Saturday, December 31, 2022

New Music from The Veils!!!


YES! I have been waiting for this for about five years now. Not sure how long it usually takes between records - it was The Veils' performance on David Lynch's Twin Peaks: The Return in 2017 that introduced them to me (despite Mr. Brown attempting to previous to that), so this will be my first new Veils' record since becoming a fan. 

Wow. Right when I start my Twin Peaks re-watch, too. The Stars, they are aligning!

The new double album, "... And Out of the Void Came Love" drops March 3rd; you can pre-order it now HERE.


Angelo Badalamenti - Twin Peaks Season Two and More
Angelo Badalamenti - Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me OST


Continuing my three pulls for the new year, here's my card from Crowley and Harris' Thoth:

Typically, I read Aces in this deck as Breakthroughs and the fact that we're looking at a breakthrough in Disks reflects the fact that I received a completely unexpected 'extra' paycheck this year and was able to all but pay off the credit card that I used to help us move. This is a HUGE breakthrough, because now, as long as I'm diligent for a bit, I can finish these and then help K whittle down the big box hardware store card she got when we first moved. I can only imagine this Breakthrough should echo good things into the new year.

Friday, December 30, 2022

My Ten Favorite Albums of 2022

Whereas last year, I had moments that suggested I may not be able to cull ten new records for a list, this year I had no similar problems. LOTS of new music in 2022. What follows is the list of my ten favorite albums released in 2022.

Top Ten Albums 2022:

10) Beach House -  Once Twice Melody

I've been a bit slow on the uptake with Beach House. While I've been partaking in their music for probably close to ten years, I always kept them at arm's length. In fact, it wasn't until two or so years ago that my cousin Charles recommended I give the track "Elegy to the Void" my undivided attention. That song, from the band's 2015 album Thank Your Lucky Stars, proved to be the track that opened an entirely new dimension to the band's music for me. Since then, every album that drops plays a slightly more important role in my year, culminating with this year's double album, Once Twice Melody, which, like Mastodon's Hushed and Grim last year and another 2022 album higher on this list, is a double album with NO fat. Every track is perfect, the order is essential, and it all builds into a fitting snapshot of the quieter moments of my 2022.

9) H6LLB6ND6R - Side A

Here's a first - H6LLB6ND6R is made up of the Addams family, who also have a film in my top ten films this year! The movie is likewise titled Hellbender, and just like this record, it's a really fresh take on what a stripped-down, independent project can accomplish. If this is bedroom-producing, I want more. Every track has a hook, and yet, the sludgy, pummeling goodness still hits hard. Add in an early Jucifer-vibe to the doubled vocals, and I just couldn't put this one down. 

8) Greg Puciato - Mirrorcell

Everything Greg Puciato does moves the needle well into the red with me. Mirrorcell is no different. That first single, "Lowered" with Reba Meyers from Code Orange is a massive track, and really helped to define my year. The rest of the album takes the slightly fractured feeling of Puciato's first solo record, Child Soldier, and smooths it into a more coherent whole. I miss the f*ck out of DEP, but I can't really complain when their singer is giving us albums of this calibre.

7) Carpenter Brut - Leather Terror

Until Leather Terror, Carpenter Brut's records always felt like they were half-there to me. I dig several of them to varying degrees, and the OST to Blood Machines is fantastic (but that's a score, and thus, something a bit different than an album), but there's always been a... I don't know, call it a whimsy that sneaks into the vibe and leaves me a bit cold. But that's just me. I also think my regard for CB may have suffered by my being such a fan of Perturbator-  anyone else working in that realm of "Synthwave" or whatever you want to call it felt a few notches behind. 

But as I said, ALL of that is my own baggage, and should not be misconstrued as judgment against the extremely accomplished musician known as Carpenter Brut, who proves me 100% full of shit on this new album. This one SLAMS, the guest vocalists all do fantastic work, and the one-two of tracks "Day Stalker" and "Night Prowler" is something to behold. 

Baggage ejected; can't wait for the next record!!!

