Dear Stan

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Well, shucks. That was one helluva morning jolt you gave me, man. Stronger than with cheap 3-in-1 coffee. Suddenly, I was facing a dreary day.

But you’re not gonna be gone ‘gone,’ are you? Your legacy will live on long after we’re all dust. If not in movies, cartoons and comic books, surely on the covers of notebooks, on T- shirts, in toy lines. Heck, here in the Philippines, your legacy is even splashed on the sides of public utility jeepneys. You’re everywhere, man.

Still, the world seems a colder place without you.

And I can’t imagine seeing future Marvel movies without your crazy cameos.

Like billions of others, I owe you a big THANK YOU. Lots of social media tributes out there, but I’ll borrow Seth Rogen’s: “Thank you Stan Lee for making people who feel different realize they are special.”

Thank you, man. Thank you very much.

Excelsior!

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Weekend bullets #1

BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY

Guns N’ Roses circa 2018 at the Philippine Arena is not the highlight of my weekend. It’s actually Queen circa 1985 in London. Yes, I finally saw Bohemian Rhapsody, and the fact that I’ve been listening to nothing but Queen today is testament to how much I enjoyed the movie.

Other highlights of the weekend:

  • Went to Megamall with the girls to inquire about visa requirements for our Planned Big Trip in 2019
  • Tried DC Super Heroes Cafe for the first (food’s good but pricey)
  • Picked up two weeks’ worth of comics from Filbar’s Megamall
  • Finished reading Daredevil: Guardian Devil TPB
  • Finished reading John Grisham’s Ford County (which is actually my first Grisham. I know. Sue me) then picked up Dan Brown’s Deception Point
  • Watched the last two episodes of The Haunting of Hill House

All in all, a fine weekend of rock ‘n’ roll, family bonding, and indulging in escapism.

Netflix and chill

So one fine weekend morning I woke up, fixed myself coffee, fired up my laptop, and noticed that the three shows competing for my attention were all from Netflix, to me the best proof of God’s unconditional love for couch potatoes. Heroes, haunted houses, and a has-been human-horse. I thought, What the hell.

BoJack Horseman

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I can’t believe I was clueless about this show until five seasons later. With an alcoholic humanoid horse as lead character, this animated satire should have reached my radar as early as the first buzz, but it didn’t, God knows why. But better late than never: I saw the pilot episode the other day, and judging from it, the 59-episode catch-up will be a sweet drunken journey rich with LOLs.

Daredevil

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I’m a big fan of the Marvel-Netflix love team and was kind of sad — although not at all surprised — that Iron Fist and Luke Cage both got the ax after their latest seasons. But the sadness went out the window the moment Season 3 of Daredevil got released. Not only because he’s one of my favorites comic book characters, but also because the trailers for the third season got me so pumped (one word: Bullseye!). So in the course of three days I marathon-watched the season and am now down to the last three eps. Glad to say, the season is living up to its hype.

The Haunting of Hill House

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I admit, I got on board because of the buzz this series has generated on social media. Seems like everyone with a Facebook account and a Netflix subscription is raving about this. Curiosity piqued, I watched the first three episodes just to test the water, and found out, to my delight, if not surprise, that this is more than just jump scares. There’s a good family drama mixed in with the horror, something that reminds me of why I like The Sixth Sense more than, say, The Conjuring, and it works pretty well. I like how the show constantly builds terror instead of slapping me around with it like in those Saw and Hostel movies. Episode 6 seems to be the best example of that. The same episode also boasts of an insane set of single-take shots that was just awesome. In short, the show is one helluva horror masterpiece, and I’m glad to have paid attention to the hype this time.

Retail therapy

Last week had been particularly stressful. I went home from work on Thursday thinking of doing a Chris McCandless — leave everything behind and live a quiet life in the woods. Or someplace rural. I was convinced city life is driving me mad.

