Spiders and Supers - More Lego Creations

I've been watching a lot of the Toei Company Spider-Man TV series (a.k.a. Supaidaman, a.k.a. Japanese Spider-Man, a.k.a. the one where Spidey has a giant transforming robot) from the late 70s recently (thanks, Cape Television!), and because of the way my brain is programmed I started thinking about how I could realize these characters in Lego form.

"I am the emissary of HELL! And I shall fight this great evil for fate of ALL spiders!"

The "Emissary from Hell," Spider-Man himself, was relatively easy, of course; I just had to take a normal Spidey minifig (one of the most ubiquitous minifigs of any Lego line) and add a 1-by-1 round stud with a hole for his web-shooter / communicator / Spider-changer / space bracelet thingy.  It wouldn't stay on his arm very well without popping out the hand, so - SHHHHHH!!! -  I had to resort to some Kraggle. Don't tell the makers of The Lego Movie on me.




Professor Monster's staff is basically already made of Lego

The series' main villain Professor Monster was a lot easier to pull together than I was expecting thanks to having an abundance of space and Ninjago figures kicking around from when the kiddo was younger.




One of my favorite things about Amazoness is her secret identity as a newspaper editor, so she's kinda-sorta the JJJ of this version of Spider-Man!

Assistant villain / henchwoman / the one who does most of the evil heavy lifting, Amazoness - which, as a name, sounds cool but that feminizing suffix seems silly given than the Amazon warriors for whom she is named already were female, but whatever - was also less of a challenge than initially thought thanks to that bodice torso from Old West dress-wearing Wyldstyle from the first Lego Movie minifigure line.

And she can accessorize with the best of 'em. Let's see Jonah pull off this look!

Add a Wonder Woman hair and tiara piece and you get her later-in-the-series look, too.





Every episode, Professor Monster and Amazoness send out some sort of creature called a Monster BEM to do their bidding and drive the plot, right up until the point near the end where they grow to giant size and get taken out by Spidey's robot, Leopardon. Like every other tokusatsu / sentai show monster, they're all have some kind of goofy theme to them. This guy isn't based on any one Monster BEM in particular, I just like the idea of a punk rock space bug.




As for said giant robot Leopardon (or his spaceship form, Marveller)...



Yeah, I'm not ready for that yet.  Someday, though!




So even if I had to stop with the Japanese side of the Spider-Verse, I still wanted to play around in that sandbox a bit, so I made a female Spidersona to pal around with the Orbweaver... possibly to represent a spider-powered Mary Jane since we already have a Spider-Gwen, but also maybe my wife because her hair is auburn like this.  Either way, here's Tarantulass:




And because I've been playing the Spider-Man PS4 game since Christmas, here's running-joke-turned-actual-character-in-Spider-Geddon, Spider-Cop:


A little different than as-presented in Spider-Geddon, but given the parts I had I'm happy with how he turned out.




Finally, I've made some tweaks to my Supermobile build... I found better connectors for the fists, I added the scope thing for vision powers and a control panel to the cockpit, and found stickers that worked for the nose and the tail fin.  I'd love to revisit this someday and make a version with fewer or no visible studs, but overall I'm very happy with Version 1.


Getting the arms right was the most important thing. It's the arms that make it so lovably goofy.

Also, branding is important!

Happy I found something to work for the scope. If I could only have figured out a way to work in the tube for his super breath!



Literally Anyone Can Make Comics: Men Fear the Monster Called... ROY!

Making comics badly isn't a recent thing for me, I've done it my whole life! I rediscovered these the other day, from an old sketchbook dating back to around 1999 and 2000. The scans aren't great - but neither were the comics! *zing* - but the pencils were too faded to come in well at anything except black and white.  But hey, the handwriting is almost legible and for me that's a big victory (seriously, you'd think I hold a pencil with my feet my handwriting is so bad).  Enjoy the tale of... ROY.

(click to make 'em ROY-sized)




PS - So this panel here?
Literally my favorite thing I have ever drawn. It made me happy enough to show Roy kicking the dirt, but I especially loved that a monster had pockets.

