Saturday, June 25, 2011

Weekend Matinee: HOUSE OF THE DEVIL

It's Saturday afternoon and, if you're anything like me, you want to relive those days gone by of creepy horror matinees, I got just the thing: Ti West's HOUSE OF THE DEVIL!

Over this past week I've been mainlining horror movies, and this one jumped out to me as the best. It's a total throwback movie (which can be pretty dicey) to those slowly paced late 70s/early 80s horror classics that values atmosphere over a body count.

The story's pretty simple: A babysitter agrees to fake sit a non-existent baby, only to get terrorized by some kind of evil cult. You know, standard pre-slasher horror stuff. It's not a flash/bang, Michael Bay type of movie, but you have the patience for it, it's totes worth it.

For this week's clip, I have something totally non-indicative of the movie: A dance sequence. What can I say, I'm a total sucker for a cute girl dancing around to some kitchy 80s music. Hell, who am I kidding? I'm a total sucker for anyone dancing to any kind of music. Whatever. You should go watch this movie!

Friday, June 24, 2011

She's the Universe's Most Feared Bounty Hunter...

And don't you forget it!

This glimpse of Samus Aran's home life brought to you by the incredibly awesome Zac Gorman.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Bill June 22, 2011

After weeks and weeks of big fat hauls from the store, this Wednesday netted me exactly zero books. Nothing. Well, one, but I didn't want to make the trip for just one book. I get lazy like that, what can I say?

I got nothing for tonight. I could write about what I've heard about Spider-Man dying, or this whole Superman not meeting with a muslim thing, but again, lazy. It's a theme for tonight, I hope you can forgive me.

So, in lieu of writing any real reviews about anything, this week I'm going to leave you with some awesomeness that's been sitting on my desktop for too long:

That is all.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of the DC Reboot

Now that some of the dust has settled on this DC non-reboot reboot, I figured it was a good time to reexamine DC's crazy ass stunt. Not for nothing, the DC brass has certainly captured the attention of the comic reading public. They've grabbed the limelight away from the House of Ideas, and it'll be theirs to lose if this thing doesn't pan out the way they're hoping. Let's break it down.


Between the attempts at overly tight publishing schedules (see Countdown), the rapid reversals (See the death and return of Bart Allen), and the unclear, piecemeal nature of their in-continuity history (I'm looking at you, Power Girl), DC was in desperate need of a continuity overhaul. Things were getting a bit overly convoluted. For me, no other character exemplifies this convoluted continuity more than Jason Todd.

I dig the idea of Jason's return as much as the next guy, but I always cringe when I have to explain how he came back: Superboy-Prime, the recently powered Clark Kent from "our" Earth, got bored in his pocket dimension - that he shared with a different Superman, different Lois, and the good Lex Luthor - and started beating on the walls of reality, sending shockwaves through the fabric of time and space which resulted in the sudden un-death of Jason Todd.

You can imagine the looks I get.

It's shit like that that keeps people from diving into comics. When you have to know something from 25 years ago just to start to understand the insane reasons why another character is suddenly around, people get understandably squeamish about jumping into the monthly grind. DC recognizes this, I'm hoping, and are attempting to make things a bit easier to understand.

Plus, as I read in an interview with Scott Lobell (incoming writer on Teen Titans and Superboy) over at Bleeding Cool, most of the old continuity that worked will still be around. It won't be a wholesale reboot, so you don't have to worry about trying to figure out complete new histories on your favorite DC characters.


If you're not going to do a wholesale reboot, then what's the point?

As happy as I am that I'll still be able to talk about those characters I haven't read about for ten years, DC shouldn't be concerned with what I think. When it comes down to it, this not-reboot reboot ought to be more similar to Crisis on Infinite Earths - where everything basically starts over - instead of the significantly less effective method that was Zero Hour.

Do you remember Zero Hour? When they tried to clean up the lingering continuity issues left over from the then-ten year old Crisis by explicitly resetting the timeline and instituting small fixes along the way to make everything more cohesive? Do you remember Triumph (one of the founding members of the JLA) and Alpha Centurian (The first hero of Metropolis)? Of course you don't. No one does, because everything went back to the way it was within two years of Zero Hour. And if things continue like this for DC, this new non-reboot reboot will end up the same way.

The root of all of this, though, is rebooting in general. If you're trying to make your published books less convoluted, adding on yet another qualifier is not the way to do it. For instance, right now, if I want to talk about when Triumph was a member of the JLA, I need to specify that I mean the post-Zero Hour, Pre-infinite Crisis JLA, as opposed to Pre-Crisis, Post-Crisis Pre-Zero Hour, or soon the Post-Non-reboot-reboot JLA. It's problematic.


