Monday, April 30, 2007
Where did my brain damage come from? Ah now I remember. It was during the very late 1970s and early 1980s. You see before MTV, folks were making all kinds of weird music videos and short films. These shows were just nuts. Some were good, some were bad, but there was little or no corporate influence at all. Artists could do whatever they wanted. Remember Devo? They’re a good example. This creative free-for-all continued for a short time when MTV first started up, they pretty much played any old weirdo thing (except videos by most nonwhites) because nobody cared, nobody looking for huge profits that is. I would guess that this golden age of music videos was from about 1979 to 1982 at the most.
Childhood friends ridiculed me during the first half of the eighties because I called music videos “clips” after the show Pop Clips, the forerunner to MTV. They played a lot of weird stuff too; just watch a Kim Carnes’ video, or better yet David Bowie’s Fashion. Talk about warping a young mind! The strange thing was how normal we thought it all was, and now, thanks to youtube, we can rediscover this strange tiny era before the goons had descended.
Well, there was quite a bit of wacko stuff. But the one that really takes the cake is Fish Heads. This short film was first broadcast on Saturday Night Live but was quickly picked up by MTV. The song was made by Barnes & Barnes and the project was directed by Bill Paxton. At the time, we thought it was an odd, funny little short. Watching it now, I realize this is one of the most subversive, mind crushingly, dangerous videos ever… and I viewed it as a child. Enjoy! …Oh, Also, you won’t be able to get the tune out of your head. Ahh ha ha ha
Saturday, April 28, 2007
I was able to pick up my comics a little early, so here is the new list:
Ninja Scroll #8 DC Comics (yes, this is an American comic based on a Japanese Anime).
Star Trek Klingons: Blood Will Tell #1 IDW Publishing (new Star Trek mini-series).
Tag: Cursed #3 Boom Studios (they forgot to give me Tag: Cursed #2 damit!).
The Walking Dead #37 Image Comics.
Impulse buy: Star Trek Magazine (2007 #5)
In the latest issue of Star Trek Magazine it’s confirmed that the Character of James T. Kirk will be in the next Star Trek film. The Paramount folks are completely mum on the story and script but its been assumed by this admission that were lookin’ at a “Star Trek the early years” kinda movie. So the action must center around a young Kirk and Spock on their first mission, but really when you think about it, there really was no place for Paramount to go but back to the original.
Star Trek 11 (titled: Star Trek)
Filming: Fall 2007
Release Date: Christmas 2008
Writers: Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci
Direcctor: J.J. Abrams
Friday, April 27, 2007
Bobby "Boris" Pickett co-writer of the song Monster Mash has died (see here). Of course he famously provided the Karloff-like vocals for the Halloween favorite as well. So long and thanks for the “graveyard smash.”
the Monster Mash with some of our favorite horrors
While shopping at grocery store yesterday, I came across the new limited edition Spiderman 3 cereal. It’s got bright red and blue corn nuggets and a ton of sugar. You know a film is on to blockbuster status when it is part of nutritious breakfast (ah ha ha ha). So I thought, hey why not indulge with an impulse buy, since it was on sale and I’ve never bought a promotional cereal. But you know what, after doing a little research online, I’ve discovered that there is a collectors market for this kind of stuff. Wha… Now if I just save this box of Spidey cereal for 20 years, I’ll be able to pay for that island I’ve always wanted. Check out the cereal collector guy from this article
During my research I came across 2 other fascinating sites. So, check out this guy’s collection of superhero food here and this interesting blog of food and grocery reviews here.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Well everybody has been talking and posting about this one, so I better get my 2 cents in as this is Atomic Romance. It seems a white chalky substance found in a Serbian mine has the same composition as the fabled science fiction substance that can bring Superman down, Kryptonite. As noted here.
While kryptonite is often depicted in Superman comic books and movies in the form of green crystals that possess the power to render the superhero weak and powerless, the actual mineral is white, powdery and ultimately harmless.
"The new mineral does not contain fluorine and is white rather than green, but in all other respects the chemistry matches that for the rock containing kryptonite," said Dr. Chris Stanley, a mineralogist at London's Natural History Museum.