Low, slow, and tasty - my slow cooker chili

I hate when food posts start with some meandering story about, I dunno, reconnecting with your spirit in Tuscany or whatever and you have to scroll for days before you so much as get a hint of the recipe. So here's my slow cooker chili recipe - not even a real recipe, per se, more like a baseline - and you want to read a little bit about it (guaranteed 100% Tuscany free), we'll meet up below.

Before and After

Ingredients!

2lbs ground beef
Olive oil for pan (eyeball it)
1 green pepper
1 red pepper
1 onion (I like a vidalia)
Minced garlic (at least 2 tablespoons for the meat, more to add to the crockpot if you like)
Chili powder (2-3 tablespoons in the meat to your tastes, more in the crockpot to taste)
Sriracha to taste (3 tablespoons is the sweet spot for me)
1-2 cans of kidney and/or pinto beans (depending on how beany you like you chili)
1 large can (or 2 regular sized cans) crushed tomatoes w/ chilies
1 small can tomato sauce
Salt & pepper to taste
Full can or 3/4 bottle of beer (a nice brown ale or English pale ale like Old Speckled Hen work well)

Instructions!

  1. Sweat onion and peppers in olive oil.
  2. Add beef to the pan and brown it up (you can take out the onion and peppers but I usually leave it all in).  Add the garlic and a few shakes of chili powder to season the meat as it browns.
  3. While this is happening, add tomatoes, sauce, and beans (onion and peppers, too, if you didn’t keep them in with the beef) to the crock pot.  Stir.
  4. When meat is browned up, add to the crock pot.  Stir.
  5. Add sriracha, chili powder, salt and pepper, beer, and flour (if you’re using it) to the crock pot, all based on your tastes (all measurements above are approximations, I’ve tweaked it each time).
  6. Cook low and slow...  4 hours is good, but 6, 7, or 8 will be even better if you have the time and patience.
  7. Eat. Serve with whatever you want (some cheese; maybe some corn bread; oooh, yeah, tortilla chips are always nice).  It will be good right out of the pot but even better the next day.

The Non-Recipe Stuff! 

So here's the thing New England winters - they're terrible. They're cold, they're dark, they're long, and there's sickness everywhere. Most of us claim to enjoy living where we get all 4 seasons but if we're really being honest we enjoy 3 of them and fourth is just us punishing ourselves for original sin like our Puritan forebears. You sometimes meet someone who claims to enjoy winter, but I guarantee you they don't have to shovel their own yard so discount them entirely.

The people here worth mentioning all go into a pretty deep decline for the winter months; we pretty much invented seasonal affective disorder. We all search for nice big, warm things to bring us a modicum of joy and get through the rough times. We pretty much invented the fuzzy blanket, the big sweater, and the snuggling of dogs, too.  This also extends to food, of course, and every so often you just want a nice big mound of something that tastes good and also warms you inside and out.

Trying to fight the winter blahs a few years back, I decided to try my hand at chili. I liked it a lot growing up but never actually made it myself.  I watched far too much Food Network and saw all these chili cook off people with their secret ingredients and weird processes, which put it in my head that it was a very fussy process when truthfully it's anything but. At the heart of it, you're putting a bunch of stuff (most of which requires little or no preparation) into a pot and then walking away all day.

I researched some recipes and talked to some friends about their own chili concoctions and cobbled together sort of a greatest hits version of all of those, which has morphed over time. But I made this the other night and even that didn't strictly follow what you see above, which is why I call it a baseline. Things change based on tastes, availability of ingredients, how much effort I'm willing to put in, etc.  The only things that don't change are the beer (type of beer changes, but the presence of beer is a must to me) the sriracha (because I like a little sweetness with the heat), and the use of a crockpot or other slow cooker (this time I used the Ninja Foodi we got for Christmas). Everything else is negotiable.

If you try it, feel free to drop me a line and tell me what you think, or if you have suggestions of your own, share away. Even though it's mid-March and the weather hints at getting nice again, New England winters keep their own calendar so we really can't count on being done for good until at least about June.

