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JL Watkins

Comic Book Wednesday – March 19

By March 19, 2014 Comic Book Wednesday, Comics

Here’s a quick glimpse at this week’s haul. I’m going to do a shorter rundown this week, as I’m drowning in work.

Voice in the Dark #4 – Loving this book – there’s few current comics like it.

Fuse #2 – Enjoyed the first issue, and I’m eager to see how it progresses (meaning, “If I’ll keep buying standalone issues”)

Undertow #2 – I’m glad this doesn’t come out on the same week as The Wake – they’re totally different, but I like to have a buffer between my aquatic adventures.

The Week of Avatar! – Lucky me, there’s three killer Avatar Press titles. Mike Wolfer is doing a bang-up job of running the Gravel show on his own. God is Dead continues to spread epic destruction. And the latest Crossed: Badlands story arc ends – I really hope everyone dies in this one.

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Opening an entire case of Funko “Game of Thrones” Mystery Minis

By March 18, 2014 Collectibles, My Stuff, Unboxing

This just happened (last week). Being a Game of Thrones superfan isn’t easy, especially if you’re Ryan, who is compelled to acquire every Funko figure released. We each bought a few individual boxes, competing on video to get the better figure. It ended in a draw, so Ryan used his ‘nuclear option’ and threw down money for a whole case. I setup the cameras and recorded the whole thing.

It’s easy to daydream about buying a case of figures, romanticizing about getting a complete set and unboxing a bunch of valuable eBay collectibles. The reality is much more disappointing, once the thrill of tearing into the entire case fades away – which is right around number 23 or 24.


Here’s a shot of the studio floor after the unboxing mayhem. In a previous entry I posted a behind the scenes photo of our studio unboxing setup. We might throw down on some more random boxes, otherwise our next video will be next week when we get our March Lootcrates!

MERCH! Get individual “Game of Thrones” Mystery Minis on Amazon:

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Greetings from the Comic-Con Registration Waiting Room!

By March 16, 2014 comic-con

This weekend, geeks from all over the globe faced off against faceless opponents in this years online Battle Royale to get tickets to San Diego Comic-Con International 2014. I get nervous waiting for my press credentials, so I decided to snag some tickets as a backup. Here’s my journey through the online registration process.

7:54 – I hit the snooze button for the third time, and then quicky scan Reddit to see if there’s any problems with the waiting room. There isn’t, so I got back to sleep. You’re allowed to enter anytime between 7-9am, and it supposedly has no effect on your chances.

8:34 – I fire up the laptop and after entering my unique registration code, enter the waiting room. At least I think it’s the waiting room. For the next 24 minutes I routinely glance at the screen to make sure a little blue circle keeps spinning – my indication that everything is working properly.

9:00 – “You Have reached the EPIC waiting room.”
Let’s get this thing started.
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Comic Book Wednesday – March 12

By March 12, 2014 Comic Book Wednesday, Comics

This week’s trip to the comic show was pretty light on the wallet, but teeming with the quality.

Manifest Destiny #5
I picked this one up, along with the reprint of #4, so I shall soon be caught up. I’m frustrated with myself for not finding this gem earlier, but thrilled that my local comic shop evangelized this title so heavily.

East of West #10
Loving every second of it East of West. There really aren’t enough Sci-Fi/Western/Asian/Armageddon books out there these days.

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CHVRCHES – ‘Team’ (Lorde Cover)

By March 12, 2014 Music

It’s time for another completely rad CHVRCHES cover song! This week (it does seem weekly doesn’t it?) they’re putting some much-needed bleep and bloops in Lorde’s “Team” on BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge. Damn, what I wouldn’t give to hear them cover “Royals.”

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Preparing to open and entire case of Funkos!

By March 10, 2014 Collectibles, Unboxing

Here’s my officemate, and fellow geek, Ryan as he readies himself for battle against an entire case of Funko Game of Thrones Mystery Minis. Multiple cameras will be rolling as he unboxes 24 figures, scouring Westeros for the elusive rare figures. Let’s just hope it went better than our recent Blind Box Battle.

I was hoping to work “Winter is coming…” somewhere into this narrative, but I’ll just end with “I’ll be posting the video in the next few days.”

