Cocktails and Comics

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Are you ready to open the door to adventure?

 

A few weeks ago, a local restaurant held a ComicCon-themed industry night, closing dinner service down early to serve comics-themed drinks and snacks. The staff were in full costume (but I neglected to get a photo of the guy with the Bat-symbol goatee), and there were entertainments that included a Batman ice luge and vintage video games (yes, we’re at a point in time at which video games can be vintage). The restaurant in question, Alden and Harlow, is a current area hotspot with an innovative menu and cocktail list, so Tiny Doom and I, together with The Goog, decided to check it out.

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Skinny Logan serves drinks to a Ninja Turtle

 

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Behold, the Bat-Luge!

The evening was fun, and very crowded, and it got me thinking about other comic-book themed cocktails. Too often, the ones you’ll find online are sticky sweet, lazy, or both, putting garish color before mixology. Alden and Harlow’s did not fall into this trap, but they did make use of some Hawaiian Punch and Mountain Dew. Is it possible to make a tasty, well-crafted cocktail that evokes your favorite heroes but avoids sticky-sweet additives? I decided to give it a whirl, and I press-ganged Tiny Doom and The Goog into helping! So here for your imbibing pleasure are three superhero cocktails that do not involve fruit punch, Pucker, or anything else with atomic food coloring. They do include somewhat obscure cocktail-nerd ingredients, so you might need to make a trip to the store before you make them.

In keeping with most of my posts, I stuck to a DC theme for this first attempt. If people like this concept though, we can do it again with Marvel and other properties. To be fair, I also picked heroes I felt I could do justice to with the ingredients I did have to hand.

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Clark, you look so classy. He’s 2 oz rye, 1 oz cider syrup, .25 oz cinnamon syrup, and tiki bitters to taste.

First up is Superman!
For him, I wanted something strong, all-American, and with a bit of something unexpected, something alien, if you will. I started with a rye whiskey base, rye being the quintessential American liquor (yes, even more so than its cousin bourbon!). In my travels, I’d picked up some boiled cider syrup, so I thought that would be a good addition – what’s more American than apples? For the “alien” note I toyed with the idea of throwing in Cardamaro, a digestif from Italy that’s made with cardoons and blessed thistle, but at the last minute I spied my tiki gear and thought that might be a more suitable direction, so in went some cinnamon syrup and the ‘Elemakule Tiki bitters from Bittermens.

The result was tasty and would actually make a great Thanksgiving cocktail – it tasted like apple pie in a glass, but without the cloying sweetness and with a bit of heat from the rye. If it didn’t go against my “strong” mandate, I’d say it would be good with some seltzer, as well.

 

 

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The dark heart of Bruce. 1 oz concentrated cold brew coffee, 1 oz Root, 1 oz Gosling’s Rum, .5 oz Kahlua

I couldn’t do Superman, of course, without Batman. The cocktail would need to be both dark and bitter. Tiny Doom pointed out that something that evoked childhood innocence lost would not be remiss, and suggested that I add some Root, a lovely concoction from Art in the Age that tastes like the very best root beer. I heeded her advice and added that to some cold brew coffee concentrate and Gosling’s rum. The first sip was okay, but weirdly flat. We decided to add a touch of Kahlua for sweetness, and it was vastly improved. This ended up being dark and complex, like its namesake, and it looks fantastic in the glass.

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The Flash! 1 part Cherry Heering, 2 parts seltzer, a dash of Snap. Lemon twist mandatory.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, how could I not do an homage to my beloved Flash? This one I did base on its looks to a significant degree, but it’s also basically a highball and thus, pretty fast. (And yes, I know a shot is faster, but not to prepare if it’s a mixed shot, and since I just don’t shoot things on principle, you get this.)

My version may also be a bit redder than what you would get a home, because the base I used, Cherry Heering, is usually a bit darker – this is a homemade version using sour cherries, which are more vibrant. I threw in a bit of Snap, another Art in the Age gem that tastes of ginger, since Wally West is my favorite Flash, and Tiny Doom came to the rescue once again by pointing out that a lemon twist would be just the right garnish to evoke the lightning bolt symbol. The result was light and refreshing, with a bit of zing from the Snap, and how gorgeous is that red?

If you try any of these cocktails at home, let me know what you think! If you want to suggest other heroes or villains to get this treatment, tell me in the comments! Have a happy Thanksgiving everyone.

 

Slimed!: A Review of Words

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In some ways, my timing for this review could not have been worse. After the recent storm of press Mathew Klickstein has received after his nauseating and infuriating interview in which he manages to show the world that he is both racist, sexist, and does not understand the basics of forming and communicating an argument, I was loathe to give him more coverage. In fact, I was pretty close to just returning the book to Amazon and calling it a day. Then two things happened. One, I realized that in all the hullabaloo, there was very little talk about the quality of the book itself. And two, Cartoon Sara and I got invited on a radio show to talk about Klickstein, his book, and Nickelodeon in general. At that point, the cat was out of the bag about my planned review and there will be no going back.

