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Warner Brother drops first Justice League movie trailer

Warner Brothers has just released the first official public trailer for the forthcoming Justice League movie. Previously, only some Comic-Con footage was put together and subsequently released (some of that footage appears here too).

As a huge fan of DC’s Justice League who felt fairly ambivalent about the fate of the DC Cinematic Universe after Batman v Superman: Let’s See How Dark We Can Go, As you might imagine I have thoughts. In no particular order:

• One of my criticisms of many of Zach Snyder’s films is that they’re so focused on the stylized visuals that pacing and plot and dialog and everything else suffers. I think he mostly avoided that pitfall in Man of Steel, but I think Batman v Superman not so much. This is an incredibly stylized, over the top trailer, which isn’t a bad thing, but it makes me wonder if he’s able to rein in his tendencies toward excess or if he went “full Snyder.”

• Clearly, they wanted to show that there’s more quips in this one. “No really, this isn’t as dark as Batman v Superman! Honest! Even though every single scene takes place against a gray or night sky, this is a lighter movie!” The thing is, BvS was so dark that being lighter is an incredibly low bar.

• I think it’s silly that they didn’t at least tease Superman’s appearance. I guess seeing Lois Lane is as much as we get. Yes, I know that they don’t want to give it away for people who saw BvS and don’t know what’s coming. But seriously, Henry Cavil is listed as one of the stars of the movie, all the pre-Justice League art showing the Justice League included Superman, I don’t think a tease would have been out of place. Maybe that’s for the second trailer.

• This trailer has managed to do one thing that is admirable and not easy to do: make Aquaman look cool!

• It doesn’t, however, really give any indication of who the enemy that both Batman and Wonder Woman allude to is. We sort of got an idea from some of the excess crap from BvS (that should have been cut) but it could have been clearer. Maybe that’s for the second trailer, too.

Overall I think the trailer set out to introduce the team members we’re not as familiar with yet, and it did that in a stylish way. I’m still not sure that this movie is going to be as good as I hope it will be, or if we’re looking at another grimdark Batman v Superman, just with extra wisecracks. We’ve got until November 2017 to wait to find out, with perhaps one more trailer before then…

Happy St. Paddy’s Day and other stories

I’m not Irish. Not even distantly. I don’t drink much. I also can’t say I feel the need to celebrate St. Patrick converting the pagans (“driving the snakes”) out of Ireland.

I do, however, think Ireland is absolutely gorgeous. We have an Irish wolfhound. I have Irish friends, and love Irish contributions to art and music:

You thought I’d pick a U2 video, didn’t you? Not this gothboy. But the Virgin Prunes came out of a “gang” of friends founded by Bono and Gavin Friday (Gavin is one of the Virgin Prunes singers), and the guitarist is The Edge’s older brother, so it’s not that far removed from U2, socially and geographically at least.

So I’m not really the party for St. Patrick’s day type, but I’m celebrating what I love about Ireland, my Irish friends and tastes, and wishing all those who do celebrate it the best. I think I’ll even put on a Green Lantern shirt today, to have some green on me. And those of you who follow me on social media already know, I recently bought a “green oceanburst” Gibson Les Paul. So they’re you go. You who party for St. Patrick’s Day have fun partying, and I’ll have fun serenading my Irish wolfhound with a green guitar while wearing a green shirt.

Happy Third Birthday Reilly!

Our Irish wolfhound Reilly turns three today! And we’ve literally been there for almost all of it: we randomly happened to be visiting his breeder the day he was conceived, we picked him up from said breeder as soon as he was weaned, and he’s been with us ever since.

Three is a interesting year for a wolfhound. They’re fully grown and no longer a puppy, but while three is still young, for a giant dog, it’s possibly half way through their short life. Yes, it’s the tragedy of giant dogs that that the larger they are, the shorter they live. While six may only be middle aged for a medium sized dog, for a wolfhound it may be approaching the end. Thankfully, Reilly comes from a line bred for health and longevity, and they routinely lived ten years and even longer.

And we’d like a long time with Reilly. He’s nervous—which can be challenging when dealing with a dog that is person-sized. But despite his skittishness he’s friendly to a fault and loves everyone, just as an Irish wolfhound should do. People are often taken aback by a dog that’s head, when he holds it high, is almost four feet high, but he’s got a sweet personality, he’s truly a lover not a fighter. Although when startled, he does have a low, deep bark that can shake the floorboards.

For his birthday, he’s gotten (and given!) lots of love and kisses, and of course there’s gonna be a meat treat this evening as well. He’s generally extremely well behaved, but bring meat near him, and his manners go out the window—and he’s tall enough to counter surf with the best of them…

Happy Birthday, Reilly, you have brightened our lives, our other dogs lives, and hell, even our grumpy cat likes you!

My birthday and my song

Today is my birthday—so I thought I’d give you all a present. As it happens, this year my birthday falls on President’s Day in the United States, and what could be more appropriate for President’s day than a protest song against the president?

