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

Archive for December, 2013

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Closed for Christmas

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Happy Christmans and Merry New Year!

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A Christmas Story

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1425796_675027932541633_1816864993_nYou know, the Christmas Story is really more my wife’s thing, but that’s okay. She helps put it in perspective for me. Sometimes you need someone else to help you realize why something is cool.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the film and here in Cleveland we love it because parts of it were shot here. I’ve been to the house before, in particular to meet Ian Patrella (Randy, the little brother) but this year the people who run the house and museum decided o throw a small convention. It was scattered around town unfortunately and that made it a little hard to find at times. I hit the cast meet and greet over at the renaissance hotel in Public square and got my poster all marked up. I’d sent it to Peter Billinglsly (Ralphie, the main character) several years ago and he’d signed it through the mail. Ian had already autographed it as well. But there were still some fun cast members there including the evil elf from the Santa visit, the bullies and Ralphie’s friend Flick (who got his tongue stuck to the flagpole). I was especially excited to meet Zack Ward, the bully 1425796_675027939208299_1096394837_nFarkus because he also has a small part in “Freddy vs. Jason”. He was charming, funny and extremely friendly.

Last weekend, they were screening the film in Cleveland. There were showings at both the Capitol and at the Cedar Lee. The Capitol is always my preferred venue because it’s closer and parking is free. It’s also a nice theatre. It’s not the palace, but it tries. The Cedar Lee is a bit of a dive (that’s not a bad thing by the way. You expect theatre that show Rocky Horror, or art and foreign films to be a little grimey!)

Usually I hit these theatres alone. Amy isn’t into a lot of the kinds of movies that they show at these places…but this time I packed her up and we headed out for a morning screening of A Christmas Story! $5.00 tickets and about a half full house.  The snow was keeping some people away I think. It’s also possibly that it just wasn’t promoted enough. I’m not sure.

1463000_682566698454423_600504286_nThere’s a reason I like going to the theatre to see films…even ones I’ve already seen. It’s a wonderful collective experience and you always see things on the big screen that you miss at home. Like this for instance. Randy falls asleep amid a mass of presents….one of which IS A FRANKENSTEIN MASK! Who gets a Frankenstein mask for Christmas??? You know… besides me….

We hope it’ll show somewhere next year so we can take the kids, and perhaps make this a part of our Christmas traditions just like tomorrow when we watch it play for 24 hours on TV!

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And a quick reminder, we’ll be taking this week off for Christmas, not only here at Argo City, but also over at Violent Blue. There’ll be some “lost” strips up for the vacation week, and regular comics and blogging will resume after the new year!


Christmas party at Carol and John’s

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Got the girls ready for the Christmas party by watching Santa Claus vs. the Martians! Then we loaded up and hit the party!

The girls got photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus, loaded up thier plates at the snack bar and put in thier raffle tickets for comics with custom covers. Maddie wanted the one with Ivy and Harly, and Lydia decided she wanted a Spidey comic with a kind of racy image of MJ on the cover – I really hope we don’t win that one actually (my wife will never believe that was Lyds and not me).

I think my favorite moment came early in the night though when Maddie ran over  to the toys and seized a figure of the Governor’s daughter and was in love. You may remember the Governor’s daughter was a zombie….then she found the comics while we were in line.

All in all we had a good night, the girls had fun and came away with some new books of thier own. Maddie loved her DC kids sampler and Lydia was thrilled to find a Scooby Doo book! I was just happy to hang out with the Pop! club and my daughters.

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Santa Claus is Coming to Town

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This year, as we head into the Christmas Season, we’re going to do a Christmas video every Thursday from when my girls were younger. Hopefully this will become a Christmas tradition!

And don’t forget, there new Violent Blue up tomorrow!


Pony

Maddie BannerMaddie wanted a special game for the party. She wanted to do “Pin-The-Tail-on-The-PONY”, and because Daddy can draw anything she asked me to make it up for her. I told her that was fine but she would have to color it, then asked which pony she wanted. She asked for Princess Celestia.

Here it is, about two feet by two and a half, colored by Maddie!

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Flag map

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I just want to take a moment to point this out. Violent Blue by it’s very nature as a webcomic was always potentially international.

I had no idea it would reach as many places as it has in the last four years. Every state in the US, almost every province in Canada and fully 79 countries.

For some reason it’s especially popular in Denmark.

One of the things that keeps me going is checking out this map from time to time, and today I thought I’d share it with you. Thanks so much to all of my readers, both local, and abroad!

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Christmas Night of the Living Dead

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This year, as we head into the Christmas Season, we’re going to do a Christmas video every Thursday from when my girls were younger. Hopefully this will become a Christmas tradition!

And don’t forget, there new Violent Blue up tomorrow!


Freddy Makeup

So I’ve been getting some questions about how I did my Freddy Makeup for Halloween this year.

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fredOne of the big reasons I didn’t just go out and buy the freddy makeup kit again is because it really dosen’t come with everything. You really need a bald cap to make this work at all, and then you also need some more texture on the chin and cheeks along with some fairly detailed paint skills. I man, look at this. This is all they give you in the package (also some rubber teeth, elmers glue and greaspaint). I figured I could create that myself…or at least give it a good try, so this year instead I bought a pint of Latex for less than I would have spent on the makeup kit.

While it was similarly involved, it wasn’t as complicated to figure out as the Pinhead makeup was…we should be able to cover this in one post.

I started off creating three appliances on my face, basically making ridges of cotton  and then layering latex over it until I could pull it off.  These are the appliances I came up with in my first session.

