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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week – 5/31/2017

Greetings comic book fans and welcome to another episode of the Crank File. The fifth Wednesday of the month is the Dominos pizza of new comic book day. Nobody’s super excited about it but everyone grabs a slice when it arrives. It looks like Marvel is trying to capitalize on the lack of DC titles out this Wednesday by releasing some of their heavy hitters this week, including the launch of a new Cable solo-series. Will it be enough to tip the month of May in their favor?

Here’s what I’m reading this week.



The Top of the Pile: Sagae #43

Publisher: Image
Words: Brian K Vaughan
Art: Fiona Staples

What it is: NEW STORY ARC BEGINS FOR JUST 25 CENTS!!! SAGA returns monthly with a brave new direction, and to celebrate Image’s 25th Anniversary, this full-sized issue costs just 25 cents! In a perfect jumping-on point for first-time readers, Hazel and her star-crossed parents embark on a thrilling new adventure at the westernmost edge of the universe.

Why we love it: The best comic book on the planet is back from its regularly scheduled between-arc hiatus with an old-West flavored story. What could be better than the return of one of the most critically acclaimed comics? How about being able to pick up a copy for just a quarter? Be on the lookout for the exclusive Sage prints that Image will be sending to stores that ordered enough copies of Sage #43 to qualify.


The Mainstream One: Secret Empire #3

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Nick Spencer
Art: Andrea Sorrentino

What it is: Under constant attack from wave after wave of invading Chitauri aliens, Captain Marvel and the deep space task force under her command is waging a war of attrition – one they may not be able to survive! And back on Earth, things aren’t looking too rosy for Hawkeye and his band of renegade heroes, either! But don’t worry -THE SECRET EMPIRE WILL AVENGE YOU! Rated T+

Why we like it: The reveal at the end of Secret Empire #2 completely took the comic community by surprise and sparked a storm of new debates and theories about the true nature of Hydra Cap. I won’t spoil it here, but if you were on the fence about Secret Empire because you couldn’t stand that Marvel turned Cap into a Nazi, grab issue #2, flip to the last page and then get excited for issue #3.



The Indie One: Monstress #12

Publisher: Image
Words: Marjorie M. Liu
Art: Sana Takeda

What it is: END OF STORY ARC The final issue of the second arc! Will Maika return with her soul intact?

Why we like it: I started to lose interest with Monstress after its incredible opening arc. The second volume felt loaded with history and exposition that dragged down the pacing. I understand that effectively building a brand-new fantasy world requires time, but sometimes I have the need for instant gratification from my comics. I am pleased to report that after a brief lull, the last few issues have been a return to form, dishing up heaps of action, more mysteries, and even a few answers along the way. Sana Takeda’s gorgeous, manga-inspired artwork continues to shine throughout the series, giving me reason enough to check out every issue.


The #1 One: Little Nightmares #1

Publisher: Titan
Words: Alex Paknadel
Art: Aaron Alexovich

What it is: Enter the terrifying and unpredictable comic series based on one of the most hotly-anticipated games of 2017! Comic written by Alex Paknadel (Arcadia, Assassin’s Creed) and Dan Watters (Limbo, Assassins Creed) and illustrated by Aaron Alexovich (Invader Zim, Serenity Rose) the game follows Six, a young girl in a yellow raincoat, as she explores the horrifying world of The Maw, looking for a way out!

Why we like it: In addition to being a comic book afficianado, I also keep informed about the video game scene. Occasionally an indie title will pop-up that looks so unique that it challenges my perception of what video games could be. Little Nightmares may be one of those games. Part fantasy, part horror, the visuals in this adventure game look like a 5-year old’s nightmare come to life. If Little Nightmares turns out to be a hit, you can bet that cross-media fans like myself will be hunting this #1 down the road. Titan comics traditionally doesn’t do large print runs, so you never know.


The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Rick and Morty #26

Publisher: Oni Press
Words: Kyle Starks
Art: Marc Ellerby
Cover Art: Derek Fridolfs

What it is: Rick is the only thing that stands between our world and an alien invasion. Surely he’ll do something about it! Or, sh*t, maybe Jerry will.

