Visiting the Green Mountain State

Hey there!

Welcome to another exciting post here at Chris Lackie – The Blog!

This past weekend, me and the family took a trip down the fabled Americas (Vermont, specifically) to visit our friends Rob and Sam. We entered the U.S. on Wednesday (Canada Day, of all days) which took much longer than expected. It poured rain all the way from Ottawa to where we crossed the border in Quebec. We expected the border crossing to be fairly empty given it was the middle of the week, and it was pretty clear sailing most of the way, but when we were about three kilometres from where we were set to cross, traffic was completely stopped. And when it wasn’t stopped, it crawled for a few feet. And then it would stop again. And then crawl again. And then stop again. And Crawl. And stop. And crawl. And of course, our 19-month old son woke up just as all this fun started. And of course, since it was around lunch-time, he was starving, so we did our best to keep him happy by feeding him a steady stream of granola bars and Cheerios. I know you shouldn’t given little kids food in the car (they could choke, after all), but given we never got above 10 kilometres an hour, I figured he’d be fairly safe. When all was said and done, from the time we hit traffic, it was two hours before we finally got into Vermont.

The entire time, Sarah and I were trying to figure out why that border crossing was so busy at that particular time, and it wasn’t until we were past it when we remembered that the Germany-U.S. Women’s World Cup Semi-Final was in Montreal the night before. Given all the U.S. license plates we saw, we eventually figures out that all the Americans were trying to get home at the same time we were trying to get into the country. That was definitely some poor planning on our part. I’m also embarrassed to say it took us almost three hours to figure it out. I thought it was odd that so many of the cars we saw had soccer team logo stickers on their bumpers…

Anyway, once we got through customs (which wasn’t nearly as eventful as the time my wife and I crossed into Detroit on our way to Florida) it was time to get some real food into us. While road Cheerios are great and all, they don’t exactly constitute a complete meal. We got off the highway at the first opportunity and headed towards the first food place we saw, which, luckily for us, was the healthiest place we could take our child: McDonald’s. This led to our son enjoying his very first Happy Meal. When ordering I was asked if I wanted the boy toy or the girl toy (because toys have genders, you know), so of course I picked the boy toy (because I assumed it would be cooler). It ended up being a blue water gun that my son will probably never use, while the girl toy on the other hand, I’m pretty sure, was the exact same water gun, only pink. That’s some sort of progress… I think. Anyway, needless to say, my kid very much enjoyed his chicken McNuggets and his apple slices. And because I’m a good parent, I took it upon myself to enjoy his kid-sized fries (they came in an adorably tiny fry box!).

After our very late lunch (it was almost 4 PM when we finished) we headed to our hotel. We stayed at a place called Green Mountain Suites in South Burlington. It turned out to be a really nice place. I highly suggest staying there if you plan on going to the area. What I loved most about that place is that in addition to a pretty impressive hot breakfast buffet (which most hotels offer some version of) they also offer a free dinner on weekdays. We were unable to partake on the first night (since we already had plans for that evening), but on the second night we had steak tips. I didn’t know what steak tips were until I had them, but I must say they were delicious!

Anywho, that first night we got ourselves settled and had dinner with our friends Sam and Rob, as well as Rob’s parents, at a pretty good Chinese restaurant. Unfortunately, the little guy (my son, not Rob) was up way past his bedtime, and he wasn’t his usual well behaved self. He still wasn’t bad by any stretch, but it was obvious that he was tired. The kid passed out in the car on the way back to the hotel, and both the wife and I assumed he would sleep in the next morning. Well, that sure did not happen. Our kid woke up bright and early at 4 AM. That’s not nearly enough sleep for a 19-month old. Luckily for me, the hotel had free coffee.

For our first full day in Vermont, we headed to Waterbury to meet Rob and his parents at the Ben and Jerry’s ice cream factory. Sarah and I had been there before as part of our honeymoon (in fact, we decided to go to Vermont just so we could go to the Ben and Jerry’s ice cream factory), but we were more than willing to go there again to get our hands on some delicious, delicious ice cream. From there, it was time for lunch in town and then a quick trip over to Stowe, Vermont to take a walk along a fancy pathway. You can tell that this pathway is fancy because you can buy expensive artwork along the way ($3,200 for a twisted hammock? Yes, please!).  The beautiful views weren’t limited to the art.  Here’s a picture Sarah took while we were on our walk.

water

At one point during our walk, we went by a little stream and decided to let our son waddle around the shore. On the way back to the car, we had his sandals hanging on the handles of his stroller to dry off. Just as we were getting to the car, we heard someone running up behind us, shouting, “Excuse me, excuse me!” I turned around and saw a young woman we had passed 15 or 20 minutes prior, carrying one of our kid’s sandals. “You’re the only ones around here with a stroller,” she said as she handed me the sandal. “So I figured this must belong to you.” I have no idea where the sandal fell or how far that person had to go to give it back to us, but it was certainly very nice of them to go out of their way to help us out. Yay America!

