Monday, June 30, 2008

Lost and Found Heroes

When the SO and I were cleaning up a few weeks ago to make room for our expectant arrival. I came across my old collection of Heroclix figures. About five years ago, I was a total fiend and bought tons of figures from the first two sets of both the Marvel and DC versions of the game. I even picked the Indy Heroclix starter and some boosters. I had to have the Judge Dread guys after all.

I quit getting them for several reasons, the biggest being that I wasn’t really gamming with Heroclix all that much. I was also annoyed that the paint jobs were terrible considering the price, and like all “collector” games you never knew what you were gonna get and thus duplicates abounded. So I threw what I had into a container and forgot about ‘em.

When I “rediscovered” my figures recently, I got curious. What had Heroclix been up to these last few years? Well, by going on line, I was surprised to find out that the quality of the paintjobs had improved. But what really got me, though, was the fact that many of my favorite, b-lister characters had been made into figures. I found the Supernova set particularly appealing with its Guardian of Galaxy and Squadron Supreme figures.

Two weeks ago, I dropped by Cosmic Monkey while on the eastside and noticed they had old, loose, Heroclix figures for 50¢ each. I bought several and this wet my appetite for more. So this last weekend, I swung by my usual comic store and purchased two sets of Marvel Supernova, and a set of DC Crisis. The figures in the Crisis set weren’t all that special except for a batgirl version, but I was really happy with the supernova guys. The best thing is that I got a Colonel America Zombie figure! It’s my understanding that this dude is very rare. Considering the fact that I’m not even interested in the other marvel zombie Heroclix characters, it was an amazing thing to rip open the package and just find him there. I lucked out this time. It kinda’ made up for all those lame duplicates I wasted my money on years ago… …OK, not really, but it was nice to get a “hard to find” character that I actually wanted.

I plan on buying a few booster sets here and there, but mostly I think I might try hunting for individual figures at stores and conventions. I feel this could actually be sorta fun, like antiquing for geeks. Too bad I didn’t shop for anything at Emerald City Comic Con though; I bet I could have found some good Heroclix deals. Regardless, I’m happy with the Zombie Colonel. I have him next to my computer between Papa Smuf and No-face.


Which Star Wars Character Are You

Which Star Wars Character Are You?

You are Yoda. You are a wise, old soul ready to give mystic advice to all those who need it! You are like a sponge- once you learn something you retain it- and this is an awesome trait. You are very intelligent and can tackle any problems that come your way. You love to help people solve their own problems instead of just doing it for them because then they can learn as well. You are honest and completely dedicated to finding the true path of life!

Find Your Character @

blah blah blah... Time I do not have now, post later will I.


Sunday, June 29, 2008

Michael Turner Passed Away

I just found out that comic book artist Michael Turner died Friday June 27th.

He was only 37 years old... much too young

We here at Comic Book Resources are very sad to report that artist Michael Turner has died after a long battle with cancer. He was 37. Aspen Comics’ Vince Hernandez told CBR News Saturday morning that Turner passed away Friday night at 10:42 Pacific Time at Santa Monica Hospital in Calfiornia. The news spread quickly at Wizard World Chicago, during what would have otherwise been a riotous night at the hotel bar, the mood suddenly turned somber with remembrances of Turner from friends and acquaintances. A minute of silence will be observed during Wizard World Chicago Saturday afternoon.

Turner is an artist best known for his work on books like “Witchblade,” where he got his start in comics, moving on to titles such as “Black Panther,” “Superman/Batman” and his very own creator owned series “Fathom” and “Soulfire” through his publishing company Aspen Comics. A prolific artist, he’s done work for both DC Comics and Marvel Comics, and has provided covers to some of the best-known comics published in the last ten years, including Brad Meltzer’s “Identity Crisis.”
from here


Saturday, June 28, 2008

Death Race

Death Race Trailer:


Friday, June 27, 2008

Random Comic Panel

Harry is the name of Ape BTW...


Thursday, June 26, 2008

My New Comics

This week’s best cover is Conan the Cimmerian #0.

Project Superpowers #4, Dynamite Entertainment.

