Friday, April 15, 2022

Quick Sips 04/15/2022

So I’m a 2022 Hugo Award Finalist!!! More specifically, Quick Sip Reviews is a finalist in the Best Fanzine category, but as I am the editor and sole contributor, that means for the seventh time (and fifth year in a row) I am up for the rocket. I am incredibly honored to be recognized like this and grateful to everyone who nominated me. Thank you!!! That does mean I’ll have to figure out what to do about a Hugo Voter Packet, which will probably be even more difficult than usual, because the structural changes made last year mean that most of my posts were quite similar. I’ll just have to pick some good ones!

So that’s some big news. I have bought my attending membership to ChiCon 8 now, so I hope to be there. Maybe having something like homefield advantage will help me out? I grew up in the northern suburbs of Chicago, so I’ll be near to where I grew up (I was born in Cook County but raised in Lake County, in Mundelein specifically after my parents moved from Deerfield, which is where my dad grew up). Anyway, I kinda doubt it will help me an awful lot, as there are some amazing fanzines up this year, but even if I come in last again it’s an honor to have made it this far, and for QSR to get the nod for the fourth time. Even as I kinda move away from here and do most of my reviewing at Locus (and my Patreon), QSR remains incredibly important to me, and especially after the year I had in 2021, this is so appreciated.

There will be some more announcements coming up, but for now I think I’ll just bask a bit in this. You’ll just have to check back in next week to hear more.

In other news, the weather here has been going back and forth between miserable rain/snow and brief days of sunshine where the temperatures have topped 50 degrees F. So this last weekend Matt and I actually got out and did a bit of geocaching, which is something we love doing. Outside GPS scavenger hunting is just nerdy and amazing. Alas, because we started five or six years ago, we’ve mined most of the local hotspots and so if we want to really make a day of it we tend to have to travel, which especially during the pandemic has been less appealing (because part of that fun is checking out new restaurants and shops and etc). But we’ve discovered that some enterprising souls have kindly put a whole bunch in a weird little park practically on our doorstop.

The park itself it weird in that there are no trails in it, just low woods and fields. The one time we were there previously for geocaching, when there was only one cache in the park, I almost stepped on a hog-nosed snake who had just ate. A cute encounter, though I’m not overly fond of snakes. This time there were over ten caches over a much wider portion of the park, which is rather sprawling, and we spent a few hours each day wandering about finding them. Aside from the ticks I had to flick off my pants (apparently despite it snowing last week they are already awake and active) it was a great weekend.

In media, we’re in the season of Father Brown where Bunty mysteriously disappears and Sid mysteriously returns. I kind of appreciate the lack of explanation, but at the same time Sid’s mostly wasted in these episodes. The mysteries are okay, but they’re relying a bit more on gimmicks and the return of past cast members. But so it goes.

My read/reread of the X-Men comics continues, and now that Age of Apocalypse is behind me I’ve read both Uncanny X-Men and X-Men through to the start of Onslaught (1996). This is actually where I really started regularly reading comic books. #322 is the first I remember buying in a store, in the local Walgreens in Mundelein. I got an allowance at the time (I was 9) of $1/week, so I’d have enough to get roughly 2 comics a month. Except that, of course, some were more expensive. I remember buying #325 (I think that was $2.25 because it was an anniversary), which was the first time I experienced an “X-Men playing baseball” scene.

Story-wise, these aren’t the strongest issues. Bishop suffers from PTSD from his time in the AoA, Iceman deals with his feelings of inadequacy as he pushes his powers forward, Warren and Betsy quasi leave following Betsy’s injuries from Sabretooth, Wolverine becomes more “bestial” following the events of Wolverine #100 (which I haven’t gotten to yet), Gambit and Rogue struggle because of their kiss directly before AoA and the fallout from that. And Beast is replaced by Dark Beast. They’re not terrible stories exactly, but the whole direction of the books took something of a hit with the melding of the two teams into one more chaotic whole. Though the Blue/Gold thing wasn’t my favorite era of X-Men, it did give each title a distinct feel. For this stretch Uncanny X-Men and X-Men are essentially one bi-monthly book. For kid-me, it made deciding which title to pick up when I could only afford 1/month a real challenge.

Since catching up on those, I’ve moved to Generation X, which is a solid read if also largely low-stakes at the moment. It does remind me of early New Mutants issues because the team typically is dealing with spillover from the main X-books (like Gene Nation). The arc in Ireland has echoes of the New Mutants Asgard adventure in it, though nowhere near as good as that. It’s not a bad book, but it’s also moving at a glacial pace. The large cast in this case it making it so that no one really has time for much development, and it requires a lot of patience to stick with these lines that inch along issue to issue.

I’m a little annoyed, though, that the X-Man book actually doesn’t have the first arc in-continuity, skipping from the AoA issues all the way to Onslaught (a loss of almost a year of issues from Marvel Unlimited). They might be largely unimportant but I would still have liked to read them. At least Excalibur is back now that Warren Ellis is at the helm. And I’ll have Cable, X-Force, X-Factor, and Wolverine to catch up on as well. It looks like X-Factor and X-Force both get a bit spotty coming up, but we’ll see. Anyway, that’s about it for now. Cheers!


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