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Archive for July, 2012

We love the 80’s

Remember this picture from back in May?

I was discussing the girls choice of costumes with a friend recently. Of course dressing up is nothing new. I used to play dress up as a child and had a box full of costumes…much like my girls do. I don’t think I ever really stopped. as a teenager, I still liked cosplaying at Star Trek conventions and on Halloween -I loved showing off practical makeup skills and costuming. So I find it perfectly natural that my girls like dressing up.

You might be surprised to know that those costumes they are wearing were not my choice. They asked for them. Maddie wanted a Rainbow Brite costume for Halloween about three years ago (and thanks to Shawna and Greg Voss for that DVD copy of Rainbow Brite and the Star Stealer). When she outgrew it, Lydia couldn’t wait to start wearing it. Maddie wanted a She-Ra costume for Halloween this year. We got it done a little early so she could wear it for Free Comic Book Day. It makes some sense, they love to bring down my old Castle Grayskull and play with my She-Ra figure. There’s been pictures of it up on this site even.

Still, I found it amusing that they wanted to dress up as these characters that were popular twenty years before they were born…and had virtually vanished since. I mentioned this to a friend. He replied “Yeah? And how many times have you dressed up as The Shadow?”

Hmmm.

He’s got a point. Maybe even more of a point than he realizes….but more on that next week.  (You can still check out some Violent Blue while you’re waiting )


More news about North Coast Comic Con

I don’t usually keep harping on something like this, but remember my post last Monday about how upset I was about North Coast Comic Con? I checked back up on thier facebook feed to see if anyone had bothered to respond to my concerns. I saw this comment right below mine.

A month ago? I’ve barely KNOWN about this for a month! Gerry was on the website all that time too. I know. I kept checking it for updates. Then I found THIS:

Unbelievable. Posting a guest that hadn’t even confirmed. There’s no way I’m ever going to try this con again (even if they wanted to promote Violent Blue). That’s just way to shady.


Lego Batman

gamerI’d just like to say, I’m SO digging Lego Batman 2. I like these characters and I think the lego ideas are fun and you KNOW it’s one of the games Steve and Chloe are playing over at the Violent Blue comic strip, but my main beef with the Lego games was that there wern’t NEARLY enough save points. I don’t usually have 40 minuets to sit and play through a level before I get my next save point. That was killing me with the first Lego Batman game and they’ve really fixed that this time around.

This one has an interesting feature, certian objects can only be manipulated by certian characters. Perhaps you can only pick this thing up with a power ring, or only move through these ducts if your are an acrobat. It works well and really helps showcase the vast aray of DC superheros available in this game.

It’s cross platform and available for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Nintendo 3DS, Wii, Nintendo DS, Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows.


Thank You Huey Lewis!

 

Okay, I totally get that it is not cool to like Huey Lewis and the News. But then again, my musical tastes have never been defined by pop culture.

“Fore!” was the second album I ever bought, and I really enjoyed the kind of classic rock sound the band had. I know how to play a great many of thier songs on the guitar and collected most of the records through “Small World”

So thank you to Mr. Lewis, for not only signing the little CD cover I sent him but for also including a beautiful glossy photo of the current line up.


Violent Blue fan art

So I got a link to this in my PM box a couple of weeks ago and couldn’t wait until Christmas (when I usually take a break and post filer) to share it! It’s abeautiful bit of fan art of the characters from Violent Blue from my friend NightfallValley over at Comic Fury. She’s listed as Trallt over at Deviant Art

You can check out her other work on these websites :

http://trallt.deviantart.com/
http://conplicated.thecomicseries.com/

http://tidewarden.thecomicseries.com/


It was Merc team against my Brute squad. Now, to be fair, the dice were really rolling my way all night and I was making insane successes. Jessie was having the exact opposite kind of luck.

I don’t usually roll with Brutes – I prefer ranged attackers and would like to use some skill….except I really don’t have much skill as far as clix goes! Still I wanted to try out that Composite Superman and the Joe Fixit (grey Hulk) I got and it seemed like a good game to try it.

There was t his one moment when my Hulk Robot (one of those figures I got ENTIRELY because it looked cool – but it’s turned out to be a nice little piece after all) had Deadpool and Bob : Agent of Hydra based. Deadpool was maxed aout and about to get a big Hulk Smash with a light object. Bob rolled breakaway and ran for the hills. I kind of see the entire encounter going a little like this:


Why I drove out to North Coast Comic Con and didn’t go in.

