The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (1979) by Douglas Adams

I wanted to start the New Year with a book that was funny, comforting, nostalgia-inducing and most of all entertaining. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve read this book over the years. I’ve also listened to the wonderful radio play, watched both the classic BBC TV series and the less classic movie adaptation. Oh, I almost forgot, I’ve listened to a few different audiobook versions, too. Yes, I adore Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. It’s a definite 5-Star book for me. But I also realize it isn’t for everyone.

Geekify Inc’s HITCHHIKER’S I-Pad / Tablet / Kindle Cover

One of Douglas Adams’ greatest ideas was to write the reassuring words DON’T PANIC on the cover of the fictional book. How many of us could use this comforting reminder on a daily basis today? I could’ve made great use of it around ten to fifteen years ago when I was tumbling down my own self-induced rabbit hole, but that’s a tale best left for a never time. *insert winking emoji here*

Please correct me if I’m wrong, but I have the impression that Hitchhiker’s works best for people from the United Kingdom. This is in no way meant to upset or anger anybody, it’s my opinion simply based on the kind of humour that permeates this wonderful book. It’s a very British style of humour filled with satire, sarcasm, the absurd, as well as being very self-deprecating. I’ve heard from friends from different countries that some of them “just don’t get it” when it comes to this book and the rest of the famous “trilogy in five parts“–I don’t recognize the supposed sixth book written by Eoin Colfer, but to be fair I haven’t read it and so it might be good. It just isn’t Douglas Adams.

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Gunslinger Spawn #16 (Jan 11th, 2023) | Comic Book Review

Writer: Todd McFarlane
Artist: Brett Booth
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: January 11, 2023
Cover Price: $2.99

Publisher’s Synopsis: ‘Parts of Gunslinger’s storied past are finally becoming clear. But there are secrets being kept from him that, if revealed, might set him on a new path of vengeance!’


My Thoughts

I’ve been reading Gunslinger Spawn since it was launched back in October 2021. From what I’ve been hearing, this comic is the current bestseller among the four SPAWN comic titles. This probably has a lot to do with how good the art is by Brett Booth, month after month. Also, it’s written by Todd McFarlane and is probably the best thing he has written in a while.

I’ve found it to be a very entertaining story. It has fun with the “fish out of water” theme, or should I say “man out of time.” It’s funny to see Gunslinger trying to get his head around our modern world. He gets some help with this from Taylor Bartlett, a young man who Gunslinger saved from the dark forces his father was working for. The western tropes are appreciated, too, especially when we get glimpses into Gunslinger’s past. I’d like to see more of this in future issues.

Overall, Gunslinger Spawn is a comic I can kick back and relax with. Sometimes it’s a bit over-the-top with the violence but most of all this comic book is fun. Did I mention the killer art by Brett Booth?.. Recommended!

(Below is the story summary I wrote for my video review if you are interested.)


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Nemesis: Reloaded issue #1 (Jan 11th, 2023) | Comic Book Review

Writer: Mark Millar
Artist: Jorge Jimenez
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: January 11, 2023
Cover Price: $3.99

Publisher’s Synopsis: ‘The world’s most evil comic book is back! Who is Nemesis, and why does this eccentric billionaire who dresses up in a mask and cape want to terrorize people instead of helping them? Isn’t that how this is supposed to go? Trigger warning: Too violent and too cool for some!’


My Thoughts

Imagine a vigilante similar to Batman but with no moral code. I’m not sure what his endgame is, but if the final page of this opening issue is anything to go by, it’s going to be bloody and brutal. This is a violent story which has been brilliantly illustrated by Jimenez. The way the artist renders the action scenes is a lesson in comic book art. It’s dynamic, fluid, and always eye-catching. Millar has a reputation for being controversial, but he still manages to tell a compelling story. Sure, some of the scenes are a bit over the top, but it should be remembered that this is a comic book aimed at a mature audience. And most of all, it’s very entertaining to read. I’m in for the ride.

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The FLASH issue #790 (Jan 10, 2023) | Comic Review

Writer: Jeremy Adams
Artist: Roger Cruz
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: January 10, 2023
Cover Price: $3.99

I’ve never read The Flash comic before, but I kept hearing how good this latest run by writer Jeremy Adams is. Words like ‘bright’, ‘fun’, ‘positive’, and ‘hopeful’ were being used in regards to this series. Also, the strong focus on family, which refreshingly delivers a very positive depiction of what we used to call the “nuclear family.” You know, husbad, wife, a couple of kids plus a pet or two. And they love and care for each other. Incredible, right?!

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2023 is the Year of the Rabbit

That means anyone out there with even a slight interest in comic books or Japan has to read at least one issue of USAGI YOJIMBO by Stan Sakai this year. I’m sorry but no exceptions allowed!

I know I’ve written about this long-running comic series before, but I wish it got more recognition and press. Writer and artist Stan Sakai has been chronicling the adventures of his “Rabbit Bodyguard” since 1984. So it’ll be Usagi’s 40th anniversary next year. That is very impressive, especially for a creator-owned independent comic book. SPAWN has been getting all the press recently but Usagi Yojimbo has been going for longer than Todd McFarlane’s Hellspawn. Spawn does have more issues though, because its run has never been interrupted, unlike Usagi Yojimbo.

