It’s first of December and that means I’m late on my November column! So without further adieu it’s time for another one of my wildly rambling columns about stuff I like. Thank you to everyone who has checked these out so far, and I hope I gave you some fun recommendations!
So, I Read Comics Now: Spider-Verse. This month’s recommendation is another collection — this time of the original Spider-Verse saga. This comic finds the “spiders” all galaxies, timelines, and mediums being hunted by Morlun and his family — who feast on the blood and spirit of every realities webheads. From the 1980s cartoon to The Globe Theater to 2099, this comic takes us everywhere. The team of Spideys is just as insane as Across the Spider-verse with Superior Spider-Man, Miles Morales, Spider-Woman, Spider-Girl, Miguel O’Hara, Spider-Man Noir, Spider-Ham, Spider-Man India, Silk, Spider-Man UK, Spider-Monkey, Bruce Banner as Spider-Man and dozes of others begrudingly working together across time and space to save each other. There’s cameos (non-spoiler) from Captain America, Wolverine, and Miss Marvel too, which makes for a more robust and expansive Marvel tale. The artwork here is phenomenal, and the violence portrayed by the villains is not only viscerally stunning, but the writing makes the Spider deaths even more impact and emotional. You can order this pup on Amazon for the holidays.
Oh the Random Things You’ll Hear: This the name of my ever-evolving Spotify playlist that was created back in 2011 (currently at 2,648 songs). Every month I’m going to give you some recent cuts from this list that I’ve added that are in heavy rotation…
“Do What Feels Right” – Ista: A free-wheeling ’70s tinged jangly-disco rock ‘n’ banger. This Brookyln-born project has the danceability of a Franz Ferdinand, but about midway through explodes with a fuzzed guitar solo ripped from an MC5 or Jack White record underscored by a blistering bongo drum section
“Intro” – Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats: Having seen Rateliff at Sea.Hear.Now 2023 was absolutely incredible. Recently, I started digging into his catalog and found this absolute banger of a toe-tapping, hand clapping, horn section glory off his 2018 record Tearing at the Seems. This is an absolute pulse pounding, pint raising party song. Put in your rotation — now!
“Master Exploder” – Tenacious D: Tenacious D’s first self-titled record is an all-time classic, one that I played a billion times in college. However, their subsequent record and film, Pick of Destiny — really just drove the joke of “The D” into the ground. However, this song came along and is one of the great Tenacious D songs ever. The explicit version just hit Spotify (as opposed to the very defanged clean version) and it’s so epic. The machine gun riffs combined with the soaring vocals of Jack Black make for a beautiful heavy metal gift to the world.
“Whole Wide World” – The Rolling Stones: Ever hear a song in the background while half-listening at first, but the hooks just grab you and take notice? “Whole Wide World” by The Rolling Stones did just that. I thought “Who the hell is this band, they sound like a more modern Rolling Stones.” To my shock, it IS The Rolling Stones.This band has no right to make music this good at this point in their career. Their 2023 record Hackney Diamonds is filled with really polished, slickly produced, hook-laden rock tracks.
Reeeee-Watch: Derry Girls: My wife has great taste. Not in men, but in all things pop culture. Derry Girls, which aired three seasons on Netflix, is about a group of Irish Catholic teenage girls who live in the very Protestant town of Londonderry, North Ireland during the mid-to-late ’90s. The series is uproariously funny and foul-mouthed with its tongue-in-cheek nostalgic look at pop culture, while also still keeping a very real, earned and honest foot in the political climate surrounding the country at the time. There’s so much heart and so many big laughs in this series and if you grew up Catholic, there’s a couple great “if you know, you know” jokes in there for you. The series is still streaming on Netflix.
Of Course, Wrestling – Hangman Page vs. Swerve Strickland from AEW Full Gear 2023: Ever see a dude drink another dude’s blood … but it’s not a vampire film? That’s the level of violence that went down when “Hangman” Adam Page and Shane “Swerve” Strickland battled in a Texas Death Match at AEW Full Gear from the fabulous Kia Form in Los Angeles, California last month. The match was built on a seemingly “whatever” angle where Strickland broke into Page’s home and a cut promo while standing over Page’s son’s crib. All a little too dramatic if you ask me. However, the payoff of this angle was Page becoming so incensed that he wanted to permanently injure and retire Strickland. Meanwhile, Strickland was wanting to bring the best (and darkest) side of The Hangman out in order to prove to everyone that he (Strickland) is an absolute god of wrestling. The match was a beautiful love letter to glorious violence. Run, don’t walk to BRLive to watch it.
And Now For Something Completely Different: I’ll be doing a larger piece on this special in December, but I’d be remiss if I did not recommend Mickey’s Christmas Carol to everyone this holiday season. Celebrating its 40th Anniversary, this short film is my absolute favorite of all the Christmas Carols out there. It’s a wonderful ensemble piece that introduces us to Scrooge McDuck, and has a wonderful message of hope and charity. Yet, I’d also be remiss in not recommending two other Scrooge properties — the David Tennant-era Ducktales Christmas specials. The first, “Last Christmas” aired in 2018 and plays off some of Mickey’s Christmas Carol, but also plays into the return of Della Duck. 2020’s “How Santa Stole Christmas” is one of the series best as it tells the story of Scrooge and Santa creating Christmas, and how the two fell out — in a truly emotional way. Of course, all of these are on Disney+.