Thursday, May 31, 2007

Spare Me My Life

I’ve been waiting to post this one for a while, so I guess it’s time. I could explain it but it’s better if you just watch.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Elric to Mongoose

There’s an unfulfilled yearning I’ve had for a long time. It was the hope that Chaosium (the guys that publish the Call of Cthulhu RPG) would really support their Michael Moorcock licensed game Stormbringer. It was the first non-TSR game I ever played that I honestly enjoyed and it was also my first introduction to Elric, the multiverse and the Eternal Champion. Well, that’s not entirely true as I had read the Oswald Bastable stories years before but at that time I hadn’t realized their connections to Moorcock’s other works. After playing the Stormbringer RPG, I immediately went out and scooped up and read all the Elric novels. This of course led me to Hawkmoon and Corum as well as the rest of the Eternal Champion titles. The battle between Law and Chaos both in the books and in the game was a fantastic backdrop for the adventures. Also the dimensional and time travel aspects fired me up as I greatly enjoy this type of fantasy.

Eventually, I bought all the Stormbinger game materials I could get my hands on, many from used bookstores. The product line went through many aborted restarts that included a name change to Elric for a while and even a poorly adapted version for D20. Many promised supplements never came out as the line was always thrown on the back burner in deference to Call of Cthulhu. We finally did see a Corum supplement and Chaosium finally put out some of their unpublished but promised books out as monographs (cheap photocopy tape bound books) but the fan base for their Moorcock inspired works seemed greatly reduced as was the enthusiasm for game itself.

Recently, I discovered that Mongoose Publishing acquired the RPG rights to the whole Eternal Champion line including Elric from Chaosium. See the link here. In the end it’s probably a good thing because Chaosium really wasn’t doing a whole lot with it (the biggest missed opportunity of the RPG world in my opinion), plus they had terribly damaged their relationship with Michael Moorcock. Still, it is a little sad as I thought we just might be on the verge of a Basic Role-Playing System Renaissance, Basic Role-Playing being Chaosium’s house system. Elric and Hawkmoon, which are coming out very soon, will be using Mongoose’s new Runequest rules (MRQ) to make them compatible with other game products they publish. This is good as the original Runequest formed the foundation for Basic Role-Playing (BRP) and Stormbringer, although the new Mongoose Runequest rules has been tweaked to make it appeal more to D20 fans.

I’m a little leery on dumping money on these new game products as I have spent a ton of cash on Mongoose’s Conan line only to see it revamped with an updated second addition. This is very much like how many fans were stuck when Wizards of the Coast decided to go from 3 to 3.5 on D&D. But if the past is any kind of prolog, Mongoose Publishing will be putting out a bunch of supplements for the Eternal Champion line, something Chaosium was unwilling or unable to do.

To sum it up, I guess it feels like I was in a relationship where I was never getting what I needed or wanted but still I stayed. Now, that bad relationship is over and I wonder if I should start a new one. I think I'll wait and see. I waited so long for Chaosium to step up to the plate, I guess I can wait a little longer to see if Mongoose’s game is any good before I buy.


Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day

I try to be very light and fun on this blog but I really couldn’t come up with anything like that for Memorial Day especially with this horrible mess in Iraq going on. On Memorial Day we are supposed to remember those who have died. Well, when it comes to Iraq, I keep thinking of Sgt Donald Walters for some reason. Maybe it’s because he lived in Oregon for a while and his death was local news, or maybe it was the whole Byzantine nature of the events surrounding his death and Jessica Lynch/507th story. Perhaps it’s because he was a cook from a maintenance unit who fought to the bitter end. I don’t know. But I keep thinking of him now and again. From wikipedia;

During initial reports after the Lynch rescue, it had been stated that a blonde soldier, presumably Lynch, had fought until she ran out of ammunition, although she later refuted this; although there has been no official investigation into this matter, it has been widely speculated that this soldier was Walters, who is also blond. Donald's mother, Arlene Walters, appeared on the CBS Early Show, making this claim, on May 28.
Army reports from 2003 state that Walters died in the fighting during an ambush that left 10 others dead; with no American witnesses to his death. It has now been suggested that Walters was separated from his unit; several gun magazines were found near the location of Walters' capture, suggesting that he may have, indeed, fought until he ran out of ammunition. Before capture, Walters was shot in the leg, and stabbed twice with a knife in the abdomen, had a dislocated left shoulder, shot twice in the back.

