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

Archive for July, 2013

Snowy scene comission

I wish I were happier with this.  The only reference I was given was a paper shopping bag featuring a two color illustration. This is fairly close to it, but done up in watercolor.

I am really happy with the stone pathway, and the house looks alright I guess….a little more sloppy than I wanted. The sky is my real problem. I wanted a sky with broken scattered clouds and it just doesn’t come across the way I wanted.

Nevertheless, client was happy and we’ll do better next time I’m sure. We’ll see if I can sneak some cloud practice into upcoming Violent Blue strips.

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Superman Day

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IMG_20130727_131829Not exactly a convention this weekend, but still an event. We had hoped to get out to the event at the Akron library, but knew we couldn’t hit both that and Superman Day at Carol and Johns. It’s jut to much driving. So we went with the closer one.

Superman is very special to me. You may notice in Violent Blue that Taylor is always wearing a Superman shirt in the comic shop and occasionally around the house. Superman has been my hero since I was a child watching suprfriends on Saturday morning and teh old George Reeves shows with my father. When I rediscovered comics in my teens, Superman was one of the first ones I picked up and what really drew me into the genre. There’s something just special about Superman. He does teh right thing just because it’s the right thing to do. Not out of revenge, like batman, not out of guilt, like Spider-Man, not because he’s bored like Iron Man. There’s no other hero who has that kind of purity. I think that’s soemthing we genuinely need. An aspiration figure like that, and that’s prehaps why he’s always been my favorite hero.IMG_20130727_105915

The girls and I got ready. There’s a bit of a problem when you have two little girls and only one Supergirl outfit…we ended up making one for Lydia with what we had available. I grabbed Maddie’s cape from her She-Ra costume, and the boots from her Supergirl costume (she wore her She-Ra boots instead) and put those on Lydia. Then I printed out Superman shields (with clear contact paper over them so they didn’t get ruined in the rain) and added them to the cape and her top. Finally I printed out a yellow strip of paper with a small “S” shield for the belt which I tucked into Lydia’s belt loops on her skirt.

After the endless lines and outages on Free Comic book Day I decided we should arrive a little early. We got ther about twenty minuets early and the lines were IMG_20130727_114256already begining to dform, thoguh not nearly as long as FCBD. We found ourselves about one door down from the shop’s entrance. That line would form behind us as the clock ticked down to noon and by the time we entered, it was about 2/3’s down the block.

Knowing the attention span of my children, I brought us something to do while we waited. Maddie and I sat down on the sidewalk and played UNO with Superman cards. Lydia wasn’t in the mood to play, but as we sat, guys fro the shop came by and loaded us up with comics and she took one of those to read while we watched to the store’s 12:00 opening.

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IMG_20130727_120309Carol and John’s loaded the girls up with stuff; comics, superman cookies and a special commemorative coin they had made up just for the occasion. As the gentleman came by with the box of coins and handed them each one their eyes little up and they each breathed a soft “woooow.”. the coins fascinated them, like a treasure coin just for showing up in costume.

Once inside we were treated to Superman cartoons on the TV and coloring pages for the girls. I let them each grab something out of the Superman back issue box. In the side room, there were large fats set up displaying variant covers that local artists had done for Action 18.  The girls each got a bunch of raffle tickets and entered in drawing s for their favorite covers.

All in all it was a really nice event. Carol and John’s is a particuarly family friendly store so I like taking my girls there, even thoguh it’s a little far away. While I’m sure there will be some Batman anniversary relate thing going on next year, it just won’t be the same as a Superman party!

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Girls coloring in the back!

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Coloring pages

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The girls loved the stickers in the window

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Look what we got!

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My Dragon

gamerI recently found this little app for my android tablet. I was looking for something fun for my two little girls, and this was definitely a hit.

My Dragon is a little virtual pet, and a perfect fit for little princess loving girls. They love petting the dragon, and feeding it. As you go through the game, you teach it tricks like siting, come here and searching items for various characters. you can dress it and play with it.

The models are just adorable and for a free app the gameplay is quite extensive. Try it out from the Amazon app store, and don’t forget, new Violent Blue is up back at the main site!


Maddie at work

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Maddie asked for a Pin-the-Tail-on-the-PONY game for her birthday party. She knows I do Violent Blue and believes I can draw anything. I try not to let her down. I whipped out her MLP coloring book and asked which she wanted. She choose Princess Celestia. You know, I think Celestia is the most difficult of all the ponies to draw actually…..