6) The Mysterines - Reeling

My elevator pitch for this band is meant to evoke honor, and yet I realize it essentially sells the Mysterines short. "PJ Harvey singing for BRMC" is enough to convince folks to give this band a chance, but having listened to the record countless times and seen them live (my first post-vaccination show), a comparison like that does nothing to convey the raw gifts on display in Reeling's perfectly tight 13 songs. This is Rock n' Roll that lives and breathes with a confidence and cool that places it right up there in the lexicon of bands that will live forever - Iggy, Bowie, the aforementioned PJ and Motorcycle Club. A lot of that is owed to singer/guitarist Lia Metcalfe, who emotes a conjuration somewhere between Nick Cave's mystic knowledge and PJ's "Fuck U" attitude.

5) Final Light - Final Light

Brutal, majestic, mysterious: take the neon pentagram glow of Perturbator's music and wash it in the medieval blood of the north often associated with Black Metal and you still can't quite get close to capturing the sonic environment of this record. One thing's for sure though: It's a storm! 

I've spent A LOT of time this year using Lustmord's various instrumental music as a soundtrack to my writing because of the doorways his musical manipulations open. Maybe more than anything else on this list, Final Light provides a very similar experience. There are dark places herein, but they're inspiring and beautiful and, if you catch them just right, they'll take you places you won't be expecting.

4) Sylvaine - Nova

I'd never heard of Sylvaine until I saw them open for another band on this list, and live they absolutely blew me away. When I fired up this year's Nova album I found that, just like that live show, this band's studio mastery creates an all-encompassing experience that is visceral and beautiful and at times, sad and scary. That's pretty much exactly what I want from my Post-Black-Metal-Folk-bands, and Nova shot to the top of that list the moment I hit play on this one.

3) Zeal and Ardor - Eponymous

To quote my good friend Keller as we stood in L.A.'s Echoplex this past October watching Z&A tear through 80% of the new, eponymous record, "These guys are truly post-genre." Yep. Every album just gets bigger and better. Can't wait for the next. 

2) Ghost - Impera

I was not a super fan of Ghost's previous record, Prequelle, and while I've never stopped recognizing Tobias Forge's genius, his work doesn't always align with my taste or what I perceive as the promise whispered by those first two-and-a-half Ghost albums. So in the run-up to the release of this year's Impera, I had assumed this would be another quasi-disappointment. 

Wrong. This is easily my favorite Ghost album behind Infestissumam. Something about the arranging and songwriting on this one - I'm not sure if it's because I'm at a place where I have reassessed and embraced so much 80s Hard Rock I once detested, but I feel elements of a lot of that here, only transmogrified into something sleek and modern. Side A closing tracking "Watcher in the Sky" is my favorite song by the band behind "Year Zero," as well as my second favorite song of the year, and it carries a lot of weight here. That said, every single track moves me and gets stuck in my heart, even the mellowest ones, because they all fit together into this beautiful puzzle called Impera and make for a thrilling snapshot of an artist who has still yet to tap into his reserves.

1) Orville Peck - Bronco

It is a rare breed, the musician who can follow up a widely praised - and deservedly so - debut album with an even better sophomore record, let alone one that is a double album. Orville Peck, however, knocked this one so far out of the park, Pony seems like it came out a decade ago. Bronco is thrilling, with every track outshining the previous in lyrics, melody, and above all instrumentation. Like Impera, Bronco takes what has come before and influenced it - in this case the pomp and circumstance of 70s country instrumentation - and weaves it into a beautiful portrait of the years that preceded the album and those yet to come. Also, like Impera, one of the songs on the A Side - in this case, "Out of Time" - is my favorite of the year. What a perfect fit to my exodus from California and my move to Tennessee. 

Bedridden - Soft Soap


My good friend Amy posted a track by her nephew's new band on her socials the other day, and I was floored when I followed the link and hit play. Can't wait to hear more by Bedridden soon; this band rules! Buy the track and hit follow over on their Bandcamp HERE.


Starting my first full rewatch of Twin Peaks since before 2017's The Return (which I've rewatched twice since it aired). This time, however, I am starting with Fire Walk With Me

Watched it today; never fails to blow me away.


David Lynch and John Neff - BLUEBOB
Stan Getz - Focus
Talking Heads - More Songs About Buildings and Food
Made Out of Babies - The Ruiner
Lustmord - Hobart
Angelo Badalamenti - Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me OST


For the first of my three New Year's Pulls, I used Missi's Raven Tarot for a single card to indicate where the new year will take me.

A paradigm shift! Good news. This leads me to believe I am on firm footing with the projects I am currently balancing. Let's revisit this for each of the next two days with my subsequent pulls.

