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Archive for January, 2015

Ghostbusters reboot

150127173400-female-ghostbusters-split-exlarge-169The internet has been all abuzz with the casting announcement of the new Ghostbuster cast. My reaction was pretty simple; There’s no one here I want to see.

It’s such a shame. This could have worked if it had been done as a spin off. The comics have done some really interesting things in that vein.


But this? this is just…there’s no love. there’s no respect for what a remarkable film that first movie was.

There seems to be this idea of “We want to show this in a way you’ve never seen it before!”

But I liked how it was before….and wasn’t it kind of successful?

A female cast could work. But not this cast and not this way. Imagine a film that starts off with the familiar cast (Pay Murray what it takes to get him on set for ONE day). Murray or Akroyd have a huge blowout fight with Annie Potts, probably over shared grief in losing Egon recently. She quits and starts her own franchise with all women and Rick Moranis manning the phones.
They do great work, (insert a shot of Akroyd, Murray and Hudson watching their commercials and reading their headlines – still all one days work for Murray). Murray comes to apologize to Potts, or maybe comes just short of an apology (his pride won’t let it happen) and shortly after Ghost Egon Peterthat he gets killed during a mission. The women have to step up and help Akroyd and Hudson stop the threat. There’s good ghosts trapped by evil ghosts – when the good ones are freed, One turns to them and it’s Murray. He says “Look who I found!” He gestures and is joined by a ghost Raimis (transparent and bluish, but definitely a young Raimis – a CG modle. No lines). He tells them not to worry about them, they’re off to start a franchise of their own…and fade away.

That works. You still get the impression that the classic Ghostbusters are out there doing their thing, and that they will show up from time to time, but you get a whole new cast in the process.

Seriously, can you imagine how incredible a Ghostbuster team led by Annie Potts would be??? And If Murray won’t come back, give all his parts to Akroyd. Even without Murray this could have been done and would have been a far better film. 3965585-gb-new01-coverbThe cameos wouldn’t feel so much like cameos, but rather a driving part of the story.

I’ve occasionally seen some cries of misogyny regarding the negative reaction to this cast. Rebooting with a cast that I personally don’t like (I find none of these women funny. Was Tina Fey not available? How about ANY of the cast from the Big Bang Theory? Was Kirsten Vangsness not taking any calls?), and with no ties to the source material, this is simply a slap in the face, and it has nothing to do with feminism.

No, the Ghostbusters reboot is going to be one big cup of Nope! The originals still exist and I’m content with that as I watch this fall into career killing, bad idea obscurity.


Another portrait

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Lydia loves doing family portraits This one was done with grease crayons on a wipe board, so it sadly was not permanent.

Interestingly enough, she says it’s harder to draw Daddy than any of the other people in the family.


Glow comics part three


I mentioned a few month ago, instead of handing out flyers for our GLOW event, I created a small comics with all of our information on the back! Heres the second days comic to recap the further mischief from our villians!

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Last weekend

It’s been a rough weekend for us. It started with taking my car into the shop, only to be told that the engine was about to fall out of it.

I wish that was an exaggeration.

It drained our savings, but we got it done. It’s tight but drivable.

dxApparently some silly “hacker” (Air quotes. getting into someone’s facebook while wearing a guy fawkes mask doesn’t make you a hacker, it makes you a loser with nothing better to do.) sent some messages on my FB account and then friended himself to me. Seriously “Meta Dx”, you’re not even worth my scorn. I’ll just clean up your mess the same way I would with any other child.

I woke up Sunday morning to a cold house. The furnace has developed a problem. Fortunately, the Library has it’s own heat seperate  from the main system and the living room has a fireplace so  we were able to keep the ground level warm. We checked what we had left in the bank to get ready for the repairman. (by the way, Geni Heating & Cooling at 627 Dorothy Drive Brunswick, OH was recommended to us and advertise 24 hour service, but they refused to come out to our part of town. We don’t recommend them).

We discovered our checking account was empty.

Someone had gotten in to my ebay account about six hours earlier (diffrent region from the child who was on FB, and a diffrent kind of hack anyhow) and made about twenty purchases. Only seven went through.

