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Archive for May, 2012

Lake Effect Comic Con this weekend

Come check out the Lake effect Comic Con this weekend! I’m planning on being there for movies and definately to meet Frank Cho!  (and while you’re waiting, check out the new Violent Blue this week)


She-Devils a Go-Go premier

This Saturday, June 2nd! 
Come see the latest OLD SCHOOL SINEMA flick, “SHE DEVILS A GO-GO,” for FREE. Several cast and crew members will be on hand to take photos and sign autographs for our DVD release. The awesome COFFIN RIDERS (who is featured in the film) will also perform.

OSS are the guys that bring us the Lakewood Charity Zombie walk twice a year so you know they understand gore. I’ve got no real idea what this is going to be like, but it’s a free premiere and looks like it could be a fun party. Come join us around 9:30  at the 5 O’Clock lounge 11904 Detroit Ave., Lakewood, OH !

And don’t forget to hit the Lake Effect Comic Con the next day, Sunday the 3rd!


Free Iced Tea at Speedway today

If anyone is interested, Speedway is doing free iced tea today, Friday the 25th. Stop in for a free 32 oz iced tea. I’ve only stopped once so far, but the day is young. I’ll probably hit five different ones today as I run service calls.

wierd, I noticed that all the employees at Speedway in Elyria were wearing Superman shirts. I don’t get it.

Finally, I’d like to point out that Violent Blue just hit 42 on Comic Hovel’s (that’s a voting link if your so inclined) webcomic list. Those of you who know what that number means (or rather- don’t know) will understand why I’m pleased. We’re on page three and I hope that I can work it up to page one eventually on that site.

Have a happy memorial day weekend. My weekend is actually clear aside from the girls soccer games and possibly helping my friend Jason with his laptop. Time to put on the Captain America shirts and relax for a change!


One year

I just realized, this blog has been going for over a year.

Blogging isn’t something I do well, it’s easy to lose intrest, but this is a little diffrent, being connected to Violent Blue, which is well into it’s third year. The blog and the comic have helped keep each other interesting.

So. Where do we go from here?


Avengers!

I think the guys over at th PC Repair on Wheels blog may be right.  The Avengers merchandising has gotten a little out of control.

Still, not often I get a post that hits the interests of both Steve and Taylor from Violent Blue huh?


I did finally manage to get out to the Avengers movie this weekend. I loaded up the girls and we hit the local Drive-in. Now if I wanted to be controversial or appear overly intellectual, I could say I didn’t like it. However, that’s not really true. It was a fun movie, and it was everything it promised to be. A big spectical  superhero action flick that finally combines different franchises in a huge mash-up. It was fun.

But that’s where it stops.

In spectical , it lives up to the hype. But there’s really no story there. There’s not much in the way of character development.  It’s just….meh. It’s a mindless action film – not that there’s anything wrong with that. Ahhhnald made a career of that. Stallone isn’t far behind. I don’t object to the movie being a check-your-brain-at-the-door action flick. I object to people saying it’s the greatest film ever. My friend Jim mentioned that it ruined him for all other movies! That’s a GREAT line, but this film doesn’t deserve that kind of praise.

I think I get it. You see, this is the kind of film that most of us have waited our entire lives for. I’m not just taking about pop culture junkies or comic book fanboys either. Anyone who went to see Superman in the theatre and then came home and watched Wonder Woman and Batman on TV and wondered “Why can’t they put all of these guys in the same movie?”(and seriously, was there anyone who’s under forty right now that DIDN’T do that?)…this is the film you’ve been waiting your entire life for (possibly without even knowing it). Even if you grew up and haven’t thought about superheros in twenty or thirty years, a part of you remembers. That part of you is affected and we react on a visceral level.

The cool  thing about all of this is that it’s a good payoff. You get elements from the Iron Man films, the Thor and Cap movies and it almost feels like a reunion. It definitely gets the flavor of each of those franchises right, without short-changing any of them. If anything, I think it’s the best Iron Man movie of all. Joss Whedon understands something that Jon Favreau does NOT. If your going to make a movie about superheros…SHOW THE SUPERHEROS! Iron Man spent probably half of the film in his armor as opposed to the ten minuets he was in the suit cumitivly over the two Iron Man movies. I like that, and didn’t feel shortchanged at all with less Tony and more Iron Man.

I want to say that you just can’t go wrong with Cap, but a history of terrible Cap films obviously proves me wrong. Nevertheless this was a GREAT outing for him. The current handling of him has been really well done and it actually sent chills down my spine when he was diving out of the plane and telling the pilot about Thor “There’s only one God, and he doesn’t dress like that.”. Speaking of Thor, he was used well, and not overused as I feared he might be. looking at the heroclix set, he’s the most powerful piece and I was a little afraid that might be represented too much in the movie. It wasn’t and I’m very happy with that.