Ahh... but you see, in the comics there are several different kinds of kryptonite and yes there is white kryptonite. It doesn’t hurt Superman actually, it’s a super plant killer. So, maybe we'll get the glowing, green, poisonous rock if we add a little fluorine right?… Ahh no. But, according to the BBC here, at least they’re giving the stuff a different name, Jadarite.
They have to as krypton is an actual substance not found in Jadarite, but that's OK. Let's keep sci-fi and reality separate in this case
Here’s a news report by the CBC:
And this one with a little more professional explanation
Sunday, April 22, 2007
I’ve decided to add my weekly comic book pull list to the Atomic Romance blog. It might be interesting, or it might not. We’ll see. Often, I like to pick something up on a whim that I didn’t order (We all do this, right?). So, I’ll mention this if it seems relevant or important for some reason. Please note that I can’t be the timeliest with this as I'm usually unable to pick up my comics until the weekend. What's gonna be fun though, is that my favorite cover of the week will grace each post of "My New Comics." This week's favorite is Shadowpact #12. Are my choices quirky? I wonder… …heck readin’ comics is quirky, so here is my first comic pull list:
Battlestar Galactica #8 (based on the new show), Dynamite Entertainment.
Conan #39, Dark Horse Comics
Red Sonja #21, Dynamite Entertainment.
Red Sonja/Claw: The Devil’s Hands Trade paperback, Dynamite Entertainment & Wildstorm. (back order)
Shadowpact #12. DC Comics.
Squadron Supreme: Hyperion Vs. Nighthawk #4, Marvel Comics.
Friday, April 20, 2007
I’ve been combing the on-line vids for all manner of Star Trek Mash Ups, so I can’t understand how I missed this one. Thanks to Chris Roberson for finding this gem on youtube. This makes my week! I try not to post videos that others have just put on their blogs but I just couldn’t resist. You’ll actually feel like you’re on LSD! :D Maybe we need a Shatner Musical!
Thursday, April 19, 2007
In a weird bit of simpatico, I came across the news that web-head is geting his own broadway musical.
Sounds really strange Hmmmmm.
but Superman had his own show so why not Spiderman?
actors and actresses have not been chosen for the project thus far leaving the parts of Peter Parker, Norman Osborn, MaryJane Watson, and J. Jonah Jameson up for grabs. The Broadway adaptation is also said to include Arachne- "a beautiful, boastful young woman turned into a spider for her hubris and lack of respect for the gods. She subsequently appears to Peter Parker and the audience as in turn a powerful spider-woman who comes from another time to inspire Peter; an otherworldly lover; a bride; a terrifying (and sexy) dark goddess of vengeance; a dance partner in a charged and violent spiders dance of death; and, finally, a lonely, fragile young woman." Creators are also searching for a "Geek Chorus"- a group of 3 teenaged boys who's job will be to methodically reinerate the greatest Spiderman tales of all time.
Sounds really strange Hmmmmm.
but Superman had his own show so why not Spiderman?
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
I was reading Wizard Magazine and what did I see an advertisement for? …Evil Dead the Musical! Wow, how did I miss this? Ash is back and he’s singing and dancing while killing deadites. The Evil Dead films are perfect for a musical adaptation; I think it’s a great idea! If you go, though, be prepared to get splattered with blood, especially if you're in the first four rows. I’ll have to get the soundtrack ASAP. Apparently the NYC version of the Show closed (sniff), but a Toronto version is opening May 1st. The show has the Bruce Campbell stamp of approval so it must be good, right? I hope we get Evil Dead the Musical out here in Pacific Northwest someday.
Here is a scene that was performed on the view:
Monday, April 16, 2007
Japan gets Spiderman before the states?! See here Well, I guess Sony Pictures IS fitting the bill. Plus, the Spiderman franchise's second biggest market is Japan, so why not. I have this feeling that Spiderman’s struggle resonates with Japanese folks, you know, the whole: noble hero that does the right thing but is unknown. I never really thought about it before, but that whole quiet nobility of Spiderman is kinda in the Japanese mindset.
You might think that Spiderman is a new thing with the movies, right? Well not exactly. Spiderman was licensed for a Japanese TV show back in the 1970s. He had a giant robot and fought space monsters in prototypical tokusatsu fashion. Japanese folks for the most part thought Spiderman was basically a corny Japanese TV show character, and couldn’t understand why the US would make a version of him.
