Reality Is The Playground Of The Unimaginative
Home Of Superheroes, Swords, Sorcery, Snowy, Sonic Screwdrivers, Supernatural Scares, Star Stuff, Simians, and Silliness
Saturday, 31 December 2022
Discover The Secret of The Mystery Meat and More in Chock'lit Shoppe of Horrors...
|Main cover by Adam Gorham|
Pop Tate is the glue holding Riverdale together, whether everyone realizes or not. His Chock’lit Shoppe is the beating heart of the city, where everyone can stop in for a delicious bite and some safe haven - even the worst sorts.
And not just the run-of-the-mill rapscallions who recently broke the jukebox.
When a young Riverdale couple (Nick St. Clair and Sherry Thyme) attempt to dine and dash on the humble small business owner, they quickly discover the fryer grease isn’t the only heart-stopping thing about the Chock’lit Shoppe.
From tales of mystery meat to the unnatural visitors that dine late at night, this anthology tells stories about the horrors that happen at Riverdale’s beloved malt shop - and how Pop Tate is at the centre of it all, the most powerful figure in Riverdale providing haven to all sorts of terrors and underhanded villainy.
The latest of these, Chilling Adventures Presents… Pop's Chock'lit Shoppe of Horrors is due to arrive in March, serving up an anthology of three standalone tales of terror.
All focus on the "dark side" of Pop Tate, proprietor of "Riverdale’s world famous burgers-and-milkshakes diner... as he exacts revenge on ne’er-do-wells when most of Riverdale is asleep and safe at home."
|Variant cover by Francesco Francavilla|
No Fooling About, Are You Ready To Go Ape With Marvel Next April?
Writer David Walker and artist Dave Wachter have been named as the team to shepherd The Planet of The Apes back into the House of Ideas.
With the first issue due out in April, I have high hopes for Marvel's latest reacquisition as it was a title I grew up reading in the 1970s and holds a special place in my heart.
I'm also a massive fan of Dave Wachter's art, having become besotted by it in the 2021 Iron Fist: Heart of The Dragon mini-series, my favourite comic of that year.
Monday, 26 December 2022
Sunday, 25 December 2022
The Toymaker Has 60th Anniversary Treat Planned For The Doctor, Donna, and Us!
“The show is just beginning…” Doctor Who returns in 2023 ❤️❤️➕🔷
Saturday, 24 December 2022
SEASON'S GREETINGS 🎅🏼🎅🏼🎅🏼
|Family portrait taken during our recent 'very British' snowstorm|
Friday, 23 December 2022
|Carol concert at Tonbridge School|
I lose sleep for days - sometimes weeks - before, over what to most sane people would be a simple trip to another town or city, getting worked up about any such expeditions, making myself feel even worse than I do anyway.
This stress and anxiety feeds on itself, accentuating the constant pain and discomfort I already live with, giving me "better" excuses not to do what has been planned, no matter trivial it may be in the greater scheme of things.
However, following the heart-breaking loss of my old pal, Matt, a keen global traveller, in August, I have been seized with a desire to actually "do more" and so have been encouraging Rachel to get tickets for a number of shows next year for us to attend.
This may not sound like much, but to me this is a big deal. Sure, it's not climbing Everest or visiting Machu Picchu, but getting me to leave the house is a major life-change these days.
While this new carpe diem attitude is manifesting itself in baby steps at first, we're already getting a good docket of events lined up for 2023.
This week, for instance, I suggested we attend a charity carol concert at Tonbridge School. It was in aid of Hospice in The Weald, who had cared for Matthew in his final weeks, and Aled Jones (of Walking In The Air fame) was the guest performer.
Unfortunately, Aled had to pull out at the last moment (due to ill health), but the sold-out event went ahead anyway, with local volunteers stepping into Aled's shoes and the two visiting school choirs taking on extra songs.
When we arrived, the allocated parking area at the school was already full up and so Rachel dropped me off while she went to find somewhere to park on the road.
Naturally, as I stood in the long snaking queue of people waiting for the doors to open, my panic started to kick in and I was on the verge of suggesting we bail out.
But once Rachel returned, having masterfully found a nearby parking spot, I calmed down.
We had initially tested my new resolve in early November by going to Maidstone to see the brilliant musical comedy duo Flo & Joan on their extended Sweet Release tour, at the Hazlitt Theatre.
|Rachel and I on our first proper 'night out' in years|
Now, I have to be honest, the half-hour drive there and back - in the dark - scared the shit out of me. This is nothing to do with Rachel's driving, she has a spotless record, but simply the travelling down unlit country roads freaked me out.
