Guest Post -James M's Review of ADVENTURES OF SONIC THE HEDGEHOG (1993)

 








Welcome back, Sonic squad. Its time for us to review the very first Sonic the Hedgehog cartoon that ever aired, the one that was wacky and memorable next to many others. We're looking at... ADVENTURES OF SONIC THE HEDGEHOG!

The year was 1993 and it hadn't been that long since the first Sonic game had released for the SEGA Genesis with Sonic 2 releasing over a year later. Sonic was popular and merch was flying off the shelf, even a comic book by Archie was about to happen while other comics and manga were happening. And in the midst of all that, two animated shows were about to air and one of them was none other than Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog.

Starring many talented voice actors, Adventures took place in a cartoonish take on Sonic's world and focused on Sonic and Tails as they engaged in many wacky adventures and fought the evil Doctor Robotnik and his lackeys Scratch, Grounder and Coconuts to stop the villainous scientist from taking over the planet Mobius.

Assembled by the crew at DiC Productions (now known as Wildbrain, which still owns the rights to this show) and supervised by SEGA of America, Adventures ran for a total of 65 episodes from September to December of 1993 before it was given one more episode three years later with 1996's Sonic Christmas Blast.

In the years since it aired, the show, known as AoSTH, has earned itself a memorable legacy in the fandom and spawned a couple memes such as the well-known Robotnik "Pingas" meme, which was derived from a line in the episode Boogey Mania said by the doctor himself; 'Snoo-ping as usual, I see.' Yeah, I know, its almost hilarious on so many dang levels.

I, myself, watched this show and spent two years watching the whole show from 2011 to 2013. Having seen Adventures Of Sonic The Hedgehog, I can see why so many fans love it (even though SatAM almost appears to be the most talked about Sonic show thanks to Archie). AoSTH was popular for its time and was perhaps how some fans got into Sonic in the first place.

The show has countless memorable characters adding to the universe of AoSTH, ranging from (of course) Robotnik's S6 Squad consisting of Scratch, Grounder and Coconuts, Breezie the Hedgehog, Wes Weasely and Sergeant Doberman with countless voice actors providing their best talent. Even SatAM/Archie's Sally Acorn makes an appearance in the show's final episode.

So, what are my thoughts? 

AoSTH is pretty good for a Sonic show despite not being very faithful to the source material and Sonic Team's lack of involvement in it. It has so much charm, providing a fun and goofy Sonic experience that nobody, not even young kids, will ever forget. Even Robotnik himself can have his funny moments too, Long John Baldry sold it well as the doctor's voice and may he be long remembered as the man who gave the evil Doctor Eggman a voice before the games did.

Plus, as almost everyone knows, this show next to SatAM and the first two games served as the basis for Archie Sonic and the comic included many familiar faces from the cartoon such as the Super Special Sonic Search And Smash Squad and eventually included Breezie in the comic before the plug was pulled.

However, out of every AoSTH character that made it into the comic, AoSTH Robotnik's mother Mama Robotnik was left out due to very specific reasons with SEGA themselves. That's right, this show was one of the first pieces of Sonic media to give Robotnik a family and we got to see an interpretation of Eggman's mother. And boy, Mama Robotnik is quite terrifying if you let her be terrifying.

Most importantly, this show did get a game tie-in at one point in the form of Doctor Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine, a re-skin of Puyo-Puyo featuring the AoSTH version of Robotnik and some of his Badniks from the cartoon. Despite AoSTH's lasting legacy, it is almost rarely referenced by current Sonic media due to policies at SEGA, but it was referenced in 2021's Sonic Encyclospeedia.

My score for this show, which was so good to see, gets a fine 8.5/10 for cartoon-y cheese and hilarity. Now, I will see you later for another review...

-CVGWJames 





W3: Hanging out in the past


 

It's week three in my 52 Books reading quest and I'm hanging out in the past with my dusty books. 