So I drew her, pencils and inks and left her out because Maddie wanted to color the picture herself!

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And here’s the final product! Maddie had a happy birthday and all her friends were impressed by her coloring abilities!

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Monster Bash

ConmanIMG_20130720_080654Turns out I did end up heading out to Bash this weekend after all.

I managed to scrape together enough money for admission and gas well most of the gas anyhow, I did end up borrowing a little from my gas allowance from work to get back home.  Bash offers a great deal of fun stuff to do and see that’s included with the admission, starting the day off with cartoons where they serve you cereal – then moving on to old serials on the same screen. I love that stuff.

I really wish Bash would add a second movie screen, and kind of hoped that the move to the new hotel would do that. It’s a big enough con to have a couple things going all the time, but sadly, no luck. Still it has things going for it that no other show does.

IMG_20130720_080215The stand-ups and wax figures are such a great touch. You don’t see much of this around other cons and it fits in perfectly with the old B-Movie theme. This year there was a small wax display in one room, a very cool attraction I could have spent all sorts of time staring in.

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One thing that Bash is also a little deficient on is cosplay. We all know I love my costumes and really, that’s never a big part of horror cons. But Bash is so low on cosplayers that they actually have to manufacture their own!

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IMG_2945I did manage to say hello to John Saxon during the day, and we discussed the passing of Jim Kelly who had been doing shows with him recently. John told me he had seen Jim no less than three weeks before his death, and you’d never have been able to tell he was sick.

I also got around to the Munster table to meet Butch Patrick and Pat Priest. These two are regulars on the con circuit, but it was still my first time seeing them. I’m very much more of an Addams Family guy, but their panel was still interesting – particularly how they addressed the so-called IMG_20130720_113626“rivalry” between the shows. I can’t say I really came away with a better understanding of the series, but it was fun to watch them talk.

Who I DID come away with a greater appreciation for, was Shemp Howard.

I’m not a stooges fan in the first place, but I know them and  watched them here and there and I subscribed to the general consensus that the Shemp ones weren’t nearly as good as the Curly ones. Everyone knows that right?

Shemp’s daughter in Law and his granddaughter were there along with some Bash mods who are also a bit of historians on the subject. I had no Idea that Shemp was so accomplished in Hollywood before doing the Stooges films.

I also had no idea that he was with the Stooges before Curly.

The original line up was Moe and Shemp, along with another actor who got top billing. As time went on, they added Larry Fine, and when Hollywood came calling, they came for Shemp first. He broke into films before the Stooges, and he and Moe decided to add Curly to the mix. After Curly’s stroke, Moe convinced Shemp to come back.

IMG_20130720_123643They showed some of his other work that I had either never seen or never know was him. I actually had to pull out my copy of Africa Screams when I got home to watch for his performance.

One thing about the new hotel, that dealer’s room is huge. It feels bigger than it has in past years and that’s a great thing

Well, that’s a great thing if you’re not broke.

When you’re at a convention, you kill time in the dealer’s room between screenings or panels and this was no exception. I was really bummed because I found some fascinating IMG_20130720_123838things I really wanted – someone had a DVD of the young Frankenstein musical that’s touring right now! A beautiful volume on the history of the Shadow and another on the history of the Green Hornet. The early student films of Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell! The Zacherly scrapbook! ARRRGGGH!

To be fair, I didn’t walk away entirely empty handed, I had four dollars tucked away to bring home goodies for my girls and I stretched that like you wouldn’t believe, loading up candy, tiny monsters, bat rings (which I put in little coffin containers I already had at home) and Simpsons Halloween action figures

Some short Monster kid films by the resident filmmaker Brian Nichols. One of his movies was a retrospective of short spots his daughters had done with him, with the full knowledge that this would likely be the last movie they make with their daddy. Yeah, I know how this goes. There’s a reason I take my girls to cons and zombie walks. There’s a reason we do skits for church at least once a month. Don’t worry Brian, I’m not letting that time slip by either.

IMG_20130720_080158I ended the night by hitting the Abbott and Costello tribute show. It was fine. Not a big fan of the first routine, but the next couple were fun and they capture the spirit of the pair. I’m glad they ended it with a Who’s on First routine…then again they kind of have too.

