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Archive for March, 2015

Jodorowsky’s Dune

Movie bannerJodorowskys-Dune-posterOver the weekend I caught the Alejandro Jodorowsky Dune documentary. It was not what I expected. I had thought I was going to be overwhelmed with this visionary film concept. Instead it felt overblown and over important. And that’s really curious. I think that people get caught up in the concepts that were presented here, and the beautiful concept art. The problem with the concept art, is that it bears very little resemblance to the finished product. We frame these images in the context of modern film. But I remember film from the 70s, I remember science-fiction from the 70s. A great time capsule is the making of Star Trek Phase 2 book that came out many many years ago, chronicling the attempted launch of the first Star Trek sequel series. The look of the ship, the concepts that we see, They all change significantly from page to screen. They just do. There’s a look in the 70s that wasn’t quite Star Wars yet, with it’s modular, busy, liney look up on the hulls of spaceships. There is still a soft pastel, white, silverish look to them. Not quite the forbidden planet of the 60s, but certainly not the Millennium Falcon of the 80s.

Chris-Foss-Dune-Guild-Tug1-470x353I imagine this film would’ve ended up looking for great deal more like Dark Star then 2001. Once run through the filter Jodorowsky’s madness, it would not have ended up looking as slick or as fantastic as we really imagine. We’re dazzled with names like HR Geiger, and Dan O’Banion, and Mobius. But those names alone do not necessarily mean success. They do not necessarily mean quality, and the degree of Jodorowsky-Dunetheir involvement is really hard to say. It makes for great documentary fodder, but in the real world with all these different artists, and different visions, how involved with they really be? Would they be there all the way from page to screen? I doubt it.

My end analysis is that this is a good documentary. It’s a fun film and a fun way of wondering what might’ve been. But it doesn’t inspire the longing that I get from something like say, Harlan Ellison script for I robot (Another hopeless cause). No I don’t see how this film ever really would’ve gotten made. And the sort of underdog that this documentary tries to paint it as seems forced. I definitely recommend a watch on this, and make sure you got subtitles involved because there is a lot of French going on here. Judge on your own and I’ll be interested in hearing what conclusions the rest of you draw from this film!

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Captian Video

11058764_937433262967764_1448122600397396713_n10428540_934205623290528_661304230878551443_nYou don’t understand.

Sure that seems weird to start an article with, but I mean it. You can’t possibly understand what this means to me. See, when other kids my age were playing Star Wars, I was playing Captain Video. When I was a teenager drawing my own comics, my go-to was to create Captain Video comics. When I was  a kid playing out in the woods behind my home, or my grandparents home, I was pretending to be Captain Video. I have been imagining and talking about this character all my life…without ever seeing the source material.

See, here’s the thing, when I was a little child, my father would tell me stories about The Shadow, The Green Hornet….and Captain Video. Out of nowhere he’d bellow “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?”. If I saw Green  Lantern on Superfriends, he’d talk about the Green Hornet. Captain Kirk? Let me tell you about Captain Video! and his Video Rangers!

The big difference between characters like The Shadow and the Green Hornet vs Captain Video, is most of the adventures of the Hornet and the Shadow survived over the years. Captain Video was on TV for over 1000 episodes, but the vast majority of those tv shows were destroyed decades before I was born. As a kid I longed to see something of the character, 20907_940521695992254_6314234432148090053_nANYTHING of him. I was about twelve when I got my first glimpse – the trailer to the serial was included in a copy of Zacherly’s Horrible Horror, a compilation of old public domain film clips and serial trailers. I wore a hole in that part of the tape trying to eke ever ounce of Captain Video that I could from those two minuets. I wouldn’t get my hands on a copy of that serial until I was in my early thirties. About five years ago I found ONE episode of the TV show…up until then I had thought it must have only existed as a serial.

This book changes everything.

In his foreward, Roy Thomas points out that the TV show was the source material, one of the few TV shows to ever have a serial made from them (it was more common for the serial to come first). I had no idea so many episodes were produced, yet to this day, only 12 survive. Eight of them can only be viewed at UCLA, the remaing four were released on an Alpha Video DVD (and 11068096_940521205992303_8972134773244118693_nfloat around Youtube). Not only that, there was a spin-off planned, featuring the robot Tobar. I had NO idea. It completely changes my perspective on the series!

But that’s not the most amazing part. There were comic books.

Do you have any  idea how I LONGED for Captain Video comic books when I was a kid? No, forget I asked. You can’t possibly imagine wanting something as much as I wanted Captain Video comic books, so much so that I was driven to create my own with no more reference point than a grainy trailer and my fathers fuzzy memories.

Only one other time in my entire life have I been more excited to discover a book exists, when I discovered that my favorite author Roger Zelaznay had written a second cycle to his Amber 11071457_940521202658970_8408108072931108953_nseries. It’s a strange feeling, to discover a book you never even knew existed, and yet to know with utter certainty that you have been waiting for it your entire life.

