Comic Con 2016

I will be at the Comic-Con International in San Diego all this week starting Wednesday night. You can find me in the 1900 row, usually. Look for the one-legged man in a wheelchair.

It should be an interesting con. I look forward to seeing old friends and catching up. Look to my facebook page for any pictures I may take.

Mike Barr’s Once a Wizard… This Friday!

At long last, the much awaited Once a Wizard by comics legend Mike W Barr will be available in ebook everywhere and in print on Amazon this Friday. The book is described thusly:

John North is entering a comfortable middle age, surrounded by his wife and three daughters. His youngest daughter, Eloisia, is kidnapped by North’s former allies, agents of Equinox, a shadowy organization that intends to rekindle its power to reshape the world. To save Elly, North is forced to relearn his long-forgotten magic before she is forever lost.

Published by Fortan Media

Vertical Farms are the Future

My ancestors were farmers going back to the mid-20th century. The traditional farm took up a lot of real estate and required the weather and insects to be cooperative, and even then they were limited by seasons as to where they could sell their crops. They often needed more workers during harvesting and many farms ended up going under when things became unfavorable to them. But as agriculture uses more sophisticated measures to spray the crops, it has a massive impact on the environment. The oceans are seeing a huge impact on coral reefs and starfish when fertilizers wash into the ocean and cause blooms of algae or predatory life to exceed their normal patterns.

Enter the verticle farm. Agriculture scientists have been studying greenhouse farming for over 100 years but recent developments as made it possible to grow significant amounts of crops in stacked farms inside buildings using a lot less energy and nutrients. What’s more, growing food in controlled environments means seasons don’t matter. Weather doesn’t matter. And food can be locally sourced so people can get fresher produce grown right around the corner.

It’s a win-win situation, and it can only get better.

Our World Came About in an Instant

Human beings are wrong about most of the things they believe. It may not be something anyone wants to hear, but it’s true. Most of what we “know” was discovered by accident or by some savant. Scientific theories are often proven wrong, so when you are told the majority of scientists believe something, you can laugh.

This video puts it all in perspective. We arrived at where we are today in the blink of an eye. For more than 100,000 years we were ignorant tribal creatures using stone weapons. Then something happened, and it all changed. People are so smug today about what they think we know, but in reality, we are still a long way from actual knowledge.

Brexit: First of Many Steps

The lies and disinformation about Brexit before and after it was voted on continue to pile up. It’s only the first in many steps leading to WWIII. Perhaps not in the way the last two world wars happened with armies and mass genocide. Nowadays the global elites and other bad actors in the world use propaganda and politics to achieve their ends. But their methods are starting to backfire as the culture wars across the world start heating up from massive resentment. The elites once again overplayed their hand by trying to divide people with scare words like racism and islamophobia. Now the world economic bubble which was largely artificial will once again pop. Politicians will face massive revolts at home. They should be glad people don’t use guillotines these days, but they are as bad or worse than the aristocrats of previous centuries. There may be no Bastille to bring them to, but things are going to get real. The die is cast.

This video does a pretty good job of breaking it down. The narrator’s views may not be to your taste but this is on point.

You may think I’m crazy to declare a world war is coming but it has been going on for over a decade. People just wanted to pretend it wasn’t happening. It is not a war like the last two but it will have much broader consequences. Right now people are fighting ideological wars. This election in the US is more important than many realize. Whoever wins will have a huge impact on the state of the world and not like you may think.

Best Game I ever Played

I’ve been playing computer games since the early 80s, and before that arcade games since the late 60s so I can tell you I am very experienced with them. While I have encountered many great games in my life, last November I fell in love with a game called The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt. I had only started playing the second one right before the third game came out so I decided to jump on that instead and was blown away. Now I am working my way through the first two games, I am almost finished with the second one.

Years ago I dreamed of the day RPGs would establish a rich, multi-textured world with deep writing, great characters and vast areas to explore. That game is the Witcher 3. It’s incredible on so many levels. It’s set in a medieval world and it’s fully realized and incredibly well researched despite it being fantasy, the architecture and costumes are amazing, The music is phenomenal and rich. The voice actors have accents depending on their regions. Country people sound like people do in the English countryside. City dwellers sound like they come from different cities in the UK or in some cases, America. Dwarves have Scottish accents. People from the Skellige islands sound Irish. (Skellige is Gaelic for Island). The music is often medieval folk tunes with a truly wonderful incidental score that varies depending on where you are in the world.

The word itself is vast and incredibly diverse. You can go to six different regions which are very large. The characters are very textured and complex. Very nuanced and believable. Antagonists aren’t just evil, they are actually understandable. You actually will like some of them.

I also started reading the books the series is based on and they are very well written. It was originally a hit in the author’s native Poland. It has since become an international hit. It’s not Game of Thrones, it has more humor but I would say it’s on that level in many respects.

Here’s a video that sums up many of the things that’s great about the games. I really can’t recommend it enough. p

Trump and the Future

So the GOP is dead according to a lot of papers and Facebook peeps. Really? Have you not been paying attention since 2000 or longer? The GOP has never really stood for anything for a long time. It’s made noises like it did, and it’s pundits made all these grandiose claims, but the proof is always in the deeds, not words.

As for the Democrats, fuggedaboutit. They have sold out the country in so many ways. And the party is rigged. Ask Bernie supporters. The Dems, like the GOP, is bought by special interests and they make a lot of noise claiming they stand for this and that but in reality, they have been cheerleading American decline for some time. They have been very creating in rearranging chairs on the Titanic. Focusing their voter’s attention on utter BS while serious problems have been ignored.

