Minister of Everything

For all things comics to cameras to entertainment and life hacks and everything in between that geeks will find interesting!

Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

Apparently if you have a DirectTV (the old fashioned way with the Dish) or the cool modern way with the DirectNow (or as they are calling it now AT & T NOW) online service you are eligible to watch HBO for free for life! But wait there’s more, if you have an eligible AT&T cell phone plan you may also be eligible, the only way to find out is head over here and click on verify your number at the top of the page and it will check if your plan let’s you watch HBO for free. If you feel like switching plans just to get free HBO remember to do the math to see if it’s cheaper to just get HBO separately as it might wind up costing you more money swtiching over to an eligible plan.

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Baltimore Comic Con 2019 was epic! Not only did the costumed attendees outdo themselves in terms of creativity, the diversity of characters represented from all comic book/superhero universes were equally stunning! The day started with my buddy Sunil and I hitting the exhibition floor checking our the cool toys, art and of course the omnipresent key comic issues and lots and lots of comics overall. We hit the floor for about an hour before I decided to get a signature from one of my favorite illustrators of all time, Neal Adams! If you don’t know who that is look up his art work, he’s worked on every major superhero illustration from Batman all the way down to the X-Men! He’s also famous for getting the proper financial compensation for the creators of Superman, Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster who were unfairly treated early in their career. Neal’s signatures we’re going for three for 80 dollars on beautiful oversized prints of his art work/comic book covers.

By this time it was time to head to the lecture given by the infamous Jim Lee. He had a setup where he was going to do some illustrations for us during the course of his lecture to us. The camera setup in the lecture hall switched between him and the progress of the illustartions he was drawing for us. In the time he gave his lecture over the course of an hour, he drew a Batman and Joker. He lamented over how his Korean immigrant doctor parents were less than thrilled when he decided to go into becoming a comic book artist, but following his success they became more supportive of him going as far as showing up to his Comic-Con signature appearances often being the first in line. He also joked how every time he visits and they have a large number of books for him to sign for their friends. He also talked about the importance of staying passionate and finding new and innovative ways to motivate yourself to keep going and producing new and exciting work. I couldn’t get over how humble he was for someone who is worth as much as he is. But you get the sense from talking to him that he understands that life is about passion, fame is secondary.

We hit the floor yet again for another hour or two before finally finishing the day off with attending the costume competition. The prerequisite to be in the competition is that all superhero costumes must be self-made and not store bought. My favorite costume was a couple the dressed up as Professor X in a wheel chair connected via his head gear to Cerebro in front of him with Jean grey in tow.

@Alexchingart – Alex Ching’s artwork on the Exhibition Floor, he sold me some cool superhero pins
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Source: Marvel, used with Fair Use Licensing

The X-Men have been part of the superhero world in some shape or another since the 1960s when legendary comic book writers Stan Lee and Jack Kirby gave birth to the series. The comic book initially struggled through issue #93 but with publication of the legendary Giant Size X-Men #1, where new characters and new plot lines were added and introduced to the world by Len Wein‘s story telling ability and Dave Cockrum‘s pencil, the series flourished. The series did well into the 90s when a parallel X-Men series was released (X-Men Vol. 2) splitting characters between the two series. There have been numerous spinoffs comic book series related to the X-Men not to mention a handful movies that have been made. The 2010s saw the series being rebooted a few times to tell various stories some taking place in different timelines. All these stories took place over what became Vol. 3 and Vol. 4 of the series. The current (Vol. 5) X-Men series which will be released this week will be part of the new Dawn of X series which comprise of several titles and will have staggered releases throughout this year with some titles being released next year.

  1. X-Men -October 16th, 2019
  2. Maurauders -October 23rd, 2019
  3. Excalibur* -October 30th, 2019
  4. X-Force -November 6th, 2019
  5. New Mutants -November 6th, 2019
  6. Fallen Angels -November 13th, 2019
  7. Wolverine -February, 2020
  8. Unamed Moira MacTaggert Series * – Unknown release date

*Never before released title, all others are new volumes and reboots of previously existing titles

Dawn of X was set up with a backstory in a limited series comic run comprising of two separate titles, House of X and Powers of X (Powers of 10). The two series saw a staggered release of their books weekly over the course of 12 weeks in the same reading order published at the back of each book. The limited series was released with the writing of Jonathan Hickman and the illustrations of Marte Gracia, Pepe Larraz, R.B. Silva. The stories set the stage for what is to come and are set up with written explanations of major concepts and backstories of characters that matter; which makes it a great jump on point for former X-Men fans as well as new fans who have no context of anything Marvel or the X-Men.