That night, my son went to bed around 8 PM and woke up at 5:30 AM (which is a reasonable night’s sleep for him). Unfortunately, the missus wasn’t feeling well that day, so it was up to my son and I to entertain ourselves. What did we do, you ask? Well, what else do Canadians do when they go to America? We went shopping! We started our shopping spree by going to Barnes & Noble where I picked up my 100th Funko Pop Vinyl Figure! What an accomplishment, right?!?! Now, in reality I bought figures 96 through 102 at the same time, but I am going to arbitrarily decide that this figure is lucky number 100!

wendigo

Who (or what) is that, you ask? That’s the Wendigo from the TV show Hannibal. He is basically a very creepy, very scary figment of the imagination of one of the characters (Will Graham, if you’re familiar with the show) and he looks totally awesome. This figure sells at conventions for about $20, but I got him for about $10 ($12.50, if you factor in the exchange rate). I also picked up a little toy for my son (you know, because I’m a good dad). I bought him a little police car that lights up and sings a jaunty little tune about racing towards a crime scene. What fun! And how many books did we buy at this book store? Not a single one. I am very proud of us.

We then made our way to University Mall to shop at the Hot Topic (because I am a grown up and I can shop wherever I want). But before we got there, the first thing we saw when we entered the mall was a kid, who couldn’t be more than five or six years old, walking out of a collectibles store with a wooden sword and nunchucks. America really is the land of the free and the home of the brave. My kid and I eventually made our way to Hot Topic (after spending a lot of time trying to get my son to leave Sears… I have no idea why he was so obsessed with that store), where I picked up this little gem.

earth 2

This is Batman from Earth 2, who is Thomas Wayne; Bruce Wayne’s father (spoilers!). He’s a Hot Topic exclusive figure, so I was happy to find him. Acquiring this figure also fits into my philosophy that you can never have enough Batmen in your life.

Crisis of Infinite Batmen

Crisis of Infinite Batmen

We then went to IHOP for lunch (the irony being that neither of us had pancakes) before heading back to the hotel so that my little guy could have a nap. I felt really bad for one of the waitresses at the restaurant. She was clearly very new and was consistency forgetting peoples’ orders and mixing stuff up. People were generally nice to her, but they started getting agitated after a while. I’m going to choose that those people were from out of state. I refuse to believe anyone from Vermont could lose their patience. Vermonters are just too damned nice.

The next day was our final day in the Green Mountain State, so I was happy that Sarah was feeling better. I was less happy that our son decided to wake up at 3 AM. Yup. You read that right. Our kid woke up at 3 o’clock in the morning. Again, I was very happy that our hotel had free coffee. Two cups later, we went off to the Burlington farmer’s market, but not before stopping off at a Walgreen’s so I could pick up this (please excuse the blurriness):

punisher

Yes, it has gotten to the point where I am now travelling to foreign pharmacies to pick up Funko figures. I think I have a problem. Do you think there’s a prescription for it? Is it available at Walgreens? Jokes aside, can you really blame me for getting this? Look at how adorable this Punisher figure is. Who knew that such a hard ass could be so cute?

Anyway, the farmer’s market was cool; the highlight being that a bachelorette party showed up with someone, who I can only assume was the bride-to-be, carrying a five-foot long inflatable penis. I wonder whose idea it was to bring the party to a farmer’s market. I also wonder if the party was just starting or just ending. It’s hard to say given the oddness of it all (hehe… I said “hard”). Regardless, after that bit of strangeness, we picked up some sausages (not inflated or five feet long, unfortunately) and went to Sam’s for a barbecue.

After eating some delicious tube-shaped meat (and watching my son eat a ridiculous amount of it) we said our goodbyes and made our way back home. The trip home was much faster than the trip down. What took us upwards of seven hours on the way to Burlington, Vermont only took us three-and-a-half hours on the way back to Ottawa.

Other than my son not sleeping much and my wife getting very sick, it was a pretty good trip. Vermont is a really great place. The state is beautiful and the people are incredibly nice. I wish we could go more often, but unfortunately the Canadian dollar is too awful right now to make it affordable. Damned economy and all that jazz. Oh well. Maybe one day I’ll win the lottery and buy a cottage there. Or maybe I’ll just go when I can. Yeah, that sounds like a more likely scenario. But a guy can dream, can’t he?

GREEN MOUNTAIN STATE-BAMPF!!

It’s a good time to be a Batman fan

Hey there, folks!

So, did you see it? Did you? You know what I’m talking about, right? I am of course talking about the amazing trailer that was released last week for the upcoming Batman v Superman movie! You must have seen it by now. Everyone I know is talking about it (because I make them).  In case you’ve been living under a rock, here is the trailer:

Pretty dope, right? I mean, you don’t get any sense of what the plot of the movie will be, but whatever. You see Superman, you see Batman, and, most importantly, you see Batman in the armor suit that he wears in the Dark Knight Returns. It. Is. The. Shit.