There’s more going on after that, but it was after nine and I had a three hour drive ahead of me so I headed back to Cleveland. I saw in the program however that Judith O’Dae and Barbra Steel are coming next year so you know I’ll be back – and maybe I can arrange to have my daughters with me next year. 8 and 6 should be old enough…..

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Jimmy Olsen and Perry White

DC ClixIMG_20130714_205050You know, Batman has practically his whole supporting cast made into clix at this point – between the Batman sets and the Dark Knight sets we’ve gotten Dkck Grayson, Oracle, Bruce Waynes, Gordons and Harvy Bullock….heck, there’s TWO Alfreds AND two Lucias Foxs! Spidey has a MJ a Jonah and a Norman Osborne (all that’s missing really is Harry and Aunt May) but Superman…..not much really. We only now got a Lois Lane (a regular one in business attire) in the recent Man of Steel set….and that’s it.

It irritates me because Superman has a strong supporting cast that’s instantly recognizable and fairly integral to the story….and it’s comprised of ordinary people like Perry White and Jimmy Olson. That’s not as common in comics as it once was. These are potentially good figures, especially if you do a silver age influence. Jimmy was turning into something weird every other week back then. At the very least you could go elastic lad and turtle boy with an alter ego figure.

100_4510In any event, I find myself tired of waiting so I finally got around to modding a couple of figures. I took an intergang underboss and stuck him on JJJ’s base for Perry White. It seems to me that they would have similar stats, but for the rule lawyers who might object, I’ve attached the bystander token to the bottom of the piece and printed it out as a card so it can be played that way.

Jimmy on the other hand is a John Jameson base, repainted with the bystander token and card as well. I’m not trying to mod one of those oreo bases. Too hard. I think I have an extra 100_4521Plastic man though, and may try an elastic lad at some point. If that happens, I’ll move him to a different base and perhaps create some AE stats for him.

Seriously though, look at this. How cool is it to see the whole gang there? Honestly WizKids. It’s not that hard.

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The Conjuring

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autorama retroHad a lot of movie trips in the last couple of days. I think that going to t he drive in in the middle of a hot summer is the perfect way to watch Escape from New York. I doubt I’ll ever get another opportunity, but it was great to see it on the big screen in this manner. I don’t think it really improved the movie any – some films do way better on the big screen than on TV – but it just felt right.

Mad Max on the other hand….I’ve never understood Mad Max. I don’t get the appeal. Perhaps it’s just because I’m not a car person, but it seems like a standard car/motorcycle gang film, and I don’t get how this became a franchise or why it’s so beloved (unless that happened after Mel Gibson broke through and people started looking through his past filmography for something to develop). The last ten minuets are the best part of the film…the rest is a bit of a slog. It was nice to see the Australian dialogue track restored. I know this has ben around for probably ten years, but it’s not the version I have at home and it’s hard to justify buying another copy of a film I don’t like just because it’s a classic.

And then there’s the Conjuring.

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Cinema Wasteland was nice enough to provide me with advance passes for this movie. Amy had seen commercials for it in TV and the commercials freaked her out, and was surprisingly delighted when I told her I got tickets for the film.

We headed out the the Capitol and got there about 45 minuets early. We needn’t have bothered, the place was full, but not packed.  There were still seats available when the film rolled. It was rude crowd though, people constantly talking (TALKING, not whispering) through a good deal of the film.

It’s a fun movie, mashing up a haunted house story, a ghost story, a witch story and an exorcism story all into one. That said, it’s still not incredibly original. It’s very by-the-numbers, hitting all the points you expect from any of those kind of films very nicely. The jump scares are there, so are the noises and the doors opening and closing by themselves, the hidden rooms – if I were to sit here and chart all the things this movie has in common with the Amityville Horror we could be here all day.

The performances are all convincing and everything kept us involved. There’s a subplot concerning a possessed doll  that is sadly underused, almost tacked on. The film opens with it, then we get one real callback to it and that’s it. It almost feels like something they added in just to put it on the poster, or perhaps that first ten minuets was the original pitch reel that then  had to be included in the final cut – much like the reverse bear trap in Saw. I don’t know. I think I’d like to see more of the doll story ,or have it gone altogether. The way it was, it just doesn’t fit right.

Still, if you like haunted house movies (and I’ve been on a real haunting kick lately myself) then this is a good pick. Maybe not in the theatre though. It’s good, but not $9.00 good. Wait to rent it or catch it on Netflix. I’ll be interested in seeing how it does over the weekend, and researching just how much of this was actually the “true story” it was billed as.