Thursday, December 29, 2022

RIP John Neff & Al Strobel


Holy cow. The Twin Peaks Fest Facebook page is reporting another major David Lynch collaborator's death. Musician John Neff. This is insanely saddening, especially coming on the heels of Angelo Badalamenti's death AND the fact that I somehow missed the news that the One-Armed Man himself, Al Strobel also passed away recently. I can't find any information on Mr. Neff, but there is a lovely memorial over on Welcome to Twin Peaks.

Neff worked with Lynch on several projects in and around the Millennium; however, the stand out is undoubtedly their 2001 album BLUEBOB. Not only is this one of my all-time favorite albums, but it is also the album that propelled Lynch to go on and record Crazy Clown Time and The Big Dream. BLUEBOB was recently remastered and distributed by Solitude Records. You can buy the remastered album HERE. Despite the remaster, I am perfectly happy with my OG copy of the disc, and hope someone puts out a vinyl at some point.

Posted above, the track "Mountains Falling" is perhaps the best-known from the record, a sprawling soundtrack of dirge and decay used in Lynch's film Mulholland Drive.


Let's talk a bit about Al Strobel. Mostly known for his dual role in Twin Peaks as Phillip Gerard, the traveling shoe salesman, and MIKE, the antithesis spirit to BOB; if there was one good thing that came out of Michael Anderson's refusal to take part in Twin Peaks: The Return, it's that the absence of Anderson's Little Man From Another Place left the door wide open for Strobel to have a lot more screen time. Essentially becoming the de facto coercing spirit in the Waiting Room, MIKE's interactions with the trapped Cooper create not only the impetus for a lot of Cooper/Dougie's arc in the film but also a large part of the mechanics behind the "Evolved" Red Room. 

My favorite moments of Strobel's in the Twin Peaks canon, however, are in the second season of the original series. He is instrumental in the events leading up to the capture of BOB, and Strobel's portrayal of a man deprived of his "medicine" and the transformation that catalyzes is riveting, leading right up to this:


CHILLS to this day! Easily my favorite overall moment with Mr. Strobel. Absolute genius. RIP Al Strobel - see You in the Sycamore Trees, sir!


Clint Mansell & Kevin Kiner - Doom Patrol Main Title Theme (single)
The Nukes - Why Things Burn
Dio - The Last In Line
Bedridden - Soft Soap (single)
Made Out of Babies - The Ruiner
Discharge - Never Again
Tubby Hayes Quartet - Down in the Village
David Lynch and John Neff - BLUEBOB
Stan Getz - Focus

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Distant Pulsars


Here's a track off the latest Man... Or Astro-Man? EP, Distant Pulsar. You can order the vinyl or digital from Bandcamp HERE.


This week for NCBD, I have main titles I'm definitely picking up, and a few contingent ones that I'm on the fence about:

Peter Vs. Reilly, the match of the century? Probably not, but should be a good tussle. 

The franchising of SIKTC continues with this new number one. I think this is a one-shot, but not entirely certain. I've still yet to read any House of Slaughter, though I have snatched up a few of those "Body Bag" covers. I'll probably start buying it monthly and just nab that first trade.

I love this Jason Burnham cover. Creepshow is up for reassessment after this issue. A lot like the show on Shudder, the deeper into the run we get, the less I care about it as an ongoing thing. The quality just doesn't seem consistent. We'll see.

More Dark Web X-Men stuff. Good deal. I'm loving the Maddy-Alex vibes that echo out of the original Inferno and into this. 

Holy covers! Wow - I have to be sure to get my hands on this one. Very cool. 

Bringing The Nice House on the Lake to a close. I'm up-to-date with my reading, but will probably re-read the first eleven issues again this weekend before capping the series off with this final issue. Exciting!

One more X-Terminators issue after this one. I'll be honest - the series started great and has fizzled a bit for me, but there's definitely still room for this one to turn around and end as a banger.

Now, on to the contingencies:

I dig the Dead Boy Detectives, and Nightmare Country has gone a long way toward encouraging me to pick up other Sandman Universe titles; however, just like when they launched this line back in 2018 or 19, the more they add to it, the more my interest frays. 

I dug the first issue of this, but I'm just not sure if I will continue, especially if this is just a straight-up retelling of the film.