Now, I wasn’t particularly impressed with Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel, so I worry about what he’ll do with Batman v Superman.  But it’s okay. To make me happy, this movie only needs one thing. All it needs is one scene where Batman punches Superman right in his stupid handsome face.  I am almost positive I’ll get to see that, so this movie has pretty much already won me over.

I’m curious how it’ll all go down.  I believe this movie is supposed to lead to the Justice League, which means that at some point the Dark Knight and Big Blue will have to put aside their differences and start working together. Maybe they’ll start by fighting each other, only to realize there is a bigger threat. Like… I dunno… Braniac.  That would be awesome.

Anyway, the trailer wasn’t the only Batman-related movie news that came out recently.  We also got to see our first full look at Jared Leto as the Joker.  Again, allow me to remove the rock you’ve been living under.

joker

I dig this look a lot. It reminds me of this:

joker 2

There ain’t nothing cooler than a Joker with tattoos.  That said, I don’t know how I feel about the tattoo on Joker’s forehead. It’s seems a little… distracting. I’m also not a big fan of the silver teeth.  I just think that the most distinctive feature on the Joker’s face should be his smile, not the teeth behind the smile. Regardless, I think he looks pretty cool.

I also think it’s neat that this version of the Joker will be introduced in the Suicide Squad movie, rather than in a Batman flick.  My guess is they wanted to give people a reason to go see a movie about a team no one outside of comic book fans (or fans of the Arrow TV show) have ever heard of.  Good thinking, Warner Bros. Good thinking.

And if that’s not enough Batman-related news for you, there was also an announcement this past week that Frank Miller is going to do another sequel to the Dark Knight Returns called “The Master Race”.  Here is the promo art:

DKIII

I mean, c’mon! What is not to love about that! Looks like we’re going to have even more Batman-punching-Superman action! What’s even better is that Miller is working with Brian Azzarello, who, among many other things, wrote the Joker graphic novel, and absolutely crushed it on Wonder Woman. This dude is the real deal, and him working with Frank Miller means that this book has the potential to be one of the greatest Batman stories of all time.  I am hella excited for this to come out.

Well, that’s all the Batman stuff I have to talk about right now. As you can see, it is clearly a good time to be a Batman fan.

Until next time…

BATMAN-BAMPF!

The Drowning, Man – Part 3

Read The Drowning, Man – Part 1 Here!

Read The Drowning, Man – Part 2 Here!

Once I told my new friend, Rod, that we were going to see the ghost of Wilford Brimley, he braked the car so hard my head snapped forward. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised. This was a guy I had just met, and who agreed to come with me as I searched for the person who tied me up and tried to drown me in a lake. Telling him that he was about to meet a ghost was probably just a little too much to handle.

“I’m sorry, did you just say we’re going to see the ghost of Wilford Brimley?!” he gasped.

“Yes,” I snorted as I glared at Rod for giving me whiplash.

“The actor, Wilford Brimley?” he asked.

“Yes,” I replied.

“From the Waltons?”

“Yes.”

“The guy who was in those Quaker Oats commercials?”

“For the last time, yes,” I said. “Now, I’m going to try to get some sleep, so just head east on highway seven. I should wake up before we need to get off.” Then I closed my eyes and muttered. “Hehe. Get off.”

“Grow up,” Rod tried to say authoritatively. He then continued. “So where are we driving to?”

“A haunted diabeetus research facility,” I responded as straight-faced as I could before I started chuckling under my breath.

My friend’s expression changed from surprised to disgusted as he realized the joke I was playing on him. “Ugh. That’s terrible.”

“But funny,” I insisted. “No, we’re not really going to see the ghost of Wilford Brimley. Besides, Wilford Brimley isn’t dead. We’re just going to see someone who looks an awful lot like him.”

Rod thought for a moment before speaking again. “So you had sex with a guy who looks like Wilford Brimley?”

It was my turn to sound authoritative. “No! Just… ugh. Wake me up in half an hour.”

“Fine, fine. Have a good sleep,” Rod said.

I most certainly did not have a good sleep. Instead I dreamed I was drowning again, but this time I couldn’t get out of the ties that bound me, and the calming sensation I felt as I began to accept my fate transformed into a feeling of dread and despair that sucked the remaining air out of my lungs. All the while I could feel myself sinking to the bottom of the lake.

Then I would feel nothing.

After about a moment’s peace, the dream would start over again. I must have had the dream a hundred times in those 30 minutes. Drowning. Dread. Nothing. Drowning. Dread. Nothing. Over and over again.

The cycle finally ended when Rod shook me awake. “Okay, Chris, it’s been half an hour.”