Robots, laser guns, space cars (oh, and according to Roy Thomas, the inspiration for Ultron – this summer movie seasons biggest bad guy) and my Fathers greatest sci-fi hero – now in the palm of my hands.

In fact, why am I sitting here wasting time writing this post? I’m off to read my book! (and write Roy Thomas a REALLY embarrassing thank you letter)

Go read some Violent Blue.

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Last Week

tv

The FlashOh my God, did I call it? Didn’t I  call it? After a  SERIOUS Flash episode with huge ups and downs, we have one huge mulligan!

I was still happy to seethe return of our rogues and the real introduction of the Golden Glider. I do love how  this series goes on and even though this  episode wasn’t even remotely a worthy follow up to the previous  week, it’s still better than a whole lot of the dreck on TV.

iZombie came  out with a strong second episode, although I really would prefer if it was a less-sexy series. I don’t know that it needs the sensuality, particularly with the intrigue that we got set up with the intrduction of our new zombie friend. I’m really eagar for the next episode of this….and i’m going to be pissed if we have to put up with a stupid mid season break with this series as well…..

The Walking Dead. Man, I love a quarter staff. Who knew Morgan was going to turn out tizombieo be such a tough guy??? That was a great opening, to say nothing of the rescue he makes later on. On the other hand we start right off hating the people of Alexndria again. It doesn’t really go away either does it? The Mayor, Pete, Nicholas, you just want to grab them by the shoulders and shake them while yelling “What is WRONG with you?” Carol’s right, these people are children. Nicholas beef with Glen, and just the fact that they even let someone like Pete exist (not to mention his tantrum(s) this episode), these are the actions of self interested children. They don’t deserve Rick and his group.

I think the image of Sasha laying in the pit of zombies was beautiful.Over-the-top and pointless, but beautiful. And Father Gabriel…I wonder. Has he finally woken up? Does he finally get what this world has become?

I’m not sure how I feel about Daryl’s new adventures out in the wilderness, it’s an interesting direction though and it looks very much like they have a plan.Still, there’s just a sense of dread, especially with the wolves out there. It’s a whole new threat…and the trap with the trucks full of zombies only serves to showcase just how big of  one.TheWalkingDeadPoster

By the way, we have the name now for out Walking dead spin-off. “Fear the Walking Dead”. Let’s look at some of the real positives, AMC has shown they understand the soul of the show and I’m interested in  seeing if they can duplicate it. The idea of exploring the early days of the outbreak is fascinating, and it also provides a built in expiration date just in case the series isn’t received as well – indeed I think this kind of a show would be better served as a mini-series anyhow, but we’ll see.

New Violent Blue tomorrow. Stop watching TV and check it out.

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Duck Soup Sunday!

10847776_10154912268085401_415657839146996113_nHead to the Capitol this Sunday morning to see the Marx Brothers 1933 classic Duck Soup on the big screen. Admission is just $5! Enjoy discounted brunch afterwards at any of our partner restaurants: Luxe Kitchen & Lounge offers 2 for 1 Bloodies, Bellini’s or Beers, Latitude 41n, Reddstone Cleveland & STONE MAD PUB, RESTAURANT AND BOCCE offer 20% off brunch menu entrees.

Capitol map


Prince of Darkness

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Hey guys, I’m also blogging over at the Kreepy Kastle! Check them out, today we’re talking about Prince of Darkness!

http://kreepykastle.com/prince-of-darkness/

Oh and when you’re done with that, check out Friday’s Violent Blue!


Thank you Martien Mull!

Autographs

This is a reare via venue shot. I’ve had no success getting him through his agency, but when “Dads” priemered last year I checked the production schedule and knew he’d be on set through October, so I got a coupel of pics and sent them off.
I have a special affection for Mull, not only was he in Sabrina (which I was pretty obsessed with when I was younger) but he’s also local. I don’t just mean Ohio or Cleveland, no he grew up in North Ridgeville, the city adjacent to Elyria where I live. I go to Church in North Ridgeville. I’ve worked in that city. I’ve acted on the same stage as Mull did (twenty years removed).  So very cool I managed to get his one back I always wanted him!

Martien mull 1 Martien mull 2


Glow comics

commissions

 

This is not quite a commission, this was originally done up as a get well card for a sick friend, but the image was just to cute not to share.

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tvTheWalkingDeadPosterAfter a week of nearly nothing but repeats, last week’s Walking Dead really kicked off some amazing TV in a  shockingly brutal way.Seriously, the death of Noah was shocking and the gore level rivialed any of the Romero films that started the genre. Walking Dead has really kept us guessing lately, even people like me who are familiar with the source  materials,so  I anticipated last night’s episode with some small amount of dread.