No Hero #2, Avatar.

The Man with No Name #2, Dynamite Entertainment.

She-Hulk #30, Marvel Comics.

1985 #2, Marvel Comics.

Conan the Cimmerian #0, Dark Horse Comics.

Trade Paperbacks:
Chronicles of Conan Vol 15, Dark Horse. Hey they got the original covers this time.


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Toys for a Tot

I don’t want to turn this into the Swinebread Jr.’s blog, this is Atomic Romance after all, but where my pending son’s life intersects with pop culture and comics, I’ll happily post away. I might start another blog if I feel the need to talk extensively about my upcoming fatherhood. Anyway, here are a couple of fun shots.

The first is a shelf of toys from SB jr’s room. Don’t worry it’s up high where he won’t be able to get his hands on anything for years to come and we’ve got other age appropriate toys.

From left to right: Baby Bugs cloth book, Ultraman, Spiderman bank, Totoro, Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Owly, some random rabbit behind him, Peter Rabbit, another random rabbit (in back), Mr. Usaji [portmanteau of the words usagi (うさぎ?), (rabbit), and jii-chan (じいちゃん?) (grandpa)] He’s a supporting character on Domokun’s NHK show, Nyan-mage the Edo Wonderland mascot cat. Plus there’s a little hippy Volkswagen Bug in front.

The prevalence of bunny rabbits is due to Mrs. Swinebread. She likes rabbits quite a bit. I think Easter is her favorite American holiday based on Rabbit imagery alone.

Looks like I’ll need to pick up a plush Smurf, Godzilla, Vulcan, and Cthulhu to round this set out properly. Heh heh…

This second pic is an image of Swinebread Jr.’s new kid-sized rocking chair. It’s currently occupied by the Wolf-man, the bride of Frankenstein, and a Tribble.


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

How Did I Miss this Movie?

A woman of beauty. A warrior of strength. A hunter of man.

A Woman who could not be tamed! Hundra!


Monday, June 23, 2008

Born to the Comic Books

I’ve just read Conan: Born On the Battlefield and I have to say I’m very impressed. I’ve always been interested in the rain soaked landscaped of Cimmeria, (maybe because I’m an Oregonian?) and Conan’s boyhood. This volume provides all that and more in spades. Plus, Greg Ruth’s art is a gift that just keeps on a giving. He’s got an amazing watercolor style that captures both the moody nature of the barbarian’s homeland and the thrill of combat. Here we have the literal birth of a heroic icon and his formative years as a boy and teenager. I recommend this volume, and in fact, I highly recommend Born on the Battlefield to women. If you’ve been looking for an “in” on the whole Conan phenomenon, this is a great place to start, partially because it’s really the beginning of Conan’s story and because this trade is just that good.

You can see from these two frames just how wonderful the art is. It’s hard to imagine what Conan the baby could really look like but Greg Ruth pulled it off superbly. Here, Conan is a newborn but you can still see his power and willfulness that becomes so memorable in his adult adventures.

When I read Born On the Battlefield and took in this image of baby Conan, I came to a decision to reveal something to all of you, my blogger friends, that’s going to drastically change my life in ways that I can’t even imagine yet. My SO is pregnant and in just a few weeks she will give birth to our son. It’s an amazing thing to wrap one’s head around, and I’m sure glad you get nine months to get used to the idea. We actually discovered Mrs. Swinebread was pregnant while on our short trip to Japan, which was nice because the information lifted my in-laws spirits at a sad time.

I had planned on waiting until the baby was born and surprise all of you with the news, but I realized that I will have no time when my son arrives for blogging beyond a few posts here and there. You all might have noticed that I’ve been a tad neglectful when is comes to commenting, which I apologize for, but much of my free time has been taken up with preparations for the baby. Rest assured though, Atomic Romance will continue although with more brevity.

There are so many thoughts, worries, and joys that keep swirling around my brain. I’m so afraid that I could be too forgetful or clumsy and somehow Swinebread Jr. would get hurt. But then I remember that everybody has these fears and I’m just joining the club. Soon, I will unite with those of you that have children. I’ll begin the long and paradoxically quick journey of watching my son be born, grow into a boy, then teenager, and finally a man. At least, I hope with all of my being that I will.

