This Week’s Favorite YouTube Channel : RANDY AND TAYLA 2 LIT

“I feel young… like when the world was new.”

STAR TREK II : THE WRATH OF KAHN – while credited to various cooks, what is best in the script to the best STAR TREK film, is vintage Nicholas Meyer. He brought a sense of literary grandness, along with the romance of heroism to WRATH OF KAHN that almost 40 years later still marks it as not just the best Star Trek films, but one of the best films, full stop.

And that wonderfully bittersweet and romantic line, I find myself recalling when I try to determine what attracts me to my latest Youtube discovery; the RANDY & TAYLA 2 LIT channel.

https://yt3.ggpht.com/cQfigw6U8E04iUkJ0ibzJ88rxA8yKsc8U5RwXWMaQVBNM3NY9dhgZoX3vB6neeZShVe-1v1Duck=w1440-fcrop64=1,32b75a57cd48a5a8-nd-c0xffffffff-rj-k-no

 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC0Q54zIX0OTqUDT4X9mijgA/videos

 

While a beautiful female form is perhaps the impetus to try this channel  for the first time, why you keep coming back is just the refreshingness of their relationship. A relationship that has endured longer than most marriages, and two young people who just love life, and love each other.

And in a world we tend to make so complex, and so cynical, and so venal, it is just very refreshing to see people so completely captivated to be in each others company, and to be alive.  In the moment.

For those of us who have felt what they feel, have known the beginning of love and the ending of it, it is nice to see it in such a pure state. Joy. to see Joy, so unencumbered by the baggage that time and life can bring.

While I come from an older age, less comfortable with this ‘share everything form of social media’, largely because I see so much negative with that approach. It is refreshing to see that approach used in a very positive and giving way.

Watching their channel makes me want to appreciate and enjoy life more, and to not be fed the stressed, half empty version of life, that too often passes for our interactions with other people.

I do feel their accelerating prank war, may be a recipe for disaster, however they are a young couple who have stayed together doing it their way, and so in that… they should trust.

It’s a fun channel, with two affable, likable and engaging people, a couple you enjoy just seeing them being in love. If only to put in perspective how openly you should also love.

While the truth this impermanent world sells us, that nothing lasts forever… is a truth.

Here’s the truth that matters, we can make it last… today. With a little work, and love, and laughter.

We can make it last today.

Life isn’t about the finish line, isn’t about the end of the race, it’s about the breaths we take while we run, and who we enjoy running with.

You string enough of those days and those breaths together, and the finish line will take care of itself.

A fun channel, that I wish only the best for.

 

I think the video to start with would be this one:

 

 

 

 

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COMICTOM101 vs PGX and We Love Comics?!

 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqRVhjeLzR4PErfe_jOqHMA

If you are not watching Youtube channel COMICTOM101, and are a fan of this niche hobby called comic/comic books, you may want to start.

Like I mentioned in previous posts I find myself watching Youtube channels courtesy of streaming platforms like Roku or Amazon Fire, more than I watch regular broadcast or cable programming. And while I watch a variety of topics and channels, from nature shows to woodworking to short films to cooking shows, the number one tyoe of channels I watch is the comic related ones.

This week’s 15 best channels, have changed a tad from my previous posting.

A mainstay WE LOVE COMICS, that has some good advice and tips on his channel, has been bumped because of his antics in PGXgate. As a channel that goes out of his way to speak about integrity, I think his very selective defense of his sponsor PGX is suspect. As is his silence on the subject in light of the questions COMICTOM101 brings to light.

PGX is a certification company that has been involved in suspect story, after suspect story, from (per Bleeding Cool) certifying fradulent copies of Walking Dead as a rare collectible,  to the well known grading issue stories, to the most recent claim of an ex-employee, of plans by the company to sell graded comics under a shill account.

It is that last story, that any user of PGX would be concerned about, that WE LOVE COMICS completely failed to address when bringing into question the claims, of a ‘possibly disgruntled’ employee.

Especially when WE LOVE COMICS goes out of his way to say he talks to the owner over the phone, and not to address that issue and other issues, such as the WALKING DEAD fiasco,  has to call into question any claims of impartiality.

