The bright side is they threw out this really nice Spider-Man edition Monopoly game! I fished it out of the trash along with VHS tapes I can record over and milk crates t o put stuff in. The workers let my wife look around the house but she didn’t find anything else good….there was a Superman Batman action figure two-pack, but the cleaner already called dibs.
I’ve never really gotten into the special editions of Monopoly. I’d bet they have this one at Taylor’s store in Violent Blue though. I was delighted to see all the pieces were there. The tokens are really nicely done – better than some of the heroclix we’ve gotten of the same characters.
Maddie and Lyds are still a little too young to play it though, and Amy won’t play me any more because she never wins and is a bad loser (Her words, not mine) Oh well. I’ll tuck it away in the game closet and in a couple of years it’ll be all ready and waiting for me and my girls!
I’ve been doing skits for Church recently. I look over the upcoming lessons and do the videos in month or two month batches at a time, just like I used to do with the drama team at North Pointe church. Clavery Ridge is too small right now for a drama team though, so I’ve been using puppets. Our friends Robin and Wendell Patton gave these too us probably ten years ago and we never did much with them before, but they seem to be the right size and type for what we’re trying to create now.
And I just found out that Maddie is terrified of them.
Yeah, I totally get it. Randy Millhouse over at Something Positive is totally correct when he observes that Church puppets are the scariest of them all.. and these really could use a little more work. Proper noses on the white puppets and maybe braids on the girl. The kids are okay watching videos of them, but Maddie won’t go in the Library alone if these things are in there.
I decided to try and fix that.
Actually, I suspect this might creep her out more, but I did say I was going to fix it….not make it better!
I really loved “John Dies at the End” and I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was really liking the new book and it felt a lot like the first book. Funny how that all changes.
Perhaps it’s not so funny. If you poke around the authors website http://johndiesattheend.com/, specifically the updates section you will find a bit of background about the book:
“Some of you will remember that he had a version of that story featured right here on this site for free, entitled John and Dave and the Temple of X’al’naa”thuthuthu However, when he signed the contract for the sequel to be written, that had to come down. When asked if the second book would be that story, Dave gave this answer:
The parasitic insect-like creatures featured in that story (the ones that embedded themselves in people’s heads and took over their brains) are the “spiders” referenced in the title. This book will be an extension and expansion of that story. But for instance Detective Vance Falconer returns. But about 2/3 of the way through the story you know, this one veers off in a different direction.” (http://www.johndiesattheend.com/updates/?page_id=10)
It shows. It really does. I suspect that it may have been around the time the movie was in preproduction as well because the tone gets dire and the humor is completely sucked out of the story, much like the John Dies movie. a shame really, because I think the humor is what really sets these books apart. it comes back a bit in the last fifty pages but it’s missing from a good half of the novel and I mean that, it’s REALLY missed.
Still, this thing is creepy as it’s predecessor and the monsters and just MESSED up. Someone created a trailer to the book and it’s a perfect representation of the opening scene of the book. (Brilliant marketing)
This Book is Full of Spiders is definitely worth a read, but I’m not going to cherish it like I did John Dies. It’s not the kind of book you can’t put down. I’m still hoping for another sequel and a better one at that. There’s still some legs to this series and some life in there and I really want to see what comes next.
A few years ago I was teaching a study on C.S. Lewis’ “The Screwtape Letters”. I knew that half the class wouldn’t get around to reading the text so I created videos that hit most of the points I was going to cover. Over the next couple of months, we’ll be presenting those videos here! We’ll start off with the preface :
You know, I never posted any of the autos I got at the Akron Comic Con last year, and that’s something I’ve really been meaning to do. So here we are. I want to start with the ones from Gerry Conway because they are just my absolute favorites. The fact that I not only have these comics, but have signed copies of them just makes me want to squee everytime I see them.
Mike W Barr was a delight. I loved his run on Star Trek and especially love his Batman and the Outsiders, so it’s a great pleasure to have them both signed. Id didn’t just go with number ones though, I went with an issue of Trek that was special to me as well….the first one I ever got.