I haven’t much of a legacy to share with my son but I do have a large comic book collection that I built from the time I was 12 years old. All of these four-color adventures will now be his to explore. I keep getting images of teaching my son to read with the help of Tin Tin, Asterix and Spiderman. Of course, at some point I’ll introduce him to Conan and the Hyborian World as well. But I can’t be neglectful of his Japanese heritage either, and tons of amazing children’s manga will fill his bookshelves too. He will be able to speak and read in two very different languages, wow. It will be a real joy to discover what his interests will be and support him in whatever he chooses to do. I just hope his father’s eccentric comic collecting gives him a boost in exploring all the bold possibilities in life.

But what I really wanna know is, will Swinebread Jr. be Marvel or DC? Heh heh, just kidding, he can be what ever he wants. I just want him to read something including novels.

Soon I will be a Dad and the Real adventure will begin.


Jazzy Alien Finger Gunfight

Here’s a scene from Starship Invasions. It's films like SI that gave people doubts about Christopher Lee being cast as Saruman in LOTR, but I thought he was the best casting choice for the whole trilogy. This film came out the same year as Star Wars... Enjoy!


Friday, June 20, 2008

My New Comics

This week’s best cover is Anna Mercury #2.

Zorro #4, Dynamite Entertainment.

War is Hell: The First Flight of the Phantom Eagle #4, Marvel Comics. Wow, I hope this WWI comic can have even more talking heads. ZZZZZZzzzz

Anna Mercury #2, Avatar.

Cthulhu Tales #3, Boom Studios.

The Un-Men #11, DC Comics.

Adolescent Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters #4, Dynamite Entertainment.

Streets of Glory #5, Avatar.

Trade Paperbacks
Y the Last Man vol 10. DC Comics.

Conan: Born on the Battlefield Dark Horse Comics.


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Thomas Jane Hex Image Fake

Fans are getting pretty excited about the news that there is gonna be a Jonah Hex film, but It looks like the image of Thomas Jane as Hex is not real. See here

Ha, I could have told you that!


New Adventures in Roleplaying

Well, the 4th edition of Dungeons and Dragons is out and the majority of reviews have been very positive. Wired Magazine’s take is quite good, here’ s a section:

In D&D 4th Edition, dungeon masters, or DMs, are freed from a good deal of the bookkeeping associated with the hobby in previous editions of the game, as the designers have streamlined the process for preparing adventures. Boxes of statistical information and extensive charts were once the norm, but now DMs can almost throw together an adventure on the fly. This philosophy has also lead to some radical changes in monster design. Just as players now have a fun trick or two up their sleeves, monsters now wield fantastic abilities that are wholly unique.

The possibilities these mechanical changes unlock are exciting in and of themselves. Nerds love to debate game mechanics, but what all this ultimately means for the player and the DM is more time focusing on more important things.

Combat moves so fluidly now, and the DM has so much less prep time to worry about, that the art of role-playing itself finally moves into the foreground of Dungeons & Dragons. Telling a compelling story, and having a ton of fun doing it, is ultimately the reason players sit down to game in the first place. What D&D 4th Edition represents is the chance to have fun with your friends without a ton of hassle, to immerse yourself in a fantasy world without working at it.

In fact, many of the mechanics are so easy to use that they remind players of what it feels like to play a massively multiplayer game. Wizards' Slavicsek has absolutely no problem with those comparisons, as all good games build on what has come before.

It seems that D&D has finally, finally shed most of its clunky rules but for me, it comes too late. The lawyering, number crunching, and game preparation were way out of hand. I've always stressed that Roleplaying games should just be that, about roleplaying and sadly the D&D folks never quite understood this until now. Most people don’t enjoy nor have the time to endlessly scourer the rules just to do the most basic tasks. Versatility and ease of story creation is the way to go and so it sounds like 4th edition would now finally provid that. It might actually attract new, non-geeky types… well probably not, but Wizards of the Coast can dream can’t they? It seems like 4th edition would be right up my alley.