My Spidersona: the Orbweaver!

Soon after the release of the now-Academy Award Winning Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (which, by the way, was hands-down my favorite movie of 2018, maybe my favorite superhero movie ever, and definitely in my top 10 favorites of all time), social media (particularly Twitter) went all in with the Spidersona meme, people's own spider-hero costume designs inspired by the parallel universe variants seen in the movie and in the Spider-Verse and Spider-Geddon comic book events.

If you haven't already done so, scour the internet for these, they're all (if you'll pardon the Spider-Man adjacent pun) amazing.  So much so that I wanted to play along, too. Unfortunately, as a wise person once said, I can't draw for shit, but it occurred to me that I do have at least one artistic medium I do some decent work in and enough supplies to make it worth the attempt.

So I present to you now, direct from Earth-430, the outstanding Orbweaver:



For those playing along at home, that's a generic red hood piece, the torso of one of the Mighty Micros Spider-Man figures, the arms of Mr. Incredible, the legs of a Lego City surfer/diver, and the head of a Mighty Micros Magneto figure. The quizzical left eye never worked as a stand-in for a typical black costumed Spidey but it works perfectly for an alternate reality superheroic me, who stops crime in Bulldog City with webs, sarcasm, and obscure TV references.

Great Moments in Wrestling History: Godzilla's "Hard Times" Promo



"First of all, I would to thank the many, many fans throughout this country that wrote cards and letters to Gawdzilla, the Monstah Island Dream, while I was down. Secondly, I want to thank Toho Company, Ltd  for waitin’ and takin’ the time ‘cause I know how important it was, Final Wars ’85, to the wrestling fans, to Toho Company, Ltd, and Gawdzilla, the Monstah Island Dream. With that wait I got what I wanted: King Ghidorah, the World’s Monsterweight Champion. 

I don’t have to say a whole lot more about the way I feel about King Ghidorah! No respect! No honor! There is no honor amongst flyin’ three-headed space dragons in the first place!

He put hard times on Gawdzilla and his family! You don’t know what hard times are, daddy!

Hard times are when the Japanese defense force soldiers around this country are out of work, they got 4 or 5 kids and can’t fie-ah their giant lasuh cannons, can’t fly their fancy space planes!

Hard times are when the scientists and small boy helpers are out of work and they tell ‘em go home!

And hard times are when a man has worked at a job for thirty years – THIRTY YEARS! – and they give him a watch, kick him in the butt, and say “Hey, a kaiju just stepped on your place of employment, daddy.” That’s hard times! That’s hard times! 

And King Ghidorah, you put hard times on this country by takin’ Gawdzilla out, that’s hard times! And we all had hard times together, and I admit, I don’t look like the kaiju of the day supposed to look. Mah belly’s just a lil’ big, my tail’s a lil’ big, but brutha, I am BAD and they know I’m bad.

There were two bad monsters… one was Gamera and he’s dead, brutha, and the other’s right here. “Monsta Zee-ro” King Ghidorah, the World’s Monsterweight title belongs to these people. I’mma reach out right now, I want you at home to know my hand is touchin’ your hand for the gathering of the biggest body of running, screaming people in this country, in this universe, all over the world now, reachin’ out because the love that was given me and this time I will repay you now. Because I will be the next World’s Monsterweight Champion on this hard time blues. Gawdzilla tour, ’85!

And King Ghidorah, Monsta Zee-ro… let me leave you with this. One way to hurt King Ghidorah is to take what he cherishes more than anything in the world and that’s the World’s Heavyweight title (the otha way is rippin’ his wings off). I’m gon’ take it.  I been there twice… this time when I take it daddy, I’m gon’ take it for you. Let’s gather for it. Don’t let me down now, ‘cause I came back for you, for that monster upstairs that died 10-12 years ago ‘cause of that Oxygen Destroyer and never got the opportunity to see a real Kaiju Champion. And I’m proud of you, thank god I have you, and I love you. I love you!

SKREEEEEEEEEEE-ONK!!!"