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First thing we do is shave. Trim the sideburns and make sure thee’s no hair Latex can get caught up in. That is nothing but painful.

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Time for the Bald cap.

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Now applying these one by one. The real point here is to actually leave a good chunck of my face uncovered, just painted, while the ridges surrounding it confuse the eye.

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I can see I need some real texture on my chin. We’ll add some cotton strips first.

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Next we will layer latex over it. Also need to add some ridges across the nose.

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Drying the latex with a hair dryer. Looks like this will ultimately fuse with the other pieces. I didn’t want one big mask, but it may turn out that way.

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Soemthing else I hadn’t counted on. The existing appliances won’t reach all the way to the edges of the bald cap. I’m going to have to extend them. Adding a layer of cotton that will go over the sideburns and protect them, then brushing latex over it. It should come out wrinkly enough on it’s own without making excessive ridges like I did with the other pieces.

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More hair dryer to solidify it. Everything is blending together, and it’s all going to be one piece I can see.

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The basic shape is done, but yeah, it still looks fake…after all it’s all that beige yellow latex color. We need some paint on this.

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I’m using more than greasepaint this year, I’m also adding blood gel. It’s making a big difference.

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I noticed I needed a little more texture on that upper lip (which has no latex or appliance on it) and added some more colors and stripes to it when I redid it for Halloween. Also added more colors to the neck and back of the head. It could be smoother, and I may make another pass at this come Wastland time but all in all I’m happy, and definitely better than that stupid makeup kit from the store! There you go! Freddy!

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Goblin

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It’s hard to describe how exciting this was. It’s almost on par with going to see my favorite band…but rarer. Honestly, how often is Goblin going to show up in Cleveland?

IMG_0363Goblin is of course the legendary band that scored so many of Dario Argento’s work, so much Giallo and Italian Horror from the 70’s and 80’s. They’ve never been to Cleveland before and I couldn’t think of anywhere else I’d rather be for than at this concert. I got there early for the meet and greet and got the three members who worked on it to sign my Dawn of the Dead poster (17 autographs and counting) along with a special commemorative poster specifically done up for the Beachland. The frontman Mossimo came out to shake hands and take pictures (“I expect to see these on facebook!” He said), the friendliest guy on the planet and just so happy to be there. They kicked us out shortly afterwards to set up for the opening act and I met up with my friend Jennifer for the show.

IMG_0372I wondered how much I’d recognize…they have their own music as well as the soundtrack scores they do, but almost every melody was familiar and it was exciting to see how they played these songs. Goblin is Prog Rock with a heavy synth influence…most rock bands have two guitarists. They have two keyboardists. A screen behind them showed scenes from Susperia, Dawn of the Dead, Tenebre and others as they played the music from them. Amazing to see it live. Some sounds I could have sworn were the keyboard were actually coming from the bass or the guitar.

The opening act, Zombi was good in of itself, with a similar feel to it. I was talking with one couple and the guy told me he liked Zombi themselves, but they’re kind of overshadowed by the fact that we’re here to see Goblin. I’d have to agree, though the opening act was enough to get me interested. I’ll be looking them up in the future, and I made sure they signed the gig poster as well!

I really can’t say enough good about the show, a really nice night all around and one I’ll remember every time I see a film with a Goblin soundtrack!

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Drummer Boy

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This year, as we head into the Christmas Season, we’re going to do a Christmas video every Thursday from when my girls were younger. Hopefully this will become a Christmas tradition!

And don’t forget, there new Violent Blue up tomorrow!


Wreck-It Ralph

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IMG_20130413_141438Wreck-it Ralph was one of those movies I kept meaning to get around to. It made it on to my radar during the Halloween season because my daughters got stickers at one of the trick or treat events we went to  and I liked the concept. I was reminded about it a couple months ago when I met Kyle Herbert, who does voices for Street Fighter – one of the cameos in the movie.

My older daughter is totally nuts for video games and she loved this movie. The story is told from the perspective of the game characters living in the games itself and has it’s similarities to things like TRON, but in a more lighthearted Pixar way. What’s interesting is that the games in the movie’s arcade run the gamut of game periods, from the things that belong firmly in the Donkey Kong era  through the 16 and 32-bit fighters to slick modern 3d racers that we8-bit Wreck-It Ralph game see today. Cameos are shoehorned in every chance we get, making games created for the movie  like Fix-it Felix (a weird combination of Donkey Kong and Rampage) or Sugar Rush (a candy themed racer) feel legitimate standing next to Q*Bert and Street Fighter and Sonic and Pac Man.

With CG cartoons increasingly aimed at children and not their parents, this works really wellimages giving both grown-ups and kids something to look for an enjoy. It’s also one of the rare roles for Sarah Silverman that doesn’t make me want to punch her in the face. I think the biggest downfall for the movie is the lack of tie-ins. Sure they released a Wreck-It Ralph video game, but what I want is a Sugar Rush racing game like in the movie! There’s a buggy flash version on the film’s website, but that’s not the same as me plugging it into my Wii Wreck-it-Ralph-wreck-it-ralph-33985804-1920-1200and racing in one of those candy cars on my big screen.

This one is definitely a buy for any gamers out there raising little gamers. Probably still a buy for anyone with primary school kids, and a rent for absolutely anyone who ever played a video game or used to hang out at the mall arcade.


One of my latest pieces for Angel Lite Comics was their flagship character Servant Warrior and his secret Identity Dante.
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