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Archive for June, 2013

Stupid Zombies!

gamerImzl.wincmctf.320x480-75 posted a while ago about the Stupid Zombies game I play on my tablet. It’s a lot of fun, though I’ve beaten most of the levels in it.  I recently got my wife a little tablet for Christmas and was loading it up with games when I discovered Stupid Zombies 2!

It’s more of the same, and that’s not a bad thing. you are shooting at shambling zombies, trying to ricochet your bullets off walls, platforms and obstacles to clear out the invading horde.

There’s some new features to the gameplay that are really nice improvements. First, you always have a laser site – a beam that shows you about where the bullet is going to go. This has been a great help in trying to line up shots in between small spaces. The other fun element is getting extra points for head shots. I’ve spent more time trying to get that perfect aim to blast off the zombie’s head when I would have previously just tried to get all the targets off the screen in the quickest way possible.

I’m having great fun with this. It’s as addictive as the original, and definitely a sequel that doesn’t disappoint. Certainly the kind of thing they would play over at Violent Blue. A free version for your tablet or smart phone is available through the Amazon app store.


The Solution


Malibu_Comics_logoIn retrospect, I really believe that Malibu should never have gotten into superhero comics.

For a very long time, back through the 80’s they have a very good business model, similar to Dark Horse. They republished old comics, ran licensed properties and published titles for other companies. In fact, Image comics stated as an imprint published through Malibu (That’s why you get vol1 and vol 2 of titles like Youngblood and Wild CATS – the first volume was published through Malibu). Image would later pick up on Malibu’s old 258450-73907-ultraversestrategy and publish books for indie artists at a flat rate depending on the length of the run (Brian Michale Bendis did a lot of his books through Image this way. MVCreations  published the first run of He-Man and the Master’s of the Universe this ways as well).

But during the comics boom of the 90’s, everyone wanted a shared superhero universe and Malibu threw thier hat in the ring with the Ultraverse. Many of us remember Ultraverse heroes like Prime, drawn by Norm Breyfogel or Nightman, who had a brief and ill conceived TV series created by Glen Larson (of Knight Rider and Buck Rogers fame).

Not a lot of people remember the Solution. I don’t even remember seeing this on the racks in the 90’s. The series ran 18 issues and I’ve since found all of them in quarter bins.

The Solution are heroes for hire, willing to take missions for a fee. In Russia, nuclear bases are being attacked by Quattro, f33842-5152-37785-1-solution-the_superour ultra-powered mercenaries, and their nuclear warheads are stolen. Meanwhile, the Solution are in Hong Kong fighting the Dragon Fang, the world’s largest Triad group (and the people who stole The Solution’s leader’s fathers company. This is a vendetta). Eventually, an agent of the KGB tries to hire the Solution to stop Quattro from keeping the warheads.

Tech is the leader, in combat she’s your standard guns and ammo kind of girl, but what sets her apart are her skills as a hacker. She has wetware tech implants in her skull that allow her to cyberpunk any computer system wirelessly (and this was back in the days before broadband or wireless internet.)

Shadowmage is, predictably, their mage. She’s a trans dimensional being and In ever exactly caught onto where she was from – part of the Ultraverse continuity I wasn’t familiar with I think. Their brute Vurk is also inhuman, an alien who has a counterpart on the bad guys team. Finally there’s Dropkick, their martial artist.

Despite seeming like a cookie cutter superhero team, this group actually works together well and I suspect there was some thought put into what kind of Arch types to compile here. Tech is a reasonably original concept, and one not used a whole lot even today.

I like this series, but it is standard superhero fare. There’s some fresh ideas, but not enough to ever expect to see this title ressurected. Marvel bough out all the Ultraverse characters in  1994, for the sole purpose of keeping the Ultraverse out of DC’s hands.  DC wanted to buy the Ultraverse.  Marvel felt that a DC/Ultraverse  competitor was too much of a threat at the time, and would knock them down to the number two publisher in the field. Qusada has adamantly said marvel won’t do anything with The ultraverse, and even though he’s not really in control over at marvel any longer, it’s a fair guess that The Solution is gone forever. Still, they left us 18 great issues to enjoy. In fact, I think I’ll go grab a couple of those after I finish some Violent Blue here….