I like that we really focused on the situation, front loaded with a lot of exposition. It’s important to remember, especially in a series like this, that words and interpersonal relationships are just as dramatic as killing zombies and nobel self sacrifices, not that we don’t take a uber-creepy turn towards the end with the tied up girl and random zombie parts…mild gore, but the context is what really makes  this creepy. That, and what it foreshadows.

But seriously, DOES IT NEVER OCCUR TO ANYONE HERE TO CONSERVE AMMO???  Seriously, where does everyone keep getting bullets and cigarettes? I’d think those would be the first things to go.


Oh and Sasha? Eat a snickers. You’re not you when you’re hungry
.

We knew the fight between Rick and the doctor was coming. We did, but I just remember it being more…noble in the sashacomics.Here, it’s played for a  completely different effect, underlining the friction between Rick’s ground in Alexandria. I really wish it had been more heroic, because Ricks rantings seemed almost insane. If anything though, it does make me very eager for the season finale. Interesting that on the Talking Dead, Chris Hardwick clled  it one  of the most intese episodes of the season.  he’s right, andagain, I feel compelled to point out it was with so little gore or zombies, especially compared to last week.

By the way, that commercial for Mission impossible? I’m sold. I haven’t liked that series sinceMI2, but man, this new one looks good!

ANOTHER rerun for Gotham…I’m getting a little frustrated with this. I miss the days when 22 episode seasons ran mostly unbroken, with only  a preempt and perhaps one rerun to catch up,but otherwise straight through .these two  and three week breaks, sometimes a month, they kill the momentum. The Flash

On the other hand, absence makes the heart grow fonder, we’ve  been waiting for new Flash and the latest episode went absolutely batcrap crazy. Sure we’ve known who the Reverse Flash was from almost day one, but to see Cisco dead and Iris finding out the secret…

except it’s a huge mulligan. Time travel at the end blows my mind sure, but it also  means, the whole thing is just going to get reset to status quo this week doesn’t it? I mean it’s kind of like that Family Guy episode where Stewie simulates killing Lois  and the conversation at the end…

Brian: Yes, but, theoretically, if someone watched the events of that simulation from start to finish, only to find out that none of it really happened, I mean you don’t think, that would, j– be just like a giant middle finger to them?
Stewie: Well, hopefully, they would have enjoyed the ride.
Brian: I don’t know, man. I think you’d piss a lot of people off that way.

We’ll See Flash. We’ll see.

Oh my God, how good was iZombie?

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, I did pick up the first four issues or so of the comic back in 2012 or so and really enjoyed it, izombiebut drifted away for some reason. Now  full disclosure, the TV storyline is NOTHING like the comic, at least the pilot isn’t. The circumstances, the situation is very different, but what they get right, what they get VERY right, is the character of  Gwen and the way they display her powers.

I  may actually like this better. Working at the morgue and teaming up with a detective works  a bit better for TV than digging graves and facing a huge cosmic threat, and who knows we still may  get to the comic story about Cthulhu’s kid brother later on as the season progresses. Whatever, I’m really loving this, and it’s actually another show my wife can watch with me (the fact that she watched two zombie shows with me in the same week is nothing short of shocking to me)

And they SyFy decided to show Max Payne insted of Wizard Wars. Syfy, you suck so very much.

There better be new Gotham tonight dagnabit.


Maddie’s new blog

So my daughter has decided she’s not content to just contribute to Maddie and Lydia’s Monthly Art Show, she wanted to try her hand at blogging herself. So I helped her set up her new WordPress site about horses. Head over and show her some love!

https://maddieandlydias.wordpress.com/

maddie and daddy


Big Trouble IN little China tonight!

big-trouble-in-little-china-1-these-10-facts-about-action-classic-big-trouble-in-little-china-are-truly-insaneHeading out to the Capitol tonight for Director John Carpenter‘s ‘Big Trouble in Little China‘ is part of the Melt Bar and Grilled Cleveland Cinemas Late Shift Series. Admission is just $5!

Wear a trucker hat and receive a complimentary 32oz popcorn!

Capitol map


More Rapunzle

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This obsession of Lydia’s with Disney’s Tangled doesn’t seem to be going away. I’m pretty sure it’s still her favorite movie ever, though last years Frozen came a pretty close second. I know this is from Tangled an not the Barbie Rapunzle because she pointed out to me the boy was Flynn Ryder! (Note the tower in the background…drawn in purple pen….)

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In Defense of Rick Bota

defenserickWe’re continuing with the Hellraiser theme this week, but I’m lumping a bunch of films into one. You see, this is a defense of Rick Bota.

In the past I’ve called Bota the custodian of Hellraiser for the early 2000’s. He’s listed as the director on Deader, Hellseeker and Hellworld, though that doesn’t really even begin to encapsulate what he does.

These films are always maligned, in large part because “they aren’t as good as the first four” or three. After all they were Direct To Video and that automatically means crap. Of course the same criticism was leveled at both Hellraiser Three and Four – not as good as the first two.