I peeked out the car window and surveyed where we were. “Good timing,” I yawned as I sat up and rubbed the sleep out of my eyes. “Take the second exit and head north. He’s not far.”

We were heading towards a farmhouse in the area surrounding Guelph, Ontario. The person I was looking to confront had moved back into his parent’s house after he dropped out of school.

“So what’s the deal?” asked Rod. “If he’s not an ex, and he’s not the ghost of Wilford Brimley, who is this guy?”

“His name is Lawrence, and he’s a friend,” I told him, but then I corrected myself. “Was a friend.”

“What happened?”

“Does it matter?”

“It might,” insisted Rod. “We’re out here in the middle of nowhere, about to confront someone who may very well have tried to murder you. Before I face the real possibility of being killed and buried in the woods, I think I have a right to know what I’m getting into.”

It was hard to argue with him. “Fine,” I began. “It was the summer of 2006-”

“You mean last summer,” interrupted Rod.

“Yes,” I confirmed.” Lawrence and I were looking forward to the new Superman movie that was coming out-”

“The one with Brandon Routh?” Rod interrupted. Again.

“Yeah, that’s the one,” I confirmed. Again. “Anyway, we were really excited. Especially Lawrence. He loves Superman more than anyone, and it was really important to him that we have the best seats for the premiere. So we waited outside the theatre for days, and of course it rained, and it rained, and it was unseasonably cold for June. It was completely uncomfortable, but Lawrence didn’t notice. He was just so excited for a new movie with the Man of Steel. I, on the other hand, got more and more pissed off. I mean, I wanted to see the movie too, but it had to be pretty damn great to make up for how miserable I was becoming. And then, finally the time came when we could finally go in and watch the movie.”

“And how was it?” asked my new friend.

“It. Was. Awful,” I told Rod. “But what made it even worse was that Lawrence liked it. He actually liked that piece of cinematic garbage. It made me so mad that I just unloaded on him, berating him for liking such a stupid movie and for liking such a stupid character in general.” Then I smirked a little bit. “Hehe. I said unloaded.”

My companion tried to be authoritative again. “Grow up.”

And I of course resisted. “No. Anyway, the point is after that he hated me and we stopped being friends. We lost touch.”

Rod seemed puzzled. “That’s it? You and your friend stopped talking because of a movie? You think that’s enough to make him want to kill you?”

“Yup, pretty much.” There was a brief pause between us before I continued. “And I banged his mom.”

“There it is,” Rod said as if he expected it.

We pulled up to Lawrence’s family’s farmhouse just as the sky began to dim to a purplish hue. The house was located on about 25 acres of land, most of it taken up with soybean plants. As both my new friend and I exited the car and headed towards the front door it occurred to me that we were about five kilometers away from the closest neighbours. If something happened, no one would be around to help us. This was not lost on Rod. “Is coming in the front a good idea?” he asked. “I mean, if this guy did try to kill you, aren’t you about to make it easy for him to finish the job?”

I tried to keep a brave face. “It’s important to face your fears head on. Otherwise, they’ll always keep sneaking up on you.”

“That’s… actually good advice, Chris,” Rod said, impressed.

“Thanks. Oh, and Rod?”

“Yeah?”

I smiled. “You said coming in the front.”

Rod wasn’t as impressed with my wit. “Spending time with you is like spending time with a child,” he said.

Once we made our way up the three squeaky wooden planks onto the porch, I reached out and pressed the little white button next to the door. This caused a booming DONG sound to vibrate through my bones. It wasn’t long before we sensed movement inside the house. My heart started to beat a little faster when I heard a series of thundering steps approaching us. When Lawrence opened the door, I was reminded that while he looked like Wilford Brimley, he was a six foot, three inch tall Wilford Brimley, with a big bushy brown moustache that made it clear that he was a much younger version of his clone.

The moment he saw me I was hit with that fiery gaze of his. It was the kind of look that an alpha lion might give a sickly member of his pride if it was foolish enough to try to eat a scrap of gazelle before its turn. I was certain my chest was going explode. That, or Lawrence was going to finish what he started and punch a hole in my head.

This was a bad idea, I thought. We shouldn’t have come here. Confronting Jin was easy. I could take him in a fair fight if it came to that. If Lawrence did try to kill me, I should count my lucky stars I survived and I should get as far away from him as possible and hope he assumes I drowned in that lake. What am I doing here?

I started cringing as soon as Lawrence opened his mouth to speak. “Chris, is that you? Hey man, how are you? It’s been a long time. You look… damp.”

I was relieved that my brain didn’t explode. “Thanks. And yeah, yeah it has been a long time.”

“So what brings you out to my neck of the woods?” Lawrence asked. “I know how much you hate the country.”

“Oh, you know,” I started without really knowing where I was going to finish. “Something happened today and it made me think about you and I thought it would be a good idea to come by and see how you are doing.” That could have went worse, I thought to myself, proudly.