here's link to a vid with his parents


Friday, May 25, 2007

Star Wars' big 3 0

Star Wars 30th huh… After the horrendous prequels, I don’t feel much in the mood for celebrating. Sure the first movie had a big impact on me. I collected the toys, read the comics, and played the RPG, but with the new trilogy, all the joy I had for the franchise was washed away. I’ve got lots of problems with the prequels but the biggest one is Darth Vader’s origin. What SHOULD have happened was the depiction of an evil apotheosis, a dark revelation. Kinda like St. Francis of Assisi in reverse. What we got was a whiney brat and Jarjar Binks in a video game you couldn’t play. All this proves is that the Howard the Duck movie was not a fluke.

I remember two weeks before the Phantom Menace came out I was sitting in the lunch room at work joking around with coworkers about how much money folks were spending on the Star Wars action figures and merchandise. Right then another coworker, as she was cleaning her stuff in the sink, piped up and said “Yeah, and what if it’s not any good?” I froze as I processed her comment. My first thought was “of course it’s gonna be good. It’s Star Wars.” My second thought was: “oh my god this movie is gonna totally suck” …and thus it was so.

The prequels broke Star Wars’ hold on me, and maybe in the end that’s a good thing as I moved on to other pop culture pursuits… the golden mean proves itself true again. I find the only appreciation I can muster beyond advancing movie-making technology, is that Star Wars saved Marvel Comics' ass. Yup, that’s right. If Star Wars hadn’t come along when it did, Marvel would have gone bankrupt in the 70s. The Star Wars comic was the huge boost to the bottom line that it needed to survive. Without it, all my favorite stories of the 80s would never have happened. Alter Ego # 68, out this month by TwoMorrows Publishing, has a nice article all about it.

Marvel Rescued from the Deathstar of Bankruptcy….

May “what ever floats your boat” be with you.


My New Comics

This weeks’ cover: Star Trek: Klingons Blood Will Tell # 2
I love the behind the scenes kinda’ feel to this comic. Continuity buffs will enjoy the connection between the original show and other incarnations of Star Trek.

She-Hulk #18, Marvel Comics.

Ninja Scroll #9, DC Comics (Wildstorm).

Star Trek: Klingons Blood Will Tell # 2, IDW Publishing

Shadowpact #13, DC Comics

Back Issue #22, TwoMorrows Publishing. (magazine) This issue has huge article on Robin, but I’m more interested in the Beyond Capes section that gives the rundown on the B/W TMNT comics from the 80s that started it all. Plus, the interview with Mike Richardson from Dark Horse.

Fanboy Moment: I introduced a buddy of mine to Marvel Zombies and Army of Darkness comics during free comic book day. Needless to say he loved ‘em but the mini-series was already on issue three. So, I picked up an on the shelf back issue (ontsbi) of Marvel Zombies vs. The Army of Darkness #1 reprint this week. It’s the one with Zombie Hitler on the cover. I’ve been following the series from the beginning so I already had the original #1 but I caved and bought an issue for myself. Yes, I fell for the multiple cover racket…


Thursday, May 24, 2007

It's a Man Baby!

I was zipping around youtube looking at… what else, but Japanese game shows. (That’s what youtube is for man.) I came across this wild one. It's from a segment on the waratte itomo TV show. The title of the segment roughly translates as “Boyfriend into Girlfriend” See these chicks get their boyfriends to cross-dress for TV so they can win big prizes. Some of the guys get all hot for this dude in a dress. The funny thing is he's just a regular guy.

Zombie Spider-Man & Mary Jane Statue

After putting in my 2cents on the Mary Jane statue Here, which was really just an excuse to mess around with photoshop. I came across a real marvel zombies statue. It’s based on a Marvel Zombies #5 cover, which is a parody of Amazing Spiderman Annual #21 where MJ and Spidey got married. It kinda’ taps into that classic horror sentiment. Available in June. If you wanna' get it, you should do the old preorder as it's selling like hotcakes.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Last Word on the Mary Jane Statue...?