And look, I don’t really have a dog in the certification fight.

While a long time comic book fan, I’ve always looked at slabbing of books (encasing them in plastic once graded) very skeptically, regardless of the company.

Only this year, 2018, have I really decided that for me, for select books that I already have in either a collected or reprint format, that having the original issue of a select, upwardly mobile, original bronze or silver or golden age comic, can be a smart addition to a long term collection or investment.

I still think slabbing modern day comics is suspect at best. But that is an argument for another day,

Anyhow, So from 0 certified comics at the beginning of 2018, I now have 10 of them. So still a very modest graded collection. Nine CGC titles and 1 CBCS title.

I went with CGC because of its long standing history, and the fact that the books are easily bought and sold on Ebay and other channels. Also because of their reputation.

Because especially when it comes to trusting someone to grade your comics, reputation is everything. CGC is not perfect, it has issues, as does CBCS. I prefer to just buy already certified books, than goes through the delay and cost of sending my own books in. A smart shopper can get a slabbed book at a very affordable price on the secondary market.

I’ve bought a total of eleven books, one I had to return for a refund, for obvious pressing issues visible from outside of the slabbed book. Pressing is another practice I have issues with, as it damages the comic long term, to get it to get a higher grade in the short term. That is also an argument for another day.

Back on track, the ten books i have that are graded with none of the books costing me over a $110 in already certified condition, is not a bad deal at all.

Now, the one company I actually sent books to, via a convention was CBCS, and I ended up canceling that order, because of the delay time, and was charged $28 to get my books back, and received one of them back water damaged. Possibly not innocently so.

And again I researched all 3 of the certifying companies, CGC, CBCS, and PGX, not content to listen to just rumors.

But yes from personal experience I have no plans to go through the hassle of getting anything certified via CBCS. If i get it via the secondary market fine, but me dealing with that process, not so much.

PGX from research one, had a lot of shady stories attached to their name, but they were older stories. That maybe you could chalk up to growing pains. But years into their business model and new stories of concern pop up to add to the existing story.

I recently just came across the Walking Dead story, and to follow that up with these pretty damning accusations of a ‘let go’ employee, is cause for questions. Especially when you see the questions the company should be answering they are avoiding.And i saw that video from WE LOVE COMICS where he did hint at drug use being the reason a PGX employee was let go.

And for WE LOVE COMIS and PGX to now backtrack from that when called on it by COMICTOM101, does not fill one with confidence in either the company PGX, or their ‘impartial’ spokesperson WE LOVE COMICS.

Based on CoMICTOM101’s great reporting, for me the PGX question is answered in regards to the question of whether graded items from them should be avoided.

Now can they right the ship? Absolutely.. But it would seem it would need to be an overhaul and transparency from top to bottom. With the leadership paying to staff the company with recognized and respected graders. Once that A team of great vetted graders is in place, and an established perhaps third party inspection of their grading and database process is in place, you do the hard part of restoring your name. You own up to perhaps not doing it right in the first place, and not planning it right in the present. But a willingness to correct it in the future. To own up to any incidents that could be perceived, rightly or wrongly, as an attempt to scam people. If the employee in question who was let go was correct, hire him (or them, since it sounds like it was more than one let go) back.

And the number one thing you to to restore your reputation, and this is going to hurt, you offer a recall and free regrading of every PGX book out there in the wild. Yes it is expensive, yes it is going to require real graders, yes you are going to put yourself in the red in the short term. And yes it is absolutely the right thing to do, to restore customer confidence.

 

Do i expect PGX to do that? Based on their history, absolutely not. I expect them to continue doing what they have been, making income where they can, however given the prevalence and the increasing number of negative stories around PGX’s name, it is not a path I see as sustainable for them.

I, to speak for myself, as i said the verdict is in. I’ll not be buying any PGX books or their sertification process. And I find any channel that advertises sending your books to PGX without addressing the issues, is not impartial, and has to be viewed as a paid commercial for the company, rather than anyone with any real concern for the comic book community.

 

I would like to be wrong in that assumption, but given how the ground currently lays, I do not see it.

