We’re back and better than ever

Let’s address the elephant in the room, we disappeared on you guys, for which we apologize. But you may ask where have you been and why should I care? Well simply put, life got crazy with all the shit recently and not just Covid-19 related. The last couple month has consisted of major changes in our life and positive changes at that.

First I’m am a finally a college graduate. Done with school after 10 fucking long years. And second finally started a new career. It’s been quite busy lately but we are back!!!!

But with us being under quarantine for a little bit longer, it’s time to get back to this blog. Keep an eye out for upcoming blogs on physical vs. digital comics, countdowns & lists, and sharing our opinions on certain comics and comic related news.

We just want to thank you for discovering us or rediscovering….. and for those that have stayed with us, thank you for your patience. You guys are rockstars and please don’t be afraid to contact us. We love talking comics and everything geeky.

Wrestling with Geekdom

I am a fan of Comic books. I am a fan of professional wrestling.

These were two things that I would had never admitted to when I was a teenager. Those close to me, knew about the comics but not professional wrestling. I was heavily invested in wrestling till I was 13, once high school started it was something I would rarely think about. Comics, were not discovered till my early twenties. Now, as I finish up a long academic journey, I have found an interest in the two topics in my studies. The sociology of the comic culture and the wrestling culture have been present in many papers throughout the journey, but I never looked back and reflected on how they affect me.

Wednesday has become the day of the week for comic and wrestling fans, with new releases for comics. As well as NXT and AEW going head to head with some of the best wrestling on television.

But what does comics have to do with wrestling? I believe the fandoms co-exist due to the fact of simple storytelling. As well as the idea that both act as modern day mythology. In the wrestling ring, there is the good guy (baby face) and the bad guy (the heel), in comics we have the good guy (superhero) and the bad guy (the villain). Just from that standpoint, it represents a correlation, but it goes deeper.

Watching wrestling today, a viewer could tell the heel from the baby face much like a reader can from the pages of a comic book. Between Baron Corbin shoving dog food in the face of Roman Reigns or Bane takeover Gotham City. The two examples show that wrestling and comics have similarities in the method of telling stories.

Also the fans are another example that causes this idea of wrestling and comics to collide . Fans of a certain wrestler will follow them throughout their whole career rather they are good or bad, fans of Big Show have dealt with many changes in his character. Batman is an example in the comic industry where fans of the character will bitch about a writer on the series but still buy or read every issue due to the character.

As a fan of both wrestling and comics, I witness the toxic behavior of fans but also witness the pleasure that they both bring fans. As a wrestling fan I look forward to pay per views especially the royal rumble and wrestlemania even if I don’t watch wrestling every week. I find myself returning for a couple months. In comics, I am in a shop at least once a week and if one of the big two (Marvel or DC) have a epic event planned I have to read it.

There is just something about both wrestling and comics that brings people together even if they don’t partake in reading or watching every event. If WWE or AEW is in town, we try to buy tickets to the show. If there is a comic convention in town, you bet we will be there. It’s the community of both that allows for a love to be gained beyond what is created by wrestlers and comic creators.

If you haven’t yet, read Aubrey Sitterson’s The Comic Book Story of Professional Wrestling or Michael Kingston’s Headlocked series as they are prefect examples of how comics and wrestling work together.

The near future for both wrestling and comics has me excited right now between the return of Edge in WWE and Jon Moxley destroying it in AEW. In the comics world, Donny Cates is writing a crazy version of Thor that I can not get enough of and the announcement of Dark Knight: Death Metal, it is a great time to be a wrestling fan and comic fan.

It’s No Laughing Matter: The Academy Awards and Comic Book based Films

Remember (if you are old enough) celebrating the performance by Heath Ledger on February 22, 2009 when he won Best Supporting Actor posthumously for the Dark Knight at the Academy Awards. His portrayal of the character left all of us speechless, at that time it was the greatest performance in a comic book based film. That was eleven years ago (start counting the wrinkles, cause we are getting old) and we have another actor nominated for Best Actor for the same role in Joaquin Phoenix’s breathtaking performance in Joker.

With the news of Phoenix’s nomination, a question popped in my head, are comic book based films finally being recognized as award caliber films or is it just the Character of Joker?

It could be argue that Joker is a special film and should not even be in the same category of comic book based films. The reasoning because it was different from the traditional film we get from the genre and that it was Todd Philips own story. But, it is based on a character that originated from the pages of a comic, so it has to be included in the discussion of films. The fact that it is different, that it acts more like Taxi Driver than Batman, gives us hope that future projects in the genre could result with the same accolades.