Trinity of Sin

DC Clix

Trinity-of-SinI had the dubious honor of playing in a game against the Trinity of Sin this weekend over at Comics are Go!. The game actually turned out to be a three way game, and for the most part, it was two teams trying to take down the Trinity.

What’s the worst thing about playing against the Trinity? It’s not the massive 16 click dial. It’s not even the tough 19 defense it starts out with. It’s not even the occasional poison trait. That only comes up occasionally, when Pandora’s face shows up on the dial. No, the worst part of this thing is the horrifying feedback damage from the mystics keyword. Instead of the normal one click, if you keep all your figures on the team base, you take two clicks of damage every time you make a successful attack.1FCBDthor

Big Mike came in fast and hard with some heavy hitters, hoping to knock down that damage before the feedback destroyed him. I had a similar idea and really thought long and hard  about adding the FCBD Thor to my team. He starts off with a 5 damage and an 11 attack. The problem is, even if he hurdles that 19 defense, he only gets one hit at 5 damage and that’s a charge. Not only is that feedback going to knock his damage down to 4, but he’s also stuck being poisoned knocking him down even further, not to mention being in the line of fire for anyone using pulse wave – a go-to power for dealing with Mystics.

3699I think Pulse Wave could have worked here actually, but so slowly with that one damage at a time trying to chip away at that deep dial. I pulled my Composite Superman and played him at the 80 point level, then pushed him one click where he goes into Pulse wave fro a couple of clicks. Unfortunately, I deployed him badly, then got distracted trying to pick up a Kurreth’s Hammer and got based, then blasted.

My main strategy for dealing with the Trinity ended up being Blackheart. He’s a hefty piece, but he’s a mystic too, and any time he takes damage it would feedback on the Trinity- a good start.

The main reason I choose Blackheart though, was his pets. He comes with two detachable gargoyles. When he mcl1V_DXewdKofWJWVpQntwuses his power of Dark Thunder, a gargoyle detaches and becomes a bystander with it’s own attack and defense and movement. When it’s KOed, it returns to the Blackheart base where it can be summoned again.  I barely moved Black heart all game – in fact the only time he moved is when the red Gargoyle TKed him away from Trinity (on Mike’s suggestion – thanks!). I kept pulling up the gargoyles, placing them in front of Blackheart to protect him from ranged, then the red one would TK the blue one over to Trinity where it would attack. Trinity would then have to destroy it or take poison – taking one of Trinity’s actions. tumblr_mebxcyxotz1r75v8vo1_1280If there was no blue, the red one would make a ranged attack while Blackheart generated another blue one. My allies on the other side would perlex down that massive 19 defense to make it more manageable and I’d keep hitting, which would destroy the gargoyle but never give damage to Blackheart who would just pop another out. It chipped away at the Trinity dial while he was mopping up the other team.

It was fairly effective. We got the dial down to click 11, and I know I couldn’t have done that on my own. That’s why I said it was nice to play this as a three way game.  It gave us both a chance. Still, that Trinity of Sin is a monster piece.

I did find one thing cute. Every time I’d detach the gargoyles, they don’t stand well on their own. They would topple over and I would just lay them on their side. When I’d TK  the blue one over to Trinity, I’d lean it up by Phantom Stranger and say it was nuzzling him. If you can’t beat ’em, annoy them!


Okay, now that you’ve read that comic, head over to Violent Blue. We’ve got a new strip up today and meet us back here tomorrow!

Pinhead Skullcap Pass Two


100_3265    Today it’s try two for the skullcap part of the Hellraiser makeup. It turns out that the sculpty pins that we made for the bald cap constantly broke when taking it on and off. We need something sturdier.

Since we need something stiff and sturdy I want to revisit the molding process. I’m hoping that using hot glue and a mold, I can create pins that are sturdy enough to withstand the bald cap being taken on and off, but light enough not to fall off or drag the makeup down. The most important thin here however, is that they look like the model magic pins I will be using on my face.

100_3264We start off with some sculpty and a nail. I like using sculpt for hot glue molds because unlike clay, it doesn’t melt. It’s designed for high temperatures and can withstand the heat of the glue. The glue isn’t hot enough however to bake the sculpt into a hardened mess so it can still be reused. I pressed a nail into the sculpt and carefully pulled it out. The impression looks good, but now we have to see how the glue holds up.100_3266 I coat the inside of the mold with a little vegetable oil. It’ll help the glue release from the mold after it cools. When I pull it out I can immediately see a problem. there’s WAY too much flash. To many ridges and bumps. even painted, this won’t pass for the same kind of nails I have in my face, and I can make nails for facial makeup out of this stuff…it’ll be too heavy. back to the drawing board.


