Thursday, April 30, 2009

Sorry I've been absent from the blog but Swinebread Jr. has been pretty sick. There is so much I want to talk about and I haven't even been able to... I still need to post about the Stumptown Comics Fest. :(

Just when when I think my son is getting better, he relapses again. :(

Also, I wanna thank Dean Wormer for keep things going around here. :)


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Chuck Me

My family's favorite genre network show "Chuck" has been on the bubble for renewal. The gossip is that NBC wasn't really interested in renewing it anyway because next year they're going with Jay Leno five nights a week. NBC has changed the designation of last night's season finale to "series finale" on their website. Classy.

"Chuck" isn't the best sci-fi action-comedy show that I've watched but it is the most consistently entertaining and it does have that rare quality of appealling to everybody in my family, including Mrs. Wormer who is more at home with period dramas on PBS. It's a show chock full of geek Easter Eggs for those paying attention. Last night's finale had nods to Tron, The Matrix, old school Mac fans, STYX, Quantum Leap, Back to the Future, Spiderman and a bunch of other nerdy stuff to numerous to list out here.
It's also got a great cast chemistry between Zachary Levi, Yvonne Strahovski and Adam Baldwin. Baldwin in particular has been fun to watch this season as he started the season with orders to kill Chuck and ended it by displaying a grudging admiration for his spy-challenged ward.

It's a great show which, more than anything, spells it's doom. This is part of the reason why network television is dying. Anything that's this creative, intelligent and half way entertaining is doomed from the start.

- Dean Wormer

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Today I'm The Walking Dead

I was overjoyed to discover this week that the local library has quite a large collection of graphic novels (not to mention manga.) As I poured through the shelves the first thing I decided to check out was a copy of the first volume of Robert Kirkman's "The Waking Dead." I believe Swinebread has been reading these books in comic and trade form, so they've been on my mental "to read" list for a while.

Wow. This story is absolutely brutal. It's some of the darkest narrative I've ever come across, unrelenting in it's abuse of every single character contained within it's pages. There are some to the most disturbing scenes I've ever seen imagined, much less illustrated, in these books.

And it's all positively addictive.

I just finished the 4th volume last night and let me start by saying that any incoherence you detect in this post can be directly attributed to some of the stuff that happened in this novel. These comics are filled with scenes of torture, decapitations, amputations, rape, stabbings, suicides and all of that paled in comparison to some of the final panels in this volume. There were a couple of deaths of protagonists that literally caused me to lose sleep last night they were so disturbing. So I apologize in advance for the fact I'm not typing this on a full tank of gas.

Ostensibly this is a story about officer Rick Grimes who wakes up from a coma to find himself smack in the middle of a zombie apocalypse with his family nowhere to be found. It follows Rick as he searches for, and finds his wife and son and joins a group of survivors who eventually make a "safe" home in an abandoned prison. For the first three volumes I kept thinking how closely the story followed one of my favorite childhood novels: "Watership Down."

This story is not about zombies. The zombies are an ever present menace, but they're never the most frightening thing in this story. The real monsters are the surviving humans. All the zombies want to do is devour the living. That evil pales in comparison to the horrible things these humans do to each other and themselves. We are the monsters here.

Obviously, this sort of thing isn't for everybody. I'm not the strictest parent in the world but these were books I kept out of the hands of my mature kids. But if you have the fortitude to make it through these books I think you'll be rewarded for it. There's a lot of food for thought about the human condition and even the nature of evil in "The Walking Dead." It was well worth the read, and the lack of a good night's sleep.

- Dean Wormer

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day

It's gonna take a super-heroic effort to save the planet but we can do it!

Also, Yes I did go to Stumptown but I just haven't had time to post about it. eventually...


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

More Evidence that Star Trek Will Suck?

An article here notes that Star Trek is not tracking with the 18-25 group... it doesn't look good folks.

We can't be sure at this point but this is another sign to be worried.

I don't think the film will please the old guard nor will attract a new audience.

This film is made by a man the doesn't like Star Trek for The Hills crowd. Star Trek seems to be a reimagining that dumbs it down rather than lifting up.

Hey I could be wrong but I haven't seen one thing yet that gives me any hope...