And so, for the approval of the Midnight Society, er um, I mean the dear folks who take the time to read my rambling blog posts, I am going to take the time to try my hardest to ignore Klickstein as a person and address him as an author. The purpose of this review is to focus on the book as presented and determine just how well it can stand on its own.

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Saturday Night Nickelodeon

Slimed! is an oral history. This fact is both the book’s blessing and its curse. Presented as a series of loosely organized quotes, Slimed! is extremely difficult to get through. Rather than presenting the reader with an organized narrative of the events that led up to the heyday of Nickelodeon, the author chose to be completely absent from the book. This decision might have been made in order to let those interviewed speak for themselves, but instead it simply muddies the reading experience. Each chapter is named with a very general theme and what follows are snippets back and forth from the 100+ people Klickstein interviewed. As I read it, all I could imagine was Klickstein cutting up the transcripts of his interviews and haphazardly gluing them together as best he could. This results in an uneven if not jarring reading experience as you try to stay on top of what exactly each interviewee is talking about. You basically have to hope that you are able to figure out when they have switched from talking about one show to another. Also, if you are not already familiar with the names of the actors and creators of most of Nickelodeon’s shows, you are going to find yourself spending just as much time looking up who everyone is as you will actually reading the oral history itself. It’s a slog, and if you are like me, you just might hit a point where you just don’t care anymore and just do your best to push on.

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Much harder than it looks.

The frustrating thing about this is that the solution to the problem could have been simple. In fact, there could have been quite a few solutions that could have made reading Slimed! a much more enjoyable experience– a chapter written by Klickstein introducing his credentials, link to Nickelodeon and interview process, chapter intros reintroducing the main players in each section, or maybe Klickstein himself could have been just have been a little more focused and selective about who he interviewed. Yes, all those people being involved in this book is a very cool thing, but with a cast of thousands it can be very hard to get a clear picture of any individual experiences at all.

That isn’t to say that this book is completely without charm. In fact, there are several entertaining anecdotes to be found: from the origins of the iconic green slime to why those kids on Nick Arcade always looked so stressed and confused in the final Virtual Reality round of the game show (hint: everything they saw was backwards from the way it was on screen). If you are a die-hard fan who is willing to work for it, you can certainly find something in this book to enjoy.

So the question that remains is if this book is worth your time. Unfortunately, that is a hard question to answer. I think that this book best serves those who are more than casual fans. Knowing the names of a few big players before you start reading goes a long way. As for me, I think this book and I are pretty much done with each other. It was a nice enough fling, but the lack of organization and context is not really something I want to deal with again. So while Slimed! is not the Nickelodeon book I was hoping for, I am hopeful that the press Klickstein has received does show that there is an audience for the subject matter, and a bright and intelligent audience at that. If Slimed! opens the door for more 90s nostalgia and pop culture analysis (especially about Nickelodeon) then that is certainly a good thing. Let’s just hope that the next book is written by someone with a more organized and caring hand.

If you haven’t read Slimed! and want to decide for yourself if it’s any good, please comment below by December 3rd. I will be giving my copy of Slimed! away (complete with a few bonus goodies) to one of our readers.

Now reprise the theme song and roll the credits…

Why I’m Not Freaking Out About “Toy Story 4”…Yet

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After months – if not years – of rumors, the official word is out: Toy Story 4 is coming. We know virtually nothing about the movie aside from its planned June 2017 release date, a few of the people who are working on it, and some rumblings that the fourth film will be a love story. But does that stop the Internet from speculating? Of course not.

The second the film was announced, it seemed like everyone had an opinion. Years before its release, Toy Story 4 had already been called everything from a potential new Pixar masterpiece to a sign that the studio’s days as the symbol of quality in computer animation are over, plus everything in between.

Obviously it’s a bit early to know how we should feel about a new Toy Story movie, but it’s also nearly impossible to avoid having an opinion. So here’s my take on the announcement, from my concerns to my thoughts on other people’s concerns to the one big reason I’m not worried yet. Continue reading

Five things I saw at Rhode Island Comic Con

Local people might have heard about this already, but Rhode Island Comic Con was a mess.  And calling it a mess is me being kind. It seems that the promoters vastly underestimated both how popular comic/pop culture conventions have become, and the amount of turnover over they would see.  Both things are surprising given the news out of San Diego and New York.

I and my merry band were some of the lucky ones who actually got into the Con.  It paid to make it an early morning and get in line before the doors open.  That said, it was pretty clear by the first hour that things were over sold despite the organizers’ claims to the contrary.  By early afternoon they were no longer letting people in due to the venue being close to fire code capacity, however, I heard they were still selling tickets (not cool at all).  Many many people missed out on the con, stuck outside in lousy weather, and many were separated from their parties due to the sudden enactment of a “no re-entry policy”.  If you want to know more check out the twitter hashtag: #RIComicconfail2014.

