Retiring softpixels

Hello, folks.

I am no longer going to be maintaining this blog.

You will be able to find my new content at

From 01 January 2018, this domain will redirect to that address. From 20 March 2018, this domain will be retired.

I will be unlikely to be creating a new blog; instead, my content will be on social media. will guide you.

Opening Pandora’s Box by Ferdie Addis

Publisher: Michael O'Mara Books | ISBN: 978-1-7824-3023-0

No, no, no – this isn't erotica. It's a glossary of common phrases that many of us use quite often, without actually knowing their origins. Sure, most of us know what Pandora's Box was, at least the basics – but do you know who Pandora was, other than an opener of boxes?

Those are the things you'll learn from reading this book. Now, I am pretty well-versed on ancient western mythology and classical literature, so there were very few surprises for me here. But for most folks? A very insightful read, without getting too bogged down in historical detail.

The book also does a great job of separating myth from history, while still recognise the importance and interconnectedness of each – in fact, near the end of the book, the author discusses how for the Greeks in particular, myth was just history that happened a bit longer ago. This helps primarily in understanding why so many phrases stuck with us for so long, even without context – even for the Ancient Greeks, some of them lacked context!

I don't know. It's so hard to review it for a wide audience when I was already pretty well across its content. I didn't learn a lot from it because I already valued and acquired this information. While I think most folks would learn a great deal from it, I imagine that if you valued this sort of information you'd already have learned it!

Cult of Chucky (2017)

Screenplay by: Don Mancini | Directed by: Don Mancini

Well it is all just getting a bit ridiculous at this point, right?

I first saw Child's Play when I was a small child; I would have been five or six. I enjoyed it but didn't remember it very well. I watched it again as an adult, at about 27 years old, and loved it – largely because I didn't remember it well. A few things had me guessing. I watched the original trilogy and was happy.

Then I saw the awful Seed of Chucky and thought the whole thing was an awful mess. I didn't bother with Bride of Chucky (the film before Seed) or Curse of Chucky (the one after Seed) because of it.

Cult of Chucky seemed to return to its roots quite a bit, but was still utterly ridiculous. There was a very good story in there, with the kid from the original films back as an adult (and played by the same guy – and even a shock post-credits scene with another old character, oh my gosh!) but they seemed insistent on including some of the goofier elements of those late-1990s/early-2000s horrible messes.

There was, however, some great fourth-wall breaking that made the film well worth watching; but if not for the silliness in the middle, it would have been exceptional. 

I'll watch the next film, but it'll have to wow me.

Robotech #4

Writer: Brian Wood | Penciler: Marco Turini | Publisher: Titan Comics

Nothing happened.


I mean, sure, the SDF-1 transformed, but that's no big deal – we all know it can do that. And it was really only a few panels to explain how it transforms, etc.

All that happened in the issue was that in response to an alien attack, the SDF-1 transformed and punched the alien mothership so stationery vehicles inside the SDF-1 could shoot it.

It took 20+ pages to show that, somehow.

I'm not sure what this was, but it was not the same comic I read in #s 1-3.

Maybe the reason Simon Furman is coming on as co-writer with #5 is because Brian Wood lost his way with this issue and the editors knew it? I dunno. It just seemed to be a whooooole lot of nothing compared to the first three issues.

Spider-Men II #4

Writer: Brian Bendis | Penciler: Sara Pichelli | Publisher: Marvel Comics

There's a really awkward panel where Peter Parker and Miles Morales are sitting on a rooftop and Peter looks like he's going to topple over. No idea why they'd even be sitting that way to begin with…

Was this issue delayed? It feels like there has been a long wait between #3 and this one. Was #3 maybe the one that was largely flashbacks to not-Ultimate Miles Morales and Kingpin becoming friends?

I'm a bit confused by this issue. not-Ultimate Miles Morales is already in the same universe as Peter and Miles. I'm not certain it is his universe of origin, but it seems it should be, unless the whole series is a scam – so how does that connect to there being a Teen Barbara, as well?

