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Archive for September, 2015

Pop Meeting 107

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Beyond the pages of comics books there is a whole world of cool collectibles and toys to entice our wallets and fill our houses.

Join us tonight at the Parma Heights Library at 6:30!


Banner small dark copyToday’s the day. I don’t quite know whether to throw a party or a wake.
I’m going to miss seeing these characters every week, taking my moments to comment on Pop culture, film and comics.
Six years. That is a great portion of time. Longer than High School or College. Longer than I’ve stayed at any job. It’s going to be very strange to wake up Monday morning and not have new Violent Blue to share. Strange and a little sad.
Yet this shouldn’t be a reason for sadness. We did it. All of you who joined me on this journey, we made it – we hit the finish line and finally made it to the very ending that I had planned for this story when I began work on it in August of 2009.
This story has always been planned with a beginning, middle and end. The plan was always about five years long, though there was a bit of time where I was sure we were going to end in four years instead. I can barely believe that we find ourselves at the end, 900 comics and six years later.
Working in the long form has been unlike anything else I’ve ever done, and even though this is the end of this story, I’m certain it’s not the end of the road for these characters. There’s already one novel out that takes place about a year or so after the comic (you can find it here : https://www.createspace.com/4303824), and I’m pretty sure I’ve got at least one more book in me (not to mention the first draft sitting on my computer that I’ve never gotten around to polishing) and perhaps even a short spin off series next year. Chloe Steve and Taylor aren’t done whispering in my ear yet…the voices may be even stronger now joined by unexpected friends like Aimee, Jen, Lisa, Jamie, Bob, and all the others we’ve gathered along the way.
Thank you to everyone who has followed us, and I hope you’ll be around for whatever comes next.

See the final Violent Blue Strip here :

http://violentblue.webcomic.ws/


Josh Harnell

Autographs

Josh Harnell is a voice actor who’s done way more stuff than you probably realize, thoguh my favorite is Wakko Warner on Animaniacs. I was able to contact him via his whole bizarre cover band Rock Sugar….

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This week

tvVery much been waiting for this week, a lot of returning shows. Let’s start with the best one – Doctor who started up again Saturday!

doctor_who_series_nine___the_magician_s_apprentice_by_lemonhead118-d8cgc5eI like Capauldi. As he settles into the role I find I like him more and more. This was a good story too. When he cried out to the child in the battle field “Tell me the name of the boy who will survive this!” and the missy-michelle-gomezboy replied with his name…it made my jaw drop.

As much as I don’t like the implications of the Master’s gender swap, I have to admit that Missy is the best incarnation of the character since Anthony Aniley. Possibly since even Roger Deglado. The further examination of her relationship with the Doctor was fascinating – Clara asked all the right questions. But what I love more than anything is the way this episode makes Missy one of the companions.  Now THAT’S brilliant. I’ve always preferred a crowded TARDIS with multiple companions, but to make the Master one of them? Perfect. From time to time he’s been a regular on the show and it just fits.

I do have to admit though, the whole bit with the doctor playing guitar felt like a bit too much for me. It feels like it belongs in a Pixar movie, not in Doctor Who. It’s the sort of thing cartoon characters do to make little kids laugh. Doctor Who kind of should be better than that.

Still, if that’s my biggest problem here, then we’re in good hands. The cliffhanger has me eagerly awaiting this week’s broadcast.

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Gotham is back! But man, that was over the top this week wasn’t it?

My first thought seeing Barbra Keen in Arkham was to wonder if that was Harley. That speaks to the problem of jump starting this series again after another long break. Those hiatuses are killing us.

gothamI know it was all over the place so we knew to expect it, but I wasn’t thrilled about seeing the Joker here. Honestly he doesn’t need a backstory and I find him far more interesting without one.

But back to over the top. Seriously, how many times can Gordon lose his job and get it back? Our only glimpse of Edward nigma was him going crazy – a bit of a shame. He’s a fun character and I’d rather see more schtick with him, not just his deepening insanity. Penguin is still the show stealer, but he’s becoming a bit of a caricature of himself. This worries me.I know this is the rise of the villains, but a LOT of balls were tossed up in the air this episode. I do hope they follow them one at a time instead of giving up a bit of five different storylines each episode like a soap opera. I sold my wife on this series as a police procedural crime drama, and last year it was. In fact it was done so well it never even occurred to her that this might be a Batman show. I’d like to see them pull this back a bit, closer top that again. I’m still interested. Still engaged, and I definitely want to know what Bruce’s dad was doing in that cave office. I imagine this is where the court of Owls will come in.

image_5ba8fa2aSo, the Muppets. I guess my first reaction was “Is this the best they could do?”