Huntington bank was useless. They passed the buck and said we had to go to eBay. Huntington would not help – I’m not pleased with that, and it makes me think twice about recommending them as well.

Ebay said contact the sellers. I had already done that. I expected a bit more help, but at least they backed me up. Paypal too.

I want to give a shout out to the six sellers who responded back to me immediately and refunded my money within twelve hours.



You guys are truly class acts and I can’t thank you enough for your understanding. To all of my readers, please check thier stores out and think of these guys if you are looking for something on eBay. They were the victems of this fraud just as much as I was.
In the end all the transactions were cancled, and we’ve recovered 80% of the lost money (and likely will recover the full 100%, but I’m not going to be pleased if I have to pester them for it).
I wanted to put this post up, not to complain, but to give some praise to the people who did help out (and maybe name a couple names of those who were less than helpful), and to show you that this kind of thing happens, but it’s not the end of the world. We got the ebay problem solved in less than 24 hours from the incursion. We had to do most of the leg work ourselves, but it got done. The bad guys are out there. Don’t let them win.
We’ll see you tomorrow. New violent blue up today

Thank You Florence Henderson

AutographsI’ve heard if you send her an email, you’ll still get a preprint photo, but if you send her a picture and a SASE you’ll get a real autograph. I’ll go for real any time. There’s even an address on her website! And let’s face it, who DIDN’T grow up with Florence Hederson? She never ran away from that persona as the Brady mom, but rather embraced it and it kept her on television for decades, doing commercials and game shows and guest spots! This is a great addition to my collection.


In Defense of Hellraiser Bloodline


untitledIt’s a guilty pleasure, one of the weakest of any of the theatrical Hellraiser films, but I feel I have to step up and defend this one. In fact, Hellraiser in general will be getting a lot of my attention in this column over the next year.

First and foremost, please don’t tell me that this one sucks because it’s the one in space. I’ll likely slap you in the face. Yes, a part of it does take place in space, but it’s less than a third of the film and was planned as even less.

Ah plans.

This is possibly the single most meddled with of all the Hellraiser films. I’ve read no less than four scripts for it and own not only the theatrical, but also an strange workprint that surfaced over at The Hellbound Web. You can see a great deal more emphasis placed on modern day and the past sequences, making it a great deal better in fact. There’s more terror, more threat. Less….dog.

imagesCAFH5H33Of course by this time, Dimension wanted more slasher material, less of the haunting villain. In the late 80’s and 90’s Peter Atkins was really the custodian of Hellraiser. He was the scriptwriter and one of the guiding forces of the story. You can see where the studio tinkered to get more kills, or came up with bizarre ideas like making the chatterer in this film a chatterbeast…. The litany of how much Dimeinsion interfered with this is legend but let’s hit a few key points

Adding the space wraparound to get to Pinhead sooner,  despite every version of the script up until then having him appear around the 40-minute mark.

imagesCAZ9Z6EQMore kills, less plot. Huge chunks of the script were excised. Scenes that were filmed were left of the cutting room floor – in general you edit seconds, minuets out, not scenes…certainly not ones that explain dialogue and plot points.

We know Kevin Yagher quit. I’ve read in more than one place that his replacement did as well, and in other places I’ve heard of as many as four different directors for this film.

For all of this, there are great moments. LeMerchant is portrayed a little more heroically than he was in the comics, but ochildne could chalk that up to it being told from a family history point of view which makes him more heroic, less of a sadistic serial killer. We really do get an interesting history of the box and the scene of  the Merchant building (which pretty much picks up straight off from the end of Hellraiser three) is perfect. It’s a lot of what I wanted from the end of that film. There’s a scene with Pinhead and John Merchant’s child that still disturbs me. It’s not like a jump scare, it’s not terror…it’s horror. He has the kid and you just don’t know what he’s going to do with him. He’s invaded your very ordinary domestic world and you’re just human. Powerless. The design of the cenobite Angelique is nothing short of stunning. Extremely Hellraiser.

