counting" from its rotation late last week following 12-year-old sex abuse revelations involving Josh Duggar and more than one of his sisters. Since then, TLC has been struggling with how to move forward with this rating juggernaut. It's pretty much a given that Josh Duggar is permanently cut from the program. But I have been hearing rumors over the past 24 hours of a "19 Kids & Counting" spin-off featuring the two Duggar daughters and their new husbands:
A source revealed to People that the beleaguered network, which hasn’t decided whether to cancel the series, may switch gears to showcase the squeaky-clean newlyweds Jill and Derick Dillard, and Jessa and Ben Seewald, rather than tainted parents Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, and the rest of the clan. 

“The show had begun to focus more and more on the next generation of Duggars, anyway — mainly Jill and Jessa and their marriages and babies,” says the source. “That's when the show got its highest ratings.” 

 TLC sources told the Daily News that a long-term decision regarding the Duggars or any spin-off has not been made. Network officials declined to comment.
It would be just like "The Brady Brides," except with quiver-kids.

Pat Robertson of "700 Club": Gay Men Are Recruiting Impressionable Young Teens!

Pat Robertson went on a "gay-men-are-after-your-boys" rant during the "Bring It On" on today's "700 Club."

A woman named Nancy posed the following question: "My son is gay. He is in a relationship with a man who is married and has 2 grown daughters. They are very active in our church, but no one is aware of this situation. His wife has no idea. My son lives with me. What would the Lord want me to do? I pray about this situation constantly. I am a widow."

Pat flew off the handle, assuming that Nancy's son is a teen:
Pat Robertson: Look, the guy who is having sex with your son – married man – pedophile. And he’s in the church. I’d go to the pastor. I’d go to the elders and say, “Listen. This guy is hitting on my son and it’s a relationship that is outrageous. 

Co-Host: He’s married and got children and now he’s taken up with my son. He’s a pedophile. She’s a widow and she’s afraid her son will probably get mad and leave. 

Pat Robertson: Well, if he leaves, he leaves. Tough luck. But I mean, she needs to go to the church and get that thing straightened out. Her son right now doesn’t know what he wants. He doesn’t know if he’s a homosexual or not a homosexual. But this man is trying to talk him into that. 

You know, there’s so many people, young people, impressionable… Some coach comes after them. Some adult comes after them. Some older sibling comes after them. And they somehow think that because they did this I must be gay. Well, he doesn’t know that for sure. He doesn’t know what sexual identity he’s got. But for this man to do something like that and hide in the church, you can’t allow that. 

You need to go to him – that’s what the Bible says. You see somebody. You go to such a one and you go to the elders. You bring that to the church and you say “You’ve got to deal with this thing.” And if they don’t, then you need to find another church.
Pat's co-host seemed to understand that it's more likely that Nancy's son is an adult who lives and helps care for his aging mother. Which is as much an assumption as Pat's assumption that Nancy's son is a teen who's been perped on by this older man. But -- given the limited information contained within the question -- it's more likely that Nancy's son is an adult and not a teen.

His co-host tried reigning Pat in, but he was having none of that. After all, he had a stereotyped meme to perpetuate!

You can watch the whole segment here.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Iowa Man Fined $100 After Tossing Cat Into River

Here is a sick story from Iowa's recent past. A couple noticed a man toss a duffel bag into the Winnebago River in Mason City, IA, back in late March and became curious. Which is fortunate, because there was a live cat within that duffel bag!

The man, 69-year-old William Hill, was apparently identified and eventually charged with animal torture. He pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of abandonment of an animal. His punishment? A $100 fine.

The cat has been named Winnie and was taken to the Humane Society of North Iowa, which is where Hill should be taken her in the first place instead of the river! She has since been adopted by an individual from St. Paul, MN.

"League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" Movie Reboot in the Works!

Exciting news regarding 20th Century Fox and "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen:"
20th Century Fox is rebooting its 2003 historical fantasy film “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen with John Davis on board to produce through his Davis Entertainment banner. 