Tony Isabella created something special in Black Lightning, and I don’t know if we ever really appreciate it enough. I especially loved the 90’s version. They made a figure of it, but other than that, it got almost no attention at all. I never even knew about the series until long after it was over.
Breyfogal. enough said.
I’m a fan of Joe Staton’s Green Lantern and have to wonder why he isn’t a bigger personality in the field…It’s not that Dick Tracy is a bad gig, but it seems like he should be doing more.
Kyle Rayner is another underappreciated character. Polarlizing I guess. I hated him at first too, just because he took the place of Hal Jordan. Once my friend Ben got me actually reading the book though, I really grew to love him and realized my ire was more a reaction to how poorly Jordan was treated in Emrald Twilight. I got Daryl Banks, the costume designer, to sign a couple of great covers both with a lot of characters crammed into them!
A couple more to throw in here, Cameron Diaz was nice enough to sign a Green Hornet picture for me. Tara Strong signed a collage for me and a pony picture for my girls. Maddie sleeps with it….I kid you not.
Finally there is…this. How do I properly describe this and the joy it brings me?
About a year or so ago my friend Johnny Em bought an animation cell off ebay. The seller shipped it in this envelope to protect it. As soon as he saw it he thought of me. My wife couldn’t understand why I was so excited over a dirty old envelope. Well you see that Filmation logo on the corner? As in the people who made He-Man? This carried proofs or cells at one time while they were making the series – you can see the notes “young hordak, Sorceress, and (I think) Marlana scrawled up in the corner by the logo. It’;s signed by every person who when through the production phases – each signing off on thier work.Definitely one of the coolest pieces of He-Man Memorabilia I’ve ever gotten!
Time for a top five list I think. The glut of comic book movies hasn’t slowed down yet, though the tone is changing (https://argocitycomics.wordpress.com/2012/10/29/the-future-of-comic-book-movies/) and I decided to think about who my favorite movie heros were. Not from DC, that’s way to narrow a playing field, even if you include the vertigo stuff. Marvel however, has been pushing out every possible character into this new movie universe of thiers, along with the unprecedented move of making it a definitively shared universe (as opposed to a suggested shared universe suchas the hints we get that movies like Soldier and Prometheus are in the same universe as Blade Runner or the tease in Predator 2 about being in the same universe with Aliens) with the Avengers.
Specifically the Rami version. There were some problems here, I never liked the idea that every villain had to be related to Spidey somehow and I wasn’t always fond of Tobeys Peter Parker – on the other hand it was a perfect 60’s-70-‘s Peter (i preferred the 80’s – 90’s versions) but he made a perfect Spidey and the suit was the best we’ve seen. Andrew Garfield makes a better Peter, but that’s about all he’s got going for him.
No real specific one. People like to drag Dolph Lundgren through the mud about this role and blame him largely for the failure of his Punisher film. I find that completely unfair, and pretty inaccurate. He dis a good job on the character in my opinion, probably a better job that Ray Stevenson even. Really, I actually like all the actors to play this character equally, though if I had to pick one, it would be Thomas Jane simply because he had a better story to be in…..but that’s another whole blog post.
This character is one I really enjoy DESPITE the movies. I’m not a fan of these films because there’s so little we see of Iron Man in the suit. I’ve complained endlessly about this elsewhere so i don’t need to rehash it here. On the other hand, Robert Downey Jr. inhabits the role. He’s perfect in it and actually, I think Avengers was this Iron Man’s finest hour. The character looks great on screen, and they consistently get him right. I just wish his solo movies were better.
I think i’m one of the only people who actually like this movie. I really do, it’s on par with Tim Burton’s Batman to me. It has a similar feel, definitely a first movie, an introduction without getting mired down in an origin story. There’s a fascinating arch wit the character and they keep the tone dark and dirty as the best Daredevil comics are. Sure you can pan it because it’s an Affleck movie, but really, we don’t see much of him in it. He’s always hidden behind glasses or a mask. He dosen’t ACT like Ben Affleck either, no (well, few) T-Shirts and his attitude is kept in check – it’s actually a performance for a change and not him just playing well, Ben Affleck.
