Tag Archives: spiderman

A Self-Publishing Milestone – Johnny B. Truant’s Fat Vampire Becomes a TV Show

Hey 3.5 readers.

BQB here.

You know who really got me into self-publishing? A trio of super cool dudes by the names of Johnny B. Truant, Sean Platt, and David Wright. Johnny, Sean and Dave of “The Self-Publishing Podcast.”

I started blogging in 2014 with the idea that I’d try to write a novel and submit it to traditional publishers. Then I started seeing a lot of bloggers talking about self-publishing. Before I knew it, I was down the rabbit hole and found this podcast that was very funny, all about three friends following their dream of self-publishing success, sharing the lessons they learned, the mistakes they made and interviewing others who had done great things all without assistance from the gatekeepers of the publishing industry.

Their best-known non-fiction work, which doubles as their mantra, is “Write, Publish, Repeat” in which they make the case for writers to put in the work. You need to publish…a lot. Readers are hungry but they have access to so much free material that you have to put a lot out there before they start parting with the moolah.

Over the years (I think they began in earnest in 2012) they have published a ton of books. So many that I always wondered, given the sheer volume of their catalog, how the heck hasn’t one of their books been Hollywood-ized yet?

Well…their big day in the sun is here. Johnny B. wrote a comedy horror series called “Fat Vampire.” I believe this was one of his first books. It follows the plight of Reginald, an overweight man named Reginald who in life, really wanted to lose weight but couldn’t and thus suffered all the indignities that come with being plus sized.

And then he gets a vamp bite. Now a vampire, he falls in with a league of typically sexy brooding vamps. Alas, as those who know vamp lore will tell you, how you were as a human when you were bitten will be how you always are as a vamp. Poor Reginald will live forever but he can never lose weight. He is forever trapped as a fat vampire. Even though he rises through the ranks and proves himself worthy, he will forever be poked fun of by the other vamps for his fatness.

I noticed the book got a new title. “Reginald the Vampire” will be played by Spiderman’s BFF actor Jacob Batalon on SyFy. It seems the whole crux of the series is a chubby dude who wants to change but is forever locked into his chubbyness and the lack of respect from his peers that comes with it no matter what great victories he achieves so I hope they will at least grasp that.

But anyway, this is a victory for the SPP dudes, one a long time in the making. Very well deserved and proof to the rest of you self-publishers out there that you can do it.

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Movie Review – Spiderman – No Way Home (2021)

I finally got to see it, 3.5 readers and it is the best Spiderman movie ever made.

BQB here with a review of the latest film about our friendly neighborhood webslinger.

Don’t get me wrong. All the Spidey films have heart and the first two installments of the Tobey Maguire version really did bring superhero films into the modern era. Without them, I doubt you’d have the Avengerfest of today. The Andrew Garfield films were fun though I think maybe they just came too close on the heels of the Tobey films and the world wasn’t ready for a reboot just yet.

The past two Tom Holland films were epic, owing in large part to the Avengers-verse that Marvel has created. When a rich, backstory filled structure has been built, it isn’t that hard for a new Spidey to come in and sling his way into the 2020s with great gusto.

Following Mysterio’s big reveal that Spiderman is Peter Parker in the last film, the anonymity jig is up for Peter (Holland), and his partners in crime, girlfriend MJ (Zendaya) and BFF Ned (Jacob Batalon). Their lives are ruined under intense public scrutiny as the wall crawler and anyone who assisted him is raked over the coals by media blabbermouth J. Jonah Jameson (JK Simmons).

When Pete seeks the assistance of Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), the great wizard agrees to help with a spell that will make everyone forget that Pete is Spidey, but Pete’s own blabbermouth during the incantation causes the spell to go awry and well, the rest is movie making history.

Magic makes worlds collide and those older Spiderman movies? Turns out they weren’t just movies. They were alternate worlds. The multi-verse is real, with infinite versions of you, me, Spiderman and his foes.