So I’m not surprised that Trump won the nomination. Like it or not, he was the only candidate really speaking out on the dysfunction of our government. The others talked like they did, but they sounded canned. Trump has been saying a lot of the stuff he says for decades. Go do a youtube search and you’ll see what I mean. I have no idea if he will be good or effective. I suspect he will better than people think. The is a successful businessman. His failed companies are not a sign of anything other than normalcy. Most businesses don’t succeed. But he has managed to come back from failure many times. I also think he will win. His latest success is due to people being fed up with the status quo.

The same thing is driving Bernie Sanders success. He would have the Dem nomination if not for the rigged party politics. Trump and Sanders are more similar that you think. They are both outsiders. Both populists. Both are called nuts by the political elites. That’s because both are a threat to the status quo.

What happens next is scary, perhaps, but not as scary as more of the same. We’ll have over 20 trillion in debt when BO leaves office. There are more people out of the labor force since Carter. No control at our borders. There has been little to no GDP growth. The world is on the brink of war. I could go on, but it’s all going to become very real, very soon.

It had a pretty strong feeling that Trump would be the nominee around the first debate, even before. When I saw he was serious this time, I saw what he was doing. A great video explaining his methods are here. He is not a stupid man. Anyone who thinks he’s dumb is misinformed.

This election was coming for a long time. We let fools and charlatans wreck our country. Let’s just hope this time, maybe we have a chance to right the ship of state.

Val Mayerik in The Quantum Terror

Val Mayerik has a small role in the Lovecraftian Horror film I’m producing called The Quantum Terror. The director Christopher Moonlight thinks we’re close to wrapping soon. I just wanted to reveal this cool shot of Val from the movie. He plays a detective. Val has many years of acting experience so we’re happy to have him in the cast.

More on the Quantum Terror soon!

Mike Barr’s Once A Wizard coming in May

I am happy to announce that Mike Barr’s novel, Once A Wizard, will be published next month by Fortan Media. It’s a fantasy novel about a retired wizard who goes looking for his daughter after she’s disappeared. Morre details to follow, but I am happy to finally have a cover. The book is finished and we’re just working on the publication details now.

Mike Barr is a long term veteran of comics. Aside from Camelot 3000 and myriad Batman stories, he is an Ultraverse creator and the creator of one of the villains appearing in the upcoming Suicide Squad movie. Mike has also written mystery stories for Ellery Queen Magazine. This is huis first novel.


REVIEW: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

I don’t know what movie the critics saw but it wasn’t the one I saw. Batman V Superman (BVS) was a very solid film. Is it perfect? No, but it seems the 3-hour version when it’s released my fix that. I may be wrong but a lot of the negative stuff I heard before I saw the movie seems to be less about its merits and more about expectations and the climax, which offends some people because a major character “dies”. Rest assured, that character is not dead. But people expecting a wall to wall action movie were also disappointed because most of the action is in the last third of the film. That does not make it a bad film. It built up its story very well, and did it with a level of seriousness, which was another complaint, but it was a justified tone if you followed the narrative.

The story is centered around Batman/Bruce Wayne. He narrates the story and is basically the eyes that we see all the spectacle with. Being mortal, he is grounded and this film is mainly from his perspective. The story is about how he was traumatized as a kid by the death of his parents and then horrified by the battle of Metropolis seen in Man of Steel. Many of his employees died or were crippled in that event. So he is driven to make sure it doesn’t happen again, but in doing so falls prey to the antagonist of the story, Lex Luthor.

Superman is a supporting character, not the lead. He is the target of Lex Luthor who wants to destroy him because he hates the very idea of him. He doesn’t believe he could be noble. He sees the world with corrupt and jaded eyes, so he wants Superman ruined. As a result he puts together a series of events designed to make people fear and distrust him. He seeks any means to wipe him out, including government intervention.

Lois Lane and Superman are clearly in love. Lois seeks to find answers on an event where she was almost killed. This event leads her to discover things that parallel a ibvestigation of Bruce Waynes. I won’t reveal much more than that, but it all holds together for the most part.

Diana Prince is another character who shows up investigating Luthor and her path crosses Wayne’s. It all comes together in the big battle which is something Luthor sets up, pushing Batman and Superman against each other. Luthor is far from stupid. This is a prettyu smart and clever version of him. His mannerisms reveal he is a little touched in the head, but he knows what ghe is doing.

All of this is a set up for a Justice League movie. So what happens in the climax is in service of justifying that, and it really doesn’t detract from it. It gives it more urgency. But people who don’t like what happens blame the film. When people have more time to chew on this film I believe it will be considered more of a classic. I watched a ton of reviews on Youtube by fan critics and even the ones who liked it got a lot wrong. They weren’t paying attention. That’s probably because there was a lot to take in and digest. On repeat viewings I think people will be more favorable to it.

It’s kind of the opposite of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which was universally loved despite many faults and absurd coincidences. That film was very derivative. This film was very fresh from a comics film perspective, The story is taken from several major comics but it was put together well. It didn’t feel like they were trying to be like something else, say the Avengers, whereas TFA was basically trying to be like classic Star Wars a little too much.

I wouldn’t be surprised if TFA gets viewed less favorably over time and BvS gets more favorably. Both were reviewed based on expectations rather than merit. To my mind BvS is a better film.