Jokers hideout map

DC Clix


Ages ago when I was first creating Heroclix maps, on of the first ones I ever did was this half size Joker’s Hideout map that I got from The Absorbsacon’s site. I did a couple from there and really liked them.

267309_227229663988131_8336705_n 223988_227229633988134_5872389_n

223041_227457983965299_8329039_nTime passed, I was more busy with Violent Blue, not playing as much and I put the map away. Then, not too long ago I went down to grab it to setup a huge HC world, and it had vanished. I ended up rebuilding it, with some new touches.
206072_227458010631963_3101649_nFirst we start with the base. Layer two pieces of foam for height (we’ll need that height when we do the stairs)
Cut notches on one side which will be the front stairs. The back end is layered a bit to fit the second half of the base more tightly.

With the base created, we next need to glue the actual print out of the map on to the 188212_227458080631956_7336895_ntop of that foam surface.
Let the edges hang over a bit a cut two lines in  those stairs. We’ll trim that back in a while. In the front, we fold the stairs a couple of times to give a staggered look.
The next step will be to glue the sides on the bottom and under the edges.

Pinch the corners so they overlap and 281453_227458117298619_5920853_nsupport each other. These are made out of card stock and printed on both sides.

I  also printed out a second set of stairs because once folded, we’ll need just a bit more length. That’s one long piece of paper glued under the unit. Finally, glue the whole thing on a base (can be cardboard, I used some thin foam).
I added some columns to hide 283150_227458170631947_717462_nthe seams, and a few extras to complete the look. The columns are all mis-matched, which is perfectly appropriate for the Joker. More 3d elements than previously, and the walls are now brick, with purple painted brick inside. It’s set to look like they just moved in and painted the bare walls.

Ready to play!


Yes those ARE Weeping Angels behind Harley there…..(customs I made)




Happy Fathers yester-day

So father’s day was interesting. Amy asked the girls what they should get my father and they said “Lone Ranger stuff?” That was a fine answer. She then asked them what they should get me. They both chimed in “Heroclix!”

That’s cute. Not sure why they were thinking that, especially since I haven’t played in a month or so, but then again, I do play with them sometimes on the Gotham City map that’s set up in the Library. Nevertheless, I didn’t think they were going to follow through with that.

Did you know Five Below has Heroclix?

507_589158027795291_1314736104_nNothing new of course. In fact I don’t think they sell anything that’s playable in a modern age tournament, but then again, a lot of the time I’m playing golden age (all sets) anyhow. They got me a box of Hypertime, and a box of Justice League. Lydia chose the Hypertime box because it had Catwoman on it and she expected her to be in the box.998894_589157927795301_1722548181_n

I actually pulled some nice figures out of the Justice League box. There was a Batman and Robin duo figure I always wanted and a really powerful Emperor Joker…200 points, but way powerful. I think I may match him up with that Lex and Braniac figure I have some time.

Amy also got me a gift certificate for Comics Are Go! (and they have the best gift certificates ever….) and while they were there, the girls snagged bookmarks and the free All-Star Superman for me. It occurs to me that my girls have been in that shop more times than Amy has.

We took the girls to see Epic this weekend as well, and while I was there I noticed two previews for movies I want to see that I’ve been putting off. Superman and Star Trek are both coming to the palace. I’ll be heading there for both in 3d, 5.00 each.


Finally, if you were watching the parade in Avon Lake this weekend and you thought you saw me dressed as a zombie…you were right. I marched with the Lorain County Zombie Outbreak Response Team to promote their Zombie Walk in the fall – a charity event to raise food for the Second Harvest Food Bank.


I think I hurt my back with some of that shambling. You’d think I’d have finished that assignment for Angel Lite comics or gotten more work done on Violent Blue, being out of commission like that….





Judge Dredd

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imagesI finally got around to catching up with Dredd. Really, I was hoping to get to this earlier, but other films just seemed more pressing.