A little breakdown of the eleven awards that Joker has been nominated for (it’s a long list): Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Director for Todd Phillips, Best Original score for Hildur Guonadottir, Best Adapted Screenplay by Todd Phillips and Scott Silver, Best Cinematography for Lawrence Sher, Best makeup and Hairstyling, Best costume design, Best film editing, best sound mixing, and Best sound editing.

Joker has become the most nominated comic book based film of all time after beating The Dark Knight‘s eight nominations and Black Panther‘s six nomination last year. Truthfully I am still surprised that Michael B. Jordan was not nominated for his performance as Killmonger, but becoming the first comic book based film to be nominated for Best Picture is still an amazing feat. As I am surprised about the lack of nomination for Jordan, I was upset with Green Book winning best picture last year, it should had gone to BlacKKKlansman or A Star is Born.

So this marks the second year in a row that a comic based film has been nominated for best picture, so is that a good thing for the future? The answer absolutely. These are films that we want to see and to see them be awarded is amazing. Personally I don’t see the genre going the way of the western especially if films like Joker, Logan, Road to Perdition (yes, based on a comic) and A History of Violence (based of a comic as well) can come from the medium.

As for Marvel, will they ever have a film win Best picture? I don’t want to say no, but they would have to take a risk like DC has. Who knows maybe The Eternals could be an amazing film, I know the book by Neil Gaiman was fantastic. Also Sony has the spider-verse, which has already snugged a best animated film award. If Joker has proven anything, its that with the right director and crew, a comic book based film could win Best picture. All the studio has to do, is let the filmmaker work on their vision. That is why I am excited for Ava DuVernay’s New Gods with Tom King as a co-writer, if DC and Warner Bros continue to leave filmmakers with their own visions, we may see another film like Joker.

It is easy to compare Marvel and DC films, Marvel will always be this box-office juggernaut and DC has the opportunity to become a mainstay in Oscar season if they leave the filmmakers alone. With Patty Jenkins doing Wonder Woman, Matt Reeves with The Batman and James Gunn with The Suicide Squad, DC is in good place.

I think I need to end this with saying I love the MCU, the films are fun and feel like comics. I always cry watch Avengers: Endgame and Thor: Ragnarok is among my favorite films, but I feel like the future is really bright for DC and as a comic fan that has me excited for the future. Come February 9th, I will be rooting for Joker as it would be great for a film to be based on a comic to be recognized as the best of the year.

A Second Home: The Impact of A Local Comic Shop

Many of us have a place that we consider a second home. In our youth, it was our best friend’s home or the grandparents house. As we get older, our second home tends to change to fit with our personality and what we like. If, we are someone that looks like Dwayne Johnson (Not me!) its the gym. If we are someone that is fighting for a promotion, the second home becomes your job. But what is the second home, to a fan of comics, to someone that eats, sleeps, and breath comics?

I think it is pretty obvious to admit that Nora and myself have an investment in comics, so we consider our local comic shop(LCS) to be our second home. Shout out to Issues Needed in Apple Valley, Minnesota ,as over the last year it has shifted from a comic shop we visit every once in a while to the shop we have to visit weekly.

So why do we consider our LCS our second home?

It comes to down to the attachment to the shop and the crew. In the couple years of collecting comics and become Wednesday warriors, we have had a pull list at a few shops. I will admit that it was disappointing to cancel a pull list. It is almost like breaking up with a significant other, you build a relationship with the crew, only to say you have found someone better.

Unless you move or absolutely have to cancel a pull list, it is something that I would advice against. The pull list is the first thing to gain you entry into the comic community, by that I mean committing to a pull list, shows the shop that you will be loyal to them. The crew at this shop will recognize you and even spark a friendship.

When we walk into our LCS, the first thing we hear is “Hello Kyle and Nora” or usually “Hey Nora” (She is loved at the shop). The feeling of walking into a shop that sees a good amount of people and to be recognized, it creates this feeling of belonging. If you read the previous post by Nora, you will see that belonging to a subculture or community was lacking and something that she now cherish.

I know we live in the era of digital comics, but personally you do not get the same joy of walking into a comic shop every Wednesday to pick up your pull list. The personal connection and communication with someone with the same interest is the main reason why the LCS is important to the comic industry and needs more support. Granted it may be cheaper and more convenient to get comics digital or even off a discounted website, but saving 20 cents to a dollar is not worth cutting out the communication you will find at a LCS. Also most shops will give you discount, if you have a pull list with them.

The best part of picking up a pull list is the relationship with the store. Yes, you look forward to reading the comics, but discussing them with the owner or store assistant makes the experience worth so much more than the expense you pay for the comics. The majority of comic shops we have visited, we have spent most of the time talking to those that work in the shop than shopping. That is not something you will find shopping online.

