Tuesday, April 28, 2015

My Year With Marvel: Merchandise

I hate owning things. I’m not sentimental and I feel little to no collector’s instinct1. I want stuff on my walls because the nicest house in the world looks like shit with bare walls, and I’ll concede the need for furniture and kitchen utensils and all that, but gods spare me from random crap.

Well, mostly.

Y’all may have noticed I like Marvel, and Marvel produces a lot of merchandise. They sell useful stuff like wallets and bedding and kitchenware, and they produce (admittedly cool-looking) clutter like foam Mjolnirs and lifesize Iron Man’s head night lights and fully-articulated Spider-Man figures with six different sets of hands.

Some of it’s pretty great, but I don’t need to own it because it ain’t practical. Maybe I could get some use out of a Thor pint glass, but what the hell am I gonna do with a foam Mjolnir? A Hawkeye wallet could be pretty sweet (especially if it features Kate Bishop instead of Clint Barton), but a foot-tall porcelain Deadpool statue would probably just scare me in the long term.

So I resist.

Or resisted, I should say, since I met Barnes & Noble's Funko Pop! department on my last trip to the States.

A picture of Tiny Deadpool, a small bobblehead dressed in a red and black outfit that covers every inch of his body. His overlarge head features round, solid white eyes set within elongated black triangles. He brandishes a small black gun and a small silver katana with more weapons strapped onto his costume.

This is Tiny Deadpool. He’s four inches tall. His head bobbles. He’s got two tiny guns and a tiny katana.

He’s really frickin’ cute.

It would’ve been wrong to leave him in Barnes & Noble, seeing as how I had a gift card that covered most of his purchase price, so I decided to make an exception to the I Hate Owning Things rule.

Tiny Deadpool stands in a pile of tortilla chips. In front of him, two taco stands hold seared catfish tacos topped with jalapenos, cilantro, and pale remoulade.

And hey! He likes Mexican food! We have much in common, Tiny Deadpool and I.

I love him a lot.

Also, he’s promised not to terrify me at random intervals, as a foot-tall porcelain Deadpool statue might have done. Thanks, Tiny Deadpool!

A picture of Tiny Hawkguy, a bobbleheaded white guy with pale brown hair that sticks straight up in front. He wears a purple and black leather outfit consisting of a longer jacket, pants, and boots with straps. He brandishes a tiny black bow in his right hand.

This is Tiny Hawkguy. He’s four and a quarter inches tall on account of his hair. His head bobbles to a much greater extent than does Tiny Deadpool’s. He has a tiny bow and a tiny quiver strapped to his back and tiny, strappy boots.

I tried not to buy him because he’s Cinematic Hawkeye and Cinematic Hawkeye doesn't do a whole lot, but he does look remarkably like Comics Hawkguy and Comics Hawkeye is very important to me.

Comics Hawkguy is the sort of dude who tries to save a murderous ninja mere minutes after said murderous ninja did their level best to assassinate him, because hell if anybody’s gonna die on his watch. I think about that a lot.

So I let him follow me home.

Tiny Deadpool and Tiny Hawkeye stand side by side.

Tiny Hawkguy and Tiny Deadpool have formed an uneasy alliance despite their differences. Awwwww.

I shall endeavor not to buy more adorable Marvel merchandise (see: no collector's instinct), but one never knows. If Funko comes out with Tiny Kate Bishop, Tiny Pizza Dog, or Tiny Nova, I may add a little more clutter to my life.

And to be perfectly honest, I was looking for a Tiny Dancing Groot when I found Tiny Deadpool, so... yeah.

Maybe my collectors' years aren't as far behind me as I thought.

  1. This wasn't always the case. I used to collect about a million different things, but somewhere along the line I decided I was no longer interested in amassing large quantities of impractical objects. I promptly rounded up my collectibles and sold 'em. I wrote a longish digression about that process when I first sat down to draft this post, but perhaps it belongs elsewhere. I'll trot it out the next time I put My Year With Marvel on hiatus for a week or two.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Murchie Plus Books: April 19th to 25th

The premise: I love my dog. I love books. I bring the two together by ever-so-kindly asking my tiny and adorable dog to pose beside every book I read. Sometimes he's fine with this. Sometimes he really, really isn't.