But the next day was a rebound. I credit sleep, Friday vibes… and a bunch of TPBs scored on sale at Filbar’s in Megamall.

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What can I say? Retail therapy, man. Also: these comic books — as well as the dozens of unread paperbacks and magazines I’ve accumulated through the years — will make good companions if ever I decided to push through with my fantasy of living a life of complete solitude in the woods. Maybe it sounds puerile, but I don’t think I’ll ever abandon that daydream, especially considering the shit I have to deal with on a daily basis.

For the meantime, I ride this roller-coaster city life, with an eye on the next Filbar’s sale.

Event: October Komiket 2018

I guess it goes without saying that any morning you find yourself chuckling before coffee is a good one. I had one like that last Saturday, when I found myself awake at 4 a.m., not sleepy but in no mood to get out of bed, and had this idea to deal with the movie backlog in my laptop. Since it was the early hours of a weekend morning I wanted something light and funny and entertaining, so I picked Teen Titans Go: To the Movies. Indeed, nothing beats early morning LOLs.

The day got better. At noon I found myself among the gawkers and hipsters checking out merchandises at day one of the two-day October Komiket 2018 at ETON Centris. Had a hard time picking out my scores but eventually settled with the following:

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Mugs, a local indie comic, Breaking Bad keychains, some bookmarks and stickers, assorted back issues from DC and Marvel — I could’ve scored more, but most of the other items were either too Manga or too cute or too hipster-y for my taste, and I didn’t exactly go there awash with cash (payday was still two days away). Still, I laud the artists for their efforts, and am glad people are giving them love.

Cartoons and comics — indeed, what a Saturday.

My two cents worth: Venom

Will not beat around the bush: I kinda like Venom. It’s not MCU level, but it’s not crap either like what many critics had led me to believe. It’s dark, it’s violent, it has a pulse-pounding chase scene, and it’s, dare I say, fun. The interaction between Venom and Eddie Brock alone is worth a few chuckles.

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However. And this is a big HOWEVER…

I wish the movie had been darker, more violent. It’s Venom, for chrissakes! He eats human heads! That alone should’ve merited an R rating. Whatever happened to that hype that this would be a mature-viewers-only kind of movie? Seems like a bag of lies sold to us gullible losers to get our hopes up. Shame on us for believing.

Actually, the PG 13 rating had set alarm bells ringing in my head. That — and the early reviews I read — made me set my expectations low.

And now there’s talk that about 30 to 40 minutes were cut from the movie and, incidentally, those were Tom Hardy’s “favorite parts” (he reportedly said so in an interview). Well, your guess is as good as mine as to what the hell happened here.

All in all, I did not regret watching Venom on a lazy Sunday afternoon, especially when the alternative was staying at home and dreading Monday. There’s room for a lot of improvement here, and hopefully Sony Pictures will not squander it the next time around.

Weird Wednesday is weird

Went to an aunt’s wake today, at St. John the Baptist in San Juan City. Condolences were offered, hands shaken, somber pleasantries exchanged. The works. You know how wakes and funerals are — despite the family reunion, you don’t exactly emerge from them brimming with positive vibes.

And so much for gloom.

Had a toxic shift today — thanks, in part, to Mocha Uson. She answered many prayers by finally quitting the government. Still, I doubt we’ve seen the last of her. Why go back to titillating drunks in bars and making sex ed videos on the side if you’ve already tasted power and found it intoxicatingly good? The 2019 elections is just around the corner…

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I wish I can write about more pleasant things instead of dead relatives and controversial government appointees. I wish I can write about how awesome I think the first issue of Heroes in Crisis is, or how I think Iron Fist Season 2 sucks, or how I’m looking forward to watching Venom with my wife this weekend.

Maybe one of these days I will, when my head is clearer. I really want to write about Heroes in Crisis, and why I think those who dis it for being “cold” and “depressing” just don’t get it.

Or maybe not. Whatever.

And so much for Wednesday.