Why we like it: If you’re a Rick and Morty fan, you get it. If you’re not, you’re really missing out. Crude, off-the-wall comedy of the highest caliber.


That’s all I got this week. Until next time, carpe comics!

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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 – The Dope Sheet Movie Review

Release Date:  May 5, 2017
Rating:  PG-13
Run Time:  2 hours 16 minutes
After Credit Scene:  YES
IMAX Viewing:  NO
Reviewer:  Wayne Demers
The Dope Sheet Score:  7.8 out of 10

A Non-Spoiler Review

I have to say that the trailers for the film did a great job of not giving much away and that made the movie very enjoyable.  If you aren’t one to follow movie news then you’ll be surprised with a few unexpected actors in the film.  The story begins to give each character a bit more backstory and depth without boring us.  Those who have followed the comics I also believe will be happy with the film as the characters are true to their roots.  If you haven’t seen the first film, Guardians of the Galaxy, you will want to do so.  This movie continues the saga of the five known as The Guardians of the Galaxy.

What works:  You get comic relief from many of the characters of the film.  Groot seems to be a viewer’s favorite and we do have enough Groot to make everyone happy.  Drax (Dave Bautista) steals the show for me with his dry slapstick delivery.  Just when you think you are in a dramatic scene, he’ll come out with something to make you laugh.  Kudo’s to Dave Bautista who must be taking acting classes as his performance in this film is better than the last.  Zoe Saldana continues her role as Gamora and gives another solid performance.  We come to get some background on sisters Gamora and Nebula (Karen Gillan) who also provides a good performance and we will continue to see in upcoming Marvel films.  The special effects once again work very well.  You are going to see a young Kurt Russell and it is nearly seamless.  Very well done.  Chris Pratt seems to be a go to guy lately in Hollywood and with good reason.  His role as Peter Quill/Starlord really does fit him.  If he needs to be dramatic or if he needs to be funny, he’s spot on.  Last but not least is Michael Rooker who has been in the previous film, The Walking Dead, Days of Thunder, Eight Men Out, among many others.  He too provides a solid performance and gives us some memorable comic relief.  We also get a number of in credit scenes as one post credit scene, so prepare to stay all the way through the credits.

What doesn’t work:  There are a few scenes that are a bit drawn out.  Gags that worked and are funny are carried out bit too long and you begin to feel as though, “ya, I got the joke.”  There is a plot hole in the film that if I go into it then I may ruin part of the reveal.  By the end of the film, you begin to feel the movie is over 2 hours long and you are ready for things to wrap up.

Overall the movie is fun, very colorful, special effects are well done, acting was very good, and of course we have Groot.  Baby Groot to be more specific and he is as lovable as everyone wants him to be.

On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest, I give this one a 7.8.  It is worth the price of admission and a popcorn combo.

Did you see the movie?  What are your thoughts?  I’d love to read your opinions below.


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Beauty and the Beast – The Dope Sheet Movie Review

Release Date:  March 17, 2017
Rating:  PG
Run Time:  2 hours 9 minutes
After Credit Scene:  NO
IMAX Viewing:  NO
3D Viewing:  NO
Reviewer:  Wayne Demers
The Dope Sheet Score:  6.5 out of 10

A Non Spoiler Review

The classic animated Beauty and the Beast was great and was the second movie in the resurgence of Disney’s animated films that began in 1989 with The Little Mermaid.  In 1991, Beauty and the Beast was released and was a big success.  Nice story, comedy, singing.  It was your typical Disney animated movie.  Now, over 15 years later we are getting the live action film.

What works:  the story is still intact as this is nearly a literal retelling of its animated predecessor.  There are some minor changes to the films story from the animated movie, but not too significant.  The songs are still peppy and a fun part of the story.  The casting was well done.  The “Be Our Guest” scene is still wonderfully done.

What doesn’t work:  I felt like there were moments in the film where Emma Watson just wasn’t feeling it.  Maybe she was directed that way or didn’t really capture the Belle that we saw in the animated film.   The Beast, although wonderfully cast, was all cgi and it shows far too much and it never allowed me to buy into the performance.  This was also my feeling for all the supporting characters as well.  With live action, you don’t always pull off the fluidity of a scene or in some cases, the scene is arranged such that if you have seen the original you may notice many of the minor changes that couldn’t be done with live performers.