I finished my C book - Michael Chabon’s Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay which was an amazingly complex character study of two young Jewish men from the 1930’s to 1950’s dealing with war, life, love, family, loss, plus the comic book industry and bosses who took advantage of them. A more in depth review is posted below. 

I'm at the 75% mark with Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel:  Henry has married Anne and she’s been crowned queen, given him a baby girl, and still Katherine refuses to accept the dissolution of the marriage. Enjoying all the machinations of Cromwell and the court.

Already dove into my fourth dusty book, a historical fiction novel The Devlin Diary, which is set in two time frames – London in 1672 and Cambridge in 2008. It is the 2nd book in the Claire Donovan duo by Christi Phillips, author of Rossetti Letter which was excellent. Devlin Diary is almost as good.  

So far, I've avoided reading any ebooks, preferring to stick with physical books for the time being. 

 We watched The Eternals which was good, but not great. The acting seemed a bit off, emotions were wooden and I expected better.  It also opened the door to more Marvel movies. 

The only writing I've done is morning pages or blog posts. Time to get back to revising Red Thief.   

Book Review: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay


 

I finished Michael Chabon's Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay which left me with a book hangover and the feeling of having read and excuse the pun, an amazing, yet exhausting adventure. 

"Joe Kavalier, a young Jewish artist who has also been trained in the art of Houdini-esque escape, has just smuggled himself out of Nazi-invaded Prague and landed in New York City. His Brooklyn cousin Sammy Clay is looking for a partner to create heroes, stories, and art for the latest novelty to hit America - the comic book. Drawing on their own fears and dreams, Kavalier and Clay create the Escapist, the Monitor, and Luna Moth, inspired by the beautiful Rosa Saks, who will become linked by powerful ties to both men."

Years ago I would probably have disliked this book because of Chabon's writing style. Today I appreciate and understand it, and especially like how he emulated Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried with the vivid writing and lists of thoughts, things, people, ideas. The details drew me into the story and planted me right there with each one of the characters.  Each character, affected by their heritage, their families, the people around them, the war with Germany.   

The timeline, from the 1930's through 1950's, told a story of survival, revenge, acceptance, humor, obsession, grief, and love, and hard work. Now that I think about it, all the stages of grief. Since  my son is into comic books, enjoyed the artistry and thought that went into making them.  I cheered for their victories and booed their losses, and the people who took advantage of them.  And I'll be pondering the mysticism and symbolism of the Golem from beginning to end for a while.  Would you believe that through out the whole dang second half of the book, I held on to hope Kavilier's brother was still alive out there someplace and would make an appearance at some point.  

I thoroughly enjoyed the story and look forward to reading Chabon's Yiddish Policemen's Union.


Alphabet, Dusty, Jewish historical fiction, Prague, Antarctic, New York, 684


Guest Post -James M's review of Doctor Who: Revolution Of The Daleks (2021)








Welcome back, Doctor Who fans, its time for another review...

After the universe-shattering revelations and events of "THE TIMELESS CHILDREN" at the end of 2020's Season 12 of New Who, there was the question of what awaited in the next episode of the sci-fi phenomenon. After months of waiting, we got our answer in the New Year's 2021 special known as REVOLUTION OF THE DALEKS.

That's right, the Daleks were back and this episode seemed to follow up from 2019's Resolution which dealt with a Recon Scout Dalek. So, what's the story with this one?

Story:

Well, the episode takes place ten months (from the perspective of The Doctor's friends Ryan, Graham and Yaz) after the events of THE TIMELESS CHILDREN and the trio discover that businessman Jack Robertson, whom they met in the series 11 episode ARACHNIDS IN THE UK, is working with the Daleks after seeing footage of a Dalek drone in action.

The companions try to confront Robertson about the Dalek, but the are dismissed. Not long after, Robertson meets with his scientist Leo, who informs him that he discovered traces of organic cells inside the "drone" that inspired their drones and used them to create a clone of the creature inside i.e the Dalek Scout mutant. 