Can I just take this argument off the table? Seriously, if you expect a sequel (especially one of the later ones) to be nearly as good as the source material, you’re in trouble. Hellraiser (and Hellbound for that matter, which I actually like hw1better) is nothing short of a masterpiece. They also had a budget. The  DTV sequels were made for pennies. Half a million in 2005 as opposed to one million in 1987. Huge difference. We still get two or three cenobites besides Pinhead in every one of these movies. I don’t know how they manage it. With that kind of difference you can forgive that the cenobites pants are now just leather biker pants and that the armor comes from the same mold.

It’s interesting especially in the case of Hellworld and Deader, that the films tone is criticized. Three and four are huge sprawling films where Pinhead has almost hw2become a slasher. With the first of the DTV movies, Inferno, the series went back to smaller more personal stories. The head trip aspect was amped up. It was a different direction in service of the budget, but not an entirely new one. We still have disjointed imagery and some trippy scenes in both one and two – Kirsty standing over a bloody bed surrounded by feathers, The little girls abduction in Hellbound and the funhouse scene…the emphasis is new, but it’s not out of place. In fact, it’s truer to the theme and tone of Hellraiser than three or four were. Hellseeker actually features the return of Kirsty, and we have Bota to thank for that. The script wasn’t written with that character in mind…although she had the same name. Bota brought back Ashely Lawrence to help tie this back into the series as a whole (something by the way, that the previous film Inferno, doesn’t even attempt to do).

I’m a particular fan of Deader. We once again have mysterious places much like the opening scenes of Hellraiser – I imagine this Romania is just the sort of place one would find the box, and perhaps one of the places Frank would have looked. Bota goes out of his way to link the villain Winter, with LeMerchant.

Hellworld draws the biggest criticisms, and rightly so. It’s  the weakest of the three Bota films. While Deader and Hellseeker were bother created from completed scripts (stand alone scripts from the slush pile at Dimension by the way, that were imagesCANRSRQVre-written into Hellraiser movies) Hellworld was basically a nebulous idea that was floating around when the crew headed into Romania to shoot Deader. Pages were still being written while shooting was going on…something that smells very much like a studio decision to me. The crew was handed a set and told to make a Hellraiser movie out of it. What’s fascinating is that this is where Bota really shows his love for the material. For the first time since the second movie Hellbound, we have references to Leviathan. The movie is drenched in the mythology, references to the cenobites and Lemerchant. They even brought Lance Henrickson in to chew scenery and be generally malevelont.  Unfortunately we’re also stuck with a group of lackluster teens (including future Superman Henry imagesCA8RI4X1Cavill) straight out of any 90’s horror movie. It’s a shame because there is some potential here but obviously not enough time or budget to realize it. In one scene, a victim is hooked and lifted in the air and bled out. Actually only lifted up a couple of feet, where as Bota pictured him a couple yards in the air….but no time or budget.

There’s also complaints about how Pinhead is treated in this movie, but of course (spoiler) it’s not actually pinhead so acting out of character is exactly what he should be doing. For all of it’s wallowing in the mythology, it fails to achieve the edginess of the other films, and that’s a shame because the passion behind it is obvious. Still, on it’s own, on a Saturday night with friends before heading out to the club or at a hw3party, this is a fun film. As an entry into the series, I still enjoy it the same as I enjoy the lesser episodes of Star Trek or Doctor Who.

I have heard more than once that Rick Bota tried to destroy Hellraiser. That he is to blame for substandard Hellraiser. The truth is, Dimension was going to make these films and if it hadn’t been Bota it would have been someone else…possibly someone who didn’t care about the series legacy. Or it could have just as easily been, no more films at all. I was super excited fore each and every one of these. I’m glad we have them and I’m glad someone took the time to try and link every one of these into the series proper instead of just slapping together another slasher with pinhead makeup. Nothing will ever be as good as the original, but I’ll watch these with the same vigor as I read the comics!


Indiana Comicon

Conman

I should have known better.11037259_933256620052095_4418008790832503459_n

Seriously, I should have snagged a clue when I passed the billboard for Indiana Comicon on my way to Days of the Dead, but honestly, even with the attendance of Carrie Fisher, they really didn’t have a lot of media guests… it wasn’t going to be THAT big of a con was it? I was beginning to have misgivings, but still, I grabbed my Shadow costume and hit the road.