Looking at the film as a whole, the live action film falls short from the original 1991 film.  For those of us who saw the original, we may come out of the movie feeling that it just wasn’t as good as the original.  For those kids today who haven’t seen the original, they may just love it.  The film has been in theaters a while now so it is holding strong, but you may see it fall from first run theaters very soon with the summer releases well under way.

I have a feeling when this movie comes to dvd, more people will want to watch the animated film over this modern day live action remake.  Beauty and the Beast will be best viewed in a theater than home viewing, so if you plan on seeing this movie with kids, go to the theater.

On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest, I give this one a 6.5.

Did you see the movie?  What are your thoughts?  I’d love to read your opinions below.

beauty beast

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Alien: Covenant – The Dope Sheet Movie Review

Release Date:  May 19, 2017
Rating:  R
Run Time:  2 hours 2 minutes
After Credit Scene:  NO
IMAX Viewing:  NO
3D Viewing:  NO
Reviewer:  Wayne Demers
The Dope Sheet Score:  7.5 out of 10

A Non Spoiler Review

A sequel to Alien: Prometheus, this is Ridley Scott’s continuation of the Alien story.  The spaceship Covenant is on a colonizing mission toward a target planet carrying 2000+ passengers.  Taking care of the ship, while the crew and passengers are in hibernation, is highly advanced android, Walter.  During their journey the ship endures an unexpected incident and awakens the crew early.  Do they continue their journey as planned or take a detour to a closer planet that may also support life?

What you need to know:  If you haven’t seen Prometheus, you should.  As the story develops you will want to understand what happened to the Prometheus and the fate of its’ crew as they is often referenced in the movie.  And if you are expecting Danny McBride to be the comedic element to the film, guess again, he’s gone all drama on us.

What works:  It is suspenseful and has the look and feel of an Alien movie.  For those who like xenomorphs (the Aliens), then you’ll like this movie.  It provides more explanation to Prometheus and the aliens we saw in that film.  The performances of Michael Fassbender and Katherine Waterson are excellent.  There is good chemistry between the two, or should I say three?  Fassbender plays the role of two characters in the film and his performance steals the show.  What stood out most to me was the pace of this film.  There is no scene that does not either develop a character or move the story along.  The movie continues to build until the final act which I found refreshing as you don’t dive into subplots that either stall or draw out the story.

What doesn’t work:  I felt some of the supporting cast performances were weak.  Jussie Smollett is an actor in the film and I swear he was trying to channel the actor/singer Common.  His tone and delivery was just like that of Common to the point it distracted me.  Others that saw the movie with me didn’t notice it until I brought it up, but you be the judge.  Lastly, this movie is predictable.  You could see where this was going one scene ahead of itself and if you pay close attention, you may guess the end of the film before you get there.

Overall I really enjoyed the film, so much so that I saw it twice.  There are some nice nods to past Alien films if you catch them.  There are no after credit scenes so don’t bother to wait for them.  Covenant is probably the third best Alien film to date, with Alien and Aliens being the two I enjoyed more.

Alien: Covenant was worth the price of admission and a soda.  On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest, I give this one a 7.5.

Did you see the movie?  What did you think?  Post below and share your opinion.

A Dope Sheet Movie Review of Alien Covenant
A Dope Sheet Movie Review of Alien Covenant
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Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales – The Dope Sheet Movie Review

Release Date:  May 26, 2017
Rating:  PG
Run Time:  2 hours 9 minutes
After Credit Scene:  YES
IMAX Viewing:  YES
3D Viewing:  YES
Reviewer:  Wayne Demers
The Dope Sheet Score:  7.5 out of 10

A Non-Spoiler Review

Few movies are ever so epic as this franchise has become.  Disney wastes no money when it comes to these films and it shows in the locations they film, the special effects they use and their casting.  Having seen this movie in 3D (which I normally do not care for) and in IMAX was amazing.  A movie of this caliber is so much fun to watch in IMAX with a surround sound that makes you feel like you are in the film.  The soundtrack itself is worth hearing in an IMAX theater.  If you go see this film, I highly suggest the IMAX viewing.