I’ve actually got no complaints about the “in space”. The ship is gloomy, dirty, camped. There’s dust and chains and cold metal all around.  They play it straight, and really, it heightens the feeling of isolation. It’s like a haunted house with monsters romancing the halls…only there’s no hope of escape. shipYou either defeat the monsters or they YOU WILL DIE. It’s pretty horrifying in of itself. of course the idea of Cenobites roaming the station looking for people to kill is not exactly Hellraiser, instead it’s what the studio thought would be an easier sell.

If you haven’t seen it in a while, this movie is worth a second look. This is a film that improves on subsequent watching, perhaps because you know what to expect. I’ve always viewed Hellraiser as episodic and this movie is really three different episodes of that series, adding just a slight bit more to the mythos. If you can find the original workprint, it’s worth watching (avoid the “reconstruction” one floating around Youtube. It’s got some of the missing scenes, but then adds some weird CG ones of it’s own as well).

Alien Isolation

gamerAliens games

I’ve always been a big fan of Aliens games. I remember seeing that Aliens upright game show up  at the bowling alley and I could always beat the first boss with one quarter, but would always get killed on the next leave, (driving and elevator). I had the first Alien game for the Atari 2600. I didn’t spend  as much time on the Aliens vs. Predator arcade game, but my Friend Johnny Em did. I had Alien 3 on my gameboy, nd while I had kind of outgrown the arcade scen by the time that Alien : the Gun arrived, I did take notice and look upon it longingly.

About fourteen years ago  I was very into the Aliens Vs. Predator Gold game. It came at just the right time for me, as I was getting into FPS and multiplayer. I really liked the look they managed to create for it, more than a passing resembalace to the terraforming station in  Aliens (flat as it may be)  and it was the first time I really got a feel for how fast and dangerous these creatures were. It was one of the first time a game startled me, and I really loved it, possibly my favorite Alien game of all time.

aliens game 2

2416302-ai_360+rgb+frontIt’s been  a while since I found  a new Alien game and very recently we finally got it. I finished alien : isolation this weekend. The design of this game is brilliant, immersive.

An awful lot of the game play however, involves hiding from the alien. Basically jumping into a locker closing it, and watching the thing walk by. This was cool at first, and scary, peering at the thing through the slanted slits was really effective. But it began to happen so much that it got annoying. However, this game isn’t really about the Alien. You won’t see too much  of them here, perhaps jut a little less than you might wish.

There’s no killing it, though you are equipped with a flame thrower to drive it away. But not being really able to blast these things away (It’s far more Alien than Aliens) means you have to work around them. The scenes were you have to toss some sonic noisemaker out to distract the Alien and then run behind it to get away – you’re in the same room. You’re in the same space as the alien and you’re just hoping that it doesn’t turn around and see you. This is where the game gets a little nerve-racking. This is where it gets a litt2552234-preview_alieniso_20140606v2gsle scary.

By the way, Considering how much we complain about them being computer-animated in the films the aliens look really good here. Perhaps it’s the context, they’re surrounded by computer animation here. Where as it in a real-life film a suit or a puppet work better. In real life, real objects have weight…something CG just never quite seems to achieve. It could also be how sparingly they are used, and all the shadow that they are draped in when we do see them. And that weight I mentioned earlier, they definitely have weight in this game, as they walk by you can hear the clomp clomp clomp of their feet. It’s effective and heavy, and it’s inclusion is definitely a welcome addition to the mythos .

1390105674-7Still, like I said, this game isn’t about the Alien. It’s about the environment. I genuinely feel like I’m inside the alien universe. So many of these designs from the hatches to the padding on the walls to the grating on the floors in the shape of the hallways, it’s all straight at the movies and beautifully replicated.

There’s an interesting element of the walking dead in here as well. The idea that civilization on the space station has broken down and people are divided into factions, murderous groups that prey on each other. It’s an interesting aspect we never really explored in any of the movies. The synthetics in this game are different from the robots and the rest of the alien series as well. Not sure why that decision was made, perhaps to make them easy to identify within the game. They alien-isolation-111most definatley are wonderfully effective with glowing red eyes deathly pallor to their skin. A great deal of the game is spent avoiding a group of these turn murderous and it adds an unexpected element of depth. A word of advice, the most effective weapon here is the handgun. Three shots should bring any of these guys down.