The blogosphere was flush this month with outrage on the over the Mary Jane cheesecake statue created by Illustrator Adam Hughes… Here’s a page that links to many of the blogs that have something to say about it. The short of it is, many women don’t like the combination of Mary Jane lookin’ all hoochie Mama and doing laundry. On the other side of the issue many male comic books fans defend the statue as simply playful and the outrage an overreaction. As can be read here. I guess it all comes down to context.

Me? I think everybody is ridiculous personally.

The Mary Jane Statue controversy has made national news:

It is funny that the anchor is shocked by the statue but can’t get enough of Feedback’s Butt.

I offer the middle road. How about the Mary Jane Zombie statue?


Sunday, May 20, 2007

28 Weeks Later

One of the oldest human fears is the fear of being chased. Everybody’s had a nightmare where they’ve been pursued at some point. It’s hardwired into us; it’s part of our primitive brain. This is one the big horrors of 28 Weeks Later, of being hunted, killed and devoured just like pray.

28 Weeks Later is the sequel to 28 Days Later, which came out in 2002 (Man! was it that long ago?), a surprise box office hit in the US. In the original film, London and thereby England is devastated by the release of the “rage virus,” a highly contagious, engineered superbug that rapidly transforms people into mindless, crazed, super zombie-like horrors.

In 28 Weeks Later the rage virus has supposedly run its course with some survivors apparently saved while the infected died off from the lack of “food.” The Americans come to the rescue, under the banner of NATO, by repatriating Brits to a secure zone on the Isle of Dogs in London. The job looks to be a cakewalk for the GIs until the rage virus is released anew in an acceptable plot twist. At first, the chain of command tries to protect the civilians, but as “containment” is lost the friendlies get “fired” in an all out turkey shoot. Of course there are a few good guys who have a conscience and help the main characters, but the shocks just keep coming as the characters race through the city trying to escape the infected and the death squads.

Rarely is a sequel as creditable as it’s originator, but 28 Weeks Later manages this feat. It stands on it’s own as an entertaining film but also expands on 28 Days both thematically and technically. Abandoned London figures prominently, providing a haunting environment for the story. The effect is aided by CG but it’s much more subtle than other recent action/horror films. Having been to London, it’s rather bizarre seeing it so empty.

One of the major themes of the 28 Weeks Later is the horror of the choices we make and their consequences. Do we choose ourselves over our loved ones? How about following orders that go against our morals? There doesn’t seem to be any good answers just the shock of what we do when we want to live just a few minutes longer. The action plays out with these sorts of questions in the background along with Iraq allegories.

28 Weeks Later is a good horror/action film. Chances are if you liked the first one you’ll like this one. It’s got plenty of chills and thrills without the ridiculous prototypical action movie gymnastics. It’s more honest and thereby more shocking. One can secretly see themselves making the same decisions if put in similar horrific situation. Primitive fears overrule the thinking brain and that’s the strength of 28 Weeks Later. That’s why you should see it. Well, that and folks getting devoured and infected by zombies hopped up on the Rage Virus.

Note: Following a pop culture trend, a graphic novel was published that ties the two movies together by examining what happened between the two films. It’s titled 28 Days Later: The Aftermath.


My New Comics

Sorry I'm Late with this but life happens. Only Three titles from this past week.
This week's best cover Red Sonja # 22 (the Stephen Segovia cover)

Red Sonja # 22, Dynamite Entertainment. The Red Sonja series is published with four different covers to get the fanboys to buy more copies I guess. I get whichever one they throw in my box.

Fall of Cthulhu #2, Boom Studios.

Battlestar Galactica #8 (based on the new show), Dynamite Entertainment.


Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Original Cavemen Could Do It

Of course you knew about the new Caveman sitcom inspired by the Geico commercials, right? The mildly amusing ones that feature cavemen suffering the “racial” indignities of Geico’s insurance ads, which feature the slogan: “it’s so easy a caveman could do it.” Well who knows if the show will be any good, but it’s worth a shot to try something new I guess. From this NY Times article:

The sitcom inspired by the Geico cavemen — titled, in a startling burst of Hollywood creativity, “Cavemen” — is getting a prominent time slot, leading off the ABC Tuesday lineup at 8 p.m. The half-hour series will have a different cast from the seven commercials that have appeared since the campaign was introduced in 2004 by Geico

What… A different cast? The guys from the commercials are great. I'm amazed... do they want the show to fail?