Oh Captain Jack Sparrow, where will your antics ever end?  This movie uses Jack in more of a supporting cast role rather than the main character.  All the familiar faces are here and offer some good comedy.  The main characters are Henry Turner (Brenton Thwaites) and Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario) as they team up to seek out Sparrow (Johnny Depp) who they feel will help them find the Trident of the Poseidon.  The villain, Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem), is seeking revenge on Sparrow and will stop at nothing and allow no one to get in his way until Jack is dead.

What works:  The movie has all the hallmarks of this Disney franchise.  We have ships, womanizing Jack Sparrow and his funny drunken antics, pirates, explosions, tropical locations, and everything we’ve come to expect in these films.  As I mentioned I saw this film in 3D and the use of it was pretty good.  At times, it really added to the beauty of the film.  The film is exciting and we even have a fab celebrity cameo if you watch closely.  The special effects were impressive at times.  We get to see a young Jack Sparrow and although we’ve seen this anti-aging effect in three other movies this year, this one is pulled off quite well.  Both Javier Bardem and Geoffrey Rush have excellent performances in the film.

What doesn’t work:  If you have seen the trailer, then you see some of the pirates have eroded away.  Visually I want to see the pirate and not empty spaces where parts of him used to be.  That didn’t work well for me.  The movie felt a bit long and that is due to the number of subplots we have going on.  Without giving anything away you have a plot story for nearly every main character in the film and as you come to the final act there is a lot to wrap up and some of it feels rushed.  I don’t feel the chemistry between characters Henry Turner and Carina Smyth.  Fine actors, but I’m not sure the story pulls them together enough to believe that maybe a romance is building.  Orlando Bloom is back and his performance too was a bit flat, but I’ll attribute that to writing and time on screen.  You can only do so much with what you are given.  And finally, Johnny Depp at times – just a few – just doesn’t feel like Capt. Jack Sparrow.  Again, I feel it is in the writing as his performance for the majority of the film was fun to watch.  If you are hoping to see much of Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley in the film, don’t be disappointed that they have very limited screen time.

Overall, it was an enjoyable movie and viewing the film in IMAX was an excellent experience.  The music, as it always does, captures the excitement of being a pirate and the swashbuckling on the seas.  Not as good a film as the first or second in the series, but an enjoyable and fun film to watch.  Could this be the end of the franchise?  Stay until the end of the credits for a bonus scene.

Dead Men Tell No Tales is worth the price of admission and a popcorn combo.  On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest, I give this a 7.5.

Have you seen the film?  What did you think?  Post your comments below and lets discuss.

Dead Men Tell No Tales

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Trailer Snark (May 26, 2017 Theatrical Trailers)

Welcome to Trailer Snark, a weekly column covering trailers for movies that will be released this week with thoughts from our roster of bloggers (Jessica from The Female Perspective, Ken from The Crank File, Jim from The Front Row View, Eric from View from Above, Robert from Cards and Counters, Rob from Spector for Hire, and Great Stories founder Chris).  Thanks for reading, and enjoy the previews!

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (Disney) – Adventure/Fantasy
Rated PG-13 for sequences of adventure violence, and some suggestive content
Tag Line: None
Starring: Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Javier Bardem
Plot: Captain Jack Sparrow searches for the trident of Poseidon.
Running Time: 129 minutes

Chris: I’m ready to dust off that bottle of rum and raise that jolly roger.  Jack Sparrow is back!
Robert: Really….. Another One?….. I say that as I look at show times for this weekend.
Jim: I know, another one—but my daughter loves them, I like them, and I love movies that I can enjoy with my daughter.

Baywatch (Paramount) – Action/Comedy/Drama
Rated R for language throughout, crude sexual content, and graphic nudity
Tag Line: Go ahead and stare.
Starring: Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson, Alexandra Daddario, Zac Effron
Plot: Devoted lifeguard Mitch Buchanan butts heads with a brash new recruit. Together, they uncover a local criminal plot that threatens the future of the Bay.
Running Time: 116 minutes

Jim: Never watched the show, but worth a rental. In other words, see-worthy. Heh heh.
Chris:  like The Rock, but I remember that moment when David Hasselhoff became uncool when I was a youngster.  When he traded in the leather jacket for the orange trunks.
Robert: (eye roll) You mean to tell me that a life guard is so proud of his job that he going to act like an FBI agent? Get outta here.