Here a clip of the opening:
When they saw the original American Spiderman though, they were quite simply, blown away. Spiderman became a huge hit in Japan. Even my SO was surprised at how good the first film was and she finally understood why I like this superhero stuff so much. So, the deep recesses of the Japanese mindset was primed for Spiderman and they now get the world premiere for Spiderman 3. Spidey’s turning Japanese… ah.. ...but he already was since 1978!
Sunday, April 15, 2007
Despite how stupid the Spiderman’s comics have become, see Tom Foss’ blog The Fortress of soliloquy for details, I’m really getting amped for the new Spiderman movie. You see, the whole black costume Spiderman storyline came out when I was in junior high, and I just loved it (yes I still have the comics). Fans were angry that they changed his costume but once they read the actual comic book issues, they enjoyed it and wanted more. The black costume has a pretty convoluted origin (think Secret Wars) that’s been simplified for the film. It looks like they may have barrowed the explanation created by the 1990s Spiderman Cartoon. I was kinda surprised that Sony chose to do this story, as there are tons of other villains and stories that came before but hey I’m not complaining. Maybe in these screwed up times exploring the dark side of our heroes is exactly what we need. You see, what we’ve got with the 3rd movie is the 80’s Spiderman. It’s a little darker and a little more psychosocial but still wild and wahoo.
I’m a little worried about the fact that 3 villains are supposed be in it, because I don’t want Spidey to go the route of the Batman movies. Spiderman 3 will have: Sandman (a personal favorite), Osborn (goblin), and Venom. But, I do have faith that the director Sam Raimi, will put together a good film. In fact some of the stuff I disliked about Venom from the comics will be modified:
Venom didn't have the well-developed conscience and history of such earlier Stan Lee and Steve Ditko Marvel villains as Sandman, Doc Ock and Green Goblin. So the filmmakers reimagined Eddie Brock as a younger, slicker, emotionally torn menace with a taste for white-collar crime.(from the LA Times see here)
After seeing the initial trailer I have been staying away from most info about the film. I mean, I learned way more than I wanted to already. I know a lot about Spiderman so one image could give me a lot of details and spoil it for me. It would be nice if there were some surprises right? Like everybody else, I’ll provide a review after it comes out and see if the rumored $250 million spent on Spiderman 3 was worth it.
Also, don’t forget Free Comic Book Day on May 5th, that’s part of the festivities.
Thursday, April 12, 2007
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Two years ago at the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival there was a lot of buzz in the air about a new independent film titled The Call of Cthulhu based on the original 1926 Lovecraft story. This weird horror tale has often been called unfilmable. Usually, the alien god’s name, Cthulhu, gets sprinkled into crappy to mediocre films for flavor but any serious depiction of him or the story he exists in was notably absent. Fans of Lovecraft’s style of horror have lamented the lack of good adaptations of his work and have had settle for merely Lovecraft inspired shows. Well, with the release of The Call of Cthulhu Film in 2005 a tipping point was reached and a threshold passed. The H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society (HPLHS), a media company dedicated adapting his works, presented their two-year effort. I found the project both entertaining and faithful.
What made the unfilmable story filmable was the HPLHS’s conceit of making a silent picture. Here the cast and crew would recreate The Call of Cthulhu as if it had been produced when the original story came out in the 1920s. This was a masterstroke of inspiration in my opinion. The black and white film approach solved many technical problems while evoking the time and space of the short story. Also, Lovecraft’s words didn’t become underwhelming with the delivery by actors but are enhanced with the use of text on the screen. Many places and effects needed in The Call of Cthulhu are created using models and film trickery of the silent era which makes the viewing much more authentic. A few folks have expressed disappointment with the monster Cthulhu in the film but I rather liked his depiction. To me, he looked like a representation of what makes him so awful, plus some bloated CG effect wouldn’t have worked either. In this case representational is better than realistic… how could somebody make Cthulhu, look realistic anyway.
At that film fest in October 2005, I vowed to pick up a copy of the film someday. Well, at the Emerald City Comic Con I did. I watched it again with much joy (and fright). If you are a Lovecraft fan this is the real deal. The Call of Chtulhu finally achieves the desire for a good movie adaptation of H. P. Lovecraft’s work.