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The next-generation of consoles has arrived (at my house).

By March 9, 2014 video games

I’m finally a next-generation console gamer. Wait. Does the Wii U count? Hmm.

I’m finally a next-generation Xbox gamer. This is after canceling my Day One preorder a week before launch, and then months of near purchases at random retail outlets. Basically, I decided that I needed more time to play my Xbox 360 games while waiting for the next-gen games that I actually wanted to play. I eventually hatched a plan to “get my console in time for Titanfall.”

Titanfall isn’t even in full HD. I know this, and have accepted the irony of the situation. However, I’m okay with a lower resolution since I’ll be able to live stream on Twitch. (That is if people would like to watch a stream of how terrible I am at FPS games).

I’m not an Xbox Fanboy. Actually I am, but I’ve also owned the first three Playstation consoles and will buy the PS4 once it seems like the killer apps arrive (perhaps ESO or Destiny?).

Okay. Can’t wait to get this thing hooked up and and ready. LoveKnife needs to get his game on!

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The State of my Desk – March 7

By March 7, 2014 Collectibles

I’m nearly 40 years-old and my desk is covered in nerdy toys. It’s pretty obvious that in my insanely kick-ass office (which I’m preparing to share later in a video tour), when you’re standing over my desk, it’s pretty obvious that a manchild works there.

My first photo is shot from the approach vector, as you get drawn towards my workstation.

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Comic Book Wednesday – March 5

By March 7, 2014 Comics

I had a heavy-ass stack of comics today when I left the store. Not all of them are pictured here (I’ll explain), but here’s all the noteworthy titles:

Manifest Destiny #1 (Fourth Printing)
Okay, so I’m late to the game on this title and since everyone has been raving about it, I grabbed the rest of the issues as well (hence the heavy stack). I love the art style, and I think I’m going to enjoy people dressed as old-timey fur trappers fighting monsters.

God is Dead #7
The battle against the God is swift and brutal, and I’m excited to see how the next story arc plays out.

Punisher #3
Does this book come out every two weeks or something? I can’t believe it’s already in the third issue – not that I’m complaining. I can’t wait to see Frank Castle beat the crap out of Electro (or any other dumb superpowered person for that matter).

Jupiter’s Legacy #4
The family drama is really ramping up, and I’m looking forward to all the puffy Frank Quietly people stabbing each other in the back.

Trillium #7
It’s that time of the month where I visit the quiet sadness that pervades every haunting frame of Trillium, and is pretty much my favorite thing about Jeff Lemire creator-owned projects.

Daymen #3
For someone that hates vampires as much as I do, I’m really into Daymen. Maybe because it’s about a human familiar that works for the bloodsuckers, or perhaps because it’s such a well choreographed story so far.

Starlight #1
I always love the start of a new Millar title. And since this one looks like golden age sci-fi, I’m probably going to read it first.

Vell #1
First issue. Going in cold. Looks intriguing.

UPDATE: I ended up going back to the store today (Thursday) to snag Moonknight #1. Can’t believe I missed a Warren Ellis book!

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Blind Box Battle – Funko GoT Mystery Minis

By March 5, 2014 Collectibles, My Stuff, Unboxing

As you know, I’m a sucker for blind box figurines, especially when they’re in a fandom that I care about. So when I heard that Illusive Comics had the new Funko Game of Thrones Mystery Mini figures in stock, I grabbed my officemate (and GoT superfan) to sag a few boxes. We ended up challenging each other to a blind box battle, to see who could get the coolest and/or rarest figure.
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Soak – Blud (CHVRCHES remix)

By February 27, 2014 Music

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The Chvrches trio has wasted no time in getting their new label Goodbye Records and first signed artist, Soak off to a proper start. While I think that Soak is immensely talented, I haven’t had her music in my regular rotation (apart from haunting my very soul – does that count?), so I’m thrilled to have this electrified Chvrches remix of her first single “Blud.”

They do an amazing job of picking up the page and adding their signature electronic flourishes, while maintaining the soulful integrity of her lyrics and sound.