I asked my girls what their favorite character in the movie was. Maddie immediately piped up “Silly Hulk! Smashing that bad guy!”. I’m not a huge Hulk fan, at least in the movies. I got to admit this was a great use of him. I was really surprised at how well they managed to use him and make him a more sympathetic character. He probably had the biggest laughs of the entire movie.

All in all, it’s a good movie. It shouldn’t win any awards and I would not consider it a contender for the top five best Superhero films of all time, but it absolutely kept it’s promises and was a true pay off to the other Marvel films. I’ll be looking forward to part two. I bet the guys over at Violent Blue are too.


Tim Burton is no longer a genius.

There. I’ve said it. Tim Burton is no longer a genius.

I suppose you could consider this the second part of the Dark Shadows rant. That article was getting a bit long though and really, this part has more to do with Burton that Dark Shadows so breaking it up into two parts makes sense.

The thing is, I really WANT Burton to be a genius. He was. He really was. Beetlejuice is a brilliant comedy. Edward Sissorhands really defies description. Is it drama? Comedy? Satire? Fantasy? It works on so many levels. The Nightmare Before Christmas is iconic to this day. Really, think about how much Jack Skellington merchandise you see around….and that’s all from a single movie (rather than a franchise) made almost twenty years ago! And Batman. What can I say about Batman? I mean, you can talk about the Nolan films as much as you want, but Burton’s 1989 Batman redefined what a comic book movie should be and created elements of the character that are still a part of Batman today. Pneumatic grappling hook instead of a batarang with a string? Burton. Body armor? Burton (only other place I ever saw that was in Miller’s Dark Knight and it was ONE panel. Otherwise it was always cotton or spandex). Black costume instead of bright blue and gray? Burton. Look at the batmobils in the comics over the last twenty years. A lot of Burton influence. (Yes, Anton Furst too, but the movie was still Burton’s vision). How about a scarier Penguin? Burton.

Somewhere along the way though, he got lost. A lot of people will say it was the Superman movie, but I think it was earlier than that. Superman may have disappointed him and shaken his confidence (though that movie was doomed from the start) however I think he started a decline around the time of Mars Attacks. Its’ one of those films that just didn’t do well. Perhaps it’s a little too over the top. There’s not enough story in the source material to really make that work.  And really since then, it’s been pretty much the same thing over and over. Everything looks too similar. everything feels the same. There’s nothing revolutionary anymore. Oh there are a few gems here, Sleepy Hollow is perfectly adequate. Good even. Corpse Bride is mearly Okay, but looks like everything else Burton has done and feels like a desperate grab at the past glory of Nightmare Before Christmas. There’s been too many “Safe” films. Series with a built in audience like Planet of the Apes, or Alice in Wonderland or Charlie and the chocolate Factory or Dark Shadows. Even his next film, a remake of Frankenweenie, seems like another furious attempt to step back to what used to work.

No. From what I can see, Tim Burton is out of ideas. And that’s a tragedy. What I want from Tim Burton, what I NEED to restore my faith, is something original. Not overindulgent….less pale faces, fewer curly black shapes. But something original, Something different that still feels like Tim Burton. And when that happens I will happily announce to everyone I meet that Burton is back!

But honestly, untill that happens, I’m done with you man. I’m not going to Dark Shadows. I’m not going to see Frankenweenie. I’ll pop in my old copy of Batman Returns and remember when you were still great.


Dark Shadows can suck it.

I’d like to think that title was clever rather than just vulger, but at this point I’m not sure I care.  My big question – again and again is “Why are they doing this?”

I don’t get why this is being made as a comedy. Sure the series was a little strange at times – it’s teh subject matter combined with teh inheriant strangeness of the late sixties. It was melodramatic. But they played it straight. The series was at it’s heart a drama.  Shouldn’t any adaption of it be a drama?

Keep in mind, I have no reall emotianal attachment to this property. While Iv’e seen pictures and posters around conventions and books for much of my life, my frist real exposure to Dark Shadows was the 90’s revival – which I watched for the frist time six years ago. Every morning when Baby Maddie would wak up at 4-5 for her early morning bottle, we’d pop in a tape and sh’d have breakfast. Slowly we went throguh the entire series in about a month. It’s only recently, because of my access to netflix that I’ve begun to watch the original series (Let’s face it -over 1000 episodes? Netflix actually is the ideal solution rather than trackign down tapes or buying that ridiculous $600.00 box set or torrenting the series….how much Hard Drive space would that actually TAKE?). Yet even only being abotu 4% of the way through the series  I can see it deserves better treatment than this film is giving it. Honestly, it’s really just the Dracula story, updated for the late sixties, and well done at that. The aristocratic elements fit in very nicely and Barnabas works so well in this context. There’s something abotu the vampire story in general that paticularly lends itself to an aristocratic air I think.  As much as I like the common man/punk variations like “The Lost Boys”, aristocratic snobbery just seems to work that much better.