I had been told by several friends that this movie is “ultra-Violent”. See, the problem here is that phrase has been used so often it’s lost a great deal of it’s meaning to me. What actually qualifies as “Ultra Violent”?  It’s not just a bunch of shooting. To me there has to be some flesh ripping. The Expendables is a violent movie, but not really THAT violent. You see a lot of guns blazing and a lot of people falling down, but you don’t see a lot of blood. No red spray, no torn skin. Robocop…that’s an ultra violent movie. Lots of guns, and TONS of entry wounds and exit wounds. No one ever gets shot just once there, it’s always multiple shots, and multiple squibs going off and every one of those squibs is full of red karo syrup.

So Dredd? Actually, yeah. Ultra violent. Lots of head shots….actually lots of head explosions….gives Scanners a run for it’s money. I loved seeing the slow-mo flare hit the inside of the guys mouth and explode….definitely enough to satisfy the gore hounds as well as the action fanatic.

It’s a shame then, that this came out so close to The Raid : Redemption. They were in production close enough to the same time that I don’t think there was any copying going on, but really it’s the same story, though with more guns and the familiar comic book settings of Mega City rather than the generic apartment building we see in The Raid.

I do have to wonder why they choose this setting. It seems like it works against an introductory film, and keeps us from really exploring this world. It would work fine for an established series, but I think it holds the movie back a bit. And make no mistake, this IS an introductory film. Forget the Stallone Judge Dredd. That was sole a Sly vehicle where the only thing they really got right was the costumes (those costumes REALLY are better than the ones in this movie, but then again in the Sly film you only see them in those costumes for what, ten minuets?) and it LOOKED like a summer blockbuster movie. The sets had that….LOOK to them, the scale was just a little off and obviously painted. Something about it just hits your eye wrong (you see it a lot in those kind of movies -the Original Total Recal has the same problem). Dredd 3d looks real. Everything is gritty and stark and just.. better looking. (everything but the costumes…btu I digress….)

Really this film came out at the wrong time, and got lost amongst the Avengers and Dark Knight. That’s a real shame because it deserved a chance to really shine on it’s own and a release in the spring instead of summer might have given it a better shot a success.

Dredd is definitely worth a watch if you catch it on Netflix. Not sure it’s worth a buy unless you’re a fan of the series or really into violent Sci-Fi, but I’ll admit it would look rally good on the shelf right next to the unrated criterion cut of Robocop…..( and a film version of Violent Blue?)


Thank you Peter Cullen!


By now you probably know I’m a He-Man guy. That was my series when I was kid and it still is my favorite cartoon today (Not sure what cartoon they liked in Violent Blue. Hmmmm. I should explore that some time…..). Still, I watched Transformers and G.I. Joe, and always love meeting the voices behind the characters.

Peter Cullen has been the voice of Optimus Prime for decades….and that’s really saying something. he’s the definitive voice for the character so you can imagine how pleased I was to receive this through the mail. Thanks so much!


Netflix Movie of the Week #12: Grave Encounters

Great review on Grave Encounters here – a film we mentioned when we reviewd the sequel a few months back

Simply Film


As a self proclaimed film critic, I feel that it’s my obligation to force my favorite genres on the masses whenever I get the opportunity. With James DeMonaco’s The Purge hitting theaters this weekend, I thought I’d share with you a horror film that isn’t awful, in order to compensate for The Purge inevitably sucking like a vacuum-powered prostitute. With that in mind, I’d like to draw your attention to a film almost no one has watched, despite it’s being one of the better horror properties of 2011. Grave Encounters is a mockumentary style film directed by Colin Minihan and Stuart Ortiz, who are together known as ‘The Vicious Brothers’. The story follows a team of paranormal investigators as they shoot an episode for their reality TV show. Naturally, the mental hospital that the team is investigating turns out to be legitimately haunted and mayhem ensues.

Granted, the premise sounds…

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Happy Birthday Amy!

Today is my wife’s birthday, and I wanted to do something special. This year our girls were both in ballet, which culminated in a recital where they danced to selections from the Lion King. We did get photos done, but I wanted her to have a portrait like no one else in that class, so I took my own photos and from those created this painting. Happy Birthday Amy!

girls final

(You didn’t think that all I could do was the kind of art you see in Violent Blue did you?)

Screwtape Letters part four


Part our of my Screwtape Letters series. And don’t forget, new Violent Blue tomorrow!