Indiana is possibly the biggest convention I’ve attended. easily as big as Wizard World Cleveland was. Big cons arn’t my thing. I don’t dig standing in lines all day, fighting the crowds. I want to be able to interact with the guests and hang out at the panels. The bigger the con is the less of that I get to do and this thing was HUGE.New_100_6502

It’s their second year and it shows. They haven’t quite gotten the hang of scheduling or crowd control. Last year people were unable to get in, refunded admission after standing in line for hours. This year those problems were solved, but they crept up again inside with the guests. There were a lot of upset attendees who stood in line for Carrie Fisher for up to 4 hours only to be turned away. It wasn’t  just with her either though. Paige O’Hare (Belle from Beauty and the New_100_6504Beast) had her line closed three times while I was there. It would open for an hour or so (less than an hour that last time 4:30 and closed around 5:15) and shut down again for a photo op or panel. I didn’t make it up to see her and my girls were disappointed.

Still, truth be told, I wasn’t there for the media guests. I was there for the comic guests – and this is to Indiana’s GREAT credit. They are VERY focused on comics, and brought in some amazing guests.

Punisher_Vol_2_11Whilce Portacello mentioned that working on the Punisher was great training for young artist.

“I had to do so much research on the guns, I had to get everything right all the lines all the look.”.

I always love the way that Whilce  created speed and action, and  he told me “You’ve got to do that sometimes.” he pointed to a particular punisher cover.  “Look at this, it’s an old cannon. It’s boring! You got to do something to make that look cool!”

One of the other things I love about his era, is this is when we got away from the cylinders as teeth on the Punisher’s skull.

“That was Mike Baron. We started out with the Cylenders, but he wanted to take it back to the early look. It dosen’t make sense anyhow! Why Cylinders? They don’t bend!”

I also talked to Mike Grell about Green Arrow : The Longbow Hunters asking how this came about it he come do do this. Did they come to him?

“They asked me if there was any one DC character I’d like to take and revamp and relaunch who would it be? My first thought was Batman, But at that time Frank Miller had just done Batman and I had a feeling that his version with stick for the next 20 years, and I was right!” he said,  referring to the changes in the new 52.

“I always loved Green Arrow and they suggested what about Green Arrow as a hunter – well this was perfect for me!”

I mentioned to Grell that I thought Jon Sable was the one of the most interesting character in comics. I really do believe this. He smiled and shook my hand, saying “I’d really like to get back to this character some day. I think there are a few more stories in him.”

I had questions for Mark Wade about Kingdom Come, curious if all that background imaging we see throughout the graphic novel was all Alex Ross

“All that background noise was all Alex.”  he said. Waid is currently writing the Green Hornet and loving it. Dynamite is just a great home for these characters and he asked if I was reading the new Avenger series as well.  I haven’t picked it up yet although I very much enjoy Batman_419Justice Inc.

I question Mike Zeck on his covers for 10 nights the beast which I love, but why does the beast look so different on his covers and he did on the inside?

“I didn’t really study the inside of these issues” Zeck replied and it appears to have been an access issue although he did create a stunning painted cover which is more in line with the character design for the trade paperback which I love.

I got a moment with Jae Lee to gush about how much I loved his Masks covers, and we discussed the Dark Tower a bit (I’m working on the novels right now, and was listening to an audiobook on the way down to the show) and his work on the comic prequels.

Art Thibert was up next and I’m a big fan of Art’s. Particularly when he inks Dan Jergens. There is this era of superman right after Jerry Ordway leaves and we are really missing his art. Dan Jergens is adequate. He’s more than up to the task but there’s just something Adventures_of_Superman_473about the Thibert over Jurgans that’s got this kinetic look.

“A lot of what I was doing were actually finishes not just inks. All that hatching and speed lines. though it might be credited as inks, Dan was doing a lot of layouts and leaveing thefinishes for us.”

Bob McCloud is unassuming, quiet and friendly. His career spans decades he’s done just about everything he’s inked everybody. “I’ve been very lucky” he said.

Denny O’Neill has fond memories of the shadow, especially of Anthony Tollin who was his go-to guy for preparation.

“Any time I had any questions he said I can immediately go and call Tollin. There is a guy who has lived his life exactly the way that he New_11054479_936408949736862_4026787195773672807_nwanted to.”

We discussed both Tollin and Walter Gibson’s love of magic. I’m a magician as well, and I can see how that is part of the appeal.

“Gibson was a lazy writer. He would stop typing after his fingers started to bleed!” O’Niel joked, referring to Gibsons prolific output.

He loved my Shadow costume. So did Allen Bellman

“I though the Reaper had come for me!” he exclaimed as I came up to his table. One of the things I love about cosplaying the Shadow, is it’s a simple costume – and I can get out of it and look reasonably normal for photos with guests, but slip  that scarf right back up and get into character in seconds. It’s also unique. I see dozens of Deadpools, hordes of Harley Quinns, but no one else is dressed like the Shadow, and it’s one of those characters – when people recognize who you are it makes them incredibly happy.

imagesOne last note, I’ve really got to hand it to the little girl from Frozen, she stayed at that booth all day and was energetic and happy period she reminds me so much of my children, with the exaggerated movements the excitement the little bundle of kinetic energy 22 a poster and showing it off, greeting kids with high-fives and hugs to takeing photos and talking with them and interact with them. You can see she wants to be here too, she wasn’t just dragged here by a momager, she’s loving this, and that makes me feel good about her appearance at these kind of shows.  I have the utmost respect for this young woman and almost regret not taking a photo of her, but let’s face it, that would be creepy…

All in all, I’m not going back. Too far to drive for what I got. Not all of that is the cons fault, but it wasn’t one of my better days and more and more I think I need to stick with the MUCH smaller shows. I have a better time with them.  Wasteland in two weeks.