Ira Napoliello and Matt Reilly are overseeing the remake, based on Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill’s graphic novel of the same name, centering on Victorian-era literary characters such as Captain Nemo, the Invisible Man, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde teaming to fight a common enemy...

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” comic book series launched in 1999. News of the reboot was first reported by The Tracking Board.
I enjoy reading comic books (and I do mean "books" -- this comic book series comes out with hardcover issues these days!). But I'm also one of the few people who enjoyed the 2003 "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" movie. It would be nice if the movie reboot feels a bit more like the comic books than the first movie, but I'm a pretty easy movie goer!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Is Anyone Still Alive in Riverdale After ARCHIE VS. PREDATOR #2?

ARCHIE VS. PREDATOR #2  was published last Wednesday. This is a joint comic book venture between Archie Comics and Dark Horse Comics. I wrote late last week about the unexpected crossover within the final pages of this comic book between Little Archie and the Mask, but I really need to tell you about the main story!

Last issue, the entire Riverdale Gang won a fabulous tropical island vacation during their Spring Break. Everything was fairly traditional for an Archie Comics adventure. Jughead got to eat tons of food. Archie flirted with everyone. Betty and Veronica clashed over our favorite carrot-top. Cheryl and Jason Blossom instigated all sorts of mayhem. And...

And the Predator arrived from some unknown intergalactic location and began hunting our favorite teens! (I'm not joking! Both Cheryl and Jason got skinned alive!!)

After a major blow-out between Betty and Veronica, the surviving gang returned to Riverdale. However, Betty accidentally snagged a dark ceremonial blade on her outfit before leaving the island. Not only that, but it appears that the Predator stowed away in one of Veronica's trunks!

But before I get too far into this blog entry...

This blog entry contains spoilers. If you don't want to know what happens in ARCHIE VS. PREDATOR #2, then stop reading now. You have been warned!

Back to the show...

The action picks up pretty quickly in AVP #2. One of Riverdale's main characters -- Pop Tate -- got his head blown off while slicing up a "Welcome Home" cake for our traveling teens! Betty quickly connects the Blossoms' gruesome deaths with Pop's violent murder and determines that she is the cause of these deaths.

And she's probably correct. I don't know if it's just the black ceremonial knife that attracts the Predator or if it was the entire ceremony -- where she vowed vengeance against both Cheryl Blossom and Veronica Lodge for their nasty attitudes.

Anyway, she and Veronica rush over to Greendale to see if Sabrina can break whatever nasty curse that Betty has unleashed upon her friends. Our favorite Teenage Witch gives it her best try, but... her best efforts are quickly interrupted by Riverdale's newest visitor!

Betty and Veronica are unharmed, but Sabrina is no more. And don't count on Salem to save the day anytime soon. But Betty managed to capture an image of the Predator with her cell phone camera, which she uses to warn her friends:

Since the Riverdale Police are helping the Greendale Police with mess over at Sabrina's home, General Keller leads a frontal attack against the Predator using the next best thing -- a squadron of teen soldiers.

Seriously. It doesn't turn out pretty.

General Keller and his Kid Commandos are easily slaughtered. The Predator didn't leave the battle unharmed, but that's little consolation. I ended up leaving this issue wondering if there was anyone left alive in Riverdale!

As it is, we ended up losing Pop Tate, Sabrina, Salem the Cat, General Keller, Moose, Midge, Reggie, Kevin, and Chuck.

I really don't understand why they led an armed assault against the Predator -- especially since General Keller explained to them the basic rules of surviving a Predator attack. They would have been better off doing a collective yoga meditation session until the Predator got bored and moved over to the next community!

I'm really curious about that knife. There's clearly something mystical and/or alien about it. It shattered during the Predator's assault on Sabrina's home and then melted back together after things settled down. Not only that, but it somehow ended up in Veronica's purse -- and I'm pretty certain that she didn't put it there!

Maybe there's something to Betty's "curse of the Jaguar Goddess" theory after all!