Akron isn’t a terrible drive, but it is over an hour. I popped over to the website ( http://northcoastcomiccon.com/) just to check the address again so I knew where to go and then headed out.  An hour and ten minuets later I was parking and about to walk in when I saw a sign on  the door listing cancellations. There were six or seven names on that list, and it included everyone I wanted to see.

Now, I get that cancellations happen. Disastrous ones even. Screaming Tiki lost most of the important guests for their ’10 show – David Prowse and Glen Shadix both cancelled last minuet. I seem to remember there were a couple of others too. I still went to that one, because they informed everyone in advance on their website. And that’s where North Coast failed.

Remember I said I checked that website before I left (and let’s face it, I know a litle bit about running a site. I’ve been running Violent Blue for years now)? NO mention of cancellations. I double checked when I got back. The guest bios of the people who cancelled had been deleted from the “Guest” page, though they were still on that flyer pic on the front page. North coast is quick to put “Just added”! in big bold caps on that front page whenever they added a guest. They need to do that when a guest cancels too.

They do mention it on their facebook page, and perhaps it’s my fault for not discovering the facebook page earlier. However, this is important enough that it should have been in both places to reach as many potential attendees as possible. When I walked up and saw that list, I was so angry that they hadn’t posted it on the website where I could see it that I got back in my car and drove home. Admission may only be eight dollars, but you’re not getting that money from me, and all of those vendors inside? None of them will see a dime from me. Not from this show anyhow. You let all of us down North Coast. I’ll save my cash to spend at  Cinema Wasteland instead.


North Coast Comic Con Saturday

Before I head out to see Jaws this weekend I’ll be hitting Akron for the North Coast Comic Con. I’m not sure what to expect, the website is minimal to say the least. Still they have John Ostrander and Gerry Conway so I’m stoked.  found those two old Spideys in that stack from my mother in law and those were both Conway’s work. And John Ostrander created Suicide Squad…one of my favorite series ever. It’s worth the trip just to meet them.

If you’re free Saturday morning/afternoon, why don’t you come out and join me! I promise it won’t be as crowded as SDCC.

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Jaws this weekend

Trying out a new theatre this weekend! Plaza Cinemas in Cuyahoga Falls has joined with Cleveland Cinemas and is presenting Late Shift movies! I probably would have skipped Jaws otherwise, but it’s so close to home and I really want to try out this theatre. Come on out Saturday night and join me!

Don’t forget, there will be a new Violent Blue up tomorrow!


Brave

I took the girls to see Brave a couple of weeks ago. They had the choice between that or Madagascar and they said “We want to see the superhero one!”. I had to make sure we were talking about the same one…yeah. They wanted to see Brave.

It’s okay. Standard princess fare I suppose, but just not memorable. I can’t for the life of me remember the main character’s name. (I keep wanting to say katniss. And I don’t even like the Hunger Games!)I do recall the three little boys did a bunch of clever stuff to steal hot cross buns, but can’t really remember the hijinks. I remember being impressed that they managed to mix tradition with female empowerment without compromising either.

I do remember the bear. So do the girls. The bear terrified them! It was hilarious…they both had to hold on to Amy and me when the scary bear was on screen.

Yeah, so not much of a review. That says it all doesn’t it? We saw it at Ameherst cinema where admission is $3.00, and we got our money’s worth. Probably won’t buy this one on DVD though. If it wasn’t good enough to make an impression on me in the theatre then I’m not that interested in watching it at home. I’ll get the girls a pony movie instead, and then we’ll read some Violent Blue together.

On the other hand, it WAS better than Madagascar 3, which we caught this past weekend. I think the Madagascar films have simply run out of ideas. there wasn’t a cohesive story, just a drift from one madcap scene to another. Maddie liked it, Lydia less so. That’s okay It was aimed at them, not me. Still, I liked the first one and don’t mind the second.  I think it’s a stronger movie when it can appeal to both kids and adults. After all, I went to see Toy Story when I was in college. No kids back then but the movie was still a nice date night idea and appealed to all of us (19-20 years old). Perhaps it’s unfair to compare Madagascar 3 to the first Toy Story…then again, Toy Story 3 was as good as the first one. Dreamworks  used to make better films than Disney/Pixar. They ought to start doing that again…because if M3 is any indication, they’re getting lazy.


Space Punisher

In what world is this a good idea?