The politics of reboots/restarts aside, the most fun part of this whole thing should be the new costume designs. What a great opportunity to tweak their icons to make them look their best for a new discriminating reader.

Or so I believed until I saw this:

As much as I want to sit here and rip on these costumes individually, other, better writers than myself already have. You should check out their reactions because they're all totally spot on. Instead, I'd like to focus on the global issue here: These aren't DC Costumes.

What I've always admired about DC is that every great hero in their roster is backed up by one glorious, instantly recognizable (for comic fans) symbol. Hell, they just did a big line of variant covers showing off that fact. They've been able to access world wide recognition with the simple awesomeness of these symbols, that I'm sure every other publisher wishes they had.

You can see the progression of those strong iconic symbols through the major publishers. DC, because they came first, have the strongest, simplest, most well-known symbols. Thrown in almost any context, you know what those symbols mean. Marvel came next, and while they have a few icons (The X, The Skull, and the 4), they're individual characters don't have the same appeal. For example, the spider needs the red and blue behind it so you know it's not just bad clip at, The star needs the blue and the stripes underneath it, and so on and so forth. Instead of iconic symbols, Marvel instead had iconic costumes (purple pants, red and gold, four circles) to make their characters pop. And then there was Image...

When Image came around, things like symbols and iconic costumes were somewhat passe' and you can see that in the majority of their original character designs. Everyone looked generic, with splashes of color underneath their overly complicated accouterments and grimaces. In veering so far away from the simple, they made their characters too much work to care about, which is why, I contend, that no one's clamoring for Spartan, Badrock, or Brick to return to anything... ever.

The point is, these are Image costumes, not DC costumes.

DC's on the verge of screwing up the best thing they have going. If I were them, I'd seriously consider getting someone other than Jim Lee (Who's normally fucking awesome when it comes to costume designs) to simplify these needlessly complicated and ultimately forgettable costumes.


In the end, I'm really intrigued to see how this all plays out for DC and the rest of the industry. Given the track record though, I'm going to be preparing for the worst though.

Good thing I only read Marvel books, right? I just hope they don't get any 'bright' ideas.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

My Own Personal Throg

My love for the Frog of Thunder is well documented, so you can only imagine my immeasurable joy when I saw this today:

It's four and a half inches of awesomeness that MUST BE IN MY LIFE! Good on Gentle Giant for finally immortalizing the greatest avatar of the Thunder God that ever existed (Take that, Beta Ray Bill!!). That said, it's good thing I have until January to convince the FutureWife that it's a totally worthwhile purchase for our impending life together. I fear that'll be an uphill battle to say the least...

Um... Anyone have any bright ideas just how to convince her this is the best idea ever?

The Bill June 15, 2011

Even when I'm trying to take it easy on a big event, it seems that I can't help but to buy the tie ins. What's wrong with me? Clearly I'm just some kind of event whore and just can't help myself. At least the majority of the tie ins are good, that certainly goes a long way to make me feel good about what I'm buying. What am I talking about? Why don't you check me out after the banner and find out.

The Most Fulfilling Tie In of the Week:

Fear Itself The Home Front # 3
Writers: Christos Gage, Peter Milligan, Howard Chaykin, Ben McCool
Artist: Mike Mayhew, Elia Bonetti, Edgar Delgado, Mike Del Mundo

I've been saying to my friends for weeks now that Fear Itself reminds me of Civil War, but I couldn't quite put my finger on why. That is, until today. It's this book, and the strength of the Speedball lead story that makes Fear Itself seem like the logical conclusion to Marvel's eight year epic (sorry Siege, you just weren't that good).

Say what you will about Civil War, you have to admit that it resulted in some pretty dramatic shakeups for some long-standing characters. The most drastic of which was Speedball, who went from happy-go-lucky to an emo-on-steroids via grief and guilt. In the intervening years, work has been done to redeem Speedball and I think the final piece is the story being told here in The Home Front.

Here's a Speedball that knows what he's doing, is using his powers creatively and efficiently, and is doing his best to save the people that just tried to kill him. He's officially gone from fluffy good times, to a character with some real pathos that I can't help but to root for. And in my eyes, that's the last marker on his road back to being the Speedball that everyone loved (supposedly).

The other stories are a bit shaky (the less said about that Cardiac story the better), but I can't not be satisfied with this book based on what they're doing with Speedball.