Monster Bash this weekend!

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Was going to be heading out to the Bash at it’s new location this weekend, but it looks like finances are going to keep me from making the trip. It’s a bummer, but I’m sure I’ll be back next year. In any event, don’t worry, Violent Blue will still update as usual and we’ll even have a new essential Violent Blue here on the blog tomorrow !


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Drive in movies tonight!

Drive in movies tonight!

Tonight at the Aut-O-Rama drive in theatre in North Ridgeville, sci-fi double feature of Escape from New York and Mad Max. Even at $9.00 this is a great deal. Come out and join me! Look for the little red Honda!


Herophoria

ConmanRemember back in April when I attended Shinboku Con? 1002733_10151691046943809_541453569_nThis weekend I headed out to Herophoria. It’s put on by the same folks.  This was meant to be a more comic themed convention – and a mini- con at that lasting only one day.

It’s the first year for this show and you can forgive a lot because of that.

Like Shinboku, they tried to have a lot of different stations. You entered the venue- the local college gym through an innocuous looking set of doors. I’m not familiar with the PE section of LCCC, so it took me a while to find it. Registration is right past the doors and halfway between the two sections of 100_4493the con. There were video games and Anime screenings in the rooms down one hall, then, if you headed the opposite direction, you’d find the cosplay area and stage (presumably where they had hoped to have panels – but those seemed to have fallen through) and further down, the main Gym area with vendors and table top gaming, along with a room dominated by a large wrestling ring.

1069887_682355591791664_1884980388_nThe vendors  selection was severly lacking. I remember this being my main complaint about Shinbokucon, and here it was even more sparse. I know that they definitely had at least one, maybe more 100_4483cancellations and that can’t have helped matters any. The local businesses were nicely represented though, I saw Scott from Comics are Go! (where I usually play heroclix) had a nice large space to vend.

Among the games that were demoing were the Munchkin card game along with Injustice and Marvel vs. Capcom in the video game room. I’ve seen both in action but it was really cool to see them projected on to huge screens while being played. The game room was friendly and everyone offered to let me 999024_10201434211753699_146904144_nplay, but I’m really not that great at games and am really content to watch. That and the fact that I can’t actually sit in my Iron Man costume. Still, it was a great place to kill time between the cosplay contest and the Heroclix tournament.

The cosplay tournament in particular was a great deal of fun. I got to meet a few people I know online from Pop! the comic club and that was really nice. Some cosplay contests can get really competitive, but this one was remarkably friendly. My Iron Man costume is incredibly hot and I have NO dexterity in 1000991_682364848457405_224287239_nthose gloves. I can’t pick something up, open my wallet or even scratch an itch (Lady Wolverine was nice enough to scratch my nose for me….with her claws….). My sunglasses kept sliding off….until the finally flew off my face and smashed on the ground, popping a lens out. Bane immediately grabbed them for me, slid the lens in and put them back on my face. Way beyond the call of duty, especially considering that I was a stranger.  Everyone was supportive and really seemed to want each other to win.  As the contest was starting, I saw all the guys from the Heroclix table filing in to support me and vote for me (they were measuring applause).  That absolutely made my day.

In the end, I took third place, losing out to a group of Sailor Scouts and a great looking Spawn. Seriously, I’ve really  got no argument with that!

After the costume contest I headed out to my car and peeled myself out of the 100_4485Iron Man costume – I’m pretty sure I lost twenty pounds in that thing – then returned for the Heroclix tournament. I had play tested my team at Keiths Comics in Elyria a few days prior, but that was a normal game. This was a con tourney. I lost. Not only did I lose, I lost epic. Shakespeare could write plays about the tragedy that was my team. On the other hand, I’m really glad I didn’t have to play that Master Mold and Sentinel team. Yikes.

100_4488As I previously mentioned, a good chunk of the gym was taken up by a large wrestling ring where the guys of the MCW fought it out. Of course, this being a comic book con, they did things a little diffrently. Most of the guys came out dressed as heroes! I saw a Green lantern and Ghostbusters. Wolverine came out and the heel wouldn’t fight so they set up a bet – if the heel lost, he had to dress up in a costume too. That costume ended up being a Supergirl outfit that he had to 100_4505wrestle Sailor Moon in!