And now – about a hundred photos.

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This weekend’s cons

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gamnesThis weekend happening in Cleveland is the Cleveland CONcoction!

If you’re a gamer, this is seriously the place to be. They’ll be celebrating sci-fi and steampunk this year, with the chance to win a lot of the same games you’ll be playing!

There’s panels, author guests, the Wonderland Ball, the masquerade, costume contest, gameplay, live performances (you really need to check shadow-websiteHeader_444x185out Too The Egress) and tons more going on. This is the only con of it’s type in Cleveland and it’s exactly the kind of con I like, packed with tons of events and programming.

Hours:

Friday, March 13:  12pm – 11pm
Saturday, March 14:  9am – 11pm
Sunday, March 15:  9am – 3pm

That said, I’m already booked this weekend a little further west, and will be heading to Indiana Comicon.

I’m going mostly to meet Denny O’Neil – seriously, DENNY O’NEIL! The guiding hand of the Batman titles in the 90’s! The writer of the 70’s Shadow series! The author of countless editorial “From The Den” colums!

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Stop looking at me like that. I’m excited.

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MikeGrell_408Mike Zeck and Mike Grell are going to be there as well!

I could actually care less about the media guests at this one (although I and going to get princess autographs for my girls- I admit it). The guest list here is really looking impressive – John Beatty, Art Thibert, Bob McLeod, Whilce Porticelo, Jae Lee, I have a stack of stuff a mile high I’m bringing, just as soon as I break out my Shadow costume….

So wherever you’re headed, be safe, if you see me in Indiana tap me on the shoulder and say hi. If you’re heading to Cleveland, say hello to the POP! members or the Z.E.R.O.S. (Zombie Eradication & Rescue Operations Squad) and give them my best! And we’ll be back with new Violent Blue on Monday!

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Biri Beni Gozluyor (Turkish Shining)

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acR9JH8A couple of times I’ve done marathons of “The Shining”. You do both the Kubrick film, the TV mini-series, you throw in 1408 and I always include this : The Turkish version.

They’ve made a couple of changes to keep plausible deniability – A writer and his family go to a remote island to inspire his writing. To really get his juices flowing he decides to stay in a hotel where a writer previously killed his entire family. Gradually, his personality begins to take on sinister changes.

The biggest change here though is that I don’t think the place is actually haunted. Maybe it’s just t he translation, but I think he just goes crazy. The supernatural element isn’t really in play here. Nevertheless, you’ll see scenes lifted directly from the Kubrick film and it’s obvious that’s what this movie is  trying to be.

If you’re a fan of the Shining (and seriously, I AM) you really need to see this!

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Autographs

It’s been a long time coming really. Uhura is the last of my Star Trek collection. At least, the last of the main cast (I don’t think I will ever get a DeForest Kelly autograph, and really, I wouldn’t want it secondhand).

Nichelle is one I kept putting off, I’m not sure why, but a combination of getting Grace Lee Whitney last year and seeing Nichelle using a wheelchair to get to conventions last year kind of lit a fire under me.

It’s a cast photo because I don’t have one of those, and it kind of makes up for my Walter Koning picture being of his B5 character and My Shatner being in his gold uniform. It’s also my way of getting De up on the wall.

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Gotham, wizard wars,walking dead.

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gothamWe’re so close to the end of the season and Gotham is still going strong. I never cease to love this program. What I’m finding interesting about this episode is the heart of the series,  the idea that so many of the cops are corrupt here. We always suspected that Bullock had done something scummy, but this is the first time it’s been trotted out and shoved in out face. I’m really loving the protrayal of Flass here. he’s just as slimy as he is in Frank Millers year one, it’s an almost perfect portrayal except he’s got just a teensy bit more class . In fact it’s that attractive quality, that sophistication that makes him even more dangerous. Comissioner Lobe to, is far more sophisticated in this TV series then he appears to be in year one. We have done away with the idiosyncrasy of collecting pop culture memorabilia although I still really really want to see Catwoman rob him. I just wanna see Selena ransacked that office of his ! I guess what I’m getting at, the real thrust of my point here, both Lobe and Flass are really well realized characters in this TV show, in fact the TV series has taken these fairly flat one note characters that Frank Miller created and made them far more interesting, and in fact a bit more threatening as well.