Obvious right? Not so much. If you know me, you know I don’t actually like Wolverine. His appeal baffles me. The key here is Hugh Jackman. Jackman has mad this character accessible to me somehow. He turned him into someone I’m actually interested in and that’s no mean trick, especially considering I didn’t enjoy most of the X-Men movies, in fact I never even bothered with First Class. I still have no love for him in the comics, and really didn’t want to put him on this list. Surely someone like Cap or Nick Fury was more deserving right? But when I come down to it, I found I really do like Jackmans Wolverine more than most other Marvel movie heroes.
Time to get back to work on Violent Blue. You know, I suspect that the characters in the strip would have very different lists than I do too…..something to think about.
Wow. I didn’t realize I’d managed to collect so many alter ego figures! I always thought it was a cool game mechanic (although I can’t ever quite gt it to work right) but in the back of my mind, I always had these figures bound for my train set.
One of our Christmas traditions is always to have a train set up, sometimes around the tree, sometimes beside it. I don’t really have enough track to make it around the tree though, so we tend to run it in my library. My father always did a country or Victorian setting, but I always preferred an urban one. as time goes by I’ve developed more and more buildings and sets for it, most notably using the Crime Alley 3-d Heroclix map I created from a map created over at the Absosbsacon. Of course it has superheroes on it, it’s pretty much exactly the kind of train you would find in Taylors hop in Violent Blue.
This is my train this year. I recently found the globe to the Daily Planet again which makes me incredibly happy and discovered that he Air Hockey Table works better than the pool table for the display! Clix are hidden all over. See how many you recognize!
I was hooked at once.
There’s a great humor and familiarity to this world. It’s simultaneously one of the funniest books I’ve vever read and one of the most terrifying. The humor of the characters is rivaled only by the terrify descriptions of the monsters. Seriously, the monsters he describes in this book give me chills. They get under you skin (no pun intended) and fill you with dread….even as John apologizes to Dave for repeatedly sending his phone pictures of his privates.
It’s very locker room humor, very phallic and not something I usually get into, but it just works here. The monsters are very inscetoid, and shadowy and pervasive. They warp reality in ways that only certain people can see (people who have been exposed to a drug nicknamed “Soy Sauce”). While every one else sees that poster of Ronald McDonald playing with kids, you see a picture of him blood stained and eating his own intestines. It’s terrifying, visceral and humorous at the same time. I couldn’t put the book down and when it was done I was kind of bummed because there was no more.
So why am I talking about a book released back in 2009? well, mostly because the sequel is out : “This Book Is Full Of Spiders”. Moreover a film adaptation of “John Dies at the End” is also out, and I’ve spent the weekend with both.
I’m really not terribly far into the book so I can’t speak with any knowledge about it except that it has the very same style and fun that the first book did and that’s no mean trick. Sequels are usually a lesser product, but so far this one really holds up. It’s nice to visit again with David, John and Amy back in that undisclosed town, and some of the things that have happened in the interim make perfect sense. If I didn’t have to go to work, I’d still be reading it right now.
Don’t get me wrong here. This is going to sound really negative, like I’m trashing the film. I’m not…..not exactly. Have you ever been drinking juice, then ran out and had to switch to pop? It feels thinner, less substantial. That’s the feeling I get from the film.
The problem here is that the movie was never going to do justice to the book. It’s too complex, too convoluted. The film manages to adapt the book by throwing out about 2/3rds of the story and that’s a bit of a problem because what they cut was most of the character development, and that’s where a lot of the humor is. The descision was made that this would be David’s story, that we would focus on his character. That means that John is way underused, and that just doesn’t fit for a buddy picture like this. John is the funny one. He’s Lou Costello. Can you imagine making a picture that was pretty much just Bud Abbott? It just doesn’t work right. The tone gets played straight a great deal so that even lines that feel funny in the book are delivered with a great deal more seriousness in the movie.