(via: Nylon)

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Comic Book Wednesday – February 26

By February 27, 2014 Comic Book Wednesday, Comics

Okay, it’s time for my weekly Wednesday comic book pull list – on a Thursday (work & life prevented me from snagging my precious books on time). Anyway, it’s a pretty thick week of awesome:

Rat Queens #5 – Without a doubt, this is
It’s slightly depressing to hear that this book is moving to six week shipping spread because I can barely wait a month between issues. Along with Saga, this is one of my absolute favorite comics in ages. There’s a reason it’s been on every “awesome comics” list in last few months.

Deadly Class #2
It’s time to start assassin school, or at least I hope that’s what happens. I’m a huge Rick Remender fan, and this book oozes cool.

Crossed: Badlands #37
I haven’t been that thrilled with the last few short arcs, though they’ve each had their moments. That’s the great thing about this ongoing run of Crossed, evenyone in the current story will soon be murdered and you get to meet a new bunch of survivors.

Revenge #1
I’ve been selective when snagging first issues lately, especially with so many new titles launching lately. The title makes the story somewhat self-explainatory, so it was definitely the gory artwork that added it to my stack. It just seemed like a perfect companion to read along with Crossed – and then weep for humanity.

Wake #6
I think it’s crazy clever the way the previous arc ended and then sprung ahead to the future timeline for the next half of the 10 issue run. I’m in love with the epic scope of this story. I hope the frantic pace keeps up, and the awesome character develops with this issue’s new introductions. I’m ready to see mankind’s last survivors finally start kicking merman ass.

Manhattan Projects #18
This story went insane a long time ago, and it always takes me a few minutes to remember where the last issue left off. However it’s always impressive how Hickman juggles all these super geniuses, their egos, and their complete lack of humanity among all the violence is a joy to behold.

Black Science #4
I love the hard sci-fi storyline of this title. I’m eager to read this one, but I need to play catch-up on #3 (and possibly restart the series) first.

Pariah #1
Another sci-fi title! It’s my lucky day. I’m pretty much going into this one cold, so I’ll let you know later how that whole ‘judging a book by its cover’ thing works out.

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Cracking Open the February Lootcrate

By February 25, 2014 Collectibles, Unboxing

I had originally planned to produce a video when cracking open my first Lootcrate, alongside my geek officemate Ryan who also subscribed. However, we ended up being so busy that we had scarcely enough time to even open the boxes and snap the following iPhone pics!
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Comic Book Wednesday – February 19

By February 19, 2014 Comic Book Wednesday, Comics

It’s a pretty modest week at the comic book shop (for me anyway). Here’s the titles I took away today:

Punisher #2
It’s been a while since I’ve seen the brutal, more real world version of Frank Castle from back in the Garth Ennis’ Marvel Knights/Max run. The creative team, Edmondson & Gerads knocked it out of the park in the premier issue, so I’m back again this month for more. Despite not having traditional superhero titles on my pull list, I might be adding the Punisher to my monthly rotation.

Morning Glories #37
Looking forward to this month’s installment of killer character progression and mental gymnastics. Four weeks still seems too long between issues. All my observations and grand theories fade between issues, so a Morning Glories marathon (starting from Season 2) is probably on my horizon.

Extinction Parade #5
Still enjoying this book. Maybe it’s just because I love watching the dumb vampires dig themselves deeper into extinction at every opportunity.

God is Dead #7
Another awesome Avatar Press book this week! I can’t comment on this one too much other than I also need to read the previous two installments.

A Voice In The Dark #4
There’s nothing else like this book on the market right now. It’s a moody and intelligent character study of college campus noir following a young female killer, trying to keep her impulses in check.

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CHVRCHES totally slay “Do I Want to Know?”

By February 18, 2014 Music

It seems like a week doesn’t go by where the electro-pop trio CHVRCHES haven’t done something awesome or unexpected. Fresh off the heels from their cover of the Bauhaus classic, “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” they’re putting their spin on a current indie hit, “Do I Want to Know” by The Arctic Monkeys. The original track is already perfect in its own right, but the gang puts their own sublime spin on the ?track (which really comes together when the chorus kicks in).
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CHVRCHES – Bela Lugosi’s Dead (Bauhaus Cover)

By January 28, 2014 Music

“Bela Lugosi’s Dead. I’m dead. I’m dead. I’m dead.”