The charm and style of the series thgouh seem lost in the context of a comedy. Style indeed. Even before I ever watched any of the series, one of the things that always struck me was how well dressed Barnabas was. The style and cut of the suits – contemporary (for the time) but expensive and class. Depps’ wardrobe on the other hand looks like a cross between a victorian gentleman and a 70’s hipster. It’s just wrong.

It all smacks of someone having a concept for a funny vampire movie but not enough confidence to run with it without attachign it to a known franchise. I’m looking at you Mr. Burton.  If you want to do a funny satirical vampire move, great. Do something like “Transylvania 6-5000″ or  “Young Frankenstien”. Want to do a parody? Do something like “Scary Movie”. I bet Burton could do it better than the Wayans too. but this whole business of taking a straigh series and remaking it as a comedy bothers me. I hated it when they did it with “the Green Hornet” (a series I DO have a significant emotional attachment to), and it even bugs me when it series I’ve never seen a single episode of like “21 Jumpstreet” or “Starsky and Hutch”. It just dosen’t work.

And that brings me to Tim Burton….but I’ll wait for next time on that one.


Breakfast at Tiffany’s was absolutely marvelous….just like i knew it would be. honestly, it’s the perfect movie. you can’t update it- it just wouldn’t work in the 21st century. you can’t recast it…it couldnt be more perfectly cast already.  there’s just nothing you could do to make this movie better. it’s a perfect film. It was so nice to see it on the big screen. when the lights came up, al the women in the audience were in tears. The picture was so clear that i could read th brand stamped on the individual cigarettes.  Audrey Hepburn was at her loveliest. Just a perfect movie.

Something interesting I noted. There’s a lot of Holly Golightly in Chloe from my Violent Blue. I never realized it before. The free spirit, the whole thing with th best friend upstairs that you go meet on the fire escape….I never realized it. Always interesting to notice that you are watching one of your influences unfold right before your eyes. very cool


Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Once in a while, you’ll see us do a top five list over at Violent Blue. They tend to be real ones I’ve thought about over the years – things like books, movies and so on and so forth. Unlike many of my other top five lists, my top five all time favorite movies have pretty much remained the same for a decade. They include  “The Maltese Falcon” with Humphry Bogart, “The Fisher King”, “Lilo and Stitch”, “High Fidelity” and…..”Breakfast at Tiffany’s”

I’m not sure what captivates me so much about the movie. I do love Audry Hepburn’s character, she always puts out such an adorable preformance in whatever role it is. It’s genuinely funny and romantic and dramatic, all without really getting hung up on the romantic comedy formula that most modern ones so vigioursly follow. My friend Mike once told me “of course you like it! It’s all about crazy people!” I’m not so sure that’s true. outside of the party scene, they seem like very ordinary people, but ones trapped in situations they just don’t want to be in, but don’t see any way out of.I think that’s really relatable.

Whatever the attraction, it’s playing at the Capitol in Cleveland this Sunday at 10:00. How cool is it to be going out to see one of my favorite movie on the big screen? The only other one I can say I’ve done this with is “Lilo and Stitch”.  If you’ve got five dollars burning a hole in your pocket like I do, and you feel like skipping Sunday morning services, feel free to join me up at the Capitol this weekend!


Free Comic Book Day

 

Hope every one had a good Free Comic Book Day this year. The girls and I headed out and hit five different shops in our quest to complete a FCBD set.

We started off over at Carol and John’s. It’s a go-to place in Cleveland, very family friendly and they general have events all year long. They did a midnight FCBD party, but I skipped it this year. Too crowded last time. My friend Mark went and had a reasonably good time, and managed to get the Thor Heroclix for FCBD. (I got a thor in my started set so I just didn’t care that much this year). The girls got to play a guessing game outside Carol and Johns and got an extra comic for wearing their costumes! We then made our selections and headed out to York Comics.

They usually have a really nice selection, and this year, probably the biggest selection of anywhere we went. We were bummed that the limit was one of each per family rather than per person, but we still managed a nice haul. The owner came over to the girls, got down on their level and told them how much he liked their costumes. He then told them “I like to see little girls and little boys in costumes, because when I was a little boy, I liked to dress up in costumes too.” Then he let them each pick a package of silly bands for dressing up.