There was one of these last year at this time, too. Why isn't this issue 2? I love Kang, so I'm probably grabbing this, but I need to look through it first.


Tubby Hayes Quartet - Down in the Village
Metallica - ... And Justice For All
Deth Crux - Bloody Christmas
Man... or Astroman? - Distant Pulsar
Clint Mansell & Kevin Kiner - Doom Patrol Season One OST


From Jonathan Grimm's Bound Tarot, which you can buy HERE.

Emotions have been a bit high here. Well, one emotion in particular. Having K's Mother live with us in Redondo Beach, things were tight but okay. Since moving to a considerably bigger space in this house, however, my patience wears quite thin and it is becoming difficult to contain the absolute fury she often inspires in me. Now, make no mistake, I have been told on numerous occasions that I have the patience of a saint. It is currently, depleting in record chunks, and honestly, I've found it difficult to adequately replenish from day to day. I'm seeing this card as a reminder that emotional completion - in this case, peace at the situation - comes only through intense Will and a strong foundation. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Crime Story


I've always loved Del Shannon's Runaway. I grew up in a house that played a lot of oldies. In the early 80s, "Oldies" radio was mostly defined by tracks from the 50s and early 60s, most of which seemed anathema to my own era's Pop music. Thriller, Purple Rain, 1984, Some Great Reward,  Rio and Sports were albums that comprised the bell curve of my taste, so songs like "When the Lion Sleeps Tonight" and its brethren often seemed 'dumb' to me, to invoke the parlance of an eight-year-old. That said, there were always a handful of oldies that moved me. Shannon's Runaway was one.

This became especially true when the Michael Mann-produced Crime Story came to NBC in 1985. Using Runaway as the theme immediately imprinted the show on me. As a kid, I was also a HUGE fan of Michael Mann's Miami Vice. I used to watch it every Friday with my father in a block that included the Sci/Fi show "V. When Crockett and Tubs' success opened the network doors to Mann. he quickly followed with Crime Story, and I ate it up. 

As a nine-year-old, Crime Story was most likely my introduction to the mobster genre. And make no mistake, the show's Big Bad Ray Luca and his laughable henchman Pauli Taglia could have hung with any of the Cinematic Godfathers I'd meet a few years later. 

These guys were something I'd not seen before; in the 80s action flicks I loved, bad guys were either 42 St. scum bags, terrorists, or aliens. These guys were slick, well-mannered and well-dressed.  They moved in circles of wealth and power, more than bombs and guns. Of course, this meant when they did enact violence, it often seemed especially cold, and this made the cops fighting them act in kind. Thrilling, to say the least.

Crime Story was also my introduction to Dennis Farina. Farina's Michael Torello was a tough guy who was so Chicago, he bared more than a passing resemblance to people I knew. The mustache, mannerisms and attitude were attributes I'd seen a thousand times in the adults around me, his accent and demeanor that of friends' parents and relatives, so the entire story seemed that much closer to real life than something like Miami Vice could ever hope to be. 

I'm going on about all this because with my parents in town for the holidays, my father and I spent two days marathoning old cop shows. The first two days were all about Rockford Files episodes. Then, I got an idea: sure enough, both seasons of Crime Story are available for free streaming on Freevee. I'm not much for streaming platforms with commercials, but this was a no-brainer, and we're currently about halfway through the first season and absolutely loving it. Always nice when a show from your childhood holds up. Also, since I hadn't seen this since it aired, I was shocked to realize that, while the theme song is indeed Runaway, it's not Del Shanon's version. Instead, Tod Rundgren pulled off a pretty damn straight cover that can almost fool anyone, those falsetto "Wa-Wah's" in the chorus a close match to Shannon's.


Bob Clark's classic Christmas slasher film Black Christmas was my Christmas Night chaser this year. Here's a TV spot I found from when it aired as "Silent Night Evil Night":

This one always chills me; there's something about the stoicism Clack employs here, whether it's through the meditative movements of Reg Morris' camera, the haunting and ephemeral score by Carl Zittrer, or the "elevated" performances by Olivia Hussey and Keir Dullea, but this one really gets under my skin - in the best possible way. Also, as always, John Saxon gives the best cop performance this side of Tom Atkins. 