I have been cautiously optimistic about this series the entire time and I very much want it to succeed. It does not bother me that they are not presented as kids characters. What bothers me that I didn’t find the new show funny.

There’s some notable exceptions. The gag about Zoot mistaking what kind of meeting it was and Fozzie describing the perils of going on dating websites referring to yourself as a Bear are great jokes that will make kids and adults laugh – for very different reasons. They need more of that. I liked the bit with Gonzo, Rizzo muppetsand Pepe previewing their Dancing with the Czars bit (and how good is it to see Pepe getting back into the act again? I missed him in the last two movies!). It’s funny and very Muppets. There’s a moment when Kermit tells the girlfriend “You don’t have to be funny every time you come into the writers room. The writers certainly arnt!” It’s a good gag, very Kermit…except there’s something in the delivery. In the past when he’s been critical of an act, it felt exasperated, flabbergasted. In this series it feels cynical. Exasperated is charming. Cynicism is not. Edgy and mature, but not charming – and I don’t think that’s the way people want to see these characters.The Daily Telegraph put it better : “The fundamental mistake multi-millionaire comedy genius Bill Prady has made is to assume that because grown-ups still harbour affection for The Muppets, they’ll automatically want to watch the characters in adult situations. We do not. We already hate our jobs, our relationships and our lives. We don’t want to see that frogs, pigs and bears have it just as miserable as the rest of us. ” Read the rest of thier review here : http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/tv-and-radio-reviews/11883190/The-Muppets-ABC-review.html

I think I’d like this better as a special or a mini-series, rather than being the official incarnation. It’s not an inherently bad format, but it did fall flat for me. We’ll have to see if the fans (including me) can acclimate to it (but really, should we HAVE to work this hard to like something?). Then again, I just don’t understand the need to reinvent the wheel. Boom comics did a good job going back to basics and I still really miss that comic.
I don’t think ABC understands how to develop it. NBC took a shot at it ages ago (two years before Disney finally bought the property) and actually produced one of the best muppet specials ever (A very Muppet Christmas) and I wish they could have another shot at it. This isn’t that hard, why does everyone feel the need to reinvent the wheel? Bring back the Muppet theatre. Bring back the stage show and the backstage antics. That’s EXACTLY what NBC did. They built the theatre – FULL SIZE, and they were doing a big Christmas show to save the building from an evil developer (played by Joan Cusak). It just worked SOOOO Well. “A Very Muppet Christmas”. Don’t know how NBC got the rights that one year, but ABC has done everything since. Sometimes its okay, I liked OZ. Most of the time…well, I really don’t like any of their other comedies either.

I’m not alone in my concerns either, EW and the NY times join The Telegraph as less than optimistic about the show’s direction.
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/22/arts/television/review-muppets-abc-kermit-ms-piggy.html?_r=0
http://www.ew.com/article/2015/09/22/muppets-ew-review

There is one thing to be happy about though, and I can’t say this enough. I am beyond pleased that Disney is using the property. Really that is a huge positive. It is a great shame that the previous owners let the franchise fall out of the public eye and did nothing with it from 1996 to 2002 ( and very little before or after that). Since Disney got them just over ten years ago we’ve see constant output and development, and when Imagine Dragons did the closing performance and we had the Electric Meyhem backing them up, animal playing the big drum with teh stage lights pouring down on him…yeah, some of the magic is still there. It’s why I’m goign to give this a bit more of a chance. Interested in seeing next weeks ratings for this show.
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Offline

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This is one of my favorite graphics. A soft portrait that gets the message across immediately, simply. This photo was actually shot on my workbench with my test equipment, arranged just so…. I added the text on the computer screen and played with the shading to give it that quiet moment look.

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(and yeah…I had to blur the Lilo and Stitch graphic on my coffee cup….)