Since we were on the Parma border we headed down ridge road to hit B&L’s and Northcoast Nostalgia. They’d both gotten hit pretty hard earlier in the day, and Northcoast Nostalgia was out completely. They were nice enough to give the girls some buttons since they were out of FCBD comics. I grabbed a couple of things out of the 35 cent bins, and considering how nice they were to my girls, I’ll be heading back after my next paycheck to empty out their discount boxes.

B&L’s had the Joker taking photos with people earlier in the day. We were too late to see him, but we still got a photo by the gotham backdrop.

Finally, I got a call from my wife while we were on the road that she had just spotted the Flash while she was driving. Apparently there was a new comic shop in Sheffield (on our way home). We plugged the address into the GPS and off we went.

It turns out that my favorite comic shop, “Astound!” which I thought had closed, has moved from that building close to my work, to this location close to my home and changed the name to “Comics are Go!” Scott waved us in and loaded my girls up with more comics.

All in all, it was nice day. It’s fun to bring the girls into my world for a little while. Maddie has been asking for that She-Ra costume for months. I’m happy to have finished it. Everyone asked her who she was, and she would always tell them “I’m She-Ra!” in this kind of condescending voice – like it should be perfectly natural for everyone to know that. In fact, as soon as she would tell someone there’s be this kind of “I should have known that!” moment and they would all remember what she was dress like. Once again Lydia wore the Rainbow Brite costume Maddie handed down to her . I think Lydia has worn it more times than Maddie now.

I came home with about forty comics. I make a point to buy something at each stop. That’s kind of the point of FCBD. To get you into the shop and to get kids interested. So I look for the discount bins, or grab a new issue off the racks for the girls (Maddie found a Scooby-Doo comic she HAD to have over at B&L’s). I may have only spent $2-$3, but I felt a bit less like a punk…especially in some of these shops I only get out to a couple of times a year. Maddie collected about twenty comics and Lydia had almost a dozen (she wasn’t grabbing as many as Maddie).  We read a bunch and then watched the Wonder Woman animated movie during dinner.

I hope you had as nice a FCBD as we did, and if you’re in the Cleveland area, try heading out to one of those shops and see what they have to offer. In the meantime, there’s new Violent Blue up tomorrow!


Videodrome

So it turns out the Cleveland Cinema’s Late Shift series is playing another one of those movies that I really feel like i should have seen by now, but never got around to.

Videodrome is one of those titles I’ve been hearing about in passing for years, but let’s face it : Cronenberg stuff isn’t really the most TV friendly film you can find and it’s just never really crossed my path until now. Looks like it’s going to be a busy weekend with Free Comic Book Day and a midnight movie all together…. why it’s almost like having a life…

So if your in the Cleveland area and fancy a trip to the east side, come join me at the Cedar Lee Saturday night at midnight for Videodrome!

And don’t forget, new Violent Blue on Monday!


The Allen Memorial Art Museum in Oberlin

This month, insted of showcasing her own work, Maddie would like to share with you her experiance going to her very first art museum!

On Saturday the 14th last month Maddie and her Daddy visited the Allen Memorial Art Museum in Oberlin. It’s a little closer than the Cleveland Museum of Art,  and parking is easier.

As we opened the doors  Maddie let out a soft “Woooooow!”. Paintings and sculpture everywhere. We went through the diffrent wings, and up the stairs and saw pices that were hundreds of years old. We talked about what she imagined  and what she could see in the abstracts. We looked at the self portraits in the upstairs display and thought about the artists who created them. We stood on the balcony and looked down at the main floor and all the pieces that we found there.

Maddie had some favorites, she found a painting of a castle (a church actually) which was just what she had been looking for. On the main floor, as we walked in, a 200 year old dragon greeted us. She found one room with a great many paintings of Jesus, and would tell me the stories behind those paintings. I paticularly liked the bronze sculpture of the fall of Icarus – but that’s a whole diffrent story.

For a small museum in a small college town,  Allen Memorial Art Museum has a very impressive collection. I spoke to my friend Mike and he, like me, had never been there. I can’t believe we’ve been neglecting to take advantage of this resource – right in our back yard! Well, no more. I want to head back some time when I can spend more time looking at things (Maddie was well behaved, but naturally has the short attention span of a six-year old). Possibly I’ll head out during the Black River Theatre Festival I go to every summer. It’s right next door.

In the mean time, I think I need to create some art of my own for Violent Blue! See you next week!