Lawrence paused for a second before responding. “That really doesn’t sound like you.”

“Yeah,” Rod chimed in. “I just met you and I know that isn’t you.”

Alright, maybe it wasn’t perfect, I conceded.

“Who’s the guy in the tux?” Lawrence asked, sticking his thumb at Rod.

“Oh hey, yeah, this is my new friend, Rod. New friend, Rod, this is old friend, Lawrence.”

Lawrence and Rod exchanged nods.

“You know, you look a lot like a younger Wilford Brimley,” Rod felt the need to tell Lawrence.

“Yeah, I get that a lot,” Lawrence replied. He really did get that a lot.

After a few minutes of looking at each other awkwardly, I decided to try to end the conversation. “Well, this has been fun, Larry, but we oughta be going. We’ll talk soon, kay?”

I tried to leave, but Rod decided to stop me. “That’s it? Aren’t you going to ask him?”

Lawrence looked puzzled. “Ask me what?”

I came this far, I figured. I may as well ask. I tried to mutter as quietly as I could. “Um. Did you try to kill me?”

“What did you say?” asked Lawrence.

Did you try to kill me?” I said a little louder. Oh boy, I thought. Here comes the death punch.

“What the hell are you talking about?” asked Lawrence, sounding a little insulted.

“Someone tried to drown Chris today,” Rod informed him. “Tied him up and dumped him in the lake in Waterloo Park.”

Lawrence looked a little flabbergasted. “And you think it was me?”

“Well, maybe,” I answered, sheepishly. “You know, after how things ended between us.”

“What, the Superman thing?” said Lawrence. “Dude, I don’t hate you for that.”

“You don’t?” I said, finally feeling confident that the Wilford Brimley looking dude in front of me wasn’t going to bury his foot in my ass.

“Of course not. I mean, Superman Returns is the most underrated film of all time-”

“It’s not,” I interrupted. “But continue.”

“But thanks to you,” continued Lawrence, “I realized that the Man of Steel isn’t everything. By challenging me on my blind devotion, you forced me to think more critically about my interests, and realize there are more things in this world to appreciate. As a result, you helped me find my new passion. I no longer need Superman to make me happy.”

“Oh, that’s great, that’s really great,” I beamed. “What are you into now?”

“Green Lantern,” replied Lawrence.

My beaming turned to rage and confusion. “Green Lantern, are you shitting me? Green Lantern is even worse than Superman!”

“What are you talking about?” Lawrence insisted. “Green Lantern is incredible! He has a ring that can create anything he imagines, and it runs on willpower!”

“Yeah,” I mocked. “And all he ever imagines is boxing gloves and fishing nets. Green Lantern is incredibly stupid and lame.”

“Well, he’s definitely cooler than Batman,” said Lawrence, as if it wasn’t the stupidest thing that anyone had ever said in the history of everything. Everyone knows that Batman is the greatest superhero of all time.

“You take that back, you son of a bitch!” I yelled as I took a step towards Lawrence, ready to punch the giant in his stupid moustached face. Thankfully Rod got in between us, because Lawrence probably would have ripped me in two.

“Whoa Chris,” Rod said, his warm eyes calming both Lawrence and I. “I think it’s pretty obvious Lawrence here didn’t try to kill you. But let’s go before he starts thinking it’s a good idea.”

“Fine, fine,” I agreed, but I still wanted to figure out who was responsible for trying to take my life, so I decided to ask Lawrence if he had any ideas. “So Lawrence, any thoughts on who would want me dead?”

Lawrence didn’t hesitate. “Well, I imagine most people want you dead, but there is only one person I can think of who would actually take steps to make that a reality.”

“Really? Who?” I asked Lawrence.

He answered with a single word. “Her.”

A chill ran up my spine. It was so obvious. Why didn’t I see it before?

“Her?” asked Rod. “Her who?”

“I’ll explain on the way, c’mon,” I told Rod before turning to Lawrence. “Thanks, Lawrence. I’ll see you later.”

“See you. Nice meeting you, Rod,” Lawrence said as he started to wave goodbye to us.

“Nice to meet you, too. And by the way, my name is-” Rod started to say before I grabbed his arm and pulled him towards the car. Why would he feel the need to repeat his name? I thought. Did he hit his head when I wasn’t looking?

Rod and I had started to take our leave, but it still really irked me that Lawrence thought Green Lantern was better than Batman. It bothered me enough that just as we were about half way back to the car, I turned back towards the farmhouse.

“Geez,” I said. “Where are my manners? Hey, Lawrence?”

Lawrence was now back inside the house, but had yet to close the door. “Yeah?”

A Cheshire cat-like smile stretched across my face. “How’s your mother?”

Lawrence’s fiery eyes appeared again. Now I was the gazelle. “You son of a bitch!” yelled Lawrence. “I’m going to rip out your arms and beat you to death with them!”