Here’s the Trailer:
Sunday, April 8, 2007
As the pic says Happy Easter! This image is from one of my favorite roleplaying games, Gamma World 1st edition (1978). It’s a post-apocalyptic place with all kinds of crazy mutants with bizarre superpowers. This science-fantasy setting was one of those things that hooked me into gamming for life and this fantastic image of gun-toting rabbits is one of the reasons. Because of this rabbit-men picture, I always thought Gamma World would make a great comic book. I wonder what the furry fans think about this?
These creatures are called Hoops. They walk erect, are highly intelligent, seek ancient technology and are omnivores. Hoops have bizarre powers like: telepathy, the ability to merge their minds into one, and the power to transmute metal into rubber. Pretty weird huh? Later editions of Gamma World described them as having a militaristic society but they’ve always been a little nutty regardless. I like to think of them as a cross between Bugs Bunny and Watership Down. Gives a whole new meaning to hunting for eggs doesn’t it?
Saturday, April 7, 2007
What’s entertaining, terrifying and hilarious all in one? That would be a wonderful Japanese TV show I just finished called, The Great Horror Family (TGHF). It’s a horror-sitcom about a “typical” Japanese family that moves into a strange house, which is the center of all kinds of supernatural and paranormal activity. For a western reference point in terms of tone you might think The Addams Family crossed with Tales of the Crypt. Here’s blurb from the back of the DVD:
Kiyoshi Imawano and his family move into a haunted house. The entire family, except the occult-obsessed father, gains the power to see ghosts and spirits. An undead monk, secret government agents, even UFOs start showing up. It’s up to Kiyoshi to find out why the house is troubled by all these strange occurrences and save his family and possibly the world, from inter-dimensional terror.
And it’s really funny! They forgot that part.
TGHF mixes traditional Japanese ghost stories with monsters and modern pop culture parody. The show plays with J-horror conventions with humorous takes on familiar movies like Ju-on (the Grudge) and Ringu (The Ring) but also contains nods to American films like Men in Black. TGHF is rooted in conventional Japanese storytelling but what makes the show novel, is the mixing of different horror genres with a comedy spin. Something that hasn’t been done much in Japan. Most of the humor comes from the understated reactions by the Imawano family to the bizarre events surrounding them and their strange (albeit still very Japanese) way dealing with the supernatural problems. The mother dressing up as a Gothic Lolita comes to mind. The casting is brilliant with several experienced comedic actors taking on the lead roles. Also of note is that the famed Japanese horror director Takashi Shimizu was involved in the project and directed several episodes
The Great Horror Family is a really fun way to jump into J-horror without too much fright but plenty of laughs.
Sunday, April 1, 2007
I was off on a daytrip to Seattle this last weekend for the Emerald City Comic Con (ECCC). The festivities commenced in Qwest Field (Seahawks Stadium) Event Center south of downtown just off of I5. Having the con in a new building (they blew up the Kingdome a few years ago) really provided a nice atmosphere for the event and the experience was a total contrast to the Portland Comic Book Show. This being its 5th year, it’s my understanding that ECCC keeps improving by leaps and bounds. Since Seattle is a city that people have actually heard of, there was an extensive list of creators, media guests, and exhibitors. Personally, I was just happy that there were enough booths and events to keep me engaged for a few hours making the drive up worth it.
This funny realization came over me as I was strolling through the crowded stalls. See, I was keen on talking to some of the media folks and artists but once I was there, I felt uncomfortable walking up to them when I had no intention to buying their stuff. It just seemed rude. All, I wanted was a moment of their time, but with other much more rabid fans shelling out huge piles of cash for signed pictures and sketches, it seemed pointless. Not that I didn’t have a good time mind you. It was just that I felt like more of an observer, which was surprisingly enough for me. Maybe it’s the filmmaker aspect of my personality. Dunno, I guess going to a con were they actually have a significant amount of famous folks made me really think about it for the first time.