Okay, I get this is an “elseworlds” kind of book, but those kind of things are hit and miss at best and this is totally miss. I understand the Punisher as a gritty lone vigilante, I also get him as a super-hero like vigilante. I even understand (though really didn’t like) him as an angelically possessed demon hunter.

This is just stupid.

Now of course I’m on record as not really digging Marvel or DC’s cosmic stuff, but this reimagining of the Marvel universe and this premise…

Yeah, I’m just going to stick with stupid.

Give this one a pass. If you MUST read it, borrow a copy of the first issue. You won’t be tempted to read the second. Do yourself a favor. Go read some Violent Blue instead.


Is this funny?

I’ve never understood Will Ferrel’s appeal. So I was watching him do his shtick on Conan last night and acting like a spastic chipmunk with a flute, and tried to think of any other comedian that would have done a gag like this and if any of them could make it work. Groucho would have done it more in a tumbling fashion, and had some grace to it. George Burns would have looked at the instrument and perhaps been confused…holding it gingerly and testing it but then giving it up. Bob Hope would have played flat notes and bounced around the melody. Eddie Murphy would have told the band to get that *&%$#@ thing away from me (also Chris Rock and Chris Tucker). Bill Cosby would have actually played it right, but also played up a lack of rhythm. No jerking and twitching like Ferral, but some awkward moments. Richard Pryor may have pulled this off like Ferrel did. But for some reason, it seems like it would be funny if he had done it.

Then again, I suppose you can’t entirely blame Ferrel. Squeky childish voices and jerky movements is pretty much what passes for comedey over at SNL, and has since the writers all sobered up. It’s a shame because it makes stars out of these mediocre clowns and then when an average comedian like Tina fey comes around, it makes them look SO good in comparison it propels them to superstardom.

I miss clever comdy. I miss wit. And I just dont get guys like Will Ferrel or Adam Sandler or Jim Carrey.


Battle for the game market

An interesting bit of news I ran across on the PC Repair on Wheels blog. For the 2011 fiscal year (April 2011 through March 2012), Nintendo posted a historic first-ever net loss of $530 million dollars.

You know, especially for people of a certain age, Nintendo is a big deal. Sure they’ve been eclipsed by Sony and Microsoft in the last decade, but they are still iconic in the gaming world and have always been the masters of the handheld game devices. No one has ever really been able to beat Nintendo when it comes to portable. Sony came close, but never really overtook them. That’s where this gets interesting.

“What went wrong was that sales of the 3DS didn’t take off as we expected,” Nintendo President Satoru Iwata said (via Bloomberg). ”

So what’s going on here? What’s different now than in years past? It’s the smart phone.  Smart phones have been around for a while, but more and more cell phone companies are transitioning to those exclusively. As contracts expire and new ones start up, more people than ever are getting smart phones and the game market for the smart phone is exploding. It’s the first real competiton for the handheld market Nintendo has ever faced, and the battle is on.

I wonder how Steve over at Violent Blue feels about this?


Top five favorite superheros

So last week we were discussing Maddie and Lydia’s love of She-Ra – a series that predates them by twenty years….and it occurred to me that I have a similar affection as my girls,  to characters that were popular and then almost forgotten, long before I was born.

If you’ve see some of the earlier Violent Blue strips, you’ll note I like top five lists. It’s a habit developed from watching “High Fidelity” too many times, but that only makes sense as it’s one of my top five all time favorite films.

If you ask me who my top five favorite superheros are right now I’d list off :

1.Superman

2. The Shadow

3.The Green Hornet

4.Spider-Man

5.Daredevil

Now those bottom two change around sometimes. I know that Nightwings been in there (until the book became too popular and Chuck Dixon left it), not to mention Batman or Green Lantern or Gambit. Those top three however….those have remained the same for over twenty years. You can find drawings of the Shadow and the Green Hornet  in my sketchbooks dating back to fifth grade. There are Vhs tapes with the Green Hornet recorded off of a television station that no longer exists…probably around 1988.  And Superman…well that just speaks for itself.

So why do I have such a fascination with these characters? It likely has to do with my father. My father and I are very different people and we don’t really get along these days. A few trust issues. However, when I was a child, we would watch the old George Reeves Superman TV show, and he would tell me stories about The Shadow…or The Green Hornet. I’d lament the fact that I couldn’t listen to those old radio shows he remembered. It saddened me I’d never read the pulps or see the old Shadow films. It made me seek these things out – a cassette of the Shadow radio show. A comic book here and there. I collected “the Shadow Strikes” from DC like mad. I jumped right on the NOW bandwagon when they were publishing “The Green Hornet”. The internet eventually allowed me to assemble a complete collection of the radio shows and the pulps.