Speaking of Dave and John, these guys are just too…..pretty. Not at all what I imagined reading the book. They do try to scruff them up a little bit and they wear constantly perplexed facial expressions, but they still maintain way too much of their cover model looks. I imagined a couple of gangly, perpetually unshaven (patchy, not macho) guys with uncombed hair who looked like they might smell kind of bad. The picture on one of the earlier copies of the book comes a lot closer to what I thought they should look like. These guys are built. They have some meat on their bones, I imagined them kind of thin, almost bone daddy….not by choice mind you, mostly because they are a couple of broke slobs. It also occurs to me that for a couple of guys who were into booze and cigarettes as much as these guys, we really don’t see a lot of that in the movie.
Criticizing appearances isn’t exactly fair though. The character is never going to look in the film like they did in your head. I always imagined the restaurant David tells his story in to be more of a stark white diner kind of place rather than the moody atmospheric restaurant we get. That’s cool. I’m fine with that, but even if they don’t look the way you pictured them, the rolls can be cast in such a way that you forget all about what you expected. The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy cast it’s roles so well I never minded that no one looked like I wanted them too (Well maybe Ford, but that’s it). In John Dies at the End, you really needed to cast ordinary looking people. EXTREMELY plain and ordinary. I keep coming back to this. They’re just to….pretty.
That goes for Amy as well. I really imagined her being mousey, always in baggy sweatshirts and reclusive. And for a major character in the book, she’s barely in the movie. Her characterization begins and ends at “missing a hand”. If she weren’t needed for a major plot point involving a ghostly door, I suspect she would have been left out entirely.
Now here’s the good news. This is a GOOD horror movie. It’s missing a lot of the humor and depth of the book, but it’s a cracking scary flick. The monsters are realized extremely well, far better than I could have imagined. Someone gave Don Coscarelli a budget for a change. The creatures are just as nightmarish as the book describes. So much so that My wife had to bail on the movie half way through. Even though they cut out huge chunks of the book, a lot of the movie and dialogue is straight off the page. As it was happening on screen I could almost see the page from the book in front of me that described the girl exploding into snakes.
Because it’s Don Coscarelli, there’s a bit of a Phantasm vibe to the movie. I don’t know if I’m reading into it because it’s him, or if it’s his style coming through, but you feel it in the narration and the interdimensional nature of the film, and how those things are portrayed. It works, especially if your a fan of Coscarelli or the phantasm movies.
At the end of the day, this is still a buy for me. It’s better if you see the movie first THEN read the book, but either way, this is a god movie. It’s showing on the big screen at the Capitol on February 15th and I’m planning on going. We’ll pop up a reminder here that week and would love to see you there!
I’m off to go try to sneak in a another chapter of spiders before I have to go back to work on Violent Blue.
This book is driving me completely around the bend. I mean it. It’s crazy frustrating. The whole secret Identity thing is just infuriating…oh you didn’t know about that? John Constantine sure does.
Yep. By day, loving suburban father. By night, dark avenging spirit of Judas. I just want to rip what’s left of my hair out. I’ve pointed out before that what is really intriguing (or used to be at least) was this sense of mystery about the Stranger. Dude, it’s BUILT INTO HIS NAME. But he’s anything but a Stranger anymore. Seriously, we know everything about him. He’s Judas, cursed to walk the earth and untill he does enough good to make the thirty pieces of silver around his neck vanish, so these days he’s playing mystic superhero in the new 52 universe, complete with secret identity. Thank you DC for completely sucking everything cool (that is to say – the mystery and slight detachment from humanity) out of this character. It’s really a shame too, because you have great scenes in this book like this one below –
How cool would that have been if we DIDN’T actually know anything about the stranger? Sure, provide a writers bible so the writers know his origins, and can write this kind of stuff into the story, but don’t just lay it out spread eagle in front of the readers….ugh. This book frustrates me so much. Especially with stunning scenes like this:
Superman is just as frustrating. I saw this cover and thought “I may have to get me some of that”. I’m not sure what I was hoping for., I was kind of thinking Metallo. Reading through, they are calling the character “Triple X”. I’m not sure who that is ment to be…is he original to the new 52? Could he be a version of Doctor Double X (one of those characters you probably only know about if you read the Who’s Who comics religiously)? I was even wondering if he was supposed to be a different version of an old Superman villain called NRG X. I know he appeared in the modern age at least once, though I haven’t tracked that story down, but he’s significant to me because he’s in one of the first Superman comics I can ever remember reading. I think I may still have a physical copy of this somewhere, I know I have a digital one.