After a long run with comics publisher Dark Horse, Usagi moved to IDW in 2019. But Stan Sakai was rumoured to be unhappy with IDW’s approach to the character. In September 2022, it was announced that Usagi would be returning to Dark Horse Comics. There haven’t been any new Usagi issues published since September, but the word is that Sakai will be collaborating with some “new talent” and they will continue publication of the ongoing Chibi UsagiSpace Usagi, and the Color Classics series. I look forward to any future issues of the main Usagi Yojimbo series.

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DC Comics Writer Makes The Joker PREGNANT!

Proof we are truly living in Clown World! 🤡

In the new DC Comics issue of THE JOKER: THE MAN WHO STOPPED LAUGHING issue #4, writer Matthew Rosenberg writes The Joker as being PREGNANT. In this bizarre back-up story, DC Comics writer Matthew Rosenbeg and artist Franco Francavilla conjure up a truly strange comic book story involving ZATANNA and The JOKER. It was released on January 3rd 2023 priced $5.99.

My short video Review of this BIZARRE Joker Story

This 8-page back-up story has gone viral on social media. I had to check it out for myself and see if it was much ado about nothing or another nail in the coffin of DC Comics. Is writer Matthew Rosenberg secretly trolling the fans or is it all just a harmless joke?

I think it’s a truly strange story which wastes the brilliant talent of artist Franco Francavilla. It’s also a waste of the character Zatanna who deserves better than being dropped into this surreal story. How does this get by the DC Comics Editors? Is there anybody even checking these stories anymore? What do you think?

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Batman #131 (Jan 3 2023) by Chip Zdarsky, Mike Hawthorne & Miguel Mendonca

First off, after Jorge Jimenez’s brilliant art during the Failsafe story arc, this change in artist and art style is quite jarring. I can’t tell if it’s the pencils by Hawthorne or Bendetto’s inking, but I’m not a big fan of the overall look of the main story. There are some nice panels though, which offer some interesting perspectives.

We open with Batman lying bruised and bloody on a cobbled street. His costume’s torn and half his face is exposed. A couple steal his utility belt and there’s a reference to the drug VENOM.

Batman regains consciousness and remembers Failsafe blasting him with some kind of energy weapon. Is he in Crime Alley? Maybe not the Crime Alley he remembers.

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2022 – A Blogging Year in Review

I devoted a lot more of my free time to growing my YouTube Channel in 2022, which led to more comic books read but less “proper” books completed. Despite this change in hobby priorities, I still published 48 posts in 2022. Of those posts, only 14 were book reviews, 9 were comic book reviews, and 8 were Movie or TV reviews. In total, 31 reviews compared to 34 the year before.

After a quick check on the Wakizashi’s Teahouse YouTube Channel, I see that I made 104 comic book review videos in 2022. Imagine if I’d also posted short written reviews of those comics on WordPress. Definitely something to consider for this year.


Stats

Click on the Image for higher resolution

In 2022, the Blog got 13,014 views, up 27% on last year. “Visitors” were up 28% compared to 2021. But “Likes” and “Comments” were both down. Most of my traffic came from the United States, followed by the U.K., Australia, Canada, and Germany.

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New Year’s Eve in Japan

This is a quick post to share a couple of very short videos of my family’s Japanese New Year. The first video shows “Daifuku” or “Anko Mochi” being made. The second video is a brief clip of “Sukiyaki” being cooked by my father in-law. It’s been a bit hectic here with all the preparations, cleaning, cooking, etc. I will be writing a Year’s Retrospective post in the coming days. Let me wish you all a very HAPPY NEW YEAR 2023. Thank you for all your support this year. よいお年を!(Yoi o toshi o!)



Thanks so much for reading! You really are Amazing!

Wakizashi, *10 hours and 40 minutes to 2023!*

Batman / Spawn #1 (2022) by Todd McFarlane & Greg Capullo

Batman and Spawn in a crossover event? What year is this? Did we slip back in time to the nineties?

There has been a lot of hype building up to the release of this comic book. Released on Tuesday December 13th, the 48-page Batman / Spawn #1 comic will set you back $6.99. It’s published by DC Comics (Batman), not Image Comics (Spawn). I’m sure Image would’ve put it out at a cheaper price. (They have been releasing their Spawn comics for $2.99, a dollar or more cheaper than the other publishers.) Todd McFarlane writing Batman & Spawn, Greg Capullo drawing the book and McFarlane inking Capullo’s pencils. As you can imagine, a lot of comic book fans have been very excited about this release. The question is, is it any good?

My simple answer is buy it for the art. The story is okay but the art by Greg Capullo is stunning. There are some incredible double page spreads in the comic. I’ve since heard in an interview with the two creators that Todd asked Greg what he wanted to draw. Then he wrote the story around that. So it’s not like he had this great idea for a story he really wanted to tell. And it shows. The story is convoluted and requires re-reading to take everything in. It’s also a bit daft with McFarlane trying to tie-in the deaths of Batman’s parents and Spawn’s wife.

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