ARCHIE VS. PREDATOR #2 was written by Alex de Campi, beautifully penciled by Fernando Ruiz, inked by Rich Koslowski, colored by Jason Millet, and lettered by John Workman.

Teen Pranksters Accused of Releasing 72,000 Ladybugs in their High School

Seven Maryland students are in serious trouble after being accused of releasing 72,000 ladybugs within their high school as part of a senior prank:
"You turn around the corner and all you see is ladybugs on the lights and a bunch of lady bugs on the lights," described Jerod Gaines, a Junior at Chopticon High School.

"Walking in, seeing a bunch of lady bugs squished and lying around," said Nick Hughes.

It sounds like a movie scene but the students are describing a high school senior prank, where 72,000 ladybugs were let loose into Chopticon High School in St. Mary's County, Maryland.

Police said five of the students forced their way into the high school while another two waited in a car in the early hours of May 20, 2015. The ladybugs were apparently purchased online.

Students and school staff discovered the swarming senior prank later that morning.

"Everybody got a good laugh out of it, I don't really see what the big deal is about it," Kyle Fisher a student at the school said.

However, school officials did not find it as amusing. The seven students involved are facing charges and two of them were banned from walking at graduation according to other students at the school, who decided to protest early Tuesday.

"A lot of us thought it was unfair how they weren't allowed to walk after they worked so hard all of high school and just to have it taken away because of a harmless senior prank," said Fisher.

School officials don't see the prank as harmless. St. Mary's County Public Schools Director of Safety and Security, Mike Wyant told WUSA they expect senior pranks and measure the severity of the prank based on certain criteria, including whether there was any damage to property.
Four of the students -- being charged as minors -- have been charged with 4th Degree Burglary, Property Destruction Under $1,000, and Disruption of School Activities. The other three students -- charged as adults -- are still facing criminal charges.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Which Is Worse? A Hurricane or a Middle-Aged Cannonball? Find out in "B&V Friends Comics Double Digest #243!"

I finally picked up my copy of B&V FRIENDS COMICS DOUBLE DIGEST #243 yesterday. Like all comic book digests published by Archie Comics, it mainly featured classic reprint stories featuring characters such as Betty, Veronica, Josie & the Pussycats, Cheryl Blossom, and even Caramel the Cat! But it also features an original short story featuring Betty, Veronica, and pretty much all of Riverdale High!

The story is pretty fun. It seems that Mr. Lodge is looking forward to an empty house for Spring Break. Veronica and all of her friends are going to be vacationing on some island, so he is hosting a quiet meeting with several conservative businessmen from Italy. Except, it seems that a hurricane has struck Veronica's island-getaway. As a result, she has decided to host Spring Break at Lodge Manor. That way, her friends' holiday week isn't ruined.

Mr. Lodge is freaking out because he'd promised his guests peace and quiet and now there are kids everywhere! Fearing the worst, Mr. Lodge explains to his important guests that their work is going to be disrupted by his daughter's play. That's when he learned that Mr. Garibaldi and his associates like to play -- much to Veronica's dismay!!

Needless to say, Veronica and her friends decided that they would much rather contend with a hurricane as opposed to a middle aged cannonball!

"Spring Broken" is written by Paul Kupperberg, penciled by Jeff Shultz, inked by Rick Koslowski, lettered by Jack Morelli, and colored by Colortek, Inc.

"Survivors" 40th Anniversary: Episode 8 ("Spoil of War")

This is the seventh in a series of blog posts dedicated to the 40th anniversary of BBC's "Survivors" television series. Survivors followed a core group of characters who managed to survived a devastating viral outbreak -- one which managed to kill off somewhere between 95-99% of humanity. Society has crumbled and now those who remain must relearn the old way if they have any hope of surviving much longer.

Our last episode featured two major development. Our core group of "survivors" (Abby Grant, Jenny Richards, and Greg Preston; along with children John Milton and Lizzie Willoughby) nearly doubled in size with the additions of Tom Price, Emma Cohen, Wendy, and Barney. Additionally, the group settled into a small enclosed estate (later named the Grange), where they hope to start up their new settlement.