There’s a connection to my father through these characters, just like my girls find a connection to me through characters like Superman and She-Ra. They can’t explain it, they can’t articulate it, but they sense it and it draws them to it.I believe that’s why they fight over my Superman fleece blanket and watch Scooby-Doo meets Batman. From that perspective those costumes they wear make perfect sense, and I hope, that if we ever drift so far apart that there’s nothing else between us, that they will still reach for this kind of common ground.

I believe they will, and I believe that to them, Superman will always mean Daddy….much like it does to me.


Darkman this weekend

I was in my 30s before I saw Darkman. I think I avoided it for so long because it’s really Sam Rami’s consolation prize because he couldn’t do a film version of The Shadow. That’s a shame because you can see the potential here.

I’ve only seen it once ,and that was on DVD. I’ll be heading out to the Cedar Lee this Saturday night to see it properly on the big screen. Feel free to join me!

Don’t forget, there will be a new Violent Blue up tomorrow!


She-Ra!

Okay, I’l admit that I’m totally using this as an excuse to post pictures of my daughter playing with my Castle Grayskull and my He-Man figures, but Maddie (and Lydia for that matter) really love them. They watch the cartoons and frequently (at least once a week) as me to pull down my castle for them to play with.

In case you’re wondering….She-Ra and Man-E-Faces are dancing. Maddie likes to play with “the Pink Girl” (Queen Angella, I pulled her out of the free bin over at Big Fun), but Lydia’s favorite is She-Ra. That’s why it came as no surprise that when Maddie decided to color a picture for her sister, she asked me to draw her a She-Ra. I’m impressed with how many of the colors she got right, and last I checked, the picture is still up in thier room.

She-Ra will not be appearing in Violent Blue.


Prometheus

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I was a little slow getting to this one, but I did finally get to see Prometheus. I’ve heard a lot of reviews that were very disappointed in it, and I’m not that far off myself.

The biggest problems with Prometheus is it’s tie to the Alien Films. This movie could have stood on it’s own and probably would have worked better that way. There’s nothing wrong with a Sci-Fi movie asking big questions like this one does, but it’s more philosophy than we’ve come to expect from an Alien film, and make no mistake; this wants to be an Alien film. Rather, it want’s the benefits of being an Alien film. If it weren’t tied to that franchise, it would not have gotten the budget it had, nor the marketing. It wouldn’t have gotten the attention it did. It also wouldn’t have gotten the vitriol it received.

It’s almost like they couldn’t decide whether to make it a franchise entry or not. The movie tries to straddle the fence. According to Scott, though the film shares “strands of Alien’s DNA, so to speak”, and takes place in the same universe, Prometheus explores its own mythology and ideas.  But the movie I watched recreates scenes from Alien almost shot for shot and tries to shoehorn as many similarities as it can get into the film. The visual style of the first Alien film is beautifully recreated. It’s never been done this well before. I can believe that Human ship is from the same era and place. The Alien ship is instantly recognizable.

I think that’s perhaps the biggest problem. Because you go in looking at “Alien Prequel” and no amount of warning from Scott is going to deter that perception. So you want stalking and chases and familiar alien organisms. The aliens we get are far to removed from what we know…I have a hard time seeing the links between the little snakes and giant crabs with the facehuggers and alien creatures. And that would be fine if it weren’t meant to be even a quasi-prequel.

I think the movie would have been better served if the Alien connection could have been kept quiet. That means, no advertisement of this as being connected to the Alien films – not even a mention of them being in the same universe. It also means we don’t see the Alien ship or the Space Jockey helmet until the last ten minuets of the film or less and let people recognize it for themselves. It worked in Predator 2 and managed to spawn it’s own films in this manner. approaching the Alien link this way would have given the audience different expectations and time to actually absorb the message and questions it tries to raise. I’m personally going to need another viewing to really understand the movie better.

I’m not ready to throw it out of the canon yet, not the way I did with Alien 3. I expect I’ll even get a copy when it comes out on DVD. But I also know that much like the Thing prequel, when Prometheus is sitting on my shelf next to Alien and I have to decide which one I’m going to put on some rainy evening, it’s not going to be Prometheus.