Angelo Badalamenti - Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me OST
Nat King Cole - The Christmas Song
The Ronettes - Presenting the Fabulous Ronettes
Various - A Christmas Gift For You From Phil Spector
Willie Nelson - Red-Headed Stranger
Kermit Ruffins - Barbeque Swingers Live


From Jonathan Grimm's Bound Tarot, which you can buy HERE.

What comes next is a practical solution to emotional setbacks and a long-awaited finish to one of my ongoing projects. 

Sunday, December 25, 2022

Bloody (Merry) Christmas!

The first Christmas in our new house! Amidst predictions of a blizzard hitting Chicago this past Thursday, my parents left the South Side a day early to beat the snow. Imagine their consternation when Thursday night Tennessee received a good inch-and-a-half of White Christmas! I love this; this is a bonafide dream come true for Kirsten, and it fills me with joy to see her reaction to something I began taking for granted a long time ago (she's renewed it though...)

Anyway, Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night. And hey, maybe after Home Alone, throw on that new Joe Begos Christmas flick, Christmas Bloody Christmas!

Saturday, December 24, 2022

Grey Hairs - Serious Business


Having never heard of the band Grey Hairs before, I encountered two of their songs in something I was watching (although for the life of me I can't remember what). Anyway, I checked out their record Serious Business and found it to be seriously fantastic. Here's a youtube post, followed by their Bandcamp HERE


Brad Anderson earned a place in my heart with the films Session 9, The Machinist and, perhaps most spectacularly of all, Transiberian. Since then, I can't say I have liked or even seen all of his film projects, but I always want to give him the benefit of the doubt. So, seeing a trailer for a new Anderson-helmed Horror flick pop up on Bloody Disgusting the other day got me a bit excited:

As usual, the photography here is gorgeous. Also as usual with modern trailers, I watched 51 seconds of this and turned it off. The trailer only needed that short a time to sell the film to me, and I don't want to know anything else. Blood lands on January 27.


Despite my intentions, I did not pick Will Carver's Psychopaths Anonymous back up after finishing Irvine Welsh's The Bedroom Secrets of The Master Chefs. Welsh's novel was just too good, and it's still resonating through my head, providing a pretty severe distraction to anything long-form, so reading another novel would only take away from it for me. Instead, I realized I never finished Donnie Goodman's book of short stories, The Razorblades in My Head.

LOVE that cover by artist Justin T. Coons. This proved to be exactly what I needed. I started this one back when I was in Tennessee looking for houses this past July, and the fact that we moved a little over a month later made this one kinda fall through the cracks for a moment. Glad I picked it back up.


Various Artists - Joe Begos Bliss Playlist
Grey Hairs - Serious Business
Depeche Mode - Essentials (Apple Music Playlist)
Crystal Castles - Crystal Castles (II)
Angelo Badalamenti - Twin Peaks Season One OST
John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman - Eponymous
Chet Baker - Baker's Holiday


From Jonathan Grimm's Bound Tarot, which you can buy HERE.

Will synthesized by imagination reveals hidden asset and proves to be the final piece in the puzzle for completion. Good news - I just cannot seem to finish this story! Part of the problem is keeping it at 4K words or under - doing that means I have to rethink things at certain points, and doing so leads to changes that then ripple throughout. It keeps getting better and more refined in both theory and mechanics, but now I'm stuck at the finish line with very little space to go forward. I'll have to go back and chop some more - never a bad thing and possibly my favorite thing when working on a story; I LOVE cutting things out and making the overall piece tighter. Kill your darlings? I stalk through stories with a machete and a smile.

Thursday, December 22, 2022

My Favorite Comics of 2022

Back when Joup was up, I used to always do a "Favorite Comics" list at the end of every year. I got away from that for some time until last year I decided to resurrect the practice. 

And let me get this out of the way at the top: The two Reckless HC GNs that came out this year would be at the top of this list, however, since Reckless just destroys the curve, and since I included it in last year's favorites list, I'm placing it in a class by itself. 

The same caveat applies to Michael Walsh and company's ongoing Horror Anthology The Silver Coin. I love this series so much, it would just be unfair to place it in the Top Ten again this year because, at this rate, it would hold a perpetual spot. So let's just say these two stand alone in their exemplary storytelling.

With that out of the way then, let's get to that list.

My Favorite Comic Books of 2022:

10) Shaolin Cowboy: Cruel to Be Kin:

Completely. F*cking. Insane. Geoff Darrow returns to his magnum opus and fills every centimeter of every page with some of the best damn art I have ever seen. The story is even crazier than the previous iteration, and the political satire is top-notch. This book was the most fun, and the longest amount of time I spent staring at any comic's pages this year.