Truly a Herculean effort that required cooperation between different studios and different actors of various incarnations of the franchise. Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus, Electro, The Lizard, and Sandman team up to unleash chaos in our current world and it’s up to Team 3-Pete, Holland, Garfield and Maguire (three Spideys, no waiting) to save the day while Willem Defoe, Alfred Molina, Jamie Foxx, Thomas Haden Church, and Rhys Ivans reprise their villainous roles. Marisa Tomei and Jon Favreau return as Aunt May and Happy Hogan.

At almost 2 and a half hours, it’s the longest Spiderman movie ever made, though there’s so much going on you’d hardly notice it. It’s quite ambitious with a lot of moving parts, my only criticism is it feels like there might be a few plot holes but honestly, I couldn’t tell you if these are really plot holes of if it’s just something I didn’t quite get on a first viewing with everything moving so quickly.

It’s definitely a movie we all needed, what with the pandemic scaring movie buffs out of theaters, closing theaters, and causing Hollywood to shut down or delay production of big time flicks. Personally, this is the longest I’ve gone without checking out a superhero movie, because a) I literally was unable to buy a ticket at my local theater for the first month because every time I tried they were all sold out online and b) alas, my local theater closed down because it couldn’t stay afloat in the pandemic, which means I just won’t be able to see movies as much as I used to. Is that a good or bad thing? I don’t know.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy, and proof that people will go to the movie theater if a film is awesome enough. Hang in there Hollywood, keep making those blockbusters and try to help theaters stay alive any way you can.

SIDENOTE: 40, 30 and 20 something Spidermen all on one screen. Where has the time gone? Memories, like the corners of my webbed up mind…

DOUBLE SIDENOTE: Kudos to this movie for thinking of a new way to rehash old(er) characters. The problem all superhero reboots and sequels suffer from is we’ve already seen the story before. We don’t need to see Pete get bitten by the radioactive spider again. We don’t need to see Norman Osborne go nuts and become G-Gob. Sure, younger actors can take on these characters but it usually just feels like a rehash of something that has already been done. With the spell gone awry plot device, we can immediately return to our old Spidey baddy faves without having to re-tell the stories we already know.

TRIPLE SIDENOTE: I know the Academy hates comic book movies but I wonder, given the fact this film put butts into theater seats in record numbers at a time when theaters are closing and people are avoiding social gatherings might not have merited some Oscar consideration. If theaters do go the way of the Dodo, I truly fear we will see a stark decline in the quality of moviemaking overall and we need films like this to save the industry.

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Movie Review – Spiderman: Far from Home (2019)

Spiderman’s taking his show on the road, 3.5 readers.

BQB here with a review.

I think the overall success of the new Spiderman franchise is that they dove us into the action without bogging us down with another origin story.  By now, these superhero movies have been done to death so we know who they are and where they come from.  We don’t need to see baby Superman crash on the farm again.  We don’t need to see Batman’s parents get shot.  We don’t need to see Spidey’s uncle get shot.  We know.

By trusting the viewers know, the movies can delve into further action and that is what’s done here.  Peter Parker is going on a summer class trip to Europe, hoping to get a break from saving the world and all the woe that comes with it.  Alas, Nick Fury tracks him down and wants him to carve out some time from his sightseeing schedule to help Mysterio fight elementals – giant monsters made out of earth, wind, fire and other 1970s bands.  Or were the 1960s?  I think 70s.  I don’t know.

The movie integrates itself into the post Avengers: Endgame well, but my fear is that (SPOILER ALERT) Endgame offed a lot of key characters, so where the whole franchise goes from here without them is uncertain.

If I go deeper, I’ll give the movie away but suffice to say, I think this incarnation of the web slinger is a model for others to follow.  We don’t need the origin story anymore.  Just dive in.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy

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Movie Review – Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

So many Spider-People, so little time.

BQB here with a review of “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.”