A Non-Marvel PSA:

The Walking Dead: No Way Out
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artist: Charlie Adlard

I don't write about this book nearly enough, so here's an attempt to rectify that oversight. The Walking Dead is one of the best books out there right now and has no signs of slowing down. And this latest trade just reemphasizes the point.

This is a book that never rests on it's laurels, that's constantly challenging the status quo, and isn't afraid to make things hard on the characters. No Way Out is no exception. While it might not read super great out of context, in context it fucking rocks balls!

I tell everyone who'll listen that if they like Zombies, the Walking Dead TV Show, or just good comics, that this series is a must read. It's hands down one of my favorites, and is the best palate cleanser for weeks like this when all I read are the big crossover tie-ins.

And that's all I got. Feel free to drop me a line if you want to see what I thought about any of the other tie ins I bought, or if you just want to talk up the Walking Dead some more. I'm down for either one.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Mustaches The Marvel Way

I found this over at Daring Chunk*, and couldn't resist showing it off here. I desperately want this made into a print so I can hang it in my bathroom, regardless of what the FutureWife might say about it.

*via reddit, of course.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Lobo Is NOT Invited To My Wedding!

Regardless how awesome his Best Man speeches are...

Torn from the pages of Showcase 95 #9 where they totally forgot to put down the credits... or so I assume.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Weekend Matinee: CLOVERFIELD

It's Sunday afternoon (really!) and, if you're anything like me, you're still all fired up after seeing Super 8 that all you really want to watch is another great JJ Abrams-inspired monster romp. Well, why don't we check out the obvious answer to our genre pangs: the 2008, Matt Reeves directed CLOVERFIELD.

Man, I wish every giant monster movie was like this one. Not with the constant shaky, "I'm videotaping all of this in real time" stuff, but the smaller, man-on-the-street style of the story. I dig my sweeping epics as much as the next guy, but there's something more satisfying when the we only get to see a small sliver of the larger story.

To me, and I'm sure many others, Cloverfield is what the '98 remake of Godzilla should be. It celebrates the idea of a giant monster attacking a major metropolis, and doesn't get too bogged down in biology or Jamiroquai hits.

It's been a while since I've seen this one, but man has it stuck with me. It wasn't necessarily the characters that did, but rather the intensity and those fantastic 'movie moments' that make me proud to be the genre fan that I am. I sincerely hope that Cloverfield gets either a direct sequel soon, or at the very least another spiritual followup a la Super 8. Because I'm eagerly waiting for the day when I can do that three movie marathon.

So my clip this week, ironically, has no giant monsters in it. Instead, it's my favorite scene in the movie where the heroes are attacked in the sewer by some smaller, helper monsters and awesomeness occurs.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Bill June 8, 2011

Another week full of promise, another week that fails to live up to it. That's right, it's one of those kinds of weeks. Imma try to not get too bitter this time though. Let's see how I do...

Terribly Confusing:

Fearsome Four # 1
Writer: Brandon Montclare
Artists: Michael Wm Kaluta, Ryan Bodenheim, Simon Bisley

This is normally the kind of tie in I love: A collection of lower tier or obscure characters interacting with a larger event in a smaller, more interesting way than anyone else. And it doesn't get anymore lower tier or obscure than Man Thing, Frankenstein's Monster, and Howard the Duck; it ought to be all kinds of fantastic! Spoilers: It's not.

It's not so much the premise - which involves a fear drunk Man Thing on a rampage, it's pretty awesome - as much as it is the presentation. Sure the inclusion of the keeper of the Nexus of all Realities is a great diegetic reason to change up the art styles every few pages, but it creates a very uneven reading experience. I could never really fall into synch with this book, and that's a major problem.

Adding to my person disconnect from the book was the strange character choices. Not so much who they chose, I guess, but more how they were presented. She Hulk is just down right pissed the whole time, Howard looks hideous, and Nighthawk suddenly became a psychopath. It's weird and I don't like it.

Unless I hear of some drastic reveal in the next issue, I think my travels with the Four will end right here. And I don't think I'll miss anything aside from confusion.

Stumbling out of the Gate:

Ghost Rider # 0.1
Writer: Rob Williams
Artist: Matthew Clark

As much as I wanted to go into this one with an open mind, I think I knew deep down that it was going to be DOA with me. However, I thought it'd be more about not liking the direction of the story, than the quality of the writing.

To put it simply: this ain't no Jason Aaron series and it suffers for it.

The early word for this book was that it was supposed to be a pulpy, grindhouse throwback to the world of the 70s, full of hard drinking, loose women, questionable morals, and plenty of action. Basically, everything that the Jason Aaron run on the book was. In practice, the book comes off as kind of tame and pretty uninspiring. For a "grindhouse" book about a flaming skeleton on a motorcycle that fights demons, there's a lot more belly aching than should be legally allowed.