OK maybe there is some Zachary Quinto as Spock love but that's as far as it goes.

If I'm wrong I'll cop to it, but it's looking more and more like we're getting a turkey in the vein of Phantom Menace


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Reverse Non Sequitur Comic Panel

I started a new post type today. The Reverse Non Sequitur Comic Panel. In this instance. I choose the panel and randomly get a quote using a quotation website (there's more to the process but let's keep it simple). Instead of the image being random the quote is.

So this is the opposite of the Non Sequitur Comic Panel mmm-kay.

This bit of wisdom came from Jean-Paul Sartre.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Set Phasers To Verklempt.

I know a lot of Trek fans, including the owner of this blog, see the pending new Trek movie through skeptical eyes. That's a pretty rational position considering how often Hollywood screws up established products. The odds are against any remake of anything if the grubby little fingers of Hollywood suits get into the mix.

As someone who watched the original show every day after I got home from school, pieced together models of the Enterprise and it's bridge, played with toy phasers and holds that show in the highest esteem among all things Trek I have to say I'm optimistic. With that in mind this video sort of choked me up...

- Dean Wormer

Monday, April 13, 2009

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter

I wonder if the boys at Marvel were making a joke with the "Enter the White Rabbit" tag-line or they really were that clueless... It sure does paint Easter in a whole new light though...


My New Comics

This week’s best cover is The Amazing Spider-Monkey #1.

Last Reign #5, Boom Studios. The ending lest you know there will be more mini-series for Last Reign but at four bucks a pop I won’t be picking them up.

Warlord #1 DC Comics. On the fence with this one. I like The Warlord a lot so we'll see if the get any better.

Marvel Apes: The Amazing Spider-Monkey #1 Marvel Comics. I had sworn off $3.99 titles… but this is just a one-shot so I couldn’t resist.

Army of Darkness #18, Dynamite Entertainment.

Army of Darkness #19, Dynamite Entertainment. Two this week hmmmmm....

You’ll notice that I didn’t pick up Marvel Zombies 4….

Also I dropped Doctor Who Classic, it’s just too expensive per issue plus the collected trade will be cheaper anyway. I deduced that I rather get Astounding Wolf-Man instead.


Thursday, April 9, 2009

R.I.P. Dave Arneson.

I'm sure Swinebread would like to pay tribute to Dave Arneson, co-founder of Dungeons and Dragons. Anybody who has rolled a die that had fewer or more than six sides owes that guy a debt of gratitude.

I love that he, along with the late Gary Gygax, as adults had such pronounced imaginations that they still could come up with their wonderful worlds. It's an astounding thing when you think about it. The imagination seems to be the first thing to go as you get older.

Thank you and rest in peace, Dave.

- Dean Wormer

EDIT: I just want to add that it was very sad to hear that Dave is gone, he had been ill for a while but it still comes as a shock. I always considered Dave to be the Jack Kirby of roleplaying (with Gary Gygax as Stan Lee) but fortunately he received his due before he died. Thanks for sharing your wonderful imagination Mr. Arneson. You will be missed.


Monday, April 6, 2009

I'm Lucy And The One Ring Is The Football.

So I'm checking out Ain't It Cool News and get all excited over this gaming headline WAR OF THE RINGS IS RELEASED! Massawyrm celebrates! All is right with the world!

Then I start to read the article and quickly realize that bonehead is talking about a cheap Warhammer mass tabletop battles knock-off at not the legendary board game by the now defunct company SPI by the almost same title ("ring" v. "rings.")

THIS is War of the Ring-

This was an incredible board game from the 70s that included thousands of tokens for units and armies. You could play as Saruman, Sauron or the Fellowship. As great as the main game was it had a mini-game that involved the siege of Minis Tirith that I absolutely loved.

I've been searching for this game for years but every used copy on eBay goes for over $100 bucks, an amount I can't justify. So my hopes were briefly up that they finally reprinted the thing, only to be dashed by those AICN jerks yet again.

Curse you AICN, curse you!