I have to admit, 3.5 readers.  When I saw the first ads last year, I thought this was going to be forgettable, an attempt by Sony to make some quick cash on an old copyright they nabbed pre-Avengers.

Instead, it turned out to be awesome.  Just goes to show the power of word of mouth.  As I kept hearing people say it’s good, I eventually became intrigued and had to check it out myself.

It took me a minute to get acclimated.  The animation is different.  Seems a little jerky at first until you realize the point is that it is supposed to be a comic book come to life.

The plot?  Teenager Miles Morales is bitten by a radioactive spider and obtains those spider powers we fans have all come to know and love.  He’s given little time for his own origin story as he is almost instantly swept up into a battle between Spider-Man and the Kingpin, who has recruited a plethora of villains – Green Goblin, Scorpion, Doc Ock, and so on, to create a machine that provides access to alternate dimensions.

Without giving too much away, Miles becomes the key to saving the day, but he’ll need help learning his new powers.  Thankfully, he’ll get it from a multitude of Spider-People.  You see, as it turns out, every dimension has one.  Spider-Man-Noir (a 1930s detective), Spider-Ham (a Porky Pig version), Spider-Woman, Penni Parker aka Anime Spider-Girl, and a middle-aged, washed up, sweat pants clad version of Peter Parker all get together to help Miles cultivate his powers.

It’s fun.  It’s captivating.  It’s better than average.  My one complaint is we don’t spend a lot of time with the alternate Spider-People.  Middle-Aged Spider-Man and Spider-Woman are Miles’ main confidantes while the noir, anime, and Looney Tunes versions are relegated to punch lines which, I suppose is somewhat appropriate.

Lots of celebrity voices and overall, the Academy Award for Best Animated Film was well deserved.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.

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Movie Review – Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

I can’t believe it took me a week to see this flick.  Maybe my reputation as the Internet’s greatest nerd is ill-deserved.

BQB here with a review of “Avengers: Infinity War.”

Where did the past 10 years go, 3.5 readers?  I remember watching “Iron Man” in 2008, thinking Marvel was really onto something here and, well, if only I could time travel back 10 years, take the seat next to me and give myself some advice on how to negotiate the next decade.

Oh well.  No use crying over spilt milk.

Speaking of not crying, we have a seasoned cast of superheroes now, and damn, there are a lot of them.  You’ve got the Avengers…the various hangers-on who help the Avengers, the Guardians of the Galaxy, the assorted interlopers who mingle in these worlds…you’ve got a lot of characters.  Is it too many?  Maybe not.

After all, this film is our reward for sticking with the franchise for so long.  Once you watch the individual films, as well as the group get-together films, you spend a lot of time with these characters, getting to know what makes them tick, and thus films like this are possible, i.e. where the individuals come and go, make their entrances and exits and you understand their motivations by now.

There was a brief moment in the beginning where I wondered if this whole spectacle hadn’t jumped the shark.  Maybe it’s just because I’m getting older but when you really think about it, I mean, seriously…you’ve got a man in an iron suit, a Norse God, a green monster, a patriot, a computer man, a witch, wizards, a spiderman, a cat man, a flying guy, another guy in an iron suit, a lady assassin, a band of space pirates and their talking raccoon…WTF?  How do these all fit together?

At one point, I was like, “Wow.  There are way too many Avengers.  Like seriously, I can’t keep up with all these Avengers.  There is a ridiculous amount of superheroes on screen right now.”

Somehow, Disney/Marvel makes it all work.  In past movies, we’ve been teased with an impending Thanos (Josh Brolin) attack and it pays off big time here, as he’s the villain to end all villains, the big bad that the Avengers et. al. will have to throw everything at, including the kitchen sink, the toilet, the toilet paper, the plunger and so on.

It’s an intergalactic battle royale featuring different planets, different locations on Earth, different bands of heroes duking it out with different bands of Thanos’ cronies, all in the name of gathering the infinity stones, which the infamous ne’er-do-well hopes to use to engage in acts of evil-doery across the cosmos.