It’s interesting to see the compromises that Gordon is willing to make. I almost wanted to cheer with everybody else on the screen when they announced his candidacy for president of the policeman to union .Great stuff.TheWalkingDeadPoster

I’ll stand by what I said last week about liking how the walking dead is sticking close to the comics. Whats  interesting however, is that I’m watching this with my wife who hasn’t read the comics. She’s actually just started on the second volume which puts her out about issues seven or eight, so to hear her and her friends talk about where they think things are going, how they think that Rick and his group are going to take the Community, it’s really fascinating to hear. It’s like watching it to somebody else as I do, I get to experience it all over again. I still don’t know what to think about the fact that the mayor is a woman, I almost think we’re going to sidestep the lecherous aspects of the character, and I don’t know how I feel about that. Then again if they apply this to her, making her sort of a cougar,I also don’t know how I feel about that. It’ll be interesting to see where we go with this.

Wizard wars was a lot of fun this week. One of the elements they had to use this time around was a guitar and man I was so hoping for a feat that I could duplicate. It’s well known that I play guitar and to mix that into magic, seems like it  would be a lot of fun much the way that I have mixed computers into magic. But it’s actually the sign of some very good contestants, both managed to stumped me. I don’t know how NUP_159570_729.jpgthese feats were handled and I really enjoyed watching the routiens. There is one that in particular I’ve got an idea but still not really sure, where they pass guitar straight out of a guitar case . It’s similar to an effect you do with cards make your card vanishing in a card box but not really. here is also a great bit where they take an acoustic guitar and pull something out of the hole in the center but then a moment later the guitar is solid, the hole becomes just a sticker on the front. It’s really something I wanna figure out how to do. At one point they have Penn and Teller sign a pic as a proof. You know, the signed card tricks always get me too, I’ve never figured that technique out. With Penn and Teller it a little different though, thiersignatures are easy to observe, I can do a Google search for autographs or even walking to my library and see their autograph. It would be easy enough to pre-create an autographed pic so that you can vanish the real one and then make a fake one appear and still possibly fool the audience.

I also love that they were using dominoes. I think this is something more magicians should do, dominoes instead of cards. They are wonderful manipulateable objects and I think it’s a great idea.

For the second challenge there is a 70s theme and it comes off a little cold for me period maybe it’s to kitschy, maybe it’s not kitschy enough but it just doesn’t work quite as well for me.

It was a good week for television for me period I like that things are slowing down and I suspect I’ll be watching more movies as the weeks go on that rather than television, which means you may start seeing more movie reviews up here and fewer TV spots!


Ron’s Big Adventure part Three

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Part two of my favorite movie! Find your purpose in Ron’s Big Adventure!


Ambush Bug Nothing Special

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indexI really love me some Ambush Bug. It’s strange thogh, he seems like he belongs in the 80’s. Not necessarily becasue of a costume or anythign liek that, it’s just that’s when his greatest hits were. We didn’t see him too much in the Bronze age. Ambush Bug’s goofy optimistic humor just didn’t fit that well in the dark age full of gritty anti-heros, big guns and dark fantasy.

In fact it’s actually pointed out that Ambush Bug is in a special place here, neither alive or dead…possibly outside of continuity.

I actually wonder what the impetus for this special was. Keith Giffen, obviously, but I was never quite sure why they choose this particular moment to publish a new Ambush Bug story. Perhaps dipping their toe in images4the water? I honestly didn’t even know this was out until almost a year later when I found it in a quarter bin (where I found most of my Ambush Bug issues).

In this story, Buggy visits every corner of the DC universe in a vain attempt to get into the summer crossover. There’s a joke in poor taste about visiting the bathroom in each title. What’s really fun is that he not only visits the mainstream titles, he also visits the vertigo series. Not all of them but definately the big ones with better critical acclaim.  He shows up in Doom Patrol which is actually really ironic considering that he’d actually become a part-time member about fifteen years later, shortly before DC rebooted everything in the New 52. He also shows up in the Dreaming with the Sandman and this is the source of some debate. Many Sandman and Gaimen fans take the position that this images3isn’t cannon – it can’t be because Neil Gaiman didn’t write it and at this time he wrote everything related to the Sandman (this changed when Sandman ended and vertigo commissioned several spin offs written by other people. Still Gaiman is the only one to ever write Sandman proper)

If you see this around pick it up. Of course don’t let that stop you from visiting any of Buggy’s other series, like Son of Ambush Bug, Ambush Bug, or Ambush Bug : Year None.