9) Pentagram of Horror:

From out of nowhere, Marco Fontanili drops five of the most gorgeous Horror Comics I have ever had the pleasure of holding in my hands. Another top-notch Anthology, Pentagram of Horror knocks it out of the part with its originality both conceptually and artistically. Nothing else out there looks like this, and the range of Horror moves from Black Rites in the Woods to Techno-Paranoia.

8) What's the Furthest Place from Here:

Matthew Rosenberg and Tyler Boss's it's the end of the world and we don't know it story is as unique as the other books we've seen these guys do, whether together or apart. The whole damn thing is one big 'Gottasee,' and any details we learn about the larger world usually just open up wonderful new questions. Plus, I don't think I've seen a book that possesses this much Punk Rock spirit since Teenagers From Mars!

7) That Texas Blood:

Michael Condon and Jacob Phillips' era-spanning Weird Fiction Crime Comic started in 2020 with just a very mild sprinkling of "The Weird," but over the past year, the book has REALLY leaned into that more. Think Season One of True Detective or the Fargo series on FX. There's no telling what era each new story will be in, and even less way to anticipate what kind of darkness will haunt its pages.

6) Hulk:

Nothing about this comic should work. On paper, Banner turning the Hulk into a spaceship and flying him off into the farthest reaches of the cosmos doesn't even move a needle with me - unless it's the "sounds dumb" needle. But with Hulk, Donny Cates and Ryan Ottley bring comics back to the late 70s/early 80s when writers like Bill Mantlo took enormous swings. Every issue of this book is an enormous swing, and what's more, each one connects. The shame here is, apparently Cates has now exited this book, with Ottley finishing the current "Hulk Planet" storyline over the next few months, and then passing the torch and leaving himself. 

5) Spider-Punk:

For this page alone, Cody Ziglar & Justin Mason's Spider-Punk series lands on this list! I'm still not over the absolute joy of seeing a Michael Graves-era Misfits-inspired TaskMaster show up! Beyond that, overall, I really enjoyed this quick, five-issue series, and look forward to seeing Hobart Brown and his friends return. 

4) Sandman Universe - Nightmare Country:

I know last year I gushed about Joe Hill's Sandman/Locke And Key series, saying how it was the closest thing to having a new Sandman series. Well, apparently DC took that as some kind of challenge because this year we get James Tynion IV on Sandman Universe: Nightmare Country and this... shit man, this actually is the Sandman series. Not like a modern take, but it feels just like I'm reading old Sandman issues, and it's awesome. Awesome not just because of nostalgia, but because the story centers on the Corinthian, but Tynion does that wonderful trick where the main characters are not the lead characters, just like Neil Gaiman used to write the original series. I'd say main human protagonist  Madison Flynn definitely shares some storytellers' DNA with Rose Walker, and Misters Agony and Ecstasy definitely bring the 80s Clive Barker vibes. All in all, a very welcome addition to Gaiman's mythos, more so than any of the other Sandman Universe books I've taken a chance on and largely nixed.

3) Do A Powerbomb!:

Daniel Warren Johnson body slams the medium AGAIN with his beautiful, heart-rending tale of... inter-dimensional professional wrestling? Yeah, I was surprised A.F. too, but despite my absolute non-interest in the sport, I LOVED this book. It broke my heart multiple times, and despite a weird turn in the penultimate chapter, the final issue recovered nicely. 

2) Deadly Class: A Fond Farewell:

The final storyline of Rick Remender and Wes Craig's Deadly Class was harrowing, confusing, brutal and poignant. Beautiful and cathartic and just wonderful in every way a comic book should be. A fitting end for characters I've loved since the book launched 8 years ago.

1) Immortal X-Men:

No other comic book made me think about it for WEEKS afterward like Immortal X-Men #1, and almost every issue of the series has held up to that initial promise. Those who feared Hickman's departure from the World of X would lead to a Krakoan decline were wrong - everything Kieron Gillen and Lucas Wernek is doing only adds to and increases the mystery and grandeur of Hickman's blueprint. NOTE: X-Men: Red is also fantastic, however, I didn't want to have two X-Books on this list, so consider it guilty of greatness by way of the larger, X-tapestry.