 

That’s all for now, and come back tomorrow for my installment on this week’s recommendations of the TOP 15 Youtube Comic Book Channels!

 

 

Currently Watching: PANELLOGY 85 & 86!! Watch these episodes before buying your next expensive hardcover!

I have recently found quite a few great Youtube shows courtesy of the Youtube channel on Roku.

A new favorite is Earl Grey‘s simply superb PANELLOGY. Two of his older episodes that I just watched are episodes 85 and 86, and as someone who purchases quite a few hardcover books, especially of the graphic novel or collected edition variety, his two episodes are essential viewing.

https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/marvel_dc/images/0/07/Batwoman_Hydrology.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20121218200628

Get your copy here:

http://amzn.to/2BQ8Qf4

 

And can potentially save you quite a bit of money as they point out binding issues/defects to be on the look out for

Earl Grey, you definitely should do more of these ‘issues with collected editions’ type shows.

Informative stuff!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1ZtauWih38Lr1aVEXuZybw

 

 

 

 

Best & Favorite of 2017!!!

This is a bit belated but I think you will find a nice overview to 2017 and pointers to 2018 in the ramblings below.

Favorite movies seen in the Theater in 2017:

KONG:SKULL ISLAND

LOGAN

 

I only saw two movies in the theater in 2017, so looking to improve on that in 2018. Nothing in January had me jazzed to pay theater prices for, however I am looking forward to the following in 2018:

click for larger (if applicable) click for larger (if applicable) click for larger (if applicable)

EQUALIZER 2

click for larger (if applicable)

 

FAVORITE TV SHOWS IN 2017:

  • LEGION
  • TAKEN
  • POWER
  • AMERICAN NINJA
  • CHOPPED
  • AMERICAN PICKERS
  • LOVE IT OR LIST IT
  • LETHAL WEAPON
  • THE GRAND TOUR
  • GODLESS
  • RUNAWAYS

FAVORITE STREAMING TV CHANNEL IN 2017

The one two punch of AMAZON PRIME and HULU gets this award. NETFLIX that was riding high in 2016 with LUKE CAGE and other shows, had a disappointing 2017. With a non user friendly interface compared to Amazon Prime and a selection of shows and movies that weren’t as interesting or well curated as either HULU or AMAZON PRIME, I cancelled my membership at the end of 2017. The last straw being the overhyped and ultimately lackluster PUNISHER series, as well as news of the studios pulling their content from Netflix.

In 2018 the TV shows that I am or will be watching are:

CASTLE ROCK

GRAND TOUR

TAKEN (I think the new showrunner made a mistake getting rid of most of the cast from season 1, but hopefully he can course correct and fix it)

STRIKE BACK and ELEMENTARY return after long hiatuses

LONGMEYER went out with a bit of a whimper, so looking forward to YELLOWSTONE

JACK RYAN

LETHAL WEAPON

CHOPPED

IZOMBIE

BLACK LIGHTNING

AMERICANS

And lastly looking forward to Season 2 of what, without question, was the best, most inventive TV show of 2017, Noah Hawley’s LEGION.

And for those keeping score… LUKE CAGE tied with FARGO Season 2 (Also by Noah Hawley) were the best TV shows of 2015, and DAREDEVIL Season 1 was the best TV show of 2014.

 

BEST MUSIC OF 2017

I loved everything binaural in 2017, adding many great CDs to my collection. THE HEAVY and GREGORY PORTER remained in heavy rotation. Gregory Porter being my favorite live performance of 2017. And I added new interests RAG N BONE MAN, Andra day and Brian Ferneyhough. With Spotify to allow me to try before I buy, I’m looking forward in 2018 to discovering more great music, both old and new.

BEST READS OF 2017

I didn’t read as many novels, or listen to as many audio books in 2017 as I did in previous years, so I definitely hope to turn that around in 2018.