I was somewhat shocked and pleasantly surprised to find this audible delight in my news feed today. It’s from CHVRCHES (my favorite band of the moment) covering the classic goth Bauhaus track, “Bela Lugosi’s Dead”.

Do we call it a ‘track’? Or were they only called ‘songs’ or ‘cuts’ back in the day? Well whatever the case, it’s certainly a track now, among many others on the Vampire Academy soundtrack. At first glance, the idea of this particular cover is quite intriguing, but even before I clicked the play button I resigned myself to the fact that it’s not going to be the original track. And why should it really?

The track, which stirred up some strong opinions on Soundcloud, is a delightfully synth goth-lite version. Knowing CHVRCHES fascination with 80’s horror film scores, I was hoping that it would drift into darker waters. However, I think their interpretation is a perfect pairing for a teen vampire flick…and another nice addition to my growing collection of CHVRCHES cover songs.

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I finally drank the Funko kool-aid

By January 22, 2014 Collectibles


For just over a year now, I’ve been holding back my primal collector urges from going full werewolf on the Pop! line of Funko vinyl figures. However, last week must had a been a full moon because I ended up on Amazon, clawing down the number of Pop! figures I threw into my shopping cart.

It’s not that I haven’t been interested in the figures, but rather there were just too many awesome figures and mini-collections to get. I could easily end up with fifty of these things in no time. I’m already feeling the pressure to get the newly-released Mass Effect line, or go all out on the Adventure Time sets. Don’t even get me started on The Walking Dead ones either.

Anyway, i think after seeing my co-worker Ryan’s Game of Thrones collection in his workspace (complete with custom shelving – below, after the jump), I lost it and decided that I just absolutely needed an assortment of my own. Rather that going with a specific set, I assembled a team of masked hard-asses who each deliver their own brand of street justice. My crew thus far: Judge Dredd, RobotCop, Rorshach, and the Batman.

Expect more figures to spontaneously take over what precious desk real estate I have left. Zod help me.

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Rolling in Phantom Menace collectibles (1999)

By January 22, 2014 Collectibles, Growing Up Geek, The Vault

Here’s a somewhat embarrassing photo from 1999, just a few weeks before the eagerly-anticipated Star Wars: The Phantom Menace premiered in theaters. I was a TV news photographer and we were doing a live remote from a local Target store which just received the first shipment of Phantom Menace toys. I was overjoyed to be among the first nerds to be handling the figures. Looking back now, it’s kinda weird to me that this photo was even taken, considering that it wasn’t immediately going up on Facebook or Instagram. Posterity, I suppose.

Now mind you, I wasn’t allowed to purchase any of these figures. There was a hard street date release on these toys, and this Target wasn’t going to be open until 9am. Luckily, I had a backup plan. I hauled-ass back to work, parked my live truck, and then raced to the nearby Toys R’ Us, which happened to be holding a midnight release party.

Actually, it wasn’t so much a release party, as it was an opportunity for a mob of unruly toy collectors to trample each other in order to get a JarJar Binks action figure. I rolled up on the scene, where a line stretched around the store and met-up with my buddies from The WB, who got me in the store, just ahead of the line. The clock struck midnight, the doors flung open, and then it was complete mayhem for the next hour as all the Star Wars displays were stripped bare. I managed to snatch up a full set of action figures and went home deliriously happy.

The next morning in the clear light of day – I recall glancing over the figures thinking, “I reallydon’t think I’m that into this Star Wars movie” and returned all but Darth Maul to the store. The Force was definitely strong with me that day.

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Crisis moment this afternoon in the Costco

By December 6, 2013 video games


Without getting into too much whiny gamer drama, I’ll just start by saying that I had a moment of crisis (or was it clarity?) and cancelled my Xbox One preorder a few days shy of launch. I’m regretting the decision, if only because I want something new and shiny. There are zero games right now that I need or want anyway.

I’ll either cave in and get an expensive Netflix machine, or wait until March when Titanfall drops.

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