In spite of all this I was able to get into the con and have a little fun before completely redlining due to the crowds. So here’s a rundown of 5 things I saw before realizing it was time to leave and have some nachos, hence avoiding the impending nervous breakdown.

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TONGHT: Ladies of Comicazi LIVE on the Radio!

Need some more of the Ladies in your life? Well you’re in luck! Tonight, November 3 at 10PM, Ladies of Comicazi Smalerie and Cartoon Sara will be on GeekBeatRadio discussing Slimed!, Michael Klickstien, and Nickelodeon nostalgia. You can tune in tonight or listen to it in podcast form at your leisure.

Dead DC

Is everyone ready for Halloween? Costumes chosen, wigs purchased, ready to begin the revelry? We here at the Ladies have already participated in the best annual celebration around – the Comicazi Halloweeniversary! Since once again it falls to me to write the Halloweek post, I thought I’d share the group costume I was part of this year in case you’re in need of some last-minute comics related ideas. But rather than go into elaborate detail on how the costumes were created, I’m going to give you a quick rundown of who the characters are, since they’re a bit less well-known.  I’ll give a scale of 1-10 on costume-making ease though, 1 being that you could make it with all things you have lying around the house, 10 being that it requires special equipment and a license to operate heavy machinery.

We decided to go the spooky route this Halloween, so our theme was DC comics characters who are either dead or have death-related powers. I’m calling it Dead DC, but really only half the team counts as officially having shuffled off this mortal coil.

 

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Spooooooooky

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Smalerie Shares Some Halloween Comics

Ah, Fall.  Such a lovely time of year.  Days filled with foliage, apple picking, and various fun things to do outdoors.  Nights filled with warm drinks, and cold sweats trickling down your back as you gorge yourself on everything spooky for Halloween…  Well, at least that seems to be much of the case in the Smalerie household.  Between The Boy’s great love for bad horror movies, Mokey’s wardrobe of costumes, and my constant internet research on Halloween themed food-items – it’s a pretty great time to be a New Englander.  And since I assume that many of our blog readers are like-minded Halloween-loving fools, I though I’d use my turn this month to share the Halloween comics I managed to scare up.  Let’s start with the most bleak, shall we?

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Five More Reasons You Should Be Mad At Mathew Klickstein

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By now, you’ve almost certainly heard about the bizarre, offensive interview that the author of the new book Slimed!, a history of the early years of kids’ cable network Nickelodeon, did on Flavorwire. If you haven’t, here’s the original interview.

Sadly, racist and sexist drivel like this is all too common in the world of pop culture nerds. That’s part of why I usually don’t comment on it. Most times, I’m content to let other people who share my feelings on the subject do the talking. But this case goes beyond just the usual ignorant garbage.

Should we be mad at Mathew Klickstein because his views on race and gender are vile? Absolutely. But there’s a whole slew of other things he’s done in this single interview that shouldn’t be ignored.

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DC vs. Marvel In the Kitchen: Main Dish Main Event

Hey there food fight fans!  Hopefully you caught last week’s post where we put side dishes from the DC Super Heroes Super Healthy Cookbook (DSHSHC) and the The Mighty Marvel Superheroes Cookbook (MMSC) head to head in a culinary cage match to see which was the most edible.  This week, the battle continues!  I, Tiny Doom, will be cooking for Marvel, while my culinary compatriot The Red Menace will be repping for DC.  The Goog continues his role as “The Watcher”, eater of horrible foods, and general good sport.

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DC vs. Marvel In the Kitchen: Side-Dish Showdown

Early in the days of this blog, I wrote a post about the DC Super Heroes Super Healthy Cookbook (DSHSHC), a slightly strange 1981 off-shoot of the DC marketing juggernaut. The post, about Batman’s dubious attempt at french toast, was popular enough that I wanted to do a sequel, but there needed to be a twist, something to draw you all back in. See, Marvel also has a cookbook, one that slightly predates the DC one, in fact – Stan Lee Presents: The Mighty Marvel Superheroes Cookbook (MMSC).  This book doesn’t have a spin on health, like the DCE one.  Instead it seems more geared toward recipes kids would make with parental supervision.  This means easy recipes with a lot of pre-prepared ingredients (read: canned stuff).  I thought it would be fun to put these recipes head to head. Tiny Doom graciously offered to represent Marvel in this contest – we couldn’t afford a copy of the book, (which goes for an average of $100!) but the good folks at ScansDaily provided us with enough material to make it work.

So join us, won’t you, for a two-part battle royale to determine whether DC or Marvel reigns supreme – in the kitchen.

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