Long Strange Trip (Amazon Studios) – Documentary
Rated R for drug content throughout, language and some graphic nudity
Tag Line: The untold story of the Grateful Dead.
Starring: You know who.
Plot: The tale of the Grateful Dead is inspiring, complicated, and downright messy. A tribe of contrarians, they made art out of open-ended chaos and inadvertently achieved success on their own terms. Never-before-seen footage and interviews offer this unprecedented and unvarnished look at the life of the Dead.
Running Time: 238 minutes

Robert: I like music history. I took a lot of music classes in college, so I enjoy documentaries on anything music. But I’m glad Amazon Prime… I don’t have to pay for it. That is if I remember to stream it.
Jim: Not a big fan of the band, so gets a blank, hazy,  stare from me.
Chris: Not a fan of this band, so my interest is Dead on Arrival.

Drone (Screen Media Films) – Thriller
Not Rated
Tag Line: Choose your targets wisely.
Starring: Sean Bean, Mary McCormack, Patrick Sabongui
Plot: Ideologies collide with fatal results when a military drone contractor meets an enigmatic Pakistani businessman.
Running Time: 91 minutes

Chris: Could be an entertaining thriller, but not enough to get me to the theater.  Will Sean Bean lose his head again?  Stay tuned.
Robert: I can see this being a roller coaster of emotions. Sean Bean is just one of those ones where you gotta like whatever he’s in. But I will save this one for the small screen.
Jim: Kind of like Patriot Games, but this time Sean Bean’s the good guy.

Tickets Purchased: 3 for Pirates of the Caribbean!

C'mon, that was punny!
C’mon, that was punny!
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New Finds: Final Fantasy TCG

New Finds is all about finding a new game and jumping into a new world. But brace yourselves for this one gamers…  There is a new TCG out for Final Fantasy produced by Square Enix. Yes, you heard that right. Let the nostalgia pump through your veins because all of your favorite characters, heroes and villains from the Final Fantasy franchise are here. Even if you have never played any of the FF video games you can still find this TCG enjoyable to play. The mechanics of the game are different and seems confusing at first, but as soon as you start to understand the rules of the game and play it, it all starts flow easily.

With two sets released the game has already made an impact in the TCG world. “Opus 1” was released to North America this past October of 2016, Opus 2 was released in April 2017 and Opus 3 coming out on July 21,2017. So far, I have not been disappointed with this game and there is already a well-balanced player base in the MA/RI area.

The biggest problem with learning any new trading card game is that everyone compares it to Magic. Please stop it. LOL…. Games are way more difficult to learn if you don’t use that games terminology. For example, instead of mana for the cost to cast something, in FFTCG it’s called crystal points to play a card. The mechanics for paying something to play a card is completely different than what the mechanics are for MTG. So if you start to compare something new to MTG, new players usually tend to say that the mechanics of the new game don’t make sense because of what they’re used to. So I find that the best way that you are going to learn anything new is to start your thought process with a clean slate. Read through the rules/instructions thoroughly, and then sit down with your best mate and play.

A FFTCG deck consist of exactly 50 cards and you can have up to 3 copies of the same card. There are 3 different cards types: Forward (your attackers), Backups (provide your Crystal Points aka CP and other abilities) and Summons (uses abilities and are used in response to an action). The game is played as best of one and is won by attacking with your forwards to deal the other player seven points of damage. There are eight different styles of cards within this game that are referred as elements. Each element is focused towards different kind of players and their play style. So far I have found success in Water, Fire and Earth Elements.

When first looking at FFTCG I opened up a starter deck with a Final Fantasy 8 theme. This means that most of the character cards are categorized as that game title and they all will compliment each other for in-game abilities. Names like Cloud, Biggs, Vincent and Wedge. Here is Cloud, one of the main focuses of the deck.


No matter how many times I play this deck, once I get this card out things start to go my way. The cost required to play Cloud is reduced and then each forward gains +1000 attacking power.IMG_0335

And then having Vincent out and attacking with 8000 fist strike can help chip away at your opponents forwards.