Robertson is disgusted by this and tells Leo to destroy the creature, the scientist tries to dispose of the Dalek, only for the mutant to take control of his mind and they head to a secret lab in Osaka where Daleks are being created.

Meanwhile, The Doctor is still in prison after being arrested at the end of the previous episode and reunites with old friend Captain Jack Harkness (with John Barrowman reprising the role), who breaks her out and they head back to Earth where the fam informs The Doctor of the situation. 

Following this, Team TARDIS splits up in two groups with Captain Jack and Yaz looking into the lab in Osaka while The Doctor, Ryan and Graham confront Robertson, who shows them the Dalek factories before he's informed of a secret facility in Osaka. They head there and come face to face with the Scout Dalek controlling Leo, who reveals what it has been up to along with its plan to conquer the Earth.

And following this, its all downhill for everyone as The Daleks take over the Dalek drones and begin attacking everyone. Thinking up a solution to the problem, The Doctor sends out a message through time and space to a Dalek Death Squad, which arrives on Earth and takes care of the "impure" Daleks before wiping out the Recon Scout despite its claim that it is still a Dalek.

Robertson betrays The Doctor and joins the Daleks, offering an alliance with them. But this doesn't last long as The Doctor formulates a way to defeat The Daleks and tricks them into entering a spare TARDIS, thinking that its hers. Robertson lies to The Doctor, saying he was offering himself up as a decoy and is then celebrated as a hero by the world.

Captain Jack says goodbye to The Doctor and leaves with Ryan and Graham deciding to leave her too so they can continue with their normal lives while Yaz stays with The Doctor. The episode ends with Graham teaching Ryan to ride a bike, just like in their debut episode.

Final Thoughts:

I give this story a 9/10, Doctor Who never ceases to boggle the minds of Whovians and knows how to tell a fantastic story in every way. When the Daleks show up, you know there's bound to be fun storytelling in whatever episode of Doctor Who they appear in. I'll never forget this episode, it is so memorable just like many of the recent Doctor Who episodes that have come out over the last couple years despite some road bumps in this journey. Now, I bid you farewell. Next time, we're covering FLUX and EVE OF THE DALEKS!

-CVGWJames




 

ABC Stories: Bandit




Bandits surprised Corey and Michelle Biannaib when they walked through the dark parking lot behind the theatre, empty now, except for them.  Caught off guard, Corey hesitated, then dropped Michelle’s hand and stepped in front of her.  Defense, he thought, her safety is more important than his. Even though it’d been years since his old karate days, muscle memory kicked in. 

“For what it’s worth, I have a black belt," Corey said, his voice rising, making the statement sound more like a question and gave them the appearance of an ineffectual dork.

“Good for you," the taller one with a diamond studded eye patch said, “but I have a gun so if you want to play rock, paper, scissors.  How about you turn over your wallet, purse, the diamonds, and you can go your way.”

“I’d do what he says honey, this stuff isn’t worth fighting over,” Michelle said as she swept her hand down his back and stuck a small sheathed knife inside his belt.

“Jack, I’d listened to your lady,” the shorter man said with a smirk as he waved what looked like a kid’s toy pistol at Corey who knew looks could be deceiving however and he he felt Michelle’s hand grip his arm for balance. Kicked her shoes off, he thought, the stiletto high heels she'd been tottering on, sharper than the little knife she'd passed him. 

Lights, bright as hell, lit up the night and they took advantage of the distraction. Michelle blasted an ear-piercing whistle and simultaneously threw her steel toed heels at the pirate bandit while Corey pulled the little knife and sent it whistling in the direction of the little guy, before they dashed into the little alley running between the buildings. 

“Nice move, dear,” Corey whispered, scuttling through the dark passageway, weaving past dumpsters and boxes, pulling Michelle in his wake as they tried to keep to the shadows and listen at the same time for the voices or footsteps of the bandits. Only thing he could hear was laughter bouncing off the bricks and traffic swooshing past the end of the alley in the distance. 