One of the things that I’m not thrilled about was the main character. The inclusion of Ripley’s daughter in this game seems forced, although the way the storytelling goes, it IS an organic progression it does make sense. Still, I would’ve thought by now we would’ve learned that you don’t need somebody with the name Ripley just make it an Alien movie. Far more interesting al1and effectively tying to the alien film, (the original that is) is a flashback sequence showing the discovery of the Nostromo’s flight recorder. No sign of the ship or lifeboat, but they did find a flight recorder, and obviously this is where the alien comes into play. It’s an adequate explanation of why alien running around in this ship in a story that takes place somewhere between alien, and aliens. Then again yet another trip to LV – 426 just feels repetitive, and I do wish there is another way of doing this. To be fair though, the point of the game is to be able to actually participate in the movie, to be able to visit the sites that we saw in the films, and that’s really why we find ourselves back on Acheron.

I’m also not a fan of the ending. I’m not sure if they were going for bleak or ambiguous, but the alien films have never really alien-isolation-2been either of those. even 3, the most downer of them all, Ripley’s sacrifice feels heroic. Triumphant. this game ending, I’m just not sure what to make of it.

if you’re a fan of survival horror games, you’ll dig this. If you’re one of those people like me who is just fascinated with the Alien universe – so much so that you’ve not only seen all the movies in the theater, but you’ve also seen the three hour assembly cut of Alien, and watched Prometheus more than once, you’ll really love it.

Blade Runner this weekend


Heading out to the Capitol theater in Cleveland this Saturday night for the midnight screening of Blade Runner. I’ve never seen this on the big screen, and while it’s not my preferred version of the film, this is definitely something to be experienced in the theater.

Blade Runner: The Final Cut’ is part of the Melt Bar and Grilled Cleveland Cinemas Late Shift Series! Admission is just $5. One lucky audience member will win a snake! Come on out and join me this weekend and it could be you!

Capitol map

Spanish Dracula


We’re starting a new colum this year called Forigen Film Fiasco. Ove the years a untitled2great many familiar properties have been remade for the forgien market. Sometimes legitimately, sometimes in outright violation of copyright, character and good taste.

We’re going to start off simple with a good one. Dracula.

This version is in Spanish and was being filmed at the same time as the Lugosi movie, on the same sets, at night. I’ve heard some folks say it’s superior. My best guess is that this comes from an over familiarity with the Lugosi film, not to mention never seeing it on the big screen.

I’ll admit I like the way this actor rises from the coffin, but that’s about it. The rest of his untitledperformance is stiff, he doesn’t have Lugosi’s character to fill up that screen. Still, it’s an interesting watch if only to compare and contrast, I enjoy it for much the same reasons I like Workprints. I occasionally see it online and I know it was released in the Universal box set a few years ago.

Richard Moll


This is one I had to try twice on. My first attempt to Richard Moll came back Return to Sender. A shame, because I had a nice collage of a lot of his roles in that one. Still, this time I had time to find some proper photos and got some fairly standard poses. Night Court is one of my favorite shows ever and Moll is the first cast member from that series I’ve gotten!