Movie Review: The Good, The Bad, The Weird

For a couple of years now I've been pining to see a South Korean film titled "The Good, The Bad, The Weird" by famous Korean director Ji-woon Kim. After keeping an eye on the local art house theater it became obvious the film was never going to see even a limited release in the states. So I took matters into my own hands and "obtained" a copy of the flick this last weekend.

I'm a big fan of Sergio Leone's western films so the idea of a Korean remake of "The Good, The Bad, The Ugly" was instantly appealing. Leone was strongly influenced by Japanese master Akira Kurosawa, to the extent that Kurosawa actually sued Leone over "A Few Dollars More" because it was so clearly a remake of Kurosawa's samurai film "Yojimbo."

So we have Japanese cinema influencing an Italian director mixing that influence with Hollywood westerns and having that product being remade by a hot Korean director. How could you not want to see that?

Before I go any further- this is a great movie. You know the movie that "Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull" tried to be? A rollicking, action flick with kickass scenes that left your mouth gaping open at how cool they were? That's this movie instead.

The bare bones of the original are here. Instead of hidden confederate gold we have an unspecified treasure, the map to which every character in the movie is after. There are also secret personal scores, opposing armies (Japanese vs. Chinese Independence) and the famous three-way showdown at the climax.

There's also a hodgepodge of elements of other spaghetti westerns, martial arts flicks, Mad Max movies, the aforementioned Indiana Jones films and director Kim even riffs off his own films in a couple of scenes.

Woo-sung Jung - The Good

Woo-sung Jung plays the Clint Eastwood "Blondie" roll from the original film. He's a bounty hunter and a total badass with his Winchester repeating rifle.

Byung-hun Lee - The Bad

Byung-hun Lee plays the Lee Van Cleef roll of The Bad. He oozes charismatic evil. There is simply nothing that breathes and moves that he won't kill just for the hell of it.

Kang-ho Song - The Weird

As I understand it Kang-ho Song who plays The Weird in this movie is a comedic actor and it shows. He has several laugh out loud scenes, usually when someone is trying to kill him.

Just a quick note on a couple of incredible action scenes in this movie. The first is the opening train robbery scene. This thing is staged perfectly with the camera literally everywhere. This is the scene you'll hear most people talking about when they discuss this movie.

The scene that had me personally cheering was a chase/ action sequence at the end of the film involving at least two armies, several different groups of bandits and anyone else they they could think to throw into the mix that was as good, if not better, than anything CGI addicted Hollywood has produced in the last twenty years. Most remarkably it was done without the use of computers and through traditional stunt work. I wouldn't doubt for a second if stuntmen and horses were seriously hurt during the filming of this sequence.

I do have a few minor quibbles. There really isn't much story here other than the quest for the map. What story they do have is occasionally convoluted. But in the end the rest of the film is just so darned good it doesn't matter.

I give this film the Wormer seal of approval.

- Dean Wormer

Friday, April 3, 2009

Stumptown Comcis Fest 2009 Is Almost Here

April 18th and 19th brings the return of Portland's own Stumptown Comics Fest.

Jeff Smith will be there and so will Gail Simone!


My New Comics

This week’s best cover is The Freedom Collective #1.

Things are getting desperate at my local comic book store. They gave all their box customers a free copy of Previews in hopes folks would order more.

Good luck with that.

I think folks have finally realized they don’t need a bust of Antman or A-Team action figures.

Comics and collectables are overpriced. Sad but true for our friends in the industry.

The Astounding Wolf-Man #14, Image. I dropped this title but it’s just too good.

The Freedom Collective #1, Rough Cut Comics. The Marvel Age… commie style!

Jonah Hex #42, DC Comics.

Trade Paperbacks:
Chronicles of Conan #17, Dark Horse Comics.


Thursday, April 2, 2009

What the Wife Is Reading

My wife received a new manga via the mail from one of her close friends back in Japan. I'm not sure of the title as I haven't been able to clearify what Mama Ha Ten Parist (which is on the cover) means. It is by the popular manga artist Akiko Higashimura. From what what I've gatherd from the art, the story is a comedy drama about a mother giving birth and taking care of her baby. It's very sentimental and cute. It's too bad I can't find any info in English about it other than that it was on the short list for the Cartoon Grand Prize 2009.

amazon japan link


Wednesday, April 1, 2009