Although I took a recertification driving test after I came out of hospital, I haven't actually driven myself for 17 years and the other month I finally got round to surrendering my driving licence back to the DVLA, explaining that I simply don't feel competent driving anyway.
It's not just the physical discomfort of sitting in a car seat - I squirm constantly and twitch every now and then - but the whole driving at night down roads I wasn't wholly familiar with was the final straw.
So far, my new enthusiasm hasn't taken me out of the county of Kent, but that will change next year.
You have to realise that since we moved I no longer even walk into the town centre, as I used to do quite regularly, and I've been okay with that.
As much as I will always enjoy living vicariously through television, film, and friends' anecdotes, I'm not getting any younger, so while I am still able, I've realised I might be missing out on things "in the real world" because I've been too terrified to venture outside.
I'm still terrified, but - with Rachel's wonderful assistance - I'm endeavouring to take tiny steps, then bigger steps, back into the great outdoors. To see what's out there.
Provisional 2023 Mood Boards...
Above and below, you will see rough mood boards that I quickly threw together as an aide-mémoire for the direction I intend to steer my geekdom in 2023 (all being well).
Everything centres upon my current love affair with The Troubleshooters RPG.
This Euro-centric, comic book-inspired game has reignited my ages-old passion for Hergé's Adventures of Tintin
This also gels well with one of my favourite TV shows, The Mysterious Benedict Society (based on a series of books I'd never heard of before the show started airing on Disney Plus), as well as one of my favourite film franchises, Indiana Jones.
I was already entertaining both of these as "source material" for an unspecified future campaign for my monthly gaming group, The Tuesday Knights.
But now I've hit upon the glue that will bind everything together.
Until I'm au fait with the core rules of The Troubleshooters and feel able to explain them to The Tuesday Knights, I shall try not to get too invested in worldbuilding for my proposed RPG campaign...
One step at a time.
However, I have started collecting adventure hooks, interesting locales etc as befits a game where global travel is a key element.
Hopefully I will be able to express my belief that this game needn't play out like a Dungeons & Dragons clone: the pacing will be frenetic; dice rolling will be kept to a minimum (that is only when necessary); sometimes it is good to split the party up (how many action films, for example, outside of war movies, do you know where the protagonists shuffle around in groups of four or five all the time?); although the PCs will often be treasure hunting the adventure is more important that the actual acquisition of wealth etc etc
Mentally, I'm already referring to 2023 as The Year of Tintin, but as ever we'll have to wait and see how good my wandering, fickle, attention is at staying on target.
Monday, 19 December 2022
Musical Monday: Shchedryk aka Carol of the Bells (Eileen)
"Shchedryk (the original Carol of the Bells) with lyrics I’ve translated from Ukrainian into English, as well as with original lyrics in Ukrainian.So, now you know...
"Shchedryk was arranged by Ukrainian composer Mykola Leontovych at the beginning of the 20th Century.
"The song is based on the traditional Ukrainian folk chant welcoming the New Year (“shchedrivka”).
"In 1921, the Ukrainian National Chorus sung the song in the United States to a sold-out audience at Carnegie Hall.
Later, Peter J. Wilhousky rearranged the melody for orchestra and wrote the new lyrics in English thus creating Carol of the Bells.
"The original Shchedryk by Leontovych was intended to be sung a cappella by mixed four-voice choir."
Musical Monday: 12 Days Of Christmas (John Denver & The Muppets)
John Denver & The Muppets singing 12 Days of Christmas from the 1979 A Christmas Together holiday special.
Sunday, 18 December 2022
"Mon Dieu! La neige!..."
Last week we had the most impressive snowfall we've seen in the South-East of England for ages.
While snow had been forecast, I - being British - was used to disappointment and didn't expect much beyond a few flakes.
However, once it became obvious that we were getting a serious amount of the white stuff, we bundled Alice into her winter coat and went for a wander.
The first I did was write my name in the snow with my walking stick!
But then, most unusually, the snow decided to stick around. With temperatures barely creeping over freezing point all week we still have a wonderful white landscape to enjoy seven days later.
I still retain a childlike, romantic, fascination with snow, probably because it is an increasingly rare sight in our country, and I associate it with so many Christmassy traditions, shows, stories, films etc.
The day after the initial snowfall our garden looked like this:
For now, though, the temperature has risen ever so slightly and precipitation has turned to rain, which is predicted to continue until Christmas Day.