Now this is just the starter decks objectives. We have already seen tournaments in the UK and the way they have taken off with the deck building gets me even more hyped to dive deeper into this game.


This has turned out to be a new favorite game to play. I highly recommend anyone to give this game a try. If you are interested, swing down to Great Stories and ask about it. Ask me. Or you can try the below sites for information to get started. Also, make sure you check back with GSI’s Facebook page to see when the next events are.


For more of a national/world wide scene on Facebook:

To look up cards of the game:

For a Reddit Group:


Remember to comment and let me know what other games we should try. Come down to the shop nerd out with us.

Till next time… Catch ya’ at da shop!








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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week – 5/23/2017

Greetings comic book fans and welcome to another episode of the Crank File. I’d like to make a quick addendum to last week’s Crank File. Batman #23 by Tom King and Mitch Gerads was a team-up story with Swamp Thing called “The Brave and the Mold”. It was both a tribute to Bernie Wrightson and a love letter to Alan Moore, and it was one of the better comics that I’ve read this year. If you missed it last week, there are probably copies still available at your local comic shop.

Every Wednesday is new comic book day and on Tuesdays I like to spotlight some of the stuff that I’m checking out this week. Here’s what I’m reading this week:



The Top of the Pile: Seven to Eternity #6

Publisher: Image
Words: Rick Remender
Art: Jerome Opena

What it is: There is a beautiful place where no one ever dies…

Why we love it: Rick R.R. Remender is currently writing several amazing independent comic series but this collaboration with Jerome Opena and Matt Hollingsworth has really struck a chord with fans. Remender’s script is tight as expected, and StE echoes many of the same themes explored in other of Remender’s works, but what really makes this book standout is the artwork. Every panel, every setting, every character design explodes with insane amounts of detail and gorgeous colors.

 V150The Mainstream One: Venom #150 (Kubert variant)

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Mike Costa
Art: Gerardo Sandoval

What it is: REUNITED, AND IT FEELS SO GOOD! Or, feels so bad? However it feels, Eddie Brock and the Venom symbiote have been reunited, and they’re web-slinging their way around New York again. Featuring a host (hah!) of Venom creators from the character’s near 30-year history, this monstrous anniversary spectacular welcomes guest artist TRADD MOORE for an oversized and brutal main story AND a lethal story featuring fan-favorite creators David Michelinie and Ron Lim, reunited! With questions still lingering about how the symbiote was separated from Flash Thompson, and what lies in its future now that it’s reunited with Eddie Brock, this is one issue you can’t afford to miss! Rated T+

Why we like it: Eddie Brock is officially back as Venom. With all the people the symbiote has been attached to since they broke up, I hope Eddie hosed it off down before jumping back in or at least got himself checked out at a clinic. There’s a pretty sweet 1:100 incentive variant that I’m not buying, but it’s by a Kubert which means we get to play everybody’s favorite game, Name That Kubert. Can you name that Kubert? Highlight here to reveal the answer -> Adam. And that’s how we play Name that Kubert.



The Indie One: Redneck #2

Publisher: Image
Words: Donny Cates 
Art: Lisandro Estherren

What it is: Death and destruction have come to Sulphur Springs! With the murder of one of their own, the vampiric Bowmans are ready to wage war on anyone in their path. But will Bartlett be able to get to the bottom of things before the whole town explodes? DONNY CATES and LISANDRO ESTHERREN bring you the next chapter in this blood-soaked, Southern-fried Gothic masterpiece!