As Lawrence started to bound towards us, my companion and I hightailed it back to the car, and barely managed to get out of there before the younger, burly version of Wilford Brimley could catch up with us. We took a few moments to catch our breath as Rod drove away before he started up with his questions again. “What did you do that for?”

“Because I’m a gentlemen,” I answered matter-of-factly. “It would be rude to not ask about a woman I had relations with.”

“Yeah, right. So, who is this ‘Her’ you guys were talking about?”

“She’s my ex-girlfriend,” I told him.

“I take it things ended badly,” Rod guessed.

“You have no idea.”

“So what happened?” Rod asked.

I really didn’t want to talk about it. “I really don’t want to talk about it,” I told him.

“Listen, Chris, I’m happy to help you on this adventure of yours, but if I’m going to continue you’re going to need to give me something here. What am I about to jump into?”

“You’re about to jump into a hornet’s nest,” I said. “It makes sense that she would be the one behind this. It should have been obvious from the get go. Maybe I just didn’t want to believe it.” At that moment I hung my head and started looking at my still damp shoes.

“Alright,” Rod said. “I’ve come this far already. Guess I may as well stick with you until the end.”

I smiled a little, but I didn’t lift my head up when I responded. “Thanks. I appreciate that.”

“So, where are we heading?” Rod asked.

I raised my head to look at my companion. “To the hornet’s nest.”

We continued driving for a few moments before Rod decided to break the cool silence we had going. “So, is that, like, a bar or something?”

To be continued.

Now with a new fresh scent! (or Keeping up with the Lackies)

Hello there!  Welcome back to another exciting post on Chris Lackie – The Blog!

I’ve been away from this little corner of the internet for a while now, busy with the responsibilities of a parent with a young child, and a regular job that has required me to put in a lot of extra hours over the last while. But do not think I have forgotten about you!  I’ve actually been working on something that has turned out to be a fair bit larger than I had originally thought it would be, but that only means that when it’s ready (which will hopefully be soon-ish) it will be the greatest (or at least largest and newest) thing I have ever done! So keep your eyes open for that!

Speaking of things I am working on, I am also planning on doing another Funko Fight Club in the relatively near future (after the other thing I am working on is done) which will be functionally similar to the other versions, but with a twist (which isn’t much of a twist… it’ll just be… very slightly different)! To whet your appetite for that, I thought I would share a couple pictures of some of the Funko figures I have recently acquired.  First, let’s head to Sunnydale to see what’s going on near the Hellmouth!

From left to right: Oz, Willow, Buffy, Angel, Spike and The Gentleman (also featured - Silent Bob, because I am a terrible photographer)

From left to right: Oz, Willow,Buffy, Angel, Spike and The Gentleman (also featured – Silent Bob, because I am a terrible photographer)

It pleases me to no end that Buffy is holding a little tiny spike (not a euphemism), and that Spike has a scar on his eyebrow (just like the show!).  I think the people at Funko did a great job with these figures, but how does the first release (I assume there will be more) not include Xander? It’s like doing a line of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle figures and not including Donatello.  Xander is part of the Scoobies and he should have been included in the initial release.  I assume the lack of Xander figure will be rectified in the near future.

Now let’s move away from the Hellmouth and head to the literal hell on Earth that is Arkham Asylum!

There's nothing Batman likes better than being surrounded by his friends.

There’s nothing Batman likes better than being surrounded by his friends.

Of all the different versions I have, these may be my favourite renderings of Joker, Harley Quinn and Batman. Joker’s outfit and face are incredibly detailed (it’s hard to see, but Joker’s got a bunch of wrinkles on his forehead, and if you’ve played the Arkham Asylum games you would know why), Harley’s costume looks plain awesome.  They’ve even found a way to make Batman look like he’s wearing armour, which is consistent with the games. Unfortunately, I have been unable to locate the Poison Ivy and Killer Croc figures that are part of this line, but hopefully I’ll get my hands on them relatively soon.

Okay, lets change direction now and take a look at what is happening in my life.  First, Sarah has decided that the main floor of our house needs a new coat of paint.  Here is what our front hallway and foyer look like now.

It's blue now!

It’s blue now!

Beautiful, no?  My wife has excellent taste (which I guess means I also have excellent taste because I chose to marry her).

And did you guys know that Sarah and I have our own podcast called Our Kid is Asleep? You can download any or all of our episodes from iTunes (just search for Our Kid is Asleep!), or you can listen to the latest episode here:

Our Kid is Asleep! 6 – Keanu Reeves is the Greatest Actor of Our Generation

In this episode, we talk about the amazing acting of Keanu Reeves, John Travolta and Nicolas Cage, as well as a bunch of other cool stuff, like telemarketing and furnace repair!

Moving on, earlier I mentioned my parental responsibilities.  Well, I feel I would be failing in those responsibilities if I did not share that our little baby boy is now one year old! This kid is practically a giant.  Take a look at how big he is now.