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

Every Wednesday and Friday

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Days of the Dead Indy 2015

ConmanNew_IMG_0918I kicked off this years convention season with Days of the Dead Indy this weekend. Indianapolis and I have a tempestuous relationship, things always seem to go wrong in Indiana. But as far as big cons go, days of the dead is one of the better ones. They’re not immune to the inflation that has suddenly hit all the convention surrounding us it seems though as their admission price increase by $10. Still, they really try to give thier customers more bang for their buck – especially those extra bucks they are asking for now.  This con, unlike other bigger ones like flashback, seems to have more access to the celebrities. better with this
Despite my trepidition,  I almost always have a good time at days of the dead and this was no exception. I’m not exactly pleased about the rate hike, but something interesting they’ve chosen to do this time around is extended hours. The convention still hs reasonably normal hours but they’ve included parties and events going well late into the night, and this is a good thing, it’s one of the things that Wasteland and Shinboku con really excelled at and what made them work so well.

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My main goal this weekend was really just to meet three people the last two remaining cast members from Dawn of the Dead, Galen Ross, and Scott Reniger – the last two I’ve never encountered before. Not just them though, but also to see George Romero again. I have recently started a day of the dead poster and needed his signature on it as well. George worries me. I can see why his charge is going up –  his hands shake. He seems a spry as ever was a delight during his panel…

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but his hands shake.

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Perhaps it’s just that the recent death of Leonard Nimoy has freaked me out a little. Still, it’s an image that just stays unnecessarily in my mind…I worry.

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The cast was nice and chatty, and did a wonderful panel together. It was the usual suspects from Dawn, but still, I’ve never see them all together like this before. I learned a few things I’ve never known about the film before and that’s really why you do panels.

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I also got to see Jon Schnepp, the producer of The Death of Superman Lives. This was interesting, I’ve been following the making of this movie while now and he told me it will be available in May! I cannot wait! We discussed how he wanted to release it, something He only now getting into and wasn’t sure what to do. He asked what I thought, and I do believe alot of the future is streaming, although I also like the idea of doing it as any event film, much the way Adam Green and Alex Pardee are doing with Digging up the Marrow. He mentioned he’d been to the premier in LA, being a friend of Alex Pardee. I mentioned that Cleveland would be an excellent venue for an event like this film, being the home of Superman and dropped the name for Akron Comicon.

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One of the things that was really fun at this convention with the Photo ops. The 502 Legion was there which means there were a LOT of Star Wars people wandering around. Interestingly enough,
I got extremely nice picture in front of the Mellinium Falcon! ! Then there was  Skeletor and Evil Lynn. Remember a couple years back when I want to this same convention? I was unable to get my picture with them then, a situation I remedied this year. I got a second picture was George.  Back when I met him and find in Gettysburg I got a photo with him looking reasonably normal. This time around I got it in some make up and my photo involved me menacingly staring at him about to attack! This was just epic.

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I don’t usually come to horror cons in costume, I prefer to look like myself for photos with the movie stars, but as I walked in I saw a big sign with the the lettering “free zombie make-up”.  I can hardly pass this up. is so rare for someone else to actually make me up and I was interested in seeing what techniques this artist used. We have a lot in  common  with greasepaint and latex, but also, this artist uses toilet paper! It was amazing, and I really wanted to see how she mixed colours and makes ridges.

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Having something like this, getting made up, it’s one of those things I really like about this convention but those prices to continue forward and raise, I’m not sure how much longer I can continue to go. Still, of the bigger conventions I go to, I do believe that is why my favourite and I’m very glad I made the trip this weekend.

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PS, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out the awesome that was the Walking Dead Lego build displayed in the middle of the dealers room –

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As average as the last few weeks of TV has been, television this week really went itself up.

of course we have the series finale of Agent Carter. This series is just always so much better when Howard Stark is around.  AIt’s always so much better when we have that firm Captain America connection like the shield that we saw tonight. It didn’t feel like everything is wrapped up but enough was taken care of that I left feeling satisfied.
Gotham has gone crazy. Remember how I said last week those commercials were looking incredible? Well this week  certainly lives up to it. It’s really a standard story, a face from the past infiltrates the mansion ect… but the sheer amount of jawdropping moments it was just incredible. There  is a great moment of that idiot Barbara trying to convince Selena that her beauty can be used as a weapon….and the rejection that Selena gives her… but funny, you can see Ivy in the background and she’s learning these lessons very well. Watching fish money and the bit with the spoon just made my wife’s jaw drop. Mine too.  Not to mention Jeffrey Combs, I just seriously wish they’d just go ahead and call him Herbert West. how awesome would that be? Finally the fate of Alfred is just amazing. I warmed up to Sean Pertwee in this role amd I can see how he could still grow into the Alfred we know and love. To see him struck down was nothing short of astonishing.
Can I say, I really missed flash this week. I was so looking forward to Grodd and Reverse Flash and to be confronted with a rerun, Arrgh!

Walking Dead…all I can say is I REALLY love how close they are following the books right now. More of that please.

Also, more Wizard Wars please. The series seems  to be getting good ratings, and it should. It’s a genuinely good magic show, stumping me more and more often….

Gotham tomorrow, and we’re getting close to the end…