The problem is I’m way too invested in 3.5 to upgrade. I bought tons of D&D and D20 books, looking for ideas and hoping the next volume would be the one to unlock the secret of easy and fun gameplay. Now I’ve got no one to blame but myself, but why would I do this? Well, I was sublimating my desire for a universal roleplaying game into the D20 system. It was the most prevalent RPG and I thought that it would provide more opportunities to actually sit down with somebody and game. I was wrong about that.

What I really wanted was a universal gamming system from Chaosium. I've always loved how their mechanics work in a simple but appropriate manner for their various games like Call of Cthulhu, and Stormbringer. Their core mechanic has a name, it’s called Basic Roleplaying or BRP but Chaosium hadn’t really pushed it as a universal gamming platform before except for a halfhearted attempt with Worlds of Wonder. So in my desire to fill the void, that Chaosium seemed unwilling to satisfy, I self medicated with 3.5 and D20.

It’s ironic that D&D 4th edition is being released at about the same time as Chaosium’s new Basic Roleplaying game. Finally, I’m getting the game I really want, and it’s not from Wizards of the Coast. Of course, Chaosium should have done this years ago but at least it’s happening at a time when I’m feeling particularly left out of the next big jump in RPG industry.

Basic Roleplaying the Chaosium System is rolling out to a store near you as I type this. But if you’re more of a PDF type of person, downloads are now available for purchase on the website. Dungeons & Dragons and Chaosuim have changed with the times even if both were very late to do so.

See and for info on BRP outside of Chaosium’s website.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Hulk Need Carbs

(Sorry, I’ve been very busy folks.) My chance to see the Incredible Hulk slipped away this weekend and I’m not sure I’ll get another anytime soon, but it posted a solid opening at the box office. Hopefully it’s on tract to make a profit for Marvel Studios, as I’d like to see more of their films.

I noticed an odd ad in Hulk: Raging Thunder, The Hulk Cake. I’ve seen lots of stuff advertised in comics but I don’t’ think I've ever seen a theme cake before (and no hostess fruit pies don’t count).


Friday, June 13, 2008

My New Comics

This week’s best cover is Skaar Son of Hulk #1.

The Last Defenders #4, Marvel Comics.

Skaar Son of Hulk #1, Marvel Comics.

The Twelve #6, Marvel Comics.

Fall of Cthulhu #13, Boom Studios.

Narcopolis #3, Avatar.

Iron Man: Legacy of Doom #3, Marvel Comics.

Hulk: Raging Thunder #1, Marvel Comics.

AlterEgo #78. TwoMorrow Publishing. Dave Cockrum, the man who loved comics.


Robert E. Howard Days

Cross Plains Texas celebrates its native son, Robert E. Howard, with two days of events in the 2nd weekend of June. Hey, that starts today! The cimmerian blog has some nice shots of the town and here’s a list of events.

He gave us so many wonderful characters and stories in such a short time.

I couldn't find a good video about Howard so here's Renee Zellweger as Novalyne Price and Vincent D'Onofrio as Robert E. Howard kissing in the movie "The Whole Wide World"



Spring over here to get the scoop on the pics from the Wolverine movie set. Looks interesting especially since I didn’t even know they were in production with this thing. It’s funny because I bailed on Wolverine and X-men comics back in 1991, and back then Logan was still this guy with a mysterious past. Later, Marvel started filling in his back-story. Those comics look interesting but I never felt the urge to read them. X-men burnout I guess (and the undoing of the Dark Phoenix saga). As it stands now, the Wolverine movie could be extra entertaining for me


MSNBC conducted an interview with David Hajdu, author of the new book, “The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic-Book Scare and How it Changed America,” see here

Here’s a section by Hajdu:

The interesting thing about comics, and why comics were early to be a source of economic and social power for young people was because they were affordable. I mention this in the book, but these were things that were made by young people, for young people, marketed directly to young people and priced for young people. And they’re the only work of expression, of art, that qualified as such. Kids could buy candy bars … but not much else, for a dime. There were no other forms of art or creative expression within their reach….