Okay, I gotta admit, I have NEVER enjoyed wrestling. It’s just not my thing, but this was a great way of doing it and it’s a cool thing for a convention to try and do. It’s uncommon, and I applaud the innovation. The costumes made it a lot more fun for me to watch in between Heroclix matches. The absolute best bit was a wrestling match between Donkey Kong and Princess Peach where the ref was dressed as a giant banana. After she won the match, Princes Peach was kidnapped by Waluigi and Wario and spirited 971110_10200991160314329_1081396497_noff. Later on Mario and Luigi had to wrestle Wario and Waluigi to rescue her. They played the appropriate music and kept everyone in character. That was definitely fun.

With all that said, I have to admit; this thing could have been run a lot better.

The website didn’t give me nearly enough information- it says screenings but didn’t say anything about what or when. Guests weren’t really announced and no panel discussion topics were ever presented. (I suspect the panels were scrapped because they couldn’t get enough people involved) In fact, with this little info, I probably would have given this a pass if it hadn’t been in my neighborhood (ten minuet drive).  The Cosplay contest was late and kind of poorly run with no good method in place for judging winners, but  rather a series of eliminations. There also didn’t seem to be enough promotion, not enough people aware that this was going on. I definitely could have used a map of where we were in the college and where things were going to be. I also noticed the Injustice tournament went WICKED quick. A few more video game competitions may have helped.

The thing is, I don’t want to badmouth this con. Like I said, it was a first time for this kind of show and I can forgive most of this. You can see how hard these guys tried to put together a good con. This show has a lot of room to grow and a good deal of potential. I really do want to see where it goes from here and I’m very comfortable saying I’ll be back next year.

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Pinhead Skullcap Pass Three

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100_3273I think I’ve got it.

The previous two attempts to create a bald cap with pins that matched my facial makeup failed because I was trying my usual methods of creating makeups.

Time for something new.

It came to me when I was looking at the tools I use to apply makeup. Q-Tips. Lots of100_3274 ’em. The shaft is white and soft looking, very similar to the nails I made already. The big difference is that my facial nails aren’t quite as straight as these, but I think there will be enough confusion on my face with all the pins sticking out that you probably won’t notice unless you REALLY study it.

100_3276I started by snipping off the ends of the Q-tips and trimming them down to the right size, using one of my homemade nails for reference. Next I drew a grid on the cap lightly with a bit of black makeup and started to glue the nails in at each intersection. This grid will be pained over with white makeup eventually.100_3277

Trying it on again, the nails still spread nicely, but feel sturdier coming off. No snapping and popping…..

almost none.

A few nails began to fall off. The glue holds, but not enough, because the latex bald cap stretches under it. I went through and reinforced each pin with a bit of liquid latex around the base. Cap comes on and off! Next step will be to create a permanent grid…but first I got to do some Violent Blue cartoons.

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Screwtape Letters part five

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


The Lone Ranger

Movie bannerTheLoneRanger2013PosterIt’s hard to describe the Lone Ranger. You know how in the Superman movie, the first half is the origin, then he puts on the suit and he becomes Superman – brave, powerful, good. The Lone ranger is almost ALL origin. About two hours of it. He puts on the mask before the first hour is up, and he LOOKS like the Lone Ranger….but he hasn’t really become the Loner Ranger. Not yet. He’s still a tenderfoot, naïve and unsure. It’s not until he decides “If that’s the way the lawmen are (corrupt) I’d rather be an Outlaw.” and Tonto replies “That is why you wear the mask.” THAT’s when he really becomes the Lone Ranger and the last twenty minuets, everything makes sense and every thing ties together and he really is the character. The problem is, most people are going to this to see him BE the Lone Ranger, they aren’t coming to see two hours of him BECOMING the Loner Ranger. Some of the humor undermines the story as well, there are some really poignant moments – when Helena Bonham Carter tells them to get (revenge on) Cavendish for what he took from her and you see the painting on the wall behind her. It’s heartbreaking…then they have to throw a joke in there.
It’s not all bad. I really loved the framing device with Tonto telling the story. That was really well done. Cavendish is scary for the first time too. In the original series he’s just a general bad guy. Nothing special. In the comics he’s a brute masquerading as a refined gentleman. Christopher Lloyd portrayed him as a gentleman mad scientist type. none of that worked. This one is a thug with a slight tendency towards ritual cannibalism. He looks scary and acts scary and is the best version of Cavendish I’ve ever seen. The fact that he kills Native Americans also gives Tonto a great reason to hate him.