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Je Suis Charlie

Originally I had an argo city movie night planned for the space but, the events over the last weekend really dictated a different kind of post. First and foremost I want to address the death of comedian Taylor Negron. I was a big fan of Taylor way back from his comics trip live appearances in the 90s. It’s always cool to see someone like that really grow and develop, and far too many comedians from that era like Richard Geni and Sam Kinison are simply no longer with us. There were a myriad of comedians exploding on the scene during that initial Seinfeld run (not sure if that was the chicken or the egg, but comedy really did become the hottest thing ever right at that time), and most of them faded away I’ll admit. But really, it was also time that launched a lot of careers. I’m gonna Miss Taylor, and all the different appearances that he made. Taylor never was a headliner it seemed like, but man did he show up in every TV show film and guest role that he could get his grubby little hands on.
It also seems significant to touch on the events in France and the hash tag that’s been falling around the Internet lately. First and foremost if you are going to use it please get it right. it’s Je Suis Charlie. It is NOT “Jesus is Charlie”. Trust me when I tell you Charlie was most definitely not Jesus. I have no doubt that at this point they have met, but the Bible tells me I’m not allowed to Judge those cartoonist’s spiritual state (That’s what the whole “judge not lest you be judged” passage actually means.please stop misquoting it everybody), and as such I cannot rightly comment on how I believe that meeting went though I have my suspicions.I don’t like to handle. I never did period our opinions clash, our worldviews clash. I did not particularly respect the magazine as a cartoonist or as a satirist. I read one blogger who mentioned liberals have a tendency to react when something is banned are attacked by glorifying or are lionizing the attacked concept . I don’t think the sort of blasphemy or ugliness that came out of try Habdo deserves that sort of admiration. But their right to create and publish it with out being murdered for it, indeed should be protected . it’s a case of “I hate when you say, but I’ll defend your right to say it” and in that respect, as a cartoonist myself who occasionally publishes material that is religious and therefore controversial, Je Suis Charlie.

And by the way there is new Violent Blue up today! Maybe they can lighten the mood and get your mind off of the terrible events of last week.

The Prometheus trap

Movie bannerThe Prometheus Trap can be summed up in a very simple way. It wants to be Triangle (Imdb referance here) in space. We have a very standard time loop kind of story where the crew is unaware that things are changing .Over all, this film lacks the power of script that Triangle had. Triangle attempts to elevate the above subject matter, and really gives us a sense of dread, playing with the atmosphere and the timeline itself . You’re not really aware that you in some sort of weird time loop period until well into the film. Prometheus on the other hand, wears it like a badge of honor on its sleeve.

The Prometheus Trap has a great poster,now I know you cant judge a book by its cover, in the same is true of any movie, however I checked out the screen grabs insight in arresting costumes nice-looking said and some good-looking ships. That elevated it above a lot of sci-fi dreck that we run into from time to time. The production values are good, and the look is standard that stylized. The real problem here is the script in areas it almost feels like it wants to be terribly philosophical, however it doesn’t have anything to say (Though, I’ll admit I liked the bit about being programed to know your creator – there some Christian philosophy in there somewhere…) and the plot is just threadbare.

This is a problem because it doesn’t justify the 89 minute running time. One almost gets the impression that the screenwriter figured that because it  going to be repeating events over and over and over again we don’t really need that much plot and character development. This is where the film largely fails and possibly is the starkest contrast to Triangle which is all about character development. I suspect this would have worked better as a short subject rather than a feature film There’s some clever bits here, like the androids being able to perceive the time loop because thier memories are cloud based, stored outside the bubble, but it’s just not enough.

In the end I’d say don’t waste your time on this one. It’s rare that I say completely pass on something but this one just isn’t worth the time to watch. If you’re flipping channels and find on SyFy  hang out for half an hour or so you’ll get the basic idea and then move along.

Don’t forget, there’s new Violent Blue today!



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

Every Wednesday and Friday


Ron’s Big Adventure part one


Of all the films I’ve ever done, this is my favorite.

Seriously. It was the best experiance I’ve ever had making a movie. I had a GREAT DP in Dan Kruzer, a good scrip that I didn’t have to write myself and a wonderful cast. Our Star T.J. is a lot like Ron, or at least, he used to act like that. I’m grateful I got to know him because I got to see ther was a lot more to him than everyone else saw, and wherever he is today I hope he’s doing well.  So without further adieu, we present the first part of Ron’s Big Adventure.

Agent Carter


These days, I tend to gravitate far more to film than I do to TV. I just don’t watch that much anymore. Some of that has to do with the serialized nature of modern television as opposed to the stand-alone episodic format I grew up with. Having to sit down at the same time every week is difficult for me.

That may have been one of the reason Agents of SHIELD was such a challenge for me. I wasn’t invested and quite frankly, I kept forgetting that it was on, although I’d stop and watch it if I happened to find it while flipping channels  if it was near the beginning.