Why we like it: Donny Cates has been quietly burning up the indie scene and he’s gaining a well-deserved following. The story involves southern vampires, which at a blush sounds very been-there-done-that, but the devil’s in the details and Redneck #1 was a wicked good read.

 iag1The #1 One: I Am Groot #1 (Fosgitt variant)

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Christopher Hastings
Art: Flaviano

What it is: GROOT IN HIS OWN SERIES, SMALLER AND BETTER THAN EVER! When the Guardians of the Galaxy get caught in a wormhole, a smaller-than-normal Groot is separated billions of light-years away from the team. Falling to a planet below, Groot discovers he is on an entirely alien and unknown world full of strange creatures and societies. Seriously underdeveloped and with nobody who can understand him, Groot will need to make the journey to the center of this world and find the way back to his family! Rated T+

Why we like it: While I enjoy the novelty of pint-sized Groot, I am a bit confounded that it’s getting its own solo series, especially after Groot’s 2015 series lasted only 6 issues before being rolled into a team-up book with his pal Rocket. Never underestimate the power of cuteness, I guess. Speaking of which, the Fosgitt variant is just way too adorable to pass on.


sc2The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Shaolin Cowboy Who’ll Stop the Reign #2 (Cho variant)

Publisher: Dark Horse
Words: Geof Darrow
Art: Geof Darrow  
Cover Art: Frank Cho

What it is: The Shaolin Cowboy hits town, and it hits back. With King Crab in hot pursuit, he runs straight into the not-so-kosher menace of HOG KONG and his twisted tale of ham-fisted revenge. High-cholesterol-fueled action served up hot with plenty of chasers!

Why we like it: I love the humor in this cover and I love the way Cho draws his women thick. Shaolin Cowboy creator/writer/artist Geoff Darrow draws the regular cover A, which is also very awesome but not really fit to print here. See it for yourself on Wednesday.


That’s all I got this week. Until next time, carpe comics!

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Trailer Snark (May 19, 2017 Theatrical Trailers)

Welcome to Trailer Snark, a weekly column covering trailers for movies that will be released this week with thoughts from our roster of bloggers (Jessica from The Female Perspective, Ken from The Crank File, Jim from The Front Row View, Eric from View from Above, Robert from Cards and Counters, Rob from Spector for Hire, and Great Stories founder Chris).  Thanks for reading, and enjoy the previews!

Alien: Covenant (20th Century Fox) – Sci-Fi/Horror
Rated R for sci-fi violence, bloody images, language and some sexuality/nudity
Tag Line: Scream.
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston
Plot: The crew of a colony ship, bound for a remote planet, discover an uncharted paradise with a threat beyond their imagination, and must attempt a harrowing escape.
Running Time: 122 minutes

Chris: My heart is just bursting at the chance to see Ridley Scott’s latest work….or is that a xenomorph in my chest?
Jim: Just showed my daughter the original Alien, she couldn’t take her eyes away from the screen—not bad for a 38 year old flick. We’re there! And hopefully it’s not anything like the horribly overrated 1986 Aliens. Just had to get that in there.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul (20th Century Fox) – Comedy/Family
Rated PG for some rude humor
Tag Line: A wimp will rise.
Starring: Jason Drucker, Alicia Silverstone
Plot: A Heffley family road trip to attend Meemaw’s 90th birthday party goes hilariously off course thanks to Greg’s newest scheme to get to a video gaming convention.
Running Time: 91 minutes

Jim: I love the author’s bookstore in Plainville, MA. That said, pass on the flick.
Chris: My kids are mercifully old enough to not want to see this.

Everything, Everything (MGM) – Drama/Romance
Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and brief sensuality
Tag Line: Risk everything…for love.
Starring: Amandla Stenberg, Nick Robinson
Plot: A teenager who’s lived a sheltered life because she’s allergic to everything, falls for the boy who moves in next door.
Running Time: 96 minutes

Chris: While I don’t typically gravitate towards this type of melodrama,  I could not help but feel empathetic towards the main character’s plight.  Might be worth a look on the small screen.
Jim: Kinda like Girl in the Plastic Bubble. No thanks.

Tickets Purchased: 2 for Alien: Covenant

With purchase of ticket.
With purchase of ticket.
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The Crank File: What I’m Reading This Week – 05/17/2017

Hey there comic book fans and welcome to a very special birthday episode of the Crank File. I’ve spent my 35 years doing nothing but reading and collecting comics… and now there’s only time to say… life well spent!

Every Wednesday is new comic book day and on Tuesdays I like to spotlight some of the stuff that I’m checking out. Here’s what I’m reading this week.