The makers of the film did their homework. All the touches are still there – the mask is made from his brother’s vest – the eyeholes where the bullets went through. His nephew is there, though younger. They have their own reasons for silver bullets. He still shoots their hands. It has a lot of good touches, but doesn’t seem good enough to make a sequel. we’ll see though. I said the same thing about Garfield.
All in all, it’s about half a good movie. and that’s a shame, because this could have been a good movie if they had just played it straight. Dial back the humor by about 25%  and just give the story some respect. Honestly, with all that research, they should have realized they had a perfect template to go by – just use  the comics Dynamite has been publishing for the last few years which are  so much better. It’s a disappointment, though those last twenty minuets – I could watch that over and over again. Maybe I need to do a fan edit and chop this sucker up a bit.

After some more Violent Blue.


Days of the Dead Indy

ConmanI really liked Days of the Dead in Chicago last year. I really did. This year the Indianapolis DOTD advertised Angus Scrimm and the trio from the Blair Witch project. You definitely have my attention with that line up. Angus doesn’t get out to cons much – it’s a little taxing at his age, and the Blair Witch actors pretty much fell off the face of the earth.

Except….

Thinga month before the con, they rescheduled the Blair Witch trio for later in  the year at Chicago. That pissed me off. I can’t afford two long trips like that this year. They however, did replace them with a bunch of actors from the Thing, so I admit that was a great consolation prize.

I checked the website every day last week.

Friday night I saw they listed Angus Scrimm as cancelled due to health issues.

Crap. I should have known this trip was going to be trouble.

I decided to go anyhow because of the Thing cast, and more importantly, Don Coscerelli was attending. he was the last signature I needed on my Phantasm poster….if you didn’t know, Phantasm is one of my favorite film franchises ever. It’s just so good, horror but not quite horror, elements of sci-fi, subtext about family and abandonment it’s just great. Angus Scrimm was the first letter I ever sent out as a fan asking for an autograph. It took four tries but I eventually found him and he not only signed my poster, but wrote me a letter back. Over the years I’ve managed to meet the rest of the cast and get my poster pretty graffitied up. After sending it out to Kat Lester I swore that the poster was NEVER going through the mail again….even though I really Don Coscerelli, so you can imagine how thrilled I was to see him join the guest list.

But Indiana. Seriously, what’s up with Indiana?

Every time I’ve passed through the state, I meet the rudest most obnoxious people. The guy at McDonalds who wouldn’t let us make a local call to get a locksmith out to help us in our car when the keys got locked in. All the people who insist on cutting you off, the attitude at the gas stations… I just don’t know what it is, but it happens so often it’s a running joke between me and my wife.

Cursed I tell you.

I arrived at the hotel in good time, only to be herded by the rudest security I’ve ever met at a con.  Interestingly enough they weren’t allowing outside food into the con. That was a problem for the Hotel GUESTS who were treated with equal disdain by the security (well, you need to TELL us you’re a guest, I suppose we can let you by. HEY! YOU! We need to SEE your wristband! Don’t you know that has to be visible???). Good security is invisible. Maybe they ask you quietly to see your pass, these guys were loud and just… rude. They checked bags for food and water bottles…I didn’t have a big problem with that, but the guards way of checking wasn’t to look inside, they just took it and crushed it to feel for bottles and weight. I had photos in there which fortunately didn’t get bent, but I wasn’t pleased. The entire point of this by the way, had to do with the fact that the hotel was setting up a concession area, cafeteria style In the con area. I’m fine with that. It’s cool, and convenient. I even understand the scalper prices – $3.00 for a bottle of water. However, don’t try to pretend you’re Disneyland or a movie theatre and limit stuff coming in. This is a hotel, not a convention center. you just look greedy and foolish trying to do this. When lunch time came around, I grabbed a set of plastic silverware from one of their tray and took it outside with me to use on the lunch I packed in my car.

This con managed to hit every one of the things that make me hate big shows like this. Obnoxious  security, guests cancelling, late panels and guests that are never at their tables. Tony Todd didn’t show up until around 2. Lisa Wilcox was gone from her table so often that I assumed she and Tony had both just cancelled. I shouldn’t have to keep checking back at tables to see the celebrities I came to meet. That’s the convention’s responsibility, and if they are getting in late, it’s the cons responsibility to let the attendees know that.

I know. It sounds like a miserable day. I want to make it clear here, I HAD A GOOD TIME. It was a fun day, but that was DESPITE the problems.

