#REVIEW: BLACK PANTHER

iOr, as I like to call it, Shuri: The Movie, Part One.  

Guys, I saw this movie almost a full-ass week ago, last Friday, and I’m just now getting around to writing my review of it because I’ve been waiting for The Giddy to go away so that I had at least a little bit of a chance of writing something that didn’t sound like I was pausing every couple of sentences to wipe drool from my mouth.

(One possible solution to that problem: long-ass sentences.)

I can’t do it.  Giddy is all I’ve got.  I loved this movie.  Loved loved loved loved loved loved loved this movie.  Every single fucking second, every character, every scene, every setpiece.  Every single character in this movie is amazing, every single actor and actress is gorgeous (I have identified myself as a cishet man for my entire life and fuck it I am making an exception for the Black Panther cast) and goddammit if Shuri doesn’t show up for at least a cameo in every Marvel movie from now on, if for no other reason than to make fun of Tony Stark, I will be gravely disappointed.

I said this on Twitter, I’ve said it in person to half a dozen people, I’m saying it again here: I already knew that Lupita Nyong’o and Danai Gurira and oh holy god Angela fucking Bassett were goddesses and superior actresses and that I was going to love the hell out of them being in this movie.  I was wholly and entirely unprepared for Letitia Wright, who is absolutely amazing and steals every single scene she is in.  I have a Shuri Funko Pop sitting on my desk right now that I bought at the comic store yesterday and I am eagerly anticipating something with a better mold coming out soon.  I want a statue.

(Okay, one tiny flaw: I didn’t realize how much I want a Riri Williams movie until I saw this one, if only because I want Riri and Shuri to have whatever the teen girl equivalent of a Science Bros movie is.  Picture the stinger at the end of Avengers 4: We look over the shoulder of a young black woman as she reads an article on her computer about Tony Stark’s heroic death in battle with Thanos.  The camera stays behind her as she stands up and opens her closet to reveal a suit of gray armor inside it.  Come on.  Make this happen.)

I’ve had a few people ask me if this is my new favorite Marvel movie, and I’m not sure.  It’s top-tier, absolutely, up there with the first Iron Man and Avengers and Civil War.  And even of those three I’d put it above Civil War just because only Iron Man and Avengers got me to this level of long-term giddiness after I saw them.  So, how about this: as of now, after one viewing, it’s my favorite Marvel movie that I didn’t literally spend decades waiting to see before it came out.  I think that’s probably fair.

Go see it, right now.  And then go see it again.  It’s wonderful and you’ll love it.

On delayed gratification

My college hair was glorious.

My girlfriend in high school thought I would look better with longer hair, so I started growing it out during my senior year and basically never stopped.  By my senior year of college my hair was mid-back length and, amazingly, wavy as fuck— I was a Jewish Studies major among a couple other things and there was a running joke that I could easily pass for an orthodox Jew if I just tucked a couple of ringlets in front of my ears and put on a properly conservative hat.

I spent a good chunk of the summer after graduation on an archaeological dig in Israel, and decided just before leaving for the trip that heading out to dig in the desert with an extra fifteen pounds of hair on my head was not what I wanted to do.  So I went to a barber and had him trim me down to a “normal” haircut, which lasted about another year until I shaved my head for the first time and I’ve basically been doing that ever since.

But yeah.  That first haircut.  The first thing I had him do was pull my hair into a ponytail and then cut the ponytail off in one fell swoop.  I then, for no good reason other than that I thought it would be funny, mailed the ponytail to my mother, who had spent years occasionally politely hinting that perhaps my hair was a bit too long.

This backfired when my mother received a bundle of my hair in the mail and, despite the handwriting on the envelope being mine, immediately concluded that I had been kidnapped, and, this being pre-cellphone by a few years, wasn’t able to quickly get ahold of me to confirm that I was actually still alive and putting up with Samson joke after Samson joke after Samson joke from all of my fucking Religious Studies-ass friends.

She still has the ponytail.  This happened in 1998.

When I got home from work last night, there was a large envelope in the mail addressed to me.  I thought the handwriting on the envelope was my mom’s, but it was dark outside– we are well into the part of the year where I’m working from cain’t see in the morning to cain’t see at night– and the envelope didn’t appear to have anything in it, and I had just seen my mother the night before and she hadn’t mentioned mailing me anything, so what the fuck is going on here?

I generally open my mail in the garage going into the house, since the recycling bin is right there and I can trash all the junk mail before going inside.  Ten seconds later I was laughing so loud that my wife heard me from inside the house.

This may be a good time to point out that Mom’s going through a course of chemotherapy at the moment.  Don’t panic; she’s gonna be fine.  But this is what was in the envelope:

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That, my friends, is the final punchline to a twenty-year-old joke.

Nicely played, Mom.

KOKOMO-CON: The Cosplay

I will be back at this con next year.  I had a blast, sold an entire box of books, and the cosplay was magnificent.  I’ll be annotating some of these tomorrow (a few of them won’t make a ton of sense out of context) but for now here’s the cosplayer pictures I took:

WELL OKAY ONE STORY: I use free Oreos at my booth as a way to catch people’s attention, right?  Toward the end of the con, the guy dressed as Negan waltzed over to me, looked me straight in the eye, and said “You have Oreos.  I’m taking half.”

And then he actually did it.

I laughed my ass off.  This may be my single favorite con moment so far.

Anyway, the pictures:

#Review: SOVEREIGN, by April Daniels

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You may, perhaps, recall my exuberant review of April Daniels’ Dreadnought  from back in February.  I bought that book early and was kind of taken by surprise by it when it showed up in my mailbox, and then I was taken by surprise a second time when I enjoyed it as much as I did.  And it’s not only still on my shortlist for the best books of 2017, right now it’s still easily the best book I’ve read all year.

The sequel, Sovereign, showed up in my mailbox on Wednesday.  I preordered this motherfucker the second I found out it was available.  Thursday night, despite having slept all day and being generally exhausted, I made the terrible mistake of starting the book before bed, and as a result did not get nearly as much sleep as I wanted to.  Friday I woke up, took the boy to day care, came home, made myself breakfast, sat down in my recliner, and didn’t move again until I’d finished the book.  Partway through all that, I sent the following Tweet:

And I was telling the truth!  I did, indeed, have shit I wanted to do yesterday!  Shit involving my own books!  And I did absolutely none of it, because once I picked up Sovereign there was absolutely nothing else in my life that I needed to do other than finish that gatdamb book as quickly as I could.  April Daniels is the real deal, Goddammit, and now she’s written both of my two favorite books of the year.  I love this world, I love Danielle Tozer, I love the way this book does everything Book 2 in a series needs to do while setting up the third book quite nicely, and every single damn one of you needs to go pick up both of these books and read them right now because they are fantastic.  I wish I was half as good as Daniels is at this stuff.  Half.  I don’t know when the third book is coming out, but I plan to literally be the first person to preorder it when it does.

Why are you still here?  Go buy books, dammit.