Jewlery

art showBannerRemember a few months or so back when lydia created some real jewelry? Well she was in the mood to make some recently, but didn’t have anything to make it out of…so she took paper and crayons and made her own!

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In Defense of Event Horizon

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imagesCAZXQPERWould you believe that I’ve only recently become aware that this is regarded as a bad movie?

Seriously I don’t get it. You have gore, you have terror, you have a haunted house in space along with Sam Neil, Lawrence Fishbourne and the son of the Third Doctor Who. I love this movie!

I’ve actually heard people lament the lack of gore in this film. I find it gory enough (and that’s saying something!), but apparently some of these folks didn’t. http://www.dreadcentral.com/news/69459/take-look-event-horizon-you-didnt-see#axzz2nre8zYrf

The photos reference here actually do by and large make it into the movie but only as flashes.  We get the impressions, and I always assumed that was how it was imagesCAX9J54Dmeant to be. These photos didn’t “Just surface” either as the article suggests, they were always around. I remember seeing them in fangoria back when the film was in production.

Another complaint I’ve always heard was that the ship looks weird. My friend Johnny Em actually has complained to my face “Who would design a ship like that?” Some of his point is the massive amounts of space. He’s kind of right about that, at least as far as modern space travel goes. Every inch of available space is used as efficiently as possible. Some of this could also be referring to the “Meat grinder” tunnel which is actually imagesCAMKV9LSexplained away as keeping the magnetic fields in check.

I kind of get this criticism, but from my perspective it falls flat. I look at a car engine and I don’t recognize a thing. I don’t understand how it works and I assume it looks like that because it has to. I apply that same philosophy to this film and the sets don’t bother me. In fact I really love the look of the ship from the outside, I find it really well realized. This is a horror movie first and a space movie second (as opposed to say, Aliens, which I’d consider Sci-Fi action first and horror second) so I’m sometimes surprised at how good some of the ship untitle2ddesign looks, both on the Event Horizon itself and on the smaller rescue ship, the Lewis and Clarke.

Still, the horror is what really works for me. It’s actually one of the better sequels….

Well, let’s just wait on that. We’ll come back to the idea of it as a sequel.

I’ve occasionally heard that his has far to complicated of a back story. I’m completely baffled by this. I thought we wanted intelligent horror, something with a imagesCAX617GBwell thought out narrative. adding Wier’s backstory as well as references to the Event Horizon vanishing and coming back…it all gives the feeling of depth. It makes the world feel real to me. This isn’t just another slasher, thought there’s plenty here for slasher fans as well. Horror and evisceration. Gore almost on the level of…Hellraiser.

This film gets compared to Hellraiser a whole lot. I frequently hear complaints about it being derivative of Hellraiser actually, and occasionally I hear the word “Homage”. I’d like to take that one step farther. I don’t think it’s derivative, and I event1_budon’t think that it’s a homage. I think it’s a sequel. In fact, I think it’s one of the best sequels.

Sure there’s no box, and no pinhead. But Hell isn’t just about boxes….there’s more than one box, and there’s more than one puzzle that can send you into Leviathan’s Hell. We know that from the comics, and we know it from early drafts of the Hellraiser 4 script. We also know there are more cenobites than just Pinhead, and don’t you tell me that there are no cenobites in this film. Just look at Wier. in his transformed state he’s more a cenobite than anything you can imagine. Look. You can see occult glyphs and runes carved into his skin. I’ve seen at least one fan fic over at the Hellbound web go as far as to connect the two directly, showing the events immediately after the end of this film and I whole heartedly agree.

Take a look at his one with fresh eyes, and perhaps a Hellraiser frame of mind (I told you we’d be talking a LOT about Hellraiser this year). I love this film and hope you’ll begin to see what I do.

By the way, that fanfic I mentioned is posted after the trailer.

“A Much Worse Reality”

A Hellraiser/Event Horizon Short Story.

By Max Shrek.

Dedicated to Scarecrow. Thanks, bud.

The woman stood on the ledge and looked up. They should be here any minute. Below her was the great labyrinth. A giant maze, filled with dark and damp corridors, rooms inbetween each. In those rooms were unspeakable horrors. People’s most exciting dreams becoming their worst nightmares. Behind her, the Great God, Leviathan; his diamond shape twirling at the center of Hell, bright black light blasting out of four sides.