I did do substantially better with Art Books, Graphic Novels, Reference Books, and comics in 2017. Some of the standouts:

 

MATT BAKER THE ART OF GLAMOUR

CREEPING DEATH FROM NEPTUNE

THE WOLVERTON BIBLE

ARTIST EDITION BASIL WOLVERTON (This and the other two previous books having to do with Basil Wolverton, I went all in on him in 2017. Still absorbing these three books here in 2018)

JACKIE ORMES

THE SIGNATURE ART OF BRIANSTELFREEZE

SEX AND HORROR THE ART OF ALESSANDRO BIFFIGNANDI

In 2018 writers I intend to go all in on are Percival Everett, Victor Lavalle, Colin Whitehead and Walter Mosley, as well as revisiting work by Ligotti, Lebbon, Ellison, Stephen King, Clive Barker and Bennett.

 

In 2017 Marvel had a great POWER MAN AND IRON FIST series I was reading, the only thing I was buying monthly from Marvel Comics. And Marvel letting greed get in the way of common sense, killed a series everyone was loving, with a creative team everyone was loving, David Walker and Brian Stelfreeze, to instead both dilute audience attention and oversaturate the market with multiple books, almost all of which are ready to be canceled. So going into 2018, with Marvel sticking to their insane $3.99 price point per book, there are no titles I pick up from Marvel Comics.

 

In 2017 DEATHSTROKE by Christopher Priest was the only DC Comic I was getting on a monthly base. It’s arguably the one series that you can just pick up and enjoy without having to read any other title, or care about any other title. Priest has been able to just do… what he does best, create a fantastic read; month in and month out. So it is the only DC book I’m reading in 2018. However, greed rears its ugly heads and the idiots who get paid to make stupid decisions have decided to add DEATHSTROKE to their floundering team book… JLA,  basically gutting the standalone nature of the comic that allows Priest, to do his magic. Basically the same poor decision making that happened last year with POWER MAN AND IRON FIST.

 

I figure the conversation went like this… ‘man everyone is talking about this book, let’s put the characters in multiple other books, and then they will be talking about all those other books too.’ No, you EFFING morons! The reason people are enjoying POWER MAN AND INRON FIST or DEATHSTROKE is because it is well drawn and well written and not part of your insipid crossover infested universe. Your very attempts to duplicate that success, without understanding it, will kill the character in the new book, and kill interest in the character in the original book.

So yeah here’s hoping someone with brains over at DC, vetoes the horrible idea to put DEATHSTROKE in the JLA, because I’m not going to read the JLA, and you’re editorial interference will create a character that no longer works in his solo book. You have therefore killed the golden goose and have nothing to show for it.

 

The good news is when you get sick of the stupid decisions and overpriced ad laden product at DC and MARVEL, you have great content from other publishers to enjoy. Publishers that give you more for your money. Publishers such as IMAGE, AFTERSHOCK, DARK HORSE and many more.

As far as where to buy new comics from, a lot of people will steer you to DCBS. I personally in terms of pure customer service and ease or ordering prefer LONE STAR COMICS. You can order comics in advance from the at http://www.mycomicshop.com at a discount.

 

They are highly recommended, and I use them myself, and this is an unpaid recommendation. Tell them Heroic Times sent you.

 

And wrapping this up, favorite podcasts of 2017:

 

11OCLOCK COMICS

COMIC GEEK SPEAK

WTF with Marc Maron

BLACK TAPES

GEEK SYNDICATE

 

To name a few. Okay that is it for my 2017 Pop Culture overview. Thanks for bearing with it and if you enjoy, spread the word. Enjoy WEEK #6 of 2018!!!

 

 

 

 

 

WEEK 5 of 2018! Best Youtube Video/Channel!

Kudos to CEREAL AT MIDNIGHT for some excellent content on his blog and Youtube videos. His Youtube video on COLLECTING MEDIA IN A DIGITAL WORLD….  absolutely essential viewing.

 

http://www.cerealatmidnight.com/

 

As someone old enough to remember the pre digital days and the coming of vhs and dvd and cd, those formats empowered the consumer. And these Millennials growing up to think physical media ownership is a burden, and the instant gratification of the cloud is the way to go, do not realize the power that they are relinquishing back to the studios.

Do not realize that the freedom to be free of physical media, comes at the cost of never being able to have a product that is not subject to being removed, or altered or banned, at any time.

Comes at the expense of having anything that you can actually own, without the oversight of gatekeepers.