Comics and the late,’40s and ’50s were more popular than any form of popular entertainment. The way to fully absorb the power that comics had was to understand not just the reach, which was extraordinary, which was huge, but also that the content of those comics and the point of view of those comics and the sensibility of those comics was so radically different from that of anything else that young people can see. If kids are going to the movies, they’re not seeing anything like this in the movies. Movies were geared toward families. There was nothing like this.

We lost a lot when comic books were practically destroyed in the 1950s by small-minded people. Comics most likely would have been as big here as Manga is in Japan had this purge not happened. Many of the readers of these 50s comics were boomers; I wonder if this is was their first rebellion? …a rebellion that was crushed.


The Sci-Fi channel has started airing a “new show” last week about a man that morphs between three alternate universes called Charlie Jade. It’s not really new as it’s been out in Canada and South Africa for a few years.

Filmed gorgeously in and around Cape Town, this Canadian-South African co-production (2005, 20 episodes, plus one "recap" episode) centers on the adventures of the eponymous Charlie (Jeffrey Pierce), a private detective who, in the course of investigating a mysterious girl’s murder, gets catapulted into an alternative universe. Our universe. There he must unravel the machinations of the nefarious megacorporation, Vexcor, before... well, to say any more would spoil the surprise.

Charlie Jade breathes new life into the standard SF trope of the parallel universe. The show moves among three “present-day” universes: the Alphaverse, Betaverse, and Gammaverse. You won’t find Spock-with-a-Beard here; in fact, very few characters have alter egos. This—to invoke Spock again—is logical: given different life circumstances, most people’s parents wouldn’t have gotten together. Charlie comes from the Alphaverse, a Blade Runner-esque dystopia where Vexcor rules a totalitarian state of near-universal surveillance and corporate corruption. But Vexcor has a problem: the Alphaverse is running out of natural resources. Luckily for Vexcor, it has developed a universe-hopping technology that will allow the company to plunder the Gammaverse, a seeming utopian idyll of ecologically sustainable living. To reach the Gammaverse, however, Vexcor’s machine must punch a line through the Betaverse, our universe. And when Gammaverse terrorists blow up the Vexcor’s Gammaverse base, Charlie finds himself caught in the shock wave and stuck in Beta.
From Here



Stephen Colbert's Make McCain Exciting Challenge! The first entries are in.

Also youtube has ton. Including one that used Dr. Zaius’ mini-me Bush here.


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Tim Roth Speaks about his role in the Incredible Hulk

Tim's a cool guy and lends some validity to the villian in the film, of course I'll have to see Incredible Hulk first to be sure.

In related Hulk news, did you know that Captain America was supposed be in The Incredible Hulk? Well he's been cut out.
from here
In an interview with SOS Hollywood, Leterrier said, “There’s a point when Bruce Banner gives up on his quest for the cure and decide to kill himself. So he travels far North and reaches the Arctic Circle. You might have seen bits of it in some of the promos. The result was a very dark and strong scene, which Marvel, me and everyone else’s considered to be too hard to young audiences to take, so we’ve cut it. Having that said, when Bruce arrives at his destination he meets up with Captain America! At some point this week, we will make it available on the internet – but I cannot tell you where or when – and the material will definitely be on the DVD.”


Praise From Doctor Smoke

That's right folks Doctor Smoke has given me an award AND interpreted me for a cameo in his web comic-strip bananaglass. Absolutely freakluscious.

It's offical now I'm a universe expert, convention crasher, and nerd! Thank Doc,

Here's the bananaglass episode with moi.

I love the emblem Doc created for my chest.

It makes me think I need a sidekick named Pigmuffin.


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

What Superhero Are You?

Your results:
You are Spider-Man

Green Lantern
Iron Man
The Flash
Wonder Woman
You are intelligent, witty,
a bit geeky and have great
power and responsibility.

Click here to take the "Which Superhero are you?" quiz...

Meh, I already knew I was Spiderman. I'm just glad wasn't Robin. I'd rather be Catwoman or Wonder Woman than Robin.


Pixar to Make John Carter

I'm late with this but: it's official, Pixar is making John Carter of Mars, which is an adaption of the the Edgar Rice Burroughs' novel Princess of Mars see here. Kind of a nice simpatico with my earlier Favorite Martians post.