I’ve been aware of the hype behind Agent Carter but wasn’t really planning on watching it. It seemed like more of the same, and my attitude was the similar, that I would probably watch it if I happened across it while flipping channels.

Amazingly, that’s exactly what happened.


I really like that this has such a firm connection to Captain America : the first Avenger. I remember spending a lot of the early day in SHIELD expecting it to feel more like a spin off of the Avengers, but it never really managed to feel like a proper sequel. In this show however, we see carter browsing that Steve rogers file that was shown at the end of the first Cap movie, and we even get a flashback to it. This is exactly the kind of payoff I wanted and it makes it feel very connected.

I love Howard Stark in this. I really wish we’d see more of him, but I suspect that’s not going to happen and that’s a shame really, even a mentor part – a bookend to the episodes would really work well for me. It’s my hope that if this series goes somewhere that he will become a regular member of the cast after his name is cleared.

There are nice touches here. I happen to love this era and I’m really focusing on that. Throughout the episode we hear bits of a Captain America radio play which is another one of those great ties to the character, not to mention being a good juxtaposition between the perception of the agent – the Myth and the actual person. It’s not subtle by any means, but it fits, rather than the forced way Agents of SHIELD used to try and shoehorn a reference to “Gamma Radiation” or “Stark Industries” in every episode. Indeed, a lot of Agent Carter works in great part I thin, because the producers have better learned how to put a show like this together, and have a better feel for what the fans want, and how to tie it to the cinematic universe while grounding it for a broader audience.

If you like Agents of SHIELD, then It’s safe to say you’ll like this. They are both very much the same genre, while each having their own distinct personality and it’s interesting to see that Marvel is really developing their own sub-genres here, their own CSI franchise if you will.  While Agents of SHIELD wasn’t my thing, I do believe I will probably follow this one all the way to the end. The fact that there is an end helps for me, and I can more  easily make a commitment to seven episodes than I can to 22 and beyond.

He-Man : the Sunbird Legacy


This is an old one. I remember this being at school so I probably got it from the christmas shop at school, but I’m not sure.

This could possibly be the first graphic novel I ever got – It’s far more comic book than any of the other Golden books of the era. Interestingly enough, while this defiantely was written during the period that the cartoon was on, the imagry is strictly that of the toys. It still features characters lik the Socreress, and Prince Adam, looking a bit liek the cartoon, but King Randor looks far older and more regal. Many of the Golden books began to look more and more like the cartoon, they took great pains to replicate the look of the toys with this one. Teela is in her images2snake armor. Man At Arms is clean shaven, no moustache. Evil Lyn is bright yellow and she even turns into Screech – a character I don’t ever remember seeing in the cartoon.

The plot revolves around an ancient artifact that looks like a cross between images3a totem pole and a nuclear missile. It was disassembled and scattered across Eternia and it’s a race against the bad guys to reach it first.

Most He-Man fare from this era is very kid oriented, sometimes even silly ( the Marvel/Star comics immediately comes to mind). There’s some more serious mini comics in the first wave or two but after the cartoon defined the character the tone of the stories got a lot more watered down. This is surprisingly violent for the time period and for something so close to the cartoon. It’s refreshing actually, and one of the best stories from the time oeriod. I don’t see this getting reprinted any time soon, but you can frequently find these on eBay and I highly recommend picking this volume up.


Justice League TV

Lets start off the new year with a bit of art. This is something I did to reward myself for finishing the inks on Knight No One Forgets (available soon), and is a concept that’s been rattling around my head for ages – heros that originated on TV. Not ones that came from other sources and were made into TV shows, but ones that started (and usually ended) as television (and a LOT of Glen Larson influence). This is going to show up in a Violent Blue strip later this month I think, but for now here it is as a fun stand alone piece.


Th color makes a big differance on this piece. I won’t lie, I hate coloring stuff and I usually feel it messes thigns up but I’m happy with this one. Here’s a couple of extras, shots of the steps; pencils and inks.

jltv pencilsjltv bwjl tv color

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

This pretty much sums up my feeling as about the game last night.