The Top of the Pile: Flash #22

Publisher: DC
Words: Joshua Williamson
Art: Neil Googe

What it is: “THE BUTTON” part four! The cataclysmic events of DC UNIVERSE: REBIRTH #1 continue here! The Dark Knight and The Fastest Man Alive, the two greatest detectives on any world, unite to explore the mystery behind a certain blood-stained smiley button embedded in the Batcave wall. What starts as a simple investigation turns deadly when the secrets of the button prove irresistible to an unwelcome third party-and it’s not who anyone suspects! It’s a mystery woven through time, and the ticking clock starts here!

Why we love it: “The Button” reaches its conclusion in Flash #22, and you know it’s going to be a crazy issue when the return of the golden age Flash, Jay Garrick, is revealed on the cover. What are they hiding under the cover? Who’s really behind the mystery of the button and the New 52? In what must be related news, Geoff Johns recently teased the “Doomsday Clock” story line which will be coming out in November, and will have Superman facing off against Dr. Manhattan. So even though all of the solicits for “The Button” have been telling us “it’s not who anyone suspects”, I’d be gobsmacked if we didn’t see the return of Dr. Manhattan here.


The Mainstream One: Secret Empire #2

Publisher: Marvel
Words: Nick Spencer
Art: Andrea Sorrentino

What it is: Enshrouded in darkness, plagued by the minions of Baron Mordo and cut off from all assistance, The Defenders and Doctor Strange struggle to save the lives of the innocent people consigned to this hell on Earth. Will Dagger prove to be the key to stopping this nightmare? Meanwhile, will the appearance of a new hero provide Iron Man with the key to Captain America’s startling change? THE SECRET EMPIRE WILL DEFEND YOU! Rated T+

Why we like it: Whether or not you agree with what Nick Spencer has done with Captain America, there’s no denying that Secret Empire has so far been an exceptionally well crafted comic. The plotting, writing and artwork has been aces and I can say without hyperbole that Secret Empire has been my favorite Marvel event since Civil War came out ten years ago.



The Indie One: 4 Kids Walk into a Bank #4

Publisher: Black Mask
Words: Matthew Rossenberg
Art: Tyler Boss

What it is: Things go wrong. Things begin to fall apart. Time to arrange a date with a trucker.

Why we like it: I’ve been looking forward to the 4th issue of this hilarious crime-caper since… damn, December. My love for Matthew Rossenberg’s Black Mask comics has been well documented throughout the Crank File’s run, but the constant delays are really killing my buzz. I hope that they can get this series back on a regular release schedule, because it was one of my favorite reads.


The #1 One: Spawn #1 25th Anniversary Director’s Cut

Publisher: Image
Words and Art: Todd McFarlane

What it is: 2017 marks the 25th anniversary of SPAWN, created by TODD McFARLANE. Spawn debuted to the public, selling 1.7 million copies in 1992 and is on track to be the longest running independent comic ever. Director’s Cut edition of SPAWN #1 includes: Original SPAWN #1 art boards Page commentary by TODD McFARLANE. Vintage surprises from the early days of SPAWN

Why we like it: I got my start reading Marvel and DC comics, but Spawn was the first series that I made a point to get down to my local comic shop to pick up each new issue as they came out. 270-some issues later and the Spawn franchise is still raising hell. What is dead may never die.


The One I’m Buying for the Cover: Batwoman #3

Publisher: DC
Words: Marguerite Bennett
Art: Steve Epting
Cover Art: J. G. Jones

What it is: ‘The Many Arms Of Death’ part three! Batwoman’s identified the cancer spreading through the lawless nation of Coryana, but to fight back, she’s going to need an army?and the only soldiers at hand belong to the island’s deadly warlords and gang leaders! Can Kate rally every one of these cutthroats to a common cause? Or will Coryana collapse into the same wretched hive of scum and villainy it’s always been? The fate of one of Kate’s greatest loves hangs in the balance? RATED T+ Includes a code for a free digital download of this issue.

Why we like it: Only a handful of standout covers this week. I’ve been digging J. G. Jones’ covers throughout this Batwoman run. I wouldn’t be surprised if most shops didn’t order many or any cover B’s, making these a bit scarcer and harder to hunt down in the future. My recommendation, get em now while the gettin’s good.


That’s all I got this week. Until next time, carpe comics!