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Bands I Missed: Fujiya & Miyagi

Here's an English Band, Fujiya & Miyagi, I came across while cruising Youtube. The music is great and the video is fantastic. Gammers will appreciate all the dice (chuckle). I missed ‘em because they were just here in Portland 3 months ago as you can see here. Oh Well. This song's title is Ankle Injuries.


Jericho Cancelled

While almost nobody cares, I thought I would pass along that Variety announced here that Jericho is gone for good. Although it seemed inevitable because of the poor ratings, Jericho appeared like it might survive and be allowed time to find a new audience. But alas, it’s not to be. I think I knew this was coming, but it’s still a mild downer considering the show was one of the few things I watched on network TV.

The fact that Jericho was picked up for a full season originally demonstrates that there was an audience for a post-apocalyptic drama but Jericho somehow lost it along the way. While the balance between soap opera dramatics, survival, and thriller heroics wasn’t always even, it might simply be that the predicable storytelling doomed the series. It was really the actors and the terrorist conspiracy that held the show together. Maybe the producers sensed that Jericho was gone and that's why they killed off Gerald McRaney’s character. It really would be a different show without him anyway.

Oh well, if a show seems like it’s working early on maybe the suits shouldn’t put it oppsite a ratings powerhouse like American Idol after a too long hiatus. That’s a recipe for cancellation if I ever saw one. Maybe that was the point? CBS wanted Jericho to croak. Hmmmm…


Sunday, May 13, 2007

GIs and Dinosaurs

I'm having a jolly time reading Showcase Presents: The War that Time Forgot. It’s pure male adolescent fun!

Here’s the copy from DC’s website
Over 500 pages of classic adventures are included in this value-priced volume collecting one of the most unusual series ever from DC Comics! On an unnamed, uncharted Pacific island, dinosaurs continued to thrive while World War II raged across the globe. It's there that members of the U.S. Military found themselves armed only with standard-issue weapons against the deadliest predators ever to roam the Earth!

There’s certainly something weird about WWII and Dinosaurs but it works. The War that Time Forgot series began in 1960 in the pages of Star Spangled War Stories #90 and ran into the 1980s finishing it’s run in the pages of Weird War Tales. This black and white newsprint collection reprints the first stories up through 1966.

The real draw of The War that Time Forgot is the hyperkinetic action that takes place between the US service men and the monstrous creatures on and around Dinosaur Island which is cross between Skull Island and the Lost World. The dinosaurs really are more like “mutant” dinosaurs, similar to Godzilla, because they’re so huge. The stories feature groups of military men on secret missions that get wiped out except for a hardy few. The action gets pretty ridiculous at times and the laws of physics are a little bent out of shape, but the dinos and WWII hardware are always a visual treat. This collection also reprints the first appearance of G.I. Robot, a personal favorite of mine, long before a version of him joined the Creature Commandos.

The War that Time Forgot is just groovy fun, and when I say groovy, I mean Ash from Evil Dead kinda groovy. What red-blooded male wouldn’t want to take a gander at these anachronistic battles? A Sherman Tank vs. a Tyrannosaurus, a sub vs. a giant eel, and a dive-bomber vs. a pterodactyl just to name a few. It’s D-Day of the Dinosaurs man! Not to be missed by Weird War aficionados.


Saturday, May 12, 2007

Jane Fonda Gets Really Saucy on the Colbert Report

You have to see it to believe it. This is one of those moments that will go down in pop culture history. Stephen is really shocked but still manages to get the jokes out. Jane actually seems rather turned on for real. Wow!
see Here

Edit: here is the threesome with Gloria Steinam and Jane Fonda he was talking about Here

Friday, May 11, 2007

My New Comics

Here we go again. This week's best cover Samurai: Heaven and Earth #4.

Marvel Zombies: Dead Days #1, Marvel. This comic fills you in on what’s happening in other parts of the Marvel Zombieverse while the Ash storyline runs in Marvel Zombies vs. the Army of Darkness.

Salvador # 1, Boom Studios.

The Secret #4, Dark Horse Comics.

Samurai: Heaven and Earth #4, Dark Horse Comics.