The song is called RESIST, taken from the hashtag #resist that has gained favor. I’ve posted a lyric video for the song on YouTube:

And the song is also available on the Ember After Bandcamp page, Soundcloud (observant readers may have seen a crazy number of bot posts to my blog from Soundcloud—sorry about that. The machine uprising is real, folks) and the following services:

Apple Music: https://itun.es/us/Mb-8hb?i=1207165275
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/resist-single/id1207165030

It will eventually be everywhere (Spotify, Google, Amazon) but they take more time.

I haven’t been all that political here on my blog, because I don’t want to just add to the noise. But music, well, that’s a different story. I hope you like the song, and please share the song far and wide.

 

Download a free copy of Firebird Alex

Firebird Alex

Have you started reading my urban fantasy series The Sedumen Chronicles yet? If you haven’t, and you’re not on my mailing list yet, I’ve got good news! Over at Instafreebie I’m giving away a free copy of the first novel in The Sedumen Chronicles, Firebird Alex, to anyone who signs up to my mailing list.

You’ve probably noticed I’ve stopped blogging with much frequency; in fact, I think it’s safe to say that these days I “post” more than I “blog.” I do plan on using my mailing list as a more vital means of communication, so please enjoy a complimentary copy of Firebird Alex to get you started with The Sedumen Chronicles, and I promise not to fill your inbox with more than one email a month or so.

Another year, another NAMM show

This week I’ll be attending a major event that will cause ripples in almost every corner of the globe; that’s right—the NAMM show! Yeah, I go every year. And yeah, those ripples mostly apply to one particular industry. But still, this is a show that at least musicians around the world have their eyes on. And with all the anxiety in our world right now, its nice to just be able to hang out with other musicians and developers to look at new shiny musical instruments on display for our admiration, enjoyment, and ultimately, for us to purchase.

This year will be a little different for me. For over a decade now, I’ve been going at the behest of an employer who sends me to specific meetings and while I enjoy the show overall, my time is fairly predetermined. This time, there are no strings on me. Which means more friends, more time to drool over the new shiny, and probably more Instagramming for those who follow me. If you’re not interested in music gear and stuff like that, I apologize for the lack of dog and cat pictures I’ll be posting for a few days.

A Guide From The Perplexed #10

In my third and final podcast of 2016, I begin with my thoughts about the parade of celebrity deaths and political upheaval, then recap my artistic output this year, and end with my plans for 2017. This has been a pretty downer year as far as losses of iconic pop culture heroes goes, and it’s only been made worse by the global anxiety and crazy voting that points toward a horribly tumultuous 2017. But there is always hope—and another Sedumen Chronicles novel! I hope that you have a happy and healthy 2017, and that the anxiety afflicting our world abates.

O Princess My Princess

Just when we hoped 2016 was done taking so much, it proves that it’s not done yet. Carrie Fisher, who suffered a heart attack on a plane home from London on Friday, died today. She was an author, screenwriter, script doctor, and actress—and of course her most famous role was, and will always be, Princess Leia.

These days, with more female superheroes and action stars, it might get lost just how groundbreaking Princess Leia was as a character in the mid-70s, the days in which princess was synonymous with Disney princess. We all know the Disney princess formula—princess leaves home; princess faces challenges; princess fails challenges; prince saves princess. And then we meet Princess Leia; yeah, she’s a princess, but she’s on a ship of freedom fighters, she’s captured, tortured, and still ends up saving the day when her own rescue is botched. And Fisher played her with humor, toughness, and beauty. She was the right actress in the right role, and while the “slave Leia” costume might have turned heads, it was her intelligence and presence that kept them turned (and she was one hell of a badass in that costume, too, strangling her captor in it).

To most sci-fi fans, Carrie Fisher was our princess, far more than any real princess. Her leaving us would have been sad at any time, but at only 60 years old, and as part of such a sad parade of iconic figures leaving us this year, makes it even tougher.

Goodbye, my princess; thank you for being part of sparking my imagination, and showing me as a young boy that girls can kick ass too.

Merry Happy Chanukah Christmas and other Holidays!

It’s very rare that Chanukah and Christmas begin together. Sometimes they overlap, but this is one of those rare occasions that the first candle of the Chanukiah is lit on Christmas Eve. The reason for this is that it happens to be a confluence of different calendars, but I’d like to read it as a cosmic message to us that no matter what our beliefs, we’re all one, deep down.

Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Kwanza, Holidays, Winter Solstice, or season of secular gift giving. I hope you can enjoy some relaxation with friends and loved ones. May we all experience some joy and peace.

Superhero Crossover Event Brings the Fun—and the “Justice League”

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Superhero crossovers and team ups are a big deal in comic history. DC Comics began a Batman and Superman team up series called World’s Best Comics #1 in 1941, and launched Justice League #1 with the cream of their then-popular superheroes in 1960 (Marvel’s Avengers followed in 1963). Crossovers and team-ups are fan favorites because when done right, they offer a whole lot of fun and melodrama and excitement. Crazy powerful villains that are too powerful for any one hero to face alone. Heroes, each with their own strengths and weaknesses, alternately butting heads and working together. An opportunity for exciting action on a larger scale, as well as dealing with universal themes and morals they way that the best epic mythology and fantasy does. And did I mention fun?

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