There are touching moments, hilarious moments, humor, laughter, suspense and I don’t want to give it away but Disney/Marvel does go in quite an unexpected direction, one that defies the typical ending of these films and perhaps when all 3.5 of you have had a chance to see it, we can discuss it further.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.  Kudos to Disney/Marvel for keeping this franchise alive, still going strong, still being as magical as ever.  Thank you to all the actors who didn’t let fame go to their heads and bail on their recurring characters.  It’s been quite a ride and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

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Movie Review – Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

Strap on your web slinger, true believer.  It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

BQB here with a review of Spider-Man: Homecoming.

I’m just going to say it, 3.5 readers.  This is the best movie ever made about America’s favorite wall crawler.  The first two Tobey Maguire films were great.  The first Andrew Garlfield one was decent but this one blew me away.

In this incarnation, a very young, inexperienced Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is fresh off his big mission helping Tony Stark fight a rogue Captain America.  Months have passed and Stark has named Peter his “intern.”  Peter hopes this means another awesome mission is coming his way but alas, Stark thinks Peter is too young.  He has a point.  At a mere fifteen years old (and being played by an actor around that age), this is the youngest Spidey we’ve seen on film.

Not willing to rest on his laurels and take the time to hone his skills (as Stark advises), Peter seeks action and finds it in the form of the Vulture, Michael Keaton as a contractor who is screwed out of a contract to clean up they city after an Avenger vs. aliens fight and decides to use the alien technology he finds for nefarious purposes instead.

The movie moves fast, putting Peter in all sorts of trouble, ranging from a rescue mission at the Washington monument to a showdown on the Staten Island ferry.  Throughout this whole ordeal, Peter tries to balance out his social life, trying to score babes at parties, building lego sets with buddy Ned, competing in the Academic Decathlon and bringing dream girl Liz to the Homecoming dance.  The film brings just enough high school drama so you realize what pressures a teenage hero is under without turning the whole thing into American Pie with tights.

Overall, Disney/Marvel has spent nine years building an extensive cinematic universe, filled with its own backstory and folklore.  This film is the ultimate payoff.  Because so much has been built already, we can dive right into the action and be spared the origin story that’s been drilled into us so many times before.  There’s no need for us to see Peter cry as he realizes he failed to save Uncle Ben.  Been there.  Done that.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.  Worth a trip to the theater.  Check it out, 3.5 readers.

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Movie Trailer – Spiderman: Homecoming (2017)

Hey 3.5.

BQB here, still posting behind the Yeti’s back.  Shh!  Don’t tell him.

The trailer for Spiderman: Homecoming is out and it looks like the best Spiderman movie in awhile.

The first two Tobey Maguire movies in the early 2000s were great then they hit a wall with the third one.  Emo Spiderman.  Blah.

The most recent two were fine but didn’t really knock my socks off.

Here, it looks like they’ve come up with a great idea, setting Spiderman in the world of the Avengers and making Tony Stark his mentor.  It makes sense.  Tony is a scientist.  Peter is a wannabe scientist.

We don’t need need to see yet another origin story where Peter is bitten by the radioactive spider and he doesn’t stop the robber and the robber shoots Uncle Ben so from then on Spiderman pledges to never let anyone down again and so on.

We’ve got it.

Yet, while we don’t need an origin story, we do need an explanation as to what this current incarnation of a character is all about.  That’s why the latest DC movies have been struggling.

No, we don’t need another movie about young Bruce Wayne seeing his parents getting shot (shot parents/guardians create so many super heroes).

But yes, we could have used a movie to explain what this version of Batman is all about.

If you missed, SPOILER ALERT – in the latest Captain America film, we were given an introduction to Spider Man.  It was good.  It was all we needed.  Now we know what makes this current version of Spidey tick.  Now he can hit the ground running in his own movie without any need for devoting half the film to the spider bite and the Uncle Ben sadness.

What say you, 3.5 readers?

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