Anyhow, even after reading the book I’m still confused. I can see they are tryign to do a myxtlplick story and I also see they are really trying to amp up his sinister. Don’t like it.
Tried something different this week. I found a book called Repossessed. It’s a kind of Fringe thing I guess. A team of officially sanctioned exorcists, and hilarity ensues. It’s smartly written and entertaining. I get that kind of “John Dies at the End” or Fringe vibe off of it and I’m hooked. I’ll definitely be picking this up again next month. They have a website you might want to check out :
I really am digging it and hope the series stays as entertaining as the first chapter.
Speaking of entertaining, I’m still with Dial H. That kind of surprises me because can’t see this series go on indefinitely and I’m not really attached to any of the characters but it’s got me curious enough to keep reading. This issues dialed hero was hilarious by the way. “Flame War” who’s insults turn into fire. So he says that blouse makes you look fat, and you shirt catches on fire. Fun stuff. There’s some sort of black ops team stalking our dialers though, and I’m curious to see where that leads. I’ll probably grab it at least one more month….if I see it and remember to.
Shadowman is still impressing me. We’re only three issues in, but what I see in this title is that it’s really trying to develop it’s own identity. It’s still grown on the back of the name’s goodwill, but it really is feeling more and more of it’s own series. There’s a LOT of the Akklaim influence with a heavier (and more traditional )voodoo storyline and a big sequence set in Deadside (something we never really saw in the Valiant version). The character is spookier than it used to be. I kind of miss the straightforward feel the Valiant one had, but the spooky one works too. Really loving the scythe. I thought I’d have to wait out the first six issues to really get a handle on this series and whether or not I like it. It’s connected with me really early and I really dig that. I’m so glad this title is back, right next to my Green Hornet, Lone Ranger and Shadow. I never figured I’d be an indy man (I expected to be a DC fan all my life. Thanks new 52).
Finally, there’s Youngblood. Youngblood has been consistently entertaining, and this stays with that. We get minimal character development (but it IS there) and a lot of pretty pictures and fun storytelling. The real Shaft is back, still in a FBI suit, and cooperating with the team (kind of) on the mystery of the murdered Vogues from different time periods. I get the impression that Terrel will come back as Shaft eventually and I’m a little disappointed about that I think. I really am liking “Not-Shaft” (as the team calls him). There’s a teaser in the back of this book that shows Terrel’s Shaft back in action along with Badrock. I suspect the next issue or two are going to be flashback to finally explain why Badrock has been in that coma on that hospital bed since the series relaunched. I do hope to see Badrock back soon, but only if they write him correctly. He was always the most fun part of the team.
And with that, I’ve got to get back to Violent Blue comics. Head over to the site and check out today’s post!
Every Wednesday and Friday
Stupid Zombies is more of a puzzle game than an action adventure, requiring you to figure out the angle and ricochet of your gunfire in order to clear a board of meandering zombies. As you go through the 240 levels, the puzzles get more complex. If you’re a fan of Angry Birds, then this is a game for you! Currently available for android and iPhone. It’s one of the few games I managed to finish, and never got bored of it.
And guess what? It just so happens there’s another one! But more on that later…
As we get past the Violent Blue cliffhanger and into Year Four proper, I wanted to say a quick thanks to all of those people who still visit the site and read VB on a regular basis. Over here at the blogsite we’re starting to reprint some of the best strips twice a week, while the main site still runs the current series, and this seems like a good opportunity to do some housekeeping.