The question is whether or not they have the collective skills needed to sustain their new community? Case in point, what's the likelihood that Abby and Jenny can plow a field for potatoes using a pony?

Paul Pitman
Fortunately, their fruitless efforts are being monitored by a traveler named Paul (played by Chris Tranchell). He quickly sits down with the larger group and explains that they are going about everything all wrong. They have the wrong type of horse for plowing. They're wasting their time trying to restart this old tractor. They are trying to farm the wrong portion of their community. Plus, they don't know the first thing about seed-potatoes!

Paul is pretty blunt, but everyone quickly warms to the guy and he pretty seamlessly folds into our new community.

While doing their walkabout of the property, Greg suddenly remembers the quarry from his first adventure. He reminds Abby that he had encountered a man and a woman in a quarry. They had been gathering food, seed, and equipment almost immediately after the Sickness. Unfortunately, the man was severely injured in a tractor accident and Greg had been called in to help them out. The woman later told Greg that the man had died (though we viewers know that Anne coldly abandoned Vic to fend for himself) and they both moved on to new adventures.

For whatever reasons, they decided to send Tom Price and Barney off to the quarry to create an inventory of the stockpile.

That night, our group is visited by a caravan. The vehicle is driven by a secretary named Charmian Wentworth (played by Eileen Helsby). She is traveling with her employer, a business tycoon by the name of Arthur Russell (played by Michael Grover). They are seeking shelter for the night, which is granted.

Charmian Wentworth
This new couple is a bit of a rarity for "Survivors." Up until now, everyone who has survived has been unknown to each other. Arthur and Charmian have proved to be the exception. She was his secretary before the Sickness. And she's carting him around after everyone else that they knew had died off.

They explained that they are traveling to an island cottage that Arthur owns. He plans to fish for survival -- well, he probably plans for Charmian to fish for their survival. Either way, our survivors aren't impressed by Arthur's pompous attitude. Money and prestige don't count for much in this new world.

Arthur Russell
The group becomes anxious when Tom and Barney don't return as scheduled. Greg and Paul load up into Arthur's van and travel to the quarry to see what's holding them up. They discover that our missing pair is pinned down by a gang of hidden thugs who shoot at anything that moves!

Greg sneaks around back and discovers that Tom and Barney aren't being shot at by a group of men. There's only one man in that shack: Vic Thatcher! He's armed with his own weapons, plus he's creating the illusion of more men by using ropes to fire other weapons:

Greg confronts Vic and discovers that his legs had healed badly. Vic cannot walk and he's probably still in a lot of pain. Vic had been mostly delirious when they had originally had met, but had assumed that Greg had whisked Anne away. Greg told him that she had told him that Vic was dead and he'd believed her.

Vic can scarcely believe that he had been abandoned by Anne. He is now consumer with thoughts of revenge.

Greg tells the others that they are not going to raid Vic's stockpile, as these items belong to him. Vic tells them to take as much as they like. Greg tells Vic that he's not going to take anything -- unless Vic himself comes to the Grange with them. He promises to find some sort of work to keep him busy.

The Grange continues to grow! Four new residents within two days! Each offers new skills and new perspectives.

I have been meaning to share second-hand stories of what things are like in the cities -- London in particular. It doesn't sound pretty. We keep hearing from others that they should stay away from the cities. It makes sense. There are too many dead bodies lying around, which can only promote new illnesses and infections. We learned from Tom Price back in Episode 3 that the London was surrounded by a wall of unbearable stench. It was bad enough that he ended up leaving before he got too close.

Paul told us in this story that he went to London to find his father. He found his father's apartment (which was empty), but never did find his father. He told of snipers everywhere. They were shooting at anything that moved, in hopes of snagging anything from food to gold teeth to cigarettes.

London definitely seems like the place to avoid in this post-apocalyptic world!

Next week, we will watch Episode #9 ("Law And Order"). It is one of the more powerful episodes of the series -- and one of the most disappointing episodes. It's the one episode that soured the whole show to Husband Mark. I will tell you why next week.