Y: The Last Man – Motherland The 9th collected trade paperback of the series, DC Comics.

Impulse buy: Out last week, but picked up this week Showcase Presents: The War that Time Forgot, DC Comics.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Jericho on the Edge

Jericho 1 season ended with a big cliffhanger and an apparent new direction. While I was never an über enthusiastic fan of the show, I enjoyed it well enough to see it through, probably because I like post apocalyptic sci-fi so much. Jericho became grittier as I was hoping it would. The dire situation of the town eclipsed the soap opera aspects or at least cast them in the light of survival. Food is scarce, folks die and the rival town of New Bern begins its invasion to seize farmland. Plus, over the 2nd half of season 1, much of the plot behind the terrorist bombers is revealed. Thank goodness for that.

Part of the appeal of the show is the sense that Midwest values are being put to the test. Norman Rockwell’s America is bloodied and sullied. Can it survive? That’s a question for the both the townsfolk of Jericho and for the folks at CBS as the show hovers between cancellation and renewal. Strangely, I’ve read that it’s sure to get a 2nd season and that it’s gone for good, so I have no idea. Some fans seem pretty angry at the death of Gerald McRaney’s character. Maybe that’s a sign that the writers decided to go for broke in the finale but it may prove to be a mistake. If Jericho does get a second season cloak and dagger themes will apparently permeate the show as the bad guys have zeroed in on Hawkins (the guy hiding a nuclear bomb) along with usual small town drama.

One of the most interesting elements of the finale was the flag displayed by “federal” troops. This bizarre vertical striped flag both confirms the rumors that the states are not united and that a new Civil War is occurring across the continent, which was most likely the terrorists intent. A quick look-see on wikipedia ties this flag to the mythical United States Civil Flag. Interesting… Hopefully we’ll get a 2nd season to see this and other storylines play out and maybe the introduction of Colonel Hoffman, the leader of these oddly bannered troops, might soften the blow of McRaney leaving the show. We’ll have to see…

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

David Hasselhoff Celebrates National Hamburger Month

"The Hoff" doesn’t let a little thing like alcoholism stand in his way of getting that perfect burger for National Hamburger Month.

OK it is kinda sad and feel sorry for the guy and his kids, but I just couldn’t help myself. Mephisto made do it.


Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Spiderman 3

Spiderman 3… while entertaining fails to hit the high marks set by the previous Spiderman films. It’s not terrible, like say the Hulk; it’s just simply a lesser movie despite all the bucks that went into making it. Comic fans familiar with Spidey’s long 4 color history might get upset at some the decisions made for this film, while non comic types will probably feel a little strained following the multiple villains and storylines. Basically, It’s a very crowded film. In fact it was almost split into two movies and it shows at times.

Here is what I liked in no particular order (spoilers):

The Acting, still solid despite any problems with the plot

Tobias Maguire is wonderful as Peter Parker… again.

The Harry Osborn storyline is resolved

Sandman is in the film.

Tomas Haden Church as the Sandman

Lots of highflying action.

Peter fights goblin in his street clothes

Really enjoyed the Daily Bugle scenes

Never got bored

That Bruce Campbell cameo rocked!

Peter’s Hilter hair

Here is what I disliked in no particular order (spoilers):

No Alex Ross in the opening credits like Spiderman 2

The black suit didn’t have any powers when Peter wore it like in the comics.

No cool mask for goblin

Captain Stacy doesn’t’ seem very concerned that his daughter is about to fall to her death.

Why is Gwen Stacy in this movie? Oh yeah, in case Kirsten Dunst doesn’t come back for Spiderman 4.

Harry Osborn realizing he needs to help his friends because of something the butler said rather than figuring it out on his own.

Sandman killed Uncle Ben! Wha…

Too much unmasking

Missed Opportunities (spoilers):

Not having John Jameson, J. Jonah Jameson’s astronaut son, bring back the alien symbiote from space. This seemed like a really obvious thing to me.

The black costume/venom thing was too much story and needed its own film.


Saturday, May 5, 2007

Happy Cinco de Mayo, Free Comic Book Day, and Spidey movie opening! Whew, it's gonna be a busy weekend!