VHS and DVD and CD, in fundamental ways started an evolution that empowered the consumer and got the market to cater to the consumer. Increasingly with digital (sans physical media) the conversation has returned to a one way monologue.

Consumers being dictated to, rather than catered to.

And that will get worse if we let physical media as a companion or alternative to ‘in the cloud’… disappear. Because we have sold a new generation on a lie that privacy and physical ownership is a burden, that takes them too much effort… to preserve.

Much as our media and politicians are selling them on this idea that Liberty and Democracy and Civility… are likewise burdens that take too much effort… to preserve.

So yeah give CEREAL AT MIDNIGHT some patronage, especially that video. It currently has about 500 views, it deserves to have 5 billion.

Week 4 of 2018! Best Unboxing and Graphic Novel Videos!

I like Youtube courtesy of Roku because you can browse without comments. I don’t mind comments if they are moderated, but unmoderated comments is just like sewage, something I prefer not to wade thru. 🙂

So Roku allows me to actually be able to use Youtube and find it useful rather than nauseating. Case in point, unboxing videos. I am a HUGE graphic novel and Art Book fan, and I’ve become quite enamored of these videos where people show off their artbook or graphic novel or comic. It has given me so many great ideas regarding items to purchase, as well as helping me decide ites to pass on.

Though, unfortunate for my wallet, more of the former than the latter.

Here are some recent great ones as well as some of the best channels to visit.

 

THE CHINEST has great segments where you get to see the interior of the comic and decide if it is for you or not.

https://m.youtube.com/user/TheChinest

MARKET WATCH has a recent fantastic series of videos where he shows some of the great items he found in a recent collection purchase.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCz_gop-AM3fa6NGhSs_J_0w

GEM MINT COLLECTIBLES does a phenomenal end of 2017 Room Tour. Really impressive man-cave even if you are not into figurines. I really want those GOON and FEAR AGENT Hardcovers/Omnibuses.  And I love the idea of his desk in the middle of the room as well as his bookstand. I’m completely going to do that.  Really interesting and informative videos on his channel. Check out his TOP TEN ABSOLUTE EDITION WHALES video as well.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC31fEeAOTnfRgvGFwYJsFUA

Kudos to OMNIBUDS CAFE I really enjoyed his 2018 Omnibus collection overview. His bound and signed editions are great.

 

I have more of these shout outs coming, as well as a list of my favorite collections of 2017!  So come back for more next time!

AMAZON PRIME vs NETFLIX! Fun MONSTER Movies on VOD this Weekend!

AMAZON PRIME vs NETFLIX! Fun MONSTER Movies on VOD this Weekend!

For this comparison I’ve left out vampire, zombie, werewolf and ghost/possession films, concentrating on the more niche sub-genre’s that make up horror movies.

AMAZON PRIME HAS:

    

 

NETFLIX HAS:

 

 

EASE OF SEARCHING: Amazon wins. You can type in a generic term and Amazon will search for it. Netflix’s app by default just searches by title

RATINGS: Netflix previously did helpful star ratings, but since has replaced it with utterly useless percentage rankings. Netflix desperately needs to go back to star ratings and IMDB scores on films. Amazon is the clear winner here, offering usually pretty spot on ratings to help you locate your next obscure or recent find.

TRAILERS: Netflix except in a few cases, with mostly their produced content, does not offer trailers. And the few they do offer take multiple clicks to locate and play. I love watching trailers, they can save you a lot of time by, along with the rating, quickly helping you determine if a movie (or show) is worth your time. Another HUGE fail for Netflix, and big win for Amazon Prime.

A ‘VIEWERS ALSO WATCHED’ OPTION – Again it helps emulate the video store dynamic, by putting on your radar options and selections you otherwise would not have thought of. I spend probably 4 times longer on the Amazon app, because it offers this rabbit hole feature. One selection, leading to another, leading to another.

Add all the above, to Amazon Prime’s massive back catalog which dwarfs Netflix’s options, and you have the fun video store experience improved on and ramped up by a factor of ten.  Amazon may be producing the superior new content, and branded shows, but as a central distributor of all things VOD, how it made its name initially, it Is falling way behind.

This week’s clear WINNER…. AMAZON.