IMG_0138I did stand in line to meet Danny Trejo. That was fun. I never would have believed it, but he’s a big goofy teddy bear. He’s just the happiest guy you’d ever meet and seriously…just goofy! He’s also got a lot of sense, and I loved his panel. “If you don’t want to be a role model, you’re probably doing something wrong”. He had my full attention after those words.

You may remember that he signed my Dusk Till Dawn poster through the mail a while back. I wonder if his handlers know that he does that, because they were charging $40.00 for autographs. Yeah, whatever, I’d just like to say hello and take aIMG_0118 picture please! I’m not paying  that.

Don Coscerelli was a delight to meet.  He’s got a practiced friendliness that I can appreciate. I told him that my wife only made it through  about half of John Dies at the End and he asked me where she had to leave. It was the bit where they check the back of the truck and there’s a fiendish thingie in there. He laughed and replied “Well, she gave it a good try!”. We talked about Angus a little bit and he mentioned that Angus has almost a photographic memory….he’ll remember if you sent a letter or if you met him before. He also promised to try andget him on the phone for the panel. He in fact did do this, but the speaker on that iPhone was a little garbled. Still, though, really nice to hear from Angus even if he couldn’t be there that day!

100_4442I also connected with the guys from the Fear.Net TV series Holliston. I hadn’;t heard of this before, but apparently it’s like the Big Bang Theory…only for Horror fans. They were giving away posters and signing for free – I mentioned this at the last DOTD, the guys from the Collection did this as well. It’s a brilliant marketing strategy. I had no idea this series even existed. Now I’m a fan. The creator, Adam also directed Frozen, a film I liked (recommended by the guys over at Horror Ect) and Hatchet, which I keep meaning to see. Very cool to meet them. We talked a little about piracy and how they really wanted to get the brand out there. they actually gave the liscence to one company that was going to make statues of one of the characters, all they wanted in return was one.  Not only did the company not send them a statue, they abused the liscence and now keep avoiding them at cons. Another vendor slipped by and grabbed a handful of the posters they were giving for free and then started selling them for ten dollars at a booth down the aisle. What a shame, that kind of 100_4448backstabbing going on, especially to these guys who have had just a little success and really are trying to connect with the fans.  They did a great panel and I really loved what I saw.

One of the cast is Oudrous, the lead singer of GWAR. I stopped by to see him out of costume and chatted a little while  – and did one of the stranger things I’ve done with a guest. I mentoned that Danny Bonaduche (whos show I podcast every day) loves GWAR. Anytime they mention any type of metal on the show, Sabbath, Zeppelin, Ozzy, he responds “oh, metal, like GWAR! I love GWAR!”.  I finished telling the guy elm st grlsthis and he just stared at me for a moment….like he wasn’t sure what to say. Then he replied. “Are you serious? I love Danny Bonaduche. We should try to get on his show!” I told him the radio station and location. I’d love to see that happen myself.

Towards the end of the day, I noticed Lisa Wilcox was finally at her table with Tuesday Knight. They were both in Nightmare on Elm Street 4 and I had a special picture I had printed out for them both to sign- a screencap from the movie. However, after waiting all day and it was late…I was debating on heading back out to the car to get the pic and going to the table…I was just tired. I decided to make the trip and I’m so glad I did. They were both perky, friendly and LOVED the photo. Seriously, it 100_4461was the weirdest reaction. Tuesday in particular gushed over it…”Look and it’s a profile! I love profiles! that’s such a great picture! LISA! Come over here and look at this photo! isn’t this cool? Can you send me one?”

I have to be the only guy in the world who gets girls phone numbers at a horror convention….I’ll be emailing that photo later today I think.

All in all, it WAS a fun con, and Days of the Dead does put on a good show, but unless Angus shows up next year ( he said he might) I don’t think I’ll be back to Indy. I’ll stick with Chi-town in the future.

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Happy 4th!

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Happy Independence Day from all of us at Violent Blue!


Star Trek into Darkness

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StarTrekIntoDarknessIMAXposterPTParamountFinally took a break from Violent Blue to get out to the Lorain Palace to  see the new Star Trek movie. My reaction was simple. It was good. It wasn’t Star Trek, but it was good.