Another thing that is great about a LCS is the acceptance of different opinions. We went to the release party of Detective Comics #1000 and everyone at the party felt differently about Batman, DC Comics, and the Comic Industry. Yet, we were all discussing the best variant cover for the release (Bruce Timm’s variant) and the best live action batman (Michael Keaton without question) without any anger being shown. That is another thing you will not find online, people with different opinions getting along.

If we spend 5 minutes or 5 hours in a LCS, it doesn’t matter because no matter the time we spend, we feel at home. So, basically this is a way of saying thank you to any LCS, as you keep the community strong.

If you want to shout out any LCS, please do so, show some love to the place that brings you joy every Wednesday. Or even argue why you prefer to read digitally and shop online.

Shame! I Know I Need to Read These Comics.

After admitting to these heinous crimes I will feel like Cersei Lannister, while you chat “shame” at me, but I am about to admit to not reading some of the greatest stories in comics. Now, before the judgement is forced upon me, let me defend myself. I did not start reading comics till closer to my twenties. Besides Watchmen and Batman: The Killing Joke, my reading would consist of a Deadpool trade once in a while, it would be around 2016 when I dove head first into reading comics. This list was inspired by the podcast “Stegman and his Amazing Friends” and a conversation between Nora and I on the way to our local comic shop.

Crime #1) Brian K Vaughn

Yes I am starting off the list with not one single series or book, but an author. Thinking about it, I have never read a story by Brian K Vaughn. The messed up thing, Nora has read the entirety of Saga and Paper Girls in the last two month. So, why have I not read Saga or Paper Girls if we have them collected? Truthfully, I have no damn clue why I have skipped over Brian K Vaughn. Looking at Saga, it has a intimidation factor to it, with the size of the recent compendium (collecting the first 9 volumes and features 1400 pages) that could be a reason or it could be the fact I know I will be instantly hooked and would get lost in the 1400 pages.

As for his other works, Paper Girls, Ex Machina, Pride of Baghdad, and Y: The Last Man I believe that it comes down to my attachment towards superhero comics and the big two. This will change soon, as I plan on reading Saga sooner than later.

Crime #2) The Sandman

This is probably the one series I am most ashamed for not reading. Being a fan of Neil Gaiman and seeing Nora just fall in love with the series, I should have read it by now. But it is a series that I push aside for something else usually Batman or Spider-Man related. The worst thing about not reading this, is the fact that I have read Death: High Cost of Living and quite bit of Hellblazer/Constantine. In fact, the short animated film of Death that came with Wonder Woman: Bloodlines, I found to be a damn masterpiece.

It’s hard to call Gaiman, one of my favorite writers knowing that I have skipped this series that he won an Eisner award for. But, Black Orchid and Batman: Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader? are among my favorite stories. Not reading The Sandman, almost gives a feeling of revoking my comic nerd card. Hopefully by the end of 2020, I can say I have finished The Sandman, but that is something I said for 2018 and 2019.

Crime #3) Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye

This was a tough decision between Hawkeye or The Walking Dead and if it was not for seeing Fraction’s Hawkeye on many different lists on decade defining books, I would have put The Walking Dead here. Fraction is much like Brian K Vaughn, regretfully I have never read any of his work. But, I think the perfect place to start would be this series. From what I hear about this run, it is unforgettable and the best Hawkeye story, which has me intrigued.

Hopefully by the end of the year I will be able to have a different hall of shame list, but one of the best things about being a comic fan, its like being in school. Everyday there is something new that you’re learning or adding to your pile to read. Also look out for Nora’s debut piece soon, maybe she’ll do a Shame blog, which I can bet will be mostly Frank Miller’s work.

Why Ryan Stegman is my Favorite Comic Artist of 2019?

Last Thursday (the last comic release of 2019, damn that flew) Venom #21 was released with the iconic Spider-man artist Mark Bagley doing the artwork, and as much as I love Bagley’s artwork, I realized that Ryan Stegman was my favorite artist of 2019. Its not fair to compare Bagley and Stegman because the art in Venom #21 is still amazing, but Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman created magic together on Venom and Absolute Carnage.

As certain friends would call me a walking contradiction, I am aware that there are better artist out there who dominated 2019 as well. For example what Jamal Campbell has done with Naomi and Far Sector is nothing but breathtaking. Ian Bertram had me drooling over Little Bird (which if you have not read yet, do yourself a favor and read it. It is a damn masterpiece) and as I have These Savage Shores sitting on my bookshelf to be read soon with beautiful art by Sumit Kumar, I have to admit that Stegman had a lasting effect on me.