The photos: go live on Instagram as I edit them and appear here in digest form ever Sunday.

Not pictured: I'm still working my way through WINTER'S HEART, which I showed y'all last week. I'm actually loving it--a nice surprise, given how uneven the Wheel of Time can be--but a string of distractions kept me from reading as much of it as I wanted to. With any luck, I'll manage to finish it tomorrow.

A fuzzy grey poodle, Murchie, stands on a rumbled red comforter. His head is twisted to the right side of the frame. On either side of him lie trade paperback omnibi of Skip Beat. Each book's cover features a Japanese girl with short red hair, in company with a tall Japanese boy with short light brown hair.

This is one of those times when Murchie wasn't so into the whole photo thing. Poor wee dog. I guess I did kind of ambush him. He expected to curl up in my armpit and be cuddled; instead, he had two thick library books smushed on either side of him. It's enough to put anyone out.

I barely read prose last week, but I did manage to get through volumes 4, 5, 6, and 7 of SKIP BEAT. Hurray! I followed 'em up with volumes 8 and 9 during the Readathon, which took me through two complete omnibi.

I'm loving SKIP BEAT sooooo much, y'all. I can't help but compare it to DEATH NOTE, my last manga reading project, even though the two series aren't at all alike aside from how they were both created by Japanese artists. And DEATH NOTE, she comes up wanting.

SKIP BEAT's pacing works for me so, so well. By the time I was five volumes into DEATH NOTE, I wondered how it could possibly stretch to twelve full volumes. I was bored as often as I was engaged. At nine volumes into SKIP BEAT, I'm quite happy for it to continue as long as it pleases because my engagement far outstrips my boredom. Yeah, Kyoko's rise to stardom is taking a while, but that's fine because she does plenty of interesting stuff along the way. She doesn't go in circles, either, as Light Yagami et al so often did. She builds up great relationships and encounters obstacles that feel reasonably realistic even when they're actually silly and logic-defying. They may not have much to do with the real world, but they're so firmly rooted in Kyoko's mindset that they feel like they could.

Plus, Kyoko's figuring out how to be a better person, while Light obviously got worse and worse as he cut a bloody swathe through the world. I like Kyoko much more and I'm excited I have so many volumes left to read.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Readathon Mini Challenge: Picture It

The mini challenge is now closed. Thank you to everyone who participated! Y'all shared some great images.

Congrats, too, to Avery, who won the prize!

Readathon: April 2015

A fuzzy grey poodle lays within a red blanket nest so only his face and his front paws stick out. His head is tilted playfully at the viewer, while his paws are slightly askew.
Murchie wishes you a Happy Readathon.

Hello, friends! The Readathon is upon us, so I plan to spend most, if not all, of the next twenty-four hours immersed in bookish goodness. I'll be updating this master post every two or three hours to let y'all know where I'm at with my reading. The most recent post will always appear at the top, with mini challenges below my usual stats reporting.

Hour Nineteen

Well, friends, this is my final update of the night. I'm gonna keep reading, and I'll still be around on Twitter and quite probably Instagram, but I'm sleepy and I've got a headache so I'm gonna tuck up in bed until I pass out.

Prior to that, I'd love to finish the comic I'm currently reading, then get through maybe another essay from BAD FEMINIST and another couple chapters of WINTER'S HEART. I might look at the next volume of SKIP BEAT, too. I know I haven't mentioned it in quite a few hours, but I'm loving SKIP BEAT.

I elected not to make tacos tonight because I'm too tired to mess around with cooking anything, but please don't feel bad on my account. The marinated tofu will only get better if I leave it overnight, so I'll be primed and ready for tacos tomorrow afternoon. You can bet I'll Instagram them, possibly alongside Tiny Deadpool.

That's tomorrow, though.

Or later today, I guess, since it's around 1:00 here.

Also for tomorrow/later today: Murchie Plus Books. It'll either go up later in the afternoon or early on Monday morning. I'm too addled to compose the written part of the post. I'm pretty sure the written part of the post has a specific name, like captions or blurbs or something, but that doesn't sound quite right and I can't remember the right word right now on account of being addled.

So. Yeah. Goodnight!