"Pooh, those were my favorite pair of Jimmy Choo's; do you think we can get them back""

"Queen," Corey looked behind them, more concerned about their lives than a pair of high heel shoes, and said,  "If you're quick and quiet, but you have a choice between getting your head shot off or climbing that fence." 

"Right and how do you expect me to do that barefoot?" 

"Stand on that box and I'll boost you up."

Tempted still to go back and see if the men were gone, Michelle squeaked as Corey gripped her around the waist and lifted her as high as he could.

"Up you go," he said, adrenaline giving him strength enough to heft her halfway and when she grasped the fence, he planted his hands under her bottom and pushed.   Victory he thought when she reached the top, steadied herself and reached down a hand to help him up. 

"Wait, and watch," Corey said with one last glance behind and confident his wife had his back, and they wouldn't be able to see him in the dark of the alley, he stepped on the box, and climbed, Xanth crossed his mind for some odd reason, an obscure fantasy novel he'd read.  Years and years ago when he was a teenager in fact, so why would it pop into his head now?  Zig zagging up the fence, expecting to be shot in the back at any moment, he made it to the top in one piece.  

Zeal made him grab Michelle, fold her into his arms and she squeaked as they tumbled over the side together, thankfully landing on something soft, which exploded with a horrible stench of something he couldn't identify and really didn't want to know. Yellow blinking lights stippled the walls, making it look like the bars of a jail cell. 

Xylophone music tinkled from one of the windows nearby as they both struggled to their feet.  

"What are you going out there," a high pitched little voice said from above and they looked up to see a red headed girl, probably about 4, frowning at them through a security screen. 

"Vacating the premises as quickly as we can," Corey said, brushing off his clothes, wondering how they'd gotten into this mess.

"Uh oh, are you in trouble," the little girl asked.

"Totally," Corey murmured to himself as Michelle smiled with a parent's patience and said, "Ignore him dear, and shut your window and lock it.  Stranger danger, remember.  Run along, and do what you're told," she said with a whoosh of her hands, expecting the child to do whatever she said. 

"Quickly now." 

"Please," the little girl mumbled and when Michelle planted her hands on her hips and let out a soft growl, the youngster disappeared from sight, screaming mommy, mommy, stranger danger, stranger danger."

"Okay, let's get out of here before we're arrested for peeping toms or something worse," Corey said and marched down the alley, past reeking garbage bins until they reached the end and peaked left, then right at the street. Not a soul was about at this time, except for a vagrant huddled and fast asleep in the doorway to a shoe store, and Corey remembered why George had cautioned them about this area on Sundays.

Memories surged, reminding of his past life and all the dangers in the streets of Dalton. Life on the streets hadn't been pleasant. Kids, too young to be out on their own, some his age, had taught him how to survive.  Justice on the streets quick and mean. Independence fought and paid for. 

He shoved the memories back, packed them away again in the hidden box in his mind, not in the mood to dwell on the past when he'd worked so hard to make something of himself. 

"Go," Corey said when he saw the coast was clear. Fortune followed when they found a wayward cab parked a couple blocks away across the street from a bar.  Ethan's, a blues joint, with lights, music, and people spilling out of the doorway, fostered a safe haven for them to relax.  Diving into the back seat of the cab, he ordered the driver to take them home. Corey and Michelle rested shoulder to shoulder, holding hands as adrenaline faded, leaving him spent. 

"Baby, that was close, too close," Corey said.

Angling her head back to look at him, Michelle rolled her head, aching all over and said "I think we should have listened to George and should never do that again, at least anytime soon."

"Believe me, my dear, we won't, ever, never, ever again."



Rules for the road: Alphabet stories start and end with the letter chosen and each sentence begins with the next letter of the alphabet. 


Guest Post -James M's review of Batman vs Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2019)

 









How do you do, people? 

We're back... with a review of BATMAN... VS TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES!

That's right, Batman and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have a crossover movie. Plus, this was basically my first true animated Batman movie I ever saw and I'd already seen the first TMNT movie several years prior.