I think the Pixar animators can do a great job but I'm also worried that the rights to John Carter, an out of copyright character, will be locked up by Disney, just like Tarzan was.


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Mutant Swinger from Mars

Long lost trailer from 1958


Monday, June 9, 2008

Random Comic Cover


Hulk Good...?

The buzz on the Incredible Hulk is out... and it’s good!

Except for one or two quiet moments shared by Banner and his girlfriend while on the lam, Incredible Hulk doesn’t waste a single frame on dull talky exposition. It is all plot-driven and action-filled. In fact, unlike the much-hyped Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, The Incredible Hulk never runs out of steam. Put simply: this is the movie which audiences wanted to see back in 2003. No dull existential angst and weird split screen film techniques. No mutant poodles either. Instead we get some nice comic asides, including another cameo by Stan Lee and a riff on those mega-stretchy purple pants Banner always seems to wear.

With The Incredible Hulk Marvel has done it again. Like the recent Iron Man, Incredible Hulk is a definite Saturday matinee crowd-pleaser. Kids – and their parents – will love it. Unfortunately the only thing standing in the way of Incredible Hulk becoming the summer hit it deserves to be will be audiences’ negative memories of the 2003 original. Well, forget about all that: The Incredible Hulk may ultimately be as brainless as its main character, but it really is “incredible” this time around. And Hulk smashes stuff too . . .
from here

I was very angry with the first film in that Ang Lee completely missed the point of the character and tried to do some boring psycho babble story that wasn't in the spirit of the comics or the Hulk character. The Hulk is the most straightforward superhero of the marvel universe and putting layers of drama over the top of him is unnecessary and dull. Hulk has all the drama he needs just being himself. The Hulk comic has an amazing collection of villains and the fact that none of them were used in the first film shows you that the director didn't have a clue... a gamma poodle? Please. Lee's fiasco delayed a Hulk franchise by years. I'm glad Marvel decided to take a chance and remake the Hulk before his horrible version had faded from pop memory. The sooner we get a successful Hulk series of films the sooner we get a She-Hulk.

The fanboys (and girls) simply want "Hulk Smash" is that troo much to ask for?

Marvel Studios hit a homer with Iron Man, so lets hope they have resurrected the big o' mean and green from the grave.


Saturday, June 7, 2008

Obama and His Amazing Friends

I try not to get carried away with politics on this blog but this week, Barack Obama has secured the democratic nomination. His team deserves kudos for their efforts, but I am a little worried about the scorched earth that occurred during the primary. Nonetheless, It’s an important week for the Democrats and Obama and I’m looking forward to the general election.

One of the fun facts I learned about the Democratic nominee this week, amid all the hoopla, is that Obama collected Conan and Spiderman comics… Now, as a comic geek, that gives me alotta’ hope that we can turn things around.


Friday, June 6, 2008

He's Baaaaaaak!

Here's buggy's house ad, which was mentioned at the last Emerald City Comic Con. I guess DC is trying to wet our whistle.

Only one more month until the Ambush Bug: Year None six issue mini-series begins!

We're at the dawning of the age of ambush bug, am-bush bug... AM-BUSH-BUG! (to the tune of Age of Aquarius). I know it is a short age but I gotta' get my laughs while I can. nyuck nyuck...

It's about time superhero comics were funny again!

Honk if you love Ambush Bug! HONK HONK!


Thursday, June 5, 2008

My New Comics

This week’s best cover is Haunt of Horror #1.

Jonah Hex #32, DC Comics. Hex in Mexico.

Doctor Who Classics #7, IDW. Daleks!

Tor #2, DC Comics. More prehistoric adventure.

Buckaroo Banzi: Return of the Screw #1, Moonstone. Red Lectroids from the 8th dimension are back.

Haunt of Horror #1, Marvel Comics. Richard Corben does Lovecraft.

Wrath of the Titans #4, Bluewater Comics.

The Dark Tower: The Long Road Home #4, Marvel Comics.