Honestly though, I could forgive all that if the characterization was anywhere close to being right. I don't know if Rob Williams had checked out any Ghost Rider issues before this one, but he seemed to miss the point Johnny Blaze. Or rather, disregarded how he's supposed to talk. I don't want to spend too long harping on this, but come on, Johnny Blaze should not say "dude". I don't know why exactly, the word just seems outside of his vernacular range. But that's just me.

Still, I'm intrigued by the idea of a new and different Ghost Rider moving forward, so I might stick around for the next issue. Maybe...

Bitterness quotient reached! You're all free to leave me. Come back next week, hopefully with at least 50% less bitterness...

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Weekend Matinee: JASON X

In case you weren't aware, I'm currently in preproduction for my first feature film and this week was pretty awesome. Why, you ask? Because this week we got our first cast member, horror legend and all around crazy guy KANE HODDER! And I'm totally over the moon for it. So to celebrate, I figure we might as well turn our attention to Kane's final turn at his star making role as Jason Voorhees in the underrated 2001 end-of-an-era masterpiece: JASON X

Okay, so maybe it's not that good, but it still holds a very special place in my heart. This was the first Friday the 13th movie I ever had the pleasure of watching, and it totally opened my eyes at how fun the genre could be. I mean, come on, it's about a frozen psychopath getting unfrozen in the future and terrorizing space cadets on their crazy future space station. Try to tell me that isn't awesome!

And then, for the third act twist, our titular character gets upgraded from the murderous zombie he was (Remember he was brought back to life in part 6) into a murderous cyber zombie with the influx of nanomachines. Finally, a Jason that can terrorize my grandkids just like he terrorized me.

Sure the movie is a bit uneven, with terrible Syfy movie-esque music and some pretty terrible acting, but it makes no bones about what it's trying to be: A fun slasher about a mentally challenged camp kid in space with only his machete.

This week's clip is the first appearance of Jason 3.0 - Or would it be 4.0 because of all that demon worm stuff from Jason Goes to Hell? - as he shows off what his fancy new body can do. ENJOY!

Friday, June 3, 2011

The X-Men First Class Spin Off You've Been Waiting For

The X-Men First Class Rejects.

I dunno about you, but I would totally pay 8 bucks to see that at the theater. It couldn't be any worse than that Wolverine movie, that's for damn sure.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Bill June 2, 2011

Short weeks are just the worst! I mean, not when it comes to the work week of course, but more when it comes to trying to get shit done. Do you realize how quickly a Wednesday can sneak up on you when you're not prepared? Pretty damn fast!

But whatever, what's past is past. Let's check out some reviews...

Marvel's Big News of the Week:

Fear Itself #3
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Stuart Immonen

I remember, months ago, reading the press for Fear Itself and wondering what Matt Fraction had planned when he talked about cracking the internet in half with issue three. "It's something noone will see coming," I'm sure he said, "and something that will have long lasting implications on the universe. Fans will definitely be talking about this for a long time..."

And then DC had to go ruin things with their non-reboot reboot announcement. Those jerks!

Just as well, I suppose, because I can't really tell what the big deal is with this issue. Sure, it involves scenes of The Thing grabbing a hammer, but that was spoiled months ago. And yeah, I guess it has the death of a major character, but I don't really buy it as anything other than a fake out until issue four comes out. I dunno, I just don't see what the big deal was supposed to be.

Don't get me wrong, I'm still digging this crossover to no end, but it doesn't necessarily have the twists and turns that, say, Civil War had. Color me intrigued for the rest of the series, but not totally hooked... yet.

Revisiting the 90s:

Uncanny X-Force #11
Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Mark Brooks

I think I've made this joke before, but I don't care: This book is the 90s squared. It's not enough, apparently, to just showcase badass anti-heroes, now they have to take them into the high water mark for 90s X-books: The Age of Apocalypse.

Not that I'm complaining. Honestly AOA was one of those crossovers that hit me at exactly the right point in my comic development to make it one of my favorite storylines of all time. And so far, this is a much better representation of that classic story arc than that horrible ten year anniversary book was a few years back.

My conceptual love aside, it's actually a very fun issue. From the straight-forward premise, to the surprise appearance at the end, I never ran out of things to love about this issue. As a matter of fact, this one went a long way in making me consider buying this book for the long haul. It was just that much fun.

Now if I could only get over my X-book phobia...

That's all I got for this week. I'll try to deliver on time next week! Until then!