I watched this back in 2019 and saw it again in 2021 after getting it on DVD, this film is unbelievably good and has some fine quality animation and storytelling. The voice actors really had a ball with this one, even the writers seemed to have quite a lot of fun too.

Fun fact, this is not the first time Batman and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have had a crossover. They had some crossovers in the comics beforehand, this movie is a bit of a loose adaptation of one of their first crossovers.

So, what's the story?

I'll give you a short rundown. Shredder teams up with Ra's Al Ghul to take over Gotham City and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles team up with Batman, Robin and Batgirl to stop them before the two villains succeed in their heinous plan.

This movie is a love letter to Batman and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, even playing with all of the elements of both franchises, mixing the elements together to create one good experience. Seeing Joker get mutated into a snake by mutant mutagen is quite creepy and watching Scarecrow torment Leonardo with the fear of losing his brothers sure can give you the chills.

If you are a TMNT fan who wants to get into Batman or if you're a Batman fan who wants to see him interact with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, this movie is for you to see. But heads up, this film is very action-packed and it is PG-13, medium PG-13 as it nearly pushes the rating with the action as there are moments where you see blood. 

My score for the film is a solid 9.5 out of ten, BATMAN VS TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES is one of the greatest TMNT and DC experiences out there next to so many films like the 2007 TMNT film, the 1989 BATMAN movie and the LEGO BATMAN DC SUPERHEROES UNITE movie as well as the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies.

Until next time, farewell, good friends.

-CVGWJames






Guest Post -James M's Review of IDW Sonic Imposter Syndrome issue 2

 


Welcome back, its here, the second issue of Imposter Syndrome is out.

What did I think of it? I can only say... Pure comic fun non-stop.

Without giving away any spoilers, I will say that Starline's characterization never ceases to amaze and Ian Flynn's ever-so masterful writing has delivered some quality character moments. Meanwhile, Surge and Kit are fantastic, they are compelling IDW characters and have been entertaining on the same level as Starline and other characters such as Tangle and Whisper.

So far, Sonic 2022 has gotten off to a great start, especially with this issue of IDW Sonic.

Let us hope that the IDW comics continue to evolve and advance as time goes on until they eventually come to an end before IDW Sonic becomes a "bizarre anomaly" just like Archie Sonic before it with its origins linking it to the infamous Meta Era of the 2010s taking place after Forces just as Archie Sonic was linked to the 90s with the first two games and AoSTH/SatAM.

Going off topic, sorry, but the art is phenomenal and there's nothing that ceases to amaze.

Anyways, I will see you later. Thank you for joining us today.

-James. M







Bookish Notes and Links



Did you know this week is National Letter Writing week which means it's time to grab some paper and a pen or pencil, not the keyboard, and write a letter to a  significant other, family member, friend, long lost relative or even an author to thank them. 

I was eating my dinner at work yesterday, browsing the internet and fell into this article on Dame - Have We Forgotten How to Read CriticallyI was reminded of a conversation I had with my son recently about authors, video games writers, comic book writers and how once something is published, that isn't the time to argue with them about how it's written and how you think it should be changed.  Lot of conversations online these days from Authors I follow who have people emailing them, questioning their choices, their writing. Then you have the ones who don't understand or want to cancel all the dead authors because the language may be discomforting.  Okay, getting off my soap box. All this to say it is an interesting, thoughtful article. 

Another one I enjoyed:  A Year in Reading the Backlist

Nearly 1 in 3 Americans are Reading Ebooks.  As one of those who has discovered I've been reading more ebooks (because they are so easy to get) over the wonderful chunky and dusty physical books on my shelves,  I have yet to start an ebook this year.  I know we're only a week in, but I find myself wanting that tactical experience, relaxing with a real book and absorbing the story. I'm enjoying not having the urge to flip over to the news or email or anything else.  Even though our 52 Books Books about Books Bookology author of the month is Shion Miura and the highlighted read is The Great Passage, which have on my virtual nightstand, along with many other books, I think I'll stick with my dusty books for a while. 