She felt her long black dress begin to flow, as if a wind was blowing through here. She smiled. In the sky, it appeared as if reality is self was bending backwards, seemingly sucking through nothing was going into it. No. Something was coming out. Within seconds, half of the ship “The Event Horizon” came though the portal. It’s massive form flew over the woman’s head, her hair blowing.

The ship landed soon, its engines shutting down and finally stopping. She walked up to the ship, amazed by its size. Leviathan was right. This was the perfect puzzle. She stood in front of the door and it opened for her. The ship was the Great God’s masterpiece and she was its liasion. The ship did whatever she commanded it to. And she had to see some results.

“Impressive,” she said, looking upward at what the ship had done. She was in the infirmy. Above a bed was a man, his stomach completely open, being held together by hooks and chains. Below him the remains of his organs. This is what Leviathan was waiting for. He had plenty of different puzzles and plenty of different contraptions that does this and much, much more, but never in the same device. The device already a means to break the surface of the real and go to both dimensions, all Leviathan had to do was make it ordered.

The woman sent the man’s soul back into the labyrinth and continued foreward. She had to get to the core.

She stood before the large circular door. A large, three sided curved crack appeared in it and three sides curved back into the walls. The door was open and she was in the heart of the Event Horizon, a large round room with something very big in the center.

It was different than she imagined. The way to bend realities. It was a giant, rotating, black ball, on it vertical and horizontal lines, and at ever intersection, a large light bulb. Not only was it rotating, but also three large metal rings around it, like a small planet. Below it, a small pool of water. In the water, there were small fires here and there but more importantly, two bodies, both alive.

Captain Miller woke up in the pool of water by the palm of a human female grabbing his chin. With her force, he groggily lifted his head and groaned. He looked at the woman, seeing her blurrily. “Hmph. Another soul,” she said, stone cold without emotion. The next thing Captain Miller felt was a cold long hook tear into his right cheek. He screamed as another tour into his shoulder, then his chest, then his arm, then his left eyelid. He cried for help as the hooks and chains dragged him across the floor and out of the ship and into the corridor’s of Leviathan.

She approached the other body. It was of a man, naked, his skin tinted gold. All over his body were cuts sliced into the ruins and symbols of Leviathan. “Could this be a…” She knew the ship was indeed powerful and possessed many strengths and devices, but Cenobite transformation equipment? Incredible!

Of course, this was not a full blown Cenobite. This being was only partly, a Pseudo-Cenobite. This had happened before, in 1992. The Pillar of Souls was opened and Xipe Totec escaped. He created many different Cenobites and unleashed them upon civilians, massacring them without Order or style. It was extremely chaotic, but eventually ordered was returned, all the Pseudos went to Hell and became full Cenobites, and Xipe Totec was reunited with Elliot Spencer, thus putting the Order back into the demon.

But that was the past and this was now. And now she had a new Pseudo-Cenobite in front of her. And as she squinted her eyes, she reconized him.

“Welcome to Hell, Dr. Weir,” Julia said as she smiled and helped the creature up. His eyes slowly started to open and he saw the form in front of him, the beautiful face, the cunning smile, and long red hair.

“Wh-who are you?”

“I’m Julia.”

The Weird Cenobite exited the ship, still being carried by Julia, who had one arm slung around him. Weir clenched tightly to Julia’s black dress and the flesh underneath.

He eventually stopped and stood straight up, still very tired though. “Th-this is where the Event Horizon went? The dimension of pure evil, of pure chaos?” Julia starting laughing. She shook her head while still chuckiling, “Ah, no, Doctor. This is Hell, yes, but it is not a place of chaos I assure you.” He closed his eyes and shook his head. He could still see her. He didn’t need his eyes to see the radiant beauty standing in front of him. Or the power of the God behind her and the dark light it shown upon him.

“But the things I saw–” “The things you saw were affected by human perception. What is seemed like Chaos to you is Order to us. We are staging a War on Flesh, on the very nature of your human boundaires. You said that the ship could take you beyond the limits of the universe, that is true, yes. But we here are to give you an experience beyond the limits.” “Limitations of what?” “Your senses… and imaganation.”