It’s been a rough year over at Violent Blue. I promise this year will be more lighthearted. More funny strips and fewer dramatic ones.
For those of you wondering about time frame, I’m not sure how much time has passed between today’s strips and the rest of this weeks. Imagine an average recovery time for a serious accident and a pretty horrible detox. The last few strips were hard enough for me to write. I didn’t feel we needed to go into all of that. Let’s just say it’s been a month or two between end of year three and beginning of year four.
Finally, there have been some questions as to what happens to Violent Blue after the end of year four. As you may or may not know, the story is set to end after a little more than four years. That end is still in sight, but perhaps not as close as I expected. We will go a little into a fifth year with strips as we wrap up the story, but much to my surprise that’s not the end. Readers of this blog will remember I completed the National Novel Writing Month competition. The story I wrote actually serves to tie up a few loose ends left in Violent Blue and addresses some of the things that happened after the series ended. I’ll be illustrating and serializing that novel on the main Violent Blue site as a sort of epilogue and year five. It won’t quite be the same as reading the comic strip but it will extend the life of the series one more year and I hope you all stick around for it. It’s going to be interesting.
I just got this error on my blog dashboard
Not sure what’s going on, but if there’s an interruption in my daily posting, this is probably what’s going on. Shouldn’t affect Violent Blue’s comic post though.
It took a full day to get this resolved. The response I got from Word Press was :
“Hi there, Thanks for getting in touch. Our apologies for the trouble. That warning message should not have been added to your WordPress.com dashboard. We have removed the warning and sincerely apologize for any inconvenience it may have caused.”
Doing some research I found that many other folks have gotten the same warning and resolution. That’s fine. I accept you apology WordPress, though I think you also owe me an apology for the slow response time.
I have to wonder however, was that a real response? Was it really a mistake or did they flag me for a reason and then decided that there wasn’t anything particularly objectionable on the site?
I’m not going to cry censorship or anything. That’s pretentious, especially considering I don’t own my own domain. It’s their site which they are nice enough to let me use. It’s a symbiotic relationship of course, advertising and word of mouth and everything, but it’s still their land I’m farming on. Annoying but those are the dangers of using a free service like this.
I hope this post is helpful to anyone else who has gotten the dreaded suspension warning. I think it’s okay to be irritated, but no harm done in the long term.
So after Cleveland dumped a metric ton of snow on us, the girls and I decided to head out making snowmen in the front yard. They made some little guys themselves, but then quickly became far more interested in the one I was making and came over to help. They did all the roundels on the base and helped pile snow up for the body. I like it.
Really it shouldn’t be surprising that the girls loved making the snow Dalek….Daleks are as commonplace in our household as Violent Blue. They’ve been used to Daleks being around since…..
So Cleveland Cinemas was doing a free surprise movie night to announce the late shift movie line up for the first half of 2013.
I got there about twenty minuets early and they were showing trailers for Christmas movies and everything was going fine. They did the door prizes and announced the schedule.
Then this film came on.
There are no words adequate to describe this. I’ve seen the trailer for this before, I can’t believe they stretched this out to 86 minuets. What’s even more interesting is that they played it straight the entire movie. A few lines dropped here or there, but they didn’t go campy. I was laughing so hard I cried. We’ll definitely have to reference this in Violent Blue one of these days.
Maddie decided that since she was such a big help with Maddie’s Monthly Art Show last month, that she’d let Lydia showcase one of her own pieces this month.
Lyds has been coming home from preschool with interesting things here and there and this month we’re showing off her Robot!
Perhaps it may be time to rename this monthly feature?
Happy new year to everyone! Have you all made your New years Resolutions? Last year, mine was to post at least twice a week every week on this blog. It seems I’ve kept that one, so this year we’ll go one netter. This year my resolution is four posts a week, two new categories and to start re-posting the “Essential” Violent Blue strips here.