Honorable Mentions:

Honorable mentions go to Strange, the series that placed Clea Strange as the MCU's Sorceror Supreme. This one has just been delightful surprise after delightful surprise, and I have thoroughly enjoyed every issue. 

The Elseworlds/One-Possible-Future TMNT: The Last Ronin mini-series follows the single surviving Turtle (still not gonna spoil which one it is!) as they attempt to avenge their siblings' deaths in a techno-dystopian future that calls to mind Frank Miller's classic Ronin (see what they did there?) Begun in 2021, I purposely left Last Ronin off my 2021 iteration of this list because I knew it would finish this year. This one definitely evoked those old-school, Black-and-White Explosion 80s comics I cut my teeth on in my youth, and I enjoyed it immensely because of that.

Finally, I did not include Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino's opening entries into their new Bone Orchard Mythos because we're still very early in, and I guarantee this will be in my top of 2023. Thus far, with one Graphic Novel and 4 issues of the first mini-series, this one is nothing short of impressive. Sorrentino's art continues to rank as some of the creepiest Horror Art I've ever seen, and when realizing Lemire's otherworldly scripts, we just get such a hyper-stylized approach that I can do nothing but raise the horns and howl.

What a fantastic year for comics! I will say, it surprises me that so much Marvel has snuck in, but that's an appetite for nostalgia and comfort the last few years instilled in me, and Marvel's top-tier creators continue to reinvent their stable of characters in ways that DC surely must envy. Sorry DC, but putting "Metal" in front of the title of every book just doesn't cut it.

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Exhalants Live 2019


Fired up some Exhalants over the last few days and man! This band is just so damn awesome. I can't believe this video only has 23 hits. Please - if you dig this, spread the word and repost something of theirs where you know like-minded people may see/hear. Exhalants deserve to be heard. 


Our second to last NCBD of 2022 is choke full O' comicky goodness. Here's what I'll be picking up today at Rick's Comic City:

I'm still not bowled over by this new Marvel Alien series, but I dig it and am curious to see how this storyline evolves. 

My first month as with SIKTC in my pull. SO excited to continue monthly with this book after finally catching up on all the trades. 

Continuing J.M. DeMatteis's return to the seminal storyline he penned in the 80s. 

This one just keeps putting a smile on my face. Jed MacKay never takes this book where I think it's going, and for that, I'm grateful.

I really have no idea how long this book will run, if there will be different storylines, or if everything will continue to spin out of these first few issues. But that not-knowing is what I'm probably digging most at this point. 

I have to say, I'm not digging the absence of Tyler Boss's art on What's the Furthest Place From Here since it returned last month. Nothing against this month's artist Sweeney Boo, but just like last month's fill-in artist Ricardo Lopez Ortiz, they have a big job replacing Boss's iconic style - a style that defined the series from its beginning. Ortiz did great, but for the first issue back after a hiatus, issue eight just didn't feel right. Let's see how it feels today.

After Amazing Dark Web: X-Men #1's impromptu reunion of Spider-man and his amazing friends, I've come around on Firestar, who really just hasn't had much of a presence in the MCU besides that early 80s cartoon in all the time I've been a fan. Maybe that's changing.


Scare Package was a very pleasant surprise in 2020. Now, the sequel is getting immediate praise. Here's the trailer:


Is it just me, or is there a heavy "Scary Movie" vibe here? I am not a fan of those movies, so hopefully, that hot take is completely wide of the mark. Scare Package II: Rad Chad's Revenge hits Shudder tomorrow, so in about 24 hours, we'll know.


VAAAL - A Wounded Fawn OST
Tubby Hayes Quintet - Down in the Village (Live At Ronnie Scott's Club)
Silent - Modern Hate
Snake Eats Boy - Ocupado (single)
Nun Gun - Mondo Decay
Chat Pile - God's Country
Embrace - Eponymous
Special Interest - Endure
The Mysterines - Reeling
Carpenter Brut - Leather Terror
Deth Crux - Bloody Christmas (single)


From Jonathan Grimm's Bound Tarot, which you can buy HERE.

Again, today I asked a very specific question and received a pretty specific answer. Let inspiration guide the final process for the project I can't seem to finish and a breakthrough will occur. I'll have to be watching for the breakthrough, however, as at this point, I can't see the forest for the trees.