Before Venom #1 in July 2018, I knew of Ryan Stegman but truthfully I would say I was not a die hard fan. I was going into Venom with the idea that Donny Cates was going to write a crazy ass story like he did with Thanos Wins. Little did I know I was about to fall in love with the artist. From just the cover alone, it had a sense of beautiful action horror, the way he drew Venom was perfect.

Throughout the series, Stegman would continue to create a haunting rendition of a character that was pretty well established. In Venom #3, the evil deity of Knull is introduced in the story and Stegman’s art makes the character unforgettable. The first volume of Venom is the Stegman show and his partnership with Donny Cates, made the book one of the best surprises of 2018. Stegman couldn’t surprise me again, can he?

Cates and Stegman would continue to dominate Venom and turn the series into the second best series coming out of Marvel. (Immortal Hulk is the best, if you are curious) Then in March 2019 at C2E2, Marvel would announce the comic event of Absolute Carnage. We were at the show and I remember looking Nora straight in the eyes and saying “Holy shit, this book is gonna be huge.”

Sure enough the first taste of Absolute Carnage came in the form of the Free Comic Book Day exclusive Spider-Man and I needed more. The way that Cates and Stegman changed Carnage was crazy, he became this creature that would induce nightmares and yet it was so damn beautiful. Carnage went from being kind of scary to “shit my pants” scary with Cates and Stegman turning him into a monstrous skeleton like god. I am sure other artist could had pulled it off, but there was something to Stegman’s artwork that made this version of carnage unforgettable. As some critics would say, Stegman was born to draw the book and they were not wrong, for the entire event, Stegman went crazy and crafted the most insane artwork of the year.

The thing that makes Stegman’s artwork so enjoyable, is that it’s so messed up, I can pick up a issue of Absolute Carnage or Venom and show a non-comic fan and they would be grossed out. It reminds me of Spawn and the work of Todd McFarland and Greg Capullo in that sense, the insanity of the art causes an emotion. McFarland and Capullo are among my favorite artists due to growing up loving Spawn and Batman, and it is obvious that they had a impact on Stegman through his artwork and that could be a reason beyond my love for his art this year.

Is his frenetic style for everyone? no, but it he is the perfect artist for Absolute Carnage and Venom. It will be interest to seeing what he does next after Venom. I have to ask, what type of craziness would Cates and Stegman think of on a creator own book, if they ever got the chance to do one. I look forward to the future of Stegman and Cates, as they work together and other projects.

Also his podcast, “Stegman and his amazing friends” is a blast to listen to. It is a lot like Venom and Absolute Carnage, you never know what is going to happen next.

Hope You All Had A Merry Nerdmas!

Now, you may be saying “hey dumbass, nerdmas is not a word”, which you would be correct but see here is the thing, much like “Noggin”, Nerdmas means something to us, it is every Christmas that we spend together.

While we see our families on Christmas, Nora (Other half of Noggin) and I also have our own holiday. We take a Christmas tree (sometimes the size of a charlie brown tree) and we fill it up with funko key chains and superhero ornaments. And underneath this tree, our gifts are wrapped in strange and unique paper. This year it was Star Wars and Umbrella Academy.

While most couples give gifts that represent their love, we buy each other Funko pops and graphic novels. Nora got herself a first print of Black Hammer #1 and I am still waiting on her to get me a key issues of a book I love. Hint, The Batman Adventures #12 or Mister Miracle #1.

We promise that not every blog will be like this, we will break down comics, films, and video games but after hearing Nora wish me a Merry Nerdmas on Christmas, I had to write about it. Now we have a tradition, instead of having “All I Want For Christmas is you” playing, we have the Into the Spider-Verse Christmas EP playing with the DC Universe Yule Log on the TV. Also, Batman Returns is a Christmas Movie, we may have to add that to our tradition next year.

But as we get back to the daily grind, we hope that whoever is reading this had or is having a happy holidays.

Scuse Me? I liked Jar Jar Binks

With Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker coming out today, it has caused a moment of reflection and even a confession, that confession being that I like Jar Jar Binks.

I was at the young age of seven when The Phantom Menace was released and the excitement that my father was exhibiting for the film was contagious, I found myself wanting to see this film. The Phantom Menace was the perfect storm of pod-racing, light saber battles, and awesome creatures, but the one thing I loved the most about the film was Jar Jar Binks. I loved that damn gungan. Jar Jar was entertaining and goofy, it was everything I wanted from a character.

Looking back on it, I can see why I loved Jar Jar, it is the same reasons why my baby nieces like me. The pure stupidity and goofy demeanor was enough to have me want more from this character at that age. It was hilarious to see this computer generated character act like a cartoon with his lumpy style of walking and goofy voice. I was the right demographic for the character and I was loving every moment of it.