I think that’s the only way I can look at these movies and be okay. The whole time travel conceit helps, but I’m just far too aware that these are not the characters I know. That’s Chris Pine playing Kirk. It’s not Kirk himself on screen.  I never had those kind of feelings with the original cast…not even with Nimoy’s cameos in the new movies….when Nimoy shows up – that’s Spock. I believe it. When Zachery Quinto is on screen, it’s Zachery Quinto in pointy ears.

It’s not just the cast though, J.J. Abrahams seems to be missing some of the soul of Star Trek, and certainly the familiarity. When the Klingon ships show up – I had no idea what I was looking at. If they hadn’t told me those were Klingon ships, I never would have figured it out. That wasn’t the case when  the bird of prey showed up in Star Trek 3. It LOOKED Klingon. There was a design language that told us what we needed to know immediately. Those new ships….they’re just a bunch of polygons flexing up and down. It’s a shame, I like Abram’s direction, and his style, but I wish he’d been P9gCjj5given the reins ten years ago and done this stuff in continuity, rather than in a tangent universe. I think that would have been a beautiful and bold change. This….this is just…not Star Trek.

I’m not going to try and make snarky remarks about this being a remake of Wrath of Kahn, because it isn’t.  It’s a completely different kind of Kahn story and a good one at that. It’s also a great thing they set Kahn up to be able to come back, and really using him is logical. Over the years he’s been set up (correctly or incorrectly) as Kirk’s arch-enemy. It makes sense for him to show up here. The touches like the Spock shouting “Kahn” as Kirk lies dying in a radiation chamber are obvious star-trek-into-darknesshomages (and I think, a little unnecessary) but this is not even remotely the same story. I do believe it can stand alone and really is a great story.

I did like all the alternate uniforms we saw. The diving suits were really cool and I even marginally like the gray suits for headquarters, though the hats I think took the military look to far – anyone who complained about Harve Bennetts red uniforms looking to militaristic ain’t seen nothin’ yet! Still the I liked the variety. I’ve always thought that was a nice part of the films- we had the base red uniform, and different coats for away missions, and different uniforms for engineering and medical.

star-trek-into-darkness-scene-600x337They take the alternate uniforms a little far this time though don’t they?

Seriously. It’s the same complaint I had with IM3. We don’t actually see  Tony in the suit enough. It’s still a problem here. We waited all last movie to see Kirk in the gold shirt, and we got it for five seconds at the end. This movie, we’re still spending the majority of the film with him in different uniforms.

Perhaps they were able to get away with this better when Shatner and Nimoy and Kelly were in the roles (although I’m not even sure about that. On of the things that irritates me about 3&4 is the lack of screen time for my favorite of all Starfleet uniforms) but with these characters, we haven’t had enough time to emotionally invest in these actors as the characters. We haven’t had movies_star-trek-into-darknessenough exposure to this ensemble and it only heightens the feeling that these are just actors playing the characters… not the characters themselves.

And that’s what it keeps coming down to. This isn’t Star Trek to me. I don’t recognize it, and that’s a shame. I think people like me would have been more ready to embrace it if we’d had more, not having to wait for three years. The only continuity we’ve had is a comic book series from IDW and perhaps a few kids novels.  A sister series on TV would have helped. A set of monthly novels and more magazines would have helped. Most of all, an eighteen month turn around schedule would have helped.

But there’s none of this, and whatever bloom there might have been, is off the rose.

These are fun sci-fi- action flicks (something that Trek  films devolved into during the TNG movies- and they really should be blamed for that), but they aren’t Star Trek, and that’s fine. But don’t expect my devotion. Don’t expect my respect.

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When does Doctor Who start up again?


Not what I expected

Marvel ClixSo the word came down that we were playing a pick up game over at Comics are Go! I figured cool, friendly game, get to try out the utility belt and thought I’d create a fun team out of some of my movie figures..throw Dark Knight batman with Avengers movie Cap and Ryan Reynolds Green Lantern.

Yeah, that’s not what they had in mind.

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So the guys start pulling out these GIANT figures and decide the game is going to be 1800 points….I’m looking at what I brought and didn’t think I even HAD 1800 points there (I didn’t. It was 1250. They loaned me a Giant Man and another high point figure to make up the difference.)

As the Fing Fang Foom duked it out with Dormmamau, I was tryign to sneak my SHIELD Agent over to the bat signal. He didn’t make it over there before the Preadator X’s in thrall to Dormmamau caught him and ripped him to shreads. No surprise there, he wasn’t a superhero, just human. Still, I have to think his reaction to the situation would probably go a little something like this….

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