The Violent Blue blog***Comics, Horror and Pop Culture***Updates Tuesday through Friday (and occasionally at random)

Archive for January, 2013

Spidey monopoly!

104_3683The next door neighbors are moving. Actually they’re bailing, splitting on the landlord and breaking the lease, leaving behind a trashed gutted home.

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.

But I digress.104_3686

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 104_3684play 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!



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scary puppets

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!



David-Wong-BooksSo I finally finished “This Book is Full of Spiders”. Took a little longer than usual because I haven’t had time to just plow right through it (or keep up on Violent Blue for that matter)

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, 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.” ( 

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.


essentialPosting the best strips from the series, in order from the beginning.

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Screwtape preface


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 :


essentialPosting the best strips from the series, in order from the beginning.

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Catching up on autographs

AutographsYou 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.

conway 1 conway 2

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.

barr 1 barr 2 barr 3

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.

breyfogal 1 breyfogal 2

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.

stanton1 stanton2

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!banks1


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.

diaz Tara Strong

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!


Top Five Marvel movie heros

Time for a top five list I think. The glut of comic book movies hasn’t slowed down yet, though the tone is changing ( 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.

Spider-Man2002PosterI was surprised to find a lot of these favorites would be mirrored by my favorite Marvel characters in general and quality of the films has little to do with it…..


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.

2_midiThe Punisher

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.

the avengers movie poster ironman tony stark robert downey jr marvel comics new official 2012Iron Man

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.


215px-Daredevil_posterI 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.


wolverinejackmannew3-thumb-504x800Obvious 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.


essentialPosting the best strips from the series, in order from the beginning.

Every Wednesday and FridayNew_005a