Wilson Fisk's comments about it being calming to know that there are other Vanessa Fisks in the multiverse was stupid. He's a smart man – he knows they aren't the same person. And what's his attitude? Do whatever you want, kill whoever you want, because another one of them exists elsewhere anyway? That seems to be what BENDIS! was suggesting, given that Peter makes the opposite argument.

This is dragging out far too long for something that was never going to have a great payoff. Now, I suspect I know the ending, and if I'm right, this will have been a massive rip-off.

Also? The cover is very misleading. Peter does not Miles back like that. He sort of tries to discourage Miles from pursuing a course of action, but fails, so even as a metaphor it is a bit strained.

Power Pack #63

Writer: Devin Grayson | Penciler: Marika Cresta | Publisher: Marvel Comics

A Marvel Legacy tie-in. Because Marvel Legacy is an event. No matter what they say, it is not a redirection, or refocus, or anything – it's an event, like Secret Empire and Secret War and Secret Invasion and all the other ones that don't have 'Secret' in the title. E. Vent. Event.

I don't understand why this is #63. For other Marvel Legacy numberings they didn't just go back to Volume 1 and add 1 to the final issue, they added future volumes and related titles. Well, even not counting the many Power Pack limited series of the mid-2000s, this is still off by four, the Power Pack limited series from the late 1990s. It should be #67.

But many of the Marvel Legacy numberings are questionable, so why shouldn't this one be, also?

One thing I don't get about this or the aforementioned LS is the desire to show Alex Power wearing nothing but blue boxer shorts. Why blue? Why the near-nudity? Is it meant to show him "grown up", to justify his rapid aging to accommodate things like his presence in Fantastic Four? Is it paedophile artists? I don't get it, but it seems deliberate.

All this story did was draw attention to flaws in the Marvel universe of today. It harkened back to when stories had depth and meaning (some of the most confronting Marvel stories took place in Power Pack, dealing with things like humanity's response to mutants and the like – really chilling, despite how much people insist it was a comic for little children), but also drawing attention to the absence of the Fantastic Four.

Really, it served almost no purpose whatsoever, and wasn't even interesting. I expect more from Devin Grayson, but I don't expect more from Marvel.

Ben Reilly: Scarlet Spider #10

Writer: Peter David | Penciler: Will Sliney | Publisher: Marvel Comics

So… here's the thing.

I'm a huge fan of Peter David's writing. I'm a huge fan of Will Sliney's penciling (Leopardon in Spider-Man 2099!!!!). I'm a big-ish fan of Ben Reilly… at least the character before Dan Slott got his grubby mitts on him, and Peter David has managed to salvage him in the post-Slott damage.

But really, what's the point?

It is very clear that no-one gave any consideration to the fact there was an ongoing title set in Las Vegas before the city was destroyed in Secret Empire; if they had, surely Ben would have had at least a cameo in that series.

Now we learn that in February there will be a new event set in Las Vegas – a magick/Doctor Strange-themed one by Nick Spencer and Donny Cates. Do you expect me to think for a second that they've considered this title and that Ben Reilly will be there? It even features Mephisto, and a story involving the mass deaths in Las Vegas. It isn't like Ben has dealt with Death in the aftermath of Secret Empire or anything…

This book is just going to keep getting shoved back for awful stories by mediocre writers. So why get too involved?

I am very curious to learn what brought all the Slingers to Las Vegas. I'm less curious about the little girl who has befriended "Aunt June", and I'm pretty confident that Ben's shock at the end of the issue is because he's lost his pretty face. I'm only slightly curious about Misty (Mysterio's daughter – so funny) and her powers. I guess that what bothers me is that so much Spider-stuff has migrated with Ben, and I find that a bit hard to wrap my head around.

It would be nice if he dealt with the sort of things Peter doesn't deal with, like maybe shifting the focus to magic (there are many magicians in Las Vegas!) rather than the low-level tech villains Spidey fights.