The Boom! Studios booth was one place I didn’t shy away from. These guys are publishing the kinda stuff I wanna’ read. See, I’m kinda burned out on superheroes. Dark Horse, Vertigo and Dynamite Entertainment are wetting my appetite for other genres but its not enough. Boom! on the other hand, burst on the scene about 2 years ago with a concept to serve the fan with a need for alternative genres. They publish supernatural thrillers, adventure, sci-fi, and horror comics. Where others companies dabble, Boom! Studios delivers. Their current claim to fame is Talent, a paranormal comic, which has been optioned for a film. These guys are also publishing Cthulhu comics, so I’m pretty excited about what they have coming down the pike. I picked up Pirate Tales, Cthulhu Tales, Tag and Savage Brothers. The Engima Cypher looks really good too, but I was running low on cash.
I had a great conversation with Ross Richie the publisher of Boom! Studios. He spoke at length about his love for comic books and the need for his company in the market place. At first, he gave his standard pitch about why his company produces the kinda comics they do, but once he realized he was speaking to the converted Ross became much more relaxed. He loves working with guys like Keith Giffen, and pretty, much let’s them do want they want, what as novel idea. I tried to express my appreciation, rather poorly I might add, that finally somebody grasps that we really need more choices in our stories, and that Boom! is really filling that role. Ross understood and said that he knew there were readers like me out there. That’s why he started the company.
It was a pleasant surprise when I realized that Clint Hollingsworth the creator of the web comic, The Wandering Ones was at the con. I really enjoyed meeting Clint and his wife Susie. I like post-apocalyptic stories a lot, so it was wonderful to pick up a copy of the collected strips, as I dislike on-line orders. The Wandering Ones is a wilderness survival story set in 2066 with tribal survivors of a devastating plague hunting, tracking and fighting their way across the Pacific Northwest. The art reminds me of the roleplaying game Aftermath for some reason. I urged them to visit Portland someday if they could fit it in.
Feedback (Matthew Atherton) was there. He was the guy that won Who Wants to Be a Superhero He was by far the most popular media star, as he had a steady stream of fans all day long. Feedback was charging for photos so I had to stand back to get this shot. It was difficult as you can tell because of the crowd.
Here’s a shot of Margo Kidder and Peter Mayhew. One woman started to freak out because she had not realized Peter was at the show, and apparently she’s a big fan. She actually said “I’m gonna freak out!” I got out of the way quickly.
Some of the cast from Farscape made it to ECCC. Lani Tupu (left standing), Wayne Pygram (sitting) and Gigi Edgley (standing with sandwich right). I wish I was a fan of the show then I could have talked them, but alas, I’ve only seen a few random episodes of Farscape so I had nothing to say. Apparently no one else had anything to say either because their booth was pretty quiet. Lani was always on the phone, he must have been arranging his next gig, or making it look like he was arranging his next gig. Gigi was always eating a sandwich every time I walked by. She had a pleading look like “please let my finish this. I’m starving.” Seriously, there is nothing hotter than an attractive woman stuffing food in her mouth. I finally felt bad, so I went up to Wayne and thanked him for coming and told him enjoyed his work. Which is true as Scorpius was the coolest character on that show.
Twomorrows Publishing was there to my joy and regret. Joy because I love their books and magazines, regret because I couldn’t buy all of their wares. I did pick up Modern Masters Volume 07: John Byrne, Modern Masters Volume 08: Walter Simonson, and How To Create Comics.
Here’s some creators that I didn’t stand in line for:
Brian Michael Bendis
Here are those Star War guys again!
Here is the Top Shelf booth. Brett Warnock, their publisher, didn't want to be in the picture. See Brett! I didn’t get you in there.
I stopped by the booth of the folks that write the Comics Fairplay blog. We had a fun time chatting. I think they’re on to a great idea in terms of the right way for fans to participate in a con. Thanks for the free comic guys!
All and all I had a great time but before we (Me and my SO) left Seattle, we had to get some chow. The nice thing about the ECCC being at Qwest Center is that the Chinatown-International District is nearby. It’s only a few blocks away and really easy to get to with the pedestrian overpass. My SO hasn’t had any good Japanese ramen in a loooong time, so we finished up our trip by stopping off at a new shop called Samurai Noodle. Well the place was very busy and the food was excellent. So if your hungering for real Japanese ramen, Samurai Noodle is the place to go.