Saturday, July 28, 2007

Comic Book Review

The 1980s was a great time to be a comics fan. The new direct sale market allowed many small publishers to get their product into comic book stores without the large outlay of cash required for newsstand distribution. A lot of crappy comics got published, but for those of us willing to sort the wheat from the chaff there were finally books that presented an alternative in a market that had been dominated by Marvel and DC. One of the absolute best of this bunch was Mike Baron and Steve Rude's Nexus. The book was initially published by Capital Comics, then First Comics, Dark Horse, and now artist Steve Rude is self-publishing through his Rude Dude Productions imprint.

This is the first of a four issue mini-series, but the book also carries over the numbering from the last Dark Horse issue from ten years ago, making this also the 99th issue. Nexus is a fusion-powered assassin who targets mass murderers. His home base on a moon called Ylum has become a place where sentients of many species can seek asylum from tyranny. Nexus's long time companion Sundra Peale is about to give birth to the couple's first child. Nexus, however, has garnered many enemies over the course of 99 issues, and several nefarious looking villains of varying species are plotting the death of the unborn child. There is unrest between a pair of fanatical religious sects called the Alvonites and the Elvonites, and President Tyrone is hard pressed to keep the peace without Nexus backing him up.

Seeing these characters again after so long is like running into old and dear friends you never expected to see again. We've yet to get reacquainted with Dave of Thune and his son Fred, better known as The Hammer, and I'm hoping Baron and Rude are saving that pleasure for next issue. Many of the early issues of Nexus carried a quote from science fiction author Harlan Ellison that said Nexus "glows with originality." It was truly unique in its day, and it's still a great read. I eagerly await the second installment of Space Opera.

Who Wants to be a Super Hero? #1:
Comic Book Review

I think of Stan Lee in much the same way I think of Lucille Ball. Lucy was a groundbreaking entertainer and her first TV show I Love Lucy is credited with inventing the three-camera sitcom format that is still used today. She went on to star in two more successful sitcoms and garnered four Emmys. I respect the hell out of her accomplishments, I just never thought she was funny.

Stan Lee, of course, co-created all the major hitters of the early days of Marvel Comics, in tandem with whichever artist was working on the book. Lee had a hand in Spider-man, X-Men, Daredevil, The Hulk, The Fantastic Four... It's an impressive list, and the early Marvel Comics had a level of characterization that was missing from the Distinguished Competition. As with Lucy I respect what he did, giving the world so many enduring characters, but Stan was never much of a writer, and I find most of those early stories unreadable.

Comics have evolved quite a bit since then, but judging from Dark Horse's Who Wants To Be A Super Hero? #1, Stan's writing has not. The subject of this first issue is a character named Feedback, based on the winner of last summer's Sci Fi Channel reality show Who Wants To Be A Super Hero? As was established in the show, Feedback is a computer tech geek who after being struck by lightning while holding a video game controller (dear God, did I just write that?) he is endowed with strange electrical powers. You might think this was being played for laughs, but the story is played as straight super hero melodrama. Without exaggeration, nearly every panel in this book had me inwardly shrieking "who the hell talks like this?" I'm not entirely sure if he's intentionally doing a retro thing here, trying to ape the ridiculously over the top style of his earlier work. If this is the case, my response is that an imitation of crap is still crap.

As the winner of last summer's Who Wants To Be A Super Hero?, Feedback was also supposed to appear in a Sci Fi Channel original movie. Given the quality of most such efforts, perhaps it's best that the movie hasn't materialized. I honestly enjoyed the show, and even though Feedback's win was a bit of a surprise (I had thought Major Victory was a shoe-in), I thought he was a deserving winner. Nobody, however, deserves this comic.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

iPod Truffle Shuffle

Here's another movie/product tie-in that just wasn't meant to be.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Actor Kerwin Matthews Dies

Tim Lucas reported recently on his Video Watchblog that Kerwin Matthews, (pictured above with co-star Kathryn Grant) star of 1958's The 7th Voyage of Sinbad which scared the living crap out of me at a young age, recently passed away at the age of 81. I knew Matthews best from the Sinbad film, 1960's The Three Worlds of Gulliver (which, like 7th Voyage, had him working opposite some of Ray Harryhausen's magnificent stop motion animation) and the much lesser film (though fondly remembered by me) The Boy Who Cried Werewolf from 1973.

Grindhouse Double Feature Review on Cinematical

The movie Grindhouse may have tanked at the box office, but the film's existence has shed light on the grindhouse phenomenon, spurring several DVD companies to reissue classic flicks from the golden age of sleaze. This double feature (with trailers) of Pick-up and The Teacher just hit shelves and you can read my review of it in my Killer B's on DVD feature over at Cinematical.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

How Creepy Would The Simpsons Be in the Real World?

Question: How creepy would The Simpsons be in the real world?
Answer: Creepy. Very Creepy. Creepy like a bucket of spiders. Creepy like old people sex. Judge for yourself:

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Transformers Misses Out On Obvious Tie-In

I would think this one was a no-brainer.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Halitosis

Here's proof that even J.K. Rowling's work is subject to editorial tampering. This is what the final installment of the Harry Potter series was originally going to be called.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Man Has Middle Name Legally Changed To Megatron

One Jason Michael Burrows (known over on Flickr as PunkJr) of Seattle, Washington has legally changed his name to Jason Megatron Burrows. As near as I can tell, he is not on Michael Bay's payroll. Click here to view the legal documents.

Does anyone else find it interesting that Jason willingly chose the name of a being who wishes to subjugate humanity and with the extremely anti-social habit of turning into a big gun? I urge the authorities to watch this man closely.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Bava Book Almost Here

Tim and Donna Lucas of Video Watchdog magazine announced last Friday that they are at long last in possession of two advance copies of their book Mario Bava: All The Colors of the Dark. The book has been several years in the making, and about three years ago I had the pleasure of assisting with the digital restoration of some of the many images in the book. The book will, no doubt, become the last word on Italian film maestro Mario Bava. Tim and Donna have posted a video here of the two of them viewing the advance copies for the very first time, and they definitely have the air of proud parents about them. I can't wait to see the book myself.

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