The War that Time Forgot #2, DC Comics. A certain Robot shows up!

Omega the Unknown #9, Marvel Comics.

Red Sonja #34, Dynamite Entertainment.

The Evil Dead #4, Dark Horse Comics.

Avengers/Invaders #2, Marvel Comics.

Trade Paperbacks
Witness to War Transfuzion Publishing. Fictional account of a female reporter during the Battle of the Bulge.


My Top Ten Comic Book Movies

Heidi Meeley made a Top Ten Comic Book Movie list a while ago so I thought I’d make my own list. Note that I don’t include TV shows but I do include direct to video movies.

I don’t have a particular order.

Superman II – This film has some corny aspects but Superman II boasts the first spectacular superhero battle ever to grace the silver screen. You gotta love Supes flinging General Zod into the that coke sign. Plus, I really liked that fact that the villains are truly evil. After watching the Batman TV show it came as quite a shock to see psychopaths running around the with same powers as Superman.

Spiderman – Thee best adaptation of an origin story I’ve ever watched. Seeing Spiderman on the big screen is the fulfillment of a childhood dream. The overall sweep of the film is very evocative of the comics and Toby Maguire is excellent as Peter Parker.

Ghost World – This adaptation of Daniel Clowes’ comic of the same name, is an amazing film. It’s about the comedy and tragedy of two girls facing the horrible world of post high school in a suburban wasteland. It was nominated for best-adapted screenplay. It should have won.

Hellboy – A smoking and drinking demon saves the world. Ron Pearlman was born for this role and he made the character come alive. In some sense, Hellboy is the best visual realization of a comic book character ever.

X-Men – What I really like about this movie is that it’s a case of making lemonade out of lemons. It didn’t really have enough of a budget to do the X-men properly and so the creators focused on the emotional context of the characters, which is what the X-men are really all about anyway. Hugh Jackman is a total coup as wolverine and the chemistry between all the actors is truly what makes the movie.

The Mask – A zany and crazy live action cartoon is what you get with the Mask. Jim Carry’s best role imo and Dark Horse Entertainment’s first big success. What happens when your id is released onto the world? Watch The Mask and find out. The dance numbers are outta this world!

Iron Man – Iron Man is one of those movies that meets the expectations of the trailer, films rarely accomplish this. Casting Robert Down Jr. as shell head is a masterstroke and updating his origin story for our time works perfectly. It’s a tight film with plenty of action, lots of laughs and a pop culture mea culpa for the horrible things the US had done for the last seven years.

Justice League: The New Frontier – I’ve already done a review of this see here. An excellent straight to video movie adapted from an excellent comic.

American Splendor – A wonderful cross between a dramatic film and a docudrama, which I never thought was possible until I saw this film. The drama of everyday life and stress of just being alive spills onto the screen in a tale that only Harvey Pekar could tell but is relatable to everybody. One of the best films ever despite the fact it’s a “comic book movie.”

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – Seriously, The first film was a very faithful adaptation of the original black and white comic that started it all. Aspects of it are very dark and not like the kiddy cartoon at all but ninja turtles still is rather funny. It never pretends to be more than it is but it delivers the goods with a solid action oriented story. Plus, seeing a Muppet splinter doing martial arts is awesome.

Honorable Mention:

Creepshow – An homage as opposed to an adaptation of the EC Horror comics from the 1950s

Persepolis – I haven’t seen the film or read the book but I suspect that both are very good.

V for Vendetta – A good movie and Hugo Weaving is amazing as V but since Alan Moore hates it, V for Vendetta can’t be in my top ten.

Batman Begins – You know, I’m not really a Batman fan and I’ve come to terms with that. I hate all the Bat films but this one. (and maybe Dark Knight but it’s not out yet).

This post is about American comics but if I included Japanese manga it would push many of the American titles off the top ten, but here’s a few:

Lone Wolf and Cub (Shogun Assassin) – Yes it’s from a comic book.

Naüsicaa of the Valley of the Wind – Hayao Miyazaki made the comic first so he could make the film.

Akira – Cyberpunk at it’s best.