The Dad Book

Maddie Banner

One of the first pieces that started this feature on the blog was Maddie’s book of monsters. This is a similar kind of piece….one about me.

dad1It begins simply enough, maddie talks about my love of monsters and then draws a monster on the page. On the opposite page though, I can’t quite make out the text so I’ll admit I’m not entirely sure what’s going on there. dad2

Finally she ends the book with a statement I think is meant to be that I’m a fixer, maybe that I have fixers…but I think she’s calling me a fixer. Maddie and Lydia both call me that in real life whenever they want me to make or repair something for them!

dad3Anyone else wonder what kind of tool that’s supposed to be?

Lords of Salem

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I’m not a hater when it comes to Rob Zombie.  I liked House of a Thousand Corpses, but not Devil’s Rejects. I didn’t mind Halloween, but liked the remake half better than the prequel half. Zombie has a habit of making sequels almost a different genre than the originals. House of a Thousand Corpses is horror. there’s an edge of fantasy and monster to it. Devils Rejects is a gritty crime thriller. It’s really a different kind of movie (which I could have still liked if you throw out the whole middle half hour or so with them terrorizing the folks at the hotel). Halloween starts as a crime movie (birth of a serial killer) then turns into a horror film. H2 however, is almost an experimental art film with a great deal of high minded symbolism and metaphor. And actually, that’s not a bad thing per se….except there was no warning. No one knew what they were getting in to…certainly not what you would expect from a Halloween film.
I prefer horror with some fantasy elements (and preferably monsters, but that’s not absolutely necessary). That’s kind of what I was hoping for in Lords of Salem – magic, supernatural and dark fantasy.

MV5BMjA2NTc5Njc4MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNTYzMTcwOQ@@__V1_SX214_Lords of Salem delivered, but I’m still not sure exactlally what it delivered. There’s a grteat look to the film, not nearly as grainy or washed out as Horror semes to have gotten lately. I caught a bunch of film referances (on the main characters apartment walls alone) but am pretty sure there were more that I didn’t notice. Zombie’s attempting to do some interesting things as well with the concept of the weird sisters (the trio of witches found in british fokelore and featured in Shakespear’s MacBeth) and with a lot of the tropes of classic devil worship movies. There’s an intelligent story here.

There’s also a flair in the film making. Particuarly in the third act it’s clear that Rob Zombie is trying to be Stanley Kubrick. In more than a few ways he succeeds. You can see the thought that went into this story – much like H2, it’s a smarter story than the subject matter deserves. you can tell Zombie is trying to be a little more serious this time around by the distinct lack of rednecks and about 75% less swearing (all of which is very appreciated). Most of the nudity is designed to be disturbing rather than titilating, and that really takes some doing. There’s only one big problem with this movie, and it pervades the entire film. It’s freaky, and stylish….but it’s not scary. And that’s where Zombie fails (and Kubrick succeeds).

Nothing in the movie scares me. The monsters are interesting enough designs, but poorly excecuted and overly lit. The jump scares don’t make me jump. The spacious apartment undercuts  the necessary feeling of isolation. It’s just not scary. I dig the whole satan worship theme, but I can get that from Black Sunday or the Devil’s Rain. There’s nothing that really sets this movie apart other than a nice visit with Ken Foree and a few too many shots of Mrs. Zombie’s bum.

I’ve heard the criticism by the way that the role was beyond Shari Moon Zombie. I don’t think that was the problem at all. What the film lacks is polish.  The script needed to be gone over a few more times, and the lighting needed gone over further. Perhaps a little more care to the rubber suits the monsters were wearing.  The film has sop much potential….but it fails to achieve it, and ends up feeling very by-the-numbers. Perhaps if they had ramped up the claustrophobia and isolation of the main character. I’d also have preferred them to either really explore the drug abuse (turning it into a question to the audience “is it all in her head?”) or throw it out altogether. It was one of those things that just showed up for a moment (presumably for character development, though it failed to add any dimension to her role) and didn’t go anywhere (rule of thumb – if you show a shotgun over the mantle in the first act, you need to use it in the third act or you don’t draw attention to it in the first place.). The romance could have been easily jettisoned to add to the isolation and paranoia of the main character. There’s just so much that could have been done better. It’s kind of like they never created enough momentum or weight to achieve critical mass and that’s disappointing.

I’m going to head over to Violent Blue to try and cheer myself up.