Friday, May 4, 2007

My New Comics and Free Comic Book Day

Here is this week’s haul. Best Cover Jonah Hex #19

All New Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: A-Z Update. #2 Adam II to Zodiak. (What a ridiculously long title for what is essentially an encyclopedia) Marvel Comics.

Battlestar Galatica: Cylon Apocalypse #3 (based on the old show) Dynamite Entertainment.

The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born #4 Marvel Comics.

Jonah Hex #19 DC Comics.

Marvel Zombies vs. Army of Darkness #3 Marvel Comics & Dynamite Entertainment.

Raise the Dead #2 Dynamite Entertainment.

Giant Size Red Sonja #1 Dynamite Entertainment.

Impulse buy: on the rack back issue Teen Titans #42 DC Comics (I noticed the Blue Devil, from Shadowpact, on the cover)

Don’t Forget, tomorrow is Free Comic Book Day!


Thursday, May 3, 2007

Hi, I'm a Marvel...and I'm a DC

The Marvel and DC rivalry gets a funny turn in this parody of those Mac/PC ads. The lighting could be better but the voice work and script are quite funny. If you want to check them all out click here

The Excitement Explodes for Spidey 3

Its official folks, Spiderman 3 is smashing records all over the world! According to the Deadline Dailey site:

Spider-Man 3 opened May 1 in 16 countries around the globe and made $29.15 million in the single day. That's more than what the same 16 territories made for Spider-Man 1 ($10.6 mil) and Spider-Man 2 ($15.6 mil) combined! So far SM3 is running +86% over SM2.

Whoa… I guess the rumored 300 million budget for Spiderman 3 is gonna’ get paid off. Sony must be breathing a big sigh of relief. It’s weird though; this film is opening all over the world before it opens in the States. China… China gets Spiderman 3 before the US. Wha…

The film generally has good reviews, but I still wonder why Spidey appeals to an international audience? Granting that Spiderman 3 is well made, why are folks all over the world flocking to see an American icon, especially when opinions of the US are at such a low ebb? I have no idea. I’d like to think "the world" simply appreciates a good, entertaining story regardless of where it came from or maybe it's the modern everyman appeal of Spidey. For me personally, I’ve been a big fan for years, ever since I read his comics as kid, so I have no perspective at all. What do you all think? What is it about old webhead that’s got everybody going to the theaters around the world?


Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Remastered Memories

It’s been strange watching Star Trek Remastered. Of course you know about Star Trek TOS being updated with new effects right? The remastered shows have been airing since September 2006. I’m not a purest and I do realize that the original FX looks rather dated, but I had been worried that the whole thing would be too George Lucas-ly. Fortunately, the few episodes I have seen were quite enjoyable. The mantra of the effects team as spoken by Mike Okuda:
We're taking great pains to respect the integrity and style of the original... Our goal is to always ask ourselves: What would Roddenberry have done with today's technology?"
This seems to be true.

Certain fans might say this is sacrilege akin to colorizing old black and white films, but somehow it seems appropriate. It’s as if a much-neglected part of the Star Trek franchise is getting it’s due after being basically ignored. Many times, I’ve had conversations with younger fans and they simply can’t stand the old Star Trek. Often they speak about how much they like Deep Space Nine or whatever instead. I would try and talk to them about how great the stories, sci-fi concepts, or character interactions were in the original, but they were still very dismissive. What I have come to realize through Star Trek Remastered is that much of what they didn’t like was really the effects. The old FX is jarring. Imagine being pulled out of the story every time you saw the ship. Kind of a downer huh? It’s like the Star Trek Remastered CG frees them up so they can finally focus on the narrative rather than thinking “this is just some old show.” Although, I admit the effects team will never be able to do anything about Spock’s Brain.

I’ve been thinking about this as I just recently watched the remastered episode of All Our Yesterdays. It’s one of my favorites. I actually missed most of the remasterd shows but the few I’ve seen I found to be quite enjoyable especially The Doomsday Machine and The Immunity Syndrome. Regardless, I think it’s just nice to have Kirk and Spock back on regular TV. They had to do something for the 40th anniversary.

Here's the first trailer:

Here is the remastered effects for of The Doomsday Machine :

There are plenty more on youtube and


Tuesday, May 1, 2007

It is May Day Tovarisch

Happy May Day from the Soviet Super-Soldiers!