Currently Reading


Comics Read

  • SKIP BEAT VOLUME 8 by Yoshiki Nakamura
  • SKIP BEAT VOLUME 9 by Yoshiki Nakamura
  • ALEX + ADA VOLUME ONE by Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn
  • ALEX + ADA VOLUME TWO by Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn
  • ILLYRIA: HAUNTED by Scott Tipton, Mariah Huehner, and Elena Casagrande
  • ASTONISHING X-MEN VOLUME THREE: TORN by Joss Whedon and John Cassaday

Short Stories and Essays Read

  • six essays from BAD FEMINIST by Roxanne Gay
  • one story from PROPHECIES, LIBELS, & DREAMS by Ysabeau S. Wilce

Longer Novels Dipped Into

  • WINTER'S HEART by Robert Jordan
  • COLD MAGIC by Kate Elliott (audio)

Food and Drink Consumed

  • one glass chocolate Instant Breakfast
  • eleventy billion glasses water (I've lost count)
  • three cups coffee flavoured with hazelnut creamer
  • two hot fudge sundae Pop Tarts
  • three cups chocolate peppermint black tea
  • some salami
  • one serving beef bourguignon with potatoes
  • one thousand dark chocolate sweet & salty granola bars (or maybe just four)
  • one bowl kettle corn

Albums Listened To

  • SPEED OF DARKNESS by Flogging Molly
  • SOMEWHERE IN THE BETWEEN by Streetlight Manifesto

Other Activities

  • shower
  • laundry
  • routine dog maintenance
  • Kijiji inquiries
  • abulutions
  • mini challenge administration
  • shortish walk
  • grocery run
  • supper
  • walk around the neighborhood
  • general internetting
  • post-laundry bed reassembly
  • peculiar tweeting spurred on by exhaustion

Mini Challenges Completed

Bechdel April: Week 4

The Bechdel Test asks that media contain at least two female characters who talk to one another about something other than a man. I'm tracking my television consumption throughout April to see how often the shows I watch meet this seemingly simple criteria, and I'm doing it publicly because I figure it's of potential interest to y'all as well as to me.

Shows Watched This Week

ELEMENTARY is a crime drama in which Sherlock Holmes and Joan Watson consult for the NYPD.

ORPHAN BLACK is a science fiction drama in which a family of clones protect themselves from the forces arrayed against them.

SUPERNATURAL is a fantasy drama about two brothers who hunt monsters.

ONCE UPON A TIME is a fantasy drama in which a number of characters from fairy tales and other public domain stories are exiled to a small town in Maine.

THE 100 is a science fiction drama in which a hundred young criminals return to Earth a century after a nuclear war to see if the planet is once again capable of supporting human life.

CORONATION STREET is a soap opera set in a fictional Manchester suburb populated by working class people whose lives are packed with drama. I watch it on the Canadian schedule, which is about two weeks behind the UK schedule.

THE VAMPIRE DIARIES is a fantasy drama about a bunch of vampires (and a handful of non-vampires) who inhabit a turgid supernatural soap opera.

THE FLASH is a superhero drama about a forensic scientist who gains the ability to run really fast.

The Results

As always, I've broken things down by episode and by scene. Each bullet point covers one scene, so even the spoiler-averse among you should be able to gauge how well these shows do on the Bechdel front.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Sandman and Me

Cover of Absolute Sandman Volume 1, featuring the left half a pale face with kaleidoscopic effects around the eye. The background is shades of black and grey.
Well, look at that. I'm spending the whole week on other peoples' blogs. Today, you'll find me over at Book Bloggers International, where I've been invited to share the top five reasons Neil Gaiman's SANDMAN is and shall remain one of my favourite comics.

While you're there, be sure to check out the other posts they've featured as part of Comics and Graphic Novels Month, including essays on:

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Hers Is the Glory

A gif of Glory, a pale-skinned blonde woman with her curly hair pinned up, jumping up and down with her hands clasped as she chants 'Fun! Fun! Fun!'

Jodie is hosting an epic Female Villains Theme Week at Lady Business, and she invited me to stop by and talk about my very favourite villain. Whee! You'll find me over there today, gushing about Glory, the mad god who causes so many problems for the Scooby Gang during BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER'S painfully good fifth season.