Weir was confused. The ship had shown him only glimpes into Hell, not explaining its true nature or reality. “I must congradulate you on behalf of Leviathan,” she said. Weir remembered the diamond from his visions. Within seconds, he understood Leviathan and his nature as if the Great God was spekaing to him. But then he stopped, and Julia continued, “Not sense Philip LeMerchand has someone found the perfect door to Hell. Your ship was brilliantlly designed, but an even greater artist, our God, modified it. Made it a puzzle. Quite impressive don’t you think?” “Yes…” he said, nodding.

A loud noise was heard behind him. He quickly turnt his head and saw a large human sized box open up. There was no door and it was hollow except for many sharp objects on either side. “What is this?” he asked Julia. “A transformation chamber,” Julia told him, “It’s for you.” “For me?” “Yes. You see the ship didn’t have its full equipment, therefore it wasn’t able to make you into a full Cenobite.” Cenobite. Weird reconized the word. “Now, you shall be modified as the ship was, and become one of Hell’s forces.” Weird smiled and stepped into the machine. He felt two tubes go into his neck. One taking blood out, one putting blood in. It was starting and Weir felt more pleasure than he had ever known…

As Julia watched the transformation, she wondered what Order Weir would join. Maybe he could be apart of Scarecrow’s. Or Face needed a new partner. He was one of Hell’s favorite sons and would be good with Weir. It was up to Leviathan and his wisdom and intellict was infinite so whatever he decided would be the right choice. Regardless, they would be put back on the ship and go back into space.

An investigation team would most likely be sent back to Neptune to check out the events that happened on the Event Horizon. The two survivors will be adamant against this but the goverment will send them anyway. And they’ll find Leviathan’s new favorite toy and an expanded Order and Hell will have a couple more souls.

The End.


Pop Meeting 106

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This week, it’s all about Animation!

Join us tonight at the Parma Heights Library at 6:30!


The Man Who Saved the World : Turkish Star Wars

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Well, we did Star Trek last month. it’s only fair we do Star Wars this month!

Two space Jockeys from earth are captured by an immortal wizard who wants greater powers by enslaving humans and taking their brain power for his own. The two escap and find themselves joining a group of freedom fighters accompined by an old man and a pretty blonde.

It’s a similar plot to Star Wars, but that’s got a lot to do with drawing on Archtypes. You could make the case that Roger Corman’s Battle Beyond the Stars is a similar rip-off. However, with both this plot and the fact that they are using footage stolen directly from Star Wars, this film had gotten a reputation as the Turkish Star Wars.

It’s got a cult audience and is beloved, even spawning a sequel.

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Magic!

Autographs

A few months back I got something from Penn and Teller and I was thrilled! you see, I spent some time as a magician myself and I still love getting autographs from them. I’ve also found that they tend to be wonderfully responsive and glad for the fandom. Not that long ago I sent out some email and got a great little card from Sigfried and Roy!

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But my favorite by far has to be David Copperfield. I still think he’s the greatest magician of this generation and he’s been one of my wants for a while now. I tried him ages ago and got no response, but found a more current address recently and tried it. So happy to get this one back, and he even sent a nicer one!

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Ron’s Big Adventure Outtakes

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I’m the kind of guy who watches every feature on a DVD. I love outtakes and behind the scenes stuff, so I ALWAYS include it in my own films!


The Sandman Presents : Love Street

bestuntitledThe Sandman was really the lynchpin of Vertigo in the early days, though we all knew it had a set expiration date. Neil Gaiman had said as much almost from the beginning. When it ended, Vertigo replaced it with the Dreaming, which had it’s moments but never quite captured the wonderful horror edged fantasy that Gaiman had set just inside the borders of the DCU. It was  trying to hard to be the Sandman, whereas the Sandman never tried to be anything. It just was.

They also did a bunch of The Sandman Presents mini-series. most have a similar problem, but Love Street stands apart, likely because of the heavy Hellblazer influence. Many of the Dreaming characters are here, but John Constintine really anchors this piece which starts with him as a lad in the 60’s and then fast forewards into the present.

You can skip most of the Sandman sequals, but definitely check into this one for a fun mystic mystery and perhaps a better look at everyone favorite hellblazer.