I started another dusty book Sunday night --- Michael Chabon's Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay.  At this point, I've read enough history as well as historical fiction novels, that I'm familiar with the subject matter and enjoying all the more because of it.  Timing, I guess, is everything. 

James and I finished listening to the audible book Ghostbusters one and two they were quite entertaining. 

I'm still enjoying my sip read of Wolf Hall.  

We watched Gemini Man with Will Smith which was very exciting. 

This week is all about finishing quarterly taxes for the shop and annual income taxes so we can refinance our SBA Loan on the business property. So many numbers, so much fun..... 

 


A to Z Poetry: Bare Boned Implausibility

 


Bare Boned Implausibility


One walked through the door

And finally realized 

  Two was really a bore.

How could One not seen it,

Two's bluster and verbiage,

two's habit of repeating

one's last word. 

A sentence cut and drawn 

a bare boned implausibility.

A question mark hangs in the air

where a period should be. 

What's not to understand,

Yet it turns into an ampersand.

If not a semicolon 

a period will do

to separate the disparate ideas 

which makes them two. 

No more compound sentences

When a single will do. 

One strolled out the door

with an exclamation marking 

the end. 


James Reviews: Spider-Man (1967)

 


Welcome back, dear true believers and Marvel nerds.  Time for us to wind back the clock to a decade that seems to be popular for pure cheese at its finest when it comes to TV shows and movies. But out of all the cheesy things to come from the 60s, we're looking at something amazing, something that is so iconic it will never be forgotten. 

I'll clue you in, who has radioactive blood and spins a web?

The answer: SPIDER-MAN!

Oh yes, we're talking about the 1967 animated series based off the Marvel comic and superhero known as Spider-Man, starring the late Paul Soles as the voice of Peter Parker aka Spider-Man.

Right off the bat, each episode kicks off with an amazing theme tune that has gone on to become very iconic with Spider-Man history to this day and is considered Spider-Man's theme now and then. C'mon, who doesn't love the lyrics; /Spider-Man, Spider-Man. Does whatever a spider can, spins a web any size. Catches thieves, just like flies. Look out, here comes the Spider-Man./

If you want to hear the full song, the link is here in this review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Z8N9TTvKeQ

Airing from, of course, 1967 to the year 1970, SPIDER-MAN ran for three seasons and each episode saw the web-slinger battling a variety of foes who originated from the comics or were created for the show . And often depicted Peter working for the Daily Bugle ran by none other than lovable, near-unlikable Hitler-mustached loudmouth J. Jonah Jameson.

My father saw this show years ago and we eventually sat down together to see some episodes during our days together in 2021, and, for a TV series with a decades-long legacy, Spider-Man 1967 is quite decent. The animation is smooth and the voice actors put a lot of effort into this one. My first episode of the show just happened to be the one where Spider-Man ended up in a jail hospital and tricks a band of criminals in order to get out of the hands of the police. 

It was dad who suggested that we see it, even though I didn't hold any interest in it then. But after that, the seeds for us watching the show were planted and we watched almost every single episode of it on Dailymotion and on YouTube. Having seen Spider-Man 1967, I can see why countless Marvel fans like this so much and why the internet makes memes out of this.

Paul Soles brought a wonderful Spider-Man/Peter Parker voice to the table and this man is unforgettable. He's almost like the Adam West of Spider-Man actors, except he's a voice actor for an animated Spider-Man and Adam West was the second live-action Batman after the 40s show.

My overall thoughts on Spider-Man 1967?

Its one of the best pieces of media to come from the 1960s and is a part of superhero media history, Spider-Man is worth watching and people should know about this cheesy part of Spider Man's long history in the multiverse of media. My score for this is a 9/10, cheesiness is so yummy. Thank you all for tuning in and have a great day, be safe out there, true believers...

-James. M