Wednesday, June 4, 2008

4 Color Melancholia in Black and White

pic from

Got the comic book blues? You're not alone. The Comic Book Lady has got it bad and with the awful husband and crappy cutomers you can see why.
Shot on 16mm in black and white, The Comic Book Lady follows ten days in the life of a comics store owner (Kathleen Jackson) who is dealing with trouble on the home front and ongoing eccentricities on the professional side. The film is set to screen June 11th at England’s International Film Festival and June 20th and the San Antonio Film Festival.

The movie was written and directed by store employee Shayne Barker, who began scripting the project in 2002 and shooting it with Miller in 2004. "We shot some initial test shots in color, but the Comic Book Lady character in the film is depressed," Miller tells the paper. "The comics in the background made things so colorful that it really didn't convey a feeling of depression. So we switched to the black-and-white film, which not only did a better job of conveying the feel of the film, it was also cheaper to purchase and process."
from here

the trailer:


Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Army of Darkness/Xena 2

While reading the publisher page in Army of Darkness/Xena: Why Not? #3, I've discovered that this mini series has been really successful. It's so successful in fact that Dynamite Entertainment has decided that a second outing for Ash and Xena is a must. No details yet but this is great news for all you horror-comedy, sword & sorcery fans out there.

Give me some Sugar Xena!


Indy 4

I went to see Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull last Sunday night. The Verdict: I was disappointed. George Lucas’ sticky fingers are over this film and frankly it’s a mess. There’s too much CG, and there’s not enough care and attention paid to the plot and characters. People were introduced in such a haphazard manner and so I never cared about them for the entire movie. Basically, the Indiana Jones franchise has moved closer to something akin to the Mummy Movies… and I hate those films. It’s not as bad as say the Star War Prequels but I guess that’s not saying a lot.

I didn’t have a problem with 1950s setting, which includes things like cold war paranoia, atomic age sci-fi and Rock and Roll. It was actually fun to see Indy dealing with these things and they’re very endemic to the time. Remember both movie serials and the pulps (which Indy epitomizes) both died in the 1950s, so the sense of handing off the franchise to a new generation was fine.

I guess when it comes down to it there weren’t that many surprises because everything was broadcast so far in advance long before it happened. So, to enjoy Kingdom of the Crystal Skull you have like the ride but the CG heavy effects and plot problems constantly took me out of the film. Monkeys anyone?

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

Indy survives a nuclear explosion! That was very cool. Ridiculous yes, but a nice meeting of pulp age and the Atomic age.

Cate Blanchett was great as the main villain.

Indy’s discussion of his time in WWII, maybe we’ll get at book about those adventures.

The valley was destroyed at the end of the film

The alien-lost world was sound as a idea if not the execution.

The Marcus Brody Statue thing was nice

Jokes about Jones age.

The motorcycle chase

traditional stuntwork used

The fencing jokes and gags.

Making Mutt a greaser.

Just seeing Indy in the old gear again.

I actually like the whole X-Files aspect of the film.

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

Too much exposition dialog. Show don’t tell.

LeBeouf as Tarzan flying through the air at 70 miles an hour with a monkey attack, not fun just silly.

I hated George "Mac" McHale being revealed as a traitor early in the film. That made him superfluous and unlikable for the whole movie.

Why was Harold Oxly in the film? This character had no other point than to mutter exposition. He was one character too many.

The Indy meeting with Marion moment was hijacked by being in the middle of too many other events going on.

Why were there some Brazilian Capoeira guys in a Peruvian cemetery?

Digital grading was used and it made the characters look unreal or fake at various points in the film. It was unnecessary

Seeing a CG prairie dog in the fist 10 seconds of the movie was not a good omen.

Wow, that Nevada base was not well guarded and it’s funny that guys that speak only Russian can just traipse through 1950s US.

It didn’t seem like the Soviets really needed Dr. Jones.

Too many nods to previous movies and unfortunately they got in the way of the story.

Too predictable

Did I mention the Monkeys?

Missed Opportunities:

I wanted an opening sequence that was only tangentially connected to the rest of the story like the previous Indy films.

I wanted Spalko to make more of a pass at Mutt. (I’m just sick like that).