When The Phantom Menace was released I thought it was brilliant, same with Attack of the clones but I would never forget the moments after seeing Revenge of the Sith. The third entry in the prequel series is by far my favorite and I think its due to the feeling of viewing it with my father. On the way back home from the theater, we could not stop discussing it and we had to tell my mother about that Darth Vader scene. This was the moment I realized how special Star Wars was, its a science fiction soap opera that brings the family together.

Over the years, I would become more fond of the original trilogy and realize the greatness of A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back would become one of my all time favorite films. That love I had for the prequels would disappear, especially when The Force Awakens was released.

Today, I have to force myself through Attack of the Clones, but I still love Star Wars. Although now I root for the villains such as Kylo Ren in the recent trilogy and Darth Maul in The Phantom Menace and the animated shows. Rarely do I find myself liking the cute supporting characters like Porgs (except Baby Yoda, so damn adorable). I have to look at Jar Jar Binks and not hate the character. If it was not for my fondness of Jar Jar as a child, I would not be looking forward to the finale of this galactic saga.

So this is a thank you Jar Jar! If it was not for your goofy ass, I would never realize how special Star Wars is. It could be said that Star Wars is the reason we created Noggin, because our first date was The Force Awakens.

What Comics Mean to me (His story)

The funny thing about my love for comics, is that it started off as hatred. Growing up I loved watching the animated series, Spider-man was my shit, I remember thinking “let that spider bite me, I want powers.” But, my uncle was the comic collector and I felt that it was strange that a grown man was reading comics and asking myself “What is up with that nasty beat up white box?”. Fast forward almost twenty years later and I am that grow up reading comics with a room filled with those boxes (not beat up and nasty, most have graphic designs on them), but how did I get here? How did I fall in love with Comics?

I enjoyed the X-men films as a kid and the animated version of Teen titans was among my favorites, but I would have to say in 2008 the release of The Dark Knight and Iron Man would spark an interest in comics. But, it was mainly the films that had me intrigued, reading the comics was intimidating and plus I had this mindset of what if she catches me reading comics. There was always that one girl that I was trying to impress and this fear of being caught reading a comic would drive her away. I would continue to be a fan of comic based films but I would never read one, until I had no choice. The following year, Watchmen the film was released and I loved it, I had to read the graphic novel.

So I waited until a family trip the following year to finally dive in to Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. My mind was blown by this book, at that time, it would had been shocking to see me read anything but for some unknown reason, this book had capture my attention and imagination unlike anything before. Sadly, I do not recall events from the family trip, but I remember that feeling of falling in love with something I once felt was childish.

After finishing Watchmen, I had to find something else to read and I figured hey, The Dark Knight Rises is around corner, why not check out Batman: The Killing Joke. If I was not falling in love with comics after Watchmen, than The Killing Joke was the final straw, I was hooked.

I would spend years just causally reading, I had no idea what a Wednesday warrior was until I met the other half of Noggin. See, she had never touched a comic in her life and after a couple months together, she borrowed a Deadpool graphic Novel from the collection and from that moment our lives were change. We would find ourselves collecting single issues and graphic novels as date nights. Together, we became Wednesday Warriors and we consider our local comic shop (Issues Needed) as our second home.

So what do comics mean to me? I think they represent an idea of expressive creativity, something that I was lacking while growing up. They also represent a connection and bound that was strengthen between two. I know it may seem cheesy, but comics saved my life and allowed me to find the love of my life.

Our Story! (Why Noggin?)

Noggin means I love you! No seriously it does. See when we first started to date, One of us could not say I love you. I know, stupid right? If you love someone say it. Instead to get past this fear of saying “I love you”, one would say “Noggin” and the other would reply back “Dude”. We took a quote from Finding Nemo and turned it into something romantic. Now we are way past that point and the fear of three little words has disappeared, but we wanted do something to remember those days and show how far we have come as a team. So two years ago, crammed in a tiny apartment we decided to start Noggin Comics on Instagram as a hobby. Took the saying of Noggin, which to us meant love and aimed it towards something that we both loved, that being comic books and pop culture. At first it was a sense of discovery and rediscovery, as one was discovering the utter enjoyment of comics, the other was rediscovering the emotional connection to comics. Little did we know, Noggin would become a part of our lives, almost daily we would be posting about something related to comics and nerd culture.

One of us would find themselves writing comic reviews for a local geek culture magazine. Which would ultimately create the idea of why not have a blog for Noggin. Now, we are here, hoping to create weekly to daily content on how we feel about a certain comic or film.