The fans have been ready for a series that provides longevity, consistency and providing quality and unique stories for a while now. I think Hickman who has been empowered to oversee the many titles that will be released in the coming year as part of Dawn of X is a step in the right direction. Like it or not many stories we take for granted are the product of the politics of comic books, writers coming and going and constantly changing over creative differences. With one supreme leader at the head of it all I think we will see more direction and better consistency no matter who come and go over the many years that this series will hopefully last.

The Dawn of X series kickoffs tonight (October 15th) with a midnight release of the first comic book in the series, X-Men #1. Many comic book stores across the country will be hosting midnight parties so that’s something definitely you should consider if you wish to be part of this what I consider to be a momentous event. I will be definitely going to my local comic book store that’s hosting this event to not only pick up the comic book but also to get the many variant covers that I’m sure will be part of the release. As with all things time will tell if this is a series that will last. I think if that next generation of comic book readers are to be enthralled and stay loyal to the single issues then it is up to Marvel to deliver on that much like they did with their omnipresent films over the last decade.

With Baltimore Comic-Con less than two weeks away I thought it would be a good idea to copy and paste who’s on the guest list so far with links to their bios/work so you can filter out those you wish to pay attention to, since most likely you have a few favorite guests who are coming but you don’t know them all. Click on any name and you will be taken to their bio/work page on Wikipedia or other websites that contain information about them. Who knows? You might discover an artist, writer, illustrator, penciller or an inker that worked on your favorite comic book and you didn’t know they did till now! The guest list is accurate as of October 9, 2019 and is sourced from the official Baltimore Comic-Con website.

Photo by Clément M. on Unsplash

So you spent the better part of the decade somehow missing out on some/all of the Marvel Avengers movies that came out. You were saving money/living your life or in my case having kids and not having the time to go to the movies. The good thing is that we live in a digital world where any movie of our choice can be accessed and we can be off watching it in minutes. The bad news? We may have to pay for some of them.

As of fall 2019 I expect most people have at least one online streaming service that they subscribe to. If not, feel free to sign up for a free trial and watch the movies that are on offer on each service listed below for free within the trial period (Works for Netflix and Hulu, Amazon you can’t test drive).

These are the movies available today broken down by the streaming service:

  1. Netflix – Thor: Ragnarok, Ant-Man and the Wasp, Black Panther and Avengers:Infinity War
  2. Hulu – Iron Man 2
  3. Amazon Prime – Iron Man 2

I can see it in your eyes, you’re mad at me, I only showed you how to watch five movies out of 22 (including Avengers:Endgame) movies but bear with me. Starting in November when Disney kicks off their own online streaming service (because every network needs one now, they can’t simply just buy off each other’s service like they did in my day) they will host starting on their first day of launch, November 12th of this year (in the USA) another four movies in the Avengers universe and that brings up the total to 9 movies!

4. Disney Plus – Captain Marvel, Iron Man, Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World

But wait there’s more! Within a year of launch Disney Plus has given word that they will add the very least, the movies below to the catalog for you to stream. Since some of the movies they will release are redundant as they are available on other streaming services; the total number of unique Avengers that can be streamed will come up to 12.

4. Disney Plus – Captain Marvel, Iron Man, Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World Ant-man and the Wasp, Avengers: Endgame (Available starting December of this year), Avengers: Infinity War, Black Panther, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy, Iron Man 2. Thor: Ragnarok

Now keep in mind once Disney Plus goes live, Disney may kill the ability to stream their movies on other platforms like Netflix and Amazon, so don’t wait for all the movies to come out on various services before you watch em all in order! I know it sucks, you wish you made time to watch the movies when they came out! A good lesson for us all who don’t stop to smell the roses.

My last bright ideas are one, you can, if you’re still one of those cool 90s people that still has cable TV (don’t feel bad I only cancelled mine last week after 20 years of forking over tons of money) to see if any of the movies are playing on the channels, if you find any that aren’t on an online streaming service, record them! Hell if you find any that are on the streaming services but you find them on TV, record them anyway! This way you have them all in one place. The last and least popular idea is you can get the collected movies on DVDs, some of the DVDs have three Avengers movies on them but they retail for about $25-$27 dollars a pop (two dollars cheaper for the non blu-ray version, the pathetic version we all salivated over starting in 1998). That’s $8.50 a movie! My favorite tactic to fill in the gaps? Rent the damn thing on YouTube or Amazon, that only brings the price of one movie to $2.99 and you don’t have to worry about the DVD sitting on your shelf for the rest of the next decade at which point you will decide it is vintage and try to sell it for some crazy amounts of money on eBay that no one will EVER, EVER pay.

Some of us decided to be cool and do things at our own pace, now we have to earn the joy some people got in real time by making time to go to the movies. Enjoy and happy hunting for old Avengers movies that can today cost as much as they did to watch back then!

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