IMG_4972

He’s the one on the left.

Super adorable, right? I guess that means that I am also super adorable since, you know, I helped make him.

So that’s it for now. Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. Hopefully you’ll be hearing from me again soon, but this time with something so huge it will blow your socks off!*

*Sock blowing not guaranteed.

BAMPF!

Reviews You Can(not) Use: Oh, When Will This Future’s End?

Hello everyone!

Welcome to yet another post on the greatest blog in the universe!

Last year, to celebrate the second year anniversary of the re-launch of the DC Universe, the good people at DC Comics decided to interrupt the release of their regular titles to release a series of one-shots with lenticular 3D covers focussing on the villains of the DCU. As you may recall, I read a bunch of those books and didn’t have a whole lot of nice things to say about them. I concluded by suggesting that DC not repeat their commercially successful, yet widely panned, villains month event. Well, it looks like the good people at DC didn’t take my request to heart, because here we are a year later, celebrating another anniversary of the launch of the New 52, and there is another round of unnecessary one-shots with 3D covers.

As you can probably guess, I wasn’t a big fan.

Before I talk about what these books are actually about, how about we discuss their biggest selling feature: The 3D covers.

My biggest complaint about this round of 3D covers is that, while the covers used in last year’s villains month were used to show depth and movement of the images, these ones are used to show two separate images on the same cover. This results in both images looking muddy, with very little sense of depth and motion. If the whole idea is to slap a cool cover on a bunch of books, shouldn’t you make the covers look as cool as possible? And, you know… clear?

So how about what’s in between the covers? Are the stories exciting and memorable? Are they instant classics?

Nope.

Careful! There may be some spoilers ahead!

All of the books take place five years in the future, just after the regular DC Earth has survived a war with a parallel world. Of course, none of the books explained how the war started, how it ended or even what it was about. Most of the stories did however have moments where it was made clear that certain characters were no longer on speaking terms, but wouldn’t explain what it was that happened to cause this. Here’s a generic example.

Random character: Hey Batman, maybe we should call Superman on this.

Batman: I can’t call Superman. Not after what happened.

Random character: What happened?

Batman: I don’t want to talk about it.

It’s fine when you come across this kind of thing once in a while, but when it happens over and over again it can get a little tiring.

Another thing that bugged me was the use of the term “one-shot” on some of these books. In my view, a one-shot should be a self contained story that doesn’t require the reader to read anything else to understand what is happening. This view is apparently not shared by the people at DC, who decided that the Wonder Woman one-shot and the Superman/Wonder Woman one-shot should make up a two-part story. Now admittedly, they really don’t need to be read together (or at all… they were both pretty terrible) since the only tie between the two is the revelation in the first couple pages of the second part that the first part was actually a dream (well… at least that explains why super-angry Wonder Woman was hanging out with Napoleon and other historical figures). If that wasn’t dumb enough, there is a two page spread in the Superman/Wonder Woman book where Wonder Woman is drawn with a 12-inch waist and calves that are longer than her torso. I know she’s an Amazon and all, but… Ugh.

Now, to be fair, it wasn’t all bad. There were a few cool moments to be had.

Raar, I'm a vampire!

Raar, I’m a vampire!

In the Batwoman book for instance, Batwoman is now a vampire (obviously) and it is revealed that she is part of a super team consisting of her twin sister Alice, Clayface, Etrigan the Demon, and, in a sign of true inspiration, Ragman. Ragman is an awesome superhero that wears a suit made of rags (obviously), and each rag has a different soul living in it from which he can draw power. It sounds goofy, but it’s amazing. So while I was super pumped by the first appearance of Ragman in the New 52 (as far as I know), I was bummed by the fact that in some panels Batwoman wore red boots and in other panels she had talons. If she was supposed to be a shape-shifter, that wasn’t conveyed very well. As you can see, even when there is something cool, there is something else that drives me crazy.

Pretty good book, but what's the deal with that pose?  Did Dick just win a prize fight?

Pretty good book, but what’s the deal with that pose? Did Dick just win a prize fight?

Moving on to other things I enjoyed as part of the Future’s End event, I also appreciated the reverse chronology storytelling in the Grayson book. The story itself was interesting, but telling it in a creative way really made it pop. Also, Dick Grayson was a communist or something, so there was that. Speaking of storytelling, I really enjoyed the Harley Quinn book. It had the sort of crazy antics you would expect in a book about a crazy psychologist with a giant mallet, and showed the sort of awful relationship that exists between her and her “puddin’”.

Uh oh, honeymoon's over.

Uh oh, honeymoon’s over.

But my absolute favourite thing about Future’s End was in the Swamp Thing book. The basic plot is that Swamp Thing, as the avatar of the green, has to go see the avatar of the grey, the red, the divided and the metal (metal avatar!) before he goes to battle the avatar of rot. But the plot isn’t important. What’s important is that during the climax, as Swamp Thing is battling Anton Arcane, the green avatar pulls a Kuato, and another Swamp Thing pops out of his chest. But not just any Swamp Thing. It looks like the pre-New 52 Swamp Thing! I love pre-New 52 Swamp Thing! I mean, that’s like, Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing! And he’s a white lantern! In a New 52 book! How awesome is that!??! This book was easily the best part of this whole Future’s End thing.

Metal Swamp Thing!

Metal Swamp Thing!

So those are just a few of my thoughts on the Future’s End event. There were some good things, but not enough to outweigh the bad. It’s clear that all of the people involved are talented, and you would think that giving writers and artists a blank canvas would allow them to create something incredible, but when no one (especially the readers) knows what’s happened in the past, things just seem confusing and, well, pointless.

So like last year, I am going to suggest that DC stop celebrating the anniversary of their reboot and stop interrupting the release of their regular titles. Please just focus on making your regular books better. Selling special one shots may give sales a slight boost, but focusing on the regular publishing line is more likely to encourage readers to keep reading over the long run.

Until next time!

BAMPF!

RESULTS – Funko Fight Club 2: Comic Book Bracket Quarter-Finals

The people have spoken, and now we know who has survived the Comic Book Bracket Quarter-Finals of Funko Fight Club 2!

Health Ledger Joker absolutely destroyed Christian Bale Batman by a vote of 6 to 0.  While I usually pout when a Batman loses, this one doesn’t bother me that much.

In a result that completely defies logic, Superman defeated General Zod by a vote of 5 to 1.  Really?  How am I the only one who voted for Zod?  Didn’t you guys see Man of Steel?  Whatever.  I’m not mad, I’m just really disappointed in all of you.

Looks like Joker’s main squeeze won’t be moving on, as Deadpool beat up on Harley Quinn by a vote of 4 to 2.  (Is it bad form to say that a male character “beat up on” a female character?  Please don’t write any letters.)

And in the most thrilling contest of Funko Fight Club 2 so far, we have a tie between Judge Dredd and Adam West Batman who each received 3 votes!  In the case of a tie, the winner is the character that I voted for.  So in the battle between Judge Dredd and Adam West Batman, the winner is….

 

…….

 

 

…….

 

 

……

 

 

JUDGE DREDD!!!!

Shocker, right?!?!  You thought I would have voted for Adam West Batman, but you are wrong.

What a thrilling conclusion to this round of Funko Fight Club 2!  Come back on Monday, July 7th to see who will competing in the Movies and TV Bracket Quarter-Finals!

BAMPF!!

Funko Fight Club 2: Comic Book Bracket Quarter-Finals

Welcome to the Comic Book Bracket Quarter-Finals of Funko Fight Club 2! If you don’t know what this is, you can read up on it here, but basically, this is a series of fights between Funko vinyl figures where you choose the winner. Previously, we saw Adam West Batman and Captain Kirk earn the right to participate in the tournament proper. You have until 9 PM Eastern Time on Friday, July 4th to pick the winners of the battles below.

So here we go with the Comic Book Bracket Quarter-Finals of Funko Fight Club 2! Let the best figures win!

Christian Bale Batman vs Heath Ledger Joker

bale ledger

Were you one of the many people who wanted the Joker to win in The Dark Knight? Well, now is your chance to change history! It’s the greatest Joker of all time going up against one of the greatest Batmen (as long as he keeps his mouth closed). Who will emerge victorious? You decide!

 

Superman vs General Zod

superman zod

Look, we all saw Man of Steel; the Zack Snyder reboot of the Superman film franchise. We all know what happened in the end. We all know it was stupid. Here is another chance to change history! I try to stay neutral in these Funko Fight Club battles, but I just can’t do it this time. Who is going to win this fight? Zod. It damn well better be General Zod.

 

Harley Quinn vs Deadpool

harley quinn deadpool

Deadpool is going up against a former psychiatrist, which is a good thing because he definitely needs his head examined. That said, this particular doctor is likely to just shoot him instead. Both are dangerous. Both are deadly. And both are more than a little nutty. Which nut is going to crack? It’s all up to you! The only thing certain in this battle is that it’s going to be epic!

 

Judge Dredd vs Adam West Batman

dredd west

In this contest we see the premier judge from Mega City One take on the (not really) Dark Knight of Gotham. Will Judge Dredd take it easy on one of his fellow purveyors of justice? Absolutely not! Dredd hates vigilantes, and now he is dealing with one of the most… campy. Will the Lawgiver lay waste to the utility belt, or are Batman’s old-timey toys too much for even the baddest of bad ass cops? Only time will tell.

 

So there it is, folks!  Come back on July 4th to see who makes it to the next round of Funko Fight Club 2!

BAMPF!