Thursday, July 14, 2016

Random News and Thoughts – 7/14/16

There’s a lot of interesting stuff happening recently and lots of interesting news breaking. An older game has been given new life, some interesting crossovers are coming down the block, and we got our first look at the new speedster on the block’s costume among other things.

Pokemon Go seems to be the new fad of the moment. In all honesty, while I have certainly been taking the mickey out of some of my friends for getting sucked into it, it’s actually a pretty cool concept. I was hearing the name of the game for a week or so before I had someone explain it to me. Basically, it’s geocaching with anime monsters. You get a free phone app, you and some friends head outdoors, and you travel around your town/city looking through your phone’s camera and hunting down Pokemon to capture.

As much as I’ve been ribbing some friends about it, I have to admit that the game is probably a good way to spend a part of the day. Around here I’m seeing the game being played largely by groups of friends, so it’s certainly encouraging people to actually socialize more so than some other group games where you never leave your house. Plus, as was obvious from that last statement, people are leaving their houses to play. Our temperatures have been in the 90s this last week or so, and I’ve seen more people out walking around and exploring because of this game than I’d seen in the two months prior.

The word “exploring” is a key thing here as well. Back when geocaching was having its moment as the in thing to do, I heard a lot of people saying the same thing about playing the game. The game got them out and about in places outside of their normal routine. One friend of mine remarked how he’d learned about more hidden, out of the way, but really cool places around where he lived in one year of being involved with geocaching than he had in the ten or more years he’d lived there. Seeing people say the same thing here.

Yeah, it’s a goofy looking game, but tip of the hat to whoever thought it up.
CW Seed has been quietly adding a lot of free (with commercials) programming to its On Demand service recently. For the superhero fan, older shows like the 1990’s Flash and Birds of Prey as well as CW Seed original Vixen are pretty cool. But for those of you that missed it, you should check out Constantine. Admittedly the show got off to a slow and somewhat awkward start, but it really was firing on all cylinders towards the end and kind of got the bum’s rush from NBC.

Since the show’s cancelation, the main character has made a well-received cameo on the CW’s Arrow using the NBC show’s lead actor, Matt Ryan, in the role. There’s also been a lot of talk (almost 100% pure speculation) about the character returning in a new series with Matt Ryan if the fan interest warrants it. It’s a longshot, but stranger things have happened. But, either way, check the series out if you missed it the first time. The shows can be seen on the CW Seed website, and CW Seed can be found on various streaming devices like the Roku.
We knew it was coming as soon as we heard his name, and now his time has come. The CW has released the first official teaser pictures of Keiynan Lonsdale’s Wally West as Kid Flash. Some fans are going to be a little disappointed with the look of the costume as there was a lot fan speculation that he would be donning the more modern silver and black costume. It wasn’t to be, but I like the one they gave him. I’m old school DC- so old school in fact that I remember Kid Flash wearing an identical outfit to Barry’s –and this looks like the classic outfit I saw every month in the 1980s in the Teen Titans comic books.
News broke of two upcoming crossovers that should pique fan interest. The first is DC Comics doing a crossover series with Masters of the Universe and Thundercats. The series, set to hit stores this October, will be written by Mattel Head Writer and Masters of the Universe Lead Creative member Rob David and Supervising Producer Lloyd Goldfine with art duties being handled by Freddie E. Williams II. The story teased to fans is as follows. Mumm-Ra has been searching for a weapon to rival the powers of the Sword of Omens. His search crosses dimensions and leads him to He-Man’s Sword of Power, but his machinations set off near cataclysmic events that will take the heroes of both worlds exactly six issues to handle.

Also announced for October and a six issue run is the Boom! Studios series Big Trouble in Little China / Escape From New York, written by Greg Pak, illustrated by Daniel Bayliss, and officially endorsed by John Carpenter. I’m not sure how Jack Burton is driving his way from his world into the dystopian future of Snake Plissken, but what information that has been released indicates that the two characters will interact and it will not be a story following each individually in their eras while only connecting the two through the unfolding events.

While the idea of the two characters meeting is interesting, they’re a little tonally at odds. Maybe they can get it to all gel properly and satisfy the fans, but, personally, I think I would have preferred finally seeing the long discussed Jack Burton/Buckaroo Banzai crossover.
Hey, did you know that ESO has had a podcast that focuses on the MCU for some time now? Well, they’ve now added in a podcast that focuses on the DCU as well. Drew Leiter hosts with guests like Mike Gordon, Mark Holmes, and Cletus Jacobs along for the ride. The three episodes released so far are available at the link provided as well as on iTunes.

If it’s not been plainly obvious to everyone from some of my previous bits here at Needless Things, I’m a pretty big horror guy. I’m also a pretty big Dragon Con guy. So, of course, that makes the Dragon Con HorrorTrack an absolute destination for at least some of my time during this year’s Labor Day weekend while spending four days at Dragon Con.

As with every other track at Dragon Con, panels are not officially on the schedule until five minutes after they’re over as the card is definitely subject to change for a myriad of unforeseeable reasons. However, the early proposed bones thrown out to wet the appetites of horror fans old school and new blood attending this year include panel topics along the lines of Fulci, Penny Dreadful, American Horror Story, Hammer in the 1970s, Phantom of the Paradise, the Worlds of Stephen King, and a little taste of Dreadpunk.

If you’re familiar with the Horror Track from years past, you can likely expect to see some familiar faces hosting panels again. But on top of the familiar faces, expect some new faces to the track as well. Apparently the Phantom Troublemaker (A.K.A. the guy who runs this site and hosts the related podcast) has landed a seat behind the Horror Track microphones for a panel or two this year. New faces will also include the Grue Crew from Horror News Radio- first timers to Dragon Con itself as well as the Horror Track –tackling panel duties for a number of topics this year. If you’re not familiar with Doc Rotten, the Black Saint, Thomas Mariani, Christopher G. Moore, and Bill Mulligan, you should probably check out HNR. In the meantime check outthis essentially panel in podcast form to get a feel for why their Horror Track panels should be an absolute blast.

As a matter of fact, all of the panels on the tentative schedule look like they’re going to be a blast. If you’re at Dragon Con this year, you need to check them out.  

49 days to go.

Jerry Chandler will